Back Half of the Week Writing: An Additional Lady of Middlesbrooke

Plus, an update on the release of “The Alchemist of Middlesbrooke.”

Although Agnes von Middlesbrooke is grateful for the chance to spend time with her… well, she’s never been quite sure what to call Roland and Alda. They may just be her father’s wards, rather than members of the family by birth, but Agnes has always considered them her brother and sister, even if that’s not actually true — by birth, at least.

Roland and Alda are her siblings. According the rest of Middlesbrooke’s high society, it’s all rather improper. But as far as Agnes is considered, the rest of Middlesbrooke’s high society, respectfully, can shut up.

Agnes is having trouble adjusting to Roland and Alda’s new life as adventurers. She wanted to bond with her brother and sister. Though, clearly, this was exactly the wrong choice for a bonding exercise — especially when they could have just gone to the Art Gallery.

As she tosses and turns on a threadbare bedroll with a tree root prodding her lower back, she wonders just why anyone would chose to live like this.

The danger. The fighting. The rain. The bugs. The sweat. The smell of other people’s sweat. Having to walk everywhere. Being miles away from a proper bathtub at any given moment. Sleeping outdoors in the middle of a forest. On the ground. Like the common Dire Marmot.

Still, for Roland and Alda’s sake, she resolved that she would try this adventuring thing at least once in her left.

And once is proving to be more than enough for her.

She loves her brother and sister. But Agnes is becoming increasingly convinced that Roland and Alda are well and truly lunatics.

Though, admittedly, with Roland she did always sort of suspect…

“Confound it all,” Agnes mutters, shifting restlessly under her blanket.

The others — even Alda, at a mere twelve years old — must be used to it by now. The rest of the group is sleeping comfortably and peacefully. Agnes, meanwhile is very much not.

“What’s wrong?” Lucia asks.

The Wildering woman has shifted into her lynx form and her feline eyes are glowing in the last light of the group’s campfire.

“I can’t sleep,” Agnes says. “I’m not used to being outdoors like this. I’m cold.”

“Well, I am a lynx,” Lucia replies. “And I don’t want to brag, but I am pretty soft and warm.” She nods towards her flank. “Just snuggle right up there.”

“Snuggle?” Agnes repeats. “It’s that just a bit, um, familiar?”

“You’re basically just using me as a pillow,” Lucia notes. “I don’t mind, honest.”

“Are you certain?” Agnes asks.

“Just, uh, just keep your hands where I can see them,” Lucia mutters.

Agnes settles in beside Lucia, resting her head and back against Lucia’s fur.

“Oh my,” Agnes mutters. “You are soft. Thank you, Lucia.”

“Goodnight, Agnes,” Lucia says.

“Goodnight, Lucia.”

When the morning comes and Lucia wakes up, Agnes is still sleeping propped up against her right side.

Unfortunately, sometime during the night, Roland had snuggled up against her left, the musclebound Alchemist snoring blissfully into her fur.

“Mm,” he murmurs in his sleep. “Wow. You are soft.”

Gah!” she cries. “Sweet Capitolina, no!”

I’ve started the process of finalising the ebook for The Alchemist of Middlesbrooke, which will be made free on Smashwords — then eventually freely available elsewhere as I figure out the best way to do that.

I’m going to try to give this one some publicity, so I’ve currently got it penciled in for release sometime in June. I’m hoping to have it all ready and available for pre-order on Smashwords on the 16th.

Stay tuned, because when I say that The Alchemist of Middlesbrooke is coming ‘soon’, I actually mean it this time…

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License button.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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