I missed my writing sample post on Tuesday
This sample is from a non-fan fiction piece of “exercise” writing. I actually like the piece, but because the world I have created in what would be the “pre-history” of this story would never lead to this place as it is, the best thing I can call it is an Alternate Universe story set in my own story universe. (And I bet you wondered where the “Many Worlds” came from. 😉 ) It’s a long piece, but I think you’ll have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.
Another 3AM transmission. If she’d felt awake enough, Atyr would have hurled something. Instead she rolled over and grunted for the maid to let her sleep. She wasn’t in any mood to deal with Alanii and his problems tonight.
“It is urgent, Milady Sieress.”
“Of course it is,” she mumbled to her pillow.
“There is also a priority message from Hastor Valmara Masorii.”
That drew her from her recluse. ‘Mara was contacting her? That young man hadn’t spoken to her since his sister had died.
She scrambled from her tangle of blankets and threw on a robe against the night chill. “Patch Lord Masorii’s message to here, sersa.” The sting of the cold floor against her feet just made her rush easier.
At the small desk by her window, she flicked the comm switch before she sat down. “‘Mara?”
Her son’s face, so much the hawk-like image of his father’s, came through the small viewer, tense and impatient. At her presence, his expression softened. Worry chased away that small easement.
“Milsha! Thank the Goddess! I was afraid you would not answer, knowing the Andar said he was also calling.”
“You’re not contacting me on his behalf,” she growled. “Are you?”
The young man’s expression was totally Valichii’s, proof that father made son on Acaria. “I wish that you never talked to that man, Mother. Still, in this case, he has honorable intentions.”
“So tell me. My bed awaits.”
Her son’s expression didn’t waver, though once such words would have fueled a rage that could be felt all these light-years away without dissipation. “You must come here.”
She felt her brows rise and scoffed. “Must? So your father and Alanii can both play gallant–“
“Unless you come soon, you’ll have no fear of that–not from Father. He is in his meditation.”
She felt her mouth open, started to protest, then, touching the screen, closed it again. The man in the viewer simply nodded.
She rushed from the room to arrange her transport without even bothering to dress.
It was a three week trip from Attroniia to Acaria. Siera Masorii knew the distance by heart. Her ship should be arriving in the next glass. Then a three glass ride home to Yriioria… It would be close. Barely a half day between saving the Sier’s life or asking his mother to help him lay the man on his slab.
“She will come.”
He knew the voice well enough. It haunted his dreams, hounded his waking hours.
He didn’t look at the Andar, though he nodded. “She left as soon as I told her.” He wondered if he dare smirk. He couldn’t have brought her here. He couldn’t have even gotten her to listen.
“I’m glad.” The man’s voice was soft.
A taut silence fell between them. Talks with Alanii Vestimiir were often like that. The man found dealing with him uncomfortable. Guilt does that to a person.
Finally the man spoke again. The words came in a half-whisper, but aloud nonetheless. “If she can stop him….”
When the pause lasted a bit too long, ‘Mara looked to the man. Years of experience took in the Andar’s harried appearance astutely within seconds. He looks more dead than Father has this past fifty years. “If she can, then?”
The Andar grimaced, his all-too-handsome features contorting like a demon-spawned. He pressed back a stray lock of his raven mane behind his ear and sighed. “Then I will step aside.” The man looked at him for a moment, that piercing blue eye cool and unhappy. ‘Mara was glad for the patch that hid the remnants of the other. One of those was chilling enough. “Does that make you happy, Valmara?”
He shrugged. “It will never happen. Once she arrives, you will see her, feel her…want her. You will forgive everything she has done. The ‘tianei will drive you. You will crave her happiness. You will want to protect her, take away her fears. You will want to embrace her, to wipe away her tears.” He looked up briefly to the sky at a beep from the port announcement center. Right on time, Milsha. Then he looked back to the Andar who was inspecting his fingernails. “And you will doom her, my lord.” He replaced his travel coat from his arm to his shoulder and prepared to meet the woman coming off the ship.
