Sorry about the post title, I honestly called it that and only noticed its possible inappropriateÂ interpretations just before I clicked “Publish”. The problem was that I then chuckled and then thought “Oh well, maybe my readers will get aÂ laugh too from my thoughtlessness”.
As you know, now that I have split up the bigger novel into smaller ones I need to write new openings for each novel. Here is my first draft of Pari’s opening page. Before I go too much further I would appreciate some feedback as to whether it is a good enough “hook” to keep people reading.
Thanks in anticipation.
PS: the featured image is a picture of the Sydney Opera House that I took last year
Â Chapter One
On the morning of Warim Ahuraâ€™s wedding Pari Azar decided to take the long disturbing path down to the Roots of Splendour, there to weep. She did not want to see Warim marry that woman, not that she â€“ a fifteen year old girl â€“ would be a suitable substitute for the bride. Nevertheless, she did not want to be in Shushtar during the wretched ceremony.
Pariâ€™s people, the Gnossians, rarely travelled below their Grove Caverns. Down there the ancient halls held memories of menace. The Magi among them scoffed at this, but then Magi were accustomed to the haunted landscape of Out Beyond. For everyone else the atmosphere down there was uncomfortable. No one would disturb her there.
â€˜I am not a slut,â€™ Pari said aloud in one of the larger subterranean galleries. That last word echoed and she felt shame all over again. It was a horrible word so unjustly thrown at her.
Tears pricked at her eyes. Yesterday the beautiful Abrisham had confronted Pari in front of all of her friends.
â€˜Keep your filthy hands off Warim!â€™ the raven-haired Abrisham had shrieked. Yes, shrieked. Right in front of everyone. Such shame.
â€˜Iâ€¦â€™ Pari had stammered. Where had this come from? Yes, Warim was a gorgeous and exciting man and she had had a crush on him for months now. But that was all. She had never told anyone. Yes, she had perhaps lingered after magic classes to hear him recite recent adventures. Had he really seen a huge Jigorath lumber across the horizon during his last expedition? Perhaps she had been to gushy, but that was easier than uncomfortable silences. And he had always smiled and greeted her warmly. He had never told her to go away.
â€˜Slut!â€™ Abrisham cried, a finger pointed accusingly at her. Everyone around them stared and Pari felt her cheeks reddening.
â€˜Slut!â€™ the woman had yelled over her objections.
Pari shook her head hard, trying to banish the raw memories. Yesterday had been horrible. Humiliating.
The underlying truth hurt. She wanted Warim. She wanted his smile, to bathe in his warm eyes, to feel his hand stroke her shoulders and play with her hair. But Abrisham would have all that.
I am not a slut,â€™ she growled again as she strode towards the Turquoise Well.
But I want to be, something deep within her whispered.
The Turquoise Well matched its name. It was a large blue-green hole in the floor of a stark white chamber. Pari stepped up to the lip and peered down. There was only blackness. Yet she knew the path continued down there.
She paused there, balanced. With her Wyrd she conjured more memories. They were insistent: that was the way down.