In celebration of Beltane, I started writing a short story about the holiday. I'll post three excerpts from it, one for each day of the Blitz. It's still a work in progress so even the beginning will change some, but I hope you enjoy it! Remember to comment with your email address to enter the giveaway, and follow the handy Rafflecopter directions :-)
Back to the story - here's part three...
Don't worry, if you don't have time to read right now, just skip down to the Rafflecopter and hop back over another time for the story. My Troupe mates' site links are at the bottom of the post.
Ashanti stared at her mother, careful not to roll her eyes. Most maidens of eighteen had already been married five years, having been betrothed since childhood, but no, Meredith seldom allowed her to see the light of day, and few of the women of Dagon’s Village had caught sight of her, let alone the men. No one could ask for her hand if she was never seen.
Meredith had created a life for Ashanti replete with tutors and trainers, all female, and of course, her Mother taught her the old ways, herbs, casting of spells, everything important in the life of a daughter of the old ways, but she longed for more. Guilt plagued her because her night excursions had revealed the hard lives of many, and she knew how privileged she was in comparison, but her heart yearned for a normal life.
Ashanti kept her arms by her side and remained silent as Meredith pulled the bodice of her dress almost to her ears. She loved her mama, but wondered if she would ever allow her precious mtoto msichana – baby girl out of her sight.
Meredith glanced at her daughter, a genuinely puzzled expression on her perfect, mahogany face, but her dark eyes gave her away, twinkling with mischief.
“What is it, my darling sweet girl?”
“That is exactly it. I am no longer a girl, but at this rate I will never become a woman. Must you cover every inch of my flesh with this scratchy material? It itches, and it makes me unapproachable.”
Ashanti started scratching, moving her hands from her back to her chest and back again.
Meredith blinked slowly, stepping back to appraise her only child, and simply smiled. “Yes. Stop that before you mar your beautiful complexion. I want you to remain blemish-free in every way.”
Ashanti mumbled, not bothering to conceal her displeasure. “I am glad you think so, because no one else will ever know. What is the purpose of being blemish-free if no one ever sees me?”
“We have discussed this many times before, Ashanti. Everything at the proper time. I can not allow your gifts to be exploited, and the goddess Ishara has promised that any man who attemps to touch you before her choosing will draw back a nub.”
“Oh, you have so little faith in me, Mama. I would never do anything to bring shame to our door, and why would the goddess concern herself with me?”
“It is my faith in you, dear one, that keeps me set to this course. You were born for greatness, and I intend to see it through. Do you not think I would appreciate your assistance during the day? That I keep you hidden without reason? The Goddess Ishara knows the prophecy better than I. Do you think I have been remiss in some way as your mama?”
Meredith’s expression became stern. “Well, do you?”
“No, Mama. I know the prophecy, and I could not wish for a better mama.”Ashanti had heard Meredith speak of the prophecy so many times, the only child of
the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. She shook her head. It was all too
convoluted as far as she was concerned, especially since she needed a man to
complete this prophecy and unless he spirited away from his quarters in the middle of
the night, they would never meet...
Let me know what you think about the story so far, and don't forget to leave your email address with your comment to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway :-)