Orange aspen leaves glow in the fall sunlight. – Unfortunately, this picture is not from here!

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. Though the signs are a lot more subtle here, since the leaves don’t really change. However, you can still tell and I love it! That I just finished the first draft of one of my current projects, makes it all the better. The working title is The Broken Court, and it’s a novella that picks up directly after Lumina and the Goblin King. Of course it is still in need of a lot of work, but here is a small taste:

The Broken Court – excerpt

She had not expected Hoax to stay much after dinner was done, but to her surprise he did. He was apparently content to watch as Thom drew designs in the ashes by the fire. She went about adding oats and dried fruit to a pot, covering them with water, before placing it near the hearth where it could be ready for the morning.

The hour grew later, and still the phooka showed no signs of leaving. So, she took herself and the boy off to the other room to get ready for sleep. She tucked him into her own bed, before changing into her nightclothes. She gathered her brush and ribbon, then went to the chest at the end of the bed. Opening it, she took out the woolen tick she kept there, after wishing Thom a good night, she left.

She carried the feather ticking out and laid it out on the hearth. There she sat, watching the flames as she brushed and rebraided her hair, listening as the storm outside continued, unabated.

“Is this where you’ve been sleeping since the boy arrived?” Hoax’s voice asked. She turned to find him stretched out on the floor behind her, hands beneath his head.

“Where else would I sleep? The boy needs the bed more than I do,” she stated, although her stiff joints begged to differ.

“I can well imagine you change your mind when the fire burns low. But there is no need for you to sleep cold on the hearth tonight,” he assured her. “For here I am, perfect for curling up with. And should there be a need for comfort in the middle of the night, you can always reach over and rub my belly.”

“A need for comfort in the middle of the night?” she said dryly.

“Well it would certainly comfort me,” he said drolly, stretching out to his full length, before turning on his side to face her. The winsome eyes looking back at her now in the face of a great black hound.

The impertinent creature stood up and nosed his way on to the bedding despite her protests, laying down next to her with a sigh. She gave up and lay down also, turning her back on the phooka. Exasperating creature that he was, still his gentle breathing seemed to lift a weight from her shoulders. The heat coming from him eased the aches in her body better than the fire she lay in front of. Aches that were more than they should be because of the usual lack of them. More at ease then she had been in a while, she slid down into sleep.

She dreamt of Mayings long past, filled garlands and flowered crowns, and the warm kiss of the spring sun on her skin. When she danced in the moonlight with a sweet tune in her ears and sweeter kisses on her lips. Teasing promises in the dark waking a longing for such things that had never truly been hers. The feel of silken skin beneath her fingers hypnotic.

Her eyes drifted open to find that the fire had burned down very low. She knew it would go out if she did not add a log soon, but she could seem to bring herself to move comfortable as she was, her hand stroking along the warm silken flank next to her. A flank that was no longer covered in fur.

She sat up. Away from the phooka’s warmth her joints protesting against the chill that had settled in the house. Carefully she shifted to her knees in the hopes of not waking the goblin man who was currently taking up half her bed. A soft groan hummed in her throat as she leaned over to add a log to the fire.

He did not move when she laid back down, so she assumed he was still asleep. With a sigh she settled back down into his warmth.

“Tell me eld woman, just how heavily does your mortal blood weigh on you,” his soft asked from the darkness beside her, “now that you do not have old man apple’s gift to hold it back?”

“Go to sleep you troublesome creature,” was all the answer she gave.

“You first, dearheart.” Her eyelids grew heavy with his words. Sleep stealing up on soft feet to claim her.

*****

The fall colors that we do see here…

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