Tally the Betrayals

This tale calls me. Plus I think it’s a short story. (No, I never know for sure, until I write it.) But if it’s short, I could complete it in a few weeks! Tempting!

ETA March 2016: I’m now writing Tally, and it is not a short story. It’s a novel, and probably a doorstopper novel! Stayed tuned. I’ll blog about my progress from time to time. 😀

ETA April 2017: The novel is now published! Follow this link to find The Tally Master at your favorite online store.

photo of Sint Baafskathedraal in Ghent

I bear the mark of Gaelan on my face, as do my brethren. But I alone, amongst all in the battalions under my lord Karbreys, bear that name. It is fitting, for I betrayed them all to their deaths. I am Gael. I am kin-slayer.

There in the bowels of the mad tower I crouched, listening to the scratching of my own quill pen. I tallied ingots of copper, ingots of tin – tin so rare. Who would believe the record keeper could be more lethal than the warrior.

The stone foundations around me echoed the metallic beating of swords, of shields, of helmets. My lord Karbreys was winning this war. His trolls mined copper ore from veins beneath the tower and smelted it with foreign tin arriving from afar, borne on galleys rowed by slaves. Every ingot in received its mark in my ledger. Every ingot out – tin and copper married to make bronze – I tallied likewise.

Who was to know that the bronze was weak? Not the four parts tin to ninety of copper demanded by the smith’s recipe, but three tin for seven and ninety copper. The blades hammered from these ingots would bend, and how would the warrior who bore one fare then?

Channeled by the tower’s tunnels, the roar of the blast furnace deafened my thoughts. Who would I betray? My kin who brought Lord Karbreys victory? The peculator stealing the tin?

Oh? Did you think it was I? Secreting nuggets away in some fastness?

No, ’twas another. Should I betray him?

Or must I betray our enemies, crushed beneath Karbreys’ might? Our enemies, those with pure faces, the ones from whom we come, trailing glory, before Gaelan marks us as his own.

* * *

For more fantasy samples, see:
Fate’s Door
Blood Falchion

For a science fiction sample, see:
Dream Trap



2 thoughts on “Tally the Betrayals

    • This story start is all I’ve got thus far, but I’m looking forward to writing more of “Tally the Betrayals.”

      I can generate story ideas far faster than I can write the stories, but that’s a good problem to have. And my writing speed continues slowly to increase as I build my power as a writer. In the 1980’s, when I first started writing, I was a blocked writer and managed just one sentence a day. But writing that one sentence brought me to a paragraph a day fairly soon, and then to three or four.

      Once I learned where the blockage lay, and figured out a way around it, I wrote 300 to 500 words a day, three days a week. More than that seemed to exhaust my creativity. After a few years at that pace, I moved up to 500 words a day, 5 days a week. Then 800 words a day, 5 days a week. Currently, I usually hit 1200 words a day, still just 5 days a week. The general upward trend makes me hopeful for more in time.

Comments are closed.