bloom town

Bearwas blostmum nimað, byrig fægriað,
wongas wlitigað, woruld onetteð;
ealle þa gemoniað modes fusne
sefan to siþe, þam þe swa þenceð
on flodwegas feor gewitan.
-
Groves come into bloom, the town grows fair,
fields brighten, the world quickens;
everything urges the eager of mind,
the spirit to the journey, for one who so thinks
to travel far on the flood-ways.
—  The Seafarer, 48-52

who, in the very wide world out there, would like to help me identify books i HAVEN’T read in a particular genre/mold? it is broadly british feminine middlebrow with occasional summits to the high, lightly comedic but with a bitter or nostalgic tone, often but not always centered in the pov of a young woman, usually featuring a family or group of friends and acquaintances. your ideal examples are mitford’s pursuit of love, west’s the fountain overflows, wesley’s camomile lawn, smith’s the town in bloom (also i capture the castle but town is a better example of the tropes in play), and spark’s girls of slender means.

i expect no one to have an answer but i’d certainly love to read more

Kingsflame

Darrow had awoken to a commotion outside. He swore to the gods he would exile the spoil brat if he had too, she was not the symbol Terrasen needed. He dressed and met Ren, Murtaugh and the young girl for breakfast.

He sat down opposite of Murtaugh, “what is the commotion?”

Murtaugh smiled at him, not the forced smile he had become accustom to over the last decade. No this was a smile of hope, of triumph, “it seems that kingsflame bloomed last night in the same place our princess swore her blood oaths to us.”

He could feel the blood draining from his face as he whispered, “impossible.”

Murtaugh looked at him, “the locals are also whispering of a white stag being seen in the woods last night, a stag with an immortal glow. It seems, Weylan that you have turned away from our traditions, from the magic that fuels our sacred symbols. It seems that the Lord of the North is sending us a message that the Heir of Brannon has returned, regardless if we formally claim her has our Queen.”

Before he could respond, his messenger appeared before them breathless. They stared at him while he caught his breath, waiting to hear the news.

“They took the temple, they took the Temple of the Stone in less than twenty minutes.”

He needed to know, “Who?”

The messenger took another deep breath, “Aelin, Aedion and the girl from yesterday.”

It was his turn to take a deep breath, it has been a message to him and to Adarlan, the Queen of Terrasen has returned.

The boy continued, “She cleansed the temple with blue flame and there are reports that kingsflame bloomed near the sacred rock.”

He nodded at the boy, a clear dismissal, before he turned to Murtaugh and Ren. “I’m riding for Ilium, they cleansed it, and the least we can do is hold it from Adarlanian trash from reoccupying it. You are welcome to join me.”

Murtaugh was silent for a moment, “Take Ren, I will head to Orynth and begin calling for aid.”

- - - - - - -

It had been a week since the kingsflame bloomed in that crossroads town and a week since she had cleared Ilium of the Adarlanian trash that used their sacred temple as their barracks.

He stared at the Orlon’s kingsflame, since that fateful night, he had always carried it with him. It had bloomed for his King, his love. Everything he has done has been for him. He had kept as much of Terrasen in as much peace as he could for the last ten years. What would his king think of him now?

He sat on the sacred rock, at first it unnerved him, but less than sitting on the kingsflame that seemed to have bloomed everywhere. The Lord of the North was giving his kingdom a very clear message. If only, if only he had given the message before he had turned her away, calling her a spoiled brat.

With shame in his heart he returned to the temple’s archives, seeing if he could find anything to help them win this war against the darkness of Morath.

“Lord Darrow.” He looked up from the bloom that Orlon had pressed in glass to stare at Ren, the boy’s scars were horrible, the boy would have been very handsome if not for the scars. It was his voice that shook him, something was different, and the tone put him on edge.

With an annoyance in his tone, he barked, “what?”

As if in shock the boy breathed, “an armada comes our way.”

They could fight foot soldiers, but an armada, they had not a chance to stand against an armada, “how large?”

“The biggest I have ever seen.”

Shit. Ren had seen the majority of Adarlan’s armada and this was larger. Darrow looked at Ren. He had sent their best hope of surviving an armada away. Instead of welcoming her with open arms, all of them except Murtaugh had turned their backs on her. He had insulted her. He had insulted her court. He had called her bloodsworn a traitor. He had implied that Aedion was a coward. Called the Lady a whore. They deserved their fate. He deserved this fate.

He took a deep breath, “evacuate the city.”

Ren looked at him confused, “no, you do not understand, the ships flags are from … Braircliff, The Silent Assassins, Skull’s Bay, The House of Whitethorn and – “

As if the boy himself could not believe it, a breath above a whisper, “and, Wendyln.”

He ran to the shore. He sucked in a breath and fell to his knees at the sight of the armada. Her promise echoed through his mind.

To call in old debts and promises. To raise an army of assassins and thieves and exiles and commoners. To finish what was started long, long ago.

She had planned this, she had planned for aid, while he was planning with the other Lords of Terrasen to refuse her claim as queen, she planned to protect Terrasen. An armada from The Western Wastes would have taken months, not a week to appear. Wendlyn was a two week journey in fair waters, she would have had to call for their aid at least a month prior. The Silent Assassins would have taken months to call.

Ren cleared his throat, “The last time I spoke to her, I scorned her from walking away. It appears we were both mistaken. She has spent the last ten years fighting for her kingdom under the mask of Adarlan’s Assassin. She had fought for us the only way she could.”

He swallowed, “I called her a spoiled brat and implied she was a whore. I implied that the only way she could help us was through marriage or her assassin’s skills.”

He took a breath, “We will fight, we will fight for our Queen, we will fight for Terrasan.”

He would make his king, his love proud.

10

Places seen from above

  1. Brasilia, the capital of Brazil
  2. The otherworldly Mount Whaleback Ire Ore Mine, located in Western Australia
  3. The roads crossing along the Stelvio Pass, a road in Northern Italy, are the highest paved routes in the Eastern Alps
  4. The Burning Man festival, which is held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, USA
  5. The Nardo Ring is a high-speed circular test track in Italy
  6. At the Huelva Orchard in Spain, fruit trees create a swirl-like pattern on the hills
  7. The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park gets is vivid colour from pigmented bacteria that grow along its edges
  8. The Spiral Jetty is a counterclockwise coil jutting out from the Great Salt Lake in Utah, USA
  9. The blooming tulip fields in Lisse, Netherlands during the peak bloom season in April
  10. The town of Bourtange, Netherlands - shaped like a star