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NEW RELEASE OF EPIC LGBT FANTASY IN PAPERBACK AND KINDLE

NEW RELEASE OF EPIC LGBT FANTASY IN PAPERBACK AND KINDLE

To celebrate this the Kindle version is only 1 dollar/77 p but it only lasts 5 hours so get yours quickly! Click on the picture to go to the book on Amazon (-:

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March 29, 2014 · 12:07 pm

ORDER YOUR PAPERBACK COPY OF EPIC LGBT FANTASY ‘THE QUEEN’S CURSE’ TODAY

Already out on CreateSpace and available in 5-7 days on Amazon! (Kindle version is available here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CMEQD30)

Get your paperback here: https://www.createspace.com/4271817 

3rd Edition, revised and edited by M. Jackson, March 2014

“A lyrical captivating fantasy with some beautiful imagery.”
–Rob Ross, author of Juggler’s Blade

“A very traditional, spiritual romantic fantasy with strong lesbian/non violence themes”
–Matthew Graybosch, author of Without Bloodshed

Synopsis:  It’s time for change! In a country with a cursed justice system, two women; the mysterious Queen Artride and her loyal bodyguard Tirsa, set out on a secretive perilous quest.

They hope to find the sorceress, who might just be the only person powerful enough to be able to lift the terrible curse from their land and its people, but she lives somewhere deep within Dochas; the strange Magical Land.

Time is against Artride and Tirsa as they only have three weeks to save Tirsa’s teenage brother’s life, sentenced to hanging for a petty crime.

The women are soon drawn to each other, but can their love ever be?
Struggles and questions arise as things get increasingly more difficult: Can they trust one another and the magical creatures they meet who seem to have their own problems?

And more so; will the evil sorceress actually be willing to help them and if so… for what price?

Enter the world that is ‘The Queen’s Curse’ and cling to Artride and Tirsa to experience a mind-blowing, heart gripping psychological drama where nothing is certain.

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NEW PAPERBACK RELEASE EPIC LGBT FANTASY ‘THE QUEEN’S CURSE’

Coming weekend, from the 28th of March it is finally possible to order your printed version of

The Queen’s Curse 

Get yours on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CMEQD30 

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Books that inspired me as a writer and as a person Part 2, Tanith Lee

 

Tanith Lee

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Tanith Lee (born 19 September 1947) is a British writer of science fictionhorror and fantasy. She is the author of over 90 novels and 300 short stories, a children’s picture book (Animal Castle) and many poems. She also wrote two episodes of BBC science fiction series Blake’s 7.

She was the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award best novel award (also known as the August Derleth Award), for her book Death’s Master (1980).

She also writes under the pseudonym Esther Garber.

Her books are to be compared with those of C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, or Andre Norton. Marion Zimmer Bradley and Jack Vance.

Tanith Lee for me was an important early influence.

When I was about sixteen or so and desperately looking for good intelligent novels to read I was more than pleased I came across The Winterplayers in the local library.

This is a Young Adult Fantasy so it is safe to say this is the first real Fantasy I’ve ever read, even before I heard of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. I’ve always loved fairytales, especially by the brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, but felt they lacked something. Adult content? That’s where Miss Lee comes in. Even though this is suppose to be a young adult story it has the feeling and ‘complexity’ (which I think is a good thing) of an adult story.

The heroine in The Winterplayers is a priestess who protects three precious Relics. No one knows of them until one day a grey- haired young man comes, a steely- eyed stranger clad in a great wolf’s skin. He wants one of the Relics and stops at nothing to get it. When they are stolen, she has to follow the thief to try to retrieve them.

This story is breathtaking and the ending so cleverly done it leaves you in awe. I remember it’s the style I just loved in this book, the descriptions, the realistic characters but most of all the plot and ending as it involves time travel!

I was hooked from then on and started reading more of her books, but struggled to find them in my native language, Dutch. I’ve moved on to Cyrion, which is an anthology of short stories around one character which I enjoyed.

Another book which for me stands out and I enjoy re-reading every so often for it’s beauty and symbolism is The Birthgrave. This is a book of self discovery and inner strength and beauty of one person against the rest of the world.

I just love the opening line: “To wake, and not to know where, or who you are, not even to know what you are-whether a thing with legs and arms, or a beast, or a brain in the hull of a great fish-that is a strange awakening.”

