An excerpt from my YA novel “The Grail of Culloden.” Have not settled on where to put this scene, or to even include it at all.
As they rode together, Larah glanced at Riasean several times before finally speaking. “You don’t talk much, do you?”
“I find that I’m better company that way,” he replied without looking at her.
“Do you find people annoying?”
He looked at her. “Only when their lips are moving, present company excepted, of course,” he replied nodding towards her.
She chuckled softly. “But of course. Have you traveled far?”
Larah sat quietly for a moment. “How was Dunharraw?”
Riasean’s face stiffened for a moment. “What makes you think I was in Dunharraw?”
“Two reasons,” Larah replied evenly. “First, it is the only community within two days ride.”
“And the second?” Riasean prompted.
“Your boots and horse have red clay on them, which is prevalent in Dunharraw’s soil.”
Riasean gave her a crooked grin. “You’re very observant.”
“Practical observation is a hobby of mine; you can surmise much about someone just by how they act, and what they wear.”
“Really,” Riasean said with a bit too much emphasis. “And what would you say about me?”
Larah looked at him steadily for a moment, her eyes running over his form. “The way you handled yourself with those ruffians was very telling. You could easily have drawn your weapons, and used them, but you did not. You are either exceedingly confident in your abilities, or ….”
“A fool?” he said with raised eyebrows.
“Your words, not mine. Other than that, I see that your clothes are badly weathered – so you spend much time outside; your weapons are exceedingly clean – meaning that you attach a great deal of importance to their care. Perhaps because you depend on them for your living, and … “
“Very good,” Riasean interjected. “But perhaps I can offer a few notes of my own.”
“Okay,” Larah demurred.
“The way you used magic during that last encounter shows you are trained in the mystic arts. You dress in natural colors, bearing symbols of the elements. Your hair is long, but unstyled, your skin unblemished and unadorned.” Larah nodded as a small smile crept upon her face. “So I would conclude that you are a priestess on a journey, and have never been with a man.”
Her mouth dropped open and face flushed bright red. He watched out of the corner of his eye as she gripped her reins tighter. For a moment she sat silent. “What did you think of my summary?” he queried.
“I agree. You are better company when you don’t talk,” she muttered. Riasean smiled broadly.