This week, an excerpt from the princess novel – a lighter-hearted interlude toward the beginning of Act II.
Kelisin frowned, moving her rook forward two squares to take Tavaril’s bishop. “You’re a terrible chess player.”
She had found the set in a drawer in her borrowed bedroom. It was plain, though made of fine materials. Since then Kel had taken every opportunity to play with Tavaril or Teoden; when neither was available she played herself.
“I have other talents,” said Tavaril. “Yours, apparently, is being humble.”
“Oh, most certainly. I’m much greater than I think I am.”
Tav’s delighted laugh bubbled forth, and Kel felt her mouth creeping up into a smile. It was hard to be anything but happy around Tavaril, who – despite growing up in the Valloran court, immersed in its ridiculous mind games – regarded everything with equanimous pleasure.
“It’s good to see you smile like that — Oh, now I’ve done it.” Kelisin felt the small smile slip from her face. Tavaril leaned forward, catching hold of Kelisin’s arm. “It’s all right to be happy.”
Kel shook her head. “I know. It’s just…never mind. Let’s keep going.” She lifted an eyebrow. “You’re afraid to lose again.”
“Again? Excuse me, but we weren’t all raised from birth to fight complex intellectual battles with pieces of marble.” Tavaril tossed her head. The beads at the ends of her braids clicked together. The sound drew attention – when she tried that gesture in front of the young men of the court, it never failed to turn heads.
“I’m not some young lad you can distract with a hair flip and a pretty pout,” Kelisin warned. She waved her hand over the board. “Make your move.” Continue reading