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.
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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.”