Runaway Wife Romance Part 4

runaway wife romance

If you missed them, here are Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 of this short story romance.

Countryside and Docks: Devrim

I still didn’t know what to think. My romance had ended before it began, and my wife disappeared without a trace. Although I had harbored worries that her family had taken her from me, their attitudes convinced me they shared my ignorance of her disappearance. 
“What if bandits took her into the wilderness?” Jennifer’s mother wailed into my shoulder. “We may never find her broken body!”
I patted her back awkwardly. A week after the wedding, we still stayed at the estate as our base of operations. I would hate to continue renting, but Franklin Fronth was a Lord and had seemingly unlimited resources. Which made his refusal to pay the dowry all the more infuriating. Of the family, only he might have had the motivation to take her away, but it seemed a trivial reason to do so. In fact, I’m sure he suspects me of foul play, so that I could have the dowry and then marry the mistress I’m sure he’s heard about. 
The sun shone down on us. The darkness inside the building was just too oppressing. 
“Devrim!” someone yelled out from across the yard, so I looked up. I saw Rene Fronth, Jennifer’s brother. He dressed with a feathered cap and colorful short cape, which made my own clothing seem drab in comparison. He beckoned me over, so I disengaged from his mother and ran over.
“Any word?” I asked when I reached him.
“No, no news. But I was talking to a friend and he mentioned that he had some goods imported from Felaronia coming in today and it got me thinking. What if, for whatever possible reason, she took a ship to Felaronia? I asked what day that ship would have gone to Octgard and he told me it was the day after the wedding. It’s not a real lead, but I think it is worth investigating, as we don’t have anything else to go on.”
I almost laughed out loud. Why in the world would shy Jennifer run off to Felaronia? It made no sense. Rene was looking in all the wrong places. I was about to reject his offer, but thought that it might instill resentment. In truth, I had nothing better to do and didn’t want his mother clinging to me. “Should we go down to the docks?” I asked, humoring him. 
Rene gave a nervous smile, unsure whether I approved or not. Let him guess.
We made our way over to the docks, a trip that took some time while winding our way through crowded, stinking streets. That’s why I hated Capital Mith. The ever present sun shining in my window of the carriage burned my skin in spite of the flimsy curtain I used to block it. My eye began to twitch and my mouth felt dry.
I didn’t feel like talking much during the ride. My thoughts wandered to Jennifer. Would I ever see her again? Was someone holding her captive? Was she waiting for me to come rescue her? What if she had been defiled? Then what would I do? So many scenarios floated through my mind, but none of them allowed the possibility that she was out of my reach forever.
I put on my hat when we stepped out of the carriage and onto the docks. Boats of all sizes filled the coast. I didn’t come from a coastal city, so I admit I didn’t know the difference between any of them, but Rene seemed to know where to go, so I followed him. The waves made a constant swooshing sound so annoying that I had to keep from shouting out in frustration.
He chose a large ship, random in my mind, and walked up the planks onto the ship. I followed him up but nearly toppled over when the ship shifted. Even on the deck, I felt a little dizzy. In the corner of my eye, I saw some people sniggering, but when I faced them, they looked away innocently. 
Rene found the captain, a wrinkled man who looked tired of life, and then started talking. I stayed back, observing. “Captain James, I have a few questions for you.”
“If you’re mad at me for taking away your wife, girlfriend, or sister, that’s not my problem. These women are adults and can make their own decisions. Several come back on their own accord.”
Never mind my first analysis. This man was just tired of answering the same question over and over again, always on the defensive. “Come, Rene, this is a waste of time.” I placed my hand on his shoulder, but he shrugged it off and continued talking to the captain.
“We just want to know if someone was on your most recent trip to Felaronia.”
“I don’t take names. Just coins. Easier for everyone that way.”
Rene looked flustered so I spoke up. “Jennifer Fronth. She’s tall, blond.” I wracked my mind for other descriptions of her, but failed to come up with anything. 
“She might have come with her friend, Mia, who’s shorter, darker hair, plump,” Rene added.
Captain James stood in a thoughtful pose, unfocused eyes looking back in time. “Yes, I think I might remember the pair. Didn’t talk too much with the other guests. Just kept to themselves.”
Because she was shy? But no, this couldn’t be them. Jennifer would never leave me to go to Felaronia, would she? 
“It must be them! Jenny’s safe!” Rene told me excitedly. He turned to the captain. “You did get there without any casualties, right?”
The captain rolled his eyes. “Of course, young lordling. So if you don’t mind, I have some work to get done.”
“I’m staying here,” I announced. 
“What?” both men asked me.
“Take me to Felaronia. I must find her and bring her back. I’ll wait here until the ship sets sail.”
“Are you sure?” Rene asked. “If she went to Felaronia, it was of her own will, and she won’t want to come back.”
“No, that can’t be it. Why would she flee from me if she doesn’t even know me? She wouldn’t reject a romance that hasn’t even started. Something else must be going on.” I wiped sweat from my forehead. The sun was turning my face red. 
The captain grinned. “Well, I would advise against this, but I can’t wait to see your face when you get back on my ship.”
I sneered. Who was he to judge me? I took out my purse and grabbed a few coins. “Just get me to Felaronia.”
Rene looked at me. “Are you sure about this?”
“Yes!” I snapped, because I knew I would get my romance back. He shook his head and started walking away.
The next day I set sail.

