Advent Event Day 8

 Welcome to day 8 of the Advent Event! Please share this event with your friends. The more anthologies we can sell, the more money we can raise for the National Down Syndrome Society.

Purchase the book here: http://amzn.com/1479266248

Or visit this site for more information: http://adventanthology.wordpress.com

Here’s a look at the next two stories:

“The Good Page” Part III by Ryan Larsen

Podevin ran, unaware of the tears that flowed down his cheeks. The dark, abnormally warm September air rushed past him as he went, and he had to swerve out of his way to avoid buildings and other obstructions. The bell for matins had tolled only moments past. He prayed to God that he would not be too late. There had been murder enough, as of late—all known supporters of Duke Vaclav.
When Agnes had come to him minutes earlier, had told him of the plot she had overheard, he had tried not to believe it. If he had not been there at the death of Ludmila, he probably would not have believed it. As it was, he now ran to save the life of his duke. His innocence had been robbed from him that horrid night so long ago.
The dark streets of Stara Boleslav were unfamiliar to the page, and he only vaguely knew where its solitary church was. At one point, he was forced to pound on a random door, asking directions from the sleepy and startled occupant who opened it.
Light had begun to creep up the horizon before he saw the spire. He heard shouting.
Podevin rounded the corner of a large building next to the church. What he saw and heard chilled his blood. A hundred feet from the church steps, Duke Vaclav—a sword wound on his head—wrestled with his brother, trying desperately to take away the younger man’s blade. Two men, one large and the other small, stood nearby, both trying to pierce the duke with their own steel.
“Csta! Hnevsa! No!” Podevin yelled this as he closed in, not caring that he had no blade of his own.

“The Good Page” Part IV by Ryan Larsen

“I went to the cave of the Wanderer,” Podevin said, his ancient limbs creaking as Strachkvas sat on the chair, leaning forward intently to hear what the prisoner’s soft voice said. “He told me I could stay there for as long as I wanted, so I did, even long after he left. I think he was there for only a year after I began living with him. He offered to let me go with him when he left, but I didn’t have any desire to travel. I told a few people—merchants, mostly—about Vaclav’s death, and I think most of them believed me. I never saw Agnes again.”
With these words out of his mouth, Podevin slumped down, looking more dejected than ever.
“After a few years, I gave up all hopes of ever seeing anyone I knew again. Mostly I hunted for food. I was almost arrested the last time I came into Prague, and that was more than twenty years ago.”
“Why did you allow yourself to be caught?” Strachkvas asked, finding that his throat was dry. These were the first words he had said throughout the prisoner’s story.
A bitter laugh came from the man. “I’m getting old. Besides, it has been a long time since I confessed my sins. Tell me, Father. Am I absolved?”
The priest thought for a long time, his mind going over what this man had said. He found no guile in him, and although he knew that the man would be killed regardless of what Strachkvas did, he had the strong impression that the man truly was innocent. Strange, as he had shed the blood of a man.
“Yes, my son. I forgive you. And I believe God does, too.”

And here a look of one of the prizes:

Janet Olsen: “I plan to send them a few cheap neighborhood gift ideas (Can of pringles “Have a poppin’ good holiday season, things like that) So I just need to know what day and the address of the winner so I can get that out.”

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Advent Event Day 7

 Welcome to day 2 of the Advent Event! Please share this event with your friends. The more anthologies we can sell, the more money we can raise for the National Down Syndrome Society.

Purchase the book here: http://amzn.com/1479266248

Or visit this site for more information: http://adventanthology.wordpress.com

Here’s a look at the next two stories:

“The Good Page”, Part I by Ryan Larsen

“You are sure this is the man?” Strachkvas asked, wiping his brow with an already damp cloth and squinting at the prisoner. It was far cooler in the Prague castle dungeon than it had been above ground, but that was the only blessing for the condemned.
“Yes, Father,” the guard captain said, nodding. “He freely admits his identity.”
“I will have some words with him. Alone.” The priest stuffed the cloth into a pocket sewn inside his robe, and for a long moment the captain stared at Strachkvas, shifting his gaze only when the prisoner moved. The stench was nearly unbearable, and Strachkvas suspected this was part of the reason the man did not argue when he handed the priest his torch and climbed the ladder, pulling it up behind him.
The prisoner, whose long, gray beard was as unkempt as his tattered clothing, regarded Strachkvas with a wary eye. Most of the smell came from the corner of the dungeon, but a good deal of it came from the man being held here.
“Have you come to absolve me of my sins?” the prisoner asked. The laugh that followed was bitter.
Strachkvas responded to the man’s question with one of his own. “You are Podevin, son of Tira?”
“I am.”
Wishing he had thought to bring a stool, the priest shifted his weight. Something about the man’s eyes unnerved him.

“The Good Page”, Part II by Ryan Larsen

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” Podevin said softly, and he thought a sigh escaped the mouth of Father Marcus, the priest beyond the veil.
“What is this, thy sin, my son?”
Podevin searched his memory for everything he had done over the previous seven days and he listed them, from the number of times he had lied to the time he had kissed Agnes, the chamber maid he was courting. It had not been a very decent kiss. For each sin, the priest proscribed a certain number of Hail Marys and Our Fathers. The list drew to an end in about five minutes, and Podevin’s tongue stuck to the top of his mouth in his attempt to continue speaking.
“Son,” Father Marcus said after a long stretch of silence—Podevin was certain he heard a sigh this time. “Have you anything else you would like to confess to me?”
“There is one thing more,” Podevin said, breathless. “But it is too heinous to speak of, Father.”
Coughing, Father Marcus leaned close to the veil and said, “My son, I cannot forgive that which I do not know. I have told you this time and time again, my dear Podevin—” the young man started at hearing his name “—and you must know by now that I will tell no one of your sin. Please, tell me so you may be forgiven. As I have told the duke so many times, there is piety and then there is overzealousness. Do not fret, my child. Please, tell me.”
Podevin could not tell him. After fifteen years, he still could not speak of his involvement in Ludmila’s death and the death of her guards. Fifteen years as the page of her grandson and he had told no one, not even Duke Vaclav himself. Podevin thought yet again of how much his cowardice shamed him.
“I cannot, Father,” Podevin said, shaking. “I cannot.”

And here a look of one of the prizes:

A signed copy of “Dawn Quealy: Tilting at Vending Machines” by Ryan Larsen

Picture

  a Rafflecopter giveaway