The Rose Shield – Gannon

Rose Shield Gannon

You’ve met a few characters from my WIP, The Rose Shield, which I’m delighted to say is back in play after 6 solid months of editing other books. Here are some links to previous excerpts:

Catling, my six-yr-old protagonist on Hanging Day.
Whitt, her adopted brother, battling crajeks in the swamp.
Raker, the half-mad rafter who kicks off the series.

This is an intro to Gannon. He’s having a bad day.

Excerpt: The Rose Shield

Gannon woke in a cargo hold, his ankle manacled to an eyebolt in the rocking floor, his body weak as a feathered hatchling. He lay on his back, deep in a ship’s bowels, the vessel a seafaring hulk by the creaking and groaning as it smashed through the waves. Distant voices teased his ears along with a chorus of clanking metal and squabbling seawings.

The hold was dark, but not lightless. Crates and rough sacks crammed timber berths, strapped down with camgras ropes. Oily barrels perched in wooden frames to keep them from rolling. He needed food and water, and he stank to the stars.

He’d been captive in a ship’s hold before. Memories of his torture after the ambush in Mur-Vallis flooded his head. Panic broke out on his skin in a lurid sweat, and his heart leapt into a gallop. “Gah! Help! Ah. Get me out of here! Help! Let me go!” He thrashed the chain, kicked at a convenient crate, and shouted until a hatch cracked open and a spear of sunlight nearly blinded him.

A sturdy woman with chopped hair and a pickaxe nose climbed down the ladder. A scar wrinkled her upper lip, and her eyes shone in the dim light like chips of flint. She wore a black bodice and leggings, snugly fit and bordering on transparent. For ease of movement, a slit parted the front of her calf-length skirt, and her wide belt sported an assortment of bone-handled blades, none of them friendly. Though older than he and far from beautiful, she exuded an alluring confidence.

She was also Cull Tarr; he was shackled in a Cull Tarr ship.

Her hand dropped to her hip and she held up a key. “I won the wager.”

“Unchain me,” he demanded and shook his leg, clanking the chain. “Get this thing off me.”

“You might be dangerous.” Her eyes narrowed, lips turned up in a mocking smile.

“You’re delusional if you think I can slay you all and seize the ship?”

“Probably so. Still, why risk it?”

His heartbeat slowed its pace, and he stopped rattling his irons. “I give you my oath.”

“Ellegeans break oaths. They broke faith with the Founders.” She considered the key. “However, I’ll accept your word. If you break it, I’ll slice you up and feed you to the sea.”

He didn’t doubt she would. She knelt by his ankle and unbolted the lock.

“What wager did you win?” he asked, rubbing his ankle.

“I gambled on your life.” She hung the key on a nail “We found a sack of poisons on your boat. The others figured you for dead. If you didn’t wake up today, we planned to toss you overboard.”

“I’m glad you won.” He sat up and almost fell over. “I need food and a bath.”

“I’ll feed and water you, and give you a bucket.” She stood up and offered him a hand. “Maybe a fresh pair of trousers. You stink like a grounder’s shithole.”

He grabbed her hand, grateful for the help and unsteady on his feet. The ship’s roll did nothing to pacify the queasy swill in his stomach. “My respects.” He held onto the corner of a crate and managed a crooked bow. “I’m Gannon.”

“No fancy little surname?”

He shook his head. “Just Gannon.”

“A pity.” She shrugged and swung toward the ladder. “I’d hoped to ransom you. We’ll talk when you smell better.”

“Who are you?” He staggered after her.

“Emer Tilkon of the Wandering Swan. Shipmaster to the likes of you.”

91 thoughts on “The Rose Shield – Gannon

  1. Ack! Love this one, too! Fantastic characters. Well, done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steph McCoy says:

    Diana you are so gifted. With each of these tantalizing bits I feel like I’m there. The sounds, sights and smells are so real through your descriptions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] a six-year-old with a rose birthmark around her eye Whitt, the boy battling crajeks in the swamp Gannon, captive in the belly of the Wandering […]


  4. Morgan says:

    Captivating great wonderful read I loved it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. reocochran says:

    The character of Gannon seems like from a different clan. Unless I read them one after another, Diana, I tend to separate them.
    **The idea of a woman, Emer, being a shipmaster, is so empowering!
    Only, as I read this detailed description did I think about how the persons kept captive in a ship’s hold would stink, and why. I like that you clarified this; without actually describing the process.
    The photo and its showing Gannon with trimmed hair and beard didn’t create the swarthy, unruly look your description and my image of him would portray. I really liked your newest piece of the WIP. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I couldn’t find the perfect photo, Robin. The guy in the image is way too clean! Ha ha. I love how you pick up little things from the scene. There will be more to come 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        I hold my breath thinking, “How dare you to make a constructive criticism, Robin!?” This is a master of writing who knows what she is doing. 🙂 You make the writing “fledglings” feel comfortable to comment, dear friend. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh goodness, Robin. Feel free to give constructive criticism! I’m just winging my way through this like everyone else and always eager for feedback. And you’re always so nice about it 🙂 ❤


