Character excerpt–Alain di Wintersea

My current word count is right on track: 3494. The word count widget is in the right sidebar.

Just to prove that I don’t write just female characters, let me introduce you to Alain di Wintersea, from my novel, Knights of the Hex. He is majii but has what many would consider a low-key power: he can turn one inorganic thing into another. He is the current head of the Wintersea clan, known for the long line of majes that the Maj (the world’s spirit) has chosen. A scholar and historian, he is considered a good overseer to his region and quite a handsome, virile catch, even in middle-age and after two marriages–one failed, the other ending with his wife’s death. He is in love with Elise and he inadvertently sets into motion some of the plot’s events when he sends his son, Denys, to a disputed island that has been lost to the family’s records.

Cira opened the box. Alain peered over the edge to see what they’d brought. Several items inside piqued his curiosity; he burned with questions about all and sundry. What she drew out was a leather pouch. Untying the laces, she spilled the contents into her hand.

“What is that?” Alain leaned forward, reaching for the trinket.

“Don’t touch it, Father!” Denys grabbed his sire’s wrist. “Like the temple, it doesn’t like majii.”

Cira laid it down next to the window drawing. It glinted golden in the hanging oil lamps. The similarities between window and amulet were unmistakeable. The smears across the moonstones and the obviously metallic scent made Alain glance sharply at Kenmuth.

“Blood?”

The scout sighed, nodding. “Aye. None o’ ours, t’ be sure, but th’ lass was dead. Murdered, wit’ a great, huge sword thrust through her chest so hard, no’ e’en our best an’ strongest lads could budge it. Looked as if’n she was just kilt, too, but tha’ just could no’ be th’ case. Somethin’ foul happened in yon room; somethin’ involvin’ majii, beggin’ yer pardon, milord.”

“Majii?” Alain scowled, folding his arms. “What makes you say that?”

“This.”

Cira hauled out a sizable hunk of intricately carved black wood, setting it solidly on the table. “We found this is the same central chamber.” Alain reached toward it hesitantly. “Go ahead, milord. You can pick this up safely.”

He took it, opening a table drawer and pulling out an enlarging glass to examine it better. “Seems to be burnt … no, the wood is actually black.” His eyes darted to the covered scry ball in the corner. “Same wood as our stand?”

“Not only the same wood, but done by the same mastercarver.” Cira sounded happy to bring out her own specialized knowledge. “And it is charred. Unless I miss my guess, this was the stave of a powerful maje.” She dipped her hand back into the box. “You see the bits of red stone? I think there was a spherical jewel set into the head of the stave. This is a piece of it.”

She handed him a shard of ruby stone. Alain put the stave down and examined the stone. He closed a hand around it. A touch of silver light flared between his fingers. When he opened his hand, the ruby stone remained unchanged.

Denys gasped. “Father!”

Alain put up a hand, forestalling his son. “Let me try again.” He shifted the piece to the other hand. The power flashed, and again, the shard remained the same.

“Whatever this is, it’s not stone. It’s organic.”

Article by Tikatu

Tikatu is the long-time alter-ego of L.D. Bennett. She enjoys cat naps, head bumps, and regaling the world with the further adventures of International Rescue.