I have just posted a 4000-words short story on my Patreon page, for all the members of the Five Bucks Brigade. Today I uploaded the English version, the Italian version goes up tomorrow.
It’s called The Demoness with White Hair.
As I explained, it all started with a 500-words test I did to apply for a gig as a freelance writer. I don’t have much faith in the result of the test, but I liked my piece, and others liked it too.
I got compared to Harold Lamb, of all things.
As soon as I stopped bragging to my friends, I decided I would like to expand that vignette, and do something more substantial with the barely sketched setting.
And I did it.
So, if you want to read my story, you’ll have to join the Five Bucks Brigade or hope and wait that I manage to sell the story to a magazine. But to kindle your curiosity, here’s some notes about the characters, and the setting.
Our story takes place at the foot of the Abode of the Snows, not-quite-the-Himalayas rising on the border between Gurkani, that is not-quite-Mughal-India, and the Middle Kingdom, that is not-quite-Tang-China. Hence the generic series title of Stories from the Frontier.
Currently the Middle Kingdom is being slowly infiltrated/conquered by the Pindari, a not-quite-Mongol-horde, but commerce and communications are still open through the passes in the Abode of the Snows.
Gurkani is basically the Mughal Empire with the plate numbers changed, but with a major difference – it is a matriarchal empire, and women serve in the army of the Rani.
Which leads us to Sinda Sundari Sarpal, a former officer in the Empress’ army, that finding the atmosphere at court insalubrious decides to relocate in an out-of-the-way valley in the mountains, and enjoy her pension – she lost an arm in the service of her empress.
She occupies an abandoned house just outside of a village along a trade route, and she spends her days playing solitaire games of chess. She has a servant, Yezna, a mountain man that served with her in the army, and that before that had his tongue cut off doe to his youthful shenanigans.
And this is it so far.
In the first story, on a long winter night Mistress Sinda has to handle some unexpected guests in her house.
I found my readings on Indian and Silk Road history to be quite helpful, as were – as usual- Google Translate and Wikipedia.
It was relatively fast going, and now that I have the measure of my characters, their speech-patterns and the tone I want to give to the stories, I hopefully will write more.
Aren’t my Patrons lucky, uh?