Today’s theme is Character. I’m picking a side-character rather than our main because I feel that the sidekicks help make the story by giving us insight into how our main characters handle different kinds of relationships.
So here’s a snippet from Gathering of the Storms: Wind and Fire (coming Spring 2013) and heroine is trying to talk her best friend into doing something that’s actually against the law. Now let’s see how the two get along, shall we?
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“Oh come on Joan, please do this for me. Please.”
“Forget it Reanne,” Joan said hotly, slashing her hand through the air. Moving swiftly for the door she yanked it open and rounded on her obviously crazy friend. If she’d believed in a god, Joan would have prayed earnestly for the deity to come take Reanne away somewhere, anywhere but here trying to talk her into another dumb stunt. “Ever since we were children I’ve done all kinds of stupid things for you and I always get caught. Your father’s going to kill you when he learns you haven’t been planning a wedding trip for the past few weeks. You’ve been planning to run. And don’t look at me like that. I’m not going to help you, because unlike you, I want to keep my skin.”
“Ssssh! Get in here already, Joan.”
She’d almost made a run for it when Reanne grabbed her by the hand and yanked her back into the apartment with a grumbled ‘shush’. “What if RuArk is next door?”
Joan didn’t really care. Hell, she almost wished the man would overhear what his numb-skulled woman was up to.
“What if I get caught, Reanne? Your father would tell my father. Or worse, he’d have me carted off to Harbor Station and assigned to one of your brother’s airships. As a soldier, I don’t mind the patrol part of it, but you know I hate riding in those blasted airships. On the water or flying above it, they still make me wanna hurl. Bleh.”
“Joan, I’m not asking you to help me leave theHighCity. I’m only asking you to go on this errand for my father.”
“Yeah, but it’s your errand. You’re supposed to do it, not me,” Joan fumed. Her nails raked through her platinum tightly coiled curls until they were a riotous mess on top of her head.
“He’s always wanted me to delegate more of my duties, right?”
“Don’t even try that one on me, Ree. Forget it!”
“Oh come on, Joan. All you have to do is go to the Ambassador’s Quarters and give the High Counsel’s letter to the delegates fromEastern Maine. It grants them a negotiation session for the additional iozene they want to purchase. Just deliver it and leave.”
“But I don’t look or sound anything like you. What if they get suspicious?” Joan asked, not sure she really wanted Reanne to answer the question. Just thinking about it was crazy.
“They’ve never met me. Just put on my overcloak and keep the hood up. Oh, and uh…wear one of my uniforms.”
“Blasted hell, Reanne, are you nucking futs? Yes, nucking futs because you’re obviously way mixed up and four kinds of backward right now,” Joan screeched. “You know good and well what kind of trouble I could get into impersonating the First Heir. Not to mention, wearing the colors of a Blademaster when I’m not a damned Blademaster? Hell, if I dressed up like you just to go take a pee, I’d still be breaking the laws of the Society of War. Girl, I need a drink,” she muttered as she rolled her gaze up to the ceiling.
Joan stalked over to the dining table, needing some space to think. She poured herself a healthy glass of deep red wine and sat a moment, studying the fine circular mosaic that made up the dining area floor. After numerous deep breaths and sighs, she finally cleared her head of visions of leaning over the side of a rocking, rolling airship gliding two stories up from the waters as she fed the fish with whatever she’d had for breakfast. When Reanne sat down across the table from her, Joan spoke up.
“All right, Ree, let’s cut to the chase. What’s with all the secrecy and sneaking off? Why can’t you just go on to Draema Neine and live happily ever after? Even if you didn’t want RuArk, which you know you do, there’s one small issue. You’re already married!”
Reanne hesitated. Joan moved in for the kill.
“Look woman, your honor requires you to keep your word. You said you’d go to Province Springs without a fuss, and that’s that.”
“I am going to Province Springs,” Reanne replied quietly.
“Then why do you want me to put my head on the block and impersonate you?”
“Because Brita and I are going to Province Springs alone. Not me, the big guy, his mistress, and …”
“Oooo-hoo-hoo!” Joan crowed, unable to keep the mirth out of her words. “You’ve got to be kidding. You’re jealous of that gorgeous First Commander woman who’s always with your man? What’s her name again? Shannon? Sharyn? Geez, Reanne, she’s under his command. She could even be one of his blasted relatives for all you know.”
“I know who she is,” Reanne sighed.
Joan’s eyebrows inched up her face in wonder.
“Wait, let me get this straight. You are jealous?” It was too much. Joan set the glass of wine on the table, of which she had yet to take a single sip. On her feet now, she wrapped her arms around her belly. After a minute of fighting to hold back her chuckles, she practically hit the floor laughing. The First Heir of the most powerful province in the world was beautiful, had the body of a goddess and held the rank of Blademaster on top of that. But she was mad because her lifemate kept company with his own First Commander? Ri-damn-diculous.
“Oh shut it, Joan. I am not jealous. I just feel trapped. Everywhere I go, RuArk is there. Isn’t it enough I’m forced to spend the rest of my life with him? Do I want him? Yes. But not like this. I just want to get away to get my head together. I need out of here. Besides, there’s no law that says I can’t go where I want to go when I feel like going.”
Joan, still bent over holding her stomach, sucked in great gulps of air trying to get her breath.
“And if you fall over laughing I’m going to kick you in the ribs.”
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