Okay, so mostly I’ve been making tacos and taking full advantage of my boyfriend’s Netflix account, but I have been writing, which means regular blogging won’t be far away!
I’m still just barely getting back to blogging at the moment, but hopefully I’ll have some posts coming up as I become better at time management.
To prove I’ve been writing, here is an excerpt from my current work in progress, Let Down Your Hair. This is just a random bit from the middle of the book (currently stands at 43,000 words, so the first draft is about a third done). Feel free to critique as this is only a first draft… Hopefully it won’t take too long to get it to the second.
The first guests for the ball had started to arrive randomly one day, making a clatter in the courtyard and distracting Enona’s lesson as a party made their way down the the terrifying path that lead to the top of the cliff. She had trailed off mid-sentence to watch their progression from the tower window. At first, the group had just seemed like a shadow descending from above, but then the sound of echoing laughter reached her. She moved to the window and gripped the sill until her knuckles turned white.
“I suppose this concludes our lesson, Your Highness.” Enona’s tutor was a young man who was quite afraid of her. She couldn’t hold an interesting conversation with him without him becoming spooked and stuttering like a fool, so she had stopped trying and went through their lessons as a mute, not voicing the question of why she needed to know about the mistresses of the lords in Nytram.
Kyald came through as the tutor left, wrapped his arms around her and gently pulling her away from the window. “Are you worried?”
Enona nodded, not looking away from the party’s descent. From their clothing, she could tell that one traveller was a lady and two lords accompanied her as well as a handful of guards and servants. It was the lady’s laugh that reached her in the tower, delightedly giggling and pointing at the castle below.
“Don’t be. Everyone will love you.” Kyald kissed her forehead. “Why don’t I ask Soren to bring us food? You don’t have to eat with everyone else if you’re not feeling up to it.”
“No, that’s okay. I want to see Nahla.”
Kyald stepped away from her. “I see. I’ll leave you to get ready.”
Enona left her room a few minutes later. Kyald escorted her to lunch silently.
“Are you mad at me?”
“Why would I be?” Kyald asked. He didn’t say more.
Enona took her seat next to Nahla and waited for Irver to arrive so they could start. The hall was mostly empty–many of their guests had yet to arrive–and the chatter was subdued until the doors to the hall burst open to reveal a woman in a red riding gown.
“I’m starving!” The women grabbed an apple off the table and bit in eagerly, motioning for her companions to take a seat. “Where’s Irver?”
“We were waiting on the king to start.” Lady Roza stood and snatched the apple from the lady’s hands.
“Now ladies, no need to fight,” Irver said as he entered the hall with his guards. “I’m here. No need to be so formal, we’re all family here.”
The woman snatched the apple back and locked eyes with Enona as she turned. “You’re to be our new queen, aren’t you?”
“Yes.” Enona looked to the king for help, but he had turned away to take his seat.
“Lady Amori Adler, at your service. I’m to be your new lady-in-waiting.” She curtsied and came around to sit on the empty seat at Enona’s left. Her hair was brown and pulled back into a braid and her face was plain and honest. She smelled like horses and sweat.
“How do you do?”
“So polite! I know I smell, I’m sorry. When I heard it was time for lunch I couldn’t resist.”
Enona again looked around for help, but no one was there to tell her how to proceed. She watched as two men joined the meal at a lower table, one of them being the wizard Al-heed. The other man must have been a wizard as well.
“Are you okay?” Lady Amori asked.
Enona turned her attention away from the men. “How is it that you came to be a lady?”
“That’s something we can talk about later, yeah? As your lady-in-waiting, we’ll have plenty of time to talk.”
The woman was rude, but Enona had no mind to correct her. Instead she ate as Lady Amori devoured her food and rushed off to go bathe. Nalha had little to say and barely ate the already small portion on her plate, but Enona figured that she was still getting over her small sickness from the week before.
“Enona, may I have a word?” King Irver asked as she tried to slip back to her room. She nodded and came to his side, Kyald following not far behind.
“What is it, my love?”
“Don’t mind Amori, she wasn’t raised at court. She has a good heart, and I think you’ll get along much better than Roza and yourself.”
“I have no problem with Lady Roza.”
Irver smiled. “I may be old, but I’m not blind. Roza may be my daughter, but she’s hard to like. It’s always been that way for her.”
“Your daughter? I had no idea-”
“Enona, I want you to be happy here, but for that you’ll have to be honest with me. Understand?”
Is he threatening me? Enona saw no signs of malice in his face, but she knew the king was not a stupid man. “I understand, Your Highness. I only wished not to embarrass you.”
“What have I told you about calling me that, my dear?”
“Sorry, Irver.” The name left a bad taste in her throat as the king hugged her and moved on to talk with someone else. Enona finally slipped from the room to retreat to her chambers. Before she could even sit down, someone knocked on her door.
“Not now, Kyald. I said wait outside.”
“It’s Lady Amori, Your Highness.”
Enona sighed and opened the door, stepping back as Amori came in. “You’re beautiful,” Enona said before she could stop herself. The lady’s hair hung down in soft curls, the deep brown complimenting her tan skin and drawing the eyes down to her low-cut bodice. Blush was blended gently on her cheeks and Amori’s lips were the same color ruby as the skirt of her dress.
“Thank you!” She leaned in and gave Enona a quick hug. “I knew we were going to be friends. I was so excited when the king sent for me. I thought I’d never get to see the court since I’m a bastard and all.”
“So Lady Roza is your sister?”
Amori shook her head. “The queen was my mother. I never met her, but I’m told I have her beauty.”
So both the king and queen produced a bastard, yet the kingdom had no legitimate heir? Enona didn’t know how she would be expected to have a child with Irver. He was so old.
“So you live with your father?”
“My father is dead. He was executed for treason for sleeping with the queen.”
“Oh. I’m so sorry.”
Amori shrugged. “You can’t miss what was never there.” She took Enona’s hand. “Now, would you like to change into something more comfortable? I’m thinking a light pink will look lovely.”
© Charlotte Cyprus