Runaway Wife Romance

runaway wife romance

Romance Book in Sage Eyes

Runaway wife romance

Not too long ago, I had the idea for a romance within the Sage Eyes universe. It will be a short story, but I feel like it could be fun to write, to keep up the creativity. I will be publishing it incrementally through this blog and Wattpad, and maybe give it away as an eBook once it’s completed, so come back and check for updates.

It is Jenny’s wedding day, but she doesn’t know the man she will marry. So on her wedding day, when she realizes she doesn’t want to live that kind of life, she decides to run away to Felaronia, a nation where the women are in control. 

Devrim, her newlywed husband, finds out about this and chooses to take back his wife himself. But his plan might not be as simple as he assumes. 

You can also check out other short stories here.

Runaway Wife Part 1

“Jennifer Fronth, Do you take Devrim Longstin as your husband and promise to remain faithful to him as long as you both live?”
I looked down at my husband-to-be, his unruly auburn hair just asking for me to lick my thumb and press it down. If I actually knew this man, I might have done just that, but this was the first time I had seen him up close. Even here, in the judgment hall, the lighting didn’t do anyone justice. How did I look to him?
My eyes flicked over to father, standing behind the judge with a grave smile on his face. How could he stand there, selling me short by giving me away to this young baron? As lord of House Filmore, he could have bargained me away to just about any bachelor in the realm. So why did he settle for this no-name? 
Mother at least wore some emotion on her face. Her red eyes spoke of tears of knowing this would be the last time we saw each other for possibly years. She knew what I would go through, although she married up, unlike me. 
My brothers Franklin and Rene didn’t even pay attention to my predicament, making eyes with girls in the audience. Older than me, they were still immature fools. But father wouldn’t compromise their status with low marriages. No, that punishment he reserved for his only daughter. 
In fact, they were eligible candidates for Princess Tiffany Blade, not that she seemed in any hurry to marry. But whoever she did marry would become heir to the kingdom. One of my brothers could become king, while I was being demoted to baroness. 
“Ahem,” Judge Corvin said, his eyes boring into me. I sighed. I would satisfy my father. If I tried to run now, he probably had a cohort of servants ready to drag me back and force me to say yes.
Feeling a pit in my stomach, I said, “I do.”  
Devrim gave a wry smile. What did that even mean? What thoughts, if any, swirled around in the head of this man I was tied to for the rest of my life? 
“You may now kiss the bride,” the judge said, scribbling something in that book of his. This was not how I pictured my wedding. 
Devrim took a step closer and angled his head upward, coming in for contact, his eyes closing. I turned my head away at the last moment so his wet lips got my cheek. His eyes flew open and he backed away, cheeks turning red. Father shook his head and sighed. He did that a lot around me. 
People in the audience looked around at each other, no one wanting to acknowledge what they saw. One by one, people started clapping, but it sounded more like the pitter patter of rain than the boom of thunder.
I molded my face into a passionless smile and waved to the crowd. My handmaid Mia, sitting on the front row, caught my eye and gave me a knowing look. At least she would be going with me to my new home. 
When together, people thought us the odd pair. A friendship of contrasts. Mia kept her dark hair short, cut just below the ears, while I had flowing golden locks. She a little plump, me a little skinny. She was short, I was tall. Taller than my groom, actually, and accented by the fact that I wore high heels. It’s not my fault no one told me he was half dwarf.
The wedding took place in the capital, neutral ground between our two territories, if you will. My father had rented an estate just outside of the city limits for the wedding party and then for Devrim and me to stay a few days before the move. We rode in a carriage to the estate, me staring out the window at the city passing me by. 
The celebration passed by without incident. My father provided a modest feast to acknowledge the first marriage of his children. Devrim chatted with him more than me. Maybe my refusal to hold his hand gave him the impression I didn’t want to talk. 
