New Short Story & Video!

I finally found a few quiet moments to do the pronunciation video! I have also added it to the Pronunciation page (for future reference) under the Guide to Everealm, up top ^.

The poll for the next short story is finished so I will begin working on a new short story for Bree & Rowan, as children. I will leave the poll up for a few more days so you can vote for your second favorite choice, and if I find time, I will write up a story for the 2nd place choice, as well. In the meantime, here is a quick short story from Reeve and Gabby’s first few days in Everealm, before the tournament!

Gabby Gets Her Way
“I want to come and watch you compete,” Gabby said. “I want to see you knock the other men on their asses! Come on, Reeve. Please?”
“Gabrielle, we’ve discussed your choice of using swear words. It is very unbecoming of a lady.”
“I don’t see a lady here.”
“You may not, now. But one day you will meet a boy that you want to impress, someday marry, and you will find that your bad habits are hard to break.”
“If a boy wants to marry me, he will have to like everything about me,” she said. “And that includes my choice of using swear words. Besides, Mother used them, all of the time.”
“And our mother died alone, Gabby. With no husband,” Reeve said, picking up his sword and shield. “Do you want to end up like she did? A gypsy woman, living on her own with two children?”
Their mother’s parents had been true gypsies, traveling from one place to another, staying just long enough to drain the people they met of their money and jewels before moving on to the next village and a new scam.
Reeve and Gabby’s mother, Giselle, had been raised to follow the same tradition. Marry young, to another gypsy, and follow a similar path in life as her parents. Those same parents who were killed when they tried to con the wrong man.
But life had turned out a bit different for the daughter of the gypsies. The boy she was supposed to marry had died from disease. Then an unexpected pregnancy left Giselle without even a prospect for a husband and after the death of her parents, she found herself alone, with a small child. And even though she was able to pull herself together well enough to provide at least an occasional meal for Reeve, Giselle hadn’t been a very good mother to him.
On more than one occasion, she left him alone for days at a time to run off with a man, mostly complete strangers to her. At times, Reeve was forced to eat scraps that the neighboring farmers set out for their animals each morning.
Once Reeve was old enough to work, he found jobs in whatever town they were staying near, in order to take care of his mother and himself. And between working and tending the few animals they could afford to keep, he taught himself to write and read. He thought that if he were able to provide for his mother, she wouldn’t feel the need to run off with strange men for money. It worked, mostly. She began to build a home for the two of them, the best she knew how. Though, she did leave for a week when Reeve was twelve. Giselle returned, as usual, but discovered later that she was pregnant. Gabrielle was born two days after Reeve’s thirteenth birthday.
Holding his tiny sister in his arms, Reeve swore that he wouldn’t allow her to face the same childhood that he had been forced to endure. He made it his mission in life to care for her. If not for Reeve’s persistence that Gabby get an education, she might not have ever learned to read.
It was that same wish to educate Gabby and provide better for her that influenced Reeve to enter the tournament. He found out about the tournament on their first day in the village. The innkeeper saw Reeve’s helmet and assumed he was a squire, competing for the title of Knight of Junacave.
The prize money, alone, would be enough to pay for tutors and new gowns for his sister. Even though Gabby liked to hunt and spar (she was quite good with a small sword), she still got sparkles in her eyes when she saw pretty gowns, like most thirteen year old girls, he assumed. And while entering the tournament was not his actual reason for coming to Junacave, he had to admit that the idea of competing excited him. And his sister seemed to be just as anxious as he was.
“So… can I go? To the tournament?” she asked. “I will stay in the front, I promise. And I won’t talk to anyone I don’t know, which is everyone, since we’ve only been here for six days.”
“I don’t know, Gabby. I would feel better if you stay here, where I know you will be safe.”
“You don’t really know I will be safe here, though. Do you? The man downstairs could be one of those insane men who like to rummage through people’s trunks and wear their clothing.”
“Your imagination is terrifying. But you’re right. I don’t know the innkeeper very well, though, I doubt he is an insane man who wants to wear your nightgowns.” Reeve gave her a blank look, then sighed. “Yes, you can come. I will probably be eliminated in the first few days, anyway…”
Gabby smiled. She knew she could win him over, eventually. When it came to her, Reeve was soft. But when it came to the tournament, he would be fierce and she knew it. That’s why she had to be there. He wouldn’t have a single person in the crowd to cheer for him, unless she was there. He wasn’t from this place, after all.
“I’ll get my cloak,” she said, and hopped down from the wooden stool that she had been sitting on.
Reeve was glad he didn’t have to face his sister in the tournament because he would certainly lose. He shook his head and muttered, “Every time. She wins, every time.”
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Tin Cups – New Short Story!


