As I’ve been spewing everywhere, I’m about to go on vacation. Yay!
Of course this means I can feel the pre-vacation freakout hovering in the air just behind my left ear. As Bertie Wooster says (though about a different sort of bird), “I can feel the beating of its wings.” Therefore I’m bound to be a horrible blogger once more. You know how it goes — the week before, when everything dissolves into nonsense. The travel days, when something must go horrifically awry. The being there, when time moves waaaay too quickly. The week after you come back, when all you want to do is sleep.
In order to fend off blog lethargy, I’ve decided to set up some pretty little WiP Wednesday posts to run while I’m gone. This is appropriate because while my social networking skillz will not be out in force, I will definitely be working on a few projects while living it up in beautiful Florence. Or… okay, let’s be honest: wandering around beautiful Florence utterly lost, which is more likely.
Here is the first, in re a project very near and dear to my heart, which got plenty of air time here while I was drafting it. A little (by which I mean gigantic) epic fantasy called Plaguebringer which I hope to have in submission shape before the end of the month.
It’s actually a book about political plots and, ultimately and unsurprisingly, a horrific plague/war combination. However, I’m going to throw out a bit of the interpersonal stuff that weaves through it today because–well, for one thing, those make for better excerpts. But also (warning: ulterior motives!), it’s actually relevant to my recent story in Niteblade, “The Silver Quarter”. Its hero, a badass little teenage swordfighter called Elanzah, grows up to be an even more badass swordmaster with the mercenary Company of St. Rage. And there are certain words you do not say in his presence–as “The Silver Quarter” explains–unless you want your ass kicked. Even if you’re royalty.
The figure that appeared in the doorway was hooded, and the candle in the hall flickered faint. But Elanzah recognized it perfectly for all that.
His heart fell into his boots.
He stepped in front of Cuinn. “You should go.”
Cuinn looked over his shoulder, but Elan stepped in front of him again, blocking his view. Cuinn’s brow furrowed. “I don’t –”
Elan shoved him toward the stairs, but gently. “Trust me.”
Cuinn’s pale eyes flickered to him, then to the figure in the doorway, but in the end his admirable tendency toward obedience won. He turned, and though he hesitated the whole way, clomped down the stairs.
When Elan turned again, Prince Ronan stood bare-headed and breathing hard, not a foot away from him. He glared like only royalty offended could.
“What are you doing here?” Elan asked. And more importantly: how had he even gotten inside?
The boy sneered. “I might ask you the same, Swordmaster.”
Elan set his jaw. “It’s none of your business.”
“Oh, I think it is. I think I have a right to know if the man entrusted with my education is a boyfucker.”
An icy sensation shot through Elan’s chest, starting somewhere below his left shoulder. Blind to everything but the pain, he grabbed the boy and slammed him into to the wall with a thump.
Elan’s head pounded, the word, that awful fucking word, echoing through it like an empty cavern. He leaned in close, inches from the prince’s livid pink face until he could see it again, still pinning him to the wall. If Ronan was bothered by his compromised position, it didn’t show. His blue eyes, usually so open, had frozen over.
Elan lowered his voice to a growl. “Whatever you think of me, I do not. fuck. boys. And if I fuck men, what does it matter to anyone?”
“It matters to me. How many of my soldiers have you had?”
He knew he shouldn’t, knew it was a mistake to show this reaction. But it came out all the same: “Just the one. So far.”
Ronan’s upper lip curled in what could only be disgust.
The cold stabbing sensation inside Elan was followed by a great crack, and the small part of him still begging for restraint was silenced. All he wanted was to wipe that look off Ronan’s face. To get rid of that word in his head.
Whether he does or not, well, I’ll leave that where it is for the moment. Did I mention that if Plaguebringer has a hero, it’s probably Prince Ronan? Oh yeah. Preeeeeetty much.
Next time, politics and war! Well… sorta.