Christmas Wish List: What Choices We Made

What Choices We Made
Fantasy short stories by Sandy Lender

Available at


Sample from the short story “Enara’s Choice” in What Choices We Made:
Enara’s Choice
From the History of Onweald ca. 200
By Sandy Lender

Seven thousand years before Chariss was born with the mark of The Protector, Enara of Hleo-burgh scooped a turtle up off the sand and carried it toward the surf. Any passerby would have thought she’d picked up a precious artifact the way she cupped it carefully, holding it securely around its plastron and carapace so that its miniature struggles didn’t knock it from her hands.
But there were no passersby this morning. All the important men in the township were still snug in their beds after the night’s long wedding ball. And all the servants busily prepared a wedding feast and a wedding chamber and a wedding ceremony and, last but most hideous to her, a wedding hall in a warlord’s castle.
She shuddered as she stepped onto the beach, but it wasn’t the Meredore’s breeze lifting her auburn locks from her shoulders that sent a chill through her body. No, the summer winds were welcome and warm like the sand on her bare toes. Her involuntary shudder was revulsion. She hated someone. And today she would marry him. Tonight she’d accept one of his warrior’s children.
Not all Geasa’n had the ability known as prophecy. Enara hated it. She’d seen horrors beyond belief, and knew what her descendents would be asked to endure because of the power they’d be granted through her line. She knew which of her future daughters would have the geasa as well, which would prophesy despair for the ones to come after, which would make the choices for the betterment of Onweald, and which would fail.
“It’s not fair to any of us,” she whispered, placing a soft kiss on the turtle’s head.
With a sigh, she stepped into the surf and lowered the turtle down, not caring that her skirts became heavy with the slopping tide. The creature continued its flying motions in the water, and as she released her hold, it swam away, flitting crazily off where the force of the tide would take it. She watched as it disappeared among the waves buffeting one another, wondering how it could ever come up for air.
“Be safe, little one,” she said, and her spelled words encompassed the creature, her geasa wrapping around his tiny body under the water, weaving protection around him like a perfect piece of armor. Because she was a member of the Geasa’n, and a powerful one at that, her gift to the little animal was phenomenal, and even the gods in Mahriket took note.
“I wish I could swim free,” she whispered after the turtle.
She stood knee-deep in the warm waters of the Meredore, letting the tide suck at her legs as it flowed outward, listening to the crash of waves off to her side for several minutes. It occurred to her that she could swim free as the baby turtles did. It occurred to her that she could walk down to the harbor and charter any one of the shipping vessels to take her away to Bellan.
Instead, she looked down at her bare feet under the water and watched the sand slowly seep over her toes.
“I can save you right now, Eowere,” she whispered to no one.
She lifted her head, lifted her hands, held her arms outstretched from her sides as if embracing the horizon ahead of her and let the weight of her auburn tresses pull her head back to scream at the morning sky, “I can save you right now, Chariss! I can choose for you, my daughter!”
But no tears accompanied her outburst. She’d already cried until her eyes were as gray as dawn before a thunderstorm. Instead, she let her arms fall back to her sides and dropped down into the water. The thought drifted through her mind that she could drown herself.
Now tears came and sobs racked her body as they had done so often during the weeks that she’d known of her impending marriage. How could anyone be awake and watching her on the shore?
The person splashed into the water and crossed the tide to her. She felt a fellow Geasa’n’s long fingers take hold of her arms. “Enara, I’ve just returned from the greatest place to tell you the greatest news and I find you like this? What’s wrong?”

A short bio about Fantasy Author Sandy Lender

Fantasy enthusiasts will recognize Sandy Lender as the author of the breakout novel Choices Meant for Gods in 2007, but she began writing stories when she first learned to string words together on the page. As a child, she entertained the folks in her great grandmother’s apartment building in Southern Illinois with tales of squeaky spiders and mice picking berries, and then won contests and awards with short stories and writing projects as she moved through the elementary and high school systems all over the St. Louis area.

It was apparent that a career in journalism was her calling, and she found herself proofreading, editing, and (finally) writing for trade publications after she graduated from Truman State University in Missouri. Now she serves in the magazine publishing field during the day and writes fiction at night, keeping house in Southwest Florida where her love of sea turtles and all things related to the ocean waters keeps her imagination growing.


  1. Hi there, Jo!
    Thank you for including this lovely chapbook What Choices We Made in your Christmas wish list. Amazon priced it nicely for folks who want to get familiar with the writing style of Sandy Lender before diving into the novels that the short stories support so it makes a grand stocking stuffer. Thank you for helping get the word out! Have a wonderful holiday, my dear!

    Sandy Lender
    "Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

  2. Thank you for the post. It gave me something important to think about.


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