New addition to the Everealm Chronicles! Also, check out the poll on the right side of the page and vote for who/what you want to see in future short stories. Thanks!

~J.D.

Tin Cups Do Not Just Disappear
“Ugh. I can’t do it, Dagan. It isn’t working.”
“Keep trying.”
“I am trying. Maybe we should wait to practice until the rest of my magic has been unlocked.”
“Sid, that’s too dangerous. We don’t know when or if your magic will ever be fully released.” He could understand her frustration and he remembered feeling just as annoyed when he was learning to use his own magic. Only, he had been a child then and his grandfather had been a much better teacher.
Not only that, but Dagan could access all of his magic from the moment he was born. He only had to learn how to develop it. Sidonie was a grown woman who just found out she was a sorceress and could only really use about half of the magic in her blood.
“What if I don’t use my magic? Until then?” she asked.
Dagan shook his head. “If you can’t control it when you wantto use it, what makes you think you can when you don’t want to use it? Our magic is affected by our emotions, Sid. You know that. You could hurt someone, even if you don’t mean to.”
“Fine,” Sidonie said, sighing.
She turned back to the tin cup on the table and tried to focus, again. First, she attempted to summon fire. A tiny flame lit up in one of her palms and she turned her hand toward the cup. All she had to do was flick the small ball of fire to send it over to the cup. In her mind, it was a simple task as she imagined the fire leaving her palm. But suddenly the flame exploded into a gigantic ball of fire, sending sparks in every direction.
Immediately, Sidonie extinguished the fire in her hand. But that wasn’t the end of her problems because now she had to help Dagan to put out almost half a dozen small fires starting around the casting room.
“I think that’s the last one,” she said. She was thankful that water magic was the only type of magic she had been able to use without incident. So far, at least.
Dagan ran a hand over his face, obviously frustrated, but he tried to hide it. It wasn’t her fault. None of it was her fault. He just had to remind himself… over and over again.
“Wait,” he said. “I still smell something burning.” He turned and looked around the room, again.
“Oh, no.”
He stopped moving when he heard her but didn’t have time to ask where the fire was before he found his entire backside soaked by her water magic. Slowly, he turned around. His white hair was dripping as he held the back of his robes up and revealed a large hole where the fire had burned through. Any longer and it might have gotten through his trousers, as well. That would have been painful.
Sidonie tried not to laugh but was unable to contain herself.
“I think, perhaps, that is enough fire magic for today,” he said. “Try air magic, instead.”
Still smiling, Sidonie turned back to the cup. She took a deep breath, reached her arm out, and focused her mind on the air around the cup. She squeezed her fingers together while imagining the air squeezing the cup and lifting it into the air. And just as she pictured it, the cup rose up and hovered above the table.
