As the Lords of Nordhiem takes shape, currently at 75k words, I realized it's time for a snippet. An older chapter, here we revisit Andro and his infatuation with a certain Randa (not to worry, folks -- it's still a fantasy). Enjoy:
Frost hung thick and the night deepened. Those about the fire had no complaints, tossing logs into the heady blaze. Ashes soared into the sky swiftly snuffed out by an autumn wind. Folks came and went – the heartiest not ready to call it a night. But Randa had enough and stood to depart some time before midnight. Andro was quick to offer escort. She shrugged her shoulders in her usual impassive manner. He took it as ‘yes’.
“Randa, where are you headed?” hollered Rogan. He could not resist but laugh at the poor display of Andro chasing at her heel. “The road is the other direction!”
“I know my way, Rogan. I wasn’t drinking tonight…not as much as you, at least!”
“Then where are you going?” wondered Andro at her back as they left the others behind.
“Over here, beside the lake. It is happening again,” she said.
The night was cold and clear. The stars were dazzling without the moon to guide them. Randa stepped up to the grassy shoreline and gazed westward. Andro never tired of looking into those eyes, but this time he turned to see what her surprise was all about.
“There it is – so beautiful. Several times this week now,” she said, staring across the horizon where green lights danced like some late verdant sunset.
“What is it?” Andro asked.
“Whatever it is captures my heart. What goes on in the wide-magical world?” she answered.
Andro scratched his head, more concerned than mystified. “That way is Sindelware. It is said their Jewels are great gleaming emeralds…”
“I know that, Andro. I am no half-wit.”
“Randa, of course not. I wouldn’t ever call you something so…awful.”
She broke her trance and gave Andro a thoughtful glance. “Thank you. You have always been nice to me.”
“And you know many roads and wayward paths,” she continued. “What an adventure to seek out the source of the lights. How exciting to discover something new.”
Andro thought better of it, if not for the fact Sindelware was nearly as dangerous as Asenrael. But this was Randa speaking. “I’d be happy to show you…one day.”
“One day? Tonight, Andro – I want to see it all tonight. Then show me Thalon, Lyle, Larin and onto the Sea of Nahron. I have seen maps – many such charts hang in Mayor Hall’s chambers. I love them.”
“We have something else in common.”
“Indeed we do,” she said smiling, “and all this time I didn’t see it.”
The words were kind, but cruel in a way to Andro’s ears. She hadn’t noticed much that concerned the young Rhine, despite his attempts at gaining her attention. But this was a new day, and he was nervous and glad all at once with every minute spent together.
“Come, let us watch the lights from the bench in Bolin’s yard. Much warmer that way,” he said, and to his surprise she agreed.
Side-by-side they sat, staring into the west where an occasional green glow flashed across the skyline. The stars above shone bright upon the sweep of the lake and offered Andro a dose of courage. He placed an arm across Randa’s shoulder and she leaned in, stilling her cold. No dream ever played it better.
When it was time to take her home, Andro walked as her escort. The hour had grown late. “So, do you really wish to travel? We can make a short trip to Marist tomorrow. They must have seen the lights too.”
“I am too tired to think about it…too much wine, I suppose,” she replied. “Ask me again tomorrow.”
Andro nodded as they reached silent Persimmon Lane of her home.
“Shall I walk you to your door?” he asked.
Randa looked nervously one way, then another. “Someone is certainly up waiting for me. You are better off leaving me here.”
He realized the moment was fleeting. Andro positioned himself so he could face her. “Thank you for a wonderful night.”
But her reaction was timid…uncertain. She mustered a smile and kissed him on the cheek – short but sweet. Andro nearly fell over.
“Thank you. Good night, Andro.”
With that, she turned and ran home. Andro watched until she made it through her front door; then he too, as one floating on a cloud, hurried off to his own bed.