Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Crone's Query

A tale of two Tristans with everything to lose and even more to gain.

When young Tristan wanders off into the woods, he meets a vicious Bean Nighe who has a proposition for him. He must answer her query correctly or lose his head.

Tristan Gippeswich is dying, betrayed by his king. He meets the most beguiling woman, but can he hold onto her?

Genre: FantasyBook Length: MiniPrice: $1.99
Link below:


Summer of 1647
Woods near Castle Lachlan , Scotland

“Ah, I thought I heard someone comin’ up me path,” an old woman called over her shoulder.
Gnarled hands lifted a soiled linen garment from the waters of the brook. Water dripped red beneath her fingers as she tried to wash away the blood. She stood before the fjord, a basket at her feet. Gray hair, long and coarse, sat high atop her head in a loose bun. Her back hunched beneath her faded moss green gown and looked painful in its disfigurement.

Tristan stopped cold in mid-step.

“Come ‘n’ sit, child.” The crone beckoned him with her crooked finger.

He did as she bade. No mere human could outrun magic, and he wasn’t stupid enough to try. Thus, he sat down on a stump an arm’s length away from her basket of soiled clothes.
The coppery scent of blood hit his nostrils and filled his lungs. Bile rose in his throat. He gagged on the rising vomit, and his stomach revolted. Fear cemented him in place. He raised his sleeve to his face to lessen the stench.

The crone laughed, draped the wet garment over a tree branch, and shook the water from her hands. She turned around and squinted at him. Her shrewd gaze roamed over him before she hobbled to another tree stump that he would swear appeared out of nowhere.

The Bean Nighe sat down on the stump, her knees cracking with age. A sigh escaped her elderly lips. “Tis much better to sit.”

Only one tooth remained in her mouth. It jutted outward from her lower jaw. He caught her disapproving eye and realized he stared.

“Tell me, lad, what do they call ye?”

He lowered his sleeve from his face. “Tristan.”

“Tristan? Tristan. Oh, known many a Tristans, I have.”

She said ‘known’ and not knew.

The crone crossed her arms over her chest and eyed him once more. Her speculative gaze made him sit up straighter. “Do ye fear me, boy?”

He debated on his answer for a moment and wondered if her question could be a trick. If he said no, would she turn him into a newt?
“Yes,” he said, his voice weak, honest.

“Good, ye should be afeared, laddie. Carelessness walkin’ about the woods not mindin’ where ye get yerself off to. A lad could lose his head doin’ such foolery.”

His stomach fell between his knees at her insinuation, and he gulped audibly.

“Tristan, let me tell ye a tale.” She paused for a long moment. Her speculative gaze narrowed on him, and he squirmed. “After me tale is done, all ye need do is answer one question and ye can go.”

“With my head?”

“With yer head.” She pointed a crooked finger and added, “If ye answer correctly.”

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