Awhile back, in response to reader requests for a big fat Ethshar book, I wrote Stone Unturned, which merged multiple planned stories into a single novel.
The thing is, in addition to the stories of Morvash, Pender, Darissa, Marek, Hakin, Karitha, Tarker, and the rest, it included a very minor character in just a scene or two who caught my interest -- Sharra the Petty, a.k.a. Sharra the Charming. I realized she must have a backstory, and I wondered what happened to her after those scenes in Stone Unturned.
So I wrote her story, and here it is.
Sharra stared at her husband in angry confusion. "What do you think you're doing?" she demanded.
He stuffed the last three tunics into the duffel. "I'm leaving," he said, as he tugged at the drawstrings. "I'll be sleeping in my shop until I can find someplace else."
"What do you mean, you're leaving? You can't leave!"
Dulzan hoisted the bag onto his shoulder. "Yes, Sharra, I can. You can have the house, and I'll send over a share of my money, but I am leaving you, and I hope I never see you again."
"But we're married! You love me! You can't go!"
"We're married, yes, but I visited the magistrate this morning, and a year and a day from now we won't be. I don't love you -- I'm not sure I ever did, but I certainly don't now. And I can do as I please, so I am going and I won't be back."
She stepped into the doorway, blocking his path. "I won't let you go! You're my husband, and you belong here."
He let out a deep sigh. "Sharra, I am leaving. I have had more than enough of your demands and constant quarreling. After more than twenty years, I'm done. I am not going to spend the rest of my life listening to you."
"Is there someone else?" she demanded. "Another woman? I don't mind if you want to marry someone else, I know it isn't fashionable to have multiple wives, but I'd rather have that than see you leave -- I'd still be the senior even if she's the one in your bed. I could cope with it. Please, Dulzan!"
"There isn't anyone else, Sharra -- not yet, anyway."
"Is it that Tanna? Terrek's daughter?"
"There isn't anyone else, Sharra!"
"But then why do you want to leave me?"
"For one thing, because you won't shut up. For another, because you're constantly nitpicking, and demanding, and unhappy. When was the last time you laughed? Do you even remember how to laugh?"
"Of course I do! I laughed when that ninny Thed the Younger fell off the Fishertown pier!"
"He almost drowned."
"But he looked so ridiculous!"
"Goodbye, Sharra." He pushed her aside and marched out of the bedroom.
She followed him down the stairs, still pleading, and out onto the front steps, but there she stopped. She did not want to let the neighbors see them fighting. She watched as Dulzan strolled down Straight South Street, looking not the least bit troubled by either the bundle on his shoulder or the fact that he was deserting his wife. In fact, there was a bounce in his step she had not seen in years, and she thought she even heard him humming.
How could he do this to her? Worst of all, why did he look happy about it?
- Copyright 2022 by Lawrence Watt Evans.
- To be published in ebook and trade paperback by Wildside Press
That's it; here's your list of handy exits: