Well, basically right now I'm doing what I do best when in a spot where the words just don't want to come: I'm procrastinating. Yep... 80k down and passed, and I finally feel like I've run out of steam. Well, not entirely. I'm trying desperately to continue writing off of the original draft and I only have four pages of it left to go... but my brain just yawns and says to me, "this is what you get for staying up so late last night to write when you should have been catching up on sleep." Yep, my brain is being mean to me.
But I'm still excited because I'm closer than ever to the end of the rewrite, and when I actually finish it I only have to run a Grammar check and ship it off. Queries and synopsis (and probably rejection letters :( ) await me when I'm done. And so, in honor of this exciting feeling, I've decided to post a snippet of Song of the Daystar and see what you guys think. Now, I'll warn you now it is not from my MC's pov (except for the very last part), but it is a piece that I was particularly fond of while writing it. See if you can guess why?
Tornic had never failed his king.
Clouds swathed the parapets in darkness and hid the moon away from sight. Tornic closed his eyes and drew in a breath. Lifting his face to the sky, his hand rested casually on his knife hilt.
Rain was coming.
He tilted his head and sniffed. The air smelled fresh like a mist cast over the plains in the morning. This would be a cleansing rain; a rain capable of washing away anything.
The thought flitted through his mind and then away again. He scowled. The boy knows the law, he argued, and he knows the penalty of breaking it. Young or not, his death will be his own fault, not mine.
But that wasn’t true and he knew it. Once done, the boy’s death would lay on his shoulders. The thought sent a shiver down his spine. He’d never been responsible for so young a life before; men, he could handle… He justified their deaths by the many years they had to commit their crimes. But a boy? What serious crime could one of fourteen possibly commit?
Tornic paused, looking down. The hilt of his knife felt cold and cruel in his hand, silver bound leather as heartless as ice.
His own son was almost that age. Why would someone knowingly risk his life for something as stupid as an invisible deity… a foolish religion?
He frowned. Have you gone soft now? He’s young, but he’s aware of his crime. He’s no better than the others; think of that. You’ve strung up hundreds of them, and this boy is no different.
Before he could change his mind, he pulled the knife from its sheath and slipped through the side door. His breath echoed in the passage beyond. He waited pressed up against the wall, letting his heart beat slow. When his eyes adjusted to the dark, he started down the way.
His conscious nagged at him again, but he pushed it away, ignoring the wrench in his heart.
The boy would die tonight.
He would die… because Tornic had never failed his king.
Garra peered around the corner, glancing to the door and the figure that stood before it. Just beyond the figure, large eyes glowing in the muffled moonlight, Ahji waited for the signal. Tornic opened the door. Garra sliced the air with two fingers and Ahji darted forward, slipping inside before the door closed again.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Garra slid from his hiding place and into the open, his dark cloak rendering him little more than a shadow to the guards on the parapets. The first part of the plan had gone smoothly.
Aimos followed behind him. “He’s gone then? He’s inside?”
Garra nodded. “He made it. He’ll try and keep Tornic confused until we can alert the Believers inside to guard Curron’s journey to the king. But Tornic isn’t stupid; I worry that he’ll catch on before too long.”
“Then what? We should go in there.” Aimos reached for the door, but Garra batted his hand away.
“Not yet!” he hissed. “Tornic may still be in the hall! Do you wish to get yourself killed? We must wait.”
But even Garra hated waiting. Where was Curron now? Tornic had free reign in the palace, and his men were everywhere. He’d know where Curron’s bedroom was; if the boy had gone back there… Garra pushed the thought away. Brigh had told him of Curron’s meeting with the king when the boy had gone to speak with Broxe; surely Brigh would keep the boy in sight until the meeting.
At last Garra reached for the door and slipped inside with Aimos close behind. No torches lit the passage. He pulled a knife from his belt and whispered, “Amrytha.” Purple light flared into existence over his palm. The halls were empty.
“Alright,” Garra whispered, “Where exactly are we?”
“What, don’t you know?”
“I came in through the root cellar; I have no idea where we are now.”
Aimos stepped forward, peering down the hall. “Well, as close as I can figure it, we’re in the servant’s passage to the well. The servants’ kitchen should be at the end of this hall, and after that their quarters. But my Brigh will be in the Head Kitchen, if I know anything, waiting for that boy to return.”
“Can you get us there?”
Aimos scoffed. “Course I can. Been here enough times to know. But there’s no hall off this one until after the servants’ quarters; you sure that furball’s got the general good and lost yet?”
“No,” Garra said, “But we can’t wait any longer.” He whispered something to the flame and it shrunk until it lit only a few feet in front of them at a time. Then he set off down the passage.
Curron jolted awake, shivering in his bed. The dream seemed so real…
Men stood in the hallways, naked swords gleaming in the torchlight. They scowled at him and raised their swords… But one man stepped out from the rest: the great soldier from the Mermaid’s Tale. The other’s backed away from him, cowering in fear. The great man lifted his heavy broadsword and smiled at Curron, sending chills down his spine.
“I do not fail my king,” he said, and brought the broadsword down…
Curron wiped perspiration from his brow. Darkness enveloped the room in a thick blanket. He slipped from the bed, working his way over to the chest where the Page’s outfit lay neatly folded. Only a sliver of half-shadowed moonlight slipped through the window, saving him the bruising he would've gotten from stumbling about his quarters in the dark. He wondered what time it was, but quickly changed again into the borrowed blue and silver livery. Lighting a candle on the chest’s lid, he glanced around the room one last time.
I hope this isn’t my last night to live and I actually get to see this room again, he thought. The dream flitted through his head and he shivered. His fingers sought out the Daystar’s pouch hidden once again under his uniform’s tunic. It could just be that I never come back.
Well, I don’t really have anybody to come back to.
He sighed and slipped out the door. Brigh would be waiting for him in the kitchen.
Song of the Daystar by Nichole J. White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.