Continuing a scene from my first book, Ghosts of Innocence.
Shayla has stolen the identity of a newly-appointed senior public servant, and infiltrated the Palace in disguise. She has already fallen foul of her new boss, Mabbwendig ap Terlion, Master of the Emperor’s Domestic Household, and is confronting her again in the cavernous staff dining hall.
Mabb has just ordered food to be served, but the senior waiter is clearly expecting something from Shayla/Brynwyn first. Note - Shayla first met Luke Frendis in an earlier scene, where she surprised everyone in the room by showing Brynwyn’s deeply religious side.
The slap of Shayla's hand on the table broke the silence. All faces turned towards her as she stood. She knew what Brynwyn would do here, what Luke Frendis was waiting for, but her stomach knotted as she thought how Mabbwendig might react.
"Are we all swine at a trough?" Her voice carried to every corner of the room. "Is gratitude so impoverished here?"
She bowed her head and clasped her hands in front of her. Without waiting to see if anyone followed her lead, Shayla said, "From sea to cloud to rainfall, from field to crop to table, we take from the earth and we give back to it. In the circle of life we are united, and we offer thanks for the life-giving gifts brought to our table today. May the nourishment of the body nourish the soul."