Friday Snippet, from THE RUBY KEY

I debated doing a Friday Snippet this week because the last couple of entries, tied up in HAWKSPAR mess, I haven’t kept up my end by reading everyone else’s. I apologize. I know this week and next, due to the RUBY KEY deadline, I still won’t be able to do that. But before the linky thing came along, I was doing Friday Snippets anyway, and this way, you’ll still be able to put links to your snippets here.

NOTICE: This material is copyrighted, uncopyedited late draft, probably buggy. Do not quote or repost anywhere or in any format. Thanks.

Intro: Genna and her brother Dan have been whisked away from Kai-lord Letrin, ruler of the nightling domain of Arrienda, to be prepared for the feast he is having in their honor, and for the negotiations that will come after. The nightling slave who has led them to a dressing room makes sure they are alone.

Our guide turned to us. “Quickly, tell me what you want. What you will ask him for.”

“Our mother’s life,” I said without even needing to think about it. “Our father’s, if he still breathes. The lives of our brothers and sisters, and the people in our village. And their freedom. These were not things that were the new caer’s to offer.”

Dan nodded. “And for protection from the caer, for each of us.”

“No immortality? No riches of the seven kingdoms? No flying chariots or crowns and thrones?”

Dan said, “No,” and I said, “Of course not.”

She looked at us for a long moment, studying us carefully. Then the nightling said, “I believe you. Very well. If you do exactly as I say, I will make sure you have a fair chance to make your bargain.”

Dan and I both nodded.

“First, drink only from the cups I bring you—and should anyone else refill them, do not drink from them again. Eat only from the plates that come from my hand, and if you are offered a bite of anything not from me, refuse it, no matter what the person who offers it to you says.”

I started to say something, but the nightling put a finger to her lips. She stopped far down the row in which we had been walking, and said, “There it is.” She pulled down a dress for me, a gown of palest blue samite—rich, heavy silk woven through with threads of gold and silver that gleamed in the pale light—and blue slippers that seemed far too tiny and delicate for my feet. For Dan, she gathered up tunic and breeches of black velvet, and velvet-edged boots with workings of silver. Then she turned to me and said, “Wear your hair in a single braid down your back, and if the kai-lord says anything that upsets you, pull the tip of the braid around to your mouth and brush it against your lips.”

I frowned, puzzled, and she said, “If we get through this night unscathed, I will explain everything to you. Along with the things you have asked for those you love, however, you must ask for two other things. You must ask that your own lives be spared. And you must ask for the ruby key.”

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

14 comments… add one
  • TinaK Jul 14, 2007 @ 10:33

    Oh no, and that didn’t leave me hanging at all Holly! LOL Can’t wait for this one either – longer is better!

  • Ann Jul 14, 2007 @ 7:15

    That was too cool. I can’t wait for this one to come out. And don’t worry about us, we’re all looking forward to your books and enjoying the snippets you post.

  • Joy Renee Jul 14, 2007 @ 4:12

    very good. Now I know why my husband loves your stories and kept trying to add them to my towering TBR pile.

    This is my first time joining Friday Snippets. I was invited on by Ann at Fractured Fiction when she heard I was contemplating posting outtakes from the story(s) i’m working on for the Seventy Days of Sweat challenge. (70,000 words in 70 days)

    i panicked and started sweating just thinking about it but i sounds like you do that without breaking a sweat.

  • cherylp Jul 13, 2007 @ 21:18

    Very nice. I think I’m more looking forward to reading this book than I am Hawkspar. I just like books with younger protagonists. I’ll like Hawkspar, too, but the Ruby Key will be right up my alley.

  • PolarBear Jul 13, 2007 @ 18:33

    Masterfully written. Thanks for posting.

  • Nicole Jul 13, 2007 @ 16:12

    Man, now I want to read this one, too. It sounds like a great story, Holly. And do what you need to do – don’t worry about catching up.

  • IanT Jul 13, 2007 @ 15:59

    Crystal – Caer is the Welsh word for Fort. So gets used a lot in all sorts of fantasy/sci-fi. Don’t worry about it. 🙂

    (And is a good name for a city – the city I live in is Cardiff, also know as Caerdydd, or Caer Dydd).

    Holly – I like the restrictions on food and drink. Very fairy mound. 🙂

  • Chassit Jul 13, 2007 @ 15:32

    No problem, Holly. The life of a professional writer is far from easy, we know that you can’t always read our snippets, and we can still bounce around the different links and see new people and read new styles.

    By the way, that snippet is awesome. I can’t wait to read this book now!

  • hollylisle Jul 13, 2007 @ 13:59

    Crystallyn–you don’t need to change anything. Names get reused in different ways in fiction all the time. Caer in the world of the Ruby Key is sort of like a mayor mixed with a judge.

    In your world, it’s the citizens of a city. Different languages, you know… only so many letters and so many sounds to use to make them all.

    And thanks, everyone, for understanding.

  • crystallyn Jul 13, 2007 @ 13:54

    Argh. Thanks Holly, now I have to change the name of a city–Caerdnal–in my book! The people of the city are Caer. Ahhh at least I can console myself in that great minds think alike. You snagged it first. 🙂 Guess that should teach me not to procrastinate (it’s been a slow-moving 3-4 year writing plan)!!

    I too can’t wait to see where this is going! Nice little cliffhanger there.

  • Gabriele Jul 13, 2007 @ 11:46

    Why do I have a feeling one of them will eat or drink the wrong thing? *grin*

    Holly,
    I think everyone who participates in the Friday snippets understand that there are times when you can’t read ours. Your life, and your writing comes first.

    We’re still glad to get those sneak peaks. 🙂

  • Jess Jul 13, 2007 @ 11:29

    Sorry for the double-post on the linky. I hate when I do that. >.

  • joelysue Jul 13, 2007 @ 11:22

    Oh, neat, so many little details that I’m sure will come to significant impact later! Don’t worry about the Snippet meme, Holly–we all know you’re swamped. This gives us a chance to meet new people and read their work, even if you’re busy.

  • Jess Jul 13, 2007 @ 11:16

    I so cannot wait for this book, Holly. So intriguing. I want to know why she’s helping them, if in fact, she is. I want to know what all her tips mean. I just to read the book, dang it. 🙂

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