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She’s the One that Gets in Fights
(Book Three of the War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters)
by S.R. Cronin
GENRE: Historical Fantasy
Do you know what your problem is?
Sulphur knows hers. This 13th-century woman has trained as a fighter all her life in hopes of joining the army. Then, within days, both of her older sisters announce plans and suddenly Sulphur is expected to find a man to marry instead.
Is it her good fortune her homeland is gripped by fear of a pending invasion and the army now goes door to door encouraging recruits? Sulphur thinks it is. But once she’s forced to kill in a small skirmish, she’s ready to rethink her career decision. Too bad it’s too late. The invasion is coming, and Ilari needs every good soldier it has.
Once Sulphur learns Ilari’s army has made the strategic decision to not defend certain parts of the realm, including the one where her family lives, she has to re-evaluate her loyalty. Is it with the military she’s always admired? Or is it with her sisters, who are hatching a plan to defend their homeland with magic?
The problem with being a woman who fights for what’s right is that now, she has to figure out what is.
(The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.)
(contains some violence)
The next morning I intercepted my dad and Coral, who traveled at a turtle’s pace across Vinx. The three of us visited about little things as we rode, and it brought back my better memories of being a child. When we fell into silence, though, an unwanted recollection crept in.
It was a holiday. Warm out, so maybe Heli or Plono. I was nearly eight, and the whole family was there, seven little girls barely six years apart. Ryalgar, Coral, and I held on to each other’s hands with me in the middle, looking out for both of them. A drunk stumbled into our path, nearly tripping my mother and the twins.
“Get the pruck out of my way, you stupid pruska,” he said. Funny, after all these years, I can still hear the man’s voice. I let go of my sisters’ hands and stepped towards Mom, ready even then to intervene if she needed help.
“And take your little pruskas with you,” he added, as I stepped forward. “Pruskas, every varmin one!”
At that age, I didn’t know what a pruska was, but I knew enough to realize it was an uncommonly strong insult. Several of the older boys had called me one not long before, and the shocked reaction of others had given me clues.
My mother turned to my father, obviously expecting him to defend his family’s honor from the slur slung at us by this drunken rantallion. So many times my father had been absent when we needed him, but at this moment, he was not. He was there. I stood down, leaving the defense of the family to him where it rightly belonged.
And I was devastated. He reached out, helped the man up, and wished him a good day. A good day!
I stared at Dad, not wanting to believe what I’d seen.
My mother was furious, and it was one of the few times I felt I understood the woman. Dad muttered something to her about how she ought to be more reasonable, and the two of them didn’t speak again for a long time. So long that I wondered if they ever would.
I’ve never said anything about the incident to my father. What does a daughter say? But the next time an older boy called me a pruska, I beat the living scump out of him until his entire face was bloody. Two other boys pulled me off, begging me to calm down before I went too far.
I’ve never allowed myself to lose it like that again, not in practice, not in any kind of skirmish. I know better.
But you know what? Not one boy ever called me a pruska again.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how eccentric she is.
All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
Author Social Media Links:
Author Blog: https://sherriecronin.xyz/
Book Series Blog: https://troublesome7sisters.xyz/