BRONWYN’S BANE….

28 May

Next up on the Legend’s GSP Promo is Bronwyn’s Bane, another Elizabeth Ann Scarborough release. For this promo there are a few so stay tuned.

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 Sleeping Beauty had it easy. Her curse only made her take a nap when she turned 16. As if it wasn’t bad enough already that because of her frost giant heritage from her father the king’s side of the family she was 6 feet tall when she was only 12 years old, poor Princess Bronwyn (the Bold) of Argonia was cursed at birth to tell nothing but lies. With her father away at war and her mother heavily pregnant, Bronwyn is even more in the way than usual, so she gets packed off to Wormroost, her aunt’s place in the glaciers, and en route she meets her musician/magician cousin Carole , a not-so-brave gypsy lad, and a princess-turned-swan. The lot of them encounter monsters, sorcerers, sea serpents, mercenary mages and sirens—many of whom are related to them. Without quite intending to, they embark on a quest to end the war, heal a battle-ravaged land, end a ban on magic and lift Bronwyn’s Bane.

L. Sprague de Camp said, “I found BRONWYN’S BANE delightful reading. I wish I had her fertility of imagination in thinking up amusing twists, turns and business of plot.” 

Excerpt:

 Bronwyn the Bold was still flushed from the heat of battle when the Lord Chamberlain found her in the small courtyard below the eastern wall of the Royal Palace. The courtyard was in ruins. Trees, walls, jousting dummies, the Queen’s prize petunia patch, all were gouged, hacked and otherwise dismembered. The Princess knelt beside the wall, her short sword cooling in its sheath, her red carved shield close by her side. Evidently satisfied with the routing she’d dealt her enemies, she bent over the prone forms of her dolls, each of which was blanketed by one of her monogrammed handkerchiefs. “My lady,” the Chamberlain began.
     “What is it, Uncle Binky?” she demanded in a fair imitation of her father’s regal roar. “Can’t you see I’ve mortally wounded casualties on my hands? We need healers and medicine now!”
     “Yes, my lady,” the Chamberlain replied with a tone sober and a face straight from long and difficult practice. “I’ll see to it personally, my lady . . .”
     “A simple ‘general’ will do,” Bronwyn said graciously, since she was actually very pleased to have someone to talk to. She hopped to her feet and took the Chamberlain’s hand in hers, her action very like that of any normal child except that ordinary little girls didn’t tower over adult royal retainers. “What news do you bring from behind our lines?”
     “Your lady mother wishes a word with you, madam,” the Lord Chamberlain replied.
     “She hasn’t—?” Bronwyn asked, jiggling his hand excitedly.
     “No, madam, she has not. Nor will she deliver the babe for a month yet to come, as the Princess Magdalene has already informed Your Highness.” And he clamped his lips tightly shut as if he were afraid she’d steal his teeth.
     Bronwyn was quite used to having not only the Lord Chamberlain but everyone else who attended her adopt such attitudes when she tried to question or talk to them, so as usual she continued chattering at him as if he were answering each remark and paying her rapt attention. She supposed it went with her high rank to have everyone so in awe of her presence that they couldn’t speak properly out of deference. Later, she decided that his silence was less usual than she’d thought, and smacked of the stoicism of a guard escorting his prisoner to the block—or into direst exile.
 
