Title: The Rue Stone
Author: Janet Stock
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It has been over a year since the main female character in The Rue Stone, Janna, met the rue. All she has left to remember him by is the stone he gave her. The wait to see if he returns is unsettling, but before the story is resolved there is dramatic twist in the plot. This extract leads up to the event.
Wintour appeared with a vengeance that year, no pre-amble, no niceties, just straight in like farmer Ged’s bull when it charged the fence; direct and purposeful.
The custom slowed at the inn, as the weather, with its huge, thick angry snow drifts hindered the traveller. Those that did manage to make it through, would stay at the inn longer than normal, hiding out by the fires for weeks at a time.
Then taking their chances as soon as there was the slightest hint of a reprieve, they continued to crisscross the country, desperately trying to sell what they could, and praying they would find shelter wherever it was needed.
Twice in the last few weeks, Janna had intended visiting her family, and twice she had been stopped.
Once she had made it to the end of the clearing, but a fierce blizzard had practically lifted her off her feet and deposited her back at the inn door. After that she gave up and gave in to the elements. Visits would have to wait until the weather improved.
Sad, bored and lonely, she had taken to looking at the stone again every day. Holding it in her hand, willing it to glow. It never did. And each time she returned it with a resigned and disappointed thump, back into her drawer.
She had also started looking out of her window every morning, although she realised this was futile, as she could hardly see anything further than the clearing.
Everything was cloaked in the thick snowflakes that crowded together to disguise the earth. No colour remained visible, bar a few patches here and there of black, where a bird or animal had tried to get to the bark, on the trunk or branch of the spirit trees.
All to no avail.
The wildlife that wasn’t hibernating would just have to be patient, as would the humans.
Periodically she saw moon-blue deer, drumming the ground with their hooves, making holes in the snow to check if anything edible lay beneath, but their forays were futile. Wintour was in charge.
The sky looked as if it would crack, it was bright, blue, and brittle. At regular intervals, it would change into an ominous grey and the snows would fall; silent and assertive.
Janna’s father had delivered double kindling and logs last time he had been out at the inn, but still she knew Vune was getting worried about the amount of wood they were using. The sense of alarm at how long this wintour was lasting was palpable.
All the household felt suppressed and subdued, desperate for relief from their confinement, and it came about as a result of an incident that no-one could have foreseen.
About the Book
The rue is a mysterious and rare being who is rarely seen, and Janna is amazed when one arrives at the inn where she works, looking for a room. The next morning, her life has changed, and she is left wondering whether she will ever see him again, but only time and the rue stone know the answer to that question.
About the Author
Having written all of my life, I decided to self-publish my writing when I turned 50. I have published four books since then. Two are collections of short stories; Dark & Fluffy; Dark & Fluffy II and 500 Words, which is flash fiction. My latest book The Rue Stone is a fantasy novella.
My passion is medieval fiction, and I am working on my first novel The Little Servant – The Wait’s Son, set in the 12th century, in Lincoln, where I live.
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Happy Reading, x