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And Now For Our Most Pink-Haired Cookie

It's the ninth and we all know what that means: the arbitrarily chosen day of the month that I pass out cookies from The Demon's Surrender! This month of March is the month of Mae, as previous months have been the months of Jamie, Nick and Alan.

I hope you will enjoy. It was hard to find a snippet for Mae that was not full of devastating spoilers. She is a plotlicious lady.


She’d only glanced over, in time to see Alan reach up to fetch down a scroll for Mae on a high shelf, but when she looked back Nick was gone, silently as if direct light had hit a shadow.

She did a swift scan of the crowd, used to picking out one face in an audience, and of course saw Nick beside Alan and Mae. Mae scowled up at him and Nick leaned against the stall and in towards Mae, whispering something in her ear.

Mae’s face turned thoughtful as he spoke. After a moment she nodded briefly, and slipped out from between the stall and Nick’s body, setting off purposefully through the Market. Alan stayed behind, a book open in his hand.

He did not look after Mae and Nick, but everybody else did.

Everybody saw Nick at Mae’s back like a shadow that could not be dispersed, a dark sentinel, like the bodyguard to a queen.

Everybody saw Mae moving through the Market. With every step she took the lights nearest her flared into brilliance, the difference as great as if stars were blooming into suns above her head. The light around her hair spread and shone, as if every moment a new golden crown was being placed on her head, a succession of hundreds and hundreds of crowns.

Sin had taken the night off from dancing to make herself seem like the leader of the Market.

The demon had thrown his support behind her rival, undone all her efforts, let Mae shine and let everyone know his power was at her command.

Sin had no idea how to match this.

*

The Market was winding down, Sin on the ground directing the people unwinding the wires that held up their lanterns and curtains from around the trees.

“Careful with that,” she called up to one of her dancers. “Break a beacon lamp and we’ll never hear the end of it. Coil up the wire: we’ve got to stow all this away.”

She slid her hands to the base of her spine and arched, feeling her back pop and crack a little in a way that said she would be feeling all this tomorrow. She was only going to get a couple of hours’ sleep and then it would be time to wake the kids and bring them to school.

“Hi,” Mae’s voice said behind her, and Sin straightened her shoulders despite her back hurting. “Haven’t seen you around a lot tonight.”

“Hope your fourth Market was a good one,” Sin said, keeping her voice warm and the fact Sin herself had been part of more than a hundred Markets implicit.

Mae’s eyebrows rose, obviously taking Sin’s meaning. She always stood a little combatively, short but filling as much space as she could. Currently her arms were crossed and her elbows sticking out.

“It was, thanks,” she said, her voice slightly stiff. Then she uncrossed her arms and reached out, putting one hand on Sin’s arm. Sin looked down at Mae’s hand, very pale on Sin’s skin, her nails painted bright turquoise. “Look, Sin. I don’t want Merris to succeed in setting us at each others’ throats.”

Sin looked down at her, and remembered that Mae’s mother was gone, and as far as she could see Mae’s father and brother were out of the picture as well. Mae was staying with her Aunt Edith in London to be near all of them.

“I don’t want that either,” Sin answered slowly, the words sticking in her throat. “I would have welcomed you to the Goblin Market. You know that. But I can’t – I won’t welcome you into my place.”

“I can’t stop trying for it,” Mae said. “This thing, with Celeste’s pearl. I want it.” She swallowed and continued. “But if you get it before me, I swear I’ll do everything I can to help you. You’ll be my leader, too.”

Sin couldn’t say Mae would be her leader. She couldn’t even contemplate that happening. But Mae’s hand was gripping her arm tight, and she’d liked Mae from almost the first moment.

“Thanks,” she said awkwardly. “I appreciate that.”

She usually felt energized by the Market, glowing with all the small victories of the night and filled with new purpose. Not tonight. She summoned up a wicked smile for Mae anyway.

“I like the pigtails you’re working tonight,” she told her, and thought of Mae laughing at the book stall with Alan. “Anyone interesting around?”

Mae shrugged. “My pigtails are not the irresistible mantraps you might think.” She let her hand drop from Sin’s arm, but grinned up at her. “It must be kind of awesome. Being – well, you know.”

