Thursday, October 7, 2010

"At First Sight" Blogfest Entry

Do you remember what it was like the first time you saw someone who made your heart skip... your cheeks flush... your knees buckle... your stomach flutter?

"At First Sight" is a Blogfest hosted by Jacee Drake that explores that *moment* or collection of moments when two people first meet and time stands still. Following is an excerpt from my WIP where Caenus first meets the luminescent but mysterious Adriande.


While watching Golan lose another arm wrestling match, Caenus’ eyes rose in time to notice a group of young ladies inconspicuously entering the taverna. Hooded cloaks draped their heads and shoulders, understandable at this time of evening, as the night breeze that swept in from water could send shivers, even in the summer. The cloaks also helped to hide their femininity, as women were not typically in the streets at this time of the evening, certainly not in an establishment of that sort.
The hoods, however, failed to completely cover their faces and their beauty was evident to anyone paying attention. A brown waterfall of hair spilled from one lady’s hood, framing a small round face.  The second lady’s hair had been well tucked. The third had hair the color of fire and a short lock poked defiantly from the top of her hood to fall gently across her forehead. She quickly repositioned her hood to conceal the stubborn strand, but it refused to go willingly.
The young ladies sat down at a corner table, requesting bread, olive oil and water. The red-haired beauty shot furtive looks around the room as if she was looking for someone, expecting someone. Caenus kept one eye on them and one eye on Golan, seeing that he got into no trouble.
By no means had he come to the games to chat up local girls, but strangely, he felt compelled to act. As the night wore on, Caenus seized an opportunity to talk to the fire-haired maiden. 
“Trying not to be seen?” Caenus asked, slipping up to her from behind, noting her dull gray laborer’s cloak.
“Apparently it’s not working,” she replied dryly.
Taken aback by her cold delivery, a curiously confused expression wrinkled Caenus’ face. She radiated a warm glow like freshly stoked embers, luring him, begging him to keep talking. He paused a moment then tried to elicit a warmer response, “Are you here for the games?”
“Obviously you are,” she responded, shooting a glance at the fever yellow, contestants’ headband wrapped loosely around Caenus’ forehead.
“All right, let me guess...  You think the games are for meatheads and showoffs with nothing better to do with their time and their lives. Am I correct?”
“It’s full of young nobles sent to impress their king fathers and princess brides-to-be, yes?”
“Well then, I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not royalty, eh?”
She shot a glance toward him, raising a naturally arched eyebrow. “You’re not? Everyone in the games is a prince of something or another, are they not?”
“Not me.  I’m here for the glory alone- a poor goat herder from Iolkos creating a name for myself and looking to win favor from the gods,” he replied, which was not terribly far from the truth.
“You don’t look so poor.” She gestured to his well-constructed attire.
“Borrowed,” he replied matter-of-factly. “Solicit, scrounge, and steal. It’s a hard life on the streets of Iolkos.  Nothing you’d know about.”
     “Borrowed, eh? That’s funny,” she chuckled, looking around the room for her friends who had wandered off. “Well, nice meeting you...” she offered with an emotionless pause, urging him to fill in the name blank.
“Caenus,” he beamed with confidence. “And you are?”
“Adriande,” she deadpanned. Her emerald eyes contrasted with her fire-hued tendrils and alabaster skin. She turned on her heels to leave.
Caenus smiled to himself, smitten with his new acquaintance. Lost in thought, he watched the girl exit. Certainly, she must be here to watch the games. For who in Corinth could escape the magnetic pull of the games?  And, if she indeed intended to watch the contests, perhaps I could impress her enough to somehow gain her company again. I think there’s more to her than met the eye. If I ever see her again, I’ll know for certain.