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 previously 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 been tormenting a series of unfortunate individuals among the hundreds of people crowding the hall, and has just called on a very reluctant member of Shayla’s staff to sing to the crowd.
Shayla looked along the rows of people filling the hall. Is nobody going to speak out? Some faces showed glee or anticipation, some people whistled and stamped their feet. But many eyes were downcast, haunted, shamed, relieved not to be the focus of attention themselves.
"Or maybe voice hoarse today?" Mabb's mouth twisted in glee. "If you want out, I set a bail at..." she pursed her lips, "fifty francs."
Some people gasped. Others cheered. The bestial din grew.
Writing news: I’ve just received PDFs back from the book designer for The Ashes of Home. I’ll be proof-reading them carefully over the next few days, in the hope of completing and publishing by the end of the month!