As has been the case every time I’ve closed out one of my stories right here —
— on realmgard.com, I’m taking a break between the last chapter of the main story and the epilogue chapter to post a preview of the next story.
If you want to catch up with Fryte’s Gold, you can do that here:
This week, we’re getting a look at Forward, the Lyte Brigade. You can read about the six main characters here:
And get a look at the preview chapter below.
Amara spends the last night before the first day of the rest of her life being feted at Darkstone Manor. As the lifelong best friend of the Darkstones’ elder daughter, Amara has essentially become an honorary member of the family. Her triumphs have become their triumphs, so it’s only natural that they would celebrate the official beginning of Amara’s adventuring career.
The Darkstones have even hung up a banner reading Congratulations, Amara!
Amara finds a veritable feast before her and the Darkstones all settle in at the table to share in the feast. Amara takes a seat between her two favourite Darkstones, Kat and her mother Estelle. Dunstana sits across from her, and Dorian, as patriarch of the family, sits at the head of the table.
Normally, a woman of Amara’s status would not associate herself with pirates, but since one of those pirates is her best friend’s little sister, it is rather inescapable. And the other has largely put his piratical career behind him. Nowadays, Dorian Darkstone is known more as a purveyor of various nautical and marine knick-knacks than a fearsome pirate, though he still proudly proclaims himself an Admiral of the Brotherhood of the Coasts.
It is rather less scandalous for Amara to say that she associates with a prominent business family. Happily, for Amara, to do so barely requires stretching the truth. Dorian sells his miscellanea, while Estelle is the current proprietress of the Winfield and Sons Emporium, a long-standing, well-respected pillar of Porthaven’s Outfitting District.
And Kat and Dunstana, of course, are in the business of adventure.
Not the most prestigious company Amara could be dining with, but her lifelong history with the Darkstones puts them among the most cherished.
When they are not reminding her of a barnyard menagerie, that is.
Amara is well-acquainted with the proper rules of dining etiquette: small, sensible bites, elbows off the table, napkin on one’s lap, no slurping.
With the singular exception of Estelle, the Darkstones very much are not.
Although Kat has inherited her mother’s looks, she learned her table manners — which is to say, her abject lack of table manners — from her father, and it is clear that young Dunstana is much the same. Frankly, their ability to eat so much yet chew so little is almost impressive, though it is doing no favours to Amara’s own appetite.
Estelle favours Amara with a sympathetic glance from across the table. It is some small consolation to Amara’s scandalised sensibilities to have one person at the table with social graces.
“So, Amara,” she ventures, setting down her fork. “Tell me about this guild of yours.”
“To hear Nolan tell it, the Lyte Brigade used to be one of the most prominent guilds in the city,” Amara begins, struggling to be heard over the sound of her dining companions’ prodigious appetites and equally prodigious lack of delicacy.
Kat looks up from her plate.
“It’s true,” she notes through a startlingly large amount of food — attainable only through her presumed ability to unhinge her jaw like a snake and devour her prey whole.
“Thank you, Katherine,” Amara says. “Anyway, the guild was disbanded after Nolan’s grandfather retired his Captaincy. Nolan has spent the last few months trying to have the guild reinstated. I understand he’s been working quite hard, and he’s finally recruited the five members he needs to have the guild reinstated. I helped with that, in fact. I reached out to a family friend, and he signed right up. There are six of us now, though he and Nolan are the only ones I’ve actually met so far.”
“We’re all very proud of you, Amara,” Estelle says. “And we’re very excited to hear all about all the adventures you’ll have.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Darkstone,” Amara replies. “I’ll be sure to tell you all about it.” She catches herself and frowns. “Unless I end up making a complete and utter fool of myself.”
“I’ll still be your best friend, even if you’re the biggest fool in Realmgard,” Kat offers.
For once, she speaks with no food in her mouth, though only because she is reaching to heap a mound of seconds — and thirds, and fourths, onto her plate.
“And I appreciate it, of course, Katherine,” Amara says. “Though I’d rather not be a fool in the first place.”
Dunstana stares thoughtfully across the table at Amara. “Guilds sound dumb,” she declares. “You should just be a pirate, like me!”
“I can put in a good word for you with the Brotherhood,” Dorian offers, actually deigning to talk without his mouth full.
“I’ll take that under advisement,” Amara says, forcing herself to favour the pirates with a diplomatic smile.
Dunstana begins unsubtly eyeing Amara’s plate, then even less subtly reaching towards it.
“Hey, Amara. Are you gonna eat that?”
Come back next week as we close out Fryte’s Gold with the epilogue chapter, then the week after that as we start with Forward, the Lyte Brigade.
Of course, if you the impatient sort, you could always buy a copy of my books on Amazon or Smashwords.
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