Human, cartographer, born Maskil, lives Wandsworth, first appeared in the short story “Destiny Governed their Lives”.
Emerson Wheatcroft neatly scrolled the word Goshen near the circle representing the village on the map. He blew gently on the hide to quicken the drying time. It had taken him a fortnight to reach the labelling phase; the customer required it to be practical yet pleasant to the eye.
He rested in his chair and admired his artisanship. At this point—with the mountains, rivers and settlements dotting the landscape—he felt satisfied. The labelling was a mere detail, an important one, but one many people achieved successfully.
Other cartographers, however, were incapable of copying the miniature settlement scenes his hands created. Those wanting high quality, decorative maps came to him.
He dipped the pen lightly in the ink and held it over the bottle to release the drip. Poising the tip over the small town east of Goshen, he hesitated. The M was simple to write, a fancy scroll he had made a thousand times. Yet he paused, thinking of the town, his hometown. It had been years since he had departed, and he and his wife Kathleen felt no desire to return.
Softly, a familiar sensation rose in his chest as he remembered the streets of his youth. Inevitable, his memories delivered the face of his lost son. The first years were the toughest, and he fought the memories, hoping to ease the ache. Now, he welcomed them, remembering his son’s smile, his laugh and his free spirit. Rodney was his oldest boy, one who loved adventure and who would use a map like this to travel Ath-o’Lea.
A lump formed in his throat and a slight burning sensation on the back of his tongue brought water to his eyes. When he and Kathleen had left Maskil, it felt as though they lost two of their children.
Castle Keepers Vignette: Almost five years has passed since Isla was kidnapped and Bronwyn left Maskil in search of her. In many ways, not much has happened; the inhabitants of the Land of Ath-o’Lea have continued their daily routine. But if you look deeper into the individual lives you’ll see much has changed in little ways.
The Castle Keeper vignettes provide a glimpse into the time between Shadows in the Stone and Scattered Stones. You’ll have already met many of the characters, but some you will meet in Scattered Stones.
These vignettes won’t be complete stories, only 300 words of a moment. I consider them exercises in writing and editing. I hope to write two a week and post them on Mondays and Thursdays as we lead up to the release of Scattered Stones, the second fantasy novel of the Castle Keepers series, on May 6, 2016.
The collection of vignettes will be organised on the Castle Keepers Vignettes page. On the first of each month, I will post the schedule of the characters I will write about that month.