I suppose I must address the elephant in the room — Patreon and their new fee structure.
To answer the burning question, I don’t know what I’m going to do. For now, I’ll stay while I look for another home. There aren’t any viable options yet, but there’s hope. Kickstarter’s d.rip looks like it might work once they open to the public. There’s also gumdrop which I’m considering, but it has drawbacks. There’s a definite outcry for a platform to fill this need, so I’m sure someone will offer me an option. I just have to be patient.
It’s frustrating because I worked really hard on the Patreon group and was finally starting to relax and be excited about what was to come! It’s been fun, you know? But now…Do I bother to keep promoting? Should I suggest my lower tier supporters jump to a higher level? Many of my patrons truly can NOT afford another 40 cents. They are barely able to afford the dollar. Anyway, thank you to everyone for being patient while another rich bureaucracy attempts to squeeze the life out of creators. (I’m still bitter, can you tell?)
Enough worrying and wallowing, let’s play first draft in 52 Saturdays!
“Sharna!” Jackie called. She could see Sharna’s dark hair as the Mage was carried away by the momentum of the crowd, and then she heard a sharper scream that froze her blood.
Jackie shoved her way toward a young girl being trampled by the crowd. The bone of the girl’s leg protruded through her flesh like a pale mushroom through moss. Sharna pushed her way toward them both. Her lips were in a tight line and her nose dripped a small trickle of blood. When she opened her mouth, Melody spoke.
“Clear a safe space!” People who before had been charging over the girl, knocking into her oblivious to her injury, suddenly found themselves hurled to the edge of an invisible circle.
“Cleanse! Return! Fuse! Heal!” She shot out commands in staccato like a drum as the guards behind them beat and terrorized the citizens they’d trapped by the fountain. The girl’s leg returned to normal, but she continued to scream with fear and pain.
“Be calm,” Melody commanded the child. The girl stopped screaming and took several hiccuping breaths. Many of the citizens who were fleeing to the relative safety of the street mouth witnessed the healing. Now, they crowded as close as they could to the space she had cleared and stared.
A woman shorter than most, her sleeve torn and a bleeding scratch on her face, shouted, “It’s a Mother!”
Another woman scowled at her, “Shut up. It ain’t. Mothers are dead. Ghosts wouldn’t bother with a child.”
The two scuffled with one another, and their anger threatened to swallow the rest of the crowd.
Sharna looked at Jackie. “Escape route?”
A young man tugged at Jackie’s sleeve. “You’ll be wanting to follow us.” Two women and the young man slunk toward one of the tall buildings hemming in the area. Jackie and Sharna followed, and some of the crowd trailed them. Shouts of “mother” and “magic” bounced off the brick. Jackie’s palms were sweaty.
The three youth huddled at the top of a stoop before the door swung open to reveal a dingy hallway with two doorways and a flight of stairs. They directed Jackie and Sharna through the blue-painted door to the right, and shut and locked the outer door on the mob.
The room smelled of stale bedding. A few mismatched chairs and a table with a missing corner leaned in the dark. Jackie had seen better trash, and she thought she had known poor. Clearly, she’d been wrong.
“I’m Jay, and this is Dell and Marnie.” Jay could have been a thief. His face was forgettable, and his frame was slight like a young girl’s. He indicated the two women who had taken up positions on either side of the barred, front window. A dark drapery covered the glass, and both women peered around its edges to watch the soldiers round up the citizens who hadn’t been lucky enough to escape. The man who’d been speaking was shackled and dragged away along with the rest.
Dell had thin hair and was missing several teeth. She couldn’t have been more than a few years older than Jackie, but she moved like she was elderly. Her voice was a whisper, and her eyes burned as if she were feverish. “They’ll be taking them to the Fathers. Should we gather the rest of the Dawn now, or wait until the trial?”
She directed her question to Jay. Marnie was still watching intently, her pale fingers twisting the drapes so hard Jackie thought she might pull them loose.
Jay lifted his chin at Sharna. “We wait. I want to hear the story of how the two of you look like you’ve been eating off the Fathers’ plates and were able to heal Darcie’s girl back there.”
Sharna bit her lip and glanced at Jackie.
“Are the Fathers like the Doe Mothers?” Sharna asked.
Marnie turned to watch the exchange, letting the curtain drop. This extinguished what little light had permeated the room, and Jackie could almost feel her pupils dilate.
“Everyone knows the Fathers created the Doe Mothers. When they fell from grace, we were all punished,” said Marnie. It sounded like a chant memorized by children.
“Who…or what…are you?” asked Jay.
Melody spoke, her voice taking on the edge of impatience. “I’m a Mage, trained by the Doe Mothers in Medlare.”
Jackie added, “We thought there’d be riches here.” She perched on the edge of a worn and slanted chair. “I don’t understand.” Her gut feeling had never been this wrong. At least they still had the return seed. They could just find a secluded corner and climb back home.
“You can do Mother’s magic?” breathed Dell. A fierce smile spread across her face, and like a fire it leaped to the others in the room. “Light, we’re saved! We’re saved.” Her knees gave way from beneath the weight of her words, and she sank to the floor.
(Thanks for reading!)