The place: the heart of a rumbling volcano.
The person: a woman awakening from a deathlike sleep.
The time: unknown, far from today.
The problem: her identity. Who is she? What are her powers? Who or what is he? What is to be her relation to the world in which she finds herself … slave girl, goddess, nomad, or warrior?
Author Marion Zimmer Bradley, who wrote a special introduction, says, “It’s filled with adventure and beauty, rich alien names, half-sketched barbarian societies, ruined cities, decadence and wonder”; As I read this I thought most often of “The Dying Earth” stories of Jack Vance. THE BIRTHGRAVE has something of the same color and wonder… You can get involved, learn to know the people, get fully submerged in the colorful and fascinating world Tanith Lee presents. And I predict that when you, satisfied but regretful, turn over the last page, you too will wish there were more.”

By no means have I read all of her work and I personally am not too keen on her horror stories and stir away from those. For me her ‘Birthgrave Trilogy’ and ‘Tales Of Flat Earth’ series still stands out, but I’m still trying to catch up!

Bio

Tanith Lee was born on September 19, 1947 in London, England to professional dancers Bernard and Hylda Lee. Despite a persistent rumor, she is not the daughter of Bernard Lee (the actor who played “M” in the James Bond series films between 1962 and 1979). According to Lee, although her childhood was happy, she was the “traditional kid that got bullied,” and had to move around frequently due to her parents’ work. Although her family was poor, they maintained a large paperback collection, and Lee actively read weird fiction, including “Silken Swift” by Theodore Sturgeon and “Gabriel Ernest” by Saki, and discussed such literature as Hamlet and Dracula with her parents. Lee attended many different schools in childhood. She was incapable of reading due to a mild form of dyslexia which was diagnosed later in life, but when she was aged 8, her father taught her to read in about a month, and she began to write at the age of 9.

Education

Because Lee’s parents had to move for jobs, Lee attended numerous primary schools including CatfordGrammar School. Three subjects inspired Lee: English, history, and religion. After high school, Lee attended Croydon Art College for a year. Realizing that was not what she wanted to do, she dropped out and held a number of occupations: she has been a file clerk, waitress, shop assistant, and a librarian.

Career

Her first professional sale came from Eustace, a ninety-word vignette at the age of 21 in 1968. She worked various jobs such as file clerk and assistant librarian due to rejection of her works for almost a decade. 

Her first novel (for children) was The Dragon Hoard, published in 1971 by the publisher Macmillan. Many British publishers rejected The Birthgrave thus she wrote to DAW Books. Her career really took off with the acceptance in 1975 by Daw Books USA of her adult fantasy epic The Birthgrave – a mass-market paperback. Lee has since maintained a prolific output in popular genre writing. The Birthgrave allowed Lee to be a full-time writer and stop doing “stupid and soul-killing jobs.”

Major publishing companies are less accepting of Lee’s works today. The companies which Lee has worked with for numerous years are even refusing to look at her proposals. Smaller publishing companies are just doing a few of Lee’s works. The refusals do not stop her from writing and she has numerous novels and short stories which are just sitting in her cupboard. Mail from fans even asked if she was dead because no new Lee works had been released. Lee even tried changing her genre, but to no success.

Works

Lee’s prolific output spans a host of different genres, including adult fantasy, children’s fantasy, science fiction, horrorGothic horror, Gothic romance, and the historical novel. Her series of interconnected tales called The Flat-Earth Cycle, beginning with Night’s Master and Death’s Master, is similar in scope and breadth to Jack Vance‘s The Dying Earth. Night’s Master contains allegorical tales involving Azhrarn, a demonic prince who kidnaps and raises a beautiful boy and separates him from the sorrow of the real world. Eventually, the boy wants to know more about the earth, and asks to be returned, setting off a series of encounters between Azhrarn and the Earth’s people, some horrific, some positive. Later tales are loosely based on Babylonian mythology.

In the science fiction Four-BEE series, Lee explores youth culture and identity in a society which grants eternally young teenagers complete freedom. They are even killed and receive new bodies, gender and/or identity over and over again.

Lee has also dabbled in the historical novel with The Gods are Thirsty, set during the French Revolution.

