First off is a little snippet where Nicolette (masquerading as Princess Rylie), meets another set of echoes, Esther and Hadassa (who are twelve). She’s surprised when she finds out that they aren’t identical, and don’t even look like each other.
“Well, are you going to stand there staring at us?” Esther folded her arms across her chest. “I wrongly supposed that Princess Rylie would have more manners than you seem to possess.”
Throwing my head back, I laughed. “You’re quite the handful, are you not?” I sat down on a settee and patted the cushion next to me, offering them a seat. “Tis so that I was not being polite, but calling a princess out on her manners is far more disrespectful than staring.”
“I apologize.” Esther dipped her head for a brief moment, then darted her gaze back up to me. “Though, I must say, I would be quite fine with dispensing of all the courtly manners and behaving as friends, if that suited you.”
“The leniency provided for you here in Agape is shocking.” For a moment I was at a loss of how to respond. Never had anyone out of the Inner Chamber Family treated me so, and although I found it amusing, I wasn’t sure if I could condone such behavior with a clear conscious.
In this segment, Raquel is conversing with her kidnappers after convincing them that she’s in truth not Princess Rylie. They’re riding through the forest, and Raquel has relative freedom now.
“My apologies.” Thurston looked sincere. “If it be your pleasure to converse with him,” he threw a gesture over his shoulder at his son, “then so be it. I merely was trying to help you out of boredom.”
“Nay, it wasn’t boring.” I sat straighter in the saddle. “He informed me that Dreyden was against you kidnapping Princess Rylie.”
“Tis truth to be sure.” Thurston’s laughter was robust and echoed around us. “Where is the boy anyway?”
“He rode off in a huff, papa.” Titus leaned forward, as if eager to join the conversation again.
Now that I realized Thurston truly wasn’t trying to hide the information from me, I was slightly thankful for his interruption to Titus’s annoyingly unsavory manners. Not that the man himself was much better.
“He’s got airs, that boy.” Thurston shook his head. “Living with the nobles has ruined him, seems.”
“Nobles are ruined?”
“Nay,” Thurston laughed again. “Just some of them like King Dalan. Thinking he can control the people by force and treat them with ill.”
“Tell me more.” I smiled. “After all, I’ve been around nobles all my life. I am a noble.”
“Tis so, tis so.” Thurston looked me up and down for a minute, as if fascinated by the mess I had made of my appearance. “You look a tad bit royal even in those rags. It must be the way you carry yourself.”
“Do you have something against Princess Rylie?” I asked. I had been curious ever since Dreyden had declared me not to be Princess Rylie what they really thought about her.
“Ach, no.” Thurston and Titus answered the question in unison.
“Of course not. Everyone sings her praises.” Thurston gestured at me again. “That’s one way I knew you weren’t her after you and Dreyden both declared it. See, Princess Rylie is a sweet thing. That’s what everyone says. Sweet. Cares for her people. Has the love of the God of the Path Book in her life. You were such a fussy brat it only figured that I’d nabbed the wrong girl.”
“Oh?” I felt my heart sink.
And there you have it, folks. A bit of what I’ve been working on recently. I hope you enjoyed these snippets. Thanks for letting me share the growth of City of Outcasts with y’all.