As you may know, FVP’s new Anthology, Free-flowing Stories, will be released online and at our sale on Dec. 6th.
Here’s a teaser and a snippet from the seventh story:
Jalem Vitalma’s afternoon leads to an extremely extraordinary educational encounter with an enigmatic stranger.
Jalem Vitalma sat on the edge of Lavendars Lake and watched the flames beneath the surface of the water. She loved the warmth, the bubbling, the newness and the solitude. She discovered more here than from the lessons the professors taught at the Learning Hall—or so she told herself. Jalem wasn’t old enough to go to the sessions yet.
Hearing footsteps in the leaves, Jalem pulled her arms and legs in, tucked her feet beneath her and held her cloak closed as she tucked her chin down. Even with the concealing spell she created, the child was careful not to make a sound.
She scooped up some of the violet water and wordlessly formed a sphere with it that spun just above her palm, a braided collection of elements woven in ever-changing patterns. The humming from within the sphere blended with the emerging winds. A thin smile on her face, Jalem brought the sphere under the cloak—the hum keeping her warm.
Across the lake, she watched a stranger stagger towards a stump as he tossed his cloak onto a pile of wemota leaves by the stone fireplace. She made her way through the otamew stalks and listened as the stranger continued talking to himself. The closer she got, the more she could see of him. His kind old face reminded her of Rune Noble, the librarian in the township.
“I can help,” she said, answering the stranger’s question.
He gave her a quizzical look. “I didn’t think they taught that language in the learning halls around here. Never mind; my manners. I’m Leirej. And who are you, my dear?”
Jalem stood to her full height. “Jalem Anse Vitalma,” she said, the same way she heard her parents introduce themselves to visitors to the house. “You’re not a warrior, are you? They know how to protect themselves.”
Leirej chuckled. “I’m more than a warrior. But you’re right; this collection of injuries is a bit over the top, isn’t it.” He called out a healer’s roll, and it hovered within reach. With his good hand, he started a fire in the fireplace—a small cooking pot hanging by a cooking arm in the middle. “Want to know what these wounds are?”
Jalem nodded, quietly expanding the concealing spell to protect him, too….