A large part of her output is children’s fantasy, which has spanned her entire career from The Dragon Hoard in 1971 to the more recent The Claidi Journals containing Wolf TowerWolf StarWolf Queen and Wolf Wing in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Lee has been published in various imprints, particularly depending on whether she is offering adult fiction or children’s fantasy. Her earlier children’s fantasy novels were published in hardcover by MacMillan UK and subsequently printed as paperbacks in the US often by DAW, with occasional hardcovers by St. Martin’s Press. Some of her work was only printed in paperback, mainly in the US by DAW in the 1970s to the early 1980s. She has received some small press treatment, such as the Arkham House edition of short stories Dreams of Dark and Light: The Great Short Fiction of Tanith Lee in 1986, and in the first “Night Visions” instalment published by Dark Harvest. Some of her work has been released exclusively in the UK with US publications often pending.

Writing style

Lee’s style is frequently remarked upon for its use of rich poetic prose and striking imagery. Critics describe her style as weird, lush, vibrant, exotic, erotic, rich, elegant, perverse, and darkly beautiful. The technique she uses is very descriptive and poetic which works well with the themes she uses in her mythical stories. She has been praised for her ability to balance her weird style with the challenges of writing a faraway world, but some critics counter that her style is not always easy on the reader; she sometimes leaves the reader with unanswered questions that could have easily been answered if she had gone into greater detail.

Themes

Lee’s writing frequently feature nonconformist interpretations of fairy talesvampire storiesmyths, and the fantasy genre; as well as themes of feminism and sexuality. She also writes lesbian fiction under the pseudonym Esther Garber. Other than feminism and sexuality, Lee uses a wide range of other themes in her stories.

From 1975-80, she began writing gothic science fiction; her first gothic novel Sabella or The Bloodstone features themes of loneliness and fear. Lee’s most celebrated story Elle Est Trois, which examines the relationship between self-destruction and creativity “has themes of psychosis and sexuality, the subjugation of women, and the persuasive power of myth interwoven through it”. You will see myth again (along with race) in her stories The Storm Lord, Anackire, and The White Serpent

Three unique Horror series were produced by Lee in the 90’s; the first story, The Book of the Damned, features themes of body thievery and shape-shifting. Themes of Homophobiaracism, and sexism are seen in Lee’s sequence The Blood Opera, and The Venus Cycle features themes of love, loss, and revenge. Her collection “Disturbed By Her Song”, features themes of eroticism, despair, isolation, and the pressure of an unforgiving and unwelcoming society. These themes reoccur in her 1976 novel Don’t Bite the Sun where the characters are involved in a very erotic lifestyle and the protagonist experiences despair. 

Eroticism shows up again in her novel “Death’s Master” which examines the childhood origins of eroticism and the “later conflicts that arise from it”. The sequel to Don’t Bite the SunDrinking Sapphire Wine, is thematically similar to her other works, whereas it features themes of Death and renewal, sexuality, and love. The theme of recognition also appears in Drinking Sapphire Wine, where the characters are forced to recognize others and themselves in a world where physical form is so readily alterable.

 

Tanith Lee Quotes

 

“Are not all loves secretly the same? A hundred flowers sprung from a single root.”

TANITH LEE, Delirium’s Mistress

“People are always the start for me…animals. When I can get into their heads, gods, supernatural beings,immortals, the dead…these are all people to me.”

“For me, everyone I write of is real. I have little true say in what they want, what they do or end up as (or in). Their acts appal, enchant, disgust or astound me. Their ends fill me with retributive glee, or break my heart. I can only take credit (if I can even take credit for that) in reporting the scenario. This is not a disclaimer. Just a fact.”

TANITH LEE, Innsmouth Free Press interview, Nov. 17, 2009

“If you run away from trouble, it always follows.”

TANITH LEE, Wolf Tower

“The bitterness of joy lies in the knowledge that it cannot last. Nor should joy last beyond a certain season, for, after that season, even joy would become merely habit.”

TANITH LEE, Delusion’s Master

“How massively the mountains stand, while low to the ground the sand blows. The sand blows on and on. And then there are no mountains, none at all, the sand has kissed and whispered them away. And still, the sand blows on.”

TANITH LEE, Delirium’s Mistres

 

Bibliography

Works of Tanith Lee arranged by date of publication:

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Cover and blurb for new novel Call Off The Search

It’s finally here; the cover for my new Fantasy novel!

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The cover design is by Kirsty Fossengen. She did a great job!

Call Off The Search, which is the first book of the Last Of The Comyenti Series, will be released in August/early September at the latest. 

