Monday, May 31, 2010

The Journey Continues

The Hidden Will of the Dragon
Excerpts from the sequel to Dandelions In The Garden
Chapters 13-15

Wicked as the Wind
I am not sure what compelled me to do so, but I dropped to my knees.  Small flakes of snow began to fall and were wetting my hair and cheeks.  I blinked, clearing the snow from my lashes.  I begged for a miracle.  I dared something to intervene and release us from this life.  I cursed God and all that was holy for my suffering.  From my teachings I knew this was unwise, but my anger was such that I did not care.  I had been good, and I had been bad.  I doubted either course was punishable or rewarded by God, rather I had the nagging suspicion fate was determined by man.  Yet, I prayed.   

What is Done, Cannot be Undone
At first I did not understand why Anna did not protest, why she agreed to the arranged marriage, but after hearing Count Thurzo’s orders and seeing Elizabeth’s state, I realized Anna was smarter and more mature than I originally gave her credit.  She had not been consumed by the romantic notion of freedom nor blind to duty.  I believe she was mindful of her father’s intentions and knew not even death would allow her to escape Fate.  Yes, she was more aware than her mother that arms reached from the grave.  Besides, in the case of Anna marriage provided benefit, a change of scenery.  Existence at Cachtice was difficult and solitary.  If she could not be the custodian of her own future, she’d settle for a crumb of happiness.  A fine dress, a grand party, a chamber of ladies for company and if Fortune blessed, a tolerable husband.  After all, this was the very best our sex could do.  It was an accomplishment and prized above all else.  I thought of the prostitutes working the Turkish soldier tents.  They were mere objects of pleasure to be used on whim or whipped.  Then there was the servant girl strung up in a cage for attempting escape.  Her crime was trading information for promise of bread and a few coins.  All this scraping, clawing and plotting was good for what—a glimpse of a better life?  What did the risk get you, but a few moments of security until the next threat entered the scene?  Not even a queen was safe.  If she did not produce a male heir, or if a younger woman took her place in the marriage bed she’d be exiled, or worse lose her head.  Women were a disposal bag of flesh and bones – hallow wombs placed on Earth to serve a purpose and when all was done, it was undone.

A Soul's End
I took a deep breath.  Indeed, it reeked terribly sweet.  The smell of fortune changing piqued my senses sending them tingling with delight.  The wicked current pushed at the rear of the carriage encouraging our small travel party onward to Vienna.  Let Draco worry about Protestant rebels.  It was better for us if he remained occupied with duty rather than domesticity.  For once I was pleased to hear of conflict; in this case, a religious conflict provided a timely distraction.  It gave a cloak for us to brew a much more sinister uprising – the Blood Countess, as Elizabeth would later become known, was about to descend on the city.


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