Friday, May 9, 2008

Work in Progress

The following scene (from the second fantasy novel) is the one that's been bugging me for a week or so. I want to avoid melodramatic and unnecessary speechifying in my fiction, so whaddya think of this:

Gaerbith once more offered his hand. “My lady?”

After a moment, she turned and took it, sliding her cool fingers into his grasp.

“Walk with me?”

She matched his stride down the slope to a tumble of stones and a half-submerged log at the edge of the water. He chose a broad, flat rock that lay at a slight tilt toward the river and turned, bracing his weight on his good leg.

She did not withdraw as he expected, but tightened her clasp. “Take me with you.”

He meant to speak, to further explain his decision and why it was best that Yanámari go to Disson, but when he faced her, all he could think of were wide, purple eyes full of that thing that squeezed his chest. He could not find breath, much less words.

She gave a choked laugh. “I am begging. I have little pride left.”

Omwendinn, is this possible?

With Me, anything is possible. And then, with almost a chuckle, All My gifts are good.

Gaerbith laughed, and Yanámari drew back, puzzlement and shame in her gaze.

“Nay, my lady, nothing like that."

“Take me with you?”

He nodded.

“Then I will try not to resent your oath or your god.”

“Someday, perhaps”—he rubbed his thumb across her fingers—“you will hear the Voice.”

With her free hand, she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, and looked across the river. The hilt of the silver knife gleamed along the inside of her arm.

He remembered that knife flying down a corridor, striking the king’s wolf handler. Only two days ago, the knife had killed a Nar’ath. Lord Arien had been far-seeing when he left his sister such a gift.

“There will be more danger, my lady. We will be in a smaller company, less protected and more hunted.”

Her smile was tight, brief. “Do not try to talk me out of it.”

His chest constricted until his heart seemed too large for it, battering against ribs, pushing aside lungs. “Beyond warrior or Keeper, I am only a shepherd, my lady. If matters had been different, after the war I would have returned to my father’s house. I do not presume to count myself your equal but, if you go with me as companion, will you not also go as—as wife?”

There it was again—that look in her eyes. Her voice, warm wine: “At my father’s table in Elycia, I made my choice, and do not regret it.”

He could not speak.

“And it is I, Captain Gaerbith, who am not worthy of this honor.” She looked long at him. “If your god exists, I thank him.”

He saw truth in her gaze. Many things he longed to ask, to say, but this was not the place, not with Rubin’s family and the remnant of the Fourth Lachmil looking on.

Giving her hand a light tug—“Ro’Ar is waiting”—Gaerbith turned from the river.

c. Keanan Brand 2008

7 comments:

Jadesmith said...

I am not that far along yet--but thanks for sharing! Maybe I shouldn't have read this--feels like a spoiler for me. Wow. Didn't see that one coming!
I can't remember everything that passed between them, but maybe a little less of the talk about honor would be fine. Otherwise, I like it!

Jeff Draper said...

This works just fine for a slice of a larger story. I don't think you've strayed into melodrama at all. (I didn't quite understand if that was a proposal, but I don't need to if the rest of the story would explain it. Also didn't know if she said yes but the same comment applies.)

The Texican said...

Allegorical?

KEANAN BRAND said...

Jade - By the time you get to this part of the story, you might think, "It's about time!" About halfway through Part 2 (what you're reading now), there's a much better scene between these two, but due to circumstances inside the story things have changed.

Jeff - Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, it's part of a much larger story; each of these two characters hold themselves apart from everyone, so they're awkward in ways other people wouldn't be.

Tex - Nope, no allegory to speak of. (Like the way I ended that with a preposition? Wouldn't the grammar teachers be freakin' right now!)

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Very well done.I get the feeling that other commenters have read more than I have...where on your blog are previous chapters?

Nevertheless, this segment, coupled with the other one of a week or so ago, is enough for me to form an opinion...a positive one. This is quite well written, composed of all the elements of good writing. It flows; it keeps the reader's interest, it's not predictable.

You should be writing gangbusters; I think you are on a roll here...keep going!

KEANAN BRAND said...

Thanks, Lavinia!

Keeping the reader interested is, of course, a huge goal for me.

The pirates story is incomplete (I sent it to Eamon this weekend for his feedback), and this story is the second novel in a possible fantasy series of five books (three Dragon tales, one prequel, and one sequel).

Until recently, I haven't posted a lot of my fiction. Jade has a copy of the first novel, and Texican has read some of my other fiction (not his chosen genre, but he's been game). However, just for kicks, I might post a few more excerpts of the unfinished stuff.

Bachelor said...

Keanan,
OK... where's the screen play? Nice descriptive writing!
Bach