Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I've been chipping away at my current WIP, though my writing time slips away on the weekend. It's currently at 27k. I imagine that's not quite the halfway point, though I fear it's much longer than that.

I really should title it soon. :P

Accepting the marriage proposal has broader ramifications than Klea expected.

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As Jae launched into yet another diatribe about the puppet Bonsu, it dawned on Garen that if he kept on with the bargain, he would not be present for all the changes he professed to fear. He could be well on his way home by then. Four pearls would be ample payment for his freedom.

Four nights with Klea.

To prepare her for union with a man who would never appreciate the woman she was.

Disgusted, he rose from the bench, scooping up his full plate and cup. Cool tea sloshed over the rim, but he refrained from wiping off his hand until after he’d thrust them into a serving girl’s waiting hands. He didn’t linger to chat, much to her disappointed chagrin.

Jae fell into step beside him, their pace matching from years of service. Garen was thankful he didn’t pursue their conversation. His last desire was to debate a future he couldn’t predict. There were too many variables to account for, though he realized as they turned the corner toward the meeting room that they were not necessarily beyond his control. For the first time since that awful night he’d been captured, he could choose his own destiny. He could decide for himself when to rise, where to go, who to serve. He could be his own man.

Sire Kander beckoned them to approach his desk. Papers were strewn across its surface, and the blue-gray eyes he lifted to greet them were slightly bloodshot. He didn’t appear as if he’d slept at all. He even wore the same tunic he’d worn to the dinner the night before, though now its collar was open and noticeably less stiff.

“I’m reassigning the guard details for the unforeseen future.” He pushed a single piece of paper toward them. “The two of you are responsible for meting out the specific duties, but these are the men you may use. Only these men. No one else.”

Garen picked up the list and scanned it over. Most slave owners would never deign to put something in writing. Most slaves wouldn’t be able to read it. Jae couldn’t. But Zamar Kander behaved as none of the other owners Garen knew. As it was turning out, none of the Kander clan was behaving as they should.

The list itself was unremarkable. Only a handful of men--the best, Garen believed. The outlined duties at the bottom of the page, however, alarmed him.

“You wish to place constant guards on Mistress Klea?” Even Jae jerked at Garen’s query. “Why?”

Zamar glanced at the closed door. “Anything I say to you now is not to be repeated. Not even to your men.”

“Of course, Sire.” An automatic response, but Garen still worried why such an order was necessary.

“I received a visitor late last night in regards to the celebrations. Apparently, there are factions here in Dhivin who do not wish to see the Kander and Bonsu houses joined. Who will do anything it takes to stop such a union.”

Though Zamar did not mention her by name, Garen heard what he wasn’t saying. Klea was in danger. Opponents to the marriage would kill her if they thought it would gain the advantage. There was always an element of danger to the Kander household anyway, but generally speaking, Dhivin was a peaceful city. The Kanders, especially, were held in high regard. This response had to be a response to the Bonsu house.

“Perhaps it would be better for the Mistress to leave now and have the ceremony beyond Dhivin borders,” Jae said. “If the threat to her lies here, she would obviously be safer elsewhere.”

Garen held silent while he watched Zamar contemplate Jae’s suggestion. There was logic there. Before last night, he would have agreed without fail. After last night, he knew he should still agree without fail. Yet, his lips remained seal in wait.

“I have no doubt Sire Bonsu would prefer such an arrangement.” Zamar steepled his fingers and stared at the door beyond them. “But I do not know his men, and I would not trust something so precious to me without being more certain of their abilities. No, she must remain here until she is Bonsu’s wife. Sort through the list to your satisfaction.”

Though Garen nodded in acquiescence to the order, he couldn’t help but wonder why Zamar would wed his eldest daughter into a household he placed such little trust. If he feared Klea would come to harm under the Bonsu aegis, why allow the union to transpire in the first place? Some of the respect he’d garnered over the years for his owner faded with new understanding. Economics. The Bonsu-Kander bond would be a hard one to break, especially with Bonsu’s resources.

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