I really do enjoy writing stories. I especially love writing character disputes. Not just “good vs. evil” battles, but of simple personality clashes between two important, and equally loving characters. I love writing Anstend and Xatka together. Their personalities clash so much, yet there’s an obvious love between them. In this exerpt, you get to see the first time that the main character/narrator, Ambriel, is not only introduced to Xatka, but also of the oil and water relationship between these two.
I stepped through the doors of the castle, the walls around me welcoming me back to its bosom. I inhaled deeply, the familiar scent of elf enticing my blood lust. I was upset. The blood lust always got harder to control the more emotional I got. Fjærlette stopped and sighed. Curious, I turned towards the hallway and listened closely as we walked. The faint sound of an argument floated towards us. “My gods, can’t those two ever be in the same room without acting like juveniles?”
I looked over at her and laughed, “You say that like an irritated big sister.”
Her eyes widened, “Thanks for reminding me that I’m actually related to them.” I laughed and held Lys’ hand as we walked towards a large open door where the familiar blue glowing orbs of light lit the room. Anstend’s voice was raw from the tears he had shed. “What the hell is your problem with me now? Damn Xatka, every time I see you, you just rip my fucking head off!”
“And I don’t have to justify my feelings, you little twerp!”
“Ooh, so vicious.” He mocked his sister as we stepped in through the door, “Maybe next time you might cross over and call me a butt head!” He lifted his hands in false fear before catching us standing there. He straightened, pressing his hands to his side, “Oh, hey.” He smiled sheepishly before stepping back.
Xatka was beautiful. She had intense blue eyes just like Anstend, and warm sun-kissed skin. She had strong cheekbones that made her look almost regal, but the scars that racked her face marked her as a warrior. She didn’t look much like her mother, other than the grey-violet hair, which was identical in shade to the tall, overbearing man beside her. Now he looked like Lys. He was taller than me, same bright blue eyes as Anstend and Xatka but he held himself like a man of refined taste, of royal bloodline, instead of the warrior stance that Anstend and Xatka currently donned. He must be Melo.
Xatka’s mouth hung open in surprise as I walked through with Fjærlette. I cleared my throat, “You must be Xatka and Melo?”
Xatka looked to her twin brother then back to me, “Yes, we are.” She came to stand in front of me, that familiar tug to my soul I had felt before, “Is it true you don’t remember us?”
She stood like a soldier, not that it wasn’t evident with her attire. She was fitted with armor, a metal that held a strange yellow-green color. It seemed dull yet shimmered against the light of the orbs. “Yes,” I began as I sat down. “I’m afraid my mind isn’t what it used to be.”
“Oh, look who was telling the truth. Who was it now?” Anstend stood thoughtfully for a moment, “Oh yeah, that was me.” He pinned her with an angry stare before taking a seat to my left. Lys sat beside me on the plush couch as Melo, Xatka and Fjærlette took the couch parallel mine. They moved in even closer, enough so that I could see the bright blue eyes of Melo and Xatka. They were quite breathtaking.
Xatka situated her armor meticulously as her eyes bore daggers into her youngest brother, “I really should have drowned you at birth.”
“I would have survived, remember?” He made a strange motion with his hands against his neck. “Besides, everybody loved me when I was a baby.”
“That’s because they didn’t know what a jerk you would turn out to be.”
“Okay, enough, you two!” Lys sat up straighter. She had her mom face on which I found highly amusing. “If I have to separate you two, you will feel my wrath like you’ve never felt before. This is not about your ridiculous bickering.”
“Yes ma’am.” They spoke in unison.
I coughed in my hand, trying to hide the chuckle that escaped. Lys glared at me before turning back to her children. Trying to ignore the feeling that I was going to get lectured after this, I turned back to the three on the couch. “Okay, so, I am under the impression that I used to be rather close to all of you. At least, my gut tells me that. Not knowing anything about anyone has essentially been driving me nuts over the last few days. So, maybe we can start by telling me some things about yourselves?”
