What Choices We Made--Short Stories from the History of Onweald, Volume II
The men and monsters who shaped Onweald politics left epic tales in their wake. Dive into the legends that make up the history of the Choices series.
As a special treat for Choices readers, this volume includes the love story of Ella and Rohne. A stand-alone novella that newcomers to the series can enjoy, The Influential Love Story of Ella and Rohne offers suspense, horror, action, fantasy, and a sweet romance when an opinionated young lady faces her future—and a feisty god.
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The Mirror Scene
From “The Influential Love Story of Ella and Rohne,” a novella w/in the short story collection:
That evening, Ella stared at the reflection of three nannies and a lesser goddess fussing over her in a more-than-oversized mirror. It astonished her that a craftsman had considered any woman vain enough to require a mirror that could so easily accommodate five busy images. In her nervous mind, she started to correct herself.
These women weren’t nannies, although they performed many of the nanny-like duties Cahnna had so recently performed. They were more like ladies in waiting. Hair dressers. Seamstresses.
And the lesser goddess Mia wasn’t fussing over her the way the three members of nobility were. Mia served as a sort of mother hen, clucking an order here, an order there, to be sure the ladies made Ella a perfect portrait of the bride of The Master Rothahn.
“I’d love to know what thread of thought you’re weaving,” Mia said.
Ella smiled into the mirror at Mia’s image. “I was thinking this is an enormous mirror. I’ve never seen something so…so…”
“Grand?” Mia supplied.
“Well, yes, it is grand, but it seems quite wasted on me. I hardly need something so large to look at my own image.”
Ella thought she saw a look of approval in Mia’s countenance.
“I know this, my dear. But Rohne is fond of excess. He’s used to the goddesses around here requiring excess.”
“I’m sure He will learn more of me as we spend more time together. But what can I do with this huge mirror? I feel self-conscious with it even in my chamber. It speaks of vanity and self-involvement that I don’t feel.”
“We could get a sheet to cover it,” Mia suggested.
Without thinking, Ella said, “We could give it to Katarina.”
One of the ladies trussing up Ella’s hair choked holding back a laugh. One of the others quickly excused herself and scooted behind an ornate changing screen to cough strangely. The oldest of the three exchanged a wry smile with Mia and said, “That sounds like a lovely gesture from the new queen of Mahriket.”
Mia shushed the woman as the coughing fit behind the changing screen increased.
Ella winked at Mia’s image in the mirror and received a surprised gasp in return.
Suggested Book Club Questions
In the introduction to Flash Flood, Sandy Lender mentions that one of Onweald’s most troubling social issues rears its ugly head in the story. What is Onweald’s problem? Where else have you seen evidence of this problem?
What kind of conclusions can you draw about the character Abigail Farrier based on the poem she’s written for a married man?
Could you relate to any of the young persons in these short stories? Which one did you identify with or want to reach out and hug? Why?
In the story Lyric Learns a Lesson, the new girl in Treown thinks she’s teaching Lyric a lesson about gift-giving. What lesson(s) do you think Lyric really learned that day? Who do you think is a true friend to Lyric?
In the novella The Influential Love Story of Ella and Rohne, General Hrent Jentol seems all too eager to let his daughter—the only living memory of the wife he loved so dearly—go off to Mahriket with The Master Rothahn. Why do you suppose he’s so willing to part with her?
In the novella The Influential Love Story of Ella and Rohne, Ella displays a level of courage when she has to. Do you think Mia influences Ella unfairly or unjustly when using her power (her geasa) to set aside the young girl’s grief and worries? Do you think Ella would have recovered and become a courageous member of society in Mahriket on her own? Why do you think the way you do? What clues do you have to support your opinion?
If you are a reader of the Choices novels, does the epilogue to The Influential Love Story of Ella and Rohne help you with Kora Rothahn Taiman’s history? How?