"New Stories"

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Originally appearing as "We Defy Old Stars" in the spring 2004 issue of Oceans of the Mind, "New Stories" returns to a familiar character, the healer-renegade-anadi Kediil from "Freedom, Spiced and Drunk." In it we meet one of the primary historical figures of that age, Serel Who Settled, the Jokkad who decided it was done with the nomadic lifestyle and created the first settlement. It is, in fact, our narrator:

       I resisted the urge to check on Sedikit again and strolled past the tethered rikka toward the northwestern hills. The land we had chosen for our settlement was beautiful when the sun wasn't baking it to char. We were near a deep pool and a stand of scattered trees, close enough to sit under their leaves but far enough to take advantage of other passing families on the main thoroughfare south. It wasn't a new idea, putting down roots: several other tribes had done so. They had chosen that course because of infirm members, or to remain near someone they'd buried. We had chosen it because I had convinced Daridil that there was some value in remaining in place. Because I was convinced that the constant travel shortened the lives of all our family, and our anadi, our females, especially. The anadi had the most fragile constitutions of all our sexes... even the burden of pregnancy often consumed their minds. So the concept of an anadi in the hills seemed outlandish. Females did not walk alone—

       The point of a spear nudged my back and I halted.

       "Mean me no harm and I will treat you the same," said a trembling but determined voice.

       "I bear you no ill will," I said.

       The pressure at my lower spine eased. I looked over my shoulder and found Resa's mysterious anadi there, looking like no anadi I'd ever seen. She was thin with barely any breast, and wore clothing without showing signs of discomfort at the heat. I could not decide whether to think of her as anadi—soft, frail and feminine—or eperu like myself, a hunter, a neuter, a hardened creature suited to the climate.

       Something in my expression softened hers. She chuckled. "Am I confusing you?"

Serel and Kediil were meant to become recurring characters as I explored the changes that led from Kediil's nomadic era to the towns of Ekanoi's and later Thenet's; part of another story already exists, which picks up some months after "New Stories." There's more art from that unfinished story than there is for both of Kediil's first stories combined! But I did find this, the very first sketch I ever did of Kediil, a quick pen piece.

Kediil Lounging

"New Stories" appears in the Other Sides anthology which you can download for free! But for those of you who want to put some coins in my pocket, or simply prefer to have the story as a singleton, I thought I'd put up the piece separately.

You can pick up my other stories in print and in e-book form, including many free and 99-cent nibbles, at Smashwords and Amazon. And as always, if you like what you read, please drop back by and give it a few stars or a review. Your opinions help other readers make their purchasing decisions! Help an independent author out. :)

© 2012 M. C. A. Hogarth