And, yes, I'm going to be doing more plot-important snippets. I feel that it's only fair after all of the fact plot twists that I shared on that April Fool's joke. Some of these snippets I HAVE shared before, elsewhere, but I love sharing.
Also, in writing news, I finished The Seven Drawers on Tuesday! 15,000 words! In less than two months! This is the fastest that I have EVER taken a book from concept to completion. There is a bit of a scene that I'm considering adding to the end, but ... for now, the story is done, which means that, for the first time, I WILL be able to enter the Rooglewood contest.
(Now I'm wondering if I should go ahead and write the second idea that I have spinning around in my head - Red as Snow. We shall see.)
Art Credit: Hannah Rogers
One evening, when Adrian was, as usual, in the library hoping for a chance to meet with his sister, he heard giggling.
It wasn’t terribly unusual. The library was popular for stolen meetings between lovers. Yet Adrian was bored, so he unconsciously wandered towards the giggling.
As he expected, he found a young couple just a few shelves down. They seemed to be about Adrian’s age, perhaps a bit older, and both wore expensive clothing. He wore a number of finely-crafted weapons. She, an array of jewelry that didn’t strictly go together. He was whispering in her ear, hands trailing through her long, frizzy, brown hair. She was the one giggling.
Adrian was about to back away and leave them to it when her head shot up and she locked eyes with him. All mirth instantly vanished, and even her lover removed his hands and backed away.
There was no guilt in either of them, however, as Adrian was accustomed to seeing in the couples that he had caught in similar situations.
“Adrian, there you are,” the girl said, in a thick accent. “Your mother said that we were likely to find you here.”
“My mother…” Adrian repeated. “You know about me? You know who I am?”
The girl’s lips twisted into a smile. “Adrian, I was there for your birth. Besides, you are the image of your father, and there is no mistaking.”
Adrian drew back. “You were … but you can’t be much older than I am, if that.”“I am flattered by your kind words, but in truth, I am much older than I look,” the woman responded. “My husband and I have seen the passing of nearly three thousand years. I was there for your birth, yes, and I was there for the birth of this very world.”
“You’re…” Adrian took a step back, realizing who this couple was. He swallowed down fear and awe. “The immortal king and queen.”
- The Worth of a King.
“I don’t remember there being deserts in Rizkaland.”
Reuben opened his eyes at Rich’s words. Sure enough, orange sand stretched away as far as the eye could see.
“Rintae Isle,” said Andrew. “It had been settled during your reign, but the inhabitants only really came to our attention during mine and Clara’s. Caused quite a bit of trouble, and was the reason I missed most of Clara’s first pregnancy.”
“Ah,” said Rich. “So do you have any idea where we are?”
Andrew glanced about, his hand brushing the hilt of his sword. “In the middle of the desert. There aren’t any landmarks in sight, even less ones that I recognize. A better question would be when are we. How long has it been since our last visit?”
“Maybe you arrived before,” Laura suggested, mischievously. For some reason – probably because she had helped focus his mind after Petra disappeared – Reuben could actually feel the girl’s mind.
“Did we?” asked Clara, her voice even, lighthearted, but Reuben saw that she tightened her hold on Andrew's arm.
Laura gave a small giggle. “We are about five hundred years after Reuben, Petra, and their siblings left at the end of their reign.”
“That would mean that it’s a thousand and five hundred since ours,” Andrew observed.
“Well, if math serves, that would be correct,” Laura confirmed.
- Love and Memory
“Thing is, I’m not quite sure how to reward the two of you,” Arthur continued. “I mean, there’s the usual money and honors and all … but, I don’t know, it just feels way too impersonal to me. I’d like to reward the two of you in ways that are unique to you. So, I’d like to know, here and now, what you two would like – and, so long as it’s within reason and my power to grant, I’ll see what I can do.”
“So … anything?” asked Leo, leaning forward.
“Anything within my power and within my power to grant,” Arthur repeated. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid that I can’t set you up with half my kingdom or grant nobility. I think that’s a bit of a stretch for just friendship.”
“Oh, but I could have really used half your kingdom,” said Leo, leaning back, forcing a cocky grin and a bit of a laugh. Seriously, though. Maybe he’d be a bit less unlucky if he had that behind him.
Shira leveled a glare at him, but Arthur just laughed. “I’m sorry, but I only have half the kingdom to begin with, so … are there any other wishes that I can grant?”