As he started to walk away, the Andar spoke again with the same soft, sad tone. “So what must I do? She is a friend as well as a beloved. Must I make her as a stranger to make you happy?”
‘Mara didn’t look back. The lines never changed. The parts always played the same. Only now far more was at stake than just friendship. He broke the script they’d established so long ago and just shrugged. “If you truly wish for my father to live, yes.”
And he left.
He’d forgotten how small his mother was. Too soon he remembered how attractive she was. His father’s bane….
She had cut her once long hair. Thick glasses perched on her piquant nose added to the severe expression on her face.
He didn’t touch her.
She nodded when he told her that he had arranged for transport to meet them at the Port’s main exit and set off to meet the car. As he started after her, he glimpsed the Andar lingering in a doorway, watching. The lights glistened off the man’s face, but he made no move to follow.
‘Mara caught his gaze for a moment, just long enough for the man to salute him, then turn away, vanishing in the dark recess.
She didn’t plan to talk during the ride. Three glass were nothing compared to the time silence had marked her relationship with her son. Three glass…barely long enough to breathe.
‘Mara who broke the silence. His eyes, so much the perfect blend of his father’s dark ones and her own, were directed to the window and his navigation of the skies. “Father doesn’t know I called you.”
She grunted. No less than she’d expected. There would be no wondering, no need for talk, if he had. Either Val would have greeted her at the Port with his son, or the man would already be dead.
“He won’t be happy, Mother. Uncle suggested he contact you earlier. They had…”
“Words,” she supplied.
At her comment, her son blushed and nodded. She sighed and looked out the window. After a few more moments of silence, she reached a hand to the plexiglass.
“Why did you contact me, ‘Mara?”
Her son didn’t answer immediately. When he finally did, she knew it was a lie. Worse yet, she knew that he knew she knew. She wondered if it was worth pressing the issue or leaving the lie as it stood.
She decided to leave it. No sense in forcing the man to lose face if it was only going to end in her going back a widow.
‘Listii awaited them at the small airfield before the Yriioian estate. He took one look, then gathered her in his arms. She took the shoulder as the offer was meant, and tears she’d been holding back since Attroniia made dark rivers along shirt sleeve.
Val’s twin held her gently, but through his comforting touch she could feel his hesitation toward her. She sighed and gathered herself and moved away sniffling. She did take the offered handkerchief gratefully.
“How is he?”
‘Listii shrugged. “Alive. He’s blocking me.”
She nodded and stepped in front of the two men and toward the main gate of the House. She didn’t want to dwell on the situation more than she needed to. Clearly neither did they.
Once in the House, ‘List ii strode to the foyer table and poured the welcome glass. ‘Mara had stayed outside to finish signing in the car.
She accepted the water, looking around the main entrance to her beloved’s home with wide eyes as she did. “So dark….”
“Val’s been…well, since ‘Nissii died he hasn’t been himself.”
“All because he thought I wouldn’t accept what he’d done.” She set down the glass, barely touched.
She looked at ‘Listii several moments before answering, long enough for her son to have entered. ‘Mara stood opposed to them both, by a window, his hawkish features haunting in the gray foyer.
Finally she sighed. “I don’t know, ‘Listii. I cannot say I’ve accepted it yet–fifty years, fifty days, fifty minutes, seconds…. I still don’t understand it. I know you Settled Kin have different–.”
“You’re Settled too, Atyr.”
“No, ‘Listii. I’m only half. And I wasn’t raised as your people raise their daughters. I understand that your people consent to such relationships–but, she was my daughter too, ‘Listii, and I just can’t say how I feel about it.”
She looked closely into those obsidian eyes, hoping to see some sympathy, some understanding of her position rather than cool anger at her apparent unwillingness to understand what Val had lived through these past years.
‘Listii’s gaze didn’t change, not noticeably. He nodded. “Do you know how you feel about it?” He reached over and poured himself a small cup of water. Clearly there would be no entrance to the house proper until his concerns for his brother were addressed.
She sighed. “Maybe I should just leave, ‘Listii. If all you want to do is rehash bad feelings–mine as well as his–rather than allow for the fact that I still love your brother even if he’s done something I don’t approve….”
