CampNaNo: Silk and Steel
Ahoi! I hope this finds you still safe and well and enjoying life as best you can! I am trying to do Camp NaNo so I thought I would start sharing snips of what I’m writing for that 🙂 It’s not that organised into chapters yet so I hope the ‘parts’ will make sense! XD And still very much in the drafting stage so all criticisms welcome! 😉
This is a Mythpunk, dystopian, LGBTQIA+, monster-friendship novella based around a combination of Hungarian, Rromani, Hindu and Polish Mythology so I will try and get organised and post some more about the background myths on Mondays.
“The world ended, the angels and the devils took who they wanted, but some of us were left behind… so we opened an antiques shop…”
Soundtrack / Playlist:
Their agreed meeting place was on the other side of the Red River which cleaved the city in two. Each took their own round about route in getting there but Xander, quite certain that this time he had chosen the quicker route, did well to hide his surprise at seeing the Yag already leaning with one elbow against the glass counter of the little shop, chatting animatedly with the proprietor.
He turned and grinned as his companion entered, causing that faint fiery glow to dance beneath his skin again.
“Ah, you favour us with your presence.” The Yag teased, but Xander ignored him, locked the door behind himself and pulled down the blind. His eyes slid to the leather sofa in the centre of the shop, and the young man stretched out on it, apparently asleep.
“It’s alright,” Vraxi said, “he’s invited.” That last quip drew a sidelong smile from the man behind the counter and Vraxi’s grin and eyes widened with pleasure – the more so as he noted his companion’s frown darken dangerously. Better not push him too far, he told himself wisely, and quickly changed the subject.
“The cat is already out of the bag, you know.” He said chidingly, patting his bulging purse. “I could quite easily have been home abed an hour ago…” he chewed this over for a second and then added with a lewd grin, “…or somewhere abed at least.”
Xander glared at him and Vraxi quickly changed tack. “Only the thought that some terrible fate might have befallen you, has kept me at my post.” He said solemnly, though the tiny incandescent sparks dancing deep within his black eyes did not go unnoticed by his companion.
‘That and the lure of a handsome face and a hot meal’, Xander thought to himself, suspecting that if some ‘terrible fate’ did ever befall him, the Yag’s only interest in it would be to ensure that he was in no way likely to suffer the same.
“I am shutting up for the night,” the man behind the counter said. Spyro Mendicci, co-proprietor of Silk and Steel Antiques, had the curious talent of making every sentence sound like both a death threat and an invitation to his bedchamber.
Xander favoured neither but he wasn’t stupid enough to let it show. “I have something more,” he said, ignoring the ill-concealed alarm which flitted across Vraxi’s face, just for a heartbeat, before vanishing again in a well-practised smile that was utterly unreadable.
Spyro raised his eyebrows expectantly and Xander stepped forwards to the counter, not meeting Vraxi’s eye, as he reached inside his vest and pulled out four bottles of Demonsong. He could feel the Yag seething inwardly beside him; this wasn’t the plan they’d agreed, but Xander Dumarrle had never been the type to stick to one plan when another would serve him better.
The antiques dealer drummed his fingers on the glass counter. “And what am I to do with these?”
Xander carefully suppressed a wave of anger. He hated games. Even when he was the one playing them. The more simple and straightforward the world could be, the happier was Xander Dumarrle.
“Not your cup of tea?” the Yag asked, innocently. “Ah well…” and he reached delicate fingers to take the vials, fully aware that he’d left the ‘I’m sure we’ll find someone who’s interested’ hanging heavily in the air.
Spyro let him take them and place them inside one of his many concealed pockets before smiling – and again, Xander couldn’t quite fathom if he was considering slitting their throats or propositioning them – and softly bringing his hands together in a silent clap. “As I said, I am shutting up for the night, and as you can see,” he tipped his head towards the sleeper on the sofa, “we have company, so, if you aren’t intending to stay for dinner…”
“A true gentleman never turns down an invitation to dinner.” The Yag said, gravely, pressing delicate fingers to his chest to emphasise the notion.
‘Nor an insatiable little fire djin, it would seem’ Xander thought to himself in disgust. But Mendicci’s sinister smile told him that the Yag had sealed their fates.
“We are going home tonight.” Xander growled to his companion as Spyro vanished through a black velvet curtain at the back of the shop.
“Yes, yes, of course.” The Yag hissed back, flapping a hand dismissively. “But that being the case, it is going to be a long night, is it not? And I must have sustenance first, I simply must.”
Xander grimaced, noting of course that Vraxi had chosen the ambiguity of ‘sustenance’ over ‘food.’