Tuesday Snippet – Shira (working title)

So without further ado, here is a snippet of the revisions I’ve been doing for Shira. I’ve changed the name to Hero of Corsindor.

Hero of Corsindor 2018-2The messenger wore a velvet cut-back frock with single-breasted buttons fasted on the chest. Underneath the coat, he wore white lace frills under the a black silk waistcoat. His breeches were a stylish black velvet and he wore silk stockings to the knee. His black patent leather shoes had wide steel buckles. He wasn’t wearing the customary white gloves. He was in court dress.

When she heard his footsteps, the new Queen turned from the window overlooking the busy courtyard and beyond into the city. The servants and merchants looked like little ants too busy to look up into the sky.

The messenger stopped to admire the Queen. She wore a crimson dress that draped her tall thin frame. It emphasized her small chest and then fell straight down in waves. Her hair, a dark chestnut color, was piled artfully on her head. Silver and diamond pins sparkled in her hair. Any man, except the current king, would love to pull those pins from her hair and comb her hair with his hands.

The slight smell of lavender flowers followed her as she gracefully swayed. The messenger stopped a few feet from her and bent his head.

“Your Majesty,” he said. He bowed to her.

She gestured to two seats on the other side of the opulent room. How she could walk graceful as a bird on the plush rugs was a mystery. She sat down and then he sank in the soft chair.

“So?” she asked.

“The nurse is dead. He smiled at her, showing white sharp teeth.

There was a slight shudder in her shoulders and then she squared them.

“And, the baby?” she asked.

“Bad news, your majesty.” There was a hint of irony in the man’s voice. “She had already hid the baby before we found her.”

The queen’s voice hardened from a soft high voice to something lower and more sinister.

“Find him. Kill him.”

The messenger bowed his head in agreement. He stood and bowed again, then walked out of the room. His steps were firm and confident.

What the queen didn’t see as the messenger turned the corner and walked down the corridor was that his eyes turned a dark crimson. When he reached the shadows that gathered and pooled around the next corner, he disappeared into them.


Tuesday Snippet – Shira

I will be the first to tell you that the more you practice, the better you get. This applies to music and it doubly applies to writing. I started out writing poetry.

I think the first poem I wrote officially was when I was nine years old and in the style of Robert Frost. I can’t compare the poetry I write now with the poetry I wrote then. It has been not quite fifty years and a lot more experiences behind me.

So last year I decided to go through the fantasy novels that I had published in 2010-11. The story structure was decent, but the descriptions and characters were thin. I know I wouldn’t have been able to critic my own work eight years. So I decided to revise and update my first novel, “Shira: Hero of Corsindor.”

And without further ado, here is a snippet:

Hero of Corsindor 2018-2Prologue

She glanced nervously at the lead-glass windows as the rain hit them in staccato bursts. The rain struck with such force that it drowned out the clanking of armed guards, roaming the hallways. The grayness and cold crept into her heart and chilled her bones.

In the midst of this war of elements, a newborn baby wrapped in white swaddling lay in a cradle. She gently rocked the cradle, whispering to the baby.

“You, poor sweet thing,” she said. His mother had not survived the birth. It was a miracle that this one was breathing. “She said she was in danger.” The nurse hummed and rocked. The baby smiled. It broke her heart. This child wouldn’t be allowed to live. He was born of the wrong woman.

Everyone knew that the woman who had married the king was not the king’s first love. This marriage had been arranged. The king had kept his mistress in the castle so that he could visit her during her pregnancy. It had been an embarrassment to the new queen. The kitchen gossip ran through the nurse’s mind.

The cook had sworn that she had seen the queen in the kitchen in the early hours, brewing up a potion. Then the mistress went into labor. The cook had connected the potion with the death of the mistress. The baby was supposed to die as well.

It was the baby’s smile that had changed her mind. Instead of announcing the baby’s birth, she wrapped the baby tightly in the new blanket. Hoping that the baby would stay quiet and wouldn’t suffocate, she tucked the blanket into a basket.

A silent prayer was on her lips as she walked firmly and confidently down the hall with the basket pressing against her arm. She nodded to a guard and walked past him. She reached the kitchen without being stopped. The warmth of the kitchen was a huge contrast to the coldness of the rest of the castle.

She set the basket down and warmed her hands on the flame.

“Has the baby been born yet?” asked the cook. She was bustling around the kitchen, beating dough with her hands. Two of the cook’s thralls were carting pots out to the courtyard so they could scrub them and clean the pots for the next meal.

“No,” the nurse said. “I’m going to the apothecary to get more herbs to ease her pain.”
The cook just nodded and went back to her work.

A tradesman knocked on the door. A kitchen maid opened the door and accepted the dinner meat. The nurse slipped past them and into the courtyard. A side gate that lead to a narrow path down the hill into the city was open.

It was slippery, but the nurse kept her footing. The rain had turned into a soft mist and she slid into the shadows. She looked back at the castle. It looked menacing in this light.

She shivered just a little and adjusted the basket. Her shoulder ached from carrying the baby.

She thanked every god in the pantheon that the baby hadn’t cried or screamed. She pulled back the blanket so that she could see his face. He was breathing. She let out a sigh of relief and hurried to a cobblestone road with two story buildings dwarfing her.

She slipped into a small alleyway that led to the market square. Then she hurried through the square. It was unusually quiet. The hard rain must have sent the merchants home early. It only made her shiver more and she thought that someone was following her.

Finally after going through a few more alleys, she found the one she was looking for. The shopkeeper sold beads and brocade from far away. Plus she knew him. He was her cousin’s husband.

“Welcome,” he said when she sat the basket on the counter.

He took a long look at the baby. The baby had soft dark hair and light skin. The baby’s eyes opened and they were a dark blue.

“Well,” said the shopkeeper. “It’s come to this.”

The nurse nodded her head.

He pointed to the curtain at the back of the shop. She followed behind him into the darkness.

An hour later the nurse left the shop with herbs in her basket. She headed toward the castle.