Book six is coming along, but there is a lot yet to write. When I left off this weekend, the SEV1 hull had launched into low orbit around Fortuna. Here’s a little something from the early chapters.
Note: This has not been reviewed by my editor. All typos and grammatical errors are mine.
Lucius may sit in the comfort of his transport and review Vistrite productivity reports or he may indulge himself in investigation of the Seer’s eccentric household. Before he can speak, Mr. George opens the transport door.
Not quite to her fourteenth year, Katleen is tall for her age, holding the promise of Lilian’s inches. Shooing her pet outside, she offers Lucius his choice of refreshment. Relieved the furry rodent will not be a guest at table, Lucius accepts green tea. Sipping, he examines Katleen while she returns to her meal and places an ice treatment to a raised welt on her jaw. “A training accident?”
“Yes monsignor. Third day Lilian instructs me in Adelaide’s Avoidance. Both she and Maman are insistent that the first victory in combat is survival.” Katleen shifts the ice as she opens her mouth to take a bite of cereal.
The injury is minor. It will bruise, but no worse than many Lilian has displayed. She is far more careful of Katleen than she is of herself.
Blushing, Katleen says, “Lilian insisted on the ice.”
Interesting. “Lilian is not so careful of her own injuries.”
“Lilian does not attend a Universalist school, monsignor,” Katleen replies. “The scholars are overly concerned by the violence of my house. We do not wish to distress them further.”
“Are they so easily distressed?” Lucius cannot imagine how a bruised cheek could incite extreme concern.
“Since the Battle of Serengeti, they have been very solicitous,” Katleen says. “Seigneur Aristides’ play for the media did not conceal Lilian’s ferocity in battle. It is fortunate the Master Scholar knows naught of Lilian’s duties since then. He already fears for my soul.”
What says she? He cannot imagine Lilian violated security-privilege. Nor can he fathom her discussing the torture of the Despoilers with one of Katleen’s years. “Lilian speaks of her duties?”
Putting down spoon and ice, Katleen rises and begins to clear the table. “Lilian does not speak of it. With Lilian it is not what is voiced, it is what is not voiced. Since the battle there is great deal Lilian has not voiced.”
Lilian’s tendency to withhold is an ingrained habit, its roots in the trauma of her youth and the necessity for secrecy when she learned of Gariten’s dark doings. None of that can be undone. The wounds caused by the Despoiler are something he can address. With Lady Helena’s communication erratic, a silent Lilian must leave the young redhead very isolated. “You may find she is less silent when we return from Fortuna.”
“My thanks,” Katleen stows the leftovers in the foodkeeper. “It is not as bad as it was. Mistress Rebecca and the others have been with us the past few Seventh Days.”
“Lilian’s consortium,” Lucius replies, hoping to lure more confidences.
“Yes monsignor, although Rebecca and Chrys are the best at lightening Lilian’s spirit.”
Before he can ask anything further, Lilian pushes open the kitchen door. “Monsignor’s transport is out front. I must depart, have you all you require?”
“Milord.” Lilian’s eyes widen as she glances between him and her sister. Pressing her lips together, she squares her shoulders. “What is milord’s will?”
Watching Lilian don apprentice decorum charms Lucius. It will be delightful to tease or arouse her into discarding it. Repressing a smile at the wayward thought, he rises. “Take leave of your sister. I will await you without.”