Sidonie’s eyes widened. She couldn’t believe she got it on the first try. Air magic may be the one elemental magic that she could control. But her joy was short lived because the cup suddenly disappeared. When the cup was gone, there was nothing for her magic to hold on to so she stumbled forward, falling toward the table.
“Whoa!” Dagan used his own air magic to freeze her body mid-fall. Then he put his arm around her waist before unfreezing her, to prevent her from hitting the table.
“Where did it go?” she asked, searching around the room. “It just disappeared. I didn’t know I could make it disappear!”
“I didn’t either… Teleportation is difficult, even for the most experienced wizard. Where did you send it?”
“What do you mean? I didn’t send it anywhere. It just disappeared.”
“Sid, tin cups do not just disappear. They have to go somewhere.”
“Oh. Well, I don’t know, then.”
Dagan looked down at his robes, still soaked and charred. They decided to stop for the day as supper was already being served in the hall. Sidonie went ahead while Dagan changed into dry clothes.
He found her sitting beside Sarita. She and the young princess were deep in conversation. He took a seat across from them and started eating his bowl of lamb and leek stew. It wasn’t his favorite, but with all of the magic he had been using lately, he had to eat to keep his strength up.
“And the cup just disappeared!” Sidonie said to Sarita.
“Into the air?” Sarita was mesmerized by the story. Her blonde curls shook as she bounced in her seat from the excitement. “Just like… poof?”
“Yes, poof!”
Sarita giggled, delighted. She had watched Elric doing magic many times but had never seen him make an object disappear. This magic was brand new and fascinating.
Dagan chuckled to himself and took another bite. While there wasn’t much progress made today, at least Sidonie had an amusing story to tell. He continued eating while Sid and Sarita moved on to other topics of discussion, mostly gossip. The tin cup was forgotten. Dagan finished his first bowl and got another one. He had just sat down with the steaming bowl of stew when Sidonie got thirsty and picked up her goblet. She frowned.
“Oh, no. I’m out of wine,” she thought aloud.
She looked around for a kitchen maid and spotted one behind Dagan. But before she could signal to the girl, Sidonie froze. There, hovering in front of Dagan’s face, was the tin cup. Surprised, Dagan pulled his head back and stared at it, slowly spinning in the air. It couldn’t have been a coincidence that the cup appeared just when she had wanted a drink.
“Hey! There it is!” Sidonie said, almost shouting.
Before either of them could reach out to grab it, the cup suddenly dropped straight into Dagan’s bowl, splashing hot lamb and leek stew onto his robes, hair, face, and the table. Sarita burst into laughter. Dagan didn’t need to open his eyes to know that he was covered in stew. He could feel it all over him. And just after he had put on fresh wizard robes, too.
Sidonie winced. She thought about offering to use water magic to wash him off, but decided that he had probably seen enough of her magic for one day…

