Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Flash: Surrender: No Rhyme, No Reason

It's very nearly the New Year!

This year's been a whirlwind (skip my little wrap-up if you're just here for the Flash):

I dropped nearly 40 pounds (according to the doctor's office nearly 50), I saw my debut novel published, completed writing the second and third books in that series, signed a contract adding two more books to that series, spoke at two national conventions, saw foreign rights of my work go to several countries, saw the cover for the Brazilian version, spoke at a number of awesome bookstores and events, got a new agent, started a Facebook profile and fan page, been asked to blurb two novels, cut some poisonous personalities from my life and replaced them with better folks. I have a lot to look forward to in 2011 and I hope you're looking forward to awesome stuff, too!

The following's what I wrote over this morning's coffee--it has no real rhyme or reason, the characters have no world I've constructed yet, little past and present and possibly no future. It's a snippet sitting on the edge of time (in my mind) and so it's somehow fitting I share it this Friday as the last Friday Flash of 2010. It's unedited and raw and very much not 13 to Life...

#FridayFlash 12/31/10

The helm smacked down heavily on his table and he recognized it even before his eyes drifted up to her drawn face, marked by a strangely distant expression. Long dark hair tugged free of her braid, wisps snapping at the breeze that dared to tease it. “I’m finished Captain.”

“Excellent, and the troops--”

“No,” she said, pushing the word out with anger. “I’m finished with all this.” She shrugged her shoulders, armor sliding across her arms a moment before she wrestled with the buckles and removed the shoulder pieces, thumping them down beside her helm. “I have no heart left for this sort of thing.”

“Wait—what? You’re our best...”

“Find someone else. With me gone there will be another best.”

“Not as good as you.”

She shrugged, something tightening around her eyes. “They want us to ride rescue for them—they always want us to ride rescue.” Her hand stroked over her left arm and he pulled his gaze away—tugged it back from the eerie crisscross of scars that seemed to glitter catching the same sunbeams that the hair of her head seemed to devour. She barely hid the scars now. At her age, she’d said once, the only thing keeping her standing were bones and scars. “And where were they when we needed them most?”

She said we but he knew she meant I. He’d read the details of her capture once, of the ransom that never came for one of their finest fighters and the torture the enemy inflicted out of spite to teach her what her place and her value truly was. “We need you.”

She looked away. “If that were enough—and it used to be—I’d stay. But it can’t be enough for me. Not anymore. I can’t be expected to train the next generation of warriors to a code of honor—to a chivalry I’ve never seen enforced. A code I never saw used except by me personally—a code I never benefited from.”

He rubbed a hand across his face, jamming thick fingers into his eyes. Gods, if he could convince her to stay—just finish the training.

“Don’t bother trying,” she whispered, setting her fists on either side of the armor to lean toward him. “I can’t stay where I have no value.”

“But you do--”

“No. If I’d ever been valuable to them they wouldn’t have let me waste away in that tower—bleed out my heart and my strength waiting on a rescue that never came.”

“That was years ago...”

“Yes. But the ache’s strong as yesterday and the facts remain facts regardless of the time that distances us from when they first occurred. History makes us who we are—no matter how far back that history extends.”

They’d have his commission if he let her just leave. “You’d be labeled a deserter. You’d be hunted by the very warriors you’ve trained.”

Again she shrugged. “Send them. But I think you’ll have your hands too full with this inane battle you’re planning to spare a flight of hunters.” She grinned at him then and the coldness of it made a shiver jump across his arms. “And consider this—how much more dangerous to the training of your troops is a teacher who doesn’t care whether they live or die?” She drew herself back to her full height, gathered up her armor and headed for the horses.

And he let her go because he had no answers, no worthy enticement, could offer her nothing valuable enough to make her stay.

And because what he knew about the rescue she’d needed so desperately years earlier still kept him from rescuing her from herself now.

Happy New Year--get creative in 2011!


13toLifeFannn said...

Thanks for the snippet-they absolutely make may day!
This one was very touching. And I like how it pointed out that just becuase time passed doesn't mean they didn't save her amd that they are forgiven. And, of course, I luvv the girl power; makes me happy when a girl is their stringest fighter!!!

Rebekah said...

Congratulations on your AMAZING year! That is definitely what I would call a whirlwind. Here's to 2011 being even better!

Heather (Book-Savvy) said...

Thanks you for stopping by the Out With A Bang Twitter Party last night! That was SO COOL!!! I got to spend the end of 2010 hanging out with YOU!!!! You're the best! Happy New Year!

Shannon Delany said...

13toLifeFannn--Glad you enjoyed the snippet. *fist-bump* Here's to powerful girls and the people who *can* deal with them. ;)

Thanks, Rebekah! It's been awesome and I wish you the same--an even better 2011! :)

Heather, it was totally my pleasure! Hope you had an awesome start to the new year! :D

Sheila Deeth said...

Fascinating snippet. I hope there'll be lots more.

Shannon Delany said...

Thanks, Sheila! As I get time (and stuff I feel is okay to share here) I'll try to do just that.