Here’s another excerpt from my current work in progress, Everdream. Let me know what you think!
It always irked Kynan to answer his father’s summons, especially after they’d quarrelled—to bow low in obeisance and follow form when within he screamed to break loose and rage.
Still, he knew his place, and he bowed though every nerve in his body strained to rebel. “My king,” he said evenly, though his voice ached to shout otherwise.
With a flick of his hand, Father dismissed his courtiers. They left his counsel chamber so quickly it might have been by magic, and they were alone, father and son, in heavy silence pregnant with anger and injury.
“My son.” His words were quiet, tired and sad. Tinged with regret. But regret for what? That he was burdened with such a son? Kynan’s eyes stung, though they remained mercifully dry. “Lyr brings me troubling news.”
Kynan turned his head aside and down, clenching his jaw. He’d known, of course, that his every word to Lyr would reach the ears of the king. But he’d not expected it so soon. He forced his eyes back to meet his father’s, looking steadily and unflinchingly back in stony silence. Whether he spoke or not, he knew what would come.
If the king was disconcerted by Kynan’s forthright gaze, he didn’t show it. “Perhaps I have been overlong in keeping secrets from you.”
Kynan’s eyes goggled. Was this an admission of error? It would be wholly out of his father’s character.
Father went on. “You are clearly of an age when keeping all mention of Everdream from you is not enough. It is time you knew one thing, at least—Everdream is dangerous.”
Kynan listened, trying to feign hardened disinterest, but failing.
Father leaned forward in his great chair, spreading his hands on the table. A stray gleam of late afternoon sunlight from the tall windows glinted on the ruby of his signet ring. “Your mother…” He closed his eyes for along moment. Was that frustration that drew his brows together? “The queen—she is lost. Lost in a land of terrors and shadows.”
The idea of Mother wandering lost, afraid and in danger sparked in Kynan a vital courage that he’d rarely known. “Then we—“
Father shook his head impatiently. “No. Others—your betters—have tried and failed. She is lost.”
His words echoed between them in the silent room and Kynan closed his mouth, gritting his teeth.
“I need to know you understand. That you will obey my will in this. Everdream is dangerous. You must never go there. I forbid it.”
Kynan stared at his father, tense with rage. How could Father simply abandon her to her fate? If there were anything they could do, then shouldn’t they? How could he give up?
Something fell into place in that moment, like a tumbler in a lock. Like a sword into its sheath. What was until now only a fleeting thought, a passing fancy, suddenly became Kynan’s world. Even if all else in the world—from the lowliest foot soldier to the king himself—forsook the queen, Kynan would not. He must go to Everdream and bring back his mother. No rule of law, no lapse of courage, no fear of death could hold him back now.