It’s been a while since I proved I was working. So here is a little bit of my current Work In Progress to keep you warm for the weekend!
A burst of applause made her jump, and Viyella realized that her mother had reached the end of her speech. When the noise died down, the Queen announced, “And now to Gaia’s bountiful feast, while we enjoy the entertainment graciously provided us by my sister Queen, Saline of Kadoomun, and brought here by the Lady Ashwin of Seat Jinn.”
Her mother inclined her head in the direction of a frail looking young woman seated at the same table as Lady Ilene. Next to her was a tall, thin Lord Consort, dressed in the white and gold of Kadoomun’s Court, which clashed with his bright red hair. Viyella smothered a laugh and was surprised to find that his bright green stare sought her out in seconds.
I hope he didn’t hear that. Cheeks burning, she turned her attention to the slender young man who had stepped into the open space left between the stairs to the throne and the tables. His entire body glittered with gold dust and he wore loose white pantaloons that billowed around his ankles. The musicians began the soft strains of a folk song that made Viyella think of running through the high grass of the lands in front of the Court, and the boy began to move, sinuous as wheat in the wind.
Entranced, Viyella leaned forward, aware that everyone in the Court had grown silent, captivated by the dipping movements of the golden arms, and the strength in the flashing golden ankles. More than once, she caught the eye of the dancer–Did he smile at me?–and sometimes she held her breath as he twirled like thistledown in spring, or leaped high, like Dagens at play. In that endless, powerful moment, she knew immediately she wanted to be a dancer and hold the emotions of others in the palms of her skillful hands.
When the dance ended, the thunderous applause seemed to lift the roof higher to the heavens. Everyone stood, some calling down blessings on the anonymous boy. The Lord Consort of Kadoomun looked around, a strangely satisfied look on his face.
“Wonderful, simply wonderful,” Viyella heard her mother breathe, and below that, the murmur of agreement from her father. She continued to clap her hands together, ignoring the stinging that had set in. The boy bowed deeply to the throne, and then his head raised and his pale eyes settled on Viyella.
Come. The voice twisted around her mind, seeped into her muscles. Come. Viyella gasped and trembled before the power of the plea; she tried to form a thought and failed.
Something clanged to her right. She sensed Dagen turn his head to the sound, and Captain Freehold moved to investigate it. Dimly, she acknowledged that she was moving toward the stairs, still clapping.
“Viyella?” Her mother’s voice sounded far, far away, drowned out by the whispered plea. Come to me.
Something glimmered by the boy’s right hand. He’s holding a candle? A torch? It did not matter. All that mattered was that she obey. She started to walk faster, her small feet almost tripping on the final stair.
The boy raised his arm, still smiling, the glimmering thing beginning to take shape now.
The thought slammed into her, smashing the command in her mind like glass. Dagen? A shout carried across the Court. She groaned, holding her head and dropped to her knees. Something went by over her head in a rush of wind, the force so great it tilted her back and to one side. She was forced to put out her hand to steady herself. She twisted, blinking, and felt her mind clearing, sunlight breaking through mist. Dagen stood on the stairs, arm back over his shoulder with his sword raised for the throw–but then Viyella saw her mother and that was when she screamed.
Her mother was staring, bewildered, at the silver spear jutting out of her stomach. She touched her hand to it gently. Then, red blooming on her pink sari, Queen Elise crumpled to the floor.
Have a great weekend!
Stay thirsty, my friends 😉