I dreaded having it end, since I would end up alone with him, giving my body to a man I had barely met. I got more nervous as time passed and at one point started drinking liberally of the wine provided.
Mia had to place a hand on my shoulder to get me to stop. Without words, I placed the glass down on the table. 
“We should get you changed before your big night, Jenny,” she said with forced enthusiasm, eying my white gown. 
I just slumped down.
“Come on,” Mia said, tugging me up. With a sigh, I stumbled up. All my training as a lady, how to walk in heels, how to hold myself with poise, how to breathe wearing a corset, it had all abandoned me with the wine. 
She took me to a room lined with velvet and sat me in front of a mirror after easing me out of my dress. Mother had given it to me years ago. I had loved it then, taking it out of my closet and admiring it, dreaming of the day I would be able to wear it. Well, that day had come and now I just wanted to scrub it off of me like dirt in a bath. 
I didn’t even notice the tears until Mia wiped my face. “Oh, it’s not that bad. You’ll be fine. And if worse comes to worse, you could always run off to Felaronia.” She chuckled.
My eyes snapped open. Maybe if I weren’t drunk I wouldn’t have taken the idea seriously. I shouldn’t have, just like Mia didn’t. But in that moment, fleeing to a land controlled by women seemed like my only hope. Still, I wasn’t so far gone that I gave Mia reason to suspect my inner machinations. Yet.
“You’ve been listening to the rumors,” I said. “What have you heard about him? You know, the juicy details.”
“Oh, you don’t want to know all the bad stuff. I’m sure he’s a great guy.”
“Tell me!” My hands flailed at her face.
Mia stepped back, unscathed but afraid. “The only bad thing I’ve heard is that he has a mistress. And if you think about it, that might not be so bad. If you’re not in the mood, he can always–”
“Let him keep his mistress,” I crowed. Now was time to reveal my master plan, the one I had been cooking up for all of two minutes in my head. “We’re going to Felaronia!”
“What?” Mia shrieked. “Are you crazy?”
“I have all my belongings packed. I have enough money to get me there. You were going to move with me, so we’re just changing the destination.”
“But the wedding, and your family, and…” Mia sputtered off. “You should have done this before getting married, you know.”
“Well, you should have suggested it before. Besides, does it count if it’s not consummated?”
Mia made a face. “I…I’m not even sure I want to know.”
I took her hand and forced her to look me in the eye. “Enough with the men controlling us. We’re going to make our own destiny.”
We both ended up giggling, holding back screams. Mia moved her eyes from one side to another. “Let’s do it!” she whispered mischievously. 
And so we grabbed our bags, hauled ourselves outside, and hailed a carriage to the docks of Capital Mith, just as the sun was beginning to set on this chapter of my life.
Tomorrow would begin a new one. 
 

Strong Female Character: Where They Go Wrong

Dance

I’m a man. I’ve never been a woman. But I like to write (hence this site). And my writing just happens to be set in a world where there are two sexes, men and women. In an effort to represent one half of the population, I have some female characters, several of whom I want to portray as a strong female character. Now the trick is, how do I write them well, not being a woman and unable to read minds?

I’m not the only one who struggles with this. Part of it is from a shift in society, where women have taken a larger role in the workforce, leadership, and getting an education. So the clamor is for a strong female character to be portrayed realistically, or at least how people want to see them portrayed.

Once upon a time, women were designated to roles such as damsel in distress, loving mother, or spiteful stepmother. Now that was pretty limiting, as they were all pretty passive. Even the fairy tales about women didn’t have them actually do anything. In Disney’s Cinderella, the mice did more for her than she did for herself. She was valued for her kindness, hard work, etc, but above all, for her beauty, something she was born with and didn’t earn. And of course, her stepmother was jealous of her, because of her old age and loss of beauty, and Cinderella’s beauty in contrast to her own daughters’, whose ugly faces resembled their personalities. Now we can look at that and see so many subtle but demeaning messages.

