The Scent of Inkberries: #SoCS and #NaNoWriMo2017


“But let us return to the story.” She lifted a hand, fingers lightly closed. “Each of the Nine came to Mother, each sharing the same core of truth. Two daughters would be born.” She lifted a finger to give the words the weight of a list; another thing about her that had nay changed with time. “One would carry the blood of Tacivaar, and the other of Canivaar.” A second finger joined the first. This one bore the stains of her inkberries, minding Niaan of those nights when she would wake to the sound of Konii’s quills scratching away at vellum, or scraps of fabric paper Rachyl sometimes wove and bound into books for her. They had had long whispered talks, oftimes, about what Konii was learning in the archives, and what Niaan was learning in the Huntlands, and how it ever seemed more real than anything they were learning as part of Mother’s lessons.

That early closeness had faded, but the scent of inkberries, or their stain on the Mouse’s fingers and shift, was still enough to bring the memory of it surging, bringing warmth and trust –

“You have stopped listening, little sister.”

What do inkberries smell like?

What is the rest of this story?

Do you want to read more?

This stream-of-consciousness snippet was written for Among the Firestars, Volume Five (I think) of my epic fantasy Trueborn series-in-the-making, and my current NaNoWriMo novel-in-progress.


Meanwhile, in real life…

Well, as they say, nothing is written in ink, or in stone – including that people who married each other a little over 20 years ago will get to live to grow into old age together.

My husband has metastasized pancreatic cancer. The first suggestion of the realities to come was the day after our twentieth anniversary on August 23. He was having abdominal pains – sharp and shooting, and, after most of the day thinking maybe it had more to do with the rich dinner we’d had at the oyster bar the night before, we were finally concerned enough about the possibility of appendicitis that we headed to the emergency room.

An ultrasound revealed the culprit was likely his gall bladder, and that he might need to be more careful of rich or dairy foods. But there was also a spot on his liver “Probaby fatty tissue,” we were told, but it was recommended that he see his primary care physician sometime the next week to be sure.

He didn’t go. We were between insurance plans, money was tight as we were launching a small business, and he didn’t want to pile up bills that would make things even tighter. He decided to wait for his regular appointment a few weeks later.

But he wasn’t feeling great. Digestive issues became chronic. In the back of my mind, I worried. He was tired, and his belly hurt. When he saw his doctor, she confirmed a mass on the larger lobe of his liver, and he came home to tell me there would be a series of tests and treatments, starting with a colonoscopy, and ending with the surgical removal of the alleged fatty tissue.

A day or so before the Thursday colonoscopy, his leg started hurting. He limped out of the appointment. The pain didn’t abate, and it swelled. On Monday, he went to the emergent care, because he’d been told they had the equipment to do an ultrasound on the leg. They didn’t, so they sent him on to the emergency room – and, there, they diagnosed a deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot running the length of his leg.

Then there was the bloodwork, which showed proteins indicative of cancer in his blood. The ultrasound that showed the liver mass, and a node on his pancreas. The biopsy that showed pancreatic tissue in the liver mass. The diagnosis, and the prognosis: six to twelve months. Inoperable. Incurable. Radiation won’t help. Chemotherapy will give him maybe more time, and better quality of life. But it won’t cure this.

Only death will.

Things aren’t written in stone, or in ink. But maybe I can change that – find a way to use indelible ink to etch these last twenty years and however many months, weeks, days – maybe even years, if we get very lucky – into my soul.

Maybe ink isn’t needed. Maybe the indelibility is right here with us, in our children, in our home, in our minds and memories –

And in every moment we’re all still here, and living, and loving…


This post is my dip into Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where this week’s prompt is “ink.”

Read more SoCS posts right here.

Want to join in? Here are the rules.

Remains of the Last Supper of Our Old Normal, Aug. 23, 2017.



  1. Loved the snippet. Don’t so much love the rest of it. I am so so sorry for what you’re going through right now. I am glad you have this time to make as many more memories as possible. (((HUGS)))

  2. I’m so sorry for what you and your family are facing. I wish there were a way to make it easier. Barring that, I hope that you build and record happy, indelible memories together and treasure each moment you have.

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