It’s WiP Wednesday, and Healing Glass, Minel and Falcon’s story, is currently on pre-order and will be released on Monday, 13th May. So this is really my last chance to snip from the book while it’s still (technically) WiP. This demanded proper consideration, so I decided to go for a walk in my lunchbreak and think about it. Only to come back drenched to the skin and looking as if I’d drowned along the way.
There’d been dark clouds boiling along the horizon, but – as stubborn as Minel – I decided I’d get around my loop before the deluge hit. Well, either the wind was stronger than I’d thought, or the weather gods felt inspired by the Rain playlist I was listening to – the singer, not water falling from the sky – but the rain arrived just as as I reached the turning point. Two miles back in a downpour, with a few hailstones thrown in for entertainment and… I actually had an idea for the snippets I’m going to share.
And yes, because it’s the last one, I’m making it two snips from Healing Glass.
First up, we have Falcon getting soaked while escorting a caravan. Which isn’t what bothers him, as Javier very helpfully points out.
“By the Elements, Captain! We’re supposed to protect the merchants and their goods, not kill them.” Javier pushed long strands of dripping dark hair out of his eyes and grinned a challenge, right into Falcon’s pitch-black scowl. “I’m sure they’ve never moved so fast in all their lives. They’re also wet and cold, and endlessly complaining.”
“What do they expect me to do about it?” Falcon ground his teeth. They were all wet. Soaked to the skin, if he wanted to be accurate, and the incessant rain showed no sign of letting up. The previous night had been too wet for even a fire, and judging by the dripping forest, where rivulets ran down tree trunks to pool underfoot, they weren’t going to be any luckier tonight. Wasn’t it logical under the circumstances that he pushed the pace? The sooner they reached the market, the sooner they all had a chance to spend the night under a roof. There was no need for Javier’s knowing grin. None. “I’m glad I’m entertaining you.”
“Just me, I assure you, Captain. Our men think you have good reason for forcing the pace. And the merchants and their folk are cursing your liver black—if they notice that anything’s amiss, that is. For all we know, they think you’re always this impossible to live with.”
Javier had known Falcon since he’d joined the Warriors Guild as a page. He’d trained the young Falcon in the art of leading a troop of men and protecting valuable wares in territory fraught with dangers. They’d worked side by side for years, so of course he’d notice when something bothered Falcon. He probably knew the reason, too. “I’m worried about Min,” he admitted before Javier could prod him. “He’s sick, we parted in anger, and now I can’t seem to find my focus beyond the need to finish this and get home.”
“Parted in anger you say?”
“You see too much,” Falcon shifted in the saddle and wished for somewhere to hide from Javier’s keen gaze. “I… said things… and then I grabbed my gear and left. I have no idea whether he actually heard me.”
“Why would he not?”
“He was working.”
“Ah. And you, of course, have never seen a craft master at work.”
“Oh, fuck you, Javier.”
“Not even on a bet. I’ve no interest in going toe to toe with Master Minel. That one’s fierce.”
And here, we have the very same rainstorm… but the one getting soaked this time is Minel. And just as Falcon, he gets a dose of good advice along with the rain.
“You don’t have to get wet on my account.”
“I’m not keeping you here when that would be the best thing for you,” she pointed out. “Give me credit for that and stop whining. I’m not letting you walk home alone. I do want you to get there, you know? In case it had escaped your notice, Minel, you’ve already had to stop twice to rest.”
It irked him that he needed her help. A month with Falcon and he’d almost forgotten the creeping weakness and shortness of breath that had plagued his final days in the city. Now the lung evil reached for him once more, and Falcon wasn’t there to help keep it at bay. Because Minel had been too wrapped up in the problems of the city he had left behind to focus on the man who stood beside him.
“I have to make this right, my lady. I have to.”
“I’ll tell you the moment I know what you’re talking about.”
“The fabric of the city is failing, and the melt is behaving oddly and—”
“A fascinating problem, no doubt.”
The words stung like a slap. Minel’s surprised gasp turned into a cough. He doubled over and fought for air, grateful for Kare’s tight hold on him. “I lost my focus,” he admitted when he stood upright once more.
“No, Minel. Focus isn’t your problem. I grant that finding a way to fix what’s ailing the city is compelling.” Kare stayed close as they climbed the steps to the porch, then led him inside. She took his sodden cloak and pushed him into the nearest seat, and Minel sank onto the bench with a relieved sigh. Nothing but the stubborn streak in his soul had kept him on his feet. Too exhausted and too intent to puzzle out his troubles, he’d failed to notice the sense of desolation weaving through a place that, only days earlier, had rung with laughter.
“If focus isn’t my problem, then what is?” he asked, once he’d dried his dripping hair on the cloth she’d handed him.
Kare thought about her answer for but a moment. “Your problem, Minel, is deciding what’s important to you. You’ve always turned to your work to find purpose and pleasure. You’re the glassmaker you are because you worked so hard at mastering your craft. But when you love someone, they also have a call on your time and attention, and I believe that their needs should come before your work.”
Sometimes, I do want to knock their heads together! But fortunately, they have people do to it for them, or they’d never get themselves sorted out.