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.

(I’ve moved on to another scene now.) The main character, an inkblood called Liar, who works as hired killer, is out looking to harvest wood to make her ink.


Inhaling the green mossy scent of dirt and decay, Liar crunched over fallen leaves and dried needles, circling around rotting fallen trunks and dense stands of trees. She walked until she found the perfect specimen, a tall proud Rakau stretching out its branches towards the sky.

She poured the water from her canteen, except for a few sips, next to the tree. The day had warmed enough for her to sweep back her cloak and remove her gloves, so she rested her bare hand on the silvery-brown bark, feeling the faint ridges in the otherwise smooth surface.

“I need a branch please, if you can spare one,” she said, pulling out a little pot of tar, and a blade from her pack. Setting the pot on a nearby rock, she pressed the blade to a small branch, waiting for the faint feeling, a sense of lightness in her hands, which told her that this was the branch the tree was willing to spare.


She touched the blade to a second and third branch, before the fourth gave her the right sensation, a sort of tingling floating feeling in her fingers and across the back of her hand.

*    *    *

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.

22 responses »

  1. Kim Magennis says:

    You paint a very sensory engaging scene. Excellent eight. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Cool. I was wondering how that worked. I do like a cooperative tree.

  3. Gemma Parkes says:

    You have a great imagination! This snippet pulled me right in.

  4. chellecordero says:

    You truly showed and made us feel the tree’s willingness and giving. Wonderful 8!

  5. Frank Fisher says:

    This snippet evokes all the senses. The scene is vivid throughout. Great 8!

  6. All the senses indeed. I was right there in the woods with her searching for just the right tree. Love the snippet.

  7. ralfast says:

    Interesting magic system. I love how she defers to the tree in her supplication.

  8. Sarah W says:

    I love that she has a connection with these trees. It’s the same kind of mystical logic you do so well! 🙂

  9. Fascinating and SO different, really enjoyed the snippet. Can’t wait to see what happens next in this world…

  10. Ed Hoornaert says:

    I like the idea of asking a tree for a branch. Nice image.

  11. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love all the details in this scene, and the way she discerns which branch is meant to be cut.

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