Friday, December 08, 2006

A snip from Book 2

Okay, Mrs. Mitty asked for a snippet. Since I know you've all seen all the TMT snippets, I'll put up a tiny bit of Book 2. Keep in mind that this truly is a rough draft; I haven't got the setting very well yet at all--but I like this bit anyway.

From [Isabella] by Susan Adrian, 2006, All Rights Reserved

Edward of Woodstock, the Prince of Wales and Aquitaine, strode across the yard to where his horse snorted impatiently. They were both magnificent: the Prince resplendent in crimson hunting gear, hat, and cloak, his dark hair and mustache perfectly groomed; the massive bay's coat gleaming in the sun, adorned with matching crimson [gear]. Papa on his big black looked small and faded beside them.

The announcement would be made tonight at Hall, but it seemed that Papa had done it, convinced the right man—the most powerful man in the world, it seemed to me—to help us. All the men were going hunting this afternoon in celebration, and in anticipation of battle.

"If only I could go," I muttered. But I was, as always, only an observer, standing in a dark archway watching the splendor of the hunters.

"If only I could go," mocked a voice, mimicking my Spanish.

I spun. He was only a handspan from me, his freckles stark against his pale skin.

"I see you are not hunting either, John Holland," I said in English. He was the Prince's stepson, and likely would be invited in a few years. But not at fourteen summers, not today.

"Only because there are too many already," he retorted. "I am not a useless girl."

"Ha! Men do not want boys underfoot any more than girls. I think you are just as useless today as I."

I was rewarded with a pink flush right across his cheeks. John Holland was easy to goad and quick to show his choler; I had learned that in just two days.

He took a step back and pushed his hair out of his eyes. In the sun it was a vibrant fire-red, curling and unruly. In the shadows of the arch it was more muted, the color of currants rather than holly. "You know nothing, Isabel the Spaniard."

"I am Castilian, not Spaniard." I shook my head. "And I know what I see. When men hunt or go to war, they do not want children by. You any more than baby Edward over there." I nodded my chin towards the new prince, John's half-brother, in the arms of the Princess Joan as she waved elegantly to her husband from the steps. Her belly already bulged with the next prince. She was a perfect royal wife.

John gave a snort. "You know nothing. And talk too much."

"Likely. They say it is my great fault."

The Prince was mounted now. He signaled, the olifant blared, and the whole party thundered through the gate almost as one, following after the splendid pair. It was a grand sight, and yet odd, somehow. I had seen armies, but I had not seen battle. Was it like that, a mindless, united surge, but with much dearer stakes?

"Will you stay here, you and your sisters, when your father goes to war?"

I had already forgotten John was there. He was next to me now, looking out too, leaning against the marble pillar. I met his eyes, a sharp, dark blue.

"There is nowhere else to go," I answered.

He nodded once. "I thought so." He stretched a hand forward and, shockingly, picked up a strand of my hair, rubbed it between his fingers, then let it drop. "We should try to be friends, then." He smiled, a flash of teeth, then pushed past me out into the sunlight.


Cindy said...

I like it! Is it Isabella?

Mrs. Mitty said...

Very nice, Susan! Thanks for playing along! {s}