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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Writing prompt!

A swift recap: over at WriteRightOn, we the members like to indulge in writing exercises. This is my on the fly answer to the prompt "Accent." These two are the main characters of Sacrificial Magic, currently in its first round of revisions.

“Pinecroft, huh? What kind of name is that?”

Ashrinn stifled a flash of anger; no sense in starting a fight. Not yet. It wasn’t as though conversational openers such as this weren’t familiar. Since joining the American military six months ago they were all but routine.

Ashrinn slung one leg over the mess hall bench and half turned to look at the voice’s owner, a tall, broad boy about his same age. He looked just about as wet behind the ears as Ashrinn felt, and the expression on his faintly vulpine features was one of honest befuddlement instead of hostility. Ashrinn’s hackles settled some.

“Are you certain you didn’t mean to lead with “what are you doing here, you goddamned Arab?”

“Just honest curiosity,” the boy nodded, the red-gold fuzz on his head making him look as miserable and awkward as a freshly shorn sheep, “I reckon you’re not the only one with an odd name.”

He tapped his jacket and Ashrinn raised an eyebrow.

“I have to admit, I don’t run in to too many Tielharts,” Ashrinn gave the boy another look, though now that the immediate threat had passed he took his time, lingering over the muscular arms and striking silver-blue eyes, “have a seat.”

“Thank you kindly. Name’s Malkai, by the way.”


“So,” Malkai said as he juggled tray and drink, managing to take a seat without spilling much, “about your name. I figure it’s likely British, but what I can’t place is that accent of yours. It’s so thick I could stand a spoon in it!”

Ashrinn chuckled. He’d gained a reputation in his short time in the Army for being a wild child, or, as his more vulgar acquaintances tended to put it, young, dumb, and full of come. Real friends, though, those he lacked. He had to admit, Malkai Tielhart was not only attractive, but likable.

“I was born in Tehran, and spent eight years of my life there. Farsi is my first language.”

“I thought you said--?”

“That I’m an Arab? No, that’s just what ignorant people assume when they see someone who isn’t white, black, or Mexican-brown. I'm mixed, and that just complicates matters. Gets me in trouble from time. If you haven’t noticed it isn’t a particularly popular part of the world just now.”

“What else?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve got more going on in your voice than that. You sound like a movie star.”

“That’s because I spent several years in Britain before coming here. Having a diplomat for a father ensures one never stays in place for too long. And thank you. So do you. Except in your case it’s John Wayne.”

Malkai puffed up and Ashrinn realized he’d taken the compliment very seriously indeed.

“If you don’t mind the cliché, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship,” Malkai said, grinning, “so long as I get to call you a sand nigger every so often.”

Ashrinn took a long drink of his soda, as though seriously considering Malkai’s terms.

“Do I get to call you a cornbread motherfucker?”

“You know it!”

They shook hands.

“Deal.” Ashrinn said.

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