I can’t believe it’s Friday again already! This has been a strange week.
For your reading pleasure this week I have the prologue (which I may or may not keep - only the rewrite muse will know for sure) from my Nano novel.
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She found him in the north garden, curled up beside the koi pond, watching the fish swim in lazy circles. He looked so much like his father at that age. With a sigh she sat down on the stone beside him, putting her arm around his thin shoulders.
“It is almost time, ‘Sandar.”
“Grandmother, what if the prophecy is not favorable?” he asked quietly.
“Prophecies are neither good nor bad, they just are. Sometimes it is years before they are fully understood.”
“But Cayden said–”
“And since when do you heed Cayden?” she chided gently. “Now come,” she rose, pulling him up with her. “Time grows short and you still need to dress.”
Feet dragging, he went with her back into the palace. Servants were waiting for him in his quarters to help him dress in the ceremonial supplicant’s robes. He endured their fussing stoically, having undergone many ceremonial functions in his short life.
When they were finished he met his grandmother in the corridor and together they walked towards the temple where the others were waiting. Despite his reluctance to attend the Prophecy Ceremony, he did enjoy visiting the temple. It was cool and white and peaceful, the clergy always had time for him and never seemed to mind that he was always filled with questions.
They mounted the thirty-nine white marble steps and at last stood before the open temple door.
“Are you ready?” his grandmother asked quietly.
He nodded, eyes facing forward. She smiled slightly and then slipped into the temple ahead of him to take her seat. At a nod from the high priestess, he started forward. The aisle seemed to stretch forever, but he placed one foot in front of the other until he reached the altar where the priestess and the oracle waited.
One of the acolytes behind the altar rang the giant brass gong and the witnesses in the temple bowed their heads. The priestess winked at the boy and he visibly relaxed. Schooling her features once again she spoke:
“Prince Aleksandar of Khren, do you come forth of your own free will?”
“I do,” the boy said clearly.
“What do you seek?”
“I seek my future.”
“Is the council ready to bear witness?”
“We are,” said the council members, raising their heads again.
“So be it.” The priestess raised her staff and rapped it sharply three times on the floor.
Aleksandar knelt in front of the oracle. He tried to sneak a peek at her but there wasn’t much to see. She was not tall, and she was veiled all in white so that her features were hidden. The hand she held out to him was smooth and unlined, it could have been any age. Her voice, when she spoke, was dry and clear.
“Aleksandar, prince of Khren, I see thy future.” And then she paused. A long pause. Such a thing was almost unheard of during the Prophecy Ceremony.
“I see a soul in torment, I see a treasure, I see a dark future.”
He tried to pull his hand back but she tightened her grip. There were murmurs from the witnesses before she finally continued.
“Before you become king you will suffer a great darkness of the soul. There will be a treasure to lead you from torment. The winning of this treasure will make you the greatest king Khren has ever known.”
Her head bowed and she let go of his hand, signifying the end of the prophecy.
Aleksandar stood and backed up a step, eyes wide and frightened. The acolytes led the oracle away and the priestess moved to stand beside him. She rested a hand on his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“The oracle has spoken,” she said in a loud, clear voice. “Long live Aleksandar, future king.”
“Long live Aleksandar!”