                                                                           * * *

     Maggie, Lady Wormroost, paced the Royal sick chamber with an anxiety that was in no way relieved by the sound of her niece’s big feet galumphing towards her from down the hall. At least this interview would be short, but it wouldn’t be easy.
     She glanced at the Queen—sleeping, of course, as she should be to conserve her meager strength. Except for the mound of belly drifted over with white satin coverlet, the Queen was more frail than Maggie had ever seen her, her bones sticking out like those of a plucked bird, her skin thinned to a ghost-like translucency, marbled with blue. Maggie loved her elder half-sister and wished there was something she could do for her besides keep her company when she woke and see to it that her chamber pot was kept empty and her bedding spotless.
     For though Maggie was officially Regent, she knew only enough about government to know that it was best left in the hands of the few capable ministers the King had appointed to take charge of the war effort on the home front. Oh, she had used her hearth witchcraft, which allowed her to do all work connected with the home magically, to give a hand at readying the castle and surrounding city for siege. But she hoped the preparations she made, mostly consisting of magically expanding and storing existing food supplies beyond normal winter needs, would be unnecessary.
     With any luck at all, King Roari’s army would be able to head off Worthyman the Worthless and the Ablemarlonian forces and persuade them of the error of their ways. But it would not be easy. Worthyman was an unscrupulous scoundrel and a wastrel, but in one of his wiser moments he had chosen to squander a large portion of the treasury on a professional standing army of trained soldiers. Immediately thereafter, without bothering to try to forge a trade agreement, he had declared war on King Roari. He used the excuse that his country needed Argonian timber for its ship-building industry, which may have been true since, at his direction, Ablemarle’s remaining forest land had been denuded and cultivated. However, the private opinion held by the King, Maggie, and a few others, was that Worthyman was actually hoping to find and eliminate his elder brother, the true Crown Prince, a focus of frequent Ablemarlonian rebellions even though he preferred to dwell quietly among the Argonian gypsies.
     Whatever the reasons behind the war, Maggie wished it were over and she and Colin were safe back at Wormroost with their own daughter, Carole.
     Which reminded her of her most immediate problem, one that concerned both Carole and Bronwyn. Too bad the King hadn’t left her some wise minister to whom she could delegate this sort of domestic crisis, but unfortunately she and the Queen would have to muddle along by themselves.
     If only Bronwyn weren’t so bloody irritating. With her constant rattling nonsense, she was so provoking that Maggie never seemed to be able to talk to the child without snapping at her, even though she knew what annoyed her most was hardly the poor girl’s own fault. Ah, well, Bronwyn was lucky Maggie was only a hearth witch and not a transformer like her Granny Brown or a really wicked witch like child-eating Great-Great-Grandma Elspat, or there were times when Her Royal Highness would have gotten worse than a snapping at . . .
     “The Princess Bronwyn,” the Chamberlain announced at the door.
     “You think we can’t see that for ourselves?” Maggie snapped. Damn! The girl was getting to her already. The Chamberlain beat a hasty retreat. Bronwyn gave her a shy smile that was ludicrous in such a strapping girl. Then, with her eyes still on Maggie’s, as if anticipating a blow, she tripped sideways to her mother’s bedside, stumbling at the last moment to fall across the sleeping Queen. Amberwine gasped and sat up, catching at her daughter’s arm. Bronwyn held her mother by the elbow with one hand and with the other hand brushed at her, as if the contact might have dirtied her.
     “Leave off, niece. You’ll bruise her,” Maggie advised as evenly as possible.
     Bronwyn sprang away from the bed as if she’d touched the lighted end of a torch.
     The frail Queen blinked her wide, green eyes twice and held out her hand to her daughter, who took it timidly. “How good it is to see you, my darling. How are you today?”
     “Splendid, Mama. Extraordinary, in fact. I’ve just slain the entire Ablemarlonian army and the leaders have all been hanged in your name.” Maggie groaned and Amberwine, had it been possible for her to have become any paler, could have been said to have done so. “Er, how kind of you, pet. You’re such a thoughtful child. Isn’t she, Maggie?”
     Maggie shook her head and managed a faint, rueful smile. Bronwyn had her mother’s eyes and chin, but she was otherwise her father’s daughter entirely. A fitting successor to her paternal grandfathers, Rowans the Rambunctious, Rampaging, and Reckless respectively, she would have made King Roari a fine son. Pity. She was a dead loss at the womanly pursuits, and had gone through so many gowns her tiring women had finally given up and allowed her to go about in the simple undergown and armor she preferred. She clinked somewhat now as she perched on the edge of the bed, not quite resting her entire weight upon it, afraid she’d break her mother’s bones if she relaxed. She was such a large girl—half again as large as either Maggie or Amberwine and uncomfortably aware that she had yet to gain mastery of her body. She knew she could cause irreparable damage to practically anything in the twinkling of an eye. If only she could be allowed to puncture something other than her own fingers during her earnest but ultimately painful attempts at needlework, perhaps the child would be good for something despite her—problem.