Apple Tarts & Honey Brittle… Bree & Rowan’s Favorites!


Less than one week to go! In the meantime, here is a re-post of a short story from Bree & Rowan’s childhood in Junacave. Enjoy!

~J.D.

Apple Tart

Breestlin waited until she was certain everyone in the castle would be asleep before sneaking out of her chambers. In her nightgown and slippers, she quietly tiptoed down the stone stairs to the first floor, ducking to hide behind a statue when one of her father’s guards walked past.
She felt a sneeze coming on. Oh, no. “Achoo!”
She tried to muffle the sound with the sleeve of her gown, but the guard heard her. He stopped walking and stood still, listening. Bree froze and held her breath. A few moments later, the guard began to walk down the hallway, again, and disappeared out of sight. Phew!
 The last time she was found out of bed in the night, her mother scolded her in front of the other children who attended schooling in the castle with Bree. It had been rather embarrassing to have her mother, the queen, chastising her in front of her friends. Being a princess, she was expected to behave in a manner that was “above reproach”, or something like that. She barely paid attention to her mother’s words when she was reprimanded. For an eleven-year-old girl, she simply didn’t care. She had plenty of time to be a princess later.
 It wasn’t as if she would get into too much trouble if she got caught, but she certainly didn’t want to be sent to bed before she got what she came for. Seeing that the hallway to her right was clear, she snuck down it and into the kitchens.
Once the cooks and kitchen maids were done working for the day, everything was put away, but she knew just where to look to find exactly what she wanted. Tiptoeing across the room, she was careful not to touch anything. The metal pots would make a lot of noise if she bumped into one of them, hanging on the wall. When she reached a large wooden cupboard, she slowly opened one door. It squeaked but only for a moment.
There in front of her sat an entire apple tart, fresh and untouched. The moment she opened the door, the smell of the apples and cinnamon made her mouth water. She pulled it out of the cupboard and tucked it under her arm.
Suddenly, she heard a noise behind her. She spun around, expecting to find a guard, but the room was empty. Quickly, she ducked down and hid beside the cupboard. There was another noise. She started to panic. It could be a rat, which she definitely didn’t want to encounter. As she listened, a door to a different cupboard on the opposite wall opened. Confused, she stood up. There wasn’t anyone there. Ghosts? In the castle?
She leaned over to get a better look.
“Boo!”
“Ahh!” Bree yelped and nearly jumped out of her own skin.
Rowan was doubling over in laughter, with his hand on his stomach. Bree tried to catch her breath.
“You should have seen your face! Hilarious. I wish Finn were here to see it,” he continued to chuckle between bites of honey brittle that he had taken from the cupboard.
“Damn you, Rowan. You lousy son of a—“
“Tsk, tsk, princess. Don’t let your mother hear you talk like that. She’ll tan your backside. Actually, I’d like to see that.” He grinned, taking another bite. The scowl she was giving him was quite entertaining.
“I hate you.” She might have really meant it this time, but it didn’t seem to faze him. His smile just got bigger, making her even more irritated than before. “You’re not supposed to be out of bed, either, Rowan.”
The way she said his name sounded a lot like the way his mother used to say it, when he was in trouble. He didn’t care for it. His mother had been dead for two years now and it still stung when something reminded him of her. His grin quickly turned into a scowl, which matched Bree’s. He glanced down at her arms.
“An apple tart. Seriously? Of all the candies Misses Delray leaves lying around, you snuck out of bed for a tart? With fruit?” He shook his head and polished off the last bite of his brittle, then licked his fingers. His treat had certainly been worth the risk of being caught and his punishment wasn’t likely to be as severe. He was merely a squire, not a princess.
Before she could reply, they heard a noise from the hallway and stooped down to hide behind the large wooden table beside them.
“Good move, you idiot,” Bree whispered. “You’ve alerted the guards with your laughing. Now we’ll both get into trouble.”
“No, we won’t. Follow me.” He nudged the sleeve of her nightgown and she followed him around the back side of the kitchens and into the pantries. “There’s a door in the back,” he whispered, seeing the confusion on her face. Quietly, they snuck through the pantries and into the buttery behind it. Sure enough, there was another door that led into the hallway. Rowan stuck his head out of the door and saw it was clear.
“Come on.” He held the door open just enough so she could fit through. The castle was really old and almost every door squeaked. He was careful not to open it further than necessary. They walked slowly toward the stairs, keeping an eye out for guards.
“Do you need me to walk you up?” he asked. His chambers were in the knight’s wing, with his father, which was on the other side of the castle.
“No, I can manage.” She rolled her eyes at him. She was perfectly capable of walking up stairs on her own. She’d made it to the kitchens just fine without him.
“Alright. See you tomorrow,” he whispered and started to walk away. Bree turned to go up the stairs, but stopped when Rowan came back over to her.
“What is it? Did you hear someone?” She looked around, beginning to panic.
Rowan didn’t answer. Instead, he quickly reached over and snagged a chunk of the tart and sauntered off. He smiled to himself when he heard her voice behind him.
“I really do hate you.”

Teaser Short Story!

Greetings!

The countdown begins.. three days to go! In celebration of my debut novel release date on the 31st, I have decided to post a short story, including a couple of characters of Everealm. It takes place BEFORE the time-frame that the actual book begins. Consider it a bonus! The theme of the story may make an appearance in the book, so keep your eyes peeled for it!

~J.D.W.

