Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge - Y

Welcome to Day 25 of the  A to Z Blog Challenge. Today:


is for


Yashtii is a supporting female character in my dark fantasy novel, BOUND BY DRAGONSFYRE

A member of the Sibiu, a nomadic people who live on the edges of Eighth Dominion society, she is not the sort of choice any member of the nobility have made for a bride. Until now.

For today's post, meet Yashtii in this excerpt:

Something else had begun to pull his attention to the far corner of the hall.

            Several of the guard had posted themselves near a small group of nobles who managed to stand out from the rest, even in this finely turned-out company. Three males and one female, as richly attired as anyone else, yet something about their demeanor felt at odds. Scorpius’ senses sharpened to a knife edge.

            The nearest door was a dozen strides away.
            His best choice was to push Lord Thibault beneath the solid banquet table and cover him with his body while the guard took action, as he knew they would. Now that he’d worked out a plan, he fanned his fingers over his sword pommel and stood poised to spring.
            Still, the eating and conversation continued, laughter pealing up over the coiffures as though nothing simmered in the afternoon air.
            Somehow the young woman from the little knot of suspicious nobles had caught his master’s eye. This time, it was impossible not to notice Lord Thibault’s interest in the exotic lady, even when he could not see his master’s face.
            Wasn’t she a beauty? Her skin was a shade darker than most other ladies’, her eyes alight with tracery that brought out an irresistible wildness. Her hair was well-concealed beneath a scarf and hat arrangement that only served to make Scorpius long to tug at them both, to see her locks tumble free.
            The more eligible young lady continued to engage his master with glances and conversation. The dukessa continued to smile discreetly upon her son from the gallery. However, the chancellor followed Scorpius’ focus upon the unknown nobles and the interest shown them by the guard.
            Scorpius tried to read the chancellor’s signals, but the older man was too schooled in deception to give anything away. All he could do was be ready to draw his sword if it came to that. Even if that meant striking down the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.


            It was a blessing that Scorpius had taken to dancing so readily. Keeping one eye trained to the next figure in the promenade, while the other eye scanned the room--in particular the other dancers—was no small task.
            No less distracting was the exotic beauty who’d obviously captured Lord Thibault’s notice. To his master’s credit, Lord Thibault spread his charmed responses equally among the assembled young ladies. Not even the fair-haired favorite of the dukessa and the chancellor could suspect what Scorpius knew with certainty.
            By the time the night gave way to dawn and the guests made their yawning reverences to Lord Thibault and the dukessa, Scorpius bristled with the need for sleep. Yet there would be none, as Lord Thibault brushed past him briefly to conceal a murmured request.
            Scorpius fought to conceal his expression, unable to prevent himself glancing through the crowd toward her.
            The mysterious one’s retinue didn’t miss Scorpius’ interest. He saw how they reached subtly for their sword hilts.
            Lord Thibault strode forward to take his delighted mother’s hands in his, bending his head to kiss her cheek and leaving Scorpius to devise a means of stopping the unknown beauty from departing. How was he to arrange a decidedly unofficial meeting with her when her kinsmen never left her side?
            Scorpius forced himself to walk toward them, still unsure of how he would phrase his master’s request. He saw the men fan out slightly around their prize, standing as tall as they could, broadening their stances. He judged from their reaction to his approach that it was he who held the upper hand, and slowed his pace accordingly.
            Once he stood before the mysterious one, Scorpius felt the pull of her allure like a lethal undertow. He quickly dropped his gaze, unwilling to look into those violet eyes. Taking her hand in his, he bowed and kissed her knuckles.
            “My Lord Thibault requests that you stroll with me into the garden,” Scorpius said. “He regrets that the evening sped by so quickly that he was unable to get to know you…better.”
            The young lady curtsied to him with an aggressive movement unlike any other lady present. Her guard also bowed quickly to him. Imagine it. As easy as that.
            Striding toward a far doorway, leaving his master to chuckle and quip with the last of the departing guests, Scorpius led the exotic beauty and her kinsmen into the dew-chilled air. The sky lightened in gray warning.
            Their steps echoed on the empty flagstones, their path twisting farther into the recesses of the garden. Scorpius ignored the tightness in his gut as he wiped the stone bench dry. The mysterious one settled herself to wait. It didn’t take long.
            When Lord Thibault arrived, Scorpius and the lady’s retinue stepped into the shadows with one accord. Glancing back at his master, Scorpius’ breath caught in his chest as he saw Lord Thibault’s hands slip the young lady’s headpiece and scarf aside.
            Tumbling free, the mysterious one’s hair wasn’t simply dark, or fiery, or fair as Scorpius had longed to discover. No, her locks fell in black and white stripes such as he had never seen before.
            Turning to the men surrounding him, he saw now that each one also hid his hair beneath a scarf and cap. In their gazes Scorpius saw ferocious pride in the secret he now held about them.
            The young lady returned Lord Thibault’s kisses and embraces with matching ardor. Scorpius hoped his master knew what he was doing. Wordlessly, Scorpius raised one finger to his eye and then swept his hand toward the estate grounds.
The men turned and kept watch while Scorpius kept his eye on Lord Thibault and his lady. It would be hours yet before Scorpius saw his bed, and even then, how would he rest when this was where his master determined to lead them?

Copyright - Julia Phillips Smith - 2012