Fiction Break

One hour left of my final workday of the week. Let’s see how fast I can write something!


The blade at her throat was warm. It smelled of blood, but Evalise Beaumont knew Adair wouldn’t dare threaten her with a bloodied blade. He had no doubt cleaned it just before sneaking into her chamber.

“My Lady,” he whispered in her ear. His voice was hoarse as ever, and even more unwelcome.

“Adair,” Eva’s voice was dry as her mouth.

Adair wrapped his free arm around Eva’s midriff, pulling her body against his. Eva didn’t need to look to know he had used ash as camouflage. She was glad she decided to wear a darker dress to the evening’s ball, but even blood would stain the deep green gown.

“Do you know why I’m here, My lady?” his breath brushed against her neck. Eva held her breath so she wouldn’t have the unfortunate experience of smelling it.

“I can venture a guess,” she responded, “how much of a ransom would you like?”

“Ever the ignorant,” he ran his hand along the ribs of her corset. His blade wasn’t too tight against her throat that a swift jab to his ribs wouldn’t free her from it, but he would surely sense her muscles tense if she tried.

“Do you know for whom I work, my lady?” his lips touched the back of her ear as he spoke, driving chills down Eva’s spine. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing her fidget.

“I know the rumors,” she sidestepped the question. Of course she knew, but he shouldn’t know that she knew. A lady of her stature would have no reason to know such things.

“That’s not what I asked,” his hand at her waist stopped moving. Moving lightning fast, he grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. He pinned her against the wall, hand on her shoulder, knee between her legs, and dagger at her throat. It was a rather unladylike position for poor Eva Beaumont, but staring at Adair face-to-face, his sharp blue eyes looking directly into hers, she didn’t care so much.

“For whom do I work?” he asked, pressing the blade tighter against her throat.

Eva turned her head away from him. She couldn’t sidestep this question. The fact that he would even ask it in such a manner was bad news for her. He knew more than he was supposed to.

She tried to say she didn’t know, but the words just wouldn’t come out of her mouth.

“Zephaniah,” she said at last, “You work for Zephaniah.” she glared into his piercing eyes, letting hers pierce back.

Adair grinned, releasing his grip on her ever so slightly. Eva didn’t know what he wanted from her, but it wasn’t looking good. That question was a test, and she had, unfortunately, passed.

“Perhaps you’re not as ignorant as I thought,” he lowered his blade and sheathed it as his side. Eva didn’t relax. “Can you follow directions, my lady?”

“You mean you don’t have a test for my intelligence as well?” she tried to buy time to figure a way out of his grasp. She might be able to knock his hand sideways, off her shoulder, then give him a sharp strike to the face. She didn’t need to incapacitate him, she just needed to escape.

“Who said these directions weren’t such a test?” his grin persisted. His eyes seemed to glow in the dim evening light of the Beaumont manor.

“What would you have me do, then?” Why was her heart beating so fast?

“The ball at the Jamison household this evening,” he leaned closer as he spoke “After the third waltz, you are to step out onto the north-facing balcony without an escort. Understood?”

“Yes,” she responded in a whisper. She attributed her warm face to her racing heart.

“Good,” Adair relented, releasing Eva from the wall. “Should you disobey, the world will know your secret.”

“And what secret would that be?” Eva did her best to pretend she didn’t know what he meant. She prayed he was bluffing, but there was no telling with the minions of Zephaniah.

“You know very well, changeling,” he offered her one last smile before disappearing out the window she didn’t realize was open.

Changeling! She brought her hand to her mouth, not sure if her smile was one of relief, nerves, or something else entirely. He thinks I’m a changeling! The thought was intriguing, though wrong. Changelings were hardly welcome in society, but they did better than Eva’s kind did.

She stood for a moment, gazing out the window at the grove of trees below. Should she disobey and let him make a fool of himself with such a false claim? Or should she play along, hoping he doesn’t realize what she really is? She could tell the guards, but what would she tell them?

Evalise shook her head. She still had to finish her makeup before the ball. She would think while beautifying.


Not bad for about 40 minutes of spur-of-the-moment writing (I docked 20 minutes for when my manager so rudely interrupted my writing to discuss work stuff. The audacity!). Great way to kill time, too.

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About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on October 29, 2010, in Ishy Writes! and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. And a great read after a very long day. Sounds like the start of an intriguing tale. Perhaps something to play with next NaNoWriMo?

    • Glad you enjoyed it. At the moment it’s a bit too similar to Gail Garriger’s novels for me to take it seriously enough, but I might play with the idea more at a later date.

  2. Hmm. So they’ve met before, and she at the very least knows a pseudonym for him. I can’t imagine it being his real name, since he seems to lack either of the honor or arrogance that would lead him to reveal such a thing. And he’s obviously trying to get something from her, and yet he announces himself with a blade at her throat. His professionalism is questionable, though, considering his rough treatment of her and the implication that he stabbed and most likely killed someone while he was en route to her. Interesting, very interesting…

    • Just so you know, I pictured a man stroking his bear saying “Interesting, very interesting…” He has a pipe, too. And probably smells funny. (No, I don’t think of you that way, just the phrase. It’s a fascinating mental picture.)

  3. *puppy dog eyes*
    What is Eva? What does Adair want from her?
    Please write some more, pretty please with a cherry on top…
    Very intriguing…
    I do like the fact that you don’t overstate facts. Like here:
    “Changeling! She brought ..else entirely.”
    I liked how you didn’t say “..she covered her smile, not sure if her smile was one of relief…” since that would be too repetitive. I liked how you gave us the visual of her covering her mouth, and THEN of her smiling. It made it seem like the man didn’t see it.
    BTW that mental picture of shard/the old man just made my day. Unfortunately, I think I will have a hard time getting it out of my head.

  4. Not bad for a forty-minute writing session!

    But what is up with all these teaser stories? 🙂 First Thaumaturgist, now you. All these open questions to leave us wondering what is going on, and what is going to happen. I really do hope I will get to read some of your finished work in the future.

    Btw, I’m starting to wonder if Adair really thinks that Eva is a changeling, or that he is really just testing her intelligence. Judging by Adair’s actions and his constant grinning, he is either a pompous arrogant fool (though a highly skilled one), or there is more than meets the eye about him.

    • It wasn’t intended to be a teaser, I swear! The second part… Kind of was. I would love to post something finished, but most everything I write is a bit long to post to a blog. I’ll try to finish Eva’s story after NaNoWriMo in hopes that it won’t be novel-length. I’m just glad people enjoyed reading it!

  1. Pingback: Fiction Break, part 2 « Resplendence

  2. Pingback: Trout « Delightfully Twisted

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