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, accepted payment from the gang’s second in command, then traveled to a nicer part of town, where she offers her mother some of the money to repay part of her school debts.


“I have much to do today, if you will excuse me?” Though it sounded like a question, Liar’s mother didn’t wait for a response, whisking out of the room.

Liar poked the bag of money, hearing a muted clink. “Not even a single word of thanks,” she growled. “What else did I expect?”

She strode out of the room and down the hall, moving so quickly that her split skirt flapped around her ankles in an angry snap of fabric with each step, and the butler barely managed to reach the door ahead of her.

“Have a good day, Miss Moon,” he murmured, the words rough from his breathless rush to the door.

“Thank you,” Liar inclined her head politely, reminding herself that there was no point in being rude to the staff.

*    *    *

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.

16 responses »

  1. Gemma Parkes says:

    Powerful image of her storming off! The ending was a nice touch and very realistic!

  2. You’ve written a scene expressing her hurt and loneliness. I like her.

  3. I’m thinking Liar should keep future assassin salary payments for herself. It only seems fair if her mom’s going to be mean about it. I love that she wears a split skirt. So practical, yet cute!

    • caitlinstern says:

      I set the story in a sort-of alternate Earth, far enough in the past that a woman in pants would stand out more than Liar wants to. This seemed like the best compromise. Women’s clothes are complicated!

  4. Alexis Duran says:

    I love the image of her in this scene. And it’s telling that she’s not willing to take out her frustration on the staff, even though the butler was rude to her, if I remember correctly.

  5. I’m fascinated by every detail from this world. Loved the way the fabric snapped around her ankles, excellent description. Can;t wait for more!

  6. Ed Hoornaert says:

    I like your story premise. It makes me wonder how Liar will be affected by the words from her spells.

  7. Carrie-Anne says:

    With a mother like that, Liar would probably be better off not trying to establish a relationship!

  8. Kim Magennis says:

    Well done! Liar’s mother is truly horrible. She was an excellent decision to further build our sympathy for Liar’s character. I can’t wait for the next snippet.

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