I’ll be doing a blog tour for COTS around the book’s release date, watch this space! And I’ll also be doing some pre-release promotions here on my blog in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for more information.

For now, enjoy the cover and get exited by reading the blurb for Call Off The Search.

Blurb:

Set against the backdrop of Bhan, a barbaric uncivilised world, this is the story of

the Comyenti’s; an ancient species of Mindlinkers, beautiful, sentient and empathetic beings that possess abilities of animals. They are nearly at their end due to hunting.

During the search for more like her, Sula, part Comyenti and part Human, meets an attractive farmer and faces the first of many heart wrenching decisions she must make.

Will Sula be able to keep her promise to Felix and forsake her own heart? Or will she forsake the part of her that makes her so unique?

 

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Sample Chapter

Chapter 1

Awakening

Misery on a spring morning; the morning of my awakening

Full awareness of the pain and revealed lies

That morning an end came to my sleeping state.

When I was thrown back into those mystery games …

Morning had begun to spread its foggy wings over Ceartas; a land of golden hills and luscious green woods. The colours would change with the seasons; warm reddish colours in the autumn. Now that spring was here, a bright sparkling fresh green dominated the landscape. Flowers of every colour imaginable seemed to raise their tiny heads; in the dense woods, the hilly meadows and even the cultivated fields. It was a time of new life, a time of transformation.

A luminous red sun rose slowly above the hills and valleys of Ceartas, revealing tiny houses scattered about the land. The drowsy vale was still bathed in a thin mist that had formed in the cool night. Dew clung everywhere; on the sweet pine, the bitter scented oak trees, the new grass, the sleepy daffodils, the snowdrops and even the early bluebells; making the Royal Forest shine gloriously as if filled with diamonds in the light of the new day.

On the highest hill for miles around stood a huge old castle, surrounded by deep, dark icy water. Some said its moat held ancient fish-like creatures with the sharpest of teeth that would eat anything touching the surface within minutes. The grey castle had towers facing every wind direction, and each tower had numerous oval windows; they appeared small at first, but their sheer size became evident the closer one got. From the castle, the tiny houses in the valley below appeared to constitute a reasonable sized town. One could even consider it a city, with its big flat grey stones carried down from the mountains to the east, which the people used as a pavement. The town, Satrea was founded many centuries ago, and its castle, Tarac, was one of the first buildings constructed for the first king.

In this almost crime-free land, the mysterious young Queen Artride of Ceartas now ruled. She was as much feared and hated for her deeds, as she was loved for her enchanting appearance.

The castle towering over Satrea functioned as a constant look-out for the people. Most were hardworking farmers and craftsmen; using the rich soil to grow their crops in the fields or their skills to make their living as had the many generations before them. Everyone in Satrea worked for the RoyalKingdom; but only the servants, guards and the knights lived in the castle and surrounding buildings.

This particular spring morning was cool, and everything was quiet apart from the occasional singing bird. The people and animals slowly awoke with the rising of the sun. Like the earth beneath them, refusing to part from the protection and safety of the night with all its hidden mysteries. It was a time in between. Between night and day; a time of passing, of a quiet waiting; a time of listening and learning. A time where great things could be accomplished.

The castle square was deserted, and everything in and around the castle silent. It seemed that nothing could disturb this serenity; not even the soft wind rustling through the dry leaves of the dying Royal Oak tree in the square. It almost sounded like a sigh or a whisper calling out someone’s name; everything else seemed to hold its breath.

A sudden bang broke the silence; like thunder on a clear day. Only after a few skipped heartbeats did the sound appear familiar. It was the angry slamming of a wooden door; which had come from the courtyard.

A young woman was crossing the square taking big brisk steps. Dressed in the clothes of a knight, she was almost running. Her long, fair hair, almost golden in the light of the rising sun, danced across her back and shoulders with every step.

She wore tight fitting blue leggings with knee length black leather boots and a chain mail skirt, with a blue and white overcoat displaying purple shoulder pads. She was also wearing a soldier’s girdle without its sword. Her hands were coiled in tight fists.

She was heading for the castle doors, and while maintaining her fast angry pace she muttered through gritted teeth, ‘This time she has gone too far … too far!’

The knight did not slow down as she approached the castle guards. The two men steadily watched her as she came towards them; then raised and crossed their spears before the massive oak doors to block her way. No one other than Royal families, their servants and some knights, had ever entered before without prior invitation.

