Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sassy Saturday: the Defiance of Arin

Sassy Saturday!  Every week will be an excerpt from one of my novels showcasing a kick-butt heroine. If you want read about the original blog hop the link is here.

The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Priestess at Work

The context for this post: Annala reenacts the heroics of her ancestral mother, Arin, during a festival's play.


Smoke rose again to conceal the muses. Another wind spell blew it away, but not all of it disappeared. One area of the stage remained obscured and the sound of rushing water (from a backstage faucet) could be heard. Outside the smoke was a pool of water surrounded by stones, a patch of grass, and a crowd. These extras used cosmetics to look human.
“Muags is a mighty warrior, but so is everyone here,” Annala said. “No one is born strong; strength must be developed through work and dedication. Thus the power of chaos can be wielded by anyone.”
She raised her hand and this cued the SFX department. Typically, this sort of thing would be done by the actress herself, but in Annala’s case, it had to be someone else. This elf conjured a lightball and sent it to Annala’s outstretched palm. The actress took aim and the SFX mage fired it at a rock, which blew up.
“I shall teach thee and thou shalt ascend to the first level of chaotic enlightenment.”
“Then shall Muags be smote?” one villager asked.
“No mortal can withstand the power of chaos unless they themselves wield this power for the source of all power is Lady Chaos. If you make contact with her essence and learn to use it, then nothing in all of Creation will stop you.”
“You’re not speaking old-timey enough,” a second villager said.
“What?” Annala said.
The first villager smacked the second one.
“Verily the wisdom of chaos has altered the patterns of thy speech,” this villager said, “and thus it is that—”
A scream cut him off.
Backstage, three elves clanged swords together and then a trio of the village’s soldiers back-pedaled, fighting two soldiers each. Their swords were enchanted to create sparks and “clang” when they struck each other, and in this way, they struggled all the way back to the pool. All three fell dead at Annala’s feet. In a fury, she stood up and shouted, “Curse you!”
More SFX mages created a screen of light bolts and fired them upon the enemy soldiers. They all pratfell to their deaths. Then Annala knelt at the three allied soldiers and the SFX mages created a light show to signify resurrection. They rose to their knees and said, “Thank ye, lady priestess, for thy mercy and compassion.”
“Tis nothing at all. Return to your homes and your families.”
They did, and as soon as they were gone, five members of the crowd jumped Annala. Pinning her to the ground, they stuffed her mouth with a rag and bound her hands. Typically, they would also attach a fake slave collar, but in this case, the fox fur muffler was removed.
“Thou art a fine jewel, lady priestess,” said a sixth villager. “Lord Muags shall reward our service in adding thee to his collection.”
 Eric dashed on stage and ran this one through. Actually, he slipped his sword in between the actor’s chest and arms, but the guy fell limp all the same. Then he fell on the other five.
“Snakes!” he declared. “Infiltrators!”
Three of them engaged him while the other two pulled Annala off stage. Though he succeeded in slaying all three, his precious maiden was gone. The warrior fell to his knees and howled his despair. The smoke of the pool rushed forwards and consumed the stage.
“Release me, brute!” Annala screamed. “Thou shall not deny me liberty!”
The smoke parted and Muags’ throne room reappeared. The tyrant watched smugly as his latest prize was dragged in. Though she wore the tiara of a queen, she also wore the fetters of a slave. Her dress looked the same as before, but it was actually a “battle damaged” version.
“In good conscience, I cannot do that.” Ralm stood up leisurely and circled her with the air of an appraiser. “Delicate flowers belong in gardens where they can be protected and admired. Weeds are in the wild and these vile things stop at nothing in choking beauty.”
Annala’s ex-boyfriend cupped her cheek and ran his fingers from the slave collar on her neck to her bare shoulder, then back again.
“Your beautiful snowy skin is already tarnished with the dust and sun of travel; an ugly shade of brown. It would harm my sense of honor to allow a princess like yourself to live like a vagabond. If I picked you, then someone else might. Someone cruel and,” he licked his lips, “lecherous. You shall be my wife today and mother of my heir tomorrow.”
Annala bit his hand. She was supposed to merely gum it, but bitterness slipped in.
“I will be a corpse before I am either of those!” she shouted with such passion Remho shed a tear. “Tyrant! My guardian carries a sword for three reasons: defending my life, his own, and ending the lives of those who threaten others! With three strikes, you will die!”
She winced as he backhanded her. Normally, Arin’s actress would swing her head to the side while Muags’ actor motioned and someone backstage slapped a prop, but Remho changed the script this year. A genuine strike created a lovely bruise on his human star’s cheek and brought forth genuine tears.
“You are a fool, maiden! You are to me as that statue; if it displeases me, then I may have it dismembered and beheaded. It is also within my power to keep it polished. I could have these ropes removed, exotic food brought out, spacious rooms prepared, dresses of elegant nature made. Every luxury this world has to offer me, I can offer you.”
“You lie!” Annala declared, bravely staring him in the eyes. “There is only one thing in this world I desire and you cannot offer it. You may conquer a thousand nations and possess a thousand treasure hoards, but you can never conquer my heart nor buy my love!”

This is the scene where the " the fair maiden slugged the dragon with her golem fist" line that I like to tweet comes from.

Transcending Limitations, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at Amazon as an ebook. The series is also available in Kindle Unlimited. The paperback format is available at Amazon and also at Createspace.

To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit the Tvtropes character sheet.

Brian Wilkerson is a independent novelist, freelance book reviewer, and writing advice blogger. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

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