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 the gang leader called Cin, then met with the gang’s second in command, Jash, to ask for payment to purchase supplies for charms, but one gang member demands to know how much she’s being paid.



“Why would I do that?” Liar fixed her gaze on the scarred man, knowing that in the poorly lit inn, her deep brown eyes would seem like dark pools in her pale face, a frightening effect.

But the scarred man, full of courage from anger, and from the smell of him, plenty of cheap beer, stood. “Because you’re a cursed tree-woman, we’re not friends, and we do our business open-like, so everybody knows.”

“Ah, but if we can’t honor our word, what will become of us? We get no help from the lords, except for the occasional… donated purse,” Liar smiled wickedly over the last words.

Jash and several of the men chuckled at her reference to what happened to young lords who came slumming, who were lucky to leave with the clothes on their back. But the scarred man didn’t even smile, reaching for the purse at Liar’s side.

*    *    *

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.

25 responses »

  1. I love the concept you have going here, and think this is a lovely bit of writing. The only caveat I ran across is that her knowledge of what her eyes look like jarred a bit and didn’t fit with the deep POV. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with this story. I think you have a good thing going.

  2. Ohhh, trouble’s coming! Love the dialogue and the description. I’m right there with Liar watching this drunk make a fool of himself. I look forward to finding out how she deals with him. Great 8!

  3. Powerful eight brimming over with innuendos and dares.

  4. Carrie-Anne says:

    She really knows how to play her cards and hold her own! I don’t think she’ll let him get the better of her.

  5. WHAT is up with scarred man? I wonder what he knows, or thinks he knows…I’m really engrossed in this story and can’t wait for more. Excellent excerpt, on the edge of my chair.

    • caitlinstern says:

      He thinks that purse is a little big for the job she’s being paid for–but all he has are suspicions. Other people have that same suspicion, but were tired of working under Cin, so he’s not getting much support.

  6. ralfast says:

    Somebody is about to lose a couple of fingers, if not a whole hand.

  7. Sarah W says:

    Is Scarred Guy looking for a double pay-off? Or her magic ink? Or maybe a regular gun?

    I know he’ll find a whole lot of trouble, instead, but I was just wondering. 🙂

  8. Wow, this guy doesn’t seem too bright, considering Liar’s pay is for a just-completed assassination, and also creepy-eyes!

  9. You are so amazing with those descriptions! Another intriguing snippet.

  10. chellecordero says:

    You really managed a great level of heightened tension. Great snippet.

  11. Kate Warren says:

    Oh, he’s going to regret that…

    Nice eight here. If this guy is lucky, the others will warn him to back off before it’s too late.

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