Tag Archives: sable mark

A Peaceable Person

DaggerMarna was a peaceable person; at least, she had always considered herself so. But at the moment, a bone-wracking anger possessed her entirely. She struggled to keep her voice mild.

“Put the knife down unless you intend to use it.”

Seonid’s hand shook on the haft of the knife. Her fierce glare withered. She dropped her eyes, suddenly bright with tears, then the knife. The color that flooded her cheeks only made her more lovely. Hers was a beauty that devastated men’s hearts, Marna was sure of it.

But Marna had been a mother once. She understood manipulation, and slyness.


This post was made in response to this week’s Write On Edge prompt:

Below are three fairly generic passive phrases. Your goal is to make them active in a short scene, either fiction or non-fiction. You can choose one, two, or all three to play with, but you only have 100 words.

[he/she/I] was devastated by […]
[feeling] was experienced by […]
[person/thing] was possessed by […]

Read more in the Sable Mark series

Lodestone

Magnetite - image courtesy of Wikipedia.orgThe problem with Seonid, Callum thought, was that she attracted trouble like iron to a lodestone.

This particular trouble leaned in close to Seonid, whispered something that made her laugh. Callum seethed in his corner. He was not jealous. The idea would not have occurred to him. It was not the fact of the flirtation that bothered him, but the object of it. Seonid had managed to invite the attentions of the one man whom she ought to have avoided.

Willem was a large man. Not soft, though: he was tall and hard, his voice silk on steel, his eyes metal-grey. No wonder, really, that Seonid drew him in. She was impossibly difficult for any man to resist, Callum knew, and Willem was not known for his restraint in these matters. But this man, this charming, handsome suitor, had quite probably killed another man whom Callum had loved like a brother.

Callum leaned further back into the shadows as Willem’s gaze traveled the room, resting briefly on each face before returning to the girl. It would not do to be seen. Other people, men and women, drifted around them, insubstantial as phantoms. The world centered around Seonid.

No, not a lodestone. The realization broke over him with sudden clarity. That would imply some measure of control on her part. Once, when Callum was a boy, he watched a storm roll in from the sea. It roared up the dunes and over the marshy grasslands, swallowing the tiny hamlet where he lived. Broken trees and other detritus battered against the walls of his house as he cowered with his sister under the bed. It sounded like the world ending.

Seonid was the eye of that storm. Trouble swirled around her, the debris of her past colliding with the bits and pieces of her current circumstances. It was only a matter of time before something came crashing down on her.

Callum tried not to think about what that meant. He watched, finger to the wind.


This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge  prompt.

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

: the quality or state of being troubled especially mentally
: public unrest or disturbance <there’s trouble brewing downtown>

Read more in the Sable Mark series

Promises

Champagne bubblesThe conversation did not go as she had planned.

“You are leaving again.” It was not a question.

Hand on the doorknob, Seonid turned and smiled, radiating as much reassurance as she could muster. “No, no. I will return soon.” She stepped closer to him and murmured, “You know that I am yours completely, my love. I swear it.” The words sounded false to her ears.

“That and fivepence’d get me a fumble in a back alley.” He met her shocked eyes. “Promises are cheap liquor, Seonid. Drink and have done, if that is what you desire, but don’t expect me to pay for honey wine when you’re pouring vinegar.”

She blanched. She had not expected resistance from him, her gentle guardian, much less such courseness.

“Why do you go out?” His voice grated. His hands closed around her upper arms. “What is it you are looking for?”

“Peace,” she whispered, not bothering to struggle against his grasp, then more harshly, “To be left alone.”

He shook his head. “What is it you want?” He punctuated each word with a firm shake.

This time she pulled away. “To forget. To feel clean!”

The words rang out between them, pure and resounding. They lingered in the air like perfume. She could feel them rub and scrape against her flesh, where memory stained her skin.

“Ah. Now there’s an honest vintage.”

She ignored him, pushed past him on her way out the door. The gold of her gown swirled around her ankles as she fled, like bubbles in a glass.


