East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The Demoness with White Hair

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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.

3898328_hollywood-spy-stunningly-epic-trailer-and_6f0cc57d_mAnd 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?
Just sayin’…

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

One thought on “The Demoness with White Hair

  1. Pingback: How did it go? | Karavansara

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