Valistii Mirniia shrugged. “No one will stop you from walking back out the door, Atyr.”
She made no effort to leave. She knew ‘Listii didn’t mean to chase her off—she hoped ‘Listii didn’t mean to chase her off. “Will that make you feel better, ‘Listii?” She whirled toward her son. “Will it make you feel better? One final notch in your scorecard of what a terrible person I am?” Before ‘Mara’s jaw could recover its stubborn position, she flumped, arms crossed, against the welcome table. Porcelain rattled. Wood knocked against plaster, only deadened by an intervening tapestry.
“Don’t bother to deny it, ‘Mara,” she growled. “I’m well aware of your feelings toward me. Unfaithful temptress, your father’s Biggest Mistake, the Reason for his demise… Why not just add Traitor to the Family and be done with it?”
There was silence for a few moments. Then her son turned and headed into the House.
Atyr bit her lip and refused the tears a place to fall.
“‘Mara.” That was ‘Listii, bless the man.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her son stop. “What, Uncle?”
“Where are you going?”
She left ‘Listii to handle this. It was too much. If she could have, she would have fallen on the floor and cried.
Later, she told herself.
“Inside,” the younger man said.
“Why?” Valistii Mirniia’s voice stayed a guttural croak, but it gained a soft, warning edge. “Your mother is a guest by your invite. You going to leave her standing in the foyer?”
“Is she going to insist on insulting me with no reason?”
She felt the younger man’s hawk-dark eyes boring into her skull. She looked toward the door and tried to sniff surreptitiously.
With no reason?
‘Listii echoed her thoughts. “With no reason, ‘Mara?”
A frustrated spew of pent breath escaped her son’s lips. “I have never spoken of my mother so–“
“You most certainly have, Valmara Masorii,” his uncle broke in. “I’ve heard you. My lord Vestimiir, my Captain, they’ve heard you. Your father has heard that crap from you longer than I want to think. Don’t think for one moment that your mother hasn’t heard it. And even if she hasn’t, you, of all people, should remember what she is.”
Despite ‘Listii’s insinuations, she’d never attempted to read her son’s thoughts in this. Silence fell. She wiped away the one tear that escaped–she hadn’t actually wanted to be right in her assessment–and turned back to face the two men.
“‘Listii, you wanted to know how I felt about Val taking ‘Nis as his lover?” She hesitated a moment before continuing, forcing her voice to remain steady.
Her gaze glued to the floor, she still hesitated. It was no better to live through in memory than when it had happened. Her fists clenched of their own accord. She looked up at ‘Listii and had to fight the urge to glower.
“Alright then, I was hurt. I was furious. I felt used, betrayed, lied to… When I found out that he’d replaced me, replaced me with our daughter–our daughter, damn it!” She whirled on her son. “And you, you not only accepted it, you practically encouraged it. ‘Forget her,’ you told him. ‘Let her stay with Alanii Vestimiir’, you’d say. Not a thought, not a consideration for my feelings! I was the one in the wrong. I should not care. I should not mind that the little girl we’d raised was now just a damned toy for his–.”
Rarely had she seen ‘Mara’s imperturbable bearing fade into distress. This surpassed distress. “It wasn’t like that, Mother. It wasn’t like that at all. ‘Nissii offered. She asked him.”
That stopped her. For a moment she felt stunned, then she felt ‘Listii’s strong hand on her shoulder, supporting her. “She. Asked. Him?”
“She did, yes. She asked him because she knew how difficult it was for you to be with Father with ki-Vestimiir so close and the ‘tianei–“
“Bugger my ‘tianei to Alanii Vestimiir,” she said. “If I thought at all that your father needed me I would have been here on the fastest flight over.”
“That’s not how she asked, Atyr,” ‘Listii interjected quietly. Before explaining further, he nodded to her son. “Let’s all go inside and sit down.”
Whew! That was a longer than normal piece. I hope you enjoyed it though. Let me know if you’d like to read more. Since it’s not canonical to my story lines, I would be more than delighted to share the whole thing as a PDF or ebook format.