WELCOME TO A WEEK OF EXCEPTS –
21st November 2019Tweet
The Missing Shield is epic high fantasy but it still has a little bit of everything, so today I thought I’d treat you to a snippet of main character, Solancei Calverhana’s, memoirs…
From ‘Notions of Risk’ – Episode 5 of The Missing Shield
Lady Klaasinah Eso Mehadja, Royal Chief of Security and Elite Combat Expert, 1st grade Master of Kizano and Veranto, arrived exactly six weeks after the day my parents had been entombed in their anonymous icy graves.
As it turned out, this was no mean feat, because the Chief (or Klaas as I later came to know her), had travelled all the way from the exotic Province of Etruia; from the capital that shares the name, no less – and to this day I am still to understand how she did it. I’ve asked, of course, and the Chief has offered an answer but Etruia is half a continent away and by then, winter had set in proper in Tarléon. What pace she and the twenty royal lancers must have set, pushing, making such a journey an excruciating punishment – and what for?
For little caustic me? To hop because the Queen said so? To get off the roads that killed my parents and Taliana? To reach shelter before winter might prevent further access?
As it turns out it was a little more complicated than that, Gods help me, but at the time I didn’t get it at all and to say that the steely woman rode into my life with a sore mind and a sour disposition for the task she’d been charged to perform, is perhaps to offer the old harridan a kindness. However, Klaas was ever as forthright as she wanted to be and it cannot be ignored that she was thoroughly disenchanted with her surroundings throughout her visit in Ivanor.
This has sometimes left me wondering if perhaps she had an understanding of me from the moment she saw me? Perhaps I was more than she’d expected; perhaps less? Or perhaps she already knew I’d test her? Or maybe-
Anyway, as it stands, I can only imagine what she must have felt to spend her valuable time playing fetch for Queen Ishjah, but there she was: all fearsome 5ft and a few inches; all immaculate, brilliant, ascetic parts of her wrapped in so much silver wolf that upon first sight I wondered if she was, in fact, an obese child?
Of course even the blizzard that swept her and the twenty royal lancers to the inner yard of Ivanor, could not disguise from my eye, the golden leopard seal on the fine chain of office round her neck – and whether I imagined her a child or not, the seal told me otherwise – as did the two-and-a-half foot swept-hilt rapier at her hip, which was pushed from interfering as she dismounted a pale shaggy pony to the sounds of much commotion as the yard had come alive with soldiers, dogs, horses, and eventually, retainers of varying kinds.
But apologies, I jump ahead of myself now. It probably won’t do, so let me start over. Let me paint the scene, if you will.
Now, it happened around the hour of the hungry wolf, I remember. I was supposed to be long asleep, but as it was wont to do since the sledge ride home from the funeral, that pesky little hag-ridden dream of mine had awoken me maybe just a quarter earlier and now sleep eluded.
As I told you before, the gruesome details inside this dream would alter and change, but this night they’d been particularly vivid, to the point where I thought I’d almost been on the cusp of seeing beyond the hovering shape that had ripped my mother from the cage of the carriage. The wings were enormous, leather-smooth but with a pattern of what might have been symbols, and thicker than I could have imagined. As always, I caught an idea of a contour but it was rent in shadow and I could never quite remember what I’d actually seen after, though I knew it appeared of heavy limbs and rope-like muscle.
Then, on this night, just before I awoke – as I saw the silhouette of the membrane flex and move with subtle strength, doing what was its purpose as it hovered just above me – I felt something touch my thoughts and I caught an idea of long curved talons and black scales. Fiery eyes caught mine but I could not recall the colour. The monster had never been this close to me before. I was removed from the carriage already – as if that part of the dream had not mattered and had hence been swept aside by my mind to concentrate on the greater threat – and as it held my eye, I froze like a lost traveller on the glazier.
Bewitching, foreign words of hard edges and guttural rolling beauty stabbed into me as if made physical. There was a monster in my head and I couldn’t move. I saw the precise moment it adapted the angle of the wings, flexing to decrease thrust and thereby lift. It was planning to land!
In my mind, the gust of fetor rekindled as the drag of air swept around me. It was going to land and take me too, and then – don’t laugh – suck me dry as it rent me from crown to foot, spitting out a husk of skin and bones like it had done my mother!
Oh well, I digress, and it did not take me of course because it was but a dream after all and I woke up – but I wish for you to know that I didn’t want it to be a dragon though. I guess I always liked the idea of dragons even then, and I most certainly didn’t wish for my fascination to be tainted, yet with my near-glimpse of the monster, you must also understand that I now feared it must be just that.
You can find out more and check out the full series via the link https://www.amazon.com/L.-L.-f/e/B07B8K4J6S