This time for Teaser Tuesday I’m going to give you guys a real teaser…a sneak peek at a scene from Scion. This is from Tarik’s POV, from when he first arrives in Istia. He’s at the home of Agnir, the Istian sailor who brought him from Cavnal.
The door slammed open behind me. I jumped and turned as a young man strode into the hut, wind blown and coated with ice, wearing no coat but a width of fur over his shoulders. I doubted he was much older than me, but he came in like a conqueror of old, with a sparse beard and his hair bound in knotted cords in a way Minister Batar would have called p-p-positively barbaric. He strode past me without even a glance and tossed a heavy-bladed knife on the table.
“Smells good,” he said to Agnir, leaning against the black stone slab. “Nika is seeing to the horses. She said don’t wait.”
“Iskari,” Agnir said, “show some courtesy.”
So, I thought with a little sinking feeling, that is Iskari.
Iskari’s eyes flickered toward me, disinterested, before returning to his father. “So the sea spat out another one,” he said, and shrugged. “Is the soup ready?”
“Not yet. I’ve only just come in myself.” Agnir stirred the cauldron a moment without speaking, then, without looking up he said, “We lost the boat.”
Iskari froze where he was, his gaze drifting back to me. “Too much baggage?”
“Iskari! That is Taumir Eyidson. That is our Godar.”
Iskari stared at me steadily a moment, then without the slightest hint of emotion he turned back to Agnir and said, “Anything we can salvage from the wreck?”
“We’ll have to wait and see.”
I slowly lowered my legs so I wasn’t hunched up on the chair like a child, masking the motion by stretching my hands toward the steam vent. It didn’t matter; I knew I didn’t fool Iskari. More than that, I knew it didn’t even matter.
A moment later the door swung open again in a gust of wind that scattered papers around the hut, and Agnir’s daughter walked in from the dark. I stared; I couldn’t help it. She wore her hair knotted like Iskari’s, but hers was pale gold, almost as light as Shade’s. She had the bluest eyes I’d ever seen—the bluest, and the coldest. She took one look at me and shifted her gaze to meet Iskari’s, and some shared meaning passed between them that made me feel suddenly small and insignificant.
“Here’s the word from the clan,” she said, pulling a rolled piece of paper from her courier bag and handing it to Agnir. She had a rather low voice, as cold and hard as her eyes. “The meet will happen in two weeks.”
Agnir glanced at me as she said it, so I ventured to ask, “What meet is that?”
“The one where we decide if you will continue in your current role,” he said. “Or if we will vote in a new Godar to replace you.”
“As if there’s a question,” Nika said, low, as she passed me by.
Agnir darted an anxious look from her to me. I wasn’t sure if he thought I’d be offended; I wasn’t even sure if I thought I should be offended. Part of me had no doubt the Istians would replace me at their earliest opportunity, and I wasn’t sure it bothered me that they might not even give me a chance. So I met his gaze evenly for a moment, then went back to studying the steam vent, as determined to ignore Iskari and Nika as they seemed determined to hate me.
I felt Nika’s stare fixed on me, and resisted the urge to smile. She at least had expected to offend me. Sometimes I wondered if not caring made me weak, but right then, I knew it made me strong. Or at least it made me feel strong, and that was enough. I crossed my arms and braced a foot against the stones of the vent, settling a little deeper into the chair.
“You have to forgive them,” Agnir said after a long silence.
“Forgive them for what?” I asked.
I smiled, faintly. “Candor is all that matters.”
Iskari circled around to a low seat opposite me, dropping onto it and leaning onto his knees to study me.
“Candor?” he said, with a ruthless sort of smile. “Strange to hear that from you, if the stories are true.”
I winced. “What stories?”
He didn’t bother to answer me. Instead he leaned back in the chair and crossed his boots at the ankles, folding his arms over his chest. “Everything about you is a lie,” he said. “Godar.”
I leaned forward, slamming my hand on the rim of the vent. The lamps winked out, not one by one, not slowly, but all of them, all at once.
“Not everything,” I said.