Thursday, January 17, 2008

Friday Snippet, January 18, 2008

And Friday is here again. Continuing with the story about Special Examiner Anabelle Sturgis. This scene (not the whole scene) follows directly from this post.

First draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks!

Quick synopsis. Anabelle Sturgis is the Special Examiner to the King. She's also a Fire Witch. She's named the fire elemental who keeps her company Flicker. She is investigating the murder of a family member of one of the Fifty (the nobility in this world), a Water Witch who has drowned--an impossibility that puzzles Anabelle. She goes to question Eli Gorham, the victim's father and one of the Fifty.

Gorham Manor, an impressive size, sat against the background of the Lake of Sorrows like a jewel in a fine setting. Anabelle stopped the gig for a moment and took it all in. Her father had been Eli Gorham’s peer—but even he hadn’t owned such magnificence. She supposed her brother Christopher owned Davilar Manor now since Albert Davilar’s death, but she hadn’t been back home since her mother had passed a number of years ago.

Anabelle slapped the reins. She could see a carriage drawn up before the front portico, and two men stood, watching her arrive. Anabelle recognized both of them, and she muttered a word certainly not learned in society’s prim and proper halls. How could she have forgotten this was his jurisdiction?

John Sturgis stepped forward as she pulled her horse to a stop.

“Is it necessary for you to be here when I am?” she said, disgruntled.

He gave her a mocking smile. “Is that any way to greet your husband, Mrs. Sturgis?”

Anabelle gave a sound suspiciously like a sniff, but allowed him to help her from the gig. She watched a couple of Gorham’s stablehands take charge of both vehicles, then turned to extend her hand to the other man.

“Hello, Frank. Nice to see you again,” she said.

Frank Sturgis took her hand and kissed it, a gleam of amusement in his eyes. “Now that had to hurt,” he murmured an aside to John.

“I’m cut to the quick,” John said in a gleeful voice.

“Both of you aren’t fit for polite society, you know that?” Anabelle said.

“We already know we ain’t polite society, love. That’s why Christopher doesn’t talk to you anymore,” John said.

“Thank you so much for reminding me how obnoxious you can be,” Anabelle said sweetly.

He gave an elaborate flourish, and she preceded them into the side hallway.

Bad place! Bad fire!

Anabelle stopped dead in her tracks, astonishment raising her eyebrows.

“What is it, Anabelle?” John asked.

“Flicker doesn’t like this place,” she said in a low voice.

John’s eyebrows raised, too. He knew as well as she that Flicker rarely articulated anything. Fire elementals were rather simple. They burned and consumed, and not much existed for them outside that. Flicker noticing anything about Gorham Manor beyond how many things it could burn concerned her.

"Faces, people," Frank muttered to both of them. "Time for the show."


IanT said...

And a nice sense of impending doom to end it. :-)

There's a slightly odd viewpoint thing going on in a couple of places:
"she muttered a word certainly not learned in society’s prim and proper halls."
"Anabelle gave a sound suspiciously like a sniff,"

Both of these assume someone omniscient with an opinion is looking at Anabelle, whereas I think Annabelle is supposed to be the PoV (in close third-person) - and so I'm not sure they work. If it was Anabelle noticing them about someone else, then it would work - but there is no-one to notice them about her. Does that make sense?

Joy Renee said...

a fire elemental is fearful? of fire?

ummm. any connection to whatever could have drowned a water witch?

ummm. could this be the power that someone thinks trumps the King's power?

getting more intriguing by the sentence.

cherylp said...

Yes, it makes sense, Ian. I read too much 19th c. fiction. That obnoxious omniscient crops up in my writing a lot. Thanks for pointing it out. I try to ruthlessly crush it when I see it or someone else sees it.

Jess said...

Wow, Cheryl! I love it! And a drowned water witch - what a hook. This is really awesome! Best of luck with it. It looks special. :)

Ray M. Solberg said...

I'm really enjoying this and must confess I've been looking forward to reading the next installment all week :) Well worth the wait.

I really like how each of your character's voices are distinctive and how the mystery is revealing (good show versus tell) as the story continues.

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I'm glad you came back to this one -- the idea of people getting killed by their power, like the drowned water witch, is very intriguing! (Thanks for encouraging me to do a Snippet!)

Gabriele C. said...

Oh nice, Georgette Heyer meets Sherlock Holmes with some witches and elementals thrown in for extra fun. Me likes.