Snippet from “Brother Exile and Brother King”
Posted on December 2, 2016
One of my Nano wips is a new project, Brother Exile and Brother King. It’s set on a brand-spankin’-new world. I spent about a week or so on this project in Nano and it now comes in at around 31k. This is a little bit of MC Il Aleano’s first meeting with a representative from his estranged brother.
For the first short while, they gazed at each other over Pakyk’s desk; Il Aleano wasn’t willing to start this unwelcome conversation. The visitor had an unlined face, too young to be an official in his brother’s Court. So, quite possibly this was a mage come to speak to him. A steady grey-eyed gaze stared into his own dark eyes. Made rather untidy by the day, this stranger’s curls were flat and stretched so they hung around his head, the ends curling under his brow. His skin wasn’t the perfect pale golden-brown of someone who’d lived for a lifetime in a thickly-walled palace, but it wasn’t anywhere near as dark as Il Aleano’s own skin was. No cosmetics adorned this man’s face, though here in the Red Desert, sweat tended to make such decoration a mess after a few breaths under the blazing sun, and Il Aleano recalled quite clearly that this Court official from his home had stood for at least a good shift of the sun staring at him from an unshaded spot across the street from the brothel. Small silver earrings hung from the An Asri official’s lobes, made into the shapes of cats’ heads with bright green gems for eyes.
In attire, the official wore a stark black laruna, or over robe, with only a bit of red trimming the edges and shoulder seams. A black leather belt with a wrought-iron buckle, set with a faceted red gem—probably glass—cinched his robe to the man’s waist, and red cord knots-and-loops extending from spirals closed the front. The sleeve hems of his somehow still-white orale that covered the backs of his hands bore simple black stitches done in lines parallel to the edges; the under-robe’s collar matched. Rather austere, in Il Aleano’s opinion, who was accustomed to much more ornately decorated garments and accessories. Then again, they all couldn’t be nobles. Either this man didn’t wear any headdresses at all, or he’d abandoned them at some point on the journey. It probably would have been stark black, trimmed with just a little red, if he had worn one.
Finally, shifting as though made uncomfortable by Il Aleano’s steady gaze, the stranger spoke. “Your Highness, I am Vizier Ser Honu Itanther. Your brother has sent me to invite you to return home.”
Instead of replying, Il Aleano tipped back in the chair until he met its back. His heart suddenly hurt. There had to be some reason behind this. No matter what else, he couldn’t believe Ria Sul wished to reconcile with him. “What need could he have of me?”
“He regrets his parting words to you and longs to speak with you about the issue that has divided you these past almost twelve years.” A loud swallow punctuated Ser Honu’s statement as his gaze dropped to some unknown point on Pakyk’s desk.
This gave Il Aleano a marginal bit of privacy in which to recover. He took a few deep breaths, wishing his head would stop spinning without him. So his brother did wish to reconcile? Much as he longed to, he didn’t reach up to grip where his sash crossed over his chest, though his heart beat heavily. When the lightness faded a little, sense returned, and he eyed his visitor suspiciously.
“There’s more to this invitation than you’re telling me.”
I’ll leave you to ponder what more there might be to this invitation to reconcile.