In honor of the gorgeous, helpful progress my beta-readers are making, I thought it was high time for another excerpt from my upcoming novel, “If the Stars Awaken”.
Remember, this is an uncorrected draft. 😉 Enjoy!
Soft afternoon light danced across the cobblestones as the tree leaves parted and pushed together in the wind.
Marinne studied their patterns as she strolled down the winding garden paths, rocking Leif in her arms. Their guard trailed behind, looking mildly out of place in the relaxed environment. She smiled as she thought of how she had asked for a rotation to give more of them breaks from council meetings or riot patrol.
When she reached her favorite bench, softly shadowed and hidden by a large tree, Marinne sat down and picked up a nearby fallen leaf. She held it up to show Leif, and he zeroed in on it, eyes nearly crossing. Her laughter flit through the garden like a hummingbird and rested in her voice as she explained, “This, little one, is a leaf. It feeds and beautifies the whole tree, and together the leaves provide shade to all.”
“You are teaching him beautiful truth, m’lady,” the head gardener said, walking by with his ladder.
Marinne flushed, embarrassed he had caught her.
“I’m sorry, m’lady, I spoke out of turn,” the gardener said, hoisting up his ladder and continuing down the path.
“No, I thank you. I talk to my child a lot, and sometimes I don’t know if the words are of any use.”
The gardener stopped and looked around, his turn to be startled. She glanced down at Leif. “He’s only just begun to be able to see beyond his own nose.”
The gardener set down his faded wood ladder and leaned on it. The color had faded from his hair and clothes as well, but his eyes were deep with years spent taming and cultivating life. “Ah, but he has a lot to know of this great and terrible world. And who better to teach him than his own mother. He may not know the meaning of your words, m’lady, but he already knows and loves your voice.”
“You are very kind. Thank you for your words,” Marinne smiled down at Leif and nestled his forehead against her shoulder.
Copyright 2023 Kate Willis