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VisDare: introducing Salventi

I knew that she would have one of the private chambers above the hall. As I paused, uncertainly, a girl came giggling through one of the doorways, a shallow bowl cradled expertly in the crook of her arm, and as she glided past me I saw an oily sheen of colour on the water’s surface and knew who she had come from.  I hesitated still, distracting myself, as I listened to her pattering down the stone steps, with the thought that even the maid of all work had good leather slippers. I was in Assan, I reminded myself sharply. No shortage of fine leatherworkers, and it would be an affront to the house for the girl to go unshod.

In Salventi’s chamber the glorious gown had already been folded away, leaving only a lingering scent of bitter herbs, and she sat on the narrow bed in hose and a long tunic, as any cadet at Khyre might – except that no cadet would own that great bronze mirror, and her hair was still elaborately pinned, though her face was bare. She asked urgently

“Does he understand?”

“That you have the rights of a daughter of the house, and a duty to represent more than yourself? He could hardly fail to. You might have warned him.”

My censure settled her, where a soft word might have left her doubting.

“Warned him? I thought he knew, that it was why he’d been so sure to put me in my place.”

“And your place here?”

“There is some hope that I may be castillian, one day.”

She said it softly, as if she were ashamed it, and seeing that I did not understand added

“That place belongs to Draco Khyran, and I would not usurp it. Why else would I have joined this search?”

This month VisDare (as ever I encourage you to follow the link to see the prompts and the other responses to them) is providing triple prompts and allowing double length to tie in with NaNoWriMo. I’m not nano-ing, but in that spirit this is not a story in itself but a snippet for my longterm titleless W (that hasn’t been) IP.


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