While I have the rest of the Since The Day You Left series planned out and for the most part written down, I've become a little more excited by writing other stuff. Aloysius, Wynne, Caislin, and Finn are taking a hiatus.
So... Ettore, Aderyn, and Isyhah are coming instead!
I have three stories with prologues ready for AP now.
One of them, called Half Brother, starring Ettore, is a historical/romance set in Renaissance Italy, Florence. Half Brother is about Ettore Biancardi di Firenze e Sessa, an unwanted son of the rich widower Lord Neri di Firenze and lord's second wife, Clio. After Ettore's grandfather left everything in his will to the young man, Ettore's enraged half siblings hire mercenaries after him so they can legally inherit their rich grandfather's riches. It's kind of a Prince of Persia deal, but in Italy!
Ettore didn’t want to be there.
To be inside Grandfather’s house was to remember the years of his life that were relieved of his father and all nine of his half siblings. All the days that he had lived happily were spent in the walls of the massive estate in Florence, forgetting that he was hated by his family.
What torture it was to have just been with his dear grandfather in his last minutes, and right after, to be forced to walk the grounds with his family.
Aquilina sighed and twirled on the ballroom floor. “Once I inherit this estate,” she said, “I’ll have to make changes.”
Angelo, the youngest of the full siblings, just older than Ettore, scoffed. “Who says you’re getting the estate?”
She scowled at him. “I happen to be the only one who visited Grandpapa once every other month on a regular basis. I worked to the bone to get into his will!”
Pierotto, the eldest, groaned. “You know who funded your frequent travels?”
All of the nine siblings squabbled over who got into the old man’s will, while Ettore was not included. The young man didn’t care. Being ten years younger and the outcast of the family, he was used to it. Besides, he didn’t want to care about the will. He wanted his grandfather back.
He stuffed his hands into his black jacket and strolled across the ballroom. He rubbed his rough stubble and sighed. What would distract him from the thought that Grandfather would never come back?
Before his father’s death, no one could have hated him more. Not even his siblings could begin to despise him like their father did. He did nothing to antagonize him; it was that he was alive, it was that he existed, that their father hated him. He was living proof that the love of his life, the full siblings’ mother, was dead, and that his new wife was not just a nightmare. It was Ettore, son of Lord Neri and his second wife, Lady Clio di Sessa Aurunca, who showed everyone that Celeste Benincasa di Firenze was gone forever.
Ettore sighed out and rammed the back of his head into the finely textured wall of the large, echoing ballroom. It was silent as the grave, besides Angelo’s and Aquilina’s incessant, yet quarantined, squabbling. In his distracted mind, such noise sounded like a murder of crows, laughing hysterically at the thought of a dead man. There was nothing sacred about a solemn hour after the passing of a noble around here, Ettore guessed. He leaned back and slid to sit against the wall as he gazed at the paintings of past owners of the manor.
To put Aquilina’s painting up there with the others, Ettore thought, is to have chronic nightmares.
A servant dressed in black solemnly entered the ballroom, long-faced. It was apparent that this servant had grown quite fond of the old lord, and his passing didn’t just affect Ettore, to his relief. None of the others noticed, too invested in their speculating what was in the will. No one cared enough to turn around and ask what was going to happen next, except for their tired, broken little half brother. The young man shoved himself back on his feet and crossed the distance between them.
“Achille,” Ettore whispered.
The servant sighed out and shook his head. “Signor di Firenze had given me a home,” he whimpered, voice cracking, “he had given me a life.”
Ettore nodded. “He did the same for me.”
The next one is called Stewardship, and it is an Arthurian deal with a twist: no magic, no prophecy, and Arthur has disappeared. When Arthur was a baby, Merlin (a witty Irish bishop instead of a pagan druid) was ambushed and the two were separated and Arthur was never fetched by Sir Ector. It stars two unlikely heirs to the stewardship of the throne: bandits Aderyn Parry and Mostyn Baines. Their quest: retrieve Prince Arthur, after twelve years of wild goose chases after him. Who knew that the crown Prince of Wales would be the little leader of their rival band...?
