TITLE: AND WE ARE ALL DAMNED
GENRE: YA gaslamp fantasy
“As Raymond would have wanted,” Veanne said, clinking her clay mug to her brother’s. She took an inexperienced mouthful of foamy pine cider and burped, immediately pleased by the chance to be improper.
“Bless you,” said Haeden.
“‘Bless you’ is for sneezes,” she replied, pinching his arm. Veanne took another sip, smaller this time, and admired the mirror behind the bar, etched with climbing ivy and forget-me-nots. At the top, a pillar and scroll clock sat, wooden dial stopped at the doctor’s time of death.
Veanne’s heart sunk in her chest. The aromatic scent of brandy and hops was a warm reminder of the man who had raised her and Haeden as his own.
She slid off her bonnet, even though she knew her ears were still red, and toyed with her curls, attempting to arrange them into some sort of acceptable shape. Without her hat, the bustle of the alehouse streamed louder and more chaotic. It was a welcomed distraction.
Peasants made up the majority of space and noise, happier away from the cold scrutiny of the upper class. Few of Haeden and Veanne’s age, and those that were carried steaming cups of coffee and mulled wine to patrons. Extra hands hired by the Vintner.
In the center of the house, a pair of familiar faces invited the siblings over.
“Welcome, young bantlings,” cheered Seamus Hartwell, pulling out a chair. “Here, have a seat.”
“Thank you,” said Veanne, accepting.
Haeden followed her lead.
“Put your stampers up,” added Deri Wren.