Originally published by ‘Far Horizons’ in October 2017 and again by ‘Aether and Ichor’ in July 2018, The Pigeon Catchers is another story from my ‘Tales of Tervia’ collection.
Mal’s mother is dying. With her father gone, it’s up to her and her brother Bryn to save her. They need the healer’s medicine, but to buy it they need coin. Bryn leads the pair on a daring quest to capture the most pigeons they’ve ever caught, but it’s a task not without obstacles. Will they save their mother?
Here are the opening few paragraphs:
Mal placed a hand on her mother’s forehead. Like a smithy’s furnace, a temperature raged.
“How is she?” her older brother Bryn asked, entering the bedroom.
“Worse than last night,” Mal said. Tears threatened to break loose. “We need the healer’s medicine.”
Bryn sighed. “How much do we have?”
“For Ma.” She’d do anything at this point.
“For Ma,” he echoed.
The streets of Low Town bustled like a hive as the sun rose above the looming apartment blocks. Horses dragged farmhand-laden wagons out to the fields surrounding the city. Fishermen in their leather boots and oiled coats trudged downhill to the docks, bracing themselves for another day on the Great River. Another stream of miserable footsteps headed toward the factories and chimneys of the Industrial Quarter, where already black smoke stained the azure sky.
“Where are we going?” Mal asked as they weaved between legs.