Monday, November 28, 2016

The Maiden Seer by Tracy Ann Miller - Amber Sees Just How Dangerous Konnar Can Be

       A vein bulged on Konnar’s neck, a tear moistened the corner of his eye. “I swear, mouse, that my hand will no longer be stayed if you are not silent.”
She had always found success in wielding words as weapons, and even now, scores of explanations scuttled through her brain, a hundred excuses, and a thousand denials. But in the face of Konnar’s unyielding stance and the fact that he had not slashed her throat, she opted to heed his warning. So she remained shivering on the ground as the skies turned from gray white to dusky gray, watching Konnar standing as if turned to stone, and she would wait, neither moving nor speaking. 
With distant eyes, hiding the working of his mind, he appeared prepared to tower over her indefinitely. Amber could not guess his thoughts. He was, after all, a stranger, though an intimate one ... yea ... tall and broad and handsome. She had spied in him a measure of promise for tenderness, and a willingness to find redemption from his violent past. He possessed the potential to protect and to love, which was evident in his pain over the women who had left his life. But what else did she know of him? That he was too dangerous, too volatile and that he had seemed tempted to kill her? That in spite of the gray-green bliss she found in his eyes, or the wonders he wrought upon her flesh with his hands and mouth, he was still a Viking, her enemy?
It defied logic, common sense, and even her history of listening to troubles of others. It defied even lucid thinking. And yet ...
I was so near to loving him. I would have loved him.  And dearly so, for sure. There had not come a worse time to discover it, nor a more disastrous time or more heartbreaking, for there was nothing to be done about it ... now, nor later, nor ever.  It was not to be. He had killed it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Maiden Seer - Amber Has a Vison

       Konnar’s heated grip shook her from her plunge into nightmare, and she found herself staring into the face of a man in need of forgiveness. The cold glare of his eyes hinted at more than his words, but any talent Amber had to further read them was overwhelmed by his physical might. She swallowed hard and saw Konnar’s men watching curiously at the other end of the ship. Her mouth had gone dry as straw, barely able to form a word. Yet she pushed a little further.
“I have not seen those things by your hands, but others like yours. I know why you have brought me with you, and I will see to it that I am of no use to you. Whatever are your hellish plans will go on without my help. May my gift of foretelling see only hindrances in your path.”
Konnar released her, spilling her into a half sprawl on the deck next to the tent, and his shadow loomed forebodingly over her. “With each moment that passes, my doubt in your ability to see the future increases. You have described aptly what the Danes have done, but perhaps these are tales of skalds that have filled your mind and made it unsound. Aside from knowing the name of my knorr, you have indicated little that would recommend you as a prophetess.”
“I am not a traveling performer with a repertoire of tricks for you amusement. And since I am not, then take me home. Prove my estimation of you wrong and redeem yourself.”
“You will not go home,” he said firmly, but quieter. “Other plans have been made for you.”
The crush of his words induced her to affect a plea. “Then have mercy! If I am not to home, then am I bound to travel in ignorance to my destination and my fate? Please tell me where  ...”
As Amber blinked up at Konnar, with the bright sky haloing his shadowed form, a distant speck suddenly appeared above his head. Visoring her brow with one hand, she tried to focus on it, to determine what it was. The sight rendered her mute as she now fixated on the object in the sky, seeing it move one way, then dip, then circle. Her thoughts cleared of bloody Viking battles and the dreams from which she sought escape. The vision pressed into her mind, choked out reality and made her forget her captivity.
Rising, Amber watched the speck, scarcely aware of Konnar as he stepped back when he saw her looking up. Her hand fell to her sack of runes and reached inside. Wrapping her fingers around one block, she held it within. The meaning of this rare omen revealed itself in part, and though she had just moments before told Konnar she would not help him, she was compelled to share this vision with him.
“A little bird.” She stared at the sky. “Lost.”  Pointing up, she turned to Konnar, wondering if he also could see it.
The vision might have been hers alone, but she watched her words strike Konnar, causing him to grimace and inhale sharply. The unyielding glare of his eyes now sparked with a hint of light, of hope not dared.
She recognized the unmistakable sign that she had opened a raw wound in the Viking, a pain she could use against him. But for now, in a deep, soothing voice, Amber reassured him.
“The child is not dead. She lives.”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Maiden Seer - Amber's Dark Dream Leads Her into Danger

      Dear Father, he was a Viking! Torchlight burned in his eyes, bronzed the skin of his clean shaven face and neck, and wheat-gold hair touched the top of his shoulders. The indigo cloak he wore swept across his chest, held at his right shoulder with an ornate brooch of silver. Beneath the drape of wool, showed his embroidered tunic, and at his side, a sword, its hilt embellished in runes and the hammer of Thor. His raiments indicated wealth and an eclectic, worldly mode of dress.
She gaped in awe of him, perceived his consternation at the sight of her dressed in just her thin wool undergown. A shiver ran through her as he eyed her hair, where it tousled in thick ropes along her arms and down her back. In spite of her fear, from the depths of her faith her courage continued to spout.
“There are no riches here. Your heathen kind has been here before and taken it all. Have you returned to raze even the timber dwellings?”
“I seek the Maiden Seer, not a squeaking mouse. Step aside. Where is the prophetess? Is she in this room?” Raising the torch higher, he stepped closer to within a couple of feet of her, a towering presence. His light and attention fell on the nuns huddled in a corner behind Amber. Beyond him, Amber saw the man’s cohorts just outside the door, hands on their hilts at the ready for opposition. She feared for the abbess and the monks who remained elsewhere in the complex. Her men-at-arms, encamped down the hillside, might be summoned with a just a shout, yet she hesitated to provoke bloodshed if it could be prevented.
“Truly!” she maintained, looking up at his looming frame. Panic threatened to overcome her as the heat of his torch warmed her face. “I am the one. I foresaw you as an iron oak and knew you would come.”
The Viking lowered the flame, which cast his eyes in unearthly gold. He drew back briefly and a flicker of dismay crossed his face, a subtle expression for Amber to detect and judge. Through hundreds of readings she knew had hit her mark in the Viking.
Grabbing her by the arm, he jerked her closer to him, prompting screams from the nuns in the corner. He smelled of smoke, leather and the faint scent of eucalyptus.
“Iron oak?” he said gruffly, more statement than question.
“Sisters, be at ease.” Looking up at the Viking, she tried not to grimace under the vise grip of his huge hand. “Yea, an iron oak. Are you the one?” He may need proof from her, but she also needed it of him, lest she lose her nerve to proceed.
He narrowed his eyes in response, and flexed his jaw with an almost imperceptible nod. “You cast the runes?”
“Aye. And since you have found me, cease this menace.  If you have come to take what little is here, then do your worst. We are all prepared to die. We know where we will be after death. Do you?” Amber pulled at her arm as she spoke the much-too-brave words, felt little prepared to die, and tried to forget the oft-told stories of the terrible Danes. She held on though, to her interpretation of her dream, determined to see it through.
“No one will die, mouse. At least not yet.” He let go of her, urging her backward. “Get your things! If you have foreseen my coming as you claim, then you also know you are coming with me.”