Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sample Sunday: Mira stands up to the Beast

“Mira, you are a sentimental fool,” I said, shaking my head and smiling rather condescendingly at her.  “Your heart bleeds for those who know nothing of you and care nothing for you.  Why waste your time?”

“Why do I even bother to discuss these things with you?”  Her eyes were full of reproach, and I could see that I had ruined her cheerful mood.

“Why do you?” I sneered.

“Never mind.”  She tossed the book aside rather fiercely and rose from her seat, stalking over to the bookshelves on the other side of the chamber.

I watched the rigid set of her shoulders as she moved.  I knew exactly why she read such things to me and then attempted to discuss them with me.  She was searching for some good within me, attempting to give me the opportunity to prove myself redeemable.  She was incurably naive in this respect. 

“Would you rather I read to you about wars and pestilence?” she called, after a long moment of silence.  She remained with her back to me, and she ran a rather listless finger over the leather-bound spines on the shelves.

“Why should I wish to hear about pestilence?  I have already told you numerous times that the sufferings of others are meaningless to me.  Perhaps if I were suffering from a pestilence myself, I might muster some curiosity on the subject, if only in the hopes that it would enable me to find a cure.”

“Of course.  You care to hear of something only if it directly involves you.”  The line of her slender shoulders grew even tauter, and I watched as one of her hands balled into a fist.  I could see her body heave as she took a deep breath, and I knew she was attempting to quell her anger.

“Wars are another matter,” I said, wanting to stoke her anger before she could regain her faculties and answer my scathing remarks with smiles, as she had taken to doing as of late.

She turned to eye me warily.  “Indeed?”

“Certainly.”  I sat back in my chair.  I felt a sense of satisfaction creep over me as I watched her face.

My next words were certain to provoke her.  “There is appeal in hearing about those who have used might and brutal force to take what they will.”

There was a flicker of horror in her eyes, but her recovery surprised me.  “Not everyone is as unscrupulous as you,” she said triumphantly, her smile returning.  “I shall be glad to read you war tales.  Shall I start with the tale of the ancient Eudorian king who went to war to free the slaves of Lynere, or would you prefer the history of the knights of Altheria who swore their lives to the noble service of stamping out injustice wherever they encountered it?”

Ah, but two can play at this game.

“Neither.  I would prefer for you to read the history of Marcus the Black, who went to war for the sheer thrill of cutting down his enemy.”

I watched as Mira scanned the shelf and removed a book.  She walked over to me and deliberately flung the tome into my lap.  “Read it yourself then.”  She spun on her heel and stormed out of the library with a furious rustle of silken skirts.