Howdy all! It’s Teaser Tuesday on the blog and today’s snippet reminds me of going to talk to my boss about a new website only to be told that my job had been made redundant and that I’d be leaving in a month’s time. Once the first shock had worn off, I felt strangely disconnected, as if I’d walked into the wrong conversation. Or maybe the Twilight Zone. Finding out that things are not as they seem can be a rather rude awakening, especially for a character as focussed as Minel. He’s the kind of man who gets caught up in a problem, keeping at it until he’s solved it, but in today’s Tuesday Teaser, Minel happens across a conversation he’d rather not have overheard.
Not because it doesn’t have any bearing on the problem he’s trying to solve – it does, actually – but because what he hears opens a can of worms so huge, he can’t face contemplating it just yet.
What he heard froze him to the spot.
“You’ve never found it strange that mostly young, attractive craft masters are stricken with the lung evil? Or that they end up paired with much older councillors?”
“If you’re scared to die, you take what’s on offer?” Kare suggested.
“Granted,” Master Dorian agreed. “But what if— I’ve heard of half a dozen pairbound craft masters who took their own lives in the last year alone. When you all grow up believing that suicide is unacceptable? What would drive them to such a step if not the fact that they’re being forced into pair bonds against their will through the threat of a disease? And that they can’t live with their choice afterwards.”
“You’re speculating.” Salia sounded strangled and Minel could sympathise. He couldn’t draw an unrestricted breath either. If Master Dorian’s suggestion was true, then—
“I am speculating, yes. What we’re observing might be a coincidence. But what if it’s not? What if all the afflicted craft masters were forced into pair bonds just like the council is trying to force Minel?”
If Minel hadn’t had a wall at his back to lean on he’d have found himself on the sanded boards without delay. This wasn’t what he’d come to hear, but it chimed with the stories he’d been told, the warnings he’d been given. Pain, violation, fear, anger… nothing like the joy he’d found with Falcon. All sprung from a disease that attacked at random.
Or maybe not at random.