This 8 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Shield of Namarr is a sword-and-sorcerer type fantasy WIP, set in a kingdom that suffers from magically-created, vicious creatures. Three friends bought a finding-things-lost potion, and set out to track down a stolen magical stone–at a river, Auber, crossing last, is attacked by a daggerfish–both rider and horse make it to safety, but Reagan wants to look at Auber’s injuries, while Auber is concerned with the horse, Nemesis.

NOTE: This will be me last snippet from Shield of Namarr for the foreseeable future, but I have a question below.



Squirming, Auber groaned, but submitted gracelessly to having two scrapes and one deeper cut across the back tended to.

“We got lucky,” Reagan said.

“That didn’t feel lucky,” Auber complained.

“It was only one fish, and sometimes they travel in pairs,” Regan flinched as Auber smacked the healer on the back of the head.

“Don’t jinx us,” Auber said, unrepentant, “We might have to cross another river.”

Reagan stared out at the plains stretching before them, feeling the tugging of the spell, an anchor through the ribcage. “I hadn’t thought of that. Great.”

*   *   *

QUESTION: What gender do you think Auber, Reagan, and Shan are?

Originally, Shield of Namarr was intended to be a very short snippet, but some things I wrote at the end raised some questions–which led to more story. I’m currently working on some world-building and character development so I can figure out where the story goes next.

Shan, Auber, and Reagan visit a Stonespeller, a mage who works mostly in animated stone, to buy a potion that will help them recover a lost stone, the Shield of Namarr, which powers a shield that keeps magically-created, dangerous creatures from entering the city they live in. Failure to return the Shield quickly will have deadly consequences for their friend,  Jamie, whose life-force is currently powering the shield-spell.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

31 responses »

  1. Gemma Parkes says:

    Oh dear, the thought of facing another strike like that one would terrify anyone. Very visual scene.

  2. Noooo! Not another river! But since you’re leaving us here, I’ll pretend they’ll never have to cross water again.

    I think Auber is male and Reagan and Shan are female. Couldn’t tell you why, though. 😜

    • caitlinstern says:

      Honestly, even I’m not sure what exactly they’ll encounter–I don’t think I’ll finish before next month, since I have done so little outlining and research for NaNoWriMo… o_O

      Though the characters have a certain gender in my head, I decided not to say in the story. Which means everybody’s right, whichever they decide.

  3. The calm before another storm for the gang. Auber and Shan are male and I voted for Reagan so now he’s a she in your story. Is there prize money involved here?

    • caitlinstern says:

      Yep, they get a little break before their next chimera encounter, which I have partially written. Did I mention there’s venomous snake-lions roaming the plains?

      No prize money. 😉 I just noticed a lot of people gave the characters a gender I hadn’t mentioned, and I wondered what everyone thought of them.

  4. Frank Fisher says:

    What a great way to end this story – at least in sharing it with us. I think they will have to cross another river, and it will be much more difficult. I believe Auber and Shan are males and Reagan is female.

  5. Alexis Duran says:

    Nice snippet – full of dark foreshadows and intriguing descriptions. I also think Auber and Shan are male and Regan is female.

    • caitlinstern says:

      There has to be adventures out there, right? Adventures with sharp teeth, and claws…

      There’s far more agreement, gender-wise, than I expected. This experiment was fun, though.

  6. Carrie-Anne says:

    I can feel Auber’s pain, remembering how agonizing pin care was when I had my external fixator after my first surgery. Digging into exposed, injured flesh is never pleasant.

    Based on the names, I assumed they were male, though since I know a female Regan (presumably named from King Lear), I’d think Reagan were female if the five-letter spelling were used.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Yikes–I think your injuries were far worse than Auber’s.

      I chose gender neutral names to start with–Shannon, Aubrey, and Reagan. And then I tweaked the names, because I can’t help myself.

      Maybe I made them no longer neutral with my tweaking. I’ll have to think on this, as I wanted them to be whatever gender the reader decided.

  7. I’m enjoying the story as always. I felt that Auber and Shan were guys and Regan was female. Venomous snake-lions ahead? SHIVER! Can’t wait….(but the horse must survive LOL).

    • caitlinstern says:

      It’s funny, I picture the characters a certain gender, because it’s hard not too–and I’m either bad at conveying gender by action or something, because the majority seems against my personal decisions for two of my heroes.

      Who doesn’t need venomous felines in their life? And I also must add cute, thieving lemur-cats, since Sarah put the idea in my head…

  8. Sarah W says:

    I’ve have to read back to think about gender for Reagan and Shan—and to see the way you’ve avoided gender assignments, because that is Too Cool.

    I’ve been considering Auber to be male, but a female Auber would be awesome.

    I suppose I’ve been considering Shan to be male and Regan to be female, though they’ve certainly been subconscious decisions on my part. 🙂

    • caitlinstern says:

      I thought it would be awkward–which is why this was originally a short little story, before it got out of hand. But for the most part, it’s easier to avoid her/him and she/he than you’d think.

      If a female Auber would be awesome, why isn’t *your* Auber female? 😉

      It’s pretty cool that you could read the others without thinking much of their gender, though.

  9. Joyce says:

    I’m guessing Auber is male, and Reagan is female.

  10. No idea. (But I like the story.)

  11. Love the dialogue. Their behaviour shows they’ve been friends for a long time. I’m sad to see the end of it;).
    Intriguing idea not to share the gender of the characters. I would imagine it makes writing more complicated as you can’t use his/her, but very cool.

    • caitlinstern says:

      They have been friends for a long time–Reagan and Shan are cousins, too, though it didn’t make it into the snippets.

      It started as just an idea, and I figured I couldn’t keep it going. But so far, so good.

  12. Cara Bristol says:

    Honestly, the characters and the names seem androgynous so it’s hard to tell. But I would say that Auber is male, mainly because he smacked the healer (Shan?) on the head. That is not an action that women do–or that man would do TO a woman. So I think that makes Shan male. Reagan I would guess is female because she flinched when Auber did that.

    Are you going to tell us if we’re right?

    • caitlinstern says:

      I was trying for the possibility that they could be either gender, whatever the reader thought. But the characters in my head do have a gender.

      (Anyone else reading the comments, stop here if you don’t want to know!)

      Auber is actually female. (I bop friends on the back of the head sometimes–not hard, but like flicking someone on the forehead. I guess I’m violent.)

      Shan’s male, as is Reagan. Reagan’s definitely the most sheltered and timid of the group–but I think the problem lies in the way I constructed that sentence. Reagan *is* the healer, he flinched because he got smacked.

      I cut Reagan saying “Ow! Hey!” for sentence-limit purposes, which didn’t help clarify that.

      Honestly, I’m a little bemused that most everyone is disagreeing with two-thirds of my characters’ genders. I must write boyish girls and girly boys!

  13. historysleuth1 says:

    Isn’t that odd. I didn’t really think about the gender till this snippet, well I did but I didn’t think I could be wrong. 🙂 I too think of Auber and Shan as males and Reagan as female.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I was surprised no one noticed their genders weren’t mentioned, but I guess my experiment kind of worked… Except for everyone being convinced that the characters are one particular gender. I was hoping for a more even spread. Oh, well. 🙂

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