I often sketch or doodle on what ever piece of paper happens to be handy. My muse must like the rhythmic scratching of my pencil because it has helped me get past many a writing block. I thought it would be fun to share some of those sketches with you along with an excerpt or two (or three). They are also on my Artwork and Inspirations page, and there will likely be more to come as I work on The Broken Court, a novella that picks up directly after Lumina and the Goblin King.
Chapter 2 – A Bowl of Milk and Bread with Honey
Had Lumina stayed to watch in which direction the raven and his passenger had flown, she might have seen them circle back to land just above her on one of the lone pine’s sheltering branches.
Slipping off Hoax’s back, the goblin squatted down on the branch next to where the phooka was perched. Neither the distance nor the foliage were obstacles that could stop him from seeing where the fairy and salamander were dancing below. The two moved in perfect harmony around the circle of stones, the elemental within and the sprite without, flames flashing in the air between them as she tossed small offerings to the salamander. The wind carried the sweetly scented smoke up to the branch where he and the phooka sat.
Hoax leaned forward so that his eye was on a level with the goblin squatting next to him. He cocked his head so that one eye looked down on the dancers below while the other looked on the face of his companion.
“An interesting sprite,” commented the phooka.
“Yes,” his companion replied.
“And was the milk that her kitten lapped up so readily slated for the Goblin King’s table?” he asked, still eyeing his companion.
“Ah,” said the phooka, turning his full attention back to the sprite below. “That will bring trouble.”
“I am sure it will.”
“It has been half a century since one of the fairy trespassed against us so blatantly. One wonders if it was softness or speculation that stayed your hand.”
The phooka’s comment was met only with silence.
“And apparently I will continue to wonder,” he sighed. “Still, she seemed quite anxious about the kitten, and then there is the elemental. Do you think he is here by his will or someone else’s? Could she have bound him?”
Again he was met with silence. The phooka sighed again, and ruffled his feathers.
They stayed and watched as the night grew older, until the dance reached its natural end. The dancers stood facing each other. The sprite reached up and plucked a single hair from her head, a shimmering strand of midnight blue which she tossed to the salamander.
He caught it and for the briefest instant it lay in his palm, then with a flash of emerald light it was gone. But, in its place was left a scent, a lovely scent like the air just before a summer storm, sharp and clean and filled with life.
“Ah, so that answers that question,” said Hoax. “Still, I doubt it is much of a hardship being bound to her. What do you think, Crow,” he asked, drawing out the name Lumina had given to the goblin next to him. “Should I try it and see?”
“And what would a fairy maid do with one such as you?”
“Why, every goblin knows that answer; she would do what all maids are want to do! Pluck out my eyes and break my heart in two!” he finished with a flourish of wings and what might have been a grin on his raven’s face.
Chapter 10 – Autumn Equinox
“I am sorry Mistress, what are you asking me to do?”
“I am asking you to help me carry this little seedling to the Goblin King’s Keep,” Lumina said patiently, not for the first time.
“I still don’t understand,” said the silver cat.
“Dearest,” she said, her exasperation plain. “You know perfectly well what I am asking of you.”
“Yes,” the silver cat admitted with bemused patience. “I understand that you want me to carry that seedling.”
“You do?” Lumina said, bafflement replacing exasperation.
“Yes. But I am a cat,” he explained.
“And why does that matter?” Lumina asked.
“Cats don’t carry things,” he said matter-of-factly. “That’s what ponies and phookas are for.”
“Neither are here, dearest. And you carry things,” she pointed out. “After all, what do you do with the mice you catch?”
“I eat them.”
Chapter 5 – The Fairy Queen’s Round
Lumina’s eyes searched through the goblin host of their own accord, passing over its bogels, boomen and powries, henkies, glastigs and bodachs without stopping. She saw the blue face of muilearteach and brown fur of the wulver, but the familiar dark coat and feathered visage which she had hoped for, was nowhere to be seen. There was, however, another in the throng who caught and held her gaze. The Goblin King watched as she spun past in a dance that now seemed infinitely slow. His eyes captured her as neatly as a butterfly in a net.
If the Queen’s hair was sun gold, then his was starlight, falling heavy and straight over a coat of cobalt blue. Two silver antlers swept up and back from his brow. The planes of his face were sharp, his eyebrows straight and fine. His lips, beautiful and cold, held a small secret smile as he looked at her.
And then the dance swept past him, out of the reach of his smile though it lingered in her mind long after he was beyond her sight.
A painful fluttering filled her chest, like a million moths dashing themselves to pieces around her heart. After centuries of absence, could it be anything else but her trespasses that would bring the Goblin King back to the Queen’s court?