Fic snippet:Comfort

For this week’s #writingwednesday here’s a fic snippet looking at the developing relationship between Bryony and Emeri in the WiP: Sorceress Apprentice.


Emeri knocked on the bedroom door, though it was open. Bryony turned to face him.

“When you’ve finished with that book,” he said, “I thought you might like to read this one, The Prince and Princess of Pandark.” He proffered a green leather book with gilt-edged pages. “One of my favourites. I warn you the first chapter is very slow. You can skim through it without missing much plot though, and the second chapter is where the action begins and doesn’t let up. I think you’ll find the ending very satisfying.”

She took the book. “Thank you.”

On impulse she leaned up and kissed his cheek. He gave her a look she couldn’t immediately interpret. She wished she were better at reading people, or that Emeri were easier to read.

“Was that wrong?” she asked when he didn’t move or speak.

He shook his head. “No.” He paused before he added, “Only unexpected.”

She placed the book on the bed to free up her hands, so that she could take his hand in hers. “We touch often,” she said, and her brain raced ahead, trying to make sense of things that were only making themselves apparent now. Every hug, every hand-holding, every caress had been for comfort. “But only when we’re hurting.”

When he was hurting. When she’d held him while he wept, for example

“I don’t want that. I want us to be happy, whenever we can be, and I don’t think being happy should make us less – ”

Damn, damn, what words did she need? She read voraciously, that was where she’d learnt the word voraciously, she knew hundreds or thousands of words. Yet so often when she opened her mouth it was as if she was five years old again, reduced to babbling trite phrases and lacking the vocabulary to fully express herself.

Emeri was still waiting for her to finish her thought.

Bryony swallowed. Maybe an example would help. “You probably don’t remember Van, but when he lived in our village, he used to go and visit his mother, who had moved to Marshtower when she remarried and remained there after she was again widowed. She was sick, frequently. Van would go to her and she’d get better and Van would come home. Then she’d be sick again. And he’d visit here again.

“One day he asked Naomi’s advice, thinking the Marshtower healer was not doing their job. But Naomi said maybe his mother thought he only cared about her when she was ill, and so she got ill frequently. Van moved to Marshtower to be close to her and as far as I know, his mother was rarely sick after that.”

Emeri stirred. “You think affection should not be conditional upon a need, especially a need for comfort.”

Bryony nodded. “We’re here to keep each other company. Even when you’re feeling well. I don’t want to be your nursemaid. I’d much rather be your companion.”

He nodded. He placed his free hand over hers, lifting both his hands to bring her fingers to his lips. He kissed her knuckles gently before releasing her. “I would rather that too,” he said. “Good night.”


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