My name is Allegiance Simm, and I’m a fictional character.
It’s actually a lot of fun. I get to hang out with a whole bunch of other characters from about five different books. We have our own little space inside The Author’s mind. And since all authors are a little bit on the odd side, nothing here is normal.
Not that there’s such a thing as normal.
Take today for example. We’re all playing an extreme version of Capture the Flag. (By “extreme,” I mean that weapons are involved, and my sister’s best friend almost got his eye gouged out.) I’m on a defensive unit with three other people--an Irish girl named Alynn, her brother Tarin, and this really pretty girl from a strange culture named Selah.
Selah grabs her spear and thrusts it in the air, her fancy sleeves fluttering. “Stand firm,” she shouts, “for they prepare for another attack!”
I’m pretty sure she’s convinced this is actual war.
“The blasted gomeys don’t give us a break, do they?” Alynn asks. Fighting back advancing rebels with a wooden sword is pretty energy-consuming, especially when one of them is my sister Alliance. The two of them were engaged in hand-to-hand combat for fifteen minutes during the last attack, before Alliance got yelled at to retreat. I’m 98% sure she’s coming back to finish her battle.
Tarin’s running all over the place, gathering things to shoot with his slingshot. “I’ll help you, Alynn!” he declares. “It’ll be like David and Goliath!”
“Just so long as Alliance doesn’t get her head chopped off,” Alynn mutters. She has a cute, sing-song accent that I love listening to. “Allegiance, take care of her!”
“It won’t be easy!” I warn, jamming a clip into my automatic Nerf rifle. “Alliance is the toughest in Cornerstone Military Academy!”
Alynn doesn’t get to answer, because we’re rushed by a swarm of enemy soldiers. I send a sweeping storm of bullets raining across them, but it doesn’t even slow them down. They’ve got shields. They block. One pioneer guy gets hit in the crotch and falls. He’s the only casualty.
“Selah!” I cry.
I still can’t see how Selah can move without stepping on her pretty, flowing green dress that makes her look like a wood nymph. But she can put up a pretty good fight with her spear. She hits three people, but not Alliance. Alynn intercepts her just before she gets to our flag, and they’re fighting.
Their books are set in parallel universes, and about 2,500 years apart, but Alynn and Alliance are somehow evenly matched. It helps that Alliance doesn’t have her bulletproof cloak, or her special armor and comm link, or that her double-edged quarterstaff got replaced with a piece of wood.
“So, you’re used to fightin’ in hot places, are you?” Alynn asks. “You’d not last a day on St. Anne’s Cleft. The wind’s cold enough to freeze you half to death.”
“And you’d die in the Gobi Desert,” Alliance retorts.
Alynn’s sword clangs against Alliance’s quarterstaff, and I’m not sure who to root for. They’re both panting and red-faced, but Alynn especially, because Alliance has spent the better part of her life in a military academy. I shoot at her, but she blocks all my bullets with her shield.
“Don’t be a defector!” Alliance shouts at me. I aim for her face, but she blocks again.
Suddenly, I hear a cry in Gaelic, and Alynn’s little brother Tarin shoots his slingshot with all his might. Alliance only has two hands. She can’t block me, block Tarin, and fight Alynn all at once, but she tries. She spins around, only for Alynn to bring her sword down on her neck.
“Alliance has been defeated!” Selah shouts. She stabs one last attacker with her rubber spearhead. Almost immediately, a red-headed girl flies across the boundary line with two defenders hot on her heels.
“We’ve won!” she shouts with a Scottish brogue, and everyone on our team cheers. Alynn takes Tarin into her sweating arms, and Selah shouts something in her language. I cheer, too, before I see that Alliance isn’t moving. Every ounce of sisterly affection in me boils until I hear myself screaming her name and running to her side.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.