Like with “Black Dragon,” I decided “Lost and Found” should have a more fitting cover now that it’s on the chopping block. And I do mean chopping block–you have to edit with a machete before you can get down to surgery. Again, cannot recommend Canva enough. I managed to make this entirely out of free images. The design interface is very intuitive, too. Give it a try!
Two feathers in “Lost and Found” are an important omen early in the story, and the temple to the local fire goddess blesses candles with red dye to invoke her power. The narrative is three parts, the first ending with a pirate attack and the second opening with a royal summons, which is where the stamp-looking thing I made comes from. I am honestly thrilled to share “Lost and Found” when it’s finished. It’s so much fun!
Here’s an excerpt:
Annex I: The Necromancer
Xenos the Necromancer received premonition only three days before the ships came to Niobe.
He slept at the edge of Avalon’s western outerlands, in Mariabella town’s only inn. The vision came so violent his bones rattled against his bedframe, his eyes rolled to their whites, and his teeth locked so furiously one chipped. The earth became the sky. The sky became the earth. His mouth shocked dry like snake scales.
He saw two ships idling in the gulf and a grove of white poplars, somewhere where the taste of blood and magic was on the air. He saw fire by the sea, two white feathers, a fox, a hawk, green water, a siren child, and the face of a friend he thought he’d forgotten.
He came to on the floor with splinters dug into his nailbeds, wheezing for breath. The squinch-eyed innkeeper hovered at his open door, muttering about healers and Witches. Xenos passed off an eclectic handful of coins, assured the woman all was right with him, and rushed to gather his bowls of ash and rodent bones.
“Nothing’s right with you, Witch,” the innkeeper said, pulling the money into her apron. “You’ve got the look of a siren and the touch of a devil.”
“I’m not a Witch,” Xenos said shortly. He yanked a bushel of dried hemlock from its hanging place. The innkeeper stumped off down the stairs.
Xenos was not a Witch. His hair was the color of deep sea, shorn close on one side and wild on the other. His braided curls were ringed by shaped gold. His eyes were shocks of ice, his skin was rough from winds driven off the coast, and his runic blue tattoos swirled from pelvis to throat. He’d been known by Xenos Riptide and Xenos Avalon in his impossibly long life, and once perhaps by his real name, but now he was just Xenos.
He wondered what the innkeeper might tell her daughter about him. Some said he came from Vae Vida, though not a siren or mer. They said he came from Grecia, from Avalon, and from nowhere. Once a future-seer had said he came from the waves, and would return there one day too. But whatever they said, Xenos always, always came when his goddess summoned him.