I was delighted to receive word this past week that the first story in my new five-part Alepago novella will be given an honorable mention in a national contest later this year. Since it’s the Christmas season (*cough* and to give you all a sneak peek at what you might win if you participate in the Christmas Cadaeren Challenge / Treasure Hunt *cough*), I thought I’d give you a special brief sneak preview from this story, featuring my newest fantasy world and its inhabitants. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
Wolf Who Overcomes
A shooting star blazed across the night sky, leaving behind a brilliant white trail of good luck. Nikso gasped at the sight. Not only was this the thirty-fourth star spirit that had raced through the sky since Grandfather Sun had set that evening, it was also the largest she had ever seen in her life.
Something unusual had to be happening in the spirit realms tonight. Something important. Nikso had no idea what sort of event might spur so many stars to travel tonight, but she was grateful for the blessings that they left behind to fall on Mother Earth – and on her. As the shooting star’s trail faded, the twelve-year-old girl turned her palms and face skyward and breathed in deeply, eager to receive its good luck.
She would need it for the day ahead.
Nikso held her position for a long moment, savoring the brisk mountain air that smelled of trees and the smoke from the small campfire she had built. Finally, she exhaled, murmuring thanks to the star spirit. As she spoke the ritual words, the girl could almost feel the star’s radiance soaking in through her walnut-brown skin. She smiled, the curled-lip grimace of the Toranquanois that mimicked their totem, the Great Wolf Wayowano.
The blessings of the stars were with her. When the morning came, and with it the long-awaited day of her Lone Hunt, she was sure that she would succeed in bringing down a deer. Or maybe, if she were lucky, even an elk. She could just imagine the look of pride on her mother’s face, the approval in the Wolf Shaman’s eyes, and – wonder of wonders – the acceptance of the silver-furred Great Wolf himself as he appeared to her, whispered her new name in her ear, and received her oath of allegiance as a loyal runner. How the other runners from her village would stare! Nikso the timid would be forgotten; she would be known to all as Nikso the huntress…
Like it? Hate it? Want to know what happens next? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!