Saturday, August 11, 2018

Excerpt From "Reavers of the Void": An Unconvincing Argument

What follows is an excerpt from Chapter Two, "Just Communication", and it is shortly after Lord Roland and Countess Robin meet. If you like what you see here, head over to Indiegogo and pledge your support.

Ramsey escorted Gabriela into the Grand Hall, her entourage following behind them. Duchess Ireton called Gabreila over.

“Countess,” Duchess Ireton smiled at her, “everything will be ready for your performance after dinner tonight.”

“My company and I are grateful for your hospitality, Your Grace.” Gabriela said with a curtsy.

Duchess Ireton turned to Ramsey. “Will my noble lord be her escort tonight?”

“Of course!” Gabreila said, “He came all the way from Earth just to see to my security. How more able can a fighting man be than to be beside the lady he is to protect?”

Ramsey bowed. “My lady believes she will perform at her best if she feels secure by my presence.”

“And Count Qis has no objection?”

Gabriela again spoke quickly. “If so, he has not spoken of it, and since unspoken is undone then there is none.”

“Well, then, I shall leave this place to see to the feast’s final preparations before evening prayers. Until then.”

“Until then.” Gabriela curtsied again as the Duchess left.

“Until then.” Ramsey said, bowing, and he turned to Gabriela, “My lady is too eager to speak when it favors her.”

“My lord, you truly think that I am the target of a pirate raid? Here? Even if this is a frontier world, it is still the seat of the Dire March. Our hosts are not fools who use their men at arms as players’ props. Even if such a raid were to come, what it would take to reach this castle—much less take this prize—is beyond the reckoning of the most fevered authors’ imaginations.”

“That, my lady, are the famous last words of many who would ends their lives in thrall to some tyrant- or worse. Read less of those fevered authors and more of those revered chroniclers. Truth is far stranger than fiction, for fiction follows the form that men will find soothing, while truth takes whatever form Our Heavenly Lord commands of it, and the truth is that such raids have happened before—many times over the many years of Man’s existence—and to steal away a desired woman is the reason most before now have happened at all. Why would you not take this seriously?”

“Because, most noble lord, there is no pirate able to do such a deed. Even if he was mad for desire of me, he would surely perish for trying.”

Ramsey pulled a palm-sized projector from a pocket. He projected an image of Duke Kawamori. “This is from the Court of Stars, just before Christmas.”

“The fact that the Red Eyes pirates are now manufacturing mecha of their own design, and in massive numbers, means that the size of the pirate group is far larger than we previously believed. They possess an industrial capacity, and that means both a warfighting logistical network- both of men and material. My noble lords, this is no mere cunning company of cutthroats. This is a hostile alien empire, and we underestimate what Red Eyes can do at our peril.”

Ramsey put away the projector. “We do not know the details of what Red Eyes can do. We know only that they can reach farther, and with greater strength, than any other pirate band today. We’ve seen nothing like it for nearly a century, and we have reason to believe that you—specifically—are central to Red Eyes’ ambitions. Why is not known, yet, only that when he comes for you is a matter of time.”

“You would do what with me then?”

“Secure you far from his reach. You can play to your adoring fans remotely, and if you persist in this girlish defiance I need only make one call do just that.”

Gabriela felt an anger swell up inside her, and she fixed her eyes upon him to let loose that anger, but found his face a stone wall of duty and her glare soon faded as the flash of furious feeling fell away from her. Only then did she notice his hand upon her cheek, lifting her eyes back up to his.

“Go to Chapel and say your prayers, my lady. Pour your passion into your performance, and pray for serenity tonight instead of excitement. Tomorrow, you’re going to Earth, and thereafter you stay until your noble father comes to collect you.”