“No, tell me,” Sin coaxed, amused.

“Well, being completely gorgeous,” Mae said, and went a bit pink. “You could have anyone you wanted. You wouldn’t even have to try.”

Sin thought about the boys at school and the guys on the street who bothered her because they thought black girls were exotic and easy and not to be taken seriously. It wasn’t something she could turn off, not entirely, so it was something she’d learned to use.

She thought about getting up at six in the morning to stand outside in the raw air, mist lying clammy on the grass, and shave her legs using a basin and some cold water. She’d fixed her hair, hung the lanterns, planned the dancers’ performances and costumes, and now the Market was being packed up and all her success was fading away with the morning. She had tried everything she knew, and she had not even been able to charm Alan Ryves.

Not that she cared about that.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “But it’s not easy.”

Mae rubbed at her face, the only sign she’d given to show she might be just as tired as Sin was. “What is?”

“You’ve got a point,” Sin told her, and felt relaxed enough with Mae to give her a sideways hug before she made for her wagon, already thinking of the luxury of crawling in between soft sheets, the kids breathing slow and steady on either side of her.

She found Matthias the piper sitting on her front step, turning his pipe over and over between his hands.

“Sin,” he said, rising gracefully to meet her. “You did well tonight.”

“Thanks.”

“Not your fault you were outdone.”

Sin refused to lose ground in front of a pied piper, so she made herself smile. “You say the sweetest things.”

“She’s a clever girl, that Mae,” Matthias said. “Maybe a bit too clever. You know she’s been murmuring about a possible spy at the Goblin Market.”

Sin made a face. It was just another of Mae’s hundreds of ideas, like that of making profit and loss sheets, or inviting necromancers and pied pipers to travel with the Market.

“Maybe she’s looking for an excuse if the magicians seem like they know too much, and someone wonders where they got the information,” Matthias said. “I heard from a little bird that she’s been seen talking to people from the Aventurine Circle.”

The sleepiness cleared from Sin’s mind suddenly. She was very aware of Matthias’s watchful dark eyes, waiting for her reaction, of the cold grass around her ankles, and of the familiar weight of her knives against her back.

“Do you have any proof?”

“If I had any proof, I’d have brought it,” Matthias said. “You Market people may not think much of the pipers, and we may think you’re a little set in your ways, but neither of us want a leader beholden to magicians, do we?”

Sin’s mouth shaped the word No though she did not say it, simply watching Matthias. She’d trusted Mae. She didn’t know if she could trust the piper: they were all mercurial and strange, valuing singing more than speaking, music more than the faces of those they loved.

But if there was any possibility this was true, she could not afford to ignore it.

“Imagine the advantage she has, if the magicians are helping her,” Matthias said. “She could beat you. Imagine what would happen to the Market then.”

Sin licked her lips. “Any ideas on what I should do?”

“We saw the magicians down by the river near Southwark Cathedral,” Matthias said. “Maybe you should go check the place out for yourself.”

Sin nodded, slowly. “Thank you.”

“One more thing?”

Matthias walked lightly as all the pipers did, noiseless and barely stirring the grass with his passage. He brushed by her on his way down the hill and his voice hit her ear like the music of the Market, beautiful and sinister.

“Watch your back.”


If this cookie makes you think you would like to read an advance copy of the Demon's Surrender, you could always enter the Promotion Notion competition.

Also now the four main character cookies are done, I must think of what to do with the remaining cookies. Minor characters? Action scenes? Kissin' scenes? A musical number? Your thoughts as always are welcomed!

Comments

( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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(no subject) - sarahtales - Mar. 9th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
mimicre
Mar. 9th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness this may be my favorite cookie yet. I mean, I think that about every cookie as it is revealed, but the ladies here. They are magnificent!
sarahtales
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC)
I am always glad to hear of love for the ladies. ;)
ionaonie
Mar. 9th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
I can't for the book to be out *marks days off calender*

I'm mightily curious as to what the musical number you speak of could consist *ponders*
thegreatmissjj
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
Dude, your novel has a musical number? I WANTS IT NEXT. ;)

This cookie REALLY isn't helping my book lust any.
pixie_hollow
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
ahhhh dying for this book!!

