Friday, April 24, 2015

Thunderlord snippet - A Ball At Scathfell

Please remember that this is a work in progress and drafts have a habit of changing drastically from inception to finished book.

From Thunderlord Chapter 14

Damisela Alayna?” Lord Scathfell rose to his feet and faced her, one hand extended. “Will you accord me the privilege of the first dance?”

Even if she had not been delighted with the opportunity to dance, she could not have refused. Such an honor – to be selected by the lord of the castle himself for the first dance! Ellimira would have been beside herself. And with such an introduction, it would not be improper for any of his guests to follow suit, would it?

Alayna placed her hand in his and followed him to the center of the dancing area. His fingers closed around hers, exerting pressure to conduct her to where she was to stand. She had heard of how a skillful male dancer could guide even the most inexperienced lady through complicated patterns, but never before had she had the sensation of moving effortlessly in time with the music. She’d attended dances enough at home, crude, rollick affairs compared to a ball like this. They could all dance, of course, simple reels for the young folk and promenadas for the elders. These movements were like the finest spidersilk to their homespun.

Oh no, now the musicians were playing the final cadence. The lines of dancers paused, men and women facing each other. Lord Scathfell bowed, but not so low that she could not see his smile or the brightness in his eyes, surely mirroring her own. She recovered enough to execute a curtsy that would have done Ellimira proud, and masked her disappointment as he escorted her back to her seat.

She did not remain there for long before one of the courtiers approached her for the next dance. He was as old and as richly dressed as Dom Ruyven, but nowhere near as stout. The dance was one she knew, or near enough that no one noticed if she stepped wrong, for most of it was executed in nearly the same place, and her skirts hid her feet quite nicely. Even if her partner were inclined to conversation, the liveliness of the dance made more than a few words here and there impossible. She herself was not disappointed at having to think of charming things to say. All the topic of conversation that would have been suitable at home seemed intolerably countrified here. She thought wistfully that if Francisco were here, she would have no difficulty – or reluctance – to talk with him.

Alayna had scarcely two moments’ rest when Dom Ruyven came to claim her for the next dance. At this rate, she would be engaged for every dance, and it would be a close thing which would give out the sooner, her feet or the musicians. This one was slower, the dancers interweaving and occasionally exchanging partners but always coming back to the ones they began with. Then another pair of dancers, or two pairs, would execute the next figure, and she had a few moments to regain her bearings.

“Are you enjoying the evening?” Dom Ruyven asked. Although a bit red-faced, he proved to be light on his feet, and Alayna found it was no trouble at all to dance with him.

“I am, thank you for asking.” At the same time, he reminded her of the ordeal of the trail and she could help but wonder if it were seemly to be engaging in such revels – planned for her sister’s arrival – when Kyria still languished in the hands of those horrible men.

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