She’s the One Who Doesn’t Say Much
(Book Four of the War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters)
by S.R. Cronin
GENRE: Historical Fantasy
Olivine knows hers. This quiet thirteenth-century artist has been hiding a secret as she travels to K'ba to meet her friends. Others assume she's fallen in love with another artist, but it's much worse than that. For on the way to K'ba is the dirt poor nichna of Scrud, a place scorned by other Ilarians. And in Scrud is the one man who understands her.
However, Bohdan recognizes the dangers posed by an impending Mongol invasion. When he learns of Olivine's unusual visual powers, he convinces her to pick up her bow and start practicing.
She does, though she's more concerned with moving to K'ba where she can paint all day and see Bohdan whenever she wants. If only her sister hadn't decided Olivine and her fellow long eyes held one key to defending the realm.
Then, as if life wasn't complicated enough, Olivine learns the artist community she yearns to be part of has developed a different take on the invasion. They're sure the only way to survive is to capitulate completely to the Mongols’ demands. Artists who feel otherwise are no longer welcome.
Where does her future lie? The invasion is coming soon and Olivine doesn't have much time to decide.
Coral would move into a cottage of her own soon, but it wasn’t ready so we gave her the extra bed in Ryalgar’s room and I moved my bedding to the floor. Sulphur found her own corner and put her bedding down. There was no point in trying to leave now; it was already Kolada Eve. At least I had three sisters to spend the holiday with. I’d go home once the celebrations were over.
On our first night together, Sulphur became angry.
“Why not just train more Svadlu?” she said. “Even poorly trained fighters are better than farmers. And they’re surely better than anything you and the Velka can do!”
“No, they aren’t.” Ryalgar’s hands were on her hips, her feet far apart in a fighter’s stance as she spoke. “We’re not to going to go into battle, which is what more Svadlu would do. We’re going to chip away at the Mongol forces, in ways they don’t expect. We’re going to use skills they don’t know we have.”
“And you’ve thought of ways to use such powers against an invading army?” Sulphur asked.
“I’m working on it.”
The next day we split our time between the Velka’s Kolada festivities and brainstorming in Ryalgar’s room. Joli joined us, and other oomrushers came and went. Ryalgar also brought in women with different talents or more knowledge. We talked about horses. Poisons. Fires. Insects. Shrubbery? Yes, shrubbery. Ryalgar had a lot of ideas, and she wanted our help with the complicated schemes she wove. We all understood a simple approach wouldn’t be enough.
Sulphur remained dubious, but she contributed her expertise and by the end of our third day together Ryalgar had a rough outline of what she planned. It was a true sisterly collaboration.
“You’ve still got a lot of unanswered questions,” Sulphur said as we were about to fall asleep on the third night. She was right.
“Do you think the younger sisters could help?” I asked. I knew the small age difference between me and my twin didn’t matter, but I’d always considered myself one of the older girls, and Celestine not. It was more about personality than the timing of birth.
“Maybe….” Coral said.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Sulphur said at the same time
We all laughed. They were both right.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how odd she is.
All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
Author Social Media Links:
Author Blog: https://sherriecronin.xyz/
Book Series Blog: https://troublesome7sisters.xyz/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shes-the-one-who-doesnt-say-much-s-r-cronin/1139107112
S. R. Cronin will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.