Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Dark Chocolatorium of the Thirteen Santas



Cover by Mark Melnick for Annie McAndrews's National Novel Writing Month contribution The Dark Chocolatorium of the Thirteen Santas:

As a ward of the monks of Antrum, Coll knew he was expected to learn charity, humility, and the making of the fine chocolates that are the monks' livelihood. He never expected to discover a highly illegal automaton on the doorstep.

The monks, usually quick to investigate things Unknown, show no curiosity at all about the mechanical monstrosity. But Coll is certain they know more than they’re saying. His search for answers the monks won’t give leads him to the Duchy’s most notorious sky pirates, the Shrike and the Dove, who aren’t in the business of “something for nothing”. But their price seems so reasonable – carry just one little message – that he goes along. Too late, he learns that the message concerned the ransom of the Duke’s son; that the Duke responds to such things in force; and that there were in fact more smuggled automatons - a whole army’s worth, now marching against the Duke’s Own.

With pirates fighting soldiers fighting automatons fighting monks through the streets, Coll’s easiest course would be to creep away before the Duke's Own arrest him or the automatons march right over him. But he still doesn’t know who’s loyal and who’s lying. And he’s not about to leave while a riddle like that remains Unknown.
You can see more NaNOWriMo covers here.

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