Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sharizeen Cor - Post 1 & 2

I noticed that my previous post regarding the ancient Darlandan character Sharizeen Cor (whose history will have a bearing on future Treasure's of Darkness - Treasures of Light books) didn't reference her name in the post title, thus making it hard for you to easily follow along as I continue sharing about her. So, I'm including the last post about her along with this post.

I genuinely hope you like her as much as I do. Her story takes place roughly 1400 years before the events of Through the Dark Wood and is known as "The Tale of the Maiden's Arms".

Not arms like:

Arms like:

  So, without further ado...

Rusdan Orinian, harsh King of Coriaer, preferred Darlandan slaves, as did his father before him. “Why should our people mine, or build, or risk their lives in the Tharsald when Darlandans can be used for those purposes?”
His son, Kin Lash Orinian, couldn’t have agreed more. “They are worthless... are they not, father?”
The king replied, “Less than worthless, if that can be.” 
Kin Lash was eight years old.

Such was the manner in which Kin Lash Orinian was trained from birth to manhood.

 Sharizeen Cor walked the woods of the Darlandan countryside barefoot on an early summer day, humming to herself and taking in the scents of the morning.  The sun warmed the hills she so often enjoyed.  The wind shifted her sandy hair across her face.  She tucked it back behind one ear.
Sarie, as her father used to lovingly call her, was seven years old. 
She heard a twig snap in the brush about a stone’s throw away. She was instantly alert. It was a good thing too. A rock the size of her palm flew through the air and swished past her ear. She’d moved aside just in time. Had she not, it would have drawn blood.

"Boujh!" She shouted and touched a small scar on her brow from a similar instance in the past then narrowed her gaze determinedly on the place she had heard the snap. Boujh Cor poked his head up from the brush with an equally focused look.  Raising a large stick aloft he quickly crossed the distance between them and dove, swinging his would-be club at Sarie with what any onlooker would have taken for lethal intent.  He missed by an inch as she leapt up and over him, dodging the stick and pushing his face down into the loamy soil beneath the grass in the process. Boujh landed in a heap, and Sarie landed—almost gracefully—on her feet, laughing.
Boujh spun to his feet, wiped his face and took Sarie by the hands. “That’s my girl!” He swung her up to sit on his shoulders. She kept a hold of one hand as Boujh started walking.
Wiping at the slightest hint of a tear, he said. “Father would be proud.”
“You really think so, Boujh?” she asked, leaning over his head and meeting his eyes upside down.
Boujh was fourteen and her only family. “Yeah. I do.” he said with half a smile and held her hand a little tighter. “Keep that up and no one’ll ever be able to hurt you.”

Such was the manner in which Sharizeen 'Sarie' Cor was trained from the year of her father’s death until her brother’s.

Twelve years passed. Sarie Cor was nineteen and unwed, and living in the Underqwall District. That was an uncomfortable fact. Underqwall was the lower class district of Darlan proper just beyond the walls of Cirin Darlandan and the most likely place to find an unwed woman of suitable age suddenly taken by the royal guard and drafted as one of prince Aeron’s companions. Concubine was a disparaging word. So, he didn't use it. 
The death of Sarie’s brother Boujh eight months earlier had broken her heart, but it also afforded her time without threat—the grieving season. Boujh had found work in service to one of the younger captains of the castle guard, Eerid Freen, and had been working toward actually joining the ranks of the guard. Being of dubious birth, it was easy to find a place among the fighting men, but he wanted a better life for himself and his sister.
Having joined Eerid on a short trip to the temple just east of Tol Darlandan (Rivelin’s first outpost), they were set upon by bandits and Boujh lost his life defending his employer and friend. Sarie had been living in Eerid’s home under Boujh’s protection, but now she was alone. Eerid offered to let her remain in his house until her grieving season ended, but only a month later, in an unwarranted fit of jealousy, Eerid’s wife demanded that she go. 
Out of the kindness of his heart, Eerid set her up in a hostel just beyond the walls of Cirin Darlandan so he could have his servants keep watch over her for the remainder of her grieving season. “I am sorry for the loss of your brother, Sarie. Would that I could have saved him. I owe him my life... purchased at the cost of his own. The family Cor will always be remembered by me. Take this, though it is a pittance in comparison to my debt.” He bowed then handed her a small chest of coins to sustain her during her stay. She thanked him.
Eerid threatened the hostel owner that if anyone took from Sarie, or mistreated her, his establishment would pay in more than just gold. It was a needless threat, because Sarie fell quickly into friendship with the hostel owner, a twenty-eight year old Rud by the name of Jaren Adds. Ruds are the copper-skinned natives of western Darlandis. He saw to it that none of his other patron’s bothered her, citing her observance of the grieving season, and adding that, despite her beauty, word had it she was a fighter more capable than many in the castle guard. 
In the open bunk sleeping arrangement of the hostel, many a traveler was tempted to press his will with her, but only once did any try. He had been a renowned mercenary. There was no memorial for him, and all who witnessed his end told and retold the tale until the fighting prowess of Sharizeen Cor was near legendary in Underqwall. Though her stomach turned at the need to end any man’s life, she was grateful for the peace her reputation provided.