Fjærlette turned to her siblings, “How about I start the introductions since you three can’t seem to open your mouths without insulting each other?” Xatka went to protest but Fjærlette cast her sister a warning stare. Turning back to me she cleared her throat.
“Okay, so let’s start by telling you what we all do for a living. Me, I work with mother in Scotland, looking over the land there. Usually I tend to the animals and the forests to try and protect them from the viciousness of men.” Melo made a sound of protest but she ignored and continued on. “Personally, I’ve never had much use for humanity of any kind. I prefer animals over people. For now, though, while mom is tending to the matters here, I’ve been taking care of her duties, which include watching over the mythics that live there. She governs over Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. Xatka is a warrior, as evident by her attire.”
“I didn’t have time to change.” She explained leaning forward, “And for the record, I’m a real warrior, unlike others.” She passed a glance to Anstend and smirked.
“Oh great, here we go again.” Fjærlette sighed and leaned back in her chair.
Anstend leaned forward, “Excuse me? What the hell does that mean?”
“You know exactly what that means.”
He laughed sarcastically, “Actually, no Xatka, I don’t. Do you mind enlightening everyone?”
She sat up higher, “Fine. You wanna know?”
“Please do, big sister. Your wisdom is all that I crave.” His sarcasm could have drowned an elephant.
She leaned in front of Melo, angling her head towards Anstend. Melo leaned back and laughed. “I became a warrior because I wanted to do good in this universe. I wanted to protect those that needed protecting, to serve those who needed help. You became a warrior, for what? To impress a General?”
“I didn’t decide to become a warrior because I wanted to score with the General, Xatka. I did, however, choose to become the best fucking warrior in the twelve known galaxies for that very reason. My decisions for why I did what I did has nothing to do with you. You’re just bitter because I’m a better fighter than you.”
“I’m bitter because I do what I do for the good of those twelve known galaxies while the only thing you give two shits about is getting your dick wet.”
My eyes shot up, as did everyone else’s. I turned around, trying to hide the smile on my lips. Anstend did the same thing. As soon as we looked at each other, we both broke into laughter. “Damn, Xatka. I can’t believe you just said I wanted to get my dick wet.”
She huffed, crossing her arms, “Yeah, well it’s true. It’s all you care about and you don’t care who you hurt in the process.”
“What in the hell are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about Delyna!”
She laughed loudly, “Of course you don’t remember her. She was my best friend until about a month ago when you slept with her and then never called on her again.”
“Are you talking about Del? That girl I hooked up with on Torg last time I came to visit you?”
“Yes, you asshole! That’s my best friend. Or at least was my best friend, until you broke her heart.”
He laughed, “Okay, let me get this straight, I come to visit you, and your best friend Delyna comes onto me knowing full well that I’m only visiting and then gets upset when I go home? Then she takes it out on you and you, in turn take it out on me. I got that right so far?”
Xatka’s eyebrows furrowed, “Yes.”
“So… what, am I supposed to never get laid on the off chance that the woman may very well be a friend or potential friend of yours?”
“It’s just…” She threw her hands in the air, “You do this every time! You always sleep with my friends! Why do you have to do that?”
“Because you have hot friends, and I need the exercise.”
She gasped then growled as she pulled a pillow from the couch and threw it at him. “I hate you so much right now!”
Anstend laughed harder, grabbed the pillow and stood. He went to his sister and knelt before her. “I’m sorry, Kloke kriger.”
“You might not want to be this close to me. I may have left my sword at the door, but I have plenty of throwing knives at my disposal.”
Anstend cast the most charming grin I had seen yet, “Kloke, I promise I will behave.” He wagged his brows at her, “And I promise I will try and do better about not sleeping with your friends.”
“I’ve heard that before.”
“I swear to the general herself.”
I eyed Lys with amusement as Xatka considered what he said. Finally she huffed, “Fine. But it doesn’t change the fact that I lost a good friend.” He stood up, plopping himself across his sister’s lap, draping his legs along Melo’s. Melo tried to slap them away but it didn’t seem to phase him. “Anstend, will you get off of me? You weigh a ton. Stop eating.”