This version of the Legends of King Arthur stars Knights of the Round Table, the Lady of the Lake, Mordred, Morgaine le Fey, and a humorous Merlin na Cnoic Rollta as if it was history. No magicks, no fairies, just real people and real problems.
“Where’re we going this early, Dadi?” whispered Mostyn Baines, covering his chattering teeth with the cowl of his deep black cloak. It swept under him like a wraith as he struggled to keep up with his father. He yawned tiredly as he rubbed his deep brown eyes. His scruffy brown hair covered his brow like a drape, and the rest of his face was shadowed by hood and cowl. The eight year old was short and gangly; he was very unassuming as a King’s Ranger and no one could imagine him hurting a fly.
Steward Brynmor Baines knelt down to make eye contact with his son. “You remember your training, Mostyn? You remember it all?”
Mostyn nodded slowly. “You know I’ve only been training for two years as a King’s Ranger and as a Steward. That’s not nearly enough time to forget anything.” He frowned inquisitively and cocked his head. “What troubles you, Da?”
Brynmor sighed and rustled his son’s hair fondly. “Many things, boy, but right now, what troubles me is wondering if you’ll listen to a word of Cadfael’s lips.”
Mostyn smoothed out his hair and smiled slightly. Only, his father’s humor was weak, as if he was trying to lighten the mood. Now, Brynmor’s face fell and he looked upon his bairn sadly. His son searched him for hope, but there was none.
“You’re not going to make it out once the Black-Clads attack?” Mostyn guessed with no restraint on his emotions. “Dadi, that’s not the case, right?”
Brynmor sighed and laid a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “As a Steward, I need to fight for my King and my home. As a King’s Ranger, I need to ensure your safety as a Novice and as a citizen. As a father…” He looked down at the cobblestone path and laid his other hand on his son’s other slight shoulder. “I need to ensure that you live a life that I would be proud of… and would make you proud as well.”
Mostyn hugged his father tight, afraid to lose him. He felt Brynmor’s arms secure him and he allowed his eyes to shed tears.
“Please don’t die, Dadi,” he sobbed into his linen sleeve. “I don’t have anyone else.”
“Be safe, Mostyn, and let us rendezvous with Cadfael in the royal stables.” He avoided promising his safety. Parting from his son, he produced a small charm from his baldric. He placed it in Mostyn’s open palm and curled his fingers around it. “This is your Ranger’s Badge. I was supposed to save it for your graduation, but you need the strength to continue. I graduate you to Silverbranch; use your place well.”
Mostyn inspected the charm. It was a lightweight silver medallion that was the size of his fingertip with a pin in the back to secure it on his own baldric. The badge of a Silverbranch Ranger - the gnarled life-giving tree Yggdrasil from the fables - was molded on the front.
Mostyn was crying with all his heart. “I’m not leaving you, Da!”
Brynmor’s gaze shifted upwards. “Afon,” he voiced. “Glad you’re here.”
Ryn was placed on her feet by Afon, who placed his hand on a new man’s shoulder in the Steward’s greeting.
This man was broad and tall, bearing blonde hair, a bristly beard, and grey eyes. His wardrobe was that of a King’s Ranger, with the sword-shaped medal of a Steward resting on his barrel chest. The golden charm clipped onto his baldric was designed like the Life Tree, Yggdrasil, showing him to be a Goldbranch Ranger. The shrouded uniform he wore was comprised of a deep green tunic, black cloak, dark grey cowl, leather triple baldric and a thick belt, holding all sorts of trick darts and tear gas pellets. High boots tucked over loose, thick woolen trousers. A bow was slung across his back, a quiver latched to his belt. A broadsword was strapped to his other side. His tartan emblazoned his scarf.