and personally- I am always up for a kissing scene :D
intrikate88
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I love the dynamic between Mae and Sin. I can't wait to read the book!
sarahtales
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
Yay, Misfits ladies! And I am fond of my ladies, too.
wednesdayschild
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
Not reading the cookies (I want to savour the whole book once it's out!) but wanted to say that your Mae icon is making me even more anticipatory. I love this series <3
sarahtales
Mar. 10th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you.
bwlrgrl300
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
A muscial number! That would be sweet. LOL. Is it June yet?
heatherwpetty
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
Kissing scene, kissing scene, kissing scene <-- my new mantra until next month. :)

Also, SO EXCITED for Sin's POV.
elucreh
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
WAIT, STOP, HOLD EVERYTHING: THERE'S A MUSICAL NUMBER?
(Anonymous)
Mar. 29th, 2011 04:59 am (UTC)
THIS. SO MUCH.
itcamefromjapan
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
OH MAN. This cookie is all kinds of intriguing and delightful - though I'm pretty sure I went into it already a little bit in love because it's a MAE COOKIE and Mae is my very special favorite. ♥

I can't wait for the book to come out.
sarahtales
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
I am pleased Mae did not let you down. :)
issuegirls
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)
Ahh! Mae is awesome! How is Mae so awesome? Much as I love Nick and Alan and Jamie, after The Demon's Covenant, Mae is totally my favourite.

But she now has competition and I'm wondering if, after The Demon's Surrender, Sin will be my favourite. MAYBE I CAN HAVE TWO FAVOURITES. Or, you know, five. *bites lip*

Edited at 2011-03-09 08:31 pm (UTC)
sarahtales
Mar. 10th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
The ladies always get less love, so I am thrilled they get yours. ;) We shall see on the favourites front!
(Deleted comment)
tralaraloro
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
13 hours in the university coming back home at 9 and looking like i might be a demon myself but at least I'll go to bed with a great mae&Nick cookie! great timing!
lisakawall.blogspot.com
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
I like that Gerald once gave a big speech to Alan saying how Nick's magic couldn't do something subtle or beautiful. He said it in the same speech he used to tell Alan how Nick couldn't love him.

And now we see that Nick *can* do one of those aforementioned things. Interesting.

Your magic is also subtle, Sarah. :)

~Lisa
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(no subject) - sarahtales - Mar. 9th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
m_a_foxfire
Mar. 9th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
Mae and Sin are unspeakably incredible and I love love love that their semi-rivalry for leadership isn't destroying their friendship - I get the sense that it could, but they're just too awesome to let it.
badblood
Mar. 9th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
Oh Sin, you are the most perfect lady to ever be perfect. Loved her and Mae's interaction and am looking forward to more of that coming in the book!

also, my vote for kissing scenes ;)
(Anonymous)
Mar. 9th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
Amazing cookie! I cannot wait for The Demon's Surrender, and it was great to see the lovely, spunky, strong Mae...my vote is for a musical number, that would be fabulously entertaining ;)
rockinlibrarian
Mar. 9th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
I decided I wasn't reading any more cookies... BUT if you DO SERIOUSLY have a musical number, I so totally want you to post that one next. And I WILL make an exception and read it ahead of time. And if you DON'T actually have a musical number in Surrender, do you have any plans for putting them into future projects? I am all for it!
sparrow_wings
Mar. 9th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
Mae! Sin! Mae and Sin at the same time! :D I love the way the competition between them is unfolding.

MUSICAL NUMBER! You could sing it! In a voice post!

the_glow_worm
Mar. 9th, 2011 11:58 pm (UTC)
The next cookie? Can we have an action scene? Preferably with at least one awesome lady :D
azurelunatic
Mar. 10th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
Hooray Mae! Hooray Sin! (Hooray people wanting to punch other people in the face!)
zumie_ashlen
Mar. 10th, 2011 01:24 am (UTC)
My favorite cookie yet! I have missed Mae so very much! And I'm glad it's not them fighting, though I couldn't see you writing them just as rivals anyway.

Also I'd love a cookie with the demons, as a thought--Anzu or especially Liannan. :)
hollyxu
Mar. 10th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
A musical number? I am excite. :DDD
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