Friday Fiction: Of Merchant and Magic Part Five

Tycho Galnaar Rhonarida settles in for a quiet winter. Perhaps.

Chapter Five – Winter into Spring


The notary-mage studied Tycho and the seal, then stood. He walked around the merchant and out the open front of his work-area, into the main market and currency exchange. The stocky man pulled a stout cord hanging beside the door.

Clatter-tap, clatter-tap, clatter-tap. Everyone within hearing paused and looked to the notary. He raised his hands to his mouth and called, “Is there any man of good repute who can identify this person standing beside me?” He pointed an ink-stained finger at Tycho.

After a moment, three men in merchant’s or craftsmen’s clothes walked up, along with one of the ship-captains. “I know him. I am Ventris Bormanson.”

“I know him. I am Henk Wesserman,” the captain said.

“I know him. I am Gregor Smithson.”

“And I am Haako Peltzerman, and he is Tycho Galnaar, husband of Gerta Galnaar born Krewatzi.” Continue reading

Friday Fiction: Of Merchant and Magic Part Four

Chapter Four: Home and Winter


Gerta patted one paten-shod foot on the rear stoop-stone, the wooden tap tap tap warning passers-by of her possible irritation. “Your son,” she began, fist on hip.

“Half of him is yours,” Tycho reminded her. They had been not-arguing over the boys’ behavior for twenty years. “And you have delegated authority in my absence.”

“That is true, but you are larger than I am, and the council frowns on hitting your own children on the head with broomsticks and fish-gaffs.”

Depending on which son had done what, Tycho doubted the broomstick would be strong enough to attract the young man’s attention. Gerta moved out of the way, allowing him into the narrow door leading to the residential part of their house. “I just came back from the called meeting about letters of credit from Liambruu.”

That explained the patens and her formal dark attire, along with her wearing his chain of mastery. The flat gold and silver links shimmered, if one could see the spells cast on them, and showed that he had formally given her business authority to act in his name in his absence. She slid the patens off her fine embroidered leather shoes, removed her flat-brimmed hat, and lifted the chain over her head. “This I return to my husband and master.”

“This I accept from my wife and lady.” He accepted the chain, held it up for a moment, then lowered it over his own head and accepted the weight of duty. She put her arms around his waist and he pulled her close, kissing her thin, firm lips. Oh he had missed her! Continue reading

Friday Fiction: Of Merchant and Magic part 2


Master Tycho has settled in to his rooms in the merchants’ quarter in Guill. Now, time has come for business…

Chapter 2: To Market


Bread soaked in milk with wine, smallbeer, and a piece of fried meat with the sharp local mustard filled Tycho’s stomach just enough the next morning. The market would not begin for another day, but he wanted to look around, and to see where his booth would be.

His first surprise came when he reached the main warehouse to speak with the market master. “Ah, good that you are here, Meester Tycho Rhonarida,” one of the mages on duty said. “Here is your receipt from Lord Valrep. His transport mage removed the lord’s share last night.” The shaggy-haired man frowned, murmuring “waste of magic,” under his breath.

Tycho neither blinked nor raised his eyebrows when he saw the tally. He wanted to wince, but that might not be wise, either. “Very well.” Three of the fine-tanned hides and two of the fleece-tanned hides, plus the two largest rough tanned skins. He should not have tempted the gods by assuming that nobles did not bother leather merchants. Continue reading

Sunday Snippet

The ferocious, er, always calm and controlled Mrs. deStella-Bernardi has one slight weakness. And her daughter has to cope with it.

Chapter 1: Home coming

“Auriga Maris Regina, the planet is not going anywhere. Now come, we need to clear the cabin again before boarding the landing shuttle.”

Rigi, who had gone through the cabin with the finest-tooth comb known to twelve star systems, allowed herself a sigh before leaving the viewing window and walking across the large room to where her mother waited. The few lingering passengers gave her sympathetic looks, and a tall, dark young man seemed to be studying her more intently that was perhaps polite. Rigi did not return the regard. At the moment she had little time for young men, strangers or otherwise. Rigi moved carefully, mindful of the lower gravity on the long-distance transport. Mrs. Acherna deStella-Bernardi pointedly did not pat her foot. Instead she turned and walked down the color-coded passageway leading to the passenger cabins, her daughter following dutifully behind.

Rigi swallowed a number of comments and complaints that she would have once made. Her mother’s dreadful fear of ship-to-ground shuttles made her snappish and brusque, but only to family members. Outside the family she remained the model of comportment and hospitality that Rigi had always assumed was her mother’s true self. Then they had left Shikhari for almost four years, in order for Rigi’s sister to find a husband, for Rigi to go to school, and to see the brother that Rigi had barely remembered, who had remained on Home to go to military school in hopes of obtaining a job within the Company that administered most of Shikhari. Her mother keyed open the cabin door and Rigi went in. Their bags had already been removed for loading into the cargo pod, making the task somewhat easier. With a smothered sigh Rigi bunched her skirts, got down on hands and knees, and started at the bottom, looking for anything small that might have gone astray. Continue reading

Writing Womanly Women in Fiction

How do you write womanly women in fiction? I hit that question hard when I started the first of the Colplatschki Chronicles, Elizabeth of Starland. I’d been writing Rada Ni Drako, and while she is many things, some of which I can’t say here without getting at least an R rating and I try for PG-13 at worst, she’s not overly feminine. At least, not for a very long time, or in most company. Auriga Bernardi lifts the bar higher, because she’s never going to be a professional soldier like Elizabeth von Sarmas was pushed into becoming. And I have a sense that the female lead in the Bronze Age story is going to be even less aggressive than Auriga. What does that mean? And how do I do it without having the character turn into something from one of those caricature Victorian morality stories? Continue reading

Saturday Snippet

This is an excerpt from one of the chapters of the next plus one Cat novel. Rada has gone to Drakon IV for some peace and quiet. You’d think by now she’d know better . . .

“Fewmets!” Commander Rada Lord Ni Drako spun around and ran toward the sounds, teeth clenched against the pain spiking from her bad knee. She ducked a low branch, went around a clump of crimson-claw, and swung wide of the weeping spring. She slowed as soon as she caught a glimpse of Azdhagi in motion. Four on one, and the one was a female with an improvised pole arm of some kind. Oh hell no, not on my lands you don’t. Rada braced the naginata for a stabbing attack and charged, aiming for the back of the male closest to the young female. “Ni Drako hai!”

The blade slipped between his ribs. Rada slid it sideways and out, pulling free of the dying reptile. She spun the blade up, blocking a second male’s blow with the stout wooden pole, dodged and found herself between the remaining males and the female. The larger of the two came at Rada with a scythe, swinging high to behead her. Rada feint-blocked, ducked, and stabbed him in the throat just above the neck spines. He dropped the scythe and staggered, brown blood gushing.

Thunk, thunk! Rada spun in time to see the female delivering a third blow to her attacker’s head. Her small wooden pole cracked but he went down hard. The fourth male disappeared, probably fleeing into the forest. Rada planted the iron-shod end of the naginata into the rocky soil and leaned on it. The female tried to copy her but the pole broke. Continue reading