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This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2015, Forest Wed. The gods of a town in the rain forest chose a new forest wed couple from the unmarried young people–Addan and Kaie (who was engaged)–they marry, return their totems to the gods’ statues, patrol, and go home, where Kaie and Addan share a chaste wedding night, and Adann wakes first to fetch some wedding gifts from outside their door.


She didn’t want to be standing there awkwardly when Kaie came in, so she flipped the covering off the basket, and found the expected fresh fruit, nuts, and grilled fish wrapped in leaves. Arranging the three items in a triangle, she searched for a sense of balance to make the small meal beautiful. Her heart ached for the lovely woven mats her mother had, instead of a bare table.

Kaie paused in the door opening, and then headed for the table, pulling off pieces of the fish, and eating them neatly with his fingers, then scooping up a handful of nuts in one hand, a piece of fruit in the other, and walked out the door.

Adann sighed, and sat down at the table, forcing herself to eat slowly, to savor the sweet juice of the fruit, the crunch of the nuts, and the flaky, white flesh of the fish. No reason to rush, since she had nowhere important to go.

“Not nowhere,” she told the empty room, “I have places to go–I do.”

Kaie walked down the streets, his shoulders back, accepting the smiles and nods he received with a small nod in return. When he realized his feet were leading him to Orla’s house, he changed direction, heading towards the perimeter of the forest.

*    *    *

Beikife is a small town in something like the Amazon rain forest, protected by a pair of married gods. The gods are represented by human avatars, two young people chosen and married by divine power. The strength of the marriage represents the bond between the gods’ blessing, so the new forest wed must find a way to connect to each other, or the crops will fail, the rivers will flood, and the cursed monsters that live in the forest will claim many lives.

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.

43 responses »

  1. Kim Magennis says:

    “she searched for a sense of balance to make the small meal beautiful”
    What a lovely line, Caitlin. It evokes so many subtle ideas about Adann’s character.

  2. Ed Hoornaert says:

    Heading back to his former fiance’s place? Naughty bridegroom!

  3. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    Oh gosh, I can feel the tension between them. I hope it does get better for them, though Adann seems to be trying harder to make things work.

  4. I do feel for Adann, but Kaie has had to give up a piece of his heart and even though the temptation is still real, he is trying to be honorable. Sad situation. Great snippet with lots of descriptive prose.

  5. historysleuth1 says:

    He sure is being aloof. I wonder why? Feeling for an old flame or something else?

    • He was engaged, and about to be married within the month when he was married to Adann–at this point, it’s only been a few days since everything changed. So Orla is less an old flame than his current love, poor guy.

  6. Cara Bristol says:

    They’re not much alike, are they?

  7. T. M. Hunter says:

    Honeymoon is definitely over, sounds like…

  8. There is trouble in the castle. And she’s a honey. As for him, he has a lot to learn. It’s a dumb guy thing.

  9. Peter Vialls says:

    Not a good beginning to a marriage – but then their being pushed together like that isn’t likely to produce a strong bond. I’m interested to see where this goes, and whether it works out or just ends in tears!

  10. Great snippet, I really liked that the tension was still strong between them. Hope things start looking up for her! 😀

  11. What a roller coaster ride of emotions I felt reading this snippet! It tugged my heartstrings when Adann attempts to be a good wife by making the meal attractive. There was a moment of hopefulness when Kaie joins her long enough to grab food, then disappointment when he leaves. I felt for her sitting there, eating alone. And Kaie’s naughty feet, leading them to his ex’s! But I was glad that he turned away, at least. I just love this story, Caitlin. Thanks so much for sharing these snippets on your blog!

  12. I love how she’s trying to make the best of the situation. Him, not so much. 🙂

  13. Botanist says:

    Sounds like a very one-sided marriage at the moment 🙂

  14. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love a good food scene. Every time it seems like they’re starting to grow a little closer, another wedge is driven.

  15. Another beautiful snippet. My favourite line is “Her heart ached for the lovely woven mats her mother had, instead of a bare table.” That really resonated. Well done!
    I wonder where she needs to go and why he’s changing direction away from Orla.

    • In the usual marriage, wedding gifts are made by the family–so they come to their new home with reminders of their old one. But since the forest wed belong to everyone, every household leaves gifts. Adann’s feeling homesick.
      The snippets will get to what Adann is doing–and Kaie knows better than to visit his ex-fiance!

  16. Hi! Great writing as always, I have to go back and read through all of the previous because I feel lost. I was off of WWW for almost 4 months, b/c I was going crazy trying to get Christina’s Quince to come together, but your posts are one of the one’s I really missed. Take care!

  17. Alexis Duran says:

    Lovely, bittersweet moment. You really capture how hard this is for both of them. And I can’t help but wonder how Orla is faring.

  18. Things still aren’t going well, but it is a hard situation after all.

  19. Oh no – did his feet reveal what his heart feels?

  20. This story is riveting–in a subtle way. I keep waiting for them, for one of them at least, to have a major emotional outburst. I feel bad for her…and I feel bad for him–and for his fiance too. Good writing, Caitlin. Drawing the reader in. 🙂

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