All the holiday rush has everyone too distracted to write. We only had one entry to the contest last week so guess who won? But I don’t want you to think she won just because she was the only one playing. Siobhan Muir (@SiobhanMuir) is a fun writer with her own flash fiction contest that runs every Thursday over on Thursday Threads. Sign up for her list if you want regular reminders of that contest.
And, a special treat for you this week! Tomorrow I’ll be running a review of her newest release, a paranormal romance called Take the Reins. I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow on the regular blog. For now, enjoy her wonderful story about traditional holiday drinks and, perhaps, a new holiday romance (with, I suspect, some characters from her alternate world):
“I don’t need more soldiers, Sedgewick.” Ronin’s soft voice made Sedgewick look up. “I need a medic and a colleague.”
A colleague. Sedgewick sighed inwardly. It’s better than nothing, I suppose.
He gave Ronin a quick smile. “I can do those things, I think. Would you like some tea?”
“Horseapples! That wasn’t the right word.” Ronin frowned as he scratched his bearded chin.
Ronin raised his cerulean gaze and nailed Sedgewick with a thoughtful look. “I guess the word is friend, but I want more than that.”
Sedgewick blinked. “You want to be friends?”
Ronin paused. “Yes…Does that sit well with you?”
“Oh, yes. Yes, of course.” In all honesty, Sedgewick wanted more, but having Ronin as a friend was a good place to start. And I have two nights to convince him otherwise. He had no idea how he’d do that or where the courage to try had come from, but he wouldn’t challenge it.
“Good.” Ronin smiled and clapped a hand to Sedgewick’s shoulder. “Now, I have something special I’d like to show you. It’s something my sire would do with me each year around Solstice.” Ronin dug out a small cauldron. “It was our version of a dining-in.”
A dining-in was a practice done by the cohort at holidays, a formal meal within the unit for the members only. Sedgewick watched curiously as Ronin cracked several scrub-fowl’s eggs and separated the yolks into a separate bowl.
“Here.” Ronin handed him the bowl full of yolks. “Stir two scoops of sugar into that.”
Sedgewick found the sugar jar and added the recommended amount to the yolks then stirred the best he could. He braced the bowl with his injured hand and beat the eggs as he watched Ronin whisk the daylights out of the whites.
“What are we making, Ronin?”
Ronin gave him a smug smile. “My sire called it Solstice Grog, and it’s got a pretty good kick.” He lifted up a small glass bottle with golden liquid inside. “I was saving this for a special occasion and I think this counts. How are the yolks?”
“Sweetened, I’d guess.”
Ronin laughed and Sedgewick couldn’t help but grin back. “Good. Now to add a dollop of this…” He poured a generous quantity of the golden liquid into the sugared yolks and the scent of the alcohol burned Sedgewick’s nose.
“Sweet Epona, that’s going to kick someone’s ass.”
“Just watch.” Ronin added generous measurements of woolly goat’s milk and cream to the sweetened mixture, urging Sedgewick to stir gently. “You don’t want to beat it too hard or the cream will thicken too much.”
Something else had already thickened with Ronin’s hand on his, but Sedgewick tried to keep his focus on the potion they mixed. When Ronin deemed it ready, he carefully folded in the egg whites and took the cauldron outside.
“What are you doing?”
“It must chill for a while before it’s ready to drink.”
Since it’s a holiday week, I thought about taking the week off and just wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas, Solstice, or whatever you might celebrate. However, recent events in the real world have made this month not quite a great one for me and I could use a little of your company if you can spare the time. Who knows? It might even help you stick to a writing resolution you might think of starting in a week or so!
This week, tell me something uplifting. A moment of kindness between strangers, a child experiencing the joy of giving, a happy surprise for someone deserving. It might seem a little sappy, but if it does, fix it to suit you. As always, interpretation is in the eye of the beholder. I always love to see the creative ways you drift. Hope you have a wonderful holiday celebration filled with light and love and togetherness! And hope to see you Friday with some lovely stories for everyone to read!
You know the guidelines, 500 words within the next 5 days, the call for entries will come out Friday morning and you have until 5 pm to submit your links or stories to the comments.