I’m working on a short story set in the world of my fantasy trilogy, SAGE. This one features Salali, who is “of a certain age” in the trilogy. This story takes place when she’s a young woman. Nishi is her city/country. The book she’s reading is “Nishi’s great classic of literature, politics, and social conduct.”
In this scene, her father is scolding her for objecting to the marriage they’ve arranged for her. I don’t have a title for the story yet.
Are You Of Nishi?
excerpt by Marian Allen
“We all do things we don’t want to do. You’re too old to hang back like a child hiding behind its parents when the White Tiger puppet roars. It’s time for you to be a woman.”
“Without my consent?” She saw, in her mind, her wedding night, with a man she neither knew nor wanted expecting her to open her treasure to him because he had bargained for the box it came in. “I won’t be taken without my consent!”
“I’ll appeal to the governor! You can’t force me into marriage!”
“Force you?” Her father’s face reddened. His eyes held anger and contempt and, worst of all, profound disappointment. “No one should have to force you.” He flicked a gesture toward the book she had been reading. “Do you understand the words? Do you understand the concepts? Are you of Nishi, or aren’t you?”
Never had she heard such a question. Never had she thought to hear it asked of her, certainly never asked of her by her own father.
Bartham left with that question hanging in the air.
Salali sat and touched her book, but didn’t open it.
AM I of Nishi? How can I even hesitate to do what’s best for my family? How can I even think of my own wishes as being in conflict with my family?
She only knew she could not — would not — honor the offer that was before her.
SAGE is available for purchase. You can also read extended excerpts here.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Make a character do something they don’t want to do, for the sake of their family.