“Sis, let me tell you something.” She stopped squirming and looked up at him, “If that was all it took for her to not be your friend, then she wasn’t really a good friend. You’re the best warrior I know, and you are the kindest person I know. Your friends should feel half as lucky being your friend as I feel being your brother, because if they did, they would never leave your side. You deserve better than that bitch.”
For the first time since I walked in, I saw love for her brother as she looked up at him. “Thanks Anstend. I love you, too, you twerp.”
“Aw, you’re so sweet.” He leaned down and kissed her cheek. “You know, if you need help finding some better friends, I could help you with that.” The tender moment was broken as she shoved him to the floor. We all broke into laughter as Anstend laid on the floor at our feet. “See, she really does love me. If she didn’t, I’d have one of those throwing knives in my side right now.”
She kicked him in the ass as he moved to slide back into his chair. “Okay, now that you two have gotten your quarrel out of the way, let’s move on to Melo.” Fjærlette turned to him and smiled, “Melo is a diplomat for Staerlania. They’re rich in several types of herbs and minerals that you can’t find in other places. He’s the one that goes in to try and negotiate with them on a political level.” Fjærlette looked at him and smiled, “He’s done very well.”
He smiled at me, “My goal is to one day hold the seat of house representative on Atlantis.”
Anstend went to say something then stopped. Then he seemed to not be able to help himself, “Melo, I really wish you wouldn’t hang out with those assholes.”
Melo turned to him, “Anstend, you know why I’m there.”
He met his brother’s gaze. “They’re never gonna accept you as one of their own. They’re assholes that only like pure-bloods. You should know this better than anyone. Why do you do this to yourself?” Anstend seemed genuinely concerned for his brother, but Melo didn’t seem to notice. Instead, he crossed his arms over his chest, choosing not to speak. Anstend leaned forward, “I just don’t wanna have to go kill anyone that fucks with you. That’s all.”
Melo chewed on that for a moment, then finally chuckled, “You would, too, wouldn’t you?”
“You know my feelings on the Atlanteans.” Anstend turned back to me, “He’s the best politician there. He’s done more for that stupid place than anyone had been able to accomplish in over 1,000 years on Staerlania. But still, he’s held the same position on their Senate for over 400 kyers.”
I looked around, puzzled, “Sorry… kyers?”
“A euphemism for Kullarna years.” Ah. Okay.
I turned to Melo, “Well, I am kind of on the outside here, because I don’t know the entire situation, but it seems to me that if you have made such progress there and those dicks still refuse to give you your due diligence. I say fuck ‘em. I say tell ‘em to shove it up their asses and move on to somewhere that will appreciate your skills.”
His mouth quirked up just a little bit, “I was offered a quite prestigious position on Staerlania, working with the royal family of the Phroas continent.”
“Are you considering it?” I asked, leaning in closer.
He looked up, his trimmed grey-violet hair falling against his brow, “I don’t know. Maybe.”
Anstend seemed suddenly excited. “What’s the position?”
Melo smiled thoughtfully for a moment, “Ambassador to the queen in extraterrestrial affairs.”
“Ambassador as in you’ll be running everything? You will be the leader?” Lys piped in, just as intrigued as Anstend. Melo nodded with a shy grin. “Oh my gods, Melo, that’s amazing! That’s even higher standing than House representative in Atlantis.” His smile faded, looking at his hands. “Melo, look at me.” Lys stood, directing Xatka silently to trade her seats. She sat beside her son and pulled his hands into hers. His gaze met hers hopefully. “I know how badly you want to be accepted by the Atlanteans. I know that was something you needed, deep down, to feel closer to that side of your family. And you are closer to them, but you don’t deserve to be treated as some lower-life citizen. You are strong and smart. You would be an asset to the Atlanteans, but they fail to see it.”
There was silence that fell before them, and I could sense there was a conversation going on between them. Although I had a feeling I could listen in on their conversation, I didn’t feel that I wanted to find out anything else that might send me over the edge. If they were speaking telepathically, there was a reason.