     Amberwine caught Maggie’s eye and said to Bronwyn, “Your aunt has a wonderful surprise for you, darling. Don’t you, Maggie?”
     Maggie felt another stab of guilt as a look of hopefulness and anticipatory pleasure dawned in the girl’s eyes, and before it could turn into a full-fledged smile Maggie lost her nerve and tossed the conversational ball back to Amberwine. Sick, or not, the Queen was Bronwyn’s mother. Let her be the one to break the news. “I think she’d rather you’d tell her, Winnie.”
     “Tell me what?” Bronwyn demanded in a childish parody of her father’s boom.
     She was a-wriggle with excitement now.
     Winnie shot Maggie an injured look. “Why, that it’s been arranged for you to have a nice trip in the country for awhile, dear. To see some of the rest of the kingdom and to meet your cousin Carole. It must be so dull for you shut up in the castle all the time and . . .”
     “But it’s not, Mama, really,” Bronwyn protested, though, of course, it was.
     “There’s your duty too, young lady,” Maggie said, stepping in before the child got out of hand. “To your mother, your subjects and Argonia. You will need to see more of your realm than the capitol sometime, and there’s no time like the present.”
     Bronwyn started to protest, but for once Winnie was firm.
     “Besides, I wish it. Maggie and I were such good friends as girls. You and Carole must learn to know and love each other too. I want you to have friends and—oh, darling, don’t look like that! You’ll have such fun! Tell her about the ice castle and the worm and the animals and the talking river, Maggie.”
     Maggie began talking very fast, tripping over her own tongue while describing the peculiar sights of Wormroost Manor, before the Princess could start crying or raise some other row that would further upset Winnie. It was unsettling enough to the Queen to be pregnant and bedridden while her husband was at war and her country under attack without worrying about Bronwyn. Not only was the girl a handful to have around at such a crucial time, but if the new reports of the enemy entering the Gulf of Gremlins were true, and by some ill fortune the King’s forces could not stop them, the Ablemarlonians might soon be in Queenston Harbor. Bronwyn was Crown Princess and must be kept safe. Winnie was sure that if her daughter knew how potentially perilous the situation was, she would refuse to leave, although it was vital to national security that she do so. Maggie’s view was that the girl had to grow up sometime, but then, Maggie wasn’t Queen and very glad of it too. So she talked, wishing she had her husband’s gift of gab and persuasive musical abilities to help her sound convincing.
     Bronwyn interrupted her in mid-sentence, rising from her mother’s bedside to stand at attention, her face set in a small painful smile not quite tight enough to control the trembling of her freckled chin.  “Thank you for your intriguing tale, my lady aunt. If my Royal Mama commands it, I am sure that I shall greatly enjoy my banis—fostering at your home. If I may be excused, I’ll take my leave now and prepare for the journey.” And she turned on her heel and left.
     Maggie and Amberwine exchanged relieved sighs that Bronwyn had been so tractable for a change. It was a sign of their anxious preoccupation with other matters and the poor state of Amberwine’s health that it didn’t occur to either of them until much later that Bronwyn’s seemingly sensible attitude was more ominous than any fuss she might have made. For the trouble with Bronwyn was that, through no fault of her own, the girl was incapable of telling the truth.

About the author:

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is the author of 22 solo fantasy and science fiction novels, including the 1989 Nebula award winning fantasy novel, Healer’s War, loosely based on her service as an Army Nurse in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. She has collaborated thus far on 16 novels with Anne McCaffrey, six in the best selling Petaybee series and eight in the YA bestselling Acorna series.

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/ElizabethScarborough.html#BronwynExc

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Bronwyns-Songs-Seashell-Archives-ebook/dp/B0044R9CRM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369766127&sr=1-1&keywords=bronwyn%27s+bane

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2 Responses to “BRONWYN’S BANE….”

  1. marketaz May 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Read it. It was very good.

  2. chalaedra May 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Reblogged this on Chalaedra's Weblog and commented:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bronwyns-Songs-Seashell-Archives-ebook/dp/B0044R9CRM
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bronwyns-bane-elizabeth-ann-scarborough/1103104519
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/25524
    http://www.gypsyshadow.com/ElizabethScarborough.html#Bronwyn

    Princess Bronwyn (the Bold) of Argonia was cursed at birth to tell nothing but lies. But what happens when her cousin Carol, a gypsy lad and a princess-turned-swan set off on a quest together? Bronwyn’s Bane by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/ElizabethScarborough.html#Bronwyn

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