The grieving season was over and Sarie knew her time in Underqwall must be as well. She had already witnessed two young women taken by the royal guard to serve prince Aeron.
The bell above the rough wooden door rang and a soldier strode in. He was castle guard not royal guard. He looked at Jaren who stood behind the bar. “Sarie Cor?”
Jaren was a sturdy man and usually good at hiding his thoughts, but he knew the danger for Sarie and flinched at the mention of her name. Sarie was just beyond a screen across the room chopping vegetables for that evening’s stew. At the mention of her name she stole a glance. As she did one sandy strand of her otherwise braided hair dropped in front of her eye. Pushing it back behind her ear she saw the guard wore a deep red cloak over a silver mail shirt that bore the emblem of Cirin Darlandan. His sword hand rested on his hilt.
Jaren regained himself and asked, “I’m sorry. Who do you seek?”
“Please, Sir. Do not play the fool with me. I know the young lady resides here. It is imperative I speak with her.” 
His tone wasn’t threatening, more imploring, but just in case Jaren grasped the hilt of a blade kept on a shelf inside the bar. “Who is it that seeks her?”
“My commander Eerid Freen sends an urgent message for her.”
Sarie kept the kitchen knife in her hand and stepped out from behind the screen. Immediately the soldier bowed then raised his eyes to her. “Good miss! I and others in my regiment have guarded you beyond your knowledge this seven months passed, but our duty cannot stand against the danger set to assail you today. The king’s second son, prince Aeron, sends his men here to claim you. You must fly from this place.” He produced a scroll bearing his master’s crest. “This he sends with you. It will grant you the privilege to cross through the gates of Adrel Teng beyond the reach of his majesty. The monk’s there have freedoms even the king is bound to uphold.” 
She tossed the knife to the cutting board. It stuck tip down and quivered there. She quickly crossed to the bunks and opening her trunk pulled out and donned a pair of dark breeches beneath her laurel-colored surcoat, fastening them as she answered, “I thank you, Sir. Please, hand the scroll to my friend Jaren. Do you know how much time I have?” She slipped her two short swords—or extra short swords as Boujh always called them—into a specially crafted sheath worn across the small of her back to be hidden by her cloak. 

“Word was given to me nigh unto twenty minutes after his majesty the prince informed his captain. I can only assume it is your fighter’s reputation that delays them. They are commanded you must be taken utterly unharmed.” As he spoke she donned her buckled boots, and began cutting off the skirt portion of her surcoat. 

