Flash Friday!

Today I’m adding a new, semi-regular feature to the site in the form of Flash Friday, where I’ll post some flash fiction set in the First Earth universe.  The stories may feature existing characters from #WLT or completely new faces far from the main action.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it!

Today’s story involves Mariel and Adrian, and occurs seven or eight years before #WLT.



The Jasmine City.

The sweet citrus smell of the ancient City’s famous botanical gardens lingered on the warm afternoon breeze.

Mariel ran barefoot across the hot, sun-bleached stones lining the courtyard of the Order’s barracks. She carried her friend Geoffrey with her, clasping the wound on his side and praying he wouldn’t die.

It was all her fault!

She ran past the Sergeant of the Guard, who waved as she streaked by, then up a flight of wooden stairs lined with potted palm trees to the second floor balcony.

She had thought to show Geoffrey the armory, where the Knights kept the real swords in racks, their sharp blades gleaming under a coating of light oil. When the midday sun shone through the door just so, the weapons and armor looked like the silver and gold arms of the Archangels.

As the squire (in training) to a Knight-Lieutenant, she was allowed to go there, but then Geoffrey brushed against one of the blades, cutting himself open at the waist.

She found the heavy wooden door to the room she shared with Adrian, her Knight, and threw it open so hard it crashed into the wall behind and bounced back at her.

“Bloody hell!” Adrian said from within. “What’s this about, then?” He sat at their table, in his big chair, with a mug full of ale at his side and a glass data pad in his hand.

She said nothing, but ran to him and thrust Geoffrey into his lap.

Adrian examined the unfortunate fellow, reaching up to turn on the old diode light that hung over the table. Mariel knelt beside him, wrapping her arms around his leg and resting her head on his knee. It was important that she didn’t cry. Knights don’t cry, and neither should their squires. Even squires in training.

“Well,” Adrian said. “This is serious. A very serious laceration indeed.”

She tightened her hold on his leg, and felt him lean over to the shelf and grab the medical kit. She didn’t want to watch the surgery, to see Adrian sew Geoffrey up with the same needle and thread he used on himself and other Knights when they were cut and wounded.

He worked for a minute, perhaps two.

“There!” He said. “You can look now, love. I have good news.”

She raised her head, and saw Geoffrey’s yellow face and mane, his button-eyes staring back at her.

“There were no complications, and Sir Geoff is ready to roar again.” Adrian tossed the stuffed lion down into her arms.

She stood up on the tips of her toes and kissed her Knight on the cheek before running back outside, slamming the door behind her.



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