She did not care whether the guards could see her rage or not. She couldn’t care less about anything anymore after what she had learnt earlier that morning.

Coming to a halt in front of the two fully armed men, she glanced quickly at their emotionless faces. The left guard had a black moustache, a thin mouth and cold grey eyes like the castle walls. There was an unreadable expression beneath his helmeted head. The right guard merely looked impassive with his pale glazed-over blue eyes and big nose.

She had never really paid attention to the guards before, but she had assumed there were many of them, working shifts. Now, with this new morning, she had at last seemed to have woken; noticing things, actually seeing again after what seemed to have been a long time.

Knights had no reason to be in the castle, living in the outer buildings nearby; even if she was actually a commander and officially had to report the actions of her company to the queen or discuss situations with other commanders. Usually all meetings, which were very rare anyway, happened outside of the castle as was protocol, they were held mainly in the knights’ quarters or out in the hills. And the trustworthy queen’s messengers briefed her about new developments and relayed her demands back to the commanders.

She had therefore never met the queen in person; not many knights and commanders had in fact. Everyone knew she was avoiding contact and wild speculation was spreading because of this.

Only twice had she been inside the immense castle. The first was when she was knighted five years previously. The second and last time was about two years ago when she received a medal after a big conquest. It was at that moment the old king himself promoted her to commander. The two events in the castle seemed a blur to her now and she did not recall much of it, something she now regretted.

‘Open the door … please.’ She tried not to sound upset or polite; just nonchalant, like those men. She had learned to contain her emotions over the years.

The one with the moustache replied sternly, ‘Who is asking?’

She knew they had to ask this question, but she was annoyed all the same. She was after all a commander; who should be allowed to enter the castle with permission. If the guards only cared to look at her shoulder pads.

‘Commander Tirsa Lathabris of the Seventh Company of Ceartas.’

Now she had their attention and they stared at her and her shoulder pads! The Moustache cleared his throat and asked again with a blank face, his eyes staring at her, ‘State your business, Commander?’

‘I have something to discuss with her.’

‘With whom?’ the other guard suddenly barked at her, alarmed. The guard, protecting the castle and the queen had more authority than a commander, therefore her rank made little difference.

‘With Artride of course!’ They were really getting on her nerves now.

‘That is Queen Artride, even to you!’

‘All right, Queen Artride. Now I am asking you this again; will you open the door for me? She is waiting,’ she added, lying.

‘She is waiting!’ The Moustache repeated incredulously, shaking his head while his companion stared at her.

It was obvious they didn’t take her seriously and if she hated anything about how people treated her it was just that. She was young, slim and appealing; not the usual commander type, but why would they question her intentions? Surely they knew her reputation? Perhaps that was the reason why they were questioning her.

The man on the right examined her face more closely. ‘So you are the Commander Lathabris; the one from the stories, the heroine?’ There had only been one female commander in the whole history of Ceartas; so there was really little doubt that it was her. However, she had kept to herself and had no idea what stories had been circulating roundabout her; not that she cared. Perhaps they had expected her to be different: taller or more mannish or something? She had after all done what no one had ever done in the history of Ceartas.

‘I am here on official business!’ she added trying to contain her growing frustration about the time wasted talking.

The Moustache glared at her like she was some rare object. He said, ‘We’re sorry we did not recognize you.’ Tirsa had always refused permission to have her image painted, even though she was called by many a name, such as ‘The Snake’ and ‘Golden Angel’. Both guards noticed not only her fair beauty: her green shining eyes like jade, her straight nose and perfect mouth and skin, but also the unmistakable deep hidden fury within those eyes; a combination she was well known for. It had to be her.

‘I have not been around for a while; so perhaps I have become history already.’ Her lips tried to form a smile, but it was a sad smile and the two men felt a little uncomfortable.

‘Do you have an audience with her majesty, Commander?’ the Moustache asked a little more pleasantly, but in an aloof voice.

‘Yes!’

‘You are wasting your time, Commander. We know you haven’t. We are told this before we start our shift.’

Her face was set in lines of dissatisfaction. ‘What do you mean? I have to see the Queen today; it is a matter of life and death and I insist you open that door for me now … or … you’ll be in serious trouble!’ she added with such a furious fire in her eyes that both men became momentarily startled.

