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"What's It All About?" For
Song of the Lioness quartet
The Immortals quartet
Protector of the Small quartet
Beka Cooper series
The Circle of Magic quartet
The Circle Opens quartet
THE WILL OF THE EMPRESS novel
MELTING STONES original audiobook and novel
Anthologies, Short Stories, Collections and Articles:
Young Warriors: Stories of Strength anthology, edited by Tamora Pierce & Josepha Sherman
Network for Good - links to nonprofits aiding victims of Hurricane Katrina (including animal rescue)
Excerpt from CIRCLE OF MAGIC: Sandry's Book
Finding a spot where people wouldn't bump her, Sandry eyed the buildings around the square nearby: Summersea Guildhall, Provost's Hall, Traders' Hall. The Guildhall in particular was very fine, with statues of craftsmen tucked in niches around the first story. She was about to go have a closer look when a dog's yelp, followed by human laughter, got her attention. Looking around, she saw an alley where six boys, fairly well-dressed, were bent over something.
"Stop that!" she cried. Running over, she seized a boy. "How dare you!"
Her captive--a big youth in a green tunic--slammed her, knocking her onto a pile of refuse. Scrambling to her feet, Sandry hit another lad. He tried to kick her, but managed somehow to tangle his foot in her skirt. Grabbing his ankle, she twisted, dumping him onto his back. She seized his neighbor, trying to drag him away from the others. That boy caught one of her braids, and yanked hard. With a scream that was as much rage as pain, Sandry bit his arm. He yelled, and punched her in the stomach.
Hearing a commotion, Daja looked around. Briar was still talking to the ragged boys; Tris was bargaining for a book. Where was Sandry?
"Bullies!" she heard a familiar voice cry. "Oafs! Torturing an animal--"
"Get out of here!" yelled someone at the square's edge. A small figure went flying away from a group of boys, to hit a wall.
Daja gripped her staff tightly and ran to Sandry's aid.
The boy who had thrown Sandry against the wall wasn't done with her. As he raised a fist, something hard walloped him across the shoulders. He spun around to face a black girl nearly his own height, equipped with a Trader's staff.
He swung at her. From the ground, Sandry kicked at the backs of his knees; Daja rammed the head of the staff into his midriff. He went down hard, rolling into a clump of horse manure.
"Behind you!" Sandry cried to her friend.
Daja thanked the luck-gods that her uncles insisted she learn a few staff tricks very well. Putting the weapon between arm and side, she drove the smooth wood into the air behind her until it hit someone hard. He yelped. She turned, and banged him on the side of the neck, making him retreat. Three more town boys waded in.
"Ho, it's a tumble," one of Briar's new acquaintances remarked. "Town girls, too. Not bad, for town girls."
"Th' one's Trader," noted the other street rat. "Trader staff, anyways."
Briar turned to look: the "town" girl was Sandry. What was he supposed to do, rescue her and Daja? Because they lived together, did that make them his gang?
He sighed. He did owe Sandry for yesterday, and in Deadman's District, debts always had to be paid sooner than later.
Besides, it looked like a good fight, against plump merchant boys. With a nod to the street rats, he ran to help the girls.
He took the enemy by surprise, kicking Green Tunic between the legs from behind. As another boy swung on him, Briar ducked. Gripping the enemy's arm, he twisted it up behind him, and shoved him into a boy who was trying to rise from a manure pile.
Daja whacked a boy with her staff. Sandry, on the ground, yanked at the breeches of a boy who waited to get at Briar, pulling them around his knees. When he stumbled and fell, she wriggled by. There, at the mouth of the alley, was the shivering, blood-streaked ball of fur that had cried in pain. Grabbing the puppy, she hugged it to her.
"Town-lads!" cried Green Tunic, who seemed to be the leader. "Town-lads, to me!"
"None of that!" Briar rammed him in the stomach, knocking the air from the larger boy's lungs. "You do your own fighting!"
At the bookseller's, Tris tucked her purchase into a pocket and looked for the others. When she spotted them, she began to tremble. Fights meant pain and getting in trouble. She hated getting hurt.
Daja was in the thick of it, laying about her with her staff like a woman beating carpets she didn't like. Briar darted from one enemy to the next, doing quick things that made them bellow and curse. There was Sandry, lobbing a brown mass that she'd scooped from the gutter into one boy's face.
More youths ran by, intent on the fight. They outnumbered Tris's housemates, and most of them were bigger, as well. She suddenly had an image of the embroidered wall hanging that Sandry had given her so casually. It was a beautiful thing. In twilight, she'd found, the needlework birds almost seemed alive.
If she helped, the boys would hurt her: that had happened to her before. Frantic, she looked around for a constable or any other adult who might break things up. Instead, the alley where the fight was drew her eyes. At its far end she could see the blue-gray waters of Summersea harbor.
She wasn't sure what happened next. Her mind broke free of panic, like a kite that had just caught the wind. Air bore her up, as it had the first time that she had tried meditation, and carried her to the harbor. Drawing her mind close, concentrating on a small patch of water, she drew it up with an invisible bucket. She would bring it to the town boys, to cool them off.
A rude hand grabbed her shoulder and whipped her around, breaking her concentration. "Out of my way!" snapped a youth as he shoved her aside.
Confused, Tris shook her head, and turned until she could see harbor and alley again. On the docks, in full view, a waterspout--a water cyclone--twirled like a very thin top. The boy had spun her, and she had spun her seawater. "Uh-oh," she whispered.
When it was ten feet tall, the waterspout jumped free of the dock. Wobbling, it advanced down the alley, pulling crates, garbage and gutter-muck into itself as it came.
"Excuse me?" Tris ran toward the fight. "I think you should stop--"
No one heard. The waterspout caught up with a pair of boys. Grabbing them, it spat them against the alley walls. A third boy turned, and was seized head-first. He rose nearly seven feet before the spout dumped him.
Daja, Briar and Sandry couldn't see the alley--they were around the corner, in the main square. There a youth raised his hands to block Daja's staff: she switched its angle, and knocked his feet from under him. Briar twisted a boy's nose, then fell back until he and Daja guarded Sandry and the pup. Carefully, the three of them backed up. Three town youths followed.
A watery cyclone sprang from the alley. The town boys, not knowing what came at them from the rear, saw shock in their foe's eyes. "That's the oldest trick there is!" Green Tunic jeered. He sported the beginning of a black eye. His partner, with two swollen lips, laughed harshly. Only the third youth turned to look--then ran. The spout gulped the other two, spun them rapidly a few times, then spat them onto the cobbles of the square.
Copyright 1997 by Tamora Pierce, all rights reserved. Published by Scholastic Press.
all site content copyright Tamora Pierce except where noted