Snippet Week – Day Three!

Wednesday – Snippet Week, Day Three!

Sunlight strained into the room through gaps in the heavy curtains, creating ragged shadows up the steps leading to the king’s throne. The room was empty, except for the aging man slumped in the golden chair and the spindly form that stood beside him.

“What you say cannot possibly be true. She would not do this. A’rissandra could not do this. She is but a woman, and a young one at that.”

“Permission to speak openly, your Majesty?”

The king waved an impatient hand in the air, not taking his gaze off the yellow streak of light stretching along the marble floor toward his feet. He feared it would eat him up and spit him back out as dust.

The tall man cleared his throat and shifted the weight of his legs, looking uncomfortable and eager to say his piece and be dismissed.

“Speak, man. I have a day,” the king sighed.

“My apologies. It’s just…well…my sources tell me A’ris…A’rissandra may have been recruited by the Guild. What they need her for is not yet confirmed. But it can’t be good news. It seems she has quite likely betrayed you.” He flinched when the king slowly lifted his eyes from the floor and glowered at him.

“And who are these sources? How am I to know they can be trusted? This is my daughter you speak of. The Princess of Ernoth. Be careful with your words, Messenger.”

“Of course. Yes. But…we have evidence. Proof, your Majesty. And…” the man gulped loud enough for the king to hear. “We have a conspirator in custody.”

One thick eyebrow shot up on the king’s face, but he kept his voice calm. Years of training had prepared him for such things. “Is this true? Well then, I must see this conspirator.”

– The Dry Lands, a Hutch and A’ris novel

Snippet Week – Day Two!

Tuesday – Snippet Week, Day Two!

There was no one on the street, not that early in the day, but still A’ris walked with the gun at her side. She rushed into the inn, not bothering to look for Valeen and ran up the stairs, slowing only after she was safely in the room with the door locked. Riot bounced in irritation on the dresser, squawking at her in his nonsense version of the gypsy language.

As the bird cried for Hutch, A’ris struggled to keep herself from collapsing on the ground in a fit of tears. “We’re leaving, Riot. Be quiet and let me pack.”

After rinsing the blood from her hands, she tied her hair back from her face with a long ribbon. She threw the few items she had unpacked into her tote and dumped the rest of the loose belongings into Hutch’s satchel.

In the bathroom she paused to look at her reflection in the mirror. It wasn’t A’rissandra Brynx of the Roanarq’teve clan that stared back at her with sad eyes. That girl was gone, a scorned woman having replaced her. A woman with a mission only death itself could abolish. A’ris Brynx was going to start a war, and she knew that moment blinking into the mirror with red-ringed eyes that she would be on the right side of the battle. The winning side.

“There’s nothing left to see now,” she whispered to the mirror.

– The Dry Lands, a Hutch and A’ris novel

Snippet Week – Day One!

How fantastic that my scheduled blog posts for this week didn’t work…so I’ve gone back to edit them and will be posting the first few up today. Sorry about that. :-/

Monday – Snippet Week, Day One!

A’ris thought it was fascinating how life worked, even in the desert. She woke just after midnight with a cramp in her side, no doubt from the gross amount of food she consumed that night. When she sat up on the mattress and kicked the sheet free, she could hear Hutch sleeping soundly on the floor and the soft purring sound from the bird. The window was left open, and the air drifted in, moving the curtains from side to side against the rough wooden planks that lined the walls.

Certain Hutch wasn’t going to wake; she rose from the bed and crossed the small space to look outside. The desert was a black sea. The only way of knowing where the sky touched the sand was where the stars began. A slight movement below her on the hard-packed dirt road in front of the inn shifted her gaze from the heavens to the earth.

She had to squint and lean out the window to see what slithered across the road. A serpent, longer than she stood tall, weaved in a curved pattern through the sand at a steady pace oblivious that A’ris stood watching from above. She estimated its width to be thicker than her arm, except for a bulge half-way down its body. It had eaten, and not that long ago.

Normally A’ris would be queasy being so close to a snake, especially one of its girth, but something about the reptile symbolized life. With no water and no shelter above ground, creatures still continued to thrive. Even the Dry Lands provided an efficient ecosystem. It was something to be admired.

– The Dry Lands, a Hutch and A’ris Novel