I had a list of possible topics for today’s post, but somehow none of them felt right. Instead I decided to offer a micro-distraction from our current real-world grimdark.
The snippet below is from Daire’s upcoming novella. I should have more information to share soon, including a title and a cover. The excerpt is a little spoiler-y, but no more than you’ll get from the blurb in due course. If you’d rather wait a month or three for the finished article, look away now 😉 .
Prince Daire is crown prince and sole ruler of the wealthy city-state of Caldermor. Prince Warrick is his brother and heir. The exchange below comes in the aftermath of Warrick’s death-or-exile attempt to challenge Daire for the throne.
Time to turn the tables. “What would you have done? If you’d defeated me yesterday?”
Warrick cleared his throat. He had the grace to look abashed.
“Besides putting me to the sword.” Daire brushed that off with a wave of his hand. “Would you have married?”
A curt nod.
“Who would you have chosen?” He managed a grin, and a drawl. “Which blue-blooded brood mare meets with your approval?”
Warrick’s eyes blazed. He took a step forward, fists clenched, before he got hold of himself. “She’s no brood mare. She’s beautiful. Intelligent. Principled. Calderran. She knows our history.”
Daire watched his brother warily. “Does this paragon have a name?”
“Vianne Grandhomme. She’s perfect.”
Warrick spun on his heel and turned his back on his brother. His fists closed tighter, and he unclenched them slowly, one digit at a time. His shoulders heaved as he took half a dozen deep breaths.
“You should marry her.” He addressed the bare wall above the sleeping shelf. “Her eighteenth birthday is next week. Her father has received several eligible offers, but he’d reject them all if he thought you were interested.”
“Does the lady have any say in the matter?”
“She was hoping I’d—” defeat you and claim the throne. “She understands duty.”
Daire kept his voice politely curious. “And how would you feel about that marriage?”
“If I can’t marry her, I’d like to see her as crown princess.” Warrick took another painful breath. “At least I’d see her son inherit.”
“That’s—” Daire swallowed the word ridiculous.
Vianne Grandhomme. Daire scoured his memory. A daughter of Enar Grandhomme, ex-commander of the royal guard. The old buzzard was a stickler for duty. He had four daughters and no sons, to his lasting regret. All were blond, elegant, and aristocratic. Which one was Vianne? She was almost eighteen, so most likely the youngest.
He didn’t want to marry her. He didn’t want to marry anyone.
Warrick wanted to marry Vianne Grandhomme. And it didn’t sound like a one-sided passion either.
I’ve heard this song before. Even if she’s the most perfect woman in Caldermor, she doesn’t want me. Why do people keep trying to marry me off to women who want someone else?
“Vianne Grandhomme. Duly noted.” He pushed off the wall, crossed the cell in a couple of hasty strides, and folded his astonished brother in a most un-Edevald-like hug. “I’ll talk to her. And then I’ll decide what to do.”
I hope you enjoyed that!
Take care, stay safe, stay healthy, and talk to you next Sunday.