So, it’s late, I’m exhausted, and I have to get up at an ungodly hour in the morning to deal with plumbers and maintenance men, but I’ve been throwing around a scene from Khet that’s been stuck in my head for awhile now. Originally the scene was meant to take place only near the tail end of the first book, but because of how it sets up the story and the amount of dramatics involved, I’m also considering using it as a bit of a short prologue—like a teaser of what is to come.
Keep in mind it took me about 10 minutes to write and it’s in its first draft stages—I may even scrap it entirely at some point… but, eh. I felt like sharing because some day it probably will disappear, and I’ll be sad to see it go. Consider it Khet’s first baby step out of the outline.
Right now it’s probably way too formal, lacks dialogue, hasn’t been checked for sentence construction, punctuation, spelling, lacks all sense of context…or any of that other nifty stuff that final drafts require in order to live… but it’s a start.
Side note: my blog’s inability to display italics in a way that is in any way meaningful is frustrating.
Small, elegant hands gripped the polished bannister as if at any moment the world might flip over on its head and the gilded lords and ladies of the court would float up towards the ceiling like puffy-headed seeds drifting in the summer air. Maybe not drifting… plummeting, like baskets laden with overripe fruit.
She closed her eyes, focusing on the heavy thrumming of her heart racing beneath her breast; it too felt as if at any movement it might flutter off like a small bird and disappear into the thrum of the party below.
Breathe. She sucked in a trembling mouthful of air and would have laughed at the absurd sound had it come from any other source. She was drowning in this place, surrounded by the unfamiliar melodies and dances, the polite conversations that barely concealed hostility. She didn’t belong here.
She lifted her head to let her gaze rest on Solomon, his brow furrowed as he took a few urgent steps up the curved staircase in her direction.
Arielle. Feminine, delicate—it practically rolled off the tongue, and yet it seemed to latch on to her like a tick, laden with the blood of her family. There had never been a moment before when she’d so badly wanted to scream.
“I’m done.” The words were little more than an exhaled breath, quickly swallowed by the violins below. She pushed herself back from the railing and wobbling slightly on each foot, stepped back out of the uncomfortable high-heeled shoes they had insisted she wear.
Solomon was at her side in only a moment, but she kept her gaze on the party below as she reached up and snapped the golden rings from around her neck and let them fall to the stone-cut floor. They hit the hard surface with the tinkling of small bells as they rolled towards the stairs, bouncing with each step they descended.
“Arielle-“ Again Solomon spoke the cursed name, this time, a shrill urgency to his voice.
She continued to ignore him and unpinned her hair, pulling out the headband and the delicate golden pins their mother had loaned her. She held them out to him and when he refused to extend his hand, she grabbed his wrist, forcing them into his open palm.
“What are you doing?” He asked, his gaze searching the upper level, and then the lower one for any sign of backup.
She turned to him then, lifting the edge of her gossamer skirt from the floor. “Taking back my life.” Before he could protest, she stepped up onto the seat of a burgundy settee that sat to one side, its back against the balustrades, and then another until her bare feet balanced atop the bannister. One hand gripped the nearby support column, and she blew out another unsteady breath.
“Arielle?” The familiar timbre behind her caught her off guard, and she turned, her back to the room below, and faced the man who had been her undoing from the start. Leander.
She still remembered the look in his eyes the moment theirs had first met. Love, hope, joy, anger, fear… some of the feelings remained, written plainly across his face. Staring at him now, all she felt was numb.
“Get down.” It wasn’t an order—not this time. This time, it was a plea.
She shook her head. “Sorry.” She let go and felt the air rush up to embrace her as her last toe left the polished wood of the railing.