It occurred to me that I’ve never shared an excerpt from my novel, MERLYN’S RAVEN, here on my blog.
What the hell is wrong with me?
Anyway–read on for a peek. In this scene, my heroine, Gwendydd, is heartbroken. You’ll find out why.
It was nearly impossible to face Myrddin the next day. When I brought the meal to the druid quarters, he tried to draw me out with jokes and questions, but my short responses and melancholy looks eventually silenced him. Blaise seemed oblivious to it all and, after eating a light meal, retired to the comfort of his private chamber. I walked to the drying table and took up the pestle, throwing a weed I couldn’t recognize into the mortar and grinding it without thought.
I felt Myrddin watching me, his bewilderment palpable in the air, but I did not dare glance his way. I feared collapsing into tears or, worse, confessing my undying love to his great embarrassment. He would know about Lot soon enough, but how could I hide my distress from him without telling him my true feelings? Tears stung my eyes as I pounded the herbs until a hand stayed mine.
“Gwendydd, stop. You’ll shatter the poor mortar, and then what shall we do?”
His tone was light, and it made me angry. I tore my arm away and heaved the pestle across the room. It sprayed dried leaves in an arc across the table as it flew before striking the wall with a sharp ring. “I cannot bear you making fun of me today, Myrddin.”
“I was not making fun. I was trying to distract you from whatever poisons your thoughts.” He reached to touch my shoulder, but I darted away, keeping my face turned askance. I knew if I looked into his eyes, I would lose any control that I had. “Come, what is it?”
I sighed. Sooner or later, he would hear anyway, and had I not told him the truth in all? “My grandfather has found a husband for me. He comes now from Lothian, to be here at Christmastime.”
“I see.” A long pause followed.
Eternal moments later, I could bear it no longer. I whirled towards him, my anger stoked again. “Is that all you can say?”
Myrddin spread his hands in a gesture of acquiescence. “What do you want me to say?”
“You know how unhappy this makes me. How much I hate that I have no say in this, that I must instead be the dutiful granddaughter made into the obedient wife. How can you stand by and watch me suffer?”
“Do you expect me to stop it?” He cocked his head to one side, scowling. “You are the only one who can control your life, Gwendydd. Have you learned nothing in these last months I’ve been instructing you?”
“But that’s a lie!” I shouted. “It’s a lie that I have control. Is that not what magick is, mastery over circumstance? How can I control anything when I am not even the mistress of my own life?”
He took a step toward me, his voice firm. “Of course you have control. It is hard to see now, but there are things you can do. You always have a choice.”
“You’re wrong. I’ve been given no choice here, and it hurts more than you can possibly understand.” I stalked to the door of the chamber and threw it open, trying to check the shaking in my hands so that he would not see my weakness. “I believe our lessons are at an end.”
He frowned. “What do you mean? This does not need to change—“
“Yes, it does. The purpose of these lessons was to make me more attractive to a suitor. Now that Grandfather has promised me to Lord Lot, there is no need for me to study further.” I looked him in the eye, all my tears dried in the wake of my fury. “I thank you, Lord Merlyn, for your guidance. I know that what I have learned will make me a better wife.” I spit out the last word, spun on my heel, and dashed from his sight before he could protest. I headed straight for my chambers and did not emerge until the next morning, promising myself I would cry no more. I was empty inside.