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Friday, July 6, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample

Just for a change of pace I'm going to share a snippet from a manuscript I'm currently polishing for publication.  If you see any place I can improve it, just give a holler.

A flash of lighting split the sky outside the window.  Thunder boomed as the rain started to fall.  Over the roar of the downpour they heard the sound of horses galloping across the cobblestones in the courtyard.  The wind caught the heavy brocade drapes which billowed into the room as raindrops pattered on the stone floor.  “I will shut the window,” Edana cried. 
She ran to the window, but instead of closing it she stared outside at the courtyard.  “What do you see?” Morgane demanded.  “Who is out there?”
“It is the queen and Prince Alan.  One of the servants told me that the two of them had gone riding.”
Morgane jumped up and hobbled to the window, ignoring the pain in her feet.  “I cannot see his face.”
“Please, come back and sit down.  You will meet him soon enough.”
Morgane sighed; animation drained from her face.  “All too true.”
She resumed her seat in the soft, deep chair beside the fireplace and bit the inside of her cheek until she tasted blood.  She hated her father!  Presently she voiced this sentiment to Edana.  “The only good thing that comes from my marriage is that I escape my father.  I hate him, Edana.”
“I do not wonder, my lady.”
“I have always been a dutiful daughter to him.  He had no right, no reason to treat me as a slave or worse.”
“No, my lady.”
Morgane’s foot jerked as Edana’s gentle touch burned and stung.  “Finish them,” she commanded.  “I cannot bear for you to touch them.” 
Edana applied the last bandage.  “There.  It is done.  You must be careful, my lady.”
“Ha!  I am sure I will be expected to dance the night away.”
Worry clouded Edana’s large, brown eyes.  “I have worried about that.  If you will allow it we will add an extra layer of bandages.”
“Well…Perhaps that is best.” 
Morgane stuck out her right foot.  “I am like an animal in a trap,” she muttered.  “I would chew my own foot off if it would gain my freedom for me.” 
“Perhaps you and Prince Alan will care for each other,” Edana soothed. 
“I doubt it very much.”
Edana finished with her right foot and picked up her left.  “The servants say that Prince Alan was only released from prison the day before yesterday.”
“Prison!  A flush stained her cheeks.  “Has my father selected a criminal to be my husband?”
“No, my lady.  The prince defied his father and for his insolence and disobedience he spent a year in prison.  His personal servant, Turi, spoke of the dreadful scars on his back.  They whipped him while he was in prison.”
“Then he has my sympathy.”
They heard a knock at the stout, oak door, and Edana called, “Come in.”
King Maccus entered the room.  Approvingly, he studied the room assigned to his daughter.  The cold, stone floors had been covered with thick, woolen rugs in shades of red, green and gold.  A big fireplace held wood in case of a cold night.  The bed boasted a soft, red coverlet shot through with golden threads.  A ruby glass decanter of wine and a bowl of apples rested on a bedside table.   “We have both been accorded fine accommodations.  Bowdyn has been generous with his hospitality.”
Morgane said nothing. 
Maccus handed her a black box with a dragon painted on the top.  The dragon held a purple flower in its claws.  “Is the box not beautiful?  Prince Alan painted it himself.  It is a wedding gift for you.”
Morgane still said nothing.
“Open the box,” Maccus ordered.
Morgane opened the box and pulled out a necklace composed of large, brilliant, blue stones.  “Oh, my lady, he has also given you a ring and earrings,” Edana cried as she peeped over Morgane’s shoulder.  “What a fine gift!”
“It is so,” Maccus agreed.  “Wear the jewelry at the banquet tonight.  It will be considered an insult if you do not.”  He turned to Edana.  “Are her clothes in order and ready for the banquet?”
“Yes, sire.  All is ready.”
“The banquet begins at six thirty.  We will make our entrance at six forty five.  Be ready.”
Morgane tossed the necklace aside as Maccus left them.  “Put it away, Edana.  I will certainly not wear it,” she sniffed.
“Oh, but you must!  Think!  You will escape your father’s wrath, but you must live with Prince Alan and his family.  Do not let hurt feelings and pride cause you to make a bad impression.”
“Very well,” Morgane muttered.  Of course Edana was right, but Edana was not the one whose father had mutilated her face and burned her feet when she tried to run away from a forced marriage.  Edana didn’t know that all the blue necklaces in the world could not make up for the loss of her freedom.


Tmonique Stephens said...

Great snippet! I loved the heroine anguish.

Casey said...

Wow! A powerful piece. My only wonder is: was "lighting" supposed to be "lightning" (in the first sentence)?

I hope Morgane falls madly in love with her prince. They both deserve a bit of happiness. That he's a rebel who's suffered at the hands of his father, too, means they have something in common without having met. I can see them immensely stronger together than they were apart.

--Kimberly K. Comeau

Elaine Cantrell said...

Ladies, thanks for your comments, and yes, it should be lightening. Nothing like new eyes to find mistakes.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Oh, what a sad life Morgane has lived. I hope the prince is good to her. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my sample.

Sandy Nachlinger said...

I love this excerpt. You've done a great job of using the senses: sound, touch (her painful feet), visual, etc., to make the scene come alive.

Since you asked for feedback, I did notice one thing--mainly because this is something I do often and have a hard time catching. You told us that Morgane hated her father, and then she said, "I hate him, Edana" in dialogue. I think you could eliminate the "tell."

Elaine Cantrell said...

Thanks for stopping by laurel and Sandy. Sandy, thank you. You're absolutely right.

Jenna said...

Great sample. The imagery is wonderfully done. I have a question, though. Is the setting medieval? I wasn't sure of the time frame and wondered about the specific times of 6:30 and 6:45. If it is set in the medieval period, they wouldn't have had such specific times. If I've got the period wrong, then please disregard that part of my comment (but not the other!).

Sherry Gloag said...

Very powerful scene. There's so much back history in it while at the same time revealing the cruelty of both father's.

Elaine Cantrell said...

Ladies, thank you so much for stopping by. Jenna, is in medieval times so I do need to fix that time.