A conflict is necessary to give pace to any story. Hashtag fightsceneFriday is a new feature on this blog to highlight conflict. Of course, we like to read and enjoy times of laughter and love. But in fiction, we turn the pages faster when something like an impending collision brews. So read on and enjoy the twists in the tales by reading and sharing this hashtag. Writers are invited to share their favourite conflict scenes in their books. Readers take an opportunity to devour the topsy turvy incidents.
Today, I’m sharing my favourite conflict scene from historical novella, Against The Tide. Published at Amazon and reaching no. 1 spot in its category in one day, this is the story of a courtesan in ancient India set against the glamorous backdrop of a palace. It follows the unfolding of the intrigues of royal family and the forbidden love between a king and a concubine.
Hope you will like this snippet as much as I do 🙂
She sprang back at the words, the chisel slipping from her grasp. It would have hit her toe if he didn’t swing forward his arm and catch it mid-air.
Wide accusing eyes looked at him and unexpected tears sprang to her eyes till the emotional current became too much and they spilled over, her gaze blurring as they flooded over and slipped down her cheeks.
‘Lohana!’ His voice was guttural and low, betraying his concern. ‘Now what have I said?’ He tried to inject a teasing note, saying lightly, ‘I need more lessons in tact, I guess.’
She wiped her cheeks with the edge of blue muslin. ‘Maharaj, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t spoil your mood. I know you were joking. It’s unbecoming in me to take things you say so seriously…’
‘Even a smart diplomat can stumble,’ he said severely, ‘So I won’t punish you for this blunder. What makes you think I’m not serious?’
‘Maharaj!’ She held up a hand to ward him off, but which was ensnared in the crushing grip of his larger hand. He eased the force immediately. But his voice was commanding. ‘Lohana, I don’t make mistakes in people and certainly not in my feelings!’
‘I’m –’ She drew in a breath, knowing she’d given away more than she intended, but finding it difficult to regulate her unruly emotions. ‘I’m flattered, sire,’ she managed.
Her hand dropped from his grip. ‘Flattered?’ He sounded incredulous.
Taking courage in both hands, she dared a look up and found a thundering scowl covering his noble wide forehead.
Today, with dark locks brushed back and tamed, because he had taken off the decorated turban, he looked slightly tamer. His shoulders were covered with golden yellow cloth slung from one shoulder and half trailing on the ground. Broad, naked chest rose, rock hard, muscled and adorned with a solid gold disc slung on thick rope-like chains. A pearl double rope rested amid those. In his ears, he wore thick short rings with single prominent bead in each.
‘Have I been mistaken?’ His voice became soft and edgy. ‘Have I seen feelings where there was only flirtation, allure and beguilement? Why the tears then? Your words lie, but your eyes tell your truth. Say it, Lohana. Tell me, ‘tis love you feel for me.’
Those tears threatened to be spilled again.
‘More than love.’ She gasped as his arms came around her immediately, clasping her waist and drawing her tight till air threatened to be squeezed out of her chest.
‘Forgive me, priya. I can’t stop the emotions that rage through me. I love you, Lohana. It is you I will have as my wife.’
‘No…’ Her protest should have been stronger but it was hard to speak when your knees felt they would buckle anytime. ‘That’s a sacrilege…not admissible… I am what I am, bound to serve you but –’
‘Have you any objection?’
‘Yes.’ Her mouth trembled and she bit her lip.
‘Not because of the society or what I am. Tell me, if you could marry me, would you?’
‘I can’t answer that.’ She fought the impulse to say yes and put all her troubles into his hands. But she had been trained to fulfil an office. To carry out a function. She would not look above her post. She would not let herself be called overambitious and have the stones pelted at her, both figurative and lest she lose his protection, even literally.
‘Then I will answer for you. You love me and you want me, only me.’ His voice held a rough edge like an unpolished sword. ‘You will be my wife. Vidarbhakata’s queen.’
Check out the book at Amazon here.
Can a concubine fall in love?
Lohana knows she cannot even dream of everlasting love. Trained to captivate men for their wealth and proficient in the required arts, a concubine like her is not meant to be a partner for life for anyone and most certainly not for the king. But King Jayatshatru has managed to steal her heart. In the politics of aristocracy, germs of intrigue flourish hidden behind the ornate doors. As love grows stronger, the plotting against her deepens. Will she be able to fight the forces against her? Does she even want to, when dreaming about happiness can lead both the king and her to ultimate ruin?