And we’re back, peeps! After a long hiatus, I’m putting back on the writing habit and getting in full groove 😉 For starters, here is a bit from the next in the Heaven’s Edge Series:
“Tamn?” she called out to me, bringing me back to the way the light hit the diamond shaped leaves waving against the cerulean sky. I blinked, turning to the source of a voice more familiar to me than my own. I listened to the way the foot boards barely creaked underneath her light steps as she crossed the bridge to my hiding place.
“Tamn? What are you doing out here?”
I winced at her words, but couldn’t bring myself to look at her yet. I had not seen her since she left to say goodbye to the miner. Now I wondered if she was here to say goodbye to me. I felt the brush of her bare skin graze my forearm and sighed heavily. Her red hair filled my periphery vision, making it almost impossible not to look at her. But I wasn’t ready yet. Not while I could feel the way her skin was so cool against mine.
“Arvex said you’ve been hiding out up here lately,” she said teasingly.
“Arvex should keep to his own business,” I replied lamely. I was tired of the young king’s unwavering attempts to draw me out of this lost corner of the Nuki village.
“He’s not worried about you, exactly, you know,” she softly offered.
“Really? I hadn’t noticed your brother’s talent for selfishness,” I murmured.
“He means well. But it worries the children when you go missing for days at a time, and the elders.”
“And everyone nags the almighty king when things don’t go their way,” I replied, with more bitterness than I was aiming towards.
Qeya sighed and she pulled back her arm until her fingers clasped my wrist. I watched from the corner of my eye as she turned to face the tree tops and leaned out to snatch a red flower from a lower branch. Before her fingers could reach it the wind picked up, just out of reach. She grit her teeth and rocked on the balls of her feet. I couldn’t help but smile at this rare moment of childishness. Neither one of us were children anymore, not since we Ascended. And because I couldn’t stand to see the ever present weight and sorrow reclaim her face, I spoke.
“Remember the flowers that grew on Datura, just outside the palace walls?”
She snorted and replied, “Hard to forget the flower you’re named for, Tamn.”
“I loved that flower, you know, ever since I was a child. Males aren’t supposed to like flowers, I know, especially future warrior princes. But I liked them because they made everything smell good and they stuck to your gills afterward. I’d catch whiffs of that smell when I was bleeding and aching from blows my own father gave me and remember what the living smelled like.”
I could feel her eyes on me then, burning with thoughts and emotions I was too much of a coward to look to see. Instead I lifted my arm to snatch the red flower dangling just out of her reach and pulled it free from its branch. I held it gently between my fingers by the stem and turned to face her. The smell of the alien flower coupled with her scent made it even harder not to meet her gaze. I knew what I would see if I did and I wanted to remember her as the youngling who watched me with adoring eyes and the Ascended who kissed me.
“Tamn,” she began with the faintest of gasps, as though she was forgetting to breathe through her mouth. I glanced up at her gills and saw they were flared, grasping for water they could not filter. And I knew then she had been in the sea.
I caressed the sensitive skin along her gills, smiled to feel her shudder at my touch and said, “I always brought you those flowers, because you were soft and sweet and pretty, too. Somehow it seemed right that you should smell like them. I think I associate you with the smell of those flowers, with Datura. Even now you smell like them when you shouldn’t. And I catch whiffs of you on my skin, Qeya. But I don’t know if it’s because you do or because it’s imprinted on my memory…”