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Friday Snippet: Pirouette (the Rewrite)

It’s that time again!  It’s amazing at how quickly time flies.  My offering today is a revised scene from Chapter 2 — the first time we meet Lucien, Alisia’s love interest (well, one of them anyways).  Lucien visits his Prophetess where he learns of some intriguing news. 

And to update briefly: I hit 8,262 words last night.  Yeppers, it’s going slower than I’d planned, but I’m finally (somewhat) free of my Internal Bitch  Editor and it’s flowing better.  My first official rewrite, what can I say?  Live and learn. 

Alrighty, so here it is.  Everything is naked, raw first draft (that’s an image, huh?) and as such may not be perfect.  S’ok.

The Gatekeeper bowed again.  “I will inform the Prophetess of your arrival, High Lord.”  And he was gone in a swish of fabric.  Lucien walked up to the candelabra and withdrew his House Candle.  Head bowed, he knelt.

“Great Lady, Dark Mother, She Who Answers to the Varshella, hear me this night as I beseech thy childe Prophetess Nyna for guidance.  Has the Varshella sent my dream to me for a purpose?  I feel that this is very important, something that can change the very fabric of our world.” He stood, replacing the candle, the heat warm on his cold flesh.  “Thank you, Kind Lady of the Varshella, and hear my prayer.”

As he walked back to the altar, he unsheathed the ritual dagger at his side, watching the candlelight glint in the metal, then setting it down on the shiny antique satin coverlet. 

She would answer him.  She had to – the bond compelled her.  He needed to know what this meant, and why he felt it so strongly.

Lucien didn’t consider himself to be an intuitive sort, so he dismissed the stirrings of his gut more often than not.  But tonight, as the moon reached down with silvery hands and bathed Her people in her light, he felt it stronger.  Strong enough to twist his gut and rip him from sleep. 

Strong intuition was an effect of his vitae – life magic.  The same magic he shared with his enemies, the Fae.

The rustle of fabric drew his eyes upward.  Prophetess Nyna stood at the front of the altar, her simple robes pooling around her on the floor.  They were white, lined with light blue, Resanna’s color.  She wore a veil over her head that covered her long warrior’s braid.  It flowed down her back, coming to rest just beyond her feet. 

She knelt gracefully, bowing her head over folded hands.  The markings of her position flashed as she reached out to touch him.  “High Lord Lucien,” she said, her voice deep and resonant, like a musical instrument.  He had always loved hearing her speak.  “How lovely to see you this night.”

Lucien bowed, even though she couldn’t see him.  Prophetesses were born without eyes.  It was through the othersight that they could divine the future.  Every child born this way was destined to become one -and considered it the highest honor to serve the House. 

“My the Great Lady’s blessings be with you this night, Prophetess.” 

She chuckled, a sound like the ring of bells.  “I know why you seek counsel with me this night.  There is no need for formalities.”

Lucien nodded, his mouth gone dry with fear.  He suddenly wasn’t so sure he needed to know.

But Nyna made that choice for him.  “You are most distressed, my Lord.  How my I be of assistance?”  Her cold hands enveloped his.  “How may I ease your suffering?”

“We need to speak freely, Prophetess.”  Gritting his teeth, he let go of Nyna’s hands and paused before picking up his dagger.  He swallowed past the lump in his throat, and brought the blade across his left wrist.  Always left, as it was closest to his heart.  As his blood spilled, he held his wrist over the chalice. 

His heart pounded a quiet rhythm, as if waiting for Nyna’s declaration. 

“I give sacrifice to you, Prophetess Nyna of Vayelos House.  May my blood bring you sustenance, my gift to you.”  He gently pushed the chalice into Nyna’s waiting hand.

She took a dainty sip from it, setting it down immediately.  She smiled, flashing the barest hint of fangs.  “Let us commune, my Lord and warrior.”

Lucien didn’t hesitate.  He threw himself at her bared neck, drinking as if he could drown himself in her blood.  And it was a fitting analogy, given his state of mind. 

The blood exchange was a ritual to keep the blood bond between them strong and intact.  It was also his show of dominance as the Buli of his House.

He tenderly dabbed at the wound with specially made silk before returning to his place.

Nyna arched an eyebrow.  “What transpired in this dream?”

Frowning, Lucien mentally ran through the images, only to find them hazy and formless, when before they’d been crisp and clear.  “The images have faded from my memory.”

Nyna didn’t speak for the space of several thundering heartbeats.  Lucien was beginning to think that something was terribly wrong.  He never forgot his dreams, not until now.  .

Nyna let out a soft sigh, almost a moan.  “Danger stalks the House this night.”  She paused as Lucien sucked in a breath.  Her hands found his and he was comforted by it.  “The ones involved will pay a horrible price.”

Lucien ground his teeth.  The Fae.  Since the Divergence, they’d been fighting, killing, and crippling each other, round and round and round, with no end in sight.  It was just too much.  First the dream, now this.  He wasn’t sure he’d ever feel safe.  Desperate for a subject change, he asked, “Have you anything to impart to me?” He let his breath out, the tension and anxiety receding just a bit.

Nyna’s lips quirked in a smile.  “As a matter of fact, I do, my Lord.”  She idly ran her fingers over the embossed edges of the chalice.  “I had a vision, my Lord, of a woman.”

Lucien arched a brow.  “A woman?  Of the Blood?”

Nyna shook her head, sending her warrior’s braid twitching underneath her veil.  “No, she’s not of the Blood.  She’s…. human.”  Her words were tinged with bafflement.  She flicked a wrist in his direction.  “But she’ll be important to you, specifically, and the House.”

Lucien couldn’t quite believe it.  “How could a human help us?” 

Nyna shrugged, an elegant gesture.  “I do not know, except that she is one of us and not, one who is pivotal to ending the war between the Gifted Races.

Lucien met her eyeless sockets, out of pure habit, and nodded.  “I know that you are right.  I just don’t understand.”

“Prophecy is a very hazy, indistinct thing, my Lord.  I only know what is shown to me.”  She spread her hands.  “I am here to serve.” 

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