Last week I told you all about the Calling All Critiques event and the day has finally arrived! But before we get started, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you brave souls who submitted your work. Hats off to you!
Anyone can critique but folks, please remember: be kind! 🙂
Sydney, Australia, December 1874
“Mr. Buchanan,” said Eliza Forth-Wright with a startled smile. “I wasn’t expecting you this evening.”
She stood in the glossy wood-paneled foyer of her Gothic Revival townhouse addressing her unannounced guest, Copernicus Buchanan. The imposing stone edifice was situated in the Peddlington suburb, an affluent and park-like district of Sydney. On this night, New Year’s Eve, it was crowded with revelers celebrating the turn of the year.
Around them floated strains of Baroque music as a string quintet played from the broad staircase landing. Male and female shadow fae, dressed in fine clothing, mingled and meandered through the rooms and halls on the main floor of the expansive home. Several curious glances took in the sight of an attractive human male in their midst. Two familiar faces passed by in the crowd, stopping when they recognized him.
Dirk van Amersvoot approached Eliza with a predatory grin. His younger brother Lars stood alongside him, looking and feeling quite out of place. Lars was only there because Dirk had agreed to let him tag along.
Dirk was a helf, half-human and half-elf. Lars was full elf, Dirk’s half-brother through their mother. They were tall and fair-haired with similar features, only Lars sported the small fangs inherited from his father. They came from the same hometown as their human counterpart, but were almost half his age. They knew the man well considering they had grown up around him. He was their father’s best friend and an accepted member of their family.
“Nick,” said Dirk, puzzled by the man’s presence. “I didn’t think I’d see you here.”
Nick shook Dirk’s offered hand. Lars also extended a hand in goodwill. The young men were other names on Eliza’s list of eligible marriage material along with Nick’s. They had been formally invited to the New Year’s Eve marriage ball to seek wives. Nick was not on the guest list. It was not an event for humans so their surprise was evident.
Dirk was the eldest son of Buren and Bloem van Amersvoot. The Buchanan and Van Amersvoot families shared close ties as they had been founding members of the Falmormath Shire community more than fifty years ago. Nick’s father had established Gilgai Station and Buren, being of a race that outlived humans, had built Willowbrook. Their sheep stations abutted one another in the rural region north of Sydney. Buren had watched Nick grow from a babe to a man and in turn Nick had been an uncle figure to Dirk, Lars and their sister Beshka.
“I’m a bit surprised myself,” Nick laughed. He felt slightly out of place in the company of the much younger men. He was a widower in his fifties, not a pup on the prowl. He paid no attention to the other people in attendance. He had one thing on his mind this night and nothing could distract him. “This was rather a spur of the moment decision.”
“If you’ll excuse me, Mr. Van Amersvoot,” said Eliza, touching Nick’s arm and gesturing towards a large dark door. “I need to speak with Mr. Buchanan.”
Other brave souls have submitted their work, so if you have time, please visit a few of the blogs below to see the other entries.