For the next six weeks, I’ll be posting a short story each Thursday that gives everyone a peek into the background behind my upcoming book, Mystery of the Golden Shells. These aren’t really meant to be full stories, but I figured I’d share them just for fun. So without further ado, here you go 🙂
The Rug and the Scribe – A Mystery of the Golden Shells Story
The rug was not pretty. In fact, it rivaled the court jester for garishness with its yellow and red pattern. But Marissa Carey, Queen of Capital City and its lands, loved it. It had been a gift from her father upon marrying King Ashwin, and unbeknownst to anyone but herself and her father, it harbored cooling magic worked into its tight weave.
Her father had known the heat of Capital City would not be easy on her and so, he’d gifted her a rug that could ease her longing for home. She’d placed it in her sitting room, where she often sat reading or painting. Sometimes, when no one was around, she even laid down on the garish thing in the most unladylike fashion, simply to feel the flush in her body bleed away to a comfortable calm again.
But now the rug was ruined.
The tightness in her chest hadn’t eased since watching the pot of ink slip off the writing table to splash across the floor. Nessen, the court’s scribe, scratched behind his ear, leaving a streak of ink in his blond hair from the quill still in his fingers, and shrugged.
Marissa’s fingers curled, wanting to grab the thin man by his lapels and shake him. That would be better than the tears threatening to escape her eyes.
“Out!” she hissed.
The man froze like a startled rodent, but then he bit back. “Your letter’s not done. Would you like to write it yourself?”
He knew she couldn’t, not under the agreement of her marriage. To avoid any chance of apparent espionage, she was not allowed to write her own letters. The letter she’d been dictating, one to her father ironically, still sat on the writing desk with only a couple of lines on the page. But just thinking about it, and the details that made it necessary, made her flush with renewed fury.
“I said out!”
“It’s just a rug,” Nessen said, backing toward the door.
“Just a—just a rug!? Maybe it’s just your job! Maybe—”
Nessen’s shoulder’s stiffened as she spoke and color stained his cheeks. He was a good scribe, the best in the kingdom, but Marissa couldn’t get her words to stop as her sense of loss shoved them out of her throat before her brain could catch up.
Thankfully, before more tumbled out, Robert, the King’s Hand or steward, stepped through the door. His white brows about touched his hairline.
“Sir,” Nessen greeted him.
Marissa pressed her lips together and tilted her chin at the older man. Looking at him reminded her so strongly of her father with his white hair and kind eyes that the tears took over from the anger.
She swallowed. “Excuse me,” she whispered, spinning away and escaping to her dressing room where she firmly closed the door. She did not slam it, although she wanted to.
It’s just a dumb rug. I’m queen now. I can’t act like that.
She pressed her forehead to the heavy wood of the door, her hand still on the knob.
“Am I losing my position over an ugly rug?” Nessen’s voice carried from the other room.
Even through the door, Marissa caught Robert’s sigh. “The King won’t care about a rug, but he will care that you spoke back to his Queen.”
“A Queen he doesn’t even trust.”
“We have peace now because she agreed to this marriage. It’s an ugly rug, but it’s one of the only things she was allowed to bring with her from home. Show some respect.”
The tears ran freely at the Hand’s words. He rarely raised his voice. He didn’t need to as he was highly respected in the castle.
And now, Nessen’s silence spoke volumes.
Finally, he said, “What is my punishment? I’ll clean the rug.”
Marissa almost opened the door at that. Cleaning the rug would ruin any residual magic in the weave, but then she stalled herself. What did it matter if the rug no longer worked?
“No,” Robert answered. “I suspect a few days away from the Queen’s sight might be better. Report to the public library for transcription work this week.”
Steps shuffled against the floor and Marissa sighed, wiping her tears with the back of her hand. When she opened the door, she stopped mid-step, surprised to see Robert still in the sitting room.
“Will that suffice, Your Majesty?” he asked. “It won’t replace the cool breeze of home.”
Panic shot through her but his expression remained gentle, knowing.
“It’ll do,” she said, thankful for one person who didn’t view her as a foreigner.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed 🙂
P.S. Pre-orders for Mystery of the Golden Shells will open on August 1st.
7 thoughts on “The Rug and the Scribe – A Mystery of the Golden Shells Story”
[…] The Rug and the Scribe – (Background story #1) […]
Ooh, I like this little story! Looking forward to reading more! 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Love the background information! It’s thrilling to get to know the King’s Hand a little more.
It would also be fantastic to have a rug like that. I’d order about a hundred of them, haha.
So would I! But probably in a different color 🙂
And it begins, or should it be said the rest of the story, the background, the unknown details that everyone will want to read, maybe after reading the “Mystery of the Golden Shells”
Sometimes knowing background details makes a story more interesting 😉