“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Friday Fiction - "Handmaiden To A Princess" Excerpt

It's been a LONG time since I hosted Friday Fiction, but when the lovely Sara "Sawa" Harricharan mentioned the possibility of posting a NaNoWriMo excerpt, I figured it would be fun!

Soooo, here I am :) Remember - this is NOT edited (I didn't even reread it! LOL).

Be sure to link up in the gadget below my story. Don't forget to browse the links, read a few pieces and leave a comment or two. We all love the feedback. Happy reading!

Handmaiden To A Princess - NaNo excerpt
Dew still covered the ground as Ashia walked along the flower-bordered walkway from the princess' quarters she had just left. The sun, scarcely above the horizon, shone directly in her eyes, so much that shielded her eyes with her left hand. Her right, however, grasped as small knife. A necessary implement for her morning duties.

The closer she got to her destination, the slower she walked, until she came to a complete standstill at the entrance to the king's flower garden. Eyes closed, she inhaled slowly and took in all the scents of the nearby flora. The smile across her face widened. And once she opened her eyes, what she saw warmed her cheeks.

“Nahum. I didn't expect to see you here so early.” She lowered her eyes slightly, trying to calm the flips in her stomach.

He chuckled, his brown eyes sparkling. “I am always here at this time. It is you who are early. Does the princess have an early engagement? Did she request flowers still fresh with dew?”

She willed her smile to tone down. “Oh, nothing like that. I simply didn't sleep very well, and thought I would get an early start, and perhaps have time to mill about before I needed to return.” She shifted the knife from hand to hand.

Nahum nodded and smiled. “Then I shall leave you to your milling.” He turned and walked up one of the paths, stopping at a patch of pansies.

As he knelt, Ashia turned, heading down the main garden path toward the center. Sitting on a log beside one of many patches of growth, she once again inhaled the many scents of the flowers around her. A red and yellow lily caught her attention. She brought her face within inches of the bloom, inspecting every bit of it. Not an imperfection in sight.

Next, her fingers caressed the petals, the silky feel making her fingers tingle. Finally, she lifted the knife, which she'd placed on the ground beside her, and cut the stem about a handsbreadth down from the bloom.

“One more,” she muttered, “and the princess will be satisfied.”

Ashia rose, the lily in one hand and knife in the other. Inhaling, she surveyed the nearby flower beds, watching for a bloom to complement the one she'd already chosen. Perhaps another red and yellow flower. Or maybe just one of those colors. 

She released the air from her lungs as a tall hyacinth, the same shade of crimson as the lily, caught her eye. She raced toward it and dropped to her knees in front of the multi-flowered blossom. Holding the lily up beside it, she smiled. “Perfect.”

Something brushed against her shoulder. “Those do complement each other beautifully. You really do have an eye for color and beauty.” Nahum's voice made her look up. His brown wavy hair covered his right eye. She resisted the urge to brush it away from his face.

She smiled at him, then returned to the flower. After cutting it from the stem, she rose. “Thank you, Nahum. I do enjoy all that grows here. A touch of beauty in a frightening, uncertain place.”

“That it is.” He beckoned her toward a small bench not far away. They both sat.
“And the Lord said that it was good.” Nahum stretched his arms out and extended them from in front of him to his sides. “My scriptures say that Yahweh made all of this: every tree, plant, mountain, hill, person, star in the sky. And that it is good.”

Ashia fidgeted in her chair. “If this is true, I wonder why he made the nettle? Or the mosquito?” She lowered her voice and head. “Or the madman.”

Nahum raised his eyebrows. “Or war. Or death. But He is sovereign. And much of what he did create is lovely. Especially in this garden.” He leaned to the side and picked a daisy from the ground. “For you. A bit of beauty to take with you into the cruel world.”

She grinned, stifling a chuckle. “My god would ask for this flower as a sacrifice, perhaps. He would demand I focus on pleasing him, rather than lightening my mood. To him, beauty is useless unless it is benefiting him.”

Nahum's brow crinkled. “My God also desires sacrifice. He is a just God, who does not take our transgressions against Him lightly. Yet, He also blesses those who love Him and gives us beauty to appreciate. He values nothing more than devotion to Him, and truth.”

She snickered. “And mine values gold, silver, and spices. He gives us nothing unless we beg, and even then there is no guarantee. We must please him, or face his wrath.”

Nahum sighed. “And yet you worship him. You sacrifice to him.” He looked into Ashia's eyes. “Forgive me for my questions, and do not answer if it makes you uncomfortable, but I'm curious. Do you believe your God created the world? Why do you sacrifice to him? What makes him worthy of your worship?”

Ashia's insides tightened and she felt her face pale. “I really don't know what to say. I know he has kept me and my family safe. And the rituals are so important to Mama. I guess I never really thought about it before.” She forced a smile. “But I will.”
Thanks for reading! Be sure to link up below, and read some of the other stories. You'll be blessed!

Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength


  1. Joanne.

    I NEED to know more about Nahum and Aisha right now!!

    What a scene. Now I want to

    One day I shall have your book.


    Hope the writing is going well. I have been praying for you. :)

  2. I thought at first her knife would be fore something more nefarious. Glad it was for a lovely task. Great job at the natural flow of spiritual discussion. I liked it!

  3. Oh...can't wait to read the whole thing!

  4. Love the story and want to know the REST! God gives us good gifts, doesn't He? I am so thankful for yours!

  5. This was good. I also thought the knife was for a more sinister task. I definitly want to read more! So get back to writing :)

  6. The knife caught my attention and had me worried, but it made a wonderful contrast to the beauty of the garden and her thoughts about the cruel world. Makes me wonder if you planned that ;-)

    On the linky thing, I sure thought it took mine earlier this morning, and I'm still not sure it's working. Sorry if it posts more than once!

  7. LOVED it! Love your voice, and the way you link words together. I too worried about the knife with everyone else, and breathed a sigh of relief. Keep on keepin' on, I want to read more!!

  8. Oooh, it's coming along SO well, JJ!!! Three cheers! I totally knew you could nano this. *grin* I love the tension in this excerpt, it's right there, setting a tone and atmosphere for the whole piece. The interaction between Aisha and Nahum is just right. Great job! (and thanks for hosting this week! ^_^ )

  9. Very nice excerpt! I love the sensory details, hint of romance, intrigue and spiritual applications. There's a lot to capture one's interest here!

  10. Great peek at your latest project. It's always fun to see what everyone is working on from time to time.

  11. My heart is racing! There is so much life in your characters! It's hard to believe this is first draft, unedited NaNo work.

    This line is PRICELESS: "What makes him worthy of your worship?” I like Nahum. Very wise. Oooooh, I can't wait for more. (Well, I guess I can -- I've been waiting a long time for this Novel as it is. :) )

  12. Usually, I am not a fan of Biblical fiction, but I really enjoyed this! Your characters are wonderfully well-written and I love how you developed the scene. It was very believable and left me intrigued to know the rest of the story. :)

  13. Awesome!

    Blessings and prayers,

  14. LOVED this, Jo.
    that's UNedited?! Sheesh. you're good.


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