Her ominous tone did seem to have the desired effect; however, the guards quickly regained their composure. ‘That’s what they all say, Commander,’ the guard on the right answered. If it was a matter of life and death, he surely would have heard about it. Guards were rapidly briefed about those matters by the messengers, never personally by a commander. Therefore it couldn’t be as important as she claimed. It was probably a personal thing, the experienced Moustache figured. He had seen that kind of anger before with the folk of Ceartas during his night shifts at the castle gate, and afterwards he often heard it was about the penalties they did not agree with that had been imposed by the strict queen.

‘What?’

‘Sorry. You have to apply for an audience first. That’s the rule for everyone and you do know how it is with rules here,’ he added in a lighter tone, affected by Tirsa’s natural weight and charisma as a commander.

She did.

‘And how long will that take?’ she asked the Moustache, ignoring the other guard.

‘You can discuss it with the head of the Royal Guard. He keeps her agenda. If it is that important you should make contact with him.’

‘And where might he be?’

‘I am told he will be back on duty this afternoon.’

‘Who is replacing him at the moment?’

‘There is no need to.’

‘Yes there is! I want an audience right now!’ Her tone was becoming more threatening.

They ignored her.

She bit her lower lip and sighed, trying to come across friendlier, calmer. Holding her voice level she said, ‘Look. It is most important and I really do need to talk to her, so I insist on making an appointment.’

‘Understood, Commander. We will make a note,’ and the Moustache jerked a chin at the other guard to do so, which he did, quicker then Tirsa expected.

‘You will hear from one of the messengers of the Royal Guard later on today regarding when and where you can apply for an audience to meet the queen.’

Later today? Tirsa practically exploded inside, but was trying desperately to remain calm. She was known for her hot temper when she was angry and could come across just as cold-blooded; hence her nickname, The Snake. And of course she was fast …

Slowness when speed is needed is one of the many problems of this system!

‘So how do you decide what is urgent or not?’

The guards glared disdainfully at her and remained firm; shifting back into their straight positions, like statues as they were trained to do.

Protocol.

If she had just stressed that it was to do with the safety of the queen, she would have been in by now. She felt foolish for her lack of planning. She was never very good when it came to that. She was much too impulsive.

‘I see,’ she stated in a calm voice as she turned around. She knew she definitely could not wait until late afternoon or whatever time they had available for her. That would cost her more time than she could afford.

In a matter of seconds she turned her lithe body and caught the left guard full in the belly with a rapid and powerful side-kick. He immediately fell forward with a gasp; dropping his spear to the floor. Tirsa grabbed it and hit the other guard; who was too surprised to respond quickly, on the head. However, because he wore a thick bronze helmet it didn’t have much effect. He probably would have a headache later on, but he was still on his feet, pointing his spear dangerously towards her with wide eyes, ready to strike. With her ‘borrowed’ spear she managed to knock his spear out of his hands and with a puzzled look he watched it drop to the floor. She then struck him hard with the spear on the back of his knees. When he fell to the ground she whacked him unconscious with the wood on his unprotected neck. That did it!

In the meanwhile the Moustache was trying to get up, so she had to wallop him on the neck with the spear as well; which proved to be very effective indeed.

‘I am so sorry,’ she said dryly. ‘But, I’m sure you’ll remember me now.’

She dropped the spear and quickly glanced around. Fortunately nobody had witnessed the commotion.

The two men lay on the floor in rather awkward positions, so she placed them both into sitting positions against each side of the castle door. It was quite a heavy task, but in a matter of moments she succeeded. It looked as if they were asleep; which probably did happen, because normally nothing really threatening occurred around here. Perhaps that was why they responded so slowly.

The real threat lives inside the castle! she thought grimly.

Tirsa breathed in deeply; she knew there was no turning back now. A serious penalty hung over her head if the queen found out. She might even lose her job, but she couldn’t care less. Oh yes, she will find out soon enough!

Blind anger raged through her body like a furious flame as she thought about the merciless queen. She struggled to think clearly. With a lot of effort she lifted the heavy iron bar, which barricaded and held the massive doors shut. It slipped and fell with a loud metallic crash on the stone floor and she looked nervously around.

All was quiet in the courtyard. With all her strength she pushed against one of the doors and after a moment it slowly opened inwards and she hurriedly slipped inside, closing the door behind her with the same effort. She was in!

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