This is a scene from Fragments of the Soul, a novel I wrote in 2011. I used this scene as a dialogue scene assignment for my Creating 3D Characters Workshop. It was critiqued by my professor and class – with the goal to see my character we have been exploring in action.
The door burst open and Sorcha enters the King’s chambers.
“I hear we have deserters brother. This could be treason to the throne.” She made her way to the maps, coming to stand right behind her brother’s shoulder.
Before she had time to observe the looks of disdain on both her brother and Nige’s faces, she cocked her head sideways as she studied the map. “Hmm, well that’s an interesting find. Tell me brother, do you have the names of the deserters yet?” she asked, as if she were on the counsel. She asked the question more like it was a request for documents rather than an inquiry of his progress.
“It’s no concern of yours sister.” he said as he attempted to steer her away from the maps by her shoulders. She immediately spun and released herself from his grip, turning to him with a haughty expression on her face. “How did you find this meeting anyway?” he asked, his voice betraying his feelings.
Sorcha smiled a mischievously, her lips curling up at the sides of the mouth. “You said yourself your first steward is not very well trained. Besides,” she said, “we can’t have the blind leading the blind now can we?” She asked the question with a smile on her face, obviously intending for him to take it for humor. She must have seen the smolder growing on her brother’s face, because she immediately laughed and cupped his chin in her hand. “Dear brother, try not to be too serious,” she said, lightly.
He gave her a gruff look, his bushy eyebrows drawing in with every word. He was already regretting her involvement, knowing that she would not back off now. Clearly she has seen something I have missed on the map. He wondered for a brief moment how to encourage her to share that information without sounding like he needed her to do so.
“This is a serious matter sister,” he paused attempting to chide her, “as you can clearly see,” he gestured as he finished his sentence, raising his hand toward the map, hoping to encourage her.
She seems to savor every chance she has to best me he thought wryly. Well, to be fair, she obviously hasn’t have realized that I don’t have a clue what she and Nige are alluding to.
“Well, brother, I just found it interesting the way you have mapped this little subterfuge. Are these the posts we lost?” she questioned, gesturing to the markings outside the city.
“Yes, sister, obviously, those are the deserted posts,” he answered in a bored tone. He hoped she did not notice his melodramatic emphasis enough to realize that he was completely acting.
“I assume we are supposing they fled towards Jarra, then?” she asked, making it sound more of a statement than a question. She clearly did not need the nod from Nige to confirm her deduction.
Gorlish, however, took the nod in and used it to discern for himself what Nige had plotted out for him on the map. He barely suppressed the bulging behind his eyes. Gorlish did not want Nige to see that he had clearly missed solving his plots on the map in the first place.
“Yes, sister, that is the supposition. Have you anything useful to share besides what we can all clearly see on the map?” he asked, hoping he had not taken it too far.
She appeared to look at him as if seeing him for the first time, taking in his condescending tone and asked, “Have you already increased the forces we are taking to Jarra? Have we time to gain clearance from the Queen before we show up with an army?” she asked, plainly asking the question to Nige and not to Gorlish.
I guess I did take it a bit too far then, he thought, realizing his mistake but not caring very much. He was king after all, and his sister had become quite the meddlesome nuisance in the past few weeks.
Nige answered the question, missing the subtle interaction between Sorcha and the king and assuming they were all discussing the plans now as if in counsel. “Yes, Lady Torteval, I plan to increase our forces. We were just getting to the plan of action before you entered. The best I can do is send a runner ahead of our party tomorrow. There isn’t time to wait for an official request and approval,” he answered, giving the explanation to both Sorcha and Gorlish, looking back and forth between the two of them.
Gorlish spoke next to deter his sister from taking over. He could not allow it to appear that she was leading this discussion. “Yes, Captain General, I approve that course of action,” said Gorlish, trying to stand a bit taller and speaking as if he was giving an order. “I would also like to ensure that if there is anyone else you suspect among the guard that we cannot trust, we must leave them behind in Thoradin,” he commanded.
“Of course, my lord. I prepared a list of our legionnaires that I propose we bring on this journey,” he said, respectfully, handing King Gorlish another parchment.
Gorlish took the paper into his hand and unrolled the parchment, pretending to read through the list of names. He barely knew his legionnaires and looking over the list was simply for show. He did it anyway while Sorcha kept quiet and Nige stood stiff waiting for “approval.” Gorlish nodded, handing the parchment back, “Fine list captain General, very well, those are the forces we shall take with us. Think a half legion is enough?” he asked.
“Treaty states we cannot bring more, although I know we are in alliance with Jarra after this wedding. We don’t want a blood bath as a bridal gift, my lord. Besides that, we need the rest in Thoradin. Rumor has traveled that you are going for your bride tomorrow and too many horsemen would raise suspicion and possibly ignite unwanted attention. No, I say a half legion should be plenty,” finished Nige.
“Very well, I shall take these reports to read tonight. We reconvene at first light for Jarra. We can speak more during the journey. For now, I bid you good night,” said Gorlish, with a dismissal even his sister would obey.