I am the editor for this anthology and it has been amazing to see the talent of my fellow authors as each story is so different from the next. It will be an enjoyable read!
In my previous post I mentioned having a friend show me armor, put some on me, and teach me a great deal about fighting. I believe this input helped shape my story and provide incredible detail.
Here for a teaser is a selection from my short story. Keep an eye out for the anthology!
Jill brushed a dark curl out of her face, smearing black grease across her forehead. Usually she would give up and let her unruly hair fall over her goggles, but she had no room for error or distraction. Various pieces of metal stuck out of the mass of curls and she wrapped the errant strand around one before bending over her work again.
She turned her wrist ever so slightly, tightening a tiny sprocket on a dashboard covered by gauges, switches, and knobs only she could interpret. A bead of sweat dropped from her forehead and landed on her arm as she watched a gauge wiggle into the exact position she wanted. She clicked her tongue in satisfaction then straightened, stretched her aching arms, and rolled her head to loosen her neck.
A small cough sounded from the doorway followed by a polite, “Your highness?”
Jill controlled her irritation at the interruption and did not look over to her dutiful maid or see the curtsey she no doubt performed. She knew the gentle voice by heart. “Yes, Ana?”
“Prince Jack has arrived.”
Jill grabbed the tools scattered across the dashboard and tossed them into their box in her haste to clear the area. She jumped off the platform and made her way towards her work bench. From the corner of her eye she saw Ana’s lips purse in frustration at her stained woolen pin-striped pants. Her once-white shirt had even more splotches on it, despite being tucked into protective leather vest.
Jill deftly unstrapped the various pouches secured around her waist, arms, and legs and tossed them on the bench on her way across the room. Rustling and clinking of various objects filled the silence as she did so.
Ana knew better than to offer any kind of assistance when it came to Jill’s equipment, so she waited patiently in the doorway. She moved from the doorway with a curtsy as Jill picked up speed and swept passed her. Jill sprinted through the castle to find her twin brother. He would be in the council room; not bothering to rest or take his dinner with his wife and children.
War did not pause for pleasures. War did not stop until the victor declared it so.
She arrived at the door to the council room and pulled up short to catch her breath. The guards bowed, then waited politely for her. When she could breathe normally, she nodded and the guards opened the doors.
Several high-ranking men and women stood around a long, ornate table in the midst of planning. Some stood in scarred armor while others wore robes signifying their ranks as officers and council members. They all turned and bowed in unison as Jill was announced. She nodded her acknowledgement to the room as she strode to her twin. She had no reservations for interrupting their planning to see her brother.
“Jack!” was all she could force around the tightness in her throat. Every time he came back her fear increased for the time he wouldn’t.
“Jillian,” Jack whispered as he gently embraced her. He was wearing his crown, which always made Jill smile. She hated wearing hers.
Jill snorted to ease her mood. “It hurts to hug you with all this armor.”
Jack allowed himself to laugh. “I only just arrived,” he said as he took the gauntlet off his right hand.
Jill could feel the council’s impatience, but they knew their place. “Let me see what needs to be reworked and mended,” she added hastily.