Arthur shifted his attention to Leo. “What about you? Since you can’t have half the kingdom, is there anything else that you’d like?”
It would be so easy to throw on a grin, quip something smart-alecky. A small sum of money would be fine enough … but it was it what Leo really wanted? No. It wasn’t.
Even as he threw on his carefree grin, it turned into a frown and he glanced away from the prince.
“No…” he said. “What I want … it isn’t in your power. You already said that you can’t grant me nobility.”
“Not for me,” said Leo, leaning forward. “Not entirely, at least. I could care less about the power and prestige and all. That’s all just a big mess of annoyance. But I’d be willing to put up with it … for her.”
“Her?” Shira repeated, her voice feather-soft.
Leo shrugged. “Yeah. Her.” He stood. “I don’t want to talk about it. If you want details, you could ask Prince Eric – he knows. Tell him it happened two years ago if you need to jog his memory. Just know … without a title … actually that’s why I’m here.”
With that, he left the room, not even waiting to be dismissed.
- The Quest for the Quince
She jerked her attention to the menu she held in her hands. “Ah, yes, what do I want. Food, that’s for certain. I want food…”
“She’ll have a taco salad, Italian dressing,” Jeremy interrupted, even as she flipped through the menu. “Chicken for the meat.”
“Will that be all?” the waiter asked.
“For now,” Jeremy answered.
And the waiter was gone before Jennifer could form any sort of protest. So she turned to Jeremy instead. “Maybe I didn’t want a taco salad!”
“And maybe pigs can fly,” Jeremy returned. “You’d have spent the next fifteen minutes heming and hawing over your options, and you still would have gone with your safe option of a taco salad.”
Jennifer ducked her head, endeavoring to not give him the satisfaction of a smile. “Well, you’d better be glad that I like taco salads.”
“Precisely, that’s why I ordered it for you.” Jeremy dipped a chip into his bowl of hot sauce, nearly yellow it had so much butter, and crunched it loudly.
She just shook her head.
- The Seven Drawers
“Ah, good, you’re dressed for adventure,” Eric said, sizing Robin up as Meg took the braid back.
Robin glanced down at her lap, running a hand over the leather of her pants. “We don’t have anything important planned for today, so I figured that I might as well dress comfortably.” Her eye followed him as he sat down on the sofa across from her. “I notice that you’re not in your royal finery either today.”
He grinned. “So, we’ve not had a moment to each other since we arrived here, and I really feel that there are some things that we need to talk about before we actually make it to the alter tomorrow.”
“Are these things going to … change anything?” Robin asked, tilting her head to the side and being rewarded by a sharp tug on her hair. She straightened immediately.
“Hopefully not, but it will largely depend on you,” Eric answered, a bit of his grin fading. He leaned back. “I need to know if you’re okay with it yet.”
Robin blinked. “Okay with what?”
“After I … didn’t propose to you, you said that you that you thought that you would be okay with marrying me, but you certainly didn’t seem to be then, and I frankly can’t tell if that’s changed.” Eric leaned forward, eyes boring into her. “I don’t feel comfortable marrying you if your heart’s not in it.”
Robin closed her eyes and released a long sigh, fighting every impulse to run – to grab her sword and challenge to a duel. Fighting was so much easier than discussing her conflicted emotions.
Unfortunately, Meg had a tight hold of her hair, and she wasn’t going anywhere.
“I’m still not sure,” she admitted. “But if it makes you feel better, I’m not okay with not marrying you, either. I do know that.”
She opened her eyes to see that Eric’s eyebrow was arched.
“Do you need to have it postponed until you can sort these conflicted emotions out?”
“No, no,” she shook her head violently, even despite Meg’s protest. “Putting it off will make it worse – it’ll give me more time to overthink, to second-guess myself. Logically, I know that you’re my best marriage option – even politically. You love me, even despite all of my flaws. My gut says to marry you, and I think my heart’s in agreement – the way you can set it pounding has to count for something.”
“Yet you’re still not okay with it?”
She managed a weak smile. “I spent eleven years looking for reasons to hate you. Old habits die hard. Even though my mind, heart, and instincts all agree, none will admit that, and each is arguing with the others as to why they’re wrong. I think that the only way that I’m going to get them to talk to each other civilly is to actually marry you.”
- Do You Take This Quest Revision.