Monday, February 14, 2011
Romance Blogfest - Feb 14, 2011
Here is my entry for the Romantic Blogfest February 2011:
A SF romance, this scene is the first meeting of the main characters, (Hadrian and Zezilia) two Talents (people who can speak mind to mind), one trained and one untrained. Sent thoughts are italicized within quotes. This is a first draft so typos and errors are expected, please ignore them.
Excerpt from Work in Process Living Sacrifice:
“Great potential talent,” Errol whispered into my mind. I watched the girl he spoke of, hardly more than a child, and tried to see what he saw. Or rather, receive what he heard.
“I am receiving nothing,” I protested.
Zezilia Ilar, meaning grey-eyed, I had heard of her like most of the Talents heard of the births of daughters, with the rumors. Dark and slender, I watched as she moved among the throng of recently presented girls. She seemed aloof, distant somehow, as she walked to stand by the outer wall. Her eyes down cast and demeanor quiet. From this distance, I couldn’t even catch a glimpse to find out if her name was because of a characteristic or a romantic fancy of her mother’s.
The rest of the young hopefuls thronged into clutches of whispers and giggles. Their eager eyes watching for any chance glance from an older male. They knew their purpose, snatch a rich prospect before the high week finished. One or two of the more forward young women boldly scanned the crowd and carefully chose upon whom they bestowed their coy smiles.
“She is thinking of the gardens,” Errol sent.
I looked down at my tutor and friend in surprise. “The gardens?” A young woman at the first major social event of her life and her mind on foliage, it was unique.
He smiled. “I told you she was different.”
I turned my attention back to the small, green-clad figure beside the open windows. Behind us the music changed, announcing the arrival of the Mesitas. “So, since I cannot hear her, what do you suggest I do to test her?”
“Touch her mind,” Errol suggested. “If she senses you, we will know that she is.”
I frowned. “And why must I do it?”
“I am not strong enough to do it at this distance.” I detected an underlying meaning in Errol’s voice, but by the time I glanced down at him, his face was blank.
“I don’t know.”
“Come on, Ilias. You know you surpassed my abilities long ago. Now just do this for your old tutor. Test her and see if I am mistaken about her talent.”
The Mesitas with his cohort of Segia approached the High King’s dais. Any moment he would be giving the official blessing over the Caelestis Novem. If I didn’t do it now, I wouldn’t have a better opportunity for a long time. I concentrated. Focusing lightly on the minds in the room, I selected hers from among them. Errol was correct; her thoughts were definitely on something other than the proceedings. Now that I was trying to read them, I could catch snatches. Reaching out with an invisible hand I touched her mind. A fusion of mint flooded my mouth and then suddenly disappeared. In defense, I withdrew. However when I lifted my eyes, I found her gaze locked on me. From this distance I couldn’t read the expression on her face. Her body language spoke of startled surprise.
“I take it she felt you.”
“Understatement, Errol. She shut me out. The technique was raw and awkward, but she felt me and shut me out.” I looked down at Errol. The amusement on his face was annoying.
“Never had that happen before I take it?”
“Not since I first began training and you know it. Usually that kind of touch goes undetected.”
“I know. I suspected, but I wanted to be sure.”
I watched the play of thought across Errol’s face. I knew the man well enough that I rarely had to listen to his thoughts to know what was going through his mind. “Does she know?” I asked.
Errol shook his head. “Not yet. I have only just opened her mind to the idea that she might have some talent. Besides, I don’t want her to know, at least not yet.”
I glanced back in her direction. She was gone. ”You do realize that I am going to have to go apologize and explain myself now.”
“Fine,” Errol replied, waving me off. “Tell her that I put you up to it. Just don’t tell her everything. I want to keep her innocent as long as possible.”
I nodded. I wouldn’t ruin her ignorance. With it came peace, a peace that I hadn’t had in years. I never forgot the heavy weight on my shoulders and I would be cautious to not lay that burden about Zezilia Ilar’s slender frame any sooner than necessary.
The surprise in his dark eyes was burned into my memory as the rich flavor of his mind touch still lingered in my mouth. I could not identify the taste that had flooded my senses, but I found it strangely pleasing. So that was how it felt to have someone touch one’s thoughts. I tried to recall my brothers’ descriptions of the experience, but none came to mind. I guess I never pestered them with questions about it like I had about fishing, hunting, and playing Korkta.
I hoped that the cool night air would clear my senses. However, I found that even the delicious pleasure of walking at night alone in the High King’s gardens did not distract me. My thoughts kept returning to the tall man with the startled eyes. What was he doing speaking with Master Silas? There had to be a connection between the two of them. I sank onto a bench along the path and tried to organize the rampage in my head. I knew too little to wrestle it into a shape I recognized.
I was so startled that I jumped to my feet and ran three steps before colliding with someone solid. Arms came up to steady me. Once he was sure that I wasn’t going to fall, he stepped away.
“I am sorry to startle you for the second time,” he said, bowing to me. His voice was low and rich like the taste left by his mind touch. I simply stared at him. “I seem to be acting like a great oaf tonight, first intruding upon your thoughts in the assembly and now startling you out of your musings.”
It took me a moment to find my tongue. “That is alright, Master…”
“Aleron,” he supplied. He smiled. “I am Hadrian Aleron.”
“Master Aleron,” I repeated, “I seem too much in my thoughts tonight.”
“Nonsense,” he protested. “It is rude to touch someone’s thoughts without their permission. Master Silas asked me to test you to see if you have talent. I meant to only brush your mind, not to startle you. Please accept my apology and allow me to make it up to you with a tour of the gardens.”
I blushed. Thankfully the darkness disguised the color. “Surely you don’t mean tonight.”
He laughed; it was a warm sound. “No, I do not mean tonight. I was thinking more of tomorrow morning before the heat reaches its height. What do you say?”
To be honest, I was not sure what to say. My impression in the light of the candelabras had been that he was about the age of Clovis or Blandone, my second and third brothers. That made him at least nine or ten years my senior. Though my parents wouldn’t think it odd that a man would be interested in me, I did. I was after all only fifteen.
“Are you sure you wish to be seen with me?” I blurted out.
He laughed again. “Yes, Donellea, I wish to make up for my blunders this evening. I have twice been terribly rude. If Clovis or Blandone got wind of my behavior, they would give me a dressing down. Now, please consent so that I may avoid crossing paths with your brothers’ ire.”
“I doubt Blan would give you much trouble, but I can understand your concern about Clovis,” I agreed. Clovis was a well known warrior, excelling in all forms of fighting. As formidable as Master Aleron looked to me, I was certain that Clovis would be able to make minced pie out of him. “I consent,” I said with as much regality as I could, offering my hand as I had seen Mother do.
“Thank you, my dear Donellea,” he replied. Taking my hand he lifted it to his mouth and then flabbergasted me by kissing it. “Now allow me to escort you to the safety of the well-lit palazzo. I can hear the first strains of the dancing music and I am sure there will be many waiting to watch you dance.”
I let him lead me back to the golden glowing windows of the assembly room, but I refused his offer of an escort inside. Thankfully some young men he knew appeared just then and I was able to slip off unnoticed.
© 2011 Rachel Rossano
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