Teaser Tuesday: A Reunion in the Crow’s Nest

Time to start doing teasers for Charms of the Feykin.  Due to this being Book 11 and the way Tribe of the Snow Tiger went, spoilers are a risk.  I’m going to try and edit these to remove the big ones.  Here we have a reunion that can get a little messy.  Though not for the reasons you think:

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After two weeks of traveling without incident, the champions are within sight of the coastal village of Anpress. The jungle port is shrouded in the shadows of lush trees and is only distinguishable by the dock that is nothing more than a suspicious line against the green. Even from his high vantage point, Luke finds it difficult to discern the buildings from their surroundings. He gives up after a few minutes of straining his eyes and stares at the cloudy sky from his perch in the crow’s nest. There is a storm coming from the east and the Little Sister has managed to stay ahead of the squall since they entered the open ocean. Judging by their change in direction and reduction in speed, the forest tracker can tell that the ship will run out of luck soon. Glancing at the deck, Luke watches the crew make adjustments to the sails and prepare for the storm to overtake them. The short stop at Anpress will eliminate their modest lead, but the only other option is to fly everyone to the village. It is an option that has been repeatedly denied since the champions do not want to scare the locals. At least not unless something sets off Nyx, who is leaning over the prow of the ship and practically jumping in anticipation.

“I brought you a bucket if you need a new one,” Kira says as she climbs up to the crow’s nest. The dark-skinned woman shivers in the high winds, her black tunic and matching pants designed more for desert travel. “We should be reaching Anpress within an hour or two. That means you and I don’t have much time left. Ready to talk about what’s been on your mind or are you going to leave me wondering until we meet again?”

“What makes you think I have something on my mind?”

Kira rolls her emerald eyes and drops the empty bucket at the forest tracker’s feet. “Let me think about that for a second. You’re bunking with Timoran instead of me because you claim he misses his wife and wants company. You could have fooled me considering how happy the big guy is when up on deck or at meals. I see you rubbing your palms against the rubies in your saber hilts when you think nobody is looking. That’s the sign that you’re nervous. As someone who suffers from seasickness, you’ve repeatedly picked the place with the most amount of jerky movement. My crew is on edge because they think you’re going to throw up on them as they pass below. Finally and most importantly, contrary to how I acted when we first met, I’m not an idiot, Luke Callindor.”

“Well if you’re so smart then what am I thinking about, Ms. Grasdon?” Luke asks, hoping to salvage some of his pride or get a laugh. Instead, he receives a withering glare and hears a faint sizzle from the red streak going down the middle of Kira’s ebony hair and onto her back. “Fine. I feel guilty about Sari being in danger. One of the reasons she went with Delvin is because she wanted some time away from me. As much as I understand that, it should have been me that went to the jungle. I’m a forest tracker and have my powers, so I would have been just as useful as Sari’s naiad powers. For the life of me, I don’t remember why we divided the way that we did. Sorry, but I know how you feel about her and I didn’t want to upset you.”

Kira sits on the railing and hooks her feet around one of the dowels, the urge to look down stronger than she imagined. The heiress considers letting Luke believe she is annoyed, but the hint of anguish on his face stops her from playing games. Instead, the young woman patiently watches a pelican soar by the boat and dive into the ocean. The bird returns with a large fish wriggling in its mouth and the two battle for a minute or two before the prey is swallowed. A group of dolphins pass under the boat, the agile beasts leaping from the water while giving chase to a school of silver herring. Not much further away, a serpentine body briefly breaks the surface and vanishes with the flourish of a wide, fan-like tail. Everywhere Kira looks, she finds something to keep her attention and delay her answer, but she can no longer take Luke’s blank stare boring into her back.

“Sari and I made some peace before she left the ship, but I’ll admit it does hurt a bit to see you so torn up about her,” the heiress says, deciding to be honest. The forest tracker winces as if she has punched him in the side, which does not make her feel any more comfortable about the conversation. “Please don’t take it personally because it’ll be a while before I get used to the situation. I understand the guilt and you second guessing everything. Not that it does any good, which is a lesson you simply refuse to learn. Do you really think this mess would be so different if it was you lost in the jungle instead of Sari?”

“It might have been,” Luke argues, not sounding so sure of his answer. A sudden lurch of the ship turns the half-elf green and he grabs the bucket as a precaution. “Seems most decisions I make end up getting people in trouble or killed. Especially you and Sari, which makes me think my love is cursed. Are we still on a break?”

“No idea since we slept in separate rooms, but still shared a few salty kisses,” Kira says with a shrug. The jerk of Luke’s body gives her enough time to turn away while his seasickness gets the best of him. “Stop looking at this as being about you. I mean, it is a little about you since Sari needed distance. Though most of it revolves around Nyx and Delvin, which is why the silly gypsy went with him in the first place. The romance with you has run its course and she wants to make sure her big sister gets a happy ending. All of this went over your head, Luke, but one only has to look outside of their own ego to see the truth.”

“Why do I feel like you just insulted me?”

“That would be your guilt since I meant in general.”

“You sounded oddly specific.”

Kira slides off the railing and starts to reach for Luke’s face, stopping when he heaves into the bucket again. “Maybe there was a tiny barb in there. After all, things involving women tend to elude you unless they hit you over the head with a blunt object. Ego might have been a bad word to use since I think it’s more that you never consider every emotional path. Love keeps taking you by surprise, which is both adorable and frustrating. Perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of how you could have changed the past. There’s nothing any of us can do about Sari going off with Delvin and getting captured. Only thing left to do is get them out of trouble and learn from our mistakes.”

“All of us certainly have a lot of those,” Luke says with a wry smile. He rummages in his pockets for the last ginger pill, but a sudden jolt to the ship causes him to drop it to the distant deck. “Then again, there are times I believe the gods are having fun at my expense. Gabriel once said that destiny still allows for free will since he can’t predict how we’ll react to a planned event. Now I wonder how that works in regards to the champions. We’re part of a prophecy that has been going on for so long that it’s possible to either have lost all free will or it’s become the dominate force. Guess what I’m saying is that I have a bad feeling things are more unbalanced than we realize.”

“How does this relate to your guilt about Sari?”

“I’ve no idea, but I’m getting worried that it means something bad.”

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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15 Responses to Teaser Tuesday: A Reunion in the Crow’s Nest

  1. L. Marie says:

    A really good clear-the-air scene. 🙂 I see the difficulty you faced with trying to avoid spoilers. 🙂
    Poor Luke! Definitely not easy for Kira either.


  2. I wonder if your next book is a romance. Nicely handled 🙂


  3. Sounding good. I like the fact that Kira is trying to get Luke to understand that it is not all about him.


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