DAME JESSAMINE IRLESS OF FREEMONT
So what's this about, friend? Do you seek aid, justice, wrongs righted? Do you want to hear about the monsters I've slain, or noble folk I've rescued from—?
Oh. You have some questions? And you want me to answer truthfully? Well, that's not a request I get very often, friend. Come clean to the wrong people? You could be flogged for heresy. But you don't look like the type who'll rat me out to the authorities just for speaking my mind. I'll try my best.
Tell us about yourself. I'm a knight errant from Freemont—that's in Lord Turinger's space. I travel all over the galaxy seeking quests, mostly from people who have no one else to help them.
Tell us about your family. My parents are dead, and I have no siblings. My friends are my family these days. There's a beguinage in Prometheion where I received training and education. The beghards and beguines there are still good friends of mine, as are the other knights errant they've befriended over the years.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always believed I'd run the family inn. It would've been a pretty good deal, considering I could've ended up a peasant on some Lord's farm. But when it came time for me to take over, Lord Turinger's adepts made sure I wound up on the street instead. I was lucky my old friend Sir May was in town. He took me as his squire, and I never looked back.
What are you passionate about these days? Helping people however I can.
Where do you dream of traveling to and why? I do so much traveling as-is, the "dream" has worn off, but I still appreciate the fact that I have my own ship in good repair—mostly—and that as a knight errant, no one's going to infringe upon my right of free travel. Most people can't say they have either.
What do you think makes a good story? May taught me all about telling a good story. You have to play up the danger and stakes, then come to the rescue in the most dramatic way possible. The more you impress people, the more quests you're likely to get.
Do you have any special routines or rituals? No, of course not! Well, all right, one: whenever my ship comes in for a safe landing, I kiss my hand and pat her console in appreciation.
You just won a huge lottery. What is the first thing you'll buy? A huge what? Oh, money. If I suddenly ended up with insane amounts of money, I'd set aside however much I needed to live off of for the rest of my life, give or take a horrible accident. Then I'd be able to quest without having to seek rewards. The rest of the money could be put toward people's food, supplies, medicine, taxes, or whatever else they might be struggling to afford.
Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it? May was full of unsolicited advice, like "Don't bring silverware to a fancy dinner party." But hell, I’d feel naked without at least a dagger! It doesn’t much matter—I’ve never been invited to any noble gatherings, and I never will be.
ABOUT THE BOOK
by Ellis Morning
Dame Jessamine is a knight errant with a spaceship for a steed, a pupil of ancient science and technology who quests on behalf of the downtrodden. She's accustomed to forging her own path through the galaxy—until she's hijacked at sword-point and sent to investigate Nidaros, a remote barony known for bursts of rebellion.
In Nidaros, Jessamine finds a populace short on food and patience, innocents detained for torture, and a court trapped in a web of delusion. The Baron considers her a distraction. The magicians, convinced of a "curse," dismiss her pleas for rational action. Even as Jessamine forges an alliance with the soldiers, an unknown foe seeks to frame her as an agitator.
Stuck amid murderous intrigue and cut off from her mentors, Jessamine must figure out how to save Nidaros from starvation. But the only people who understand the true "curse" have been accused of witchcraft—and if Jessamine's not careful with her ancient knowledge, she'll join them in the dungeon!
Blood’s Force is Book 1 of the Sword and Starship series of science fiction/fantasy adventure.
At my strange accusation, Ingvar halted within the estate corridor as though he’d struck an invisible wall, staring at me in bloodless terror.
My glee never faltered. I stopped at his side, grinning. “What else do you think is full of it?”
He remained transfixed, probably not sure what to make of the bizarre tone accompanying my questions.
“Want me to go first? Gladly.” I bounced on my toes, giddy enough to illustrate the blasphemy I hoped to hear from him. “How about Master Ormyr pushing off important business to schmooze? How about Baron Tristan knuckling under because of Ormyr’s ‘magic’ drivel?”
“And what of knights errant, and the tripe ye peddle from one cesspool to the next?” Ingvar snapped. A scowl chased away his disconcertment. Annoyance restored the color to his face. “The only loyalty any of ye arse-head sellswords know is to your coin-purse! Ye serve no actual purpose short of bashing each other’s heads in and dazzling people with lies!” An accusing finger jabbed at my nose. “Your garbage may impress the others, but I’m wise to you! Pretending like ye’re the next coming of Zander. Skíta! If ye’d ever actually earned a shred of Lord Catherwood’s confidence, he’d have made you a proper knight in his service! Don’t know what ye’re supposed to be doing here, but damned if I’ll let you make things worse!”
At this welcome display of nerve and candor, I burst out laughing. Weak knees backpedaled me against a wall, where I doubled over, laughing until every assisting muscle ached and I struggled to breathe.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ellis has always loved staging adventures in her head before going to sleep each night. When she was twelve, she started putting these adventures on paper.
For the next twenty years, she wrote with varying degrees of seriousness, but always as a hobby. In that time, she fell in love with Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, the original Star Trek series, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Science fiction became her favorite domain to work in, but she also enjoyed reading fantasy, horror, Western, and detective stories, and incorporating their elements into her work. One of her favorite things to do was make people laugh.
Ellis denied being a writer for decades. But then she sold articles to The Daily WTF, and a short story to Analog Science Fiction and Fact. After quitting her full-time job to finish her first novel, it was time to own up to writing as her calling. She's currently an editor at The Daily WTF, and having the time of her life penning novels and short stories.
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