It’s been a long… week? Month? I’m not even sure.
All I know is that I’m “springing” forward about as well as a sloth, and my “to do” list is long and full of terrors.
So of course, that means I spent the day Sunday sewing some super basic temporary curtains for the new house. I had fabric sitting around for a project I never started (of course), so I whipped up a few panels for the humongous windows in the three bedrooms and two bathrooms of our new house. I mean, technically this was on my “to do” list, and yes, temporary curtains are better than the paper currently taped over those windows, but could I have spent that time more wisely? Probably. Do I regret sewing the curtains? No.
In any case, progress on Unquickened is slow. I blame my scattered-ness right now. Between commercial work and the move, it is dang hard to find time for the novel. But I’m trying. I promise I am. I’m not changing my release date yet, so please hold onto hope that it’ll still be out on time.
In the meantime, because I’m so slow, I wanted to share a short snippet from the book with you. Igraine continues to be vexed by Rory Nolan–with good reason.
Rory shut the door, and Igraine gestured for him to sit. She took a chair across from him, her desk between them. I need to keep his hands away from me. “You’ve heard from Kerry,” she said.
Rory nodded. “He says the last he heard from the king, Braedan was in the north, at Starling’s Cross. The king wrote to say that he was trying to bring Haldor Dylan to heel and get his support for the throne. He’s not heard anything since.”
At least I sent Nimue in the right direction. “And when was that?”
“Weeks ago,” he said. “The letter was dated before Faltian. It took some time to arrive. He’s heard nothing since.”
Igraine clasped her hands tightly in her lap. Gods… What if the burned man was right? What if he’s dead? I want to believe that I would know, but… “What do you think Kerry intends to do?”
Rory shrugged. “Kerry has likely called a meeting of the Table of Councilors,” he said. “Several dukes have arrived in Torlach recently. If I were to guess, I would assume he’s going to make a bid to become regent, at least, and king if he can manage it.”
She nodded. “And so you are determined to make me leave Taura with you, then?”
Rory leaned forward. “You must see why, Igraine. You have to understand that your safety is of utmost importance.”
Igraine stood. “My safety,” she said. “Is my business, not yours. And certainly not the Eiryan crown’s.”
Rory stood. “I didn’t wish to do this,” he said. “But you leave me no choice.” He pulled a sealed parchment from his breast pocket. He dropped it on the desk and pointed. “Your father orders you home.”
She stared at the green seal of the Eiryan crown, and her stomach turned over. Gods, no. She picked up the parchment, broke the seal, and read.
By order of Cedric Mac Roy, King of Eirya,
Her highness, the Princess Royale, Igraine Mac Roy,
Shall hereby return immediately to the Citadel or be found in opposition to the Eiryan throne. Should the princess refuse to comply with this lawful order, she shall be placed under arrest by the Ambassador to Taura, Riordan Nolan, or his duly appointed deputy, and returned to the Citadel in irons.
Her father’s confident scrawl swam before her eyes as hot tears threatened to spill over. “How long have you had this, Rory?”
“I took two copies from his own hand before I left Eirya.”
She nodded and swallowed around the lump in her throat. “Then you’ve been planning this all along.”
He squared his shoulders. “Planning it? No, not really. I had hoped to either find you safe and sound in the castle, or to find that you would listen to reason and return home. Your father asked me only to use that letter if I had no other option.”
“No other option,” she whispered. “And what if I wish to stay on my own, without Braedan? What if I wanted to remain with the sayas? Rebuild the sayada? Or find some other way to make a living?”
Rory scoffed. “You don’t want to stay here,” he said. “You just don’t want to admit defeat.”
Anger stirred in her belly, and she stood. “Who are you, Rory Nolan, to question my motives? What business is it of yours—”
“This is about your safety and your recklessness,” he shot back. “You refuse to see reason, you refuse to take proper precautions. If you will not look after yourself, the crown will look after you.”
Igraine resisted the urge to stomp her foot. She threw the parchment at Rory. “You are a godsdamned arse, Rory Nolan—you and my father. I am a grown woman.”
“You are the property of the crown!”
“I am no man’s property!”
“Not a man—an entity. Like it or not, your highness, but you are a royal, and as a royal, your obligations are more complicated than most.”
She turned away to hide the angry swipe of her tears. She crossed her arms. “I know my duties and obligations,” she said. “Better, even, than you.”
He sighed. A heavy silence filled the room for a long moment. “The ship is ready,” he said. “I’ve sent word to Kerry of my intention to leave. I will give you one more day to fully prepare. We sail on the tide morning after tomorrow. If you will not accompany me willingly, you will accompany me in irons.”
If you haven’t yet read the excerpt on the home page, check that out here.
And stay tuned… Igraine has not yet exhausted her resources!
* Disclaimer: This is still a draft, and as such, it is subject to editing or deletion in the final draft. Nonetheless, I assure you that there are plenty of arguments between these two in Unquickened!