It’s time for the second in my series of extra stories and scenes from the world of Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin. Each week I’ll be unveiling a deleted scene or extra story from a different character’s point of view, culminating on February 11 (my birthday!) with Lilano, a novella from Mati’s point of view that tells the story of what happened to him and Raisa while they were out of town during Dagger and Coin.
Some of these stories were originally parts of the books, some were writing exercises for me when I got stuck, and some I simply wrote for the fun of developing the world of the books more fully. You can find the previously released extras here.
This week’s extra is from the point of view of Gelti Dimmin, captain of the King’s Guard, and takes place during Sword and Verse, just after Mati’s visits to Raisa’s room have been discovered. (You can read Mati’s point of view of these events here.)
A Man Gets What His Actions Earn Him
“WAKE HIM,” I told the valet.
“What is this about?”
“Wake. Him.” No use answering his question. None of his business.
The valet was a head shorter than I was, but he crossed his arms, stood in front of the door. “I’m sure it can wait until a more reasonable hour.”
Steel in his voice. Didn’t he know who I was?
Keep the tone even. No good wasting anger on lessers. Like Mother always said. “King Tyno wants him.”
There, let him chew on that. The valet’s eyes widened. He opened the door.
Soft voices inside. The valet, speaking gently. No wonder the boy was so soft, if his people spoke to him like that. Did the king know? I grimaced.
I stood stiffly outside the room while the prince dressed. Every minute he delayed was an affront to the father who called for him, and I bet he knew it. Finally he emerged, eyes red-rimmed, hair sleep-tousled.
Of course. He’d been out and about last night. I almost laughed out loud at the way his face went pale as a slave’s when he saw me.
But he didn’t look frightened, so he must not have known yet that he had been seen. Best to let the king deliver that news.
I indicated the way to his father’s study and let him take the lead. Didn’t want to, especially now, but I wouldn’t disrespect his position the way he did. When we arrived, I opened the door for him and ushered him through. Couldn’t help a bit of curiosity, though. Was the Arnath girl that enticing, or was he just that stupid? No wonder the High Priest of Aqil had suggested naming a Regent.
I followed the prince inside and bowed to the king. King Tyno didn’t acknowledge me, but I was used to that. He was the kind of man whose neglect was a greater compliment than his attention. Went to stand next to Rotir Ots, who looked nervous. Probably thinking the king would punish him for bringing the news about his son sneaking into the Tutor’s room.
Because Rotir’s older brother Parker was an old friend of mine—we’d joined the guards the same year—I’d tried to avoid naming which of my men had made the report. Should’ve known that wouldn’t work. The king had insisted on questioning him personally, having him here when the prince came.
The king was still in his dressing gown. I had to fight a smile. He’d had plenty of time to get dressed—he was making a point to his son, showing him how much he’d been inconvenienced. The elder Tutor was there, too, sitting in a chair opposite the desk. I rested my hand on the hilt of my sword. Never liked it, the way King Tyno allowed that Arnath woman to get so close, to sit like an equal. Told him so, as a matter of security. But I valued my skin too much to keep saying it. It wasn’t smart to make a habit of telling King Tyno things he didn’t want to hear.
King Tyno didn’t tell his son to sit, even though there was another chair. “This guard claims to have seen you leaving the bedroom window of Raisa ke Margara last evening,” he said, tone clipped. “Is this true?”
The boy flinched, but he met his father’s eyes. “Yes,” he said. “It’s true.”
The king glowered. “And what were you doing there?”
“We were just talking.”
If it had been one of my men, I would have let out a snort. No one in that room believed the boy hadn’t been getting up under that dirty Arnath girl’s dress. Some men were like that—there were whole brothels in the city full of Arnath slaves. Never touched one of them myself. I’d sooner have the Emtirians or even the odd Pylan. But there was nothing wrong with a good Qilarite whore.
The king’s expression was dangerous, though his idiot son probably didn’t see it. It was the look he’d had right before he’d banished Longdin and Kel, after the first traitor Tutor was caught. “You can talk to her in the courtyard or the banquet room. You don’t need to sneak into her bedroom to do that.”
The boy practically stank of fear. I thought he might piss himself right there on his father’s fancy flowered rug. But then he said, “Perhaps I needed to speak to her privately.”
King Tyno’s face darkened. He cut his hand at me, and I didn’t need a verbal order—he wanted Rotir out of the room. Bad enough a softhand like him was the one to see the prince sneaking on the walls; no need for him to see just how big a disappointment the heir to the throne really was. I hustled Rotir out to the anteroom and shut the door behind us.
King Tyno’s raised voice carried right through the closed door. “How long has this been going on?”
Rotir’s eyes were wide. He’d only been holding a sword for a few Shinings. That guard rotation on the walls would have been one of his first. His brother Parker was moody and sullen, but Rotir was a lively, talkative type, the one who drew a crowd in the garrison. My cousin Kirol liked him a great deal. He was a decent fighter too. Might have moved up through the ranks almost as quickly as Kirol.
A shame, that.
Read the rest of the story here: A Man Gets What HIs Actions Earn Him by Kathy MacMillan