Feels like a meme sort of morning. Snagged this from Alex Beecroft who got it from Elin Gregory. The game is to find the word “look” in your current work in progress, and post an excerpt from that section of the manuscript.
This is from The King’s Diamond 2: The Search for a Good Subtitle. (Working title, obviously.)
The sun was low on the horizon when Ketu recognized the shoreline from the times he had camped there with Damal, protected from insects by netting, their tent flaps open to let in the river breezes. They would tell each other stories or sing together, or love each other until they were sated and spent. Ketu closed his eyes as he remembered golden firelight and the call of loons, and Damal’s heated skin sliding against his.
He opened them again and moved out of the way as the crew cast anchor and secured the barge close to the bank. The messenger they had sent ahead waited on the shore, and the captain sent a boat to fetch him.
He bowed to Ketu. “My lord prince, my lord the king will reach the site before dark, as expected. He believes I am returning to the city to inform you he will be home the day after tomorrow.”
“Good,” said Ketu. “I want the tents set up and supper cooking by the time they arrive.” The crew leapt into action; they rowed their supplies to the shore, and then some made camp while others took to the river to catch enough fish and fowl to feed both themselves and the king’s companions and guards.
Ketu longed to join them. This was his home, his element. He knew how to stand still until a fish swam close enough to spear; he knew how to flush out the waterfowl and take the plumpest one with a single blow from a sling; he knew how to swim down to the bottom of the river and collect shellfish, how to crack them open and slurp out the meat while it still tasted of salt and water.
But since he was the king’s consort and not a river boy any longer, he sat in a chaise beneath a canopy and played his lyre to pass the time, and watched the bustle of activity, while Banyu and Ozocay oversaw their men.
By the time the sun had dipped into the night realm and the fires were burning, they could hear hoof beats and the jangle of tackle on the road. Ketu put the instrument aside and rose from the chaise, unable to contain his impatience, and went out to the road to meet them.
First was the standard bearer with Damalepazhur’s banner, and then the first of the king’s guard; and then finally Damal, a few days’ growth of beard on his cheeks and weariness in the slump of his body, which disappeared the moment his eyes met Ketu’s. He slid from his mount and the captain called, “Halt!” to the guard, and all the men came to a stop as Damal made his way through the men and horses to meet Ketu in front of the entire company.
They looked at each other. Ketu inhaled, drinking in the sight of Damal’s face and form, and Damal smiled through the dust and perspiration. “Your hair’s grown long.”
“You need to shave,” Ketu replied, and they fell on each other’s necks. Damal smelled of horses and sweat, and Ketu could feel him trembling with weariness. Yes, he thought, this was a right thing, and said out loud, “Your men — and mine — need rest and food. Supper is cooking and the tents are up. Come, my lord. I wish to wash your feet.”