Today there is a hunger to see women in a much more active role, like Katniss in the Hunger Games or Rey in Star Wars. Instead of constantly being saved by a man, they can save others. Seems like a good thing, especially for girls who look to them as role models, right? For the most part, yes. But there are some scenarios where the strong female character isn’t done well. Here are a few categories:

The Sex Symbol

More used for the love interest of the male hero, but still can apply to protagonists. This is where the woman’s primary value comes from being beautiful, sexy, etc. Romance stories might have this, and female villains are often sexually manipulative. Video games, if they choose to have a girl as the playable character, will often do so just for the eye candy effect, not because having her as a woman changes the story in any way. But this doesn’t help the cause of women anywhere. Both boys and girls need to see that women are valuable for more than just their bodies. We, both men and women, can get so judgmental of someone for something they were born with and can’t completely control.

Male in a Female Body

This can overlap with the first point, especially in video games. But it is seen in other media as well. Basically, the protagonist acts, speaks, and thinks like a man, but has a woman’s body and is attracted to men. This caters to men again, giving them eye candy and someone they can easily understand as well. She’s usually a kick butt warrior, somewhat silent, and a loner, or at least pushes everyone away. She’s no nonsense, what men tend to value in other men, and skilled in some type of ‘masculine’ skill, usually fighting, sometimes mechanics or other similar fields. Pornography does this all the time, basically making a woman as lusty as the men who watch her. The problem with this portrayal is that the woman is only a woman superficially, with the outside body parts matching but the inside thinking and feeling completely divorced from how real woman think and feel. This sends the message that women can only be valuable if they imitate men and not for what makes them uniquely feminine.

The Mary Sue

The Mary Sue is perfect in everything. Rey from Star Wars gets accused of this, because she can suddenly wield a lightsaber and use the force as powerfully as Kylo Ren. The problem with this is that stories are inherently about growth, and if the protagonist is already perfect, then how can she grow? This portrayal is used because the writer is afraid that if the female protagonist has weaknesses, the writer will be accused of sexism. Or the writer just doesn’t know how to make a good protagonist. It’s all right for a hero to have some preexisting skills, otherwise they might be uninteresting, but they should still learn new things and struggle through difficult situations.

The Strong Female Character who doesn’t do anything

Sometimes an actual strong female character is put into a story. But if she’s a secondary character, she might not actually do anything to drive the plot. She’s just…there. Hiccup’s mom in How to Train Your Dragon, Trinity in the Matrix, Hope in Ant-Man, and others, they all have the skills to do whatever the hero does, but they have to sit back and do nothing, except maybe train the hero, because he’s the ‘Chosen One’ and she isn’t.

For more reading on this, check out this article.

The Enlightened Woman

This woman is ahead of her time, standing up against oppressive men because she was born for this century, not the 1800s. Unfortunately, while there have been women who have stood up to men in history, it is rare and was never as much as feminists these days would have liked. We are all products of our culture and can’t completely escape that. So those women in stories feel out of place. In a hundred years, people will look back at us and our culture and call us unenlightened and ignorant in how we treat and portray women.

Strong Female Character is now becoming a derisive term because it no better represents women than the old stories who dismissed them did. A truly strong female character has all the aspects of a real women, both the good  aspects like nurturing, communication, and intelligence, as well as the bad, like self doubt, not as physically strong as her male counterparts, and falling prey to her emotions. She doesn’t have all the answers, just like the rest of us in this world, nor is she born with all the skills she needs. She is, above all, a human being, with some facets of her personality influenced by her biology and the cultural expectations of whatever era she lives in. What makes a woman strong is refusing to let her weaknesses keep her from fulfilling her objective. In that aspect, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz is a strong female. She may not be a butt kicking warrior, but she unites people, defeats two witches, unmasks a phony, and leaves Oz just a little bit better.

Shouldn’t that be a good role model for girls?

 

Character Personality

Mary Personality

Personality Test

So over the weekend, I got some inspiration to go through the main characters in my story and take a personality test for each of them. It felt kind of late, since I’ve written my first book and don’t plan on making major changes. But it was fun, and will be useful for the next books.

I used the site 16personalities.com to test the character personalities, taking each test through the mind of each character. It was useful to get to know them better, a nice exercise that confirmed for the most part the personalities I had subconsciously planned for them. Still, there are those who don’t agree with the Myers-Briggs test, so you can take it for what it’s worth.

Of the thirteen characters I took a test for, some of them shared some personality traits, but there was still a good variety. Some of the results fit perfectly, others were more surprising, but fit in a way. And even those who shared personalities are still very different people in my book.

None of the characters had the exact same personality as me (the test had me as INTP, although years before I’ve tested as INTJ), so that could either be a good thing (I’m not projecting myself so much on all my characters) or a bad thing (I’m writing about personalities I know nothing about).

