So I’ve been meaning to post some snippets from my 2014 NaNo novel ever since… well… NaNo ended. So here they are at last!
Without further rambling, here are a few snippets from Heartseeker — hope you enjoy! ^_^
(cover by me; all other pictures in this post were found on Pinterest)
Prince Haldon turned his head far enough to look directly at her, and the dying sunlight tangled in his hair, highlighting it to bring out a brown hidden in the dark. His eyes now looked cold and his emotionless voice and expression suddenly meant something else.
“I will still marry you if you wish it, Princess Evanna. But you must know that I will never be able to love you. My heart was stolen, and I can love no longer.”
“Why should anyone want to live without a heart? Surely you remember that life was better when you could love and had a heart and—”
Prince Haldon interrupted her. “I remember a stabbing pain that could not be healed, a feeling of loss and sorrow and brokenness; chasing shadows. I do not know anymore why exactly I felt those things, but why should I want to go back to that? It is better this way.”
“But Evanna—oh!” Teriya broke off and stood up to chase after the two nearly identical fair-haired little lads of four years old who came galloping around the corner at this point. They must have escaped their flustered nursemaid and were reveling in freedom, whooping war cries and pausing at intervals to cross wooden swords in a mock fight as they went down the steps into the rose garden at a speed that was beyond the boundaries of safe.
Evanna laughed and followed after her sister in law to help catch the twins and keep them from accidentally murdering each other.
Teriya was very nice, if sometimes a bit preoccupied with her whirlwinds of twin sons, Evanna’s nephews—but then, who wouldn’t be? They were adorable little terrors, and kept her hands full.
“And he fought Trillum.”
Sir Durand blinked dispassionately. “I did not harm him.”
“You knocked him off a cliff,” Sir Kern stated flatly, but without hostility now that the fact was in the past and Trillum was all right.
“It was unintentional, I assure you,” Sir Durand said shortly. “And as for fighting, if you recall, he attacked first.”
“Ah, so he did, the young hot-head,” Sir Kern said with a shake of his head, smiling fondly as if he was talking about a puppy licking someone’s face without an invitation.
“Are you all right, my lady?” Sir Durand asked.
She nodded. “Yes. The dragon dress—”
“The what?” Sir Durand demanded, pulling his sword out and standing in a fighting stance facing half away from her.
Oh. She had not mentioned that to him before, had she. Bother.
“I have a dress of dragon skin that almost nothing can pierce,” she managed to say above the din.
“You might have mentioned that,” Sir Durand said.
Princess Evanna sat back quite suddenly.
“So what you are telling me,” she said after a moment of silence, “is that what you meant by sending me to a safe place by the sea sprites, was dumping me on a rock in the middle of the sea that a dragon lives on. Very safe.”
“Yes, it was very safe,” the Bard said patiently. “The dragon flies off to hunt at night, I happened to know, and knew that it would not return to the rock until after dawn, by which time I meant to come and fetch you. And besides that, nothing else would dare to approach the dragon’s rock, whether other predators or the sea raiders or any dangers that there could be, so I knew that until the dragon returned you would be the safest there that you could be anywhere at all.”
“Until the dragon returned,” Princess Evanna repeated.
Sir Durand looked much more himself. He instinctively reached for his sword, which was not there.
“I do not suppose we have any weapons between us,” he said with a sigh.
Princess Evanna shook her head.
Reldin did something with his gold arm band and a moment later held up a small dagger which he twirled through the air and caught again. “Does this count?”
“No,” Sir Durand said.
“Well then. Does my harp count?”
“In that case, we are what you at least would call weaponless,” the bard said.
“Fabulous,” Sir Durand said, running his fingers through his rumpled golden-brown hair.
Reldin glanced around at the shadow of the trees beyond the ring of light the fire cast on the stones. “There is something not right with the forest.”
“What do you mean?” Sir Durand asked–rather sharply, Princess Evanna thought.
“I mean,” the bard said, slowly and carefully, “that there is something not right with the forest.”
“There are troubles,” she said briefly.
“Is one of the troubles white tigers wandering the woods and attacking travelers?” Sir Durand said.
The Lady of the Forest blinked slowly at him and replied mildly, “It is not one of my troubles.”
“Well it was one of ours. If this is your forest, Lady, and you claim we are welcome, I thought you might like to know.”
Princess Evanna frowned at him.
“I still do not understand why you can not leave well enough alone and let him remain without a heart instead of meddling in his affairs. It is a lot of trouble for nothing, and I am sure he will not be grateful for it.”
Princess Evanna thought back and remembered Prince Haldon’s voice yelling after her as she ran down the stairs: “I do not want my heart back!”
As it had echoed down the stairwell then, so it echoed through her mind now, haunting like a ghost, and for a moment she thought Sir Durand was right.
But it was only the heartless Prince Haldon who would not be glad of a heart. Once he had it back, surely he would be grateful, for he would care again.