I looked to Anstend who had his eyes set on Fjærlette, both staring at each other in amusement. Fjærlette finally cleared her throat, “Um, Melo, I wonder if you could, uh… clear something up for the rest of us.” He turned to her and frowned. “Is it true that you were caught necking with the queen’s youngest granddaughter?”
Melo’s eyes widened, his face turning deep red. “What? Why would say that? Who told you that?”
Anstend laughed loudly as Fjærlette raised her hand to her mouth, “Oh my gods, Melo! She was set to go into the ministry when she turned 40. She was a virgin!”
“And she still is. We’ve not done anything that would take that away from her.” He straightened, pulling his regal coat straighter, “We just… got caught up in the moment. That’s all. Nothing more.”
“Melo,” Xatka interjected, “You don’t think that’s why the queen wants to appoint you to Ambassador?”
Lys turned her head sharply, searing her daughter with irritation, “Xatka! She offered him that position because he is the best at what he does! Nothing more. How could you possibly put those fears into his head? You know how he blows things out of proportion.”
“Thanks mother.” Melo countered dryly.
“I’m sorry,” Xatka began, “it’s just that it’s well known that Queen Sava has been pretty adamant about not wanting her to go into the ministry. There’s some type of prophecy on their planet and the Queen is obsessed with the idea that the prophecy is of her granddaughter. If she and Melo were to end up having sex, it would make her ineligible for the ministry.”
“Can we please not talk about my sex life right now?”
“Or lack there of?” Anstend thought his question funny until he had four sets of bitter eyes his direction. “Hey,” He shrugged, “I’m just saying, you’re kind of obsessed with your work. Maybe getting laid would do you some good.” A long list of profound obscenities rushed from four mouths, bashing Anstend. “I’m just trying to help my brother, here, alright? He hasn’t had a girlfriend since Dad disappeared.”
There was a subtle but distinguished change in the air around us. Everyone quietened down, staring at Anstend as memories seemed to flash through their eyes. After a couple of moments, Anstend ran his hands through his hair, clearly disturbed by whatever had just happened and stood up. “I think I’m going to bed. I have a long day ahead.”
“Anstend, wait.” Lys stood up to follow after him.
He stopped at the door and held his hand up to his mom. “It’s fine, mom. Really. I just… I’ll be better in the morning.”
“Søtnos, I was really hoping that all of us could stay in Fjærlette’s cabin tonight. It’s been ages since we were all together, and with Feppert’s death…” She trailed off has her voice broke.
Anstend pulled her into a deep hug, “Of course, mamma. We’ll get up early and talk Xatka into making breakfast.” They all laughed somberly and it was then that I noticed they all had started crying again.
Slowly, the rest of Lys’ children stood, giving me and Lys a tight hug. They let us know that they would save the master bedroom for us before heading out. She seemed sad now, as they all left the room. “I’m sorry about that. When his father disappeared, it was really hard on him. I don’t know that he’s ever quite recovered from it. Honestly, I think that’s why he’s so afraid of commitment. And why he’s obsessed over a woman that’s unattainable.” She looked up at me, trying to shake off the sorrow. “He just needs to sleep it off. And we need to sleep as well. We have to get up early in the morning. It’s a full two day journey to the Valkyrie.”
“Wait, we’re leaving tomorrow? What about Feppert? Aren’t we having a funeral for him?”
Her face turned to stone, “Tomorrow evening they will give his body back to Kullarna. And we’re going to get this Sephora shit taken care of so I can focus on killing that bitch, Victoria.”
Again, this is such a fun group of characters to write about. I really do enjoy their banter. I am hoping to have this book out by August of this year. It’s a very complex plotline, so there’s a lot of attention to detail that I need to adhere to. Also, there are two other storylines that not only coincide in the same universe, but have intertwining timelines and characters, so there’s a lot to watch out for when writing these stories. I will try to add an excerpt of the other two storylines within the next week, just for fun.