On Saturday, I resumed my character interview series with assassin-in-residence, Eriden. I also may have let slip that Eriden has a whole novel(la) dedicated to her which I’m pretty sure I haven’t mentioned much here before. So, at the behest of Rachel over at Rachel Also Writes, I thought that, today, I’d give you a snippet from Eriden’s story.
For some context, this story takes place in Bal Briad, the capital of Fariel, around ten to fifteen years before the start of Queen of Hearts. In QoH, Eriden is beholden to many masters and this prequel was my way of sorting her out.
In this scene, Eriden is about 11. Since her mother’s death, she’s been living with a group of children beneath the streets of Bal Briad, a group run by a Fagan-esque character known only as the Master.
12 ‘paragraphs’ = 16 (for the year) – 4 (April)
Somehow, she did not know how, the Master had managed to secure her a place as a chamber maid in the royal household. The day before she was to start, he summoned her to his private rooms. He had never done that before. Only a few knew what went on in that inner sanctum and they were too frightened to speak of it. Heart pounding in her chest, Eriden followed the Master into a medium sized room which had once been an office of some sort. A desk sat on one side of the room and the other was filled by an oversized four poster bed. The floor was covered in tattered furs and threadbare rugs. The Master seated himself behind the desk, motioning for Eri to take the seat opposite.
Dread snuck a clammy tendril around Eri’s heart – the Master rarely called her by her full name. ‘Yes, Master.’
His pale eyes bore into her. ‘Can I trust you?’
She nodded. ‘Of course, Master.’
‘I need to be sure of your loyalties, my little sparrow.’
‘I am still here, am I not?’ Eri replied insolently.
‘You know what would happen if you tried to leave.’
‘Yes, I do. Nothing. Tressa needs me whole and alive. I am only on loan to you and I could have left years ago but I did not. What more proof of my loyalty do you need?’ She snapped her mouth shut, wondering where she’d found the courage to speak to the Master like that.
The Master raised an eyebrow, surprised by her outburst. ‘Very well. Your assignment, you will be observing the queen, her movements, those she meets with, what they discuss.’
‘Why the queen?’
‘That is none of your business. You will make sure she gets this.’ The Master handed her a small envelope with a green seal. ‘And you will not speak of this to anyone.’