This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge  prompt. I suppose you could argue that this time around I used the word more in its first meaning than its third, but in my mind it’s meant more as “lacking in redeemable quality” than “inexpensive.”

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

cheap adj \ˈchēp\

1 a : purchasable below the going price or the real value
b : charging or obtainable at a low price
c : depreciated in value (as by currency inflation)

2 : gained or done with little effort

3 a : of inferior quality or worth : tawdry, sleazy 
b : contemptible because of lack of any fine, lofty, or redeeming qualities 

This story is part of the Sable Mark Series. Read more >>

Ghosts of Desire

Candle smoke

The first thing he made her do was burn the gown. She tore the beautiful rose silk into narrow strips and fed them, one by one, into the flames. It smelled like burning hair. When he wasn’t looking, she tucked a scrap of cloth into the pocket of the too-large linen trousers he had given her to wear.

That was three days ago. This morning her dreams woke her early, and when the sun finally broke over the hills, the ruddy dawn found her sitting by the window. She fingered the strip of silk and thought about fire until the sound of voices in the hall disturbed her.

“When did she arrive?” The woman’s voice was familiar.

“The morning after the Blackthorne left. Bright and early, just like you. She reeked of apple.” His voice was carefully devoid of curiosity, but she could sense his disapproval.

“Ah. Well. We did find her in one of the salons.” A pause. “We weren’t certain this was where she needed to be. I had hoped – that is, I know you’ve had experience with this sort of thing. You don’t mind, do you? I think it’s terribly important – ”

“Aye.” He cut her off. “Aye, I do mind. A little warning would have been a fine courtesy. But I will help her.”

Footsteps outside her door. A soft knocking, almost hesitant. “Seonid?” Martin called. “There’s someone here for you.”

She blew out the candle and watched the smoke trail away, its eddies and curls writhing like the ghosts of desire. Her body flushed with a remembered heat that had nothing to do with the drift of brittle black ashes on the hearth. She had finally placed the woman’s voice.

The taste of honey strong on her tongue, Seonid opened the door.


This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge  prompt.

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

trail verb \ˈtrāl\

1 a:  to hang down so as to drag along or sweep the ground
b:  to extend over a surface in a loose or straggling manner <a vine that trails over the ground>
c:  to grow to such length as to droop over toward the ground

2 a:  to walk or proceed draggingly, heavily, or wearily : plod, trudge
b:  to lag behind : do poorly in relation to others

3:  to move, flow, or extend slowly in thin streams <smoke trailing from chimneys>

More in the Sable Mark series can be found in previous posts.

The Price of Fame

CobblestonesIn the end, it was not about the money, he decided, though truth be told, it was a ridiculous sum that would support him well into old age.

It was not about the thrill, either, though that certainly played a part: the rush of exhilaration when the knife slides in, the desperate knowledge in the other man’s eyes, the slow leaching of life onto the cobblestones.

More than anything, he realized, it was about the notoriety one achieves on accomplishing such a task, the implicit admission that one is worth such a sum. Henceforth he would be known, in those circles where such things were known, as the man who killed the Blackthorne’s son.

He mused on this as he made his way to the place where he was to meet his employer. He composed speeches in his mind: casual, with a hint dropped here, a mysterious smile playing there about his lips and eyes; or perhaps prideful, with a touch of malice. He liked to be thought of as dangerous.

But the lady had not stayed to listen, had not even cared enough to ask his name. She paid him and left, disappearing into the shadows a bare moment before her manservant cut his throat.

No, it was not about the money, in the end.  That would have been easier to bear, he thought wistfully, as he watched his own nameless blood spilling out on the pavement in a wretched alley in the lowest quarter of the city, a purse full of gold at his hip.


This post was written in response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge  prompt, with a nod to last week’s Write On Edge prompt (violence).

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

wretched  adjective  \ˈre-chəd\

1: deeply afflicted, dejected, or distressed in body or mind

2: extremely or deplorably bad or distressing <was in wretched health> <a wretched accident>

More in the Sable Mark series can be found in previous posts.