Friday, June 26, 2015

Bonus Scene 3 - The Restorer's Son

The Restorer's Son - Bonus Scene

In which Jameth faces the complications caused by Tag's family.

After Chapter 7


Kieran slipped out into the quiet early morning streets along with the strange boy he’d accumulated on his latest misadventure. I closed the door behind them and scrubbed at my beard with both hands, wishing I could scratch away the frustration burning beneath my skin. Bad enough that Tag’s family still disapproved of our decision to live in Lyric. When I made a life pledge to her, I accepted her outspoken family was part of the bundle. I braced myself for strong opinions, loud disagreements, and the chaos at Tag’s family gatherings. But this! Council guards searching homes, Lyric in an uproar, and Kieran endangering our family by coming to us for help. Why hadn’t I thrown him out the moment I got home yesterday?

A soft hand touched mine and pulled it away from my face. Tagatha nestled up against me, each soft curve coaxing the tightness from my muscles. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I know you didn’t want to get involved.”

I sighed. “I don’t have anything against him.”

Tag handed me a steaming mug of clavo, then wrapped an arm around my waist, staying so close I could smell the grassy fresh-air scent of her hair. “Since when?”

A chuckle rumbled in my chest. “You’re right. He’s caused trouble as long as I’ve known your family. I’m tired of seeing Tristan and Kendra, or your parents, picking up the pieces. And now I’ve done the same thing. Do you know what they’re saying he did?”

“Shh.” She gently guided the mug toward my mouth.

I drank, letting the warmth coax the anger from me. Tagatha knew exactly how to change my course when my temper wanted to rise. She could probably charm a better price out of a Terramin stone dealer.

“We did the right thing,” Tag said as she rubbed slow circles on my back. “Come on. I tried a new bread stew for breakfast. You’ll love it.” I let my muscles relax and allowed her continual optimism to distract me through breakfast.

Too bad I couldn’t bring her to work to keep whispering reassurances. My apprentice at the warehouse greeted me with a breathless account of the latest rumors. Council guardians stopped by twice and questioned me. When I came home for lunch, someone lurked in the alley across from our house.

Give me a transport full of crates to stack, or stone to quarry, or a hard bargain to strike with a greedy trader. That was solid ground. Keeping secrets, feeling scrutiny, wondering how to protect my family in the midst of the confusing stories circulating in Lyric—that was sucking the life from me like a Shamgar mud pit.

The next morning, Tagatha and I rose early so we’d have some time before the children demanded our attention. Sitting at the old wood table, we held hands and whispered prayers to the One. Tagatha of the generous heart prayed for the safety of Kieran and Jake. I couldn’t bring myself to ask blessings on the man who had put our family in danger. Still, I was able to murmur an earnest plea for our protection.

Was it a test of my faith, or the One’s strange sense of humor? As I finished my prayer, an ominous pounding shook our door. Tagatha gasped and turned pale.

“Stay here. I’ll take care of it.” I marched to the door and yanked it open, hoping to stop further noise so the children wouldn’t wake up.

The two Council Guards standing in the doorway had hard-edged faces, cold eyes, and a completely different demeanor than the guardians I knew. One of them pushed past me into our front room.
My fists clenched and I sized them up. I should knock their scrawny heads together and toss them out the door. Tagatha squeaked a protest as one of them strode into her kitchen and rummaged in the cubbies.

“We have orders to search your home,” said the guard who stayed near me at the door.

I forced my arms against my sides, fighting the temptation to take a swing at him. “Fine. But—”

A terrified cry came from the children’s room. Tamara ran out toward me and clung to my legs, sobbing. My chest tightened and heat crept up my neck. “What were you expecting to find in my children’s room?”

I gathered up my daughter and soothed her. Tagatha came out carrying Luc who stared at the guard with round eyes. Tag’s eyes were almost as wide and scared. I bristled, every instinct primed to protect my family.

The Council Guard drew his sword. A sword drawn against me in my own home! Rage glued my tongue to the roof of my mouth. Before I could roar a command for them to get out, he spoke terse words that knocked the breath from my lungs.

“We also have orders to arrest you both for aiding an enemy of the clans. The Council is considering banishment. Come with us.”

The wail that rose from Tag’s throat will haunt me the rest of my days. I couldn’t reassure her. Even if I fought the guards, where could we go? If we ran we’d be no better than banished anyway. “The children.” I choked the words out. “Let us find a neighbor to care for them until a messenger gets word to our family.”

The guard jerked a nod and led us outside, the children still in night tunics, clinging to us in panic.
Family obligation had been the cause of this disaster, but family was also my only comfort. If necessary, Tara and Payton would take in their grandchildren. Or Tristan and Kendra would raise them as their own. Tag met my eyes and raised her brows, waiting for guidance.

I forced confidence into my voice. “We’ll speak with the Council and get this straightened out.”

My beautiful Tagatha fought back tears so she wouldn’t add to our children’s confusion and fear. She’d always been the glow of first light, fresh, hopeful, as if there were no such thing as night. But the lines of her face had all changed, the way the walls of the city changed late in the day as dusk fell. It broke my heart to see the gray cold of night coloring her spirit. Even if the best outcome happened and we returned to our home and children and normal life, would she ever have the same clear innocent light again?


You can read more of the story in The Restorer's Son.
Sharon Hinck

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