The following originally appeared on Lorrie Struiff’s blog on Monday, June 10. It is the third in a series character introductions/profiles from my upcoming novel Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, and the second in a series of teaser scenes that are not excerpts from the novel, but additional scenes that show the thoughts and actions of characters just before they become major players in the book. To read the first teaser scene, click HERE. Enjoy!
Even the crickets seemed to wait in anticipation as the winded woman tried to catch her breath. The crowd around her remained silent anticipating the story. Yara inched closer to make sure she heard every word.
The woman put a hand to her breast as she heaved one last time. “I’m sorry. I ran here as fast as I could. It’s King Kendrick. Something’s happened to him. He’s sick or something. I thought for sure he was dead.”
Yara stiffened, but she didn’t interrupt.
The woman continued. “Owen ran to his side. So did the magician who’s always lurking around the castle, Cedric. I think that’s his name. I couldn’t see what happened for a while. After a bit the king’s body lifted into the air and floated out of the room. Magic I suppose. The magician and Owen followed the king.”
A short man with round spectacles asked the first question. “What did you do then?”
“Well, there wasn’t much I could do, was there? The Sentry showed up and barred the doors. They said we couldn’t leave until a proper investigation was conducted. I don’t know how properly we were investigated. I didn’t see the guards asking anyone questions. We just waited.”
She put her hands on her cheeks and pulled them down, giving her plump face an elongated look. “Just when I had made my mind to confront a guard, Cedric came in and whispered to the King’s Shield. Then he left, just like that.” She snapped her fingers. “He didn’t even stay long enough to talk about the weather. In, whisper, gone.” She snapped her fingers again.
A tall, skinny man spoke up. He wore a bushy, long moustache concealing his lips. He annunciated as if he were trying not to get a mouthful of hair. “How did you get out? Where’s the king now?”
She grabbed a tuft of her graying, wavy hair. She let go leaving a mound of hair. The western breeze blew it back into place.
She shook her head and stared at her audience. “I don’t know how the king is. Not well, I suppose. We stayed in the dining hall a while longer until Queen Andrea came in. She told us not to panic. She said everything would be fine. She would be in charge of Innes Castle, and the Central Domain until King Kendrick recovered. She said Cedric and Owen had to leave to get an herb needed to cure the king.”
More questions followed, but Yara didn’t stay to hear.
Anger made it hard to think. How could he leave without telling me? I would have told him if something happened to one of my parents? And where did he go? As the furry subsided more rational thoughts came to mind. He may need my help. If I leave now, I may be able to catch them.
She sprinted to her hut. The familiar smell of coal cinders greeted her at the door. She grabbed her bow, a canteen, and threw some clothes into a pack. As her fingers wrapped around the door handle she hesitated. Mom and Dad will panic if I’m gone in the morning.
Her parents had to be awake early, so they had already gone to bed. She grabbed a piece of parchment and a quill and scrawled a quick not. She told them what she knew of King Kendrick, she said she had to leave, and she’d probably be gone a few days. They’d still be angry since she left without permission, but the note would help.
She strung her belongings on her back, her bow over her solder, and took one last deep breath. The smell of the blacksmith shop would always be home to her, no matter where her travels took her.