Well I’m breaking one of my rules. I’m posting a small snippet from the main text. But I’m only doing so because I was able to get some artwork done finally. I found a fantastic artist named Lunaros (check out her work here at https://www.deviantart.com/lunaros). I commissioned her for a drawing and she did not disappoint.
This is Trinity. She is the main protagonist of my debut novel Maiden to None. You can read a story bio here: https://danielgatlin.com/future-works/.
Now why break the rule? Well, I felt it was important to introduce my character in some way to the public. Think of this as an excerpt to an unfinished book. Meaning it will probably go through editing changes. Yet I am confident in this scene as being a perfect intro to my heroine. I will let the scene speak for itself. I hope you enjoy.
As always, don’t be afraid to comment. Winners of the randomly chosen comment at the end of the month will receive a fabulous prize! Coffee gift card and a book. Although I’m thinking about switching back to Amazon cards for next month.
Enjoy! And as always, write strong, write long, write on!
When she was certain that the handmaidens had retired for the rest of the evening, Trinity went to the wall in her room and began feeling around the stones for loose openings that she’d once created. One by one she pulled out several stones from where her wall had been, until there was a wide gap. Her aunt had once forbidden her from adding a window to her room. But she never seemed to notice Trinity’s method of removing and replacing the stones in her wall every time she needed a majestic view in her bedroom. Or in the case of now, a quick exit.
She scaled down the outer wall from where her removable window was formed, and stepped along the damp stones leading towards the ocean waves. Her bare toes felt like they were stepping on frozen needles, but she pushed on until at last she reached a small cove near the end of the black-rock reef. It was here she would perform her second bout of training for the day.
Within the cove, Trinity set about preparing herself. The tide would be high soon. There wasn’t a second to waste. She dug up a hidden, broadsword which was nearly the length of her body. The unpolished steel was rusted along the metal, and would’ve made a poor weapon choice had she used it for combat. But she did not intend to use this blade on an opponent. Near the place where she’d uncovered the sword, Trinity rolled out two large rocks. Each stone had a rope wrapped around them, with about six feet leftover in slack between the pair. Trinity fastened the two rope ends around her ankles. She then began to take deep, heavy breaths.
“It’s not that cold. It’s not that cold,” she told herself, preparing for her plunge. She hoped her body would believe these words.
Trinity stood near the edge of the cove. There was a drop off into the water about five feet out from where she stood. Trinity stuck the broadsword in the sand beside her, and lifted up the two great stones.
It’s not that cold. It’s not that cold.
She hurled the rocks forward. As the rocks plopped down into the ocean water with loud splashes, she snatched the blade up just as her body was pulled forward by her feet while the heavy stones did their job. Trinity was pulled down to the depths, becoming submerged in the ice-cold waters. The pain in her body felt like a thousand piercing arrows hitting her all at once. But she refused to scream out. For she knew better than to lose her air so quickly. She had been trained better than that.
“Come on, you’re faster than this,” Guren growled at her, as Trinity pulled him along the slapping waves of the ocean.
She was still eight at the time. Guren had only been training her for a few months by then. A short rope was tied at her foot, which was then connected to the man’s longboat. But there were no oars to assist them today. She set the course on this grueling training session. Her arms cut the water rhythmically at her sides, as her scrawny legs kicked and jutted along the edge of the foamy surface.
“I thought you were a warrior,” he continued, almost in a mocking tone, “stop slapping the water like it’s offended you somehow. You control the tides.”
I control the tides? The thought offered her no comfort as her lungs felt ready to burst. How am I supposed to go faster?
“H…how do I…how do I go faster?” she asked later, as she laid on the beach, wheezing. Desperate for the lost air she’d spent.
He was sitting on the beach beside her, resting on a smooth black stone, while whittling the figure of a lion on a dry wood block with his ruby-hilted dagger. “Easy. Stop swimming like a girl.”
“That’s bad advice,” she spat, punching at the wet sand. “I am a girl.”
“Then, that is all you will ever be.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being a girl.”
“There is,” he replied, “in this kingdom. And every kingdom. I don’t have to tell you what our world thinks of girls. Because you know already, don’t you? Girls are arm ornaments at fancy balls. And quiet seat-fillers at banquet tables. They are the compliant baby-makers, who serve their husbands until his death, and then weep bitterly because they cannot live without him. That is all a girl is. Unless…”
Her breathing stilled. “Unless what?”
“You change their minds. Of what a girl is,” he said with one of those rarely seen smiles of his, “and what she can do.”
But she didn’t understand his meaning then. Not even now, at thirteen. How could she change people’s ideas about what she could do? She was born a princess, just like her mother so many years before her. And though she imagined the woman was strong like her, her mother had accepted the princess role and married the Terkian king. She liked to think her mother was free enough to make the choice willingly. But Trinity knew better. Her parent’s union strengthened the bond between the Terkian and Hydlixian kingdoms. The same as her own marriage to a foreign prince would strengthen the bonds of their kingdoms someday. Her mother must’ve been a victim to to this same fate. They must’ve seen her as just another girl.
Trinity swung the huge sword with all her might as she stood tall again, far beneath the ocean’s waters. A line of ripping water lashed out from her swing, and jettisoned far along the still, dark abyss. She swung again. Each stroke slashed through the ocean like a fired arrow. How many more before I can change the tides? Tonight, her body could only produce seven cuts before the chills of the water began to constrict upon her lungs. She knelt down, the way she’d done so many times before, and launched herself as high as she could. The rocks pulled with her. Each one felt so heavy beneath the weight of the water. She kicked and pulled with every last ounce of strength she still possessed, as she clutched onto the sword with one hand and paddled upwards with the other. The air inside her felt so thin. She should’ve ascended sooner. She knew she wouldn’t make it. No! Her hand—making the difficult decision her heart couldn’t—dropped the sword. She pushed herself forward with the help of both arms now. The fallen blade fell down to the place where she’d trained, as at last she breached the surface.
Panting, and feeling her muscles tingling beneath her wet clothes, she laid out by the cove and watched the gray sky overhead. Then, as if they had waited for her to return to the surface, a blanket of snowflakes began to tumble down. They drifted and danced to the world below. Some fell to the ocean’s waves, melting instantly. Others, flailed along with the cold winds and landed all around her. With this downfall, came the gushing emotions she could no longer hold back. For here in the presence of such beauty, she could feel only an empty sadness. Winter had once been her favorite time of the year. But now that the long-awaited season had finally arrived, she could feel only pain. Because she knew that Spring would be here soon. And with it, the man she was being forced to marry.