So without further ado, here are the personalities for my characters (according to Myer-Briggs):

Simon: ISTP (The Virtuoso)

ISTPs love to explore with their hands and their eyes, touching and examining the world around them with cool rationalism and spirited curiosity. People with this personality type are natural Makers, moving from project to project, building the useful and the superfluous for the fun of it, and learning from their environment as they go. Often mechanics and engineers, ISTPs find no greater joy than in getting their hands dirty pulling things apart and putting them back together, just a little bit better than they were before.

Tiffany: ESFJ (The Consul)

People who share the ESFJ personality type are, for lack of a better word, popular – which makes sense, given that it is also a very common personality type, making up twelve percent of the population. In high school, ESFJs are the cheerleaders and the quarterbacks, setting the tone, taking the spotlight and leading their teams forward to victory and fame. Later in life, ESFJs continue to enjoy supporting their friends and loved ones, organizing social gatherings and doing their best to make sure everyone is happy.

Mero: ENFP (The Campaigner)

The ENFP personality is a true free spirit. They are often the life of the party, but unlike Explorers, they are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others. Charming, independent, energetic and compassionate, the 7% of the population that they comprise can certainly be felt in any crowd.

Shiara: ISFJ (The Defender)

The ISFJ personality type is quite unique, as many of their qualities defy the definition of their individual traits. Though possessing the Feeling (F) trait, ISFJs have excellent analytical abilities; though Introverted (I), they have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships; and though they are a Judging (J) type, ISFJs are often receptive to change and new ideas. As with so many things, people with the ISFJ personality type are more than the sum of their parts, and it is the way they use these strengths that defines who they are.

Fey: ESFP (The Entertainer)

If anyone is to be found spontaneously breaking into song and dance, it is the ESFP personality type. ESFPs get caught up in the excitement of the moment, and want everyone else to feel that way, too. No other personality type is as generous with their time and energy as ESFPs when it comes to encouraging others, and no other personality type does it with such irresistible style.

Tenci: ENTP (The Debater)

The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil’s advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. Unlike their more determined Judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don’t do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it’s fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.

Mary: ESFP (The Entertainer)

If anyone is to be found spontaneously breaking into song and dance, it is the ESFP personality type. ESFPs get caught up in the excitement of the moment, and want everyone else to feel that way, too. No other personality type is as generous with their time and energy as ESFPs when it comes to encouraging others, and no other personality type does it with such irresistible style.

Mars: ESTJ (The Executive)

ESTJs are representatives of tradition and order, utilizing their understanding of what is right, wrong and socially acceptable to bring families and communities together. Embracing the values of honesty, dedication and dignity, people with the ESTJ personality type are valued for their clear advice and guidance, and they happily lead the way on difficult paths. Taking pride in bringing people together, ESTJs often take on roles as community organizers, working hard to bring everyone together in celebration of cherished local events, or in defense of the traditional values that hold families and communities together.

George: ENFJ (The Protagonist)

ENFJs are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. Forming around two percent of the population, they are oftentimes our politicians, our coaches and our teachers, reaching out and inspiring others to achieve and to do good in the world. With a natural confidence that begets influence, ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.

Korigon: ESTJ (The Executive)

ESTJs are representatives of tradition and order, utilizing their understanding of what is right, wrong and socially acceptable to bring families and communities together. Embracing the values of honesty, dedication and dignity, people with the ESTJ personality type are valued for their clear advice and guidance, and they happily lead the way on difficult paths. Taking pride in bringing people together, ESTJs often take on roles as community organizers, working hard to bring everyone together in celebration of cherished local events, or in defense of the traditional values that hold families and communities together.

Abel: ENFJ (The Protagonist)

ENFJs are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. Forming around two percent of the population, they are oftentimes our politicians, our coaches and our teachers, reaching out and inspiring others to achieve and to do good in the world. With a natural confidence that begets influence, ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.

Isabel: ESFJ (The Consul)

People who share the ESFJ personality type are, for lack of a better word, popular – which makes sense, given that it is also a very common personality type, making up twelve percent of the population. In high school, ESFJs are the cheerleaders and the quarterbacks, setting the tone, taking the spotlight and leading their teams forward to victory and fame. Later in life, ESFJs continue to enjoy supporting their friends and loved ones, organizing social gatherings and doing their best to make sure everyone is happy.

Horace: ENTP (The Debater)

The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil’s advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. Unlike their more determined Judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don’t do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it’s fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.