I'm getting near the end of this major revision of City of Mages. Today I'll be working on the big climax and battle scene, which in this book seems to need a lot less work than in previous books, even though it's still quite complex. In the meantime, here's a little snippet from yesterday's work, in which Lainie meets her mother-in-law for the first time:
The servant stepped aside, then Lainie went into the room. This was a pretty room, about the size of the front parlor, kitchen, and dining room in her Pa's house, done up in blue and white and gold. To the right stood a group of three chairs of white and gilt-gold wood cushioned in light blue, placed to form three sides of a square. On the center chair, facing Lainie, sat a woman dressed in a flowing, deep blue gown made of a rich, shimmering fabric, trimmed with clouds of black lace. Her figure was matronly but firm and trim. Her rusty-black hair, the same color as Silas's, darker than brown but not true black, cascaded in thick curls down one shoulder nearly to her waist. A large white flower was tucked into her hair above her other ear. Her eyes and skin were also dark like Silas's, and she was wearing cosmetics -- not as much as the house ladies wore, that made their faces look painted on, but enough to make her natural beauty stand out even more. She hardly looked old enough to be Silas's mother, Lainie thought. Jewels glittered at her ears, throat, and fingers, including an enormous dark blue gem on her left forefinger.
"Come closer, girl," Lady Venedias said in a cool, commanding tone.
Lainie walked forward. Though the chairs on either side of Lady Venedias were empty, Silas's mother did not invite her to sit. Closer in, Lainie could now see fine lines on the woman's face and a bit of slack skin beneath her chin. Maybe she was in her early fifties; old enough to be Silas's mother but not old enough to have another child several years older, the sister Silas had mentioned, unless she had started very young.
"I wanted to see this person who claims to be married to that son of mine," Lady Venedias said. She gave Lainie a slow, cool, assessing look up and down. Lainie's cheeks burned; she felt even shabbier under that look, her pretty dress poor and plain compared to Lady Venedias's elegance, but she forced herself not to look down or away.
"I find myself skeptical that Siyavas married you of his own free will," Lady Venedias finally said. "You don't look like the sort of girl for whom he would throw everything away."
After the awkward beginning, it really doesn't go all that badly. This is actually one of my favorite scenes in the book.
Back to work now :-)
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