Hello Rainbow Snippeters! 😁
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I’ve been snipping from my novelette WiP, Luck of the Draw (M/M Light Fantasy). When I first posted the numbered snippets, they were the opening lines, but a fresh opener has been inserted. For continuity, the spoilers also include short segments that weren’t selected to be Rainbow Snippet features for anyone interested in the extra detail. Click on the spoiler tags if you’d like a quick refresher.
It’s all from Obren’s 3rd-Person POV:
Obren, a prince of Canna, had drawn straws many times in the past, but never had the stakes been so high. This time it was not about who would go first or last either in childhood games of years gone by, or in sexual liaisons from more recent years. It was not about who would help pitch the army tents versus dig the holes for the latrine. Or fill them in, later, when breaking camp.
This time, the rest of his life was at stake. Not life or death, itself, but the direction his life would follow, and its potential to bring him happiness.
Obren’s stomach twisted into a knot as his father, King Rogan of Canna, offered his closed fist. Obren drew in a deep breath, understanding, to the marrow of his bones, that any plea to avoid this choice was pointless. A straw must be drawn, and as the older of the two brothers, he would draw first.
Not that the order of drawing mattered. Whether or not he drew the short straw would be down to luck. The luck of the draw would decide his life’s path. His hand twitched as he checked a nervous impulse to smooth down his already neatly styled blond hair.
Treaties had been signed, and a complete series of intermarriages between the realms would solidify their fledgling peace. The three realms had agreed on this course of action.
Obren closed his eyes, shut out the sounds of his father’s heavy breathing, and focused on preventing the quiver building in his gut from reaching his hand as he lifted it. He paused and opened his eyes. Was there any possible stratagem he could employ to boost his chances?
“Just pick one,” Lale hissed. “Let’s get this over with.” Lale, being Obren’s younger brother, was as invested in the outcome as was Obren.
The royal families of the three realms had four children apiece, each of marriageable age. Or rather, each had four surviving unmarried children. Two princes—including Obren’s beloved eldest brother, Pejo, the former crown prince of Canna—had perished in the war. Likewise, the husbands of two of the princesses.
But for those remaining, each realm would make two pairs of alliances through marriage with each of the other two realms.
It was a perfect diplomatic solution.
While the realms of Canna and Pretin each had two sons and two daughters, the realm of Butari complicated matters. They had three sons and one daughter.
After much discussion at the conclave that had been held the previous day after the last of the entourages from Butari and Pretin had arrived in Canna—the most centrally located of the three realms—the three monarchs and their advisors had agreed that one of the Butari sons would marry a son from one of the other two realms.
Neither of the monarchs from those two realms had wanted to volunteer one of their sons to a marriage that was guaranteed not to continue their bloodline, so they had rolled dice to decide the fate of their children.
As luck—bad luck in Obren’s not-so-humble opinion—would have it. King Rogan had lost the roll, and now either Obren or his brother, Lale, must marry one of the princes of Butari.
Although the pairings were yet to be decided for the participants of the upcoming mass wedding ceremony, King Rogan was permitted to choose which of his two sons would marry traditionally, and which would set a new precedent in the three realms.
Obren swallowed, squared his shoulders, and snatched one of the two straws sticking up from of Father’s fist. He stepped back and stared at the stick, but it gave him no information.
No useful information, anyway. Length could be both absolute and relative. He could see that the absolute length of his straw was about six knuckles long. But it was the length relative to the straw remaining in Father’s hand that would give the answer.
Lale strode swiftly forward and grabbed the remaining straw. The brothers stood staring at one another for ten solid beats before slowly raising their hands to compare straws.
Obren stared blankly at the two straws, but it was the slow grin spreading across Lale’s face that came into focus first. Lale held the longer of the two straws.
Heat suffused Obren’s face as he snapped his straw in half and let the two pieces drop to the floor.
“Enough of that.” The king used his regal tone, usually reserved for court. “You will do your duty, and you will do it without displays that should have been left behind when you graduated out of the nursery.”
Obren clenched his jaw. He shouldn’t say anything more, but his mouth ran on unheeded. “I’m older. It wouldn’t have been out of order for you to have decided based upon our ages.”
“Your sisters are older still. You’re not even the spare, let alone the heir. You don’t matter.”
Lale snorted, and Obren shot a glare in his direction. But Lale was looking at their father with an unwise look of disgust. The snort hadn’t been directed at Obren; it had been in response to Father’s unkind remark about both of their worth.
Obren softened his expression, and when Lale returned his gaze to Obren, Lale swallowed, and said, “Obren’s right. Neither of us wants this, of course, but it should be me.”
The two brothers had never been the best of friends. Their personalities didn’t align well for that. But they’d always felt the bond of brotherhood, and here, Lale probably felt a sense of duty to repay Obren for saving his life amidst a fierce battle in the final year of the war.
Obren wasn’t entirely sure if his conscience would have allowed him to let Lale take this burden upon himself after winning the draw, but that option wasn’t on the table.
“Nonsense. The selection was fairly made,” the king said with a glare of his own directed at Obren. “I expect you to behave like a rational adult at both the reunion dinner this evening and the ball tomorrow night.”
This week’s snippet follows immediately after last week’s.
Obren’s 3rd-person POV
Obren held in his retort and gave a curt nod before turning on his heel and striding, with as much dignity as he could muster, from the room.
Anger roiled through his belly as he raced through the castle hallways to his suite of rooms. His footsteps clicked on the stone floor and echoed through the empty passages. A lingering whiff of the sausages they’d eaten at breakfast still hung in the air.
Father preferred Lale. Had done since Obren had been a schoolboy. In fact, Obren wouldn’t be surprised to learn if Father had somehow manipulated the straws to ensure Obren picked the shorter of the two.
Here are a couple of images I’ve come up with to go with my snippets that may or may not have anything to do with the eventual cover. I keep going back and forth on my preference, and I’m currently leaning toward the cartoon guys again.
Just wrote the blurb yesterday, but not ready to share it yet. Meanwhile, here are a haiku and a not-quite-legit-limerick:
Obren had to draw
a straw to decide his fate.
He drew the short one.
LIMERICK (with some rhyming fail…it’s still a work-in-progress)
There once was a prince from Canna.
Draw a straw? He just didn’t wanna!
But choose one he must,
and now he must trust,
the Butari prince won’t hold a … grudge.
9 thoughts on “RAINBOW SNIPPETS March 18, 2023 ~ Luck of the Draw #RainbowSnippets”
I’m really enjoying this progression of snippets, Addison! ❤️
Thank you so much ! ❤️
Vivid and powerful! (heart)
Thank you so much! ❤️
Yes! Love the progression!
Thank you so much! ❤️
Aww, poor guy. I’m sure things will be looking up for him soon!
No doubt! 😉❤️
You can really feel his emotion here.