I know. Technically it’s like week 5. But I totally skipped a week. I’m not feeling it today, either. And let me tell you something up front. While I am dedicated to this book, I have chosen to live my life with the rule of, “If I don’t want to do it, then I won’t”, with the obvious exception of requirements – work, taxes, bills… If I have to force myself to write, even in the guise of “practice” or “perfection” then it clearly isn’t going to happen. I’ll be miserable and that will translate into the work.
So, you’ve been warned. I have the best of intentions. Especially in regards to this blog, but there are times when I just won’t. Take today, for example. My writing prompts stash is growing. I selected three to work with today. Yet, you’ll be getting none of them. Instead, today’s prompt was a flash of, “let’s write the opening from Harald’s perspective!” What better way to introduce him than this? So, I present unto you:
Sweat beaded at the bow of Elixabeth’s mouth, collecting and dropping; collecting and dropping. He could see the beads forming and falling, even from across the crowded ceremonial hall. His potion was powerful enough to hinder even the innate ability to hide her nerves with a glamour, but his eyesight was sharper than an eagle’s. He would have seen those beads of sweat regardless; he was looking for them, after all.
Next to her, his Nikita stood tall and proud, calm in the face of this challenge. Her glamour, weak and useless just the day before, proved unbreakable today. Not even he could penetrate the mask of serenity. Perhaps there was no glamour. Perhaps she was actually calm. The girl knew she would succeed where the other was even now failing. She knew he would not fail her, he never had.
Hands trembling so bad the ceremonial blood sloshed over the side of the Initiation Chalice, Elixabeth once more raised her hands in the air, speaking the incantation in a voice weakened by her nerves, though it had rung strong and clear just moments before. Her voice mattered little. Without the potion, should could have thought the words and the Fire would have erupted from the Chalice, creating a burst of Sun above her head, crowning her the next heir to the Summer Court. Instead, that burst flamed above the amber colored head of his Nikita. With the potion, however, nothing happened; just as wanted. Just moments before, his Nikita had performed the same feat with no effort, and had been rewarded, just as wanted.
But that drop of blood, it worried him; pulled at his mind. Glancing around the hall, it appeared no one else had noticed that one, tiny, drop. The room, quiet but moments before started to buzz with talk. Some spoke of the shock a failed Initiation caused; something that had not occurred in all of their long history, while others whispered loudly of the maiden next to their Princess. This girl, no better than a servant, whom they had chosen to ignore for so long. This girl claiming royal parentage, asking for her rightful place as eldest daughter of the Summer Court. This girl who looked just like the King’s twin sister, his elder by just minutes. She had disappeared long before this girl was born, taken by the Mortal Realm, but the resemblance was uncanny. King Jamus could not deny that she was his bastard daughter, born of a lustful interlude just weeks before his marriage to Queen Annen, the woman to his left.
And still, his mind brought him back to that drop of blood. Without the ability to use her glamour, that drop should still have been visible to the naked eye, a rich maroon against her pale skin, yet it was not for he had seen it quickly absorb into the top of her hand – right into the mark of her totem animal, the snow leopard, tattooed upon her hand at the culmination of her sixteenth birthday celebration. Impossible! Not with his potion; certainly not without it. The Summer Court would not, and often could not, work with blood magics. Only one able to control the dark matter of the gods could harness the powerful blood magics, and he himself had slain the last of those capable a millennium before.
To his left, King Jamus shifted angrily upon his throne. With furrowed brow, and thunderous eyes, he could only watch as the daughter of his heart failed him. Had he noticed that bit of blood, or that it had disappeared? If so, it would ruin all of his plans. And that just could not be allowed. It was time to take a more active role in the game at hand.