Monday, September 19, 2016

From Summer to Fall

Thursday is supposed to be the first day of fall, but the extended forecast in my area calls for temperatures in the 80s that day. Even though we went apple picking this weekend, and I've already broken out the ankle boots, the weather still calls for T-shirts, not sweaters (unless I'm at work, in which case the heating/cooling system calls for the addition of a cardigan and a fleece). It seems as if summer doesn't want to cede pride of place to fall.

In the world of my Season Avatars, the seasons do fight with each other at equinoxes and solstices. These special days are called "soltranses," and the Season Avatars for the old and new seasons battle each other with staffs at the Temple in Wistica. Here's a few paragraphs of Jenna, Summer Avatar, and Ysabel, the Fall Avatar, preparing for the fall soltrans in my upcoming novel Fifth Season:

Jenna hadn’t participated in the summer solstice soltrans, but she handled the fighting sticks with confidence, weighing each one in her hands. The oak staffs, padded on both ends, probably still responded to her magic. Ysabel wished her animal magic was more useful for this ceremony. However, as she tested her own fighting stick, memories of previous duels returned. She advanced into the stone-paved area of the courtyard and lunged at an imaginary enemy a few times.

“Thank the Four we remember these skills.” Jenna combined blocks and stabs as she moved into position opposite Ysabel. “I didn’t get much chance to practice with fighting sticks when I was growing up. There were always too many chores to do. How about you?”

Ysabel shook her head, mindful of saving her breath.

“Of course,” Jenna continued cheerfully as she struck a blow directly on Ysabel, driving her backward, “being a farmer’s daughter does mean I know my way around tools. Especially wooden ones.”

“Freeze it, Jenna.” Ysabel attempted her own thrust, but Jenna blocked it with surprising strength. “You have to lose in the end.”

“Yes, but we have to put on a show first, don’t we?”

Neither of them spoke as they focused on the fight. Jenna continued to press her with three attacks for every one of Ysabel’s. Several of them got through her defenses, and Ysabel reminded herself to ask Gwen for healing before the bruises became obvious. Gradually, as she continued to handle the fighting stick, memories came back to her of previous sparring sessions in this same courtyard. The sun warmed her and released the scent of stubborn roses still clinging to their bushes. The weight of the fighting stick felt more familiar in her hands, and moves and different combinations of moves appeared in her mind. As each one appeared, she tried it out. Jenna countered each move easily, but fewer of her own attacks landed on Ysabel. Once Ysabel even drove Jenna back a couple of paces. When Jenna stepped on a loose cobblestone and struggled for balance, Ysabel instinctively pressed her attack, striking her in the shoulder before tapping her on the head.

Jenna let her fighting stick drop. “Enough! I yield!”

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. More information about Fifth Season will be coming soon.


Pat Dilloway said...

I wish the fall weather would get here but it'll probably go from summer straight to winter.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We're in the upper eighties all week. A long summer really sucks.

Sandra Almazan said...

Pat, spring and fall are my two favorite seasons, so I'd hate to lose them.

Alex, I'm ready for it to cool down as well--though I'll take summer over winter any time.

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