It’s been a crazy week! We started off getting one of those things that can only happen in 2020, like murder hornets and Tiger King – a hurricane in the Midwest. My power was knocked out for about 50 hours due to the 90mph derecho winds that swept through, and while my house was okay, there’s a ton of damage in the area that’s still getting cleaned up. The widespread power outage (about 125,000 people, or roughly half in my city) affected businesses and services too, leaving me to conclude that there just is no new normal anymore and never will be again.
On a happier note, the first book in my Viking fairy tales series launches in just a couple weeks! This week will be the last excerpt from the standalone prequel short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” my retelling of Rapunzel set in the Viking-infused world of The Heartsbane Saga, before I switch to book 1.
Last week left off with Storm falling in love with Carys and vowing to rescue her from her servitude in a tower. They’ve been talking to each other for a couple days, and now we’re skipping just a little ahead this week to the part you’re all probably waiting for – how does he get up to see her??
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“There’s no way for you to come down to the street?” he asked her as dusk fell on the second day.
“No,” Carys said, her tone frustrated, “my mistress locks the door and only she has the key.”
“Then I suppose I’ll have to find a way up.” He paused, considering possible options. “Do you have thread in your chamber, and a basket?”
She laughed. “Aye, but nothing strong enough or big enough to haul you up.”
He returned the next night at dusk; Carys was waiting for him at the window.
“Lower down your basket,” he instructed her.
“Did you find a magic potion to make yourself smaller?”
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And here’s the rest of that scene:
“No, but I did find a rope.”
When the basket reached him, he tied the rope to the handle. “Now pull the basket back up.”
She did as he said, and when it reached the top she untied the rope and disappeared into her room for a moment before reappearing at the window. “I tied my end to the bed post.”
“Perfect.” Storm tugged on his end. “Here’s hoping the knot is secure!”
Night had fully descended but still Storm climbed the wall as quickly as he could. The street outside the window was barely more than an alley, but he didn’t want to take any chances of being found out.
Once at the top, he pulled himself into the chamber. The room was larger than he’d expected, filled with luxurious furnishings, but he only had eyes for Carys.
She watched him closely, seeming unsure of herself. He reminded himself that she’d been locked up here for years, with only a bitter old woman for company. And then suddenly he was unsure of himself too. What was he even doing up here? He barely knew this girl.
But then she smiled at him, giving herself a dazzling confidence. Storm smiled back, and Carys laughed.
“What are you laughing about?” he asked.
“I dinnae even know,” she answered, still laughing. “Maybe the absurdity of you scaling the wall to be here with me in my mistress’s chamber.”
“It’ll be a funny story to tell our children some day.”
Carys raised an eyebrow, and Storm’s face grew uncharacteristically warm.
“I mean, my children and your children. Not necessarily the same children.”
His stammering response only made her laugh more.
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Read the rest of “The Maiden in the Tower,” just $.99 at Amazon, then post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website. Also, book 1, Captive and the Cursed (which is Beauty and the Beast – with Vikings!) releases September 1st and is available for pre-order now.
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About “The Maiden in the Tower:”
Rapunzel – with Vikings!
Carys barely remembers her life before her father sold her to pay his debts. Locked away in her mistress’s chamber, she doesn’t dare to dream of anything better for herself, until a chance encounter with a traveling merchant changes her life forever.
Storm has traveled the lengths of the known world, yet when he sees a servant girl locked in a tower, he knows he’ll do anything to rescue her.
Can Storm and Carys overcome the obstacles in their path and reach the happily ever after they both want?
The Maiden in the Tower is a standalone short story that accompanies a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. If you like sassy heroines, adventures spanning the medieval world, and a touch of romance, you’ll love The Heartsbane Saga, E.D. Martin’s new historical fantasy series.