“There’s hardly time to be glad,” mumbled Afon, shifting his cloak on his shoulders. “Is Cadfael at the stables now?”
Brynmor nodded slightly.
Aderyn appeared from behind her father, sneaking a peek at the boy behind the Ranger. His cheeks were wet and red, and his eyes were swollen. He was slightly taller than her and was clothed just like his father, but without the medal. His Ranger’s badge was a Silverbranch, which she found strange for a boy his age. His brown hair was scruffy and crudely cut, and his bangs hung over his brow densely. His eyes were deep brown.
“Helô,” she said to him quietly.
At first he looked surprised she was talking to him. After an eternity of him staring blankly at her, he nodded respectfully, hand resting dutifully on his short blade strapped to his belt.
“Helô,” he replied.
The other is called The Reluctant Prince, as I remember it being named. I revamped an old idea I got years ago and I forgot the name I was going to give it. Any who, it is a high fantasy kind of like Since The Day You Left, without everyone else. This takes place more in an Agrabah-esque world called Idsumbadji. It's more centered on home base without nearly as many countries taking part. It is a story of an unlikely hero, a brat, and their pet human. That was a joke. He's just a goof named Kepas. Anyway, this story is definitely different from what I usually write, regarding specific topics. This one is bound to be at least a little more violent than Since The Day You Left and Forward To The Sunrise, and the romances in it are not so important.
Conquest was bloody, and through it, countries gained not only land but also glory, though it left families and peoples torn from the inside. Rain washed away the evidence of defeat, but the staleness of shame soured the dreary winter. The warriors had come in a flurry of unconventional order and had taken the city by surprise. The morning after the conquest, the intruders were completely gone.
It was silent yet screaming.
The walls sobbed out the story of mercilessness, the depressed and weak palace sighed and moaned and wailed, and the disheartened and torn curtains, rugs, and textiles flew limply, without resistance, in the voiceless wind. Nothing dared to cry out, should the intruders return and extract the life from even the castle.
No one was left living.
Isyhah carefully, gingerly tiptoed over the desecration, his large brown eyes brimming with tears. It took visiting his uncle in the outskirts of Bar-Bahman to see his home a crumbled, blackened husk. His Uncle Sheruusaf was losing his independence to age just as Isyhah was gaining his own because of it. His father had told him to visit with him, and he enjoyed it very much.
It wasn't the point. Now, Isyhah had nothing to come home to.
The youth dropped to his knees and cried out in a mixture of rage, confusion, and grief. It was a roar that the silence took from his mouth and repeated it back to him in the distance in a form of sick mockery.
“You took them from me!” he screamed, “you took them all!” Feeling his arms no longer support him. He collapsed onto the charred ground, and he sobbed uncontrollably.
As much as he hated to admit it, as he was sixteen, he depended on the thought that everyone would be home, awaiting his return. His little sister would be bouncing up and down, ready to show him a new game, and his parents would ask about his day, how Uncle was doing now, and what he would like to eat, among other discussions and the general family conversation. If they weren't exciting, they were loving and nurturing. He couldn't ask for his parents to be any different.
The conquest happened after Isyhah was asked to lengthen his visit in Bar-Bahman to five days. After he was gone, the battle took place. No one was spared.
Isyhah stayed where he was for a few hours, unable to stop crying hysterically.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Preferences? Ideas? Please comment!
Announcement! I have just published a book! This is a thoroughly studied historical fiction with a touch of fantasy theme. It is called Tahrir and is published under my pen name, TA Cavins. I was debating putting it on AP before I published it, but I decided it's... too violent. It's a historical account of a war; the First Barbary War (1801-1805), where everyone is fighting tooth and claw to stay alive, to keep themselves afloat. It's a war between a newborn nation and an ancient, Muslim power. It's going to be violent.
The point of view is centered on Mahdi Saqqaf, a young man who has worked his whole life for the pirates of the Moroccan Sultanate, and everything changes when, suddenly, he is dumped on the side of the struggling Americans.