J.F. Posthumus

J.F. Posthumus

About Me

My photo
Virginia, United States
A computer tech and artist that thrives on writing fantasy to escape the harshness of reality.
Powered by Blogger.



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - A Quiet Scene...

As requested, here's a quiet scene.  Xandra has been cajoled into going with her brother to a political event, a dinner party.  Since Xandra hates anything to do with politics or being 'proper', she typically keeps away from them for fear of damaging her brother's career...something about being an assassin... anyways, after the whole fiasco with Segav's foot being turned into a treestump and her angering Xantos, she accepts her brother's offer.  She's pretty bored until another politician approaches her and starts up a conversation.  He suggests a walk in the garden, and she accepts... She suspects there's more to this politician who's probably older than her parents than what he's telling/showing, but she likes him anyway.

So, here's the scene, with them in the garden after they talk about her brother a bit.


        “You are most fortunate to have parents as well as grandparents who love you enough to ensure you receive the fullest education possible.”  Eronous stated, as Xandra bent slightly to sniff a single white rose.  Respectfully, she kept eye contact with Eronous as their conversation continued.
        “Great-Father is our only other living relative in Deltheya, unless you include our gods-parents and adopted uncle.  We have aunts and uncles in Faedale, though, who are Mother’s brothers and sisters.”  Xandra replied calmly, though it was a task to keep her voice calm and steady. 

        She turned towards Eronous and tilted her head to the side.  “What we are most fortunate for is the fact that not our mother, father, or great-grandfather have attempted to tell us which career path we should take.  We have been given that choice freely, unlike many children who are forced to follow in their parents’ footsteps.”  She turned and added, “Or forced to follow in the path another deems fit.”
        The fierceness which Xandra spoke must have caught Eronous off guard, for she sensed his whole body stiffen.  It was a long moment before he spoke. 

“Your brother chose the political arena.  What arena have you chosen, Alixandra?”  Eronous said softly, but his voice carried to her ears easily.
        When she glanced up from examining the soft petals of a lavender rose, she was startled to find Eronous standing behind her, looking over her head at the soft flower in her hand.  She had not heard his steps and she had been trained early to listen and hear what most could not.
         He stated calmly, “The beauty of the flower will never match the beauty that will one day be yours.”

           Suddenly feeling flustered and uncertain, she responded to his former question, quickly dropping her hand away from the base of the bloom.  “I haven’t yet chosen a path to follow.” 

            She wasn’t about to tell this stranger that she wanted to be an assassin.  That she wanted to learn from Great-Father and he encouraged her training at the guild.  It was something she loved.  But tell this high elf of stature that she was training at a guild for assassins?  And chance damaging her brother’s chosen career?  Never.

            She moved away from Eronous, in an attempt to distance herself.  However, he moved with a silence that she only hoped to accomplish.  Not even his voluminous robes made a whisper as he moved.  She could only sense his presence, nothing more.  It was, undoubtedly, unnerving. 

           “Ah, you are but in the start of becoming an adult.  Had I not rebelled against my family and left to carve my name out on my own and become that which I am today, I believe I would have chosen the path of a rogue; a thief, perhaps.”  He replied, as he pulled a blood-red rose towards him and inhaled the fragrance.

            Xandra looked up at the blue-gray eyes and smiled slightly, “The laws that govern the thieves are as dangerous to the unwary as the laws which rule those who desire to be in politics.  The only difference being death comes quicker to the unwary thief than it does to the powerful politician.”

            “Unless one becomes the target of an assassin; in which case, no matter the chosen profession, the unwary becomes a corpse quickly and without another thought.”  Eronous added softly.
         “What do you know of assassins?”  Xandra snapped, immediately regretting her tone.
         “The same as everyone, my dear.  Even I have been a target of the occasional assassin.  Everyone with power is always prone to the whimsy desires of those beneath them who desire to usurp their position through their target’s death.”

           Xandra thought to the story of her maternal grandfather’s death.  He had been victim to an assassination.  Her mother had been forced to assassinate her father’s mother as a child by none less than Xantos at the tender age of ten.  She, herself, was training to become an assassin.  It was in her blood; her inheritance from her family.  Her thoughts were mirrored on her face and she felt a hand on her shoulder.

           She looked up to see an expression of compassion and understanding on Eronous’s face.  It was an expression seldom seen from her great-grandfather but seen often on her parents’ faces. 

            “You have felt the pain inflicted caused by one who has perished at an assassin’s hands?”

            Xandra shook her head slowly, “No, but I know of some who have and they still feel the pain of those deaths even now, despite the years, decades, that have passed.”

           The hand squeezed her shoulder slightly, before slipping beneath her arm until her hand rested, once more, on his forearm.  “That pain never dies, it only lessens; unless one is cold-hearted and cares for none but themselves.  Assassins are, in my humble opinion, cold-hearted bastards who care for none but themselves.  They would have to be jaded, else they would fall victim to their demons invoked by their deeds.”

           Xandra thought of Alden and found it difficult to believe he was jaded but then, he did work for Great-Father and if truth be told, he was not always kind and gentle. 

           She shrugged lightly, “You speak as though assassins are close to your heart.”

            Eronous laughed softly, “No, dear lady, they are not.  But I have lived long and have seen those assassins who have been taken by those who enforce laws.  They are hardened criminals who appear to care for nothing but their own skin.  Unlike you, I have had someone taken from me by an assassin’s blade; it is not something I would wish upon anyone.”

            Xandra chuckled ruefully, “You were right; most here would be very much appalled by our conversation.”  She glanced up into his eyes and noticed they were very clear yet hid his thoughts perfectly.  She opened her mouth to continue, but was instead broken off by the voice of her brother.


  1. Great piece! Reads really well and I could actually see them having the conversation :)

    I did notice that the line "Xandra replied calmly, though it was a task to keep her voice calm and steady." would probably flow better like "Xandra replied calmly, though it was a task to keep her voice steady."

    But other than that it was great!

  2. It's nice to read a more reflective scene and you handle it very well, a nice combination of dialogue and movement. The interplay between the two characters works well. However...if you prune some of the adverbs and you'll find it will flow even better.

  3. You capture the stiffness of courtly conversation really well. The downside is that by segregating each element of dialog, you lose a lot of tension. As a result you have to fall back on dialog tags to tell us how the two characters are feeling. Instead, try to put as much of their tension and Xandra's passion into her actual words.

  4. I think it flows very well. I am hunting Adverbs as well :-)