Monday, July 28, 2014

Handed a Mystery

It's a bonus Monday post!  Here's a quick excerpt from the next short story I'm working on.  It is about a man, Maroshek, who is fighting to regain the capitol city and find his queen - who is supposedly literally a phoenix reborn.  But she's in enemy hands which is why he's attacked the capitol.  But he's been caught by surprise.  The royal army, supposedly holding the city, is virtually gone.  Maroshek is trying to figure out what's going on and, more importantly, whether there's a trap hiding for his battered army somewhere that he hasn't been able to figure out.

“Yorin.  Find me someone from the city.  A citizen.  Don’t scare him but bring him to me.  I want to see what the citizens know about the army.”

“I’ll see who I can find that may have useful information.”

Maroshek turned back to the battalion commanders as Yorin left the building.  Each reported in on losses and last minute changes in battle plans.  Maroshek, satisfied with what he heard, sent them on to their respective battalions.  He then checked in on the one company left to guard the gate and tend to the battlefield just outside the city.  When he returned Yorin was waiting with a man who looked older than the city itself.  And, considering the capitol had been in existence for over seven hundred years, that was saying something.

“Good sir,” Maroshek crouched down in front of the old man seated on a stool, “Do you know where so many of the soldiers from the royal army have gone?  Are they hiding somewhere?”


Maroshek furrowed his brow.  He was about to say something when the man continued.

“They’re sick.  Many of them are dead.  It’s her.”

Maroshek blinked several times, “What do you mean?”

“Summer fever.  Most of the royal army contracted it.  Those who aren’t dead are still recovering.  Only a few have managed to remain on the walls.”

“What about the rest of what you said?”

The old man grinned at Maroshek, “I know who you are Lion.  You seek her.  She did this.  She gave them the fever.”

“You speak of Jaylen,” Maroshek fell back on his heels.

“I do.  The Phoenix Queen comes.  The summer fever protected those who believed in her and destroyed many who did not.”

“And the ones on the walls?  How have they survived?”

“The Overlord protected a few.  As many as he could.”

“Do you know if he is still in the city?”

The old man shook his head and studied his feet.  Maroshek took a deep breath and stood.  He clasped the man on the shoulder before turning to Yorin.

“What do you think?”

Yorin scrubbed his face for several seconds, “I’m not sure what to think.  From what I’ve seen it makes sense.  But really?  It’s hard to believe.”

“Well then, please make sure this man gets back to his house safely and we’ll go check it out.  There is most certainly more going on here than we know.”


  1. who knew Summer fever could be more deadly than Spring Fever ? (which brings love, lust and dreamy-eyed-states to the afflicted)

    What a clever way to work in the prompt. I liked this very much.

    1. Thanks! When I saw the prompt it hit me that this fit perfectly into the theme of the Phoenix in this story.

  2. Interesting tale. Has almost a medieval feel to it.

  3. Wow. You got me hook, line, and sinker!

    1. Thanks! That reassures me that I'm on the right track with this one.

  4. I love the description "looked older than the city itself". You built it up and there is certainly more to know about in this tale!

  5. Intriguing. I'm eager to read where you take this story line.

    1. Thanks! I can't wait to finish this one as well. My goal is to get it finished, polished, and hopefully published sometime soon.