Today I'm sharing more snippets from Matryoshka. Without further ado:
A snippet with food
The sitting room was polished to a bronze shimmer. The singers fluttered behind the screen in the corner, and Thomas personally tasted the sweet and spiced teas. The kitchens were still working, but the tables were laden with food already. Flatbread with a side of mashed lentils and cumin seeds, duck and chicken roasted with mint, figs rolled in honey and cinnamon, a basket of mangoes and peaches shipped from the south.Since Thomas comes from Valz Sommari, inspired by a mix of Spanish and Egyptian and Arabic (but mostly Arabic) culture, I had to research all the food. Mashed lentils sounds delicious, in my opinion.
Thomas estimated how much of a dent tonight made in their funds. They couldn’t shame the Mexrenne name by being a poor host, but Thomas was not a Mexrenne. He did not command his father’s fortune.
He greeted their guests himself. After all, Thomas was the showpiece tonight, a second chance for the south after losing the civil war. “You have much of Stanley’s look” was the new catchphrase, often attached to “for a bastard”. That was the best compliment of the evening.
The latter two paragraphs aren't really about food, but they add context to the lavish food descriptions. Hospitality is an important part of southern culture. In order to acquire political and social sway, Thomas and his family are taking some financial risks.
It's not much of a plot point unless I ever write the sequel, but personally I think more challenge-the-government stories need to address the issue of finances.
A snippet you're really proud of
Oh, remember the quote posters I made? Here's the context for one of them, in which Thomas is, as usual, both arrogant and adorable (hopefully):
“You will succeed to your father’s legacy in time, we promise.” His uncle poured Thomas a cup of spiced tea. “But we will never build a future chasing the past, said a wise poet.”Just to jog your memory, here's the quote poster I made:
“You’re not a wise poet, uncle.”
The past was not such an ill thing to chase. He learned accounting and trading in his childhood home with the white stone arch, his father’s thrice-yearly gifts of books and jewellery, and the unkept promise that he would come back from the war.
But the war never ended. Not for him. Thomas would fight to his dying breath for his father’s legacy. No one else could stand in his place.
Your first 500 wordsI actually did share a good portion of my first 500 words last round of Snazzy Snippets, so this time I'll instead share the first couple paragraphs from the PoV of Kim, my semi-antagonist.
(Really though, I want to see a show of hands in the comments. Who roots for Kim, and who's on Thomas' side?)
Kim traded her good sense for justice seven years and eight months ago. She never stopped regretting it, and she would never choose differently.Kim's character started as an unbending justiciar, as Shadowplay readers may recall. But when I fleshed out her backstory as a Matryoshka PoV, I soon realised she started out as a revolutionary/terrorist like the rebels in Matryoshka. To balance these two sides, I had her stick to this one ironclad rule: she'd forgive any rebel who repented of their bloody terrorist ways.
On the weathered gallows, a corpse rattled in the autumn wind and leered down at her. The trial had been yesterday and Kim remembered every detail. Which house was burnt, whose graves raised, which children orphaned. That hadn’t changed for all the terrorists of the past years. Nor had their sentence—death, death and nothing else for treason—or her silent vow to spare them if they apologised.
They never apologised. They set the world on fire for their dreams and the law meant they perished in the flames.
How ironclad is it really? You'll find out in later chapters. (To stay updated, join my takeout army and be the first to know anything and receive chances to read it!)
Did you link up with Snazzy Snippets? (Hint: you should.) Do you root for Thomas or Kim more?