Apple Tart

Breestlin waited until she was certain everyone in the castle would be asleep before sneaking out of her chambers. In her nightgown and slippers, she quietly tiptoed down the stone stairs to the first floor, ducking to hide behind a statue when one of her father’s guards walked past.
She felt a sneeze coming on. Oh, no. “Achoo!”
She tried to muffle the sound with the sleeve of her gown, but the guard heard her. He stopped walking and stood still, listening. Bree froze and held her breath. A few moments later, the guard began to walk down the hallway, again, and disappeared out of sight. Phew!
 The last time she was found out of bed in the night, her mother scolded her in front of the other children who attended schooling in the castle with Bree. It had been rather embarrassing to have her mother, the queen, chastising her in front of her friends. Being a princess, she was expected to behave in a manner that was “above reproach”, or something like that. She barely paid attention to her mother’s words when she was reprimanded. For an eleven-year-old girl, she simply didn’t care. She had plenty of time to be a princess later.
 It wasn’t as if she would get into too much trouble if she got caught, but she certainly didn’t want to be sent to bed before she got what she came for. Seeing that the hallway to her right was clear, she snuck down it and into the kitchens.
Once the cooks and kitchen maids were done working for the day, everything was put away, but she knew just where to look to find exactly what she wanted. Tiptoeing across the room, she was careful not to touch anything. The metal pots would make a lot of noise if she bumped into one of them, hanging on the wall. When she reached a large wooden cupboard, she slowly opened one door. It squeaked but only for a moment.
There in front of her sat an entire apple tart, fresh and untouched. The moment she opened the door, the smell of the apples and cinnamon made her mouth water. She pulled it out of the cupboard and tucked it under her arm.
Suddenly, she heard a noise behind her. She spun around, expecting to find a guard, but the room was empty. Quickly, she ducked down and hid beside the cupboard. There was another noise. She started to panic. It could be a rat, which she definitely didn’t want to encounter. As she listened, a door to a different cupboard on the opposite wall opened. Confused, she stood up. There wasn’t anyone there. Ghosts? In the castle?
She leaned over to get a better look.
“Boo!”
“Ahh!” Bree yelped and nearly jumped out of her own skin.
Rowan was doubling over in laughter, with his hand on his stomach. Bree tried to catch her breath.
“You should have seen your face! Hilarious. I wish Finn were here to see it,” he continued to chuckle between bites of honey brittle that he had taken from the cupboard.
“Damn you, Rowan. You lousy son of a—“
“Tsk, tsk, princess. Don’t let your mother hear you talk like that. She’ll tan your backside. Actually, I’d like to see that.” He grinned, taking another bite. The scowl she was giving him was quite entertaining.
“I hate you.” She might have really meant it this time, but it didn’t seem to faze him. His smile just got bigger, making her even more irritated than before. “You’re not supposed to be out of bed, either, Rowan.”
The way she said his name sounded a lot like the way his mother used to say it, when he was in trouble. He didn’t care for it. His mother had been dead for two years now and it still stung when something reminded him of her. His grin quickly turned into a scowl, which matched Bree’s. He glanced down at her arms.
“An apple tart. Seriously? Of all the candies Misses Delray leaves lying around, you snuck out of bed for a tart? With fruit?” He shook his head and polished off the last bite of his brittle, then licked his fingers. His treat had certainly been worth the risk of being caught and his punishment wasn’t likely to be as severe. He was merely a page, not a princess.
Before she could reply, they heard a noise from the hallway and stooped down to hide behind the large wooden table beside them.
“Good move, you idiot,” Bree whispered. “You’ve alerted the guards with your laughing. Now we’ll both get into trouble.”
“No, we won’t. Follow me.” He nudged the sleeve of her nightgown and she followed him around the back side of the kitchens and into the pantries. “There’s a door in the back,” he whispered, seeing the confusion on her face. Quietly, they snuck through the pantries and into the buttery behind it. Sure enough, there was another door that led into the hallway. Rowan stuck his head out of the door and saw it was clear.
“Come on.” He held the door open just enough so she could fit through. The castle was really old and almost every door squeaked. He was careful not to open it further than necessary. They walked slowly toward the stairs, keeping an eye out for guards.
“Do you need me to walk you up?” he asked. His chambers were in the knight’s wing, with his father, which was on the other side of the castle.
“No, I can manage.” She rolled her eyes at him. She was perfectly capable of walking up stairs on her own. She’d made it to the kitchens just fine without him.
“Alright. See you tomorrow,” he whispered and started to walk away. Bree turned to go up the stairs, but stopped when Rowan came back over to her.
“What is it? Did you hear someone?” She looked around, beginning to panic.
Rowan didn’t answer. Instead, he quickly reached over and snagged a chunk of the tart and sauntered off. He smiled to himself when he heard her voice behind him.
“I really do hate you.”