Tweet of the Day: Why Characters Need Choices in Fiction
“You’re going to be late,” Liandra said, her nose buried in her book.
I adjusted my pantaloons, “I will not be late. I am never late.”
“Just like you were not late for Da and Ma anniversary?” she asked.
I tucked in my shirt, “Raisa needed some help with her gown.”
“Yes, of all the tailor’s in Waterdeep she could have asked to help her, she asked you instead.”
I checked the sleeves. They felt a wee bit too short, “I am always ready to help.”
“The same way you helped the ladies of the Smiling Siren all through the day of the Guildhall’s opening.”
“Madame Trodau insisted that I stay and pump the morale of those unfortunate girls.”
“As much as you pumped my dear friend Alyssa under the kitchen table while we waited for Da’s announcement of his new expedition to Amn.”
“Well she felt a bit under the weather and need a bit of cheering up,” I said.
With her eyes still on the page, Liandra placed an hourglass on the table beside the mirror, “And now you are going to be late to your best friend’s wedding.”
I glance at the nearly empty hourglass, grains of white sand slipped through the neck and piled at the bottom, “Gods! Well gotta go.” I ran past Liandra, raced down the bottom of the stairs, gave Ma a quick peck on the cheek, busted through estate front doors, jumped into the back of my horse, and galloped into the streets of the city in a mad race against time.
I made it with moments to spare. Large fluted columns held aloft heavy gold threaded drapes over the rows of pews full with the creme of the city’s aristocracy. They provided ribbons of shade from the late spring sun. And near the altar stood my friend Landrew, the groom to be.
A deep frown creased his face, “Where in all the Nine Hells were you?”
“Getting ready, of course, wouldn’t want to miss your wedding.”
He shook his head, “Of course not.”
Mother Altea frowned even deeper than Landrew. Her plump jowls trembled as she spoke, “If it were up to me, boy, I would have you flayed alive in the city’s square. Of all the days, and of all the places-”
“Ahem, here comes the bride,” I said
And enter she did, for Shayanne of House Ravengard outshone all with her blue and purple dress. Keen green eyes shone underneath the gossamer veil that covered her pale face. Landrew trembled visibly at the sight of his wife to be.
“Easy now. Follow Mother’s Altea’s words and you will be fine. Also breathing, breathing would help.”
“How would you know, you never been married,” said Landrew through clenched teeth.
“I dodged enough nuptials to pick up a few things.”
“I bet,” murmured Mother Altea.
Shayanne reached the altar and knelled. Landrew followed suit.
Altea began her recitation, “We are gathered here under the watchfull eye of the Great Mother, Goddess of Li-”
“YOU!” came the shout from behind us.
Heads whipped about like startled chickens. A small group of swordsmen entered the park, five or six in all followed by a bored young lady whose pouty cherry red lips I recognized in a heart beat.
“Yes you!” shouted the man leading the pack.
Landrew looked ready to fight, as did most of House Talion, “What do you want, Frederick?”
“Shut your mouth Landrew this is about-”
“Is that him?,” asked another angry young man dragging a familiar and extremely put upon beauty. His retinue was about seven or eight strong, all armed with long daggers and a few bucklers. And the young lady dragged about was even more familiar to me.
“For the love of all the Goddesses, what are you doing here,” shouted Altea.
But before any of the interlopers could answer a stream of obscenities echoed through the gardens of the park as an even larger group approached the wedding party.
“Listen to me jackass, if you lay a hand on him, I swear by all the heavens that I will cut your manhood and dangled it from the city walls,” said the lady in question.
The leader of the pack, beet red from embarrassment, hurried to avoid the woman’s scathing words.
Landrew turned to me, “This is your doing, isn’t it?”
“Of course,” I said. I stepped forward, “Gentlemen, what seems to be the matter?”
“The matter? You knave, you took my sister’s virtue,” said the leader of the first group. Lubya, the raven beauty, rolled her eyes in disgust.
“And you besmirched my family’s honor. She broke up her engagement with Lord Farquat.” Lady Aerid looked like she was about to faint at her brother’s accusation.
Lady Charlotte jumped in, “Shut it you!”
“But,” stammered her brother.
“I am sorry m’lord, but one can not steal what is freely given” I said. Once again my tongue moved faster than my mind. Lady Lubya replied with a wink. “Beside, m’lords, this is a wedding. This is no time for hostilities.”
Martin, Lubya’s brother drew his sword, “This is about to become a funeral.”
Acting on instinct, and with the full intent to scare, not harm, I pointed my finger over Martin’s head and launched a speck of fire in his direction. Too bad that a very pregnant and flammable curtain laid in the path of the spell. Flames engulfed it and spread across the drapes. Shouts erupted from the guests as everyone scrambled for safety. With swiftness that would startled a lion, the bride to be hoisted Landrew over her shoulders and made a run for it. I fired off a few more spells to cover our retreat. Fleet of foot, Shayanne led the way through the streets of the city until we reached a nearby ale house. She flopped Landrew on a nearby chair, tore her veil off, and ordered a large mug of ale.
“Well now, and I thought you lot were a boring bunch,” she pinched Landrew’s cheek, “handsome but boring. Glad to see I was proven wrong. Mind you I will never hear the end of it from Father, but who cares.”
I drank deep from the mug, “This one a keeper Lan.”