Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chapter 1: The Rise of Lord Sinon

Spoiler alert: If you haven't read, 'The Treasures of Carmelidrium,' you may want to avoid reading this chapter. But for those of you who have been waiting, here is a teaser. This is the first part of chapter one, titled; Application. There's more but  you must wait.

I've had no takers on the critique, so I think Wednesday will be given to a variety of post.

Here goes:

Chapter 1
Lord Sinon Awiergan stood in the center of the library at Château de Talaith. Coal from hell burned his stomach. High King Healden sat at an intricately carved desk in the middle of the room and had yet to look up from the study of a stack of papers. A grandfather clock on Sinon’s right ticked away at his nerves.
The oval room had a spectacular view of the west gardens and stable. The late summer sun shone through multiple windows and splashed against the rich deep blue carpet. A balcony circled the interior upper floor above the windows and just below the rosewood dome ceiling. All around the second floor were bookshelves. A circular wrought iron staircase connected the main floor to the upper balcony.
It was rumored that the windows had been imported from L'Amérique, the queen’s home world. Another time Sinon might have enjoyed the vast display of the grounds and gardens of the château, but not now.
As he stared out the windows, two noblemen strode along the brick walk, one he knew to be Crown Prince Liam, the other…must be Friend-Brother Cadmar, Sinon thought. The prince marched past without looking in but Cadmar paused and met Sinon’s gaze. A frown creased the brow of the young lord, as if he were suspicious. Of what? Sinon had done nothing. Not yet. The moment passed and he looked away.
Two guardsmen stood at Healden’s back. They neither stared at Sinon nor ignored him. Their navy uniforms were impeccable and the tunics, once so popular, had been replaced with a fine wool jacket held closed with gold buttons. Each man had a red sash that held their swords secure against their hips.
On Sinon’s left was a decorative door giving access to the western gardens. He’d entered through the old library which was attached to the new.
Sinon struggled to ignore the portrait of Queen Michelle over the mantel directly behind Healden. He fought the urge to rub away the whisper that buzzed in his ear. Any odd behavior on his part might cost him the tutorship to, Prince Eamon, and he must secure it.
“Be with you in a moment, Awiergan,” Healden said, and glanced up before continuing to read. The king paused, lifted his gaze and stared at Sinon. Healden’s face was unreadable. Fear ignited the coals in Sinon’s belly and he felt as if his intestines where on fire.
“Have we met?” Healden asked.
“No, Majesty.”
“You look familiar.”
“I do not know why,” Sinon lied. He knew why, it was the great secret he kept his entire life. Even his sister didn’t know the truth. Now, things had become more complicated for him. Memories flooded his mind. Ever since he read the announcement that the king sought a science tutor for his third son, Prince Eamon.
Healden pulled his reading glasses from his face and set them on top of the desk. “I can’t place your accent, Lord Awiergan.”
The burning in Sinon’s belly didn’t subside. “I am lately from the southeastern seaport of Gwri, Majesty. But my studies took place at the university in Eara and my first appointment was in a small fishing village forty miles from Tyne in the south. I suppose I have picked up a few nuances from each place.”
“Where were you raised?”
“We traveled, Sire. My parents were from the north.”
“Where…in the north?”
The whispers in Sinon’s ear intensified. Unable to resist any longer, he raised his hand and rubbed his ear.
Sinon lied. “My father was a medical doctor, as I am. He fled during the war. I do not remember where our home was located. Eventually, we settled in Eara, but my father died shortly after my mother. My grandmother moved into our home and raised us until her death several years later.”
“Did your father have a name?”
Sinon borrowed a name that was common enough. “Seamus, Seamus Awiergan.”
“Seamus Awiergan,” Healden repeated. “You have a brother, Sinon?”
“A sister, Sire.”
“I see. You bare a remarkable resemblance to a man I once met. He too lived in the north.”
“I am unaware of any relatives, Sire.”
Once again Healden picked up his reading glasses, adjusted them, and lifted the paper which was Sinon’s résumé. The grandfather clock chimed. Sinon flinched. He clasped both of his hands together behind his back to hide his unease.
Healden cleared his throat. “Very impressive, Lord Awiergan, on behalf of all of Gil-Lael, I thank you. Your discovery of the danagrim bark has saved many women from an untimely death during childbirth.”
Sinon bent his head slightly. “Thank you, Majesty.”
“You have served as medical doctor in several villages, and studied various herbal remedies of the local midwives. I assume this is how you came upon the danagrim bark. Perhaps you could elaborate,” the king said. Healden didn’t fully remove his reading glasses this time, pushing them lower on his nose.
“Yes, Sire, I have long noticed that old herbal remedies did more than calm nerves and ease an upset stomach. When I lived in Bréque, I noted that the village women experienced few complications during pregnancy.
“Intrigued, I monitored the activities of the midwives and learned of an herbal tea. It was a mixture of many plants. Sometime later I realized that the sole benefit of the drink came from the danagrim bark.”
Sinon watched the king make a note on the paper. He continued. “I realized that the properties of the danagrim bark prevented women from hemorrhaging after giving birth, thus saving them from an untimely and tragic death. Since danagrim only grows for a short time in the south of Gil-Lael, I built a green house and grew the plant year round.”
“I read the report you submitted to ‘The Medical Log,” Healden said. “Your discovery has made you a wealthy man. Why are you seeking this appointment?”
“I am first and foremost a research scientist, Majesty. I should be greatly honored to be chosen as Prince Eamon’s instructor in science. To pass on my knowledge would be a true fulfillment of my life’s work.”
“No other reason has brought you to Terrell?”
“I must confess, Sire. My sister is at the age to find a suitable husband.” The king would learn about Alodia soon enough. Better to be honest about it now.
Healden’s face wore an unreadable expression. “Your sister lives with you?”
“Yes, Majesty.”
“I see.” Healden lifted Sinon’s résumé and put it to the side. “We are having a dinner party tonight for all those under consideration as tutor. Bring your sister if you like.” 
“I am honored.” Sinon bowed.
“Dinner is at seven. I look forward to meeting your sister.” King Healden motioned the guard forward and one of them took the invitation from the king and presented it to Sinon. He accepted it, bowed again and followed the guardsman out of the library.
As he kept pace with the guardsman down the curved hall from the king’s library toward the grand entrance a sweet fragrance spread around him. Sinon blinked, a new fear arose, if the queen saw him?
A great beauty came down the stairs. Her blond hair was pulled away from her face and curled down her back. She wore a lavender skirt and white blouse and hurried toward him. Not the queen, but the…
“Princess,” Sinon bowed.
“Hello my Lord,” she said, as she passed without giving him a second look. She smelled of peaches and honey as if she’d bathed in the ripe juice. As Sinon watched, she slipped behind the library doors.
He wasted no more time and left at once. He feared his encounter with the queen more than anything else.
What do you think? Full critique is fine.


Carolyn V said...

I had to jump over the reading because I want to read The Treasures of Carmelidrium first! But I bet it's great!!!

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks Carolyn, can't wait for you to read it and let me know what you think.

The Golden Eagle said...

Interesting chapter! I think it's a pretty strong opening for a book.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Golden
Thanks so much.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Golden
Thanks so much.