Anais of Brightshire
Book One of The Blood Mage Chronicles
Published by Jamie Wilson at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 Jamie Wilson
In dedication to
Madalyn Reese Duarte
Cover Art by
Beetiful Bookcovers (http://bookcovers.beetiful.com)
Samantha and Behren Laisure-Pool &
Amber Bungo (www.editingbyamber.com)
This was my fifth trip to Brightshire with my Uncle Gil, and with each return trip home, my mother became more distressed that I would never be accepted into the Great House as a handmaiden. My mother had been a handmaiden before she married my father and thought she was doing me a great service by insisting I follow in her footsteps. At the age of eleven, I was no longer a child, and my mother had made it quite clear that I was expected to find work outside of our home. My own feelings on the matter were mixed. I wished to please my mother, but I didn’t think it was fair that I had to abandon my life to do so.
“You alright back there, girlie?” Gil called from the front of the cart, where he led the mules along the bumpy road. “That was a nasty bit of wind.”
I lowered the blanket from my face. “Mm, I’m okay.” I narrowed my eyes and imagined him as a walrus, which made me giggle. Gil had grown a long mustache that ended in a wide curl on each end. He was much larger than my father and brothers, who were as skinny as weeds and taut with muscles earned from the harsh life of fishermen. Gil’s grin stretched wide from ear to ear. Gil was always bursting with city gossip or a cheerful song. My mother often alleged that it was Gil’s ever-flowing supply of ale that caused him to find such pleasure in life. Gil was unlike my father in other ways too. He often suggested odd schemes to Dah, including a plan to dry fish in foreign spices. And once he told us a story of an inventor from a shire west of the Barrier Mountains who had built a box that would keep food cold indefinitely. Dah always scoffed at these plans, preferring to deal exclusively with smoking or boiling. Mah and Dah had no desire to foray into the unknown, whereas Gil was a dreamer.