I’ve finally completed the rewrite for book three of The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley. It’s taken a bit longer than I wanted it to, but I’m glad it’s done. I believe the stories are stronger now, even if they aren’t quite as light-hearted as the originals. I’m hoping to have book three, Path’s End, released soon.
Check out this snippet and stay tuned for the release date.
The entire common room went silent when Mariostin Rocktosser entered the room. He was a tiny thing, just about the height of the tables, and his wheat blonde hair contrasted with his dusky skin. Freckles dotted his rosy cheeks, and his large lips were set in a frown. He froze at the silence, his eyes darting from table to table without stopping. He seemed to shrink into his cloak and become even smaller than he already was.
Faylen rose from her seat and wove through the tables to where Mariostin stood like a cornered coniklo. “Hello,” she said. “I’m Faylen Icebreeze. I’ll show you where to get lunch if you’d like.”
Mariostin gave her a tentative smile and followed her to the serving area. As if she’d lifted a ban, the rest of the students began talking again, and the room was soon filled with laughter and conversation.
“So, where are you from?” Faylen asked when Mariostin joined them at the table.
“Crowborough,” the Halfling replied. His voice was a quiet mutter, barely more than a whisper. He didn’t say any more.
“Well, I’m from E’ma Thalas,” Faylen replied.
“I’ve heard of that. My parents traveled there when they were young, before I was born. They talked about it a lot.” He took another bite. “They even talked about living there all the time.”
Mariostin fell silent then and seemed more concerned with eating his fist meal than with talking. He had chosen ham, and, true to form, Old Marshall had loaded both pieces of bread with meat and cheese before toasting it to a golden, yummy brown.
Ethan watched the Halfling shovel the food into his mouth and grimaced. Mariostin was super thin, but he didn’t look like he was starving. And, yes, Old Marshall made the best fist meals of all time, but that didn’t explain Mariostin’s gobbling the food up the way he was. Ethan wondered where he’d come from and what had happened to him for him to get the Hourglass of Saturn.
Kayne turned to Ethan with his rakish grin, interrupting his thoughts. “So, what are the girls like in Land’s End?”
Ethan shook his head. “Really, Kayne? I don’t know. Like they are everywhere else, I guess.”
“Well, what’s there to do?”
Ethan shrugged. “My friends and me spent a lot of time playing kickball in the park, and I made deliveries for my mom’s bakery.” He paused a moment. “It’s a small town. Nothing like Ymla.”
Mariostin looked up with a bit of bread hanging from the corner of his mouth. “Where’s all this?” he asked.
“Land’s End,” Ethan replied. “It’s where I’m from.” He waved his hand at the group around them. “We’re all going to my house for Yuletide.”
Mariostin’s shoulders drooped, and he laid the rest of his fist meal on his plate. Then his eyes lit up, and he said, “I’m going home, too. My parents have this awesome place in Crowborough, and they get the biggest tree they can find. We spend hours adding the lights and the ornaments to it.”
“I’ll bet it’s really pretty,” Faylen replied. She dropped her eyes for a moment. “In E’ma Thalas, we decorate the forest trees some. The birds and animals help.”
Electa sighed and played with a piece of cheese on her plate. “I don’t remember there being a lot done at my house. I think we had a tree and whatnot, but that’s all I remember.” Tears filled her eyes but didn’t fall.
Faylen placed her hand on Electa’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze, then she turned to Kayne. “What about you?”
Kayne shrugged. “Don’t know.” He turned to Ethan wearing a grin that didn’t reach his eyes. “What’s say we get some practice in before combat class this afternoon?”
Ethan nodded and rose to his feet. “It was nice to meet you, Mariostin,” he said as he picked up his tray. “Maybe we’ll see you later.” He glanced back over his shoulder at the Halfling. Something wasn’t right about Mariostin’s story. Ethan just didn’t know what it was.