She looked at Jaren. “Had I left even a day sooner….” Her eyes said more. She had planned to leave weeks ago and make for Billowing Pools, but she stayed for him, hoping. There was a love between them. Not in full bloom, but present and growing. She blamed him in her heart. Were he moved enough to wed me I would not face this peril. But, I am just as much the fool…
Jaren said, “I would fight for you.”
“And you would lose. I will not have your life forfeit for me.”
Jaren knew there was neither time nor sufficient chance of persuading her to argue the point. He took his purse and filled it with all the gold he had on hand, one-hundred and thirty-two durras. He placed the scroll in the purse as well, and a small container of wine. He draped it over her shoulder and across her chest to let it hang at her side then kissed her forehead and said tenderly, “Be safe, Sarie. And…” he waivered, “I…” he sighed. “Don’t forget your cloak.”
She sighed and pulled her cloak and a small pack out of the trunk and lay them on the bed. She girded her waist with the belt her brother had worn for years. He’d made it with sheathes for knives of varying sizes and purpose at intervals around it. As she reached for her cloak, the soldier said, “Good miss, please… take mine. Yours is known to the guard, and garbed as you are now you will draw much attention. Though mine is crimson, it is not uncommon for a castle guard to walk the streets of Underqwall alone. It may help disguise you.” She took it and put it on, lifting her pack to her shoulders over it. He added, “Keep your hood up and your head down. Walk with haste as though you are on great errand, but not as though you fly from danger.”
Putting on Sarie’s cloak he walked to the door. She called after him, “What is your name?”
“Ryon. Your brother was my friend, and he is missed. I must leave before they arrive, and you must do the same.” He bowed to her and exited.
Sarie looked at Jaren wishing something greater could have been between them, and Jaren looked at her with regret, knowing that moment he had lost any possibility of a future with her. Though he would liked to have proven himself wrong, he was not the man for a woman like her and he knew it.
In crimson, laurel, and black, and looking very much the like the warrior her brother had always trained her to be, Sarie Cor turned away and stepped through the door, ready to face whatever challenges would come her way.

Across the sea a twenty year old Kin Lash Orinian faced his father and bellowed, “But I loved her! You would send her to serve in the Tharsald?! She will die beneath that weight. She loved the sunlight more than any person I’ve ever known, and you sentence her to serve in darkness forever!” He advanced upon the king.
Rusdan Orinian held up his hand and two guards angled their spears at the prince’s chest. He stopped in his tracks. “You would have them kill your own son?”
King Rusdan smiled bitterly. “You would have them kill your own father had you such power this day. I do not wish that they should harm you. Only subdue your fury should it become unleashed. She was a harlot. She was never going to be your wife. That is not the way of Coriaer nor has it ever been nor shall it ever be.”
“She was a servant. Yes. But, Lerasea was my favorite.”
“Favorites will come and go, my son. But the mind of a king—which one day you will be—must be set upon higher things. Things such as…?”
The prince seethed, and let out a protracted sigh. He set his jaw and glared at the king before reciting, “Conquest. Currency. Law. Legacy….”
The venom in his tone was matched only by the pleasantry in his father’s. “You see? Love is not among them, my heir. Do not be a fool. A wife will come of noble line, and she will have her value if she produces for you an heir, but do not be fooled by emotion. She is but another tool in your continued building of an empire.” His tone grew severe. “An empire which will be greater in your day than mine or you will not have a place among your fathers when you die, and your sons will go down to their graves in shame!” 
Kin Lash growled, removed one of his golden rings, and hurled it at his father’s throne. 
“Insolence is only tolerated for a time, my childish son. A man will take my words and grow from them. Come not before me again until the infant in you is removed.”
Kin Lash bowed—out of duty only—and exited. As he walked the opulent palace halls, the tears he longed to shed refused to fall. That my heart holds sorrow and compassion, and I am capable of love—which you are not—makes me not an infant, Father…. He turned aside to a balcony overlooking the sea. “That is how I know I am a man. You will know me as such and feel my fury one day!”

To be continued... in Post 3

I sincerely hope you enjoy.

We're drawing ever closer to having the paperback of Through the Dark wood available (a couple weeks more at most). If you haven't had a chance, please let your friends know about my books and my blog. Thanks for reading, and have a grand day!



  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm enjoying writing it. I wish I could spend more time on it, but that would detract from my book two work. So it will have to come out bit by bit. :-)

  2. Although you posted this a while ago, I wanted to let you know this story is positively amazing. You are truly gifted.

    1. Thanks, Richard. That kind of encouragement spurs me on. Have a great day! (and be sure to read the 3rd and 4th posts as well... if you haven't seen them.)