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!)

This is a snippet from my yet-to-be-completed NaNoWriMo story, Black Ink Plague, a fantasy about inkbloods, people who were left at the roots of a magic tree as babies, and can use charcoal from those trees to write and cast spells.

The main character, an inkblood called Liar, cast a spell to kill a gang leader called Cin, then traveled to The Friendly Mermaid, a disreputable and smelly tavern/inn, where she meets with the gang’s second in command, Jash, and asks for payment to purchase supplies for charms she is making for the gang.



“I understand,” Handsome Jash met her eyes for a moment, “even after a death, we all have to eat.” He nodded to one of the men beside him, who stood and handed Liar a heavy purse.

She tucked it inside her own, “I will leave you, then, to honor your fallen.”

“You’re not going to count it?” One of the men, with a scar running across his cheek and through his patchy dark beard, asked.

“Leave it,” Jash said, “We have more important things to take care of.”

“I want to know how much she was paid,” the man said, jaw jutting out stubbornly.

Once again, Jash’s gaze flicked over Liar’s face, measuring, before he turned his attention to the barely-contained chest of the woman sitting beside him, dismissing the argument.

*    *    *

Black Ink Plague is set in a world similar to ours, with the addition of the Rakau tree, which has magical properties–charcoal or ink from the tree can be used to cast spells. However, only inkbloods, babies who were left overnight at a Rakau tree’s roots on their first full moon, can harvest and use the tree. The price they pay for their magic is that the ink infects them, staining their skin and eventually forming words from the spells they cast on their skin. These words change their lives in unexpected ways.


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.

21 responses »

  1. Oho! So it seems Jash might be quite the double dealer himself. And he needs to get his eyes OFF that floozy’s chest! (I’m sure she’s a perfectly nice girl, once you get to know her)

  2. Dazzling double dealing going on with powerful handsome in-charge Jash and Liar. Dynamic eight.

  3. Ah, how many barely contained chests do you suppose altered the course of historty?

  4. Sarah W says:

    This is a great scene, caitlin—you do multilayered conversations very well. 🙂

  5. Alexis Duran says:

    Jash is turning out to be pretty interesting, even if he is distracted by overrunning cups. Their interaction is very well done. Can’t wait to read the whole story!

  6. Interesting, wonder why the other man wants to know how much she was paid? More going on than it appears on the surface, which is, of course, terrific! Great excerpt.

  7. Intriguing 8–thanks!

  8. Karyn Good says:

    Great tension, great dialogue. Well done!

  9. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love the last line! It’s such a typical guy thing to do, even in a magical world.

  10. chellecordero says:

    I’m wondering what is going on between Jash and the woman? Is it really her nearly-not contained bosoms that make him keep looking her way? Very interesting snippet.

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.