She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much
One of the War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters)
by S.R. Cronin
GENRE: Historical Fantasy
It’s the 1200’s, and the small realm of Ilari has had peace and prosperity for
generations. That doesn’t mean everyone is happy, however.
Ryalgar, a spinster farm girl and the oldest of seven, has always preferred her studies to flirtation, yet even she finally meets her prince. Or so she thinks, until she discovers he’s already betrothed. Embarrassed, she flees her family’s farm to join the Velka, the mysterious women of the forest known for their magical powers and for living apart from men.
As a Velka, she develops her telekinesis and learns she has a talent for analyzing information. Both are going to come in handy. For she’s continued to meet her prince at the forest’s edge, thinking being his mistress isn’t such a bad deal. Then she learns more about his princely assignment. He’s tasked with training the army of Ilari to repel the feared Mongol horseman who’ve been moving eastward for years,
killing all in their path. And, her prince is willing to sacrifice the outer
farmlands where she grew up to these invaders, if he has to.
Ryalgar isn’t about to let that happen.
She’s got the Velka behind her now, as well as a multitude of university intellectuals, a family of tough farmers, and six sisters each with her own unique personality and talents.
Can Ryalgar organize all that into a resistance that will stop the Mongols? She thinks she can.
“Would you be interested in joining us if this thing with the Svadlu doesn’t work out?” I wasn’t sure how I felt about the possibility, but I suspected my grandmother could make it happen for Sulphur like she had for me. She’d already greeted Sulphur with warmth and they’d had lunch together. Sulphur said it had gone well.
“No. I’m going to be a Svadlu.”
“You know, you could be joining them right before the most
dangerous time in our history.”
“Yup. The horrible Mongols are coming.” She made a face.
“It’s not a joke, Sulphur. Nevik thinks it could be this winter. They’ve defeated many a strong army, based on what traders and travelers have told us.”
“I know. It’s one of the reasons I want to join now. To be there, to help defend Vinx. Surely you can see how the rivers and the mountains
keep us safe to the north and west, and the south.”
It looked like my sister’s analysis of how our realm would be attacked matched mine.
“I know. Any well-thought-out attack on Ilari has to come in through the east,” I said. “Through Vinx.” I wondered if the inevitable scared her as much as it did me.
“Horsemen could charge right through the grazing pastures of Biru. That fence the Biruites have up is a joke.”
“It’s only meant to keep cattle in,” I said.
“Obviously. And the Mongols will blow right by those cows and into the grain-growing fields of Vinx. It’s going to take strength to stop them. I want to be part of this.”
“So do I.” I didn’t realize it until I said it. “I don’t want to hide in the forest while my homeland is raided and my people are killed.”
“Hiding is what civilians usually do,” she said. Then, as she watched my face. “But you’re not a normal civilian, are you? Hey. Maybe you can get better at that oomer stuff.”
“Yeah, that. Is there a way it can be used in battle?”
“Not that I know of. But maybe.”
“You want to help? Find a way to use that thing you do and get really good at it. You stop a skilled army with an even more skilled army, but having something extra in your back pocket never hurts.”
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how odd she is.
All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
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