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One Line Wednesday Excerpts

Here's two excerpts from my scifi/adventure/romance mash-up, Fate's Apology, currently enjoying a very productive round of re-writes. Some of my #1lineWed tweets today were taken from these scenes. Enjoy the somwhwat expanded versions!

Scene one: Seeds of Discontent
"Why do you not rest, Nala? Ar-dek is not here, and your arms are shaking from the effort."

Nala threaded a tiny, white quartz bead onto the sheet she was creating then picked up another and shook her head. "I cannot, Sula. The deal was, if I finish this in time, Callos will excuse me from the next soirée."

"He will do no such thing. You will leap, as you always leap."

Nala glanced up at the older woman, her burgundy tendrils meticulously braided into a traditional hethfa, her salmon-colored flesh scrubbed clean. Like Nala, she wore a coarsely-woven, dress of drab color. Unlike Nala, she had slept at some point in the past day, her emerald-green eyes clear and bright.

"That is fine," Nala said, continuing her work. "It is not the leaping I dread."

Sula's hand caressed. Nala closed her eyes as the woman's fingers threaded through her own, unbraided tendrils.

"It is only because it is so uncommon for you that it is so awful," Sula said.

"It would be awful no matter what."

"Because they feel they must put on a show for Callos's sake. I was his favorite once too, and it is far different in the harem rooms than behind the anonymity screen."

Nala shrugged Sula's hand away. "You have lectured me on this before. It does nothing to change my mind."

"I am not trying to change your mind. I am trying to help you deal with it better."

"If you want to help me deal with it, then help me find a way out of this dreadful place."

"Again with the escape fantasy?"

"It was not a fantasy the last time."

"It was a death wish. You are lucky you did not freeze solid in the exposure cage."

Nala tied off a bead then snapped the heavy sheet open, examining her handiwork. "It takes little to thaw someone in this place. I will risk it again, when the time is right."

Scene two: A Killer in Training

Nala eyed a variety of clubs and poles, then spied a small object in the corner that didn't seem to fit in with any of the other items. Protruding from an oval holster was a golden handle with a button on one side.

"What about this weapon?" she asked. "What is it?"

Rey leaned closer. "It's perfect, that's what it is."

He removed the oddity, pulled it from the holster, and showed it to her. It consisted of round, metal claspers about the size of her palm, attached to a handle. There was a wide slit in the bottom. She tipped the end up and saw glints of metal inside.

"It looks like teeth inside," she said.

"They are. This is a Helvarik pogari. A whipsaw."

"Pogari. Whipsaw," she repeated. "How does it work?"

He handed her the holster. "Well, remember how you used the chain on your shackles?"

She nodded as she fastened the holster around her hips.

"Think of it as a chain. A retractable one that bites."

He moved to the middle of the room, took a defensive stance against an invisible enemy, and gave the device an overhand swing. At the peak of the arc, he pressed the button, and a silver whirling object spun from the clasp, extending outward about the length of her leg as it sliced the air with a hiss. Before hitting the ground on the downswing, it whizzed back into the clasp.

"I like it," she said.

"I thought you might." He flipped open a shallow compartment on the side of the clasp and pulled out two circular plastisheen sheaths. He positioned them over the twin saws' razor-sharp teeth. "Now for some lessons."