  6. inesephoto says:

    These two characters make an interesting duo 🙂 Love the intro, look forward to more!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. dgkaye says:

    You do know how to captivate a reader with your rich descriptions and intrigue Diana. I’d say Gannon’s day is likely to get worse. We’ll have to just read the book now! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m hooked! (And a little seasick…) 😳

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Powerful writing, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Oh my goodness — he is having a bad day! 😀 I really enjoy these tidbits, Diana. I love the title, the concept, the characters. Mega hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I really like this and want to know what happens! Always a pleasure to read! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  12. balroop2013 says:

    Each time you share an extract with us Diana, you endear yourself to your readers, inspire and demonstrate how well you can create characters and dialogues! That also creates a natural pull towards your work. Love the clever play of words. Thank you dear friend for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  13. This is an excellent way to introduce your characters.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Purpleanais says:

    I am an awful blogger, who reads and likes… but doesn’t comment enough. As mentioned above, this is indeed lovely writing accompanied by an obviously very rich imagination – I do really mean that, and I’m sorry I don’t say it enough.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Great intro to Gannon, Diana! Wonderful scene-setting, and I’m curious how things will go with the Shipmaster. She seems like one tough cookie, but I suspect she has a soft spot somewhere under that rough exterior. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Steven Baird says:

    Terrific writing, D. Very engaging!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Ali Isaac says:

    That’s an intriguing little excerpt. Gannon is not having a good day, but from the sounds of it, it could have been a lot worse. She sounds like a fascinating character!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for the visit, Ali. This is near the end of the first book. I get to develop the shipmaster further in the next two and I’m looking forward to it. She’s a bit cutthroat, but I’m not sure I’m going to kill her off. Maybe Gannon will get some payback. Writing is so fun! Have a great weekend my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Sounds like the start of a great adventure for your character, Diana. He’s another good-looking guy. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reading, Suzanne. I picture Gannon a little less rugged looking, but this picture wasn’t bad. It’s impossible to find the images that match those in our heads, but fun to try. Have a great weekend and happy writing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tough enough to find a still to illustrate a character – imagine the struggles of casting directors trying to please both director and author for a moving version. On top of that, they have to be able to act!

        Your writing is so filmic, my thoughts immediately turned to movies. Still behind in my neuroscience reads, I rarely have time for fiction these days — but I must admit you have me hooked. I’ll be back.
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
        – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
        “It takes a village to transform a world!”

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thanks Madelyn. Funny you should say that since all I’m doing is writing down the film that flickering through my head! 😀 I’m glad you’re hooked. Have a wonderful weekend!

          Liked by 1 person

          • You too. I spend most of my summer weekends indoors, praying for the relief of autumn and eager for the snow I’ll be yearning to be replaced by crocus blossoms 🙂 (I’ve always been convinced I have been snatched from a planet with a more temperate climate.)

            Interesting to hear that you create filmically – it comes through in your writing style, obviously, as you pull us into the Movie in your Mind (a reference to a song title from a B’way show I saw but cannot name).

            Liked by 2 people

      • That picture wasn’t bad at all. Unless a person is a sketch artist like the hostess of Friday Fictioneers,, Rochelle, it’s hard to get exactly what you want. You can come darn close, though. You and yours have a great weekend also. I know your writing is happy. 🙂 — Suzanne

        Liked by 3 people

  19. You’ve got my interest. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Al Lane says:

    I love the extracts you share with us. Wonderful writing ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Love it. I could feel the ship, the waves and unfortunately smell Gannon…

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Your descriptive language is wonderful! “Stank to the stars,” “pickaxe nose…” Very well done!

    Liked by 4 people

  23. Diana, thank you again for sharing your artistry with us. My life is richer because of it. Your ability to describe so much in such a short space has opened my eyes to a world of sensitivity overlooked. Deep appreciation and admiration are yours.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Frank, for the lovely comment. The imagination is a pretty fun place to hang out 🙂 As George RR Martin says, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” Happy Reading, my friend.

      Liked by 2 people

  24. Captivating! I love the colorful descriptions, too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Antonia says:

    Lovely piece Diana! One of my favorites: “bone-handled blades, none of them friendly.”

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Heartafire says:

    This is truly wonderful writing D!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Shipmaster…from a Wordmaster. ☺

    Liked by 3 people

  28. C.E.Robinson says:

    Diana, love the strong dialogue, and the vivid description. It’s as if I’m there! 💛 Elizabeth

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Love the strength in that last line, Diana. Makes the whole lot work great.

    Liked by 2 people

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