The Soul of Magic: “A loyal but bitter mage whose powers were snuffed out while protecting his sovereign must tutor a willful and seductive princess whose inborn gifts could save the world—or plunge it into chaos.” That's my current logline for this novel, which I'm working on during Camp NaNoWriMo this month.
The Soul of Magic has haunted me (in a good way) for years. This is Rokad and Qiara's story, and it takes place in the time between The Source of Magic and Kismet's Kiss. It's actually the second novel I ever began, more than a decade ago. I never finished it back then, and now I can see some of the reasons why. I've attempted some revisions over the years, but now I have a set of updates I think will really work.
Yesterday, the first day of NaNo, I had a blast. As I wrote in my Facebook profile, “Rokad and Alvarr, you crack me up. Too bad Qiara wants to throw things (daggers, most likely) at you both.”
As NaNo keeps rolling, I may continue to share some of the draft with you. Warning, it is indeed a draft. NaNo is about getting new words on the page and not about polishing them!
To refresh your memory, Prince Alvarr (a mage) and Jilian (his Source, and now wife) were the romantic couple in The Source of Magic. Their daughter, Qiara, is now grown…and has caused herself a world of trouble, which I'll discuss in more detail later.
The following snippet occurs somewhere around chapter three or four, and takes place at a royal brunch given to honor Rokad's return to Ysanne castle. Qiara has her reasons for being uncharacteristically quiet during it. Varene (the heroine of Kismet's Kiss) makes an appearance here, as well as Thoren, Alvarr's great-uncle, and Sara, Jilian's mother. I hope you enjoy this visit with old friends!
Rokad caught a hushed commotion behind him. “You always serve the right side of the table, not the left. So I get to serve him.”
“You owe me, Lisette, and you know it.”
He glanced over his shoulder to see two serving maids fighting over the bread basket and darting glances at him.
“Ah, just like old times.” Alvarr’s mouth quirked.
“I want it stated for the record,” Rokad said, “that I am sitting as still as a tree.”
Alvarr snorted. “Then you’d better mind your branches.”
Jilian raised a graceful hand to her mouth and snickered.
Another woman spoke behind Rokad. “You are perfectly scandalous, young man.”
Rokad turned to find Sara, Jillian’s mother, beaming at him. He chuckled and rose to his feet. “Is that a problem?”
“Never in my book. Come here, you scoundrel.” She wrapped her petite arms around him in a fierce hug, and then stood back to beam at him.
“Now Sara, was I truly that bad?”
“Wouldn’t have minded if you were, Handsome.” She gave him an outrageous wink.
Thoren, her escort, looked a tad crestfallen. “Well now, if you really like the younger ones…”
Sara tucked her arm in Thoren’s. “Do stop. Jealousy doesn’t become you.”
Thoren spluttered; Rokad clapped him on the back.
When he’d returned to his chair, a third serving maid, perhaps the overseer of the first two, appeared at his elbow with the breadbasket. She looked perfectly prim. Just for fun, Rokad gave her a slow smile and let it spread from his mouth to his eyes. He watched her melt from proper to girly in the space of three seconds.
“Such a weapon,” Varene said, laughing after the server departed with a happy sigh. Varene turned to Qiara at her side. “I told you what he was like. Never a day without the castle humming about him.”
“So I see,” Qiara said. The stiffness in her words drew Rokad's questioning gaze, but she’d already turned away to speak to her mother.
Alvarr cut his poached green egg into forkfuls. “I’m sure there’s a betting pool among the kitchen staff by now. I should probably find out the odds.”
“So it’s to be like this, is it?” Rokad asked in a falsely aggrieved voice.
Jilian broke away from her conversation with Qiara and waved her fork at him. “Don’t decry us for your reputation. You’ve only yourself to blame, and a castle of single women to satiate.”
“I’m so glad you added single to that sentence,” Alvarr drawled.
“My darling,” his wife said, “you should be.”
Rokad nearly choked on his bite of tinder-deer.
Alvarr gave Jilian a sideways glance and his smile bloomed. “That’s one way to keep me on my toes.”
“It's good for the soul.” Jilian covered her husband’s hand with her own.