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Stolen Songbird Read-Along > Extra #4 Tristan prepares for the bonding ceremony

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message 1: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Jensen | 359 comments Mod
If you haven't read STOLEN SONGBIRD before, I'd advise you to wait until after you read CHAPTER 12 to read this extra :)

Tristan Prepares for the Bonding Ceremony

“Interesting choice,” I said, eyeing Anaïs’s elaborate black mourning gown. “If a touch dramatic.”

In answer, she lifted the hem of her skirts to reveal the sturdy boots and black leather trousers she typically wore for combat training. “I’ll be less than twenty paces from the platform, but if anything happens, I need to be able to move. The twins are checking the route you’ll take for any traps, and Marc will shadow you during the procession. He’s ensured those loyal to us are scattered through the crowd, so if anyone makes a move against you, someone will notice and give the signal. And then we’ll get you and the girl out of there.”

I tugged at the fabric knotted at my throat, feeling strangled. “I doubt there’s much risk until after the ceremony is finished. Not even your father is likely to jeopardize a chance at freedom for the sake of seeing me in an early grave.”

She bit on the tip of a curled lock of hair, then shook her head. “I don’t like this. You should be shielded. When was the last time you walked about in public without some form of protection in place?”

“I can’t,” I said sourly. “It’s tradition to approach the ceremony exposed.”

“As if it isn’t bad enough that your entire mind will soon be exposed to a stranger.” Her gaze flicked to the open doors and the long path leading to the gates beyond. “I need to go. My father will be expecting me.”

I started to drop the magic blocking our conversation from unwanted watchers and listeners, but she lifted a hand to forestall me. “Tristan, after this is done and the curse is broken, I’m going to leave for a time. That is, if it’s all right with you.”

My stomach tightened at the thought, because it wouldn’t be just Anaïs wandering free on the Isle. “You’d leave me undefended?” I’d meant for the words to be lighthearted, but my trepidation found its way into them.

Pain flashed in her eyes, and I caught her hand, hoping to undo the damage. “You know I’d miss you horribly, but you also know I wouldn’t stand in your way.” Hesitating, I asked, “Where will you go?”

“As far from Trollus as I can get.” She pulled her fingers free of mine. “Now if you’ll excuse me, Your Highness, I think it’s time I was gone.”

I watched her go, nearly as sick for the hurt I was causing her as I was for what was about to be unleashed on the world. But short of falling on my own sword, which I wasn’t prepared to do, I had no idea how I was to stop it.

“Whatever is going on between you and that one needs to be finished.”

At the sound of my father’s voice, I turned to see him approaching with my mother on his arm.

Instead of acknowledging his comment, I said, “What is your plan once the curse is broken? Will you move on Trianon immediately?” The twins had reported that my father’s soldiers were armed and ready, but that could be as much to control Trollus’s population as anything else. And frankly, it wasn’t as though much preparation was needed: my father could take Trianon himself, if he felt inclined to walk the distance.

“I’ve long had plans for this moment,” he replied, and I wished desperately that I knew what they were. But since Marc’s father had died, my father kept counsel with no one but himself. “You concern yourself with bonding the girl and breaking the curse, and leave the rest to me.”

“As though bonding a human were no small thing,” I muttered.

Dropping my mother’s arm, he took hold of the front of my coat and gave me a little shake. “It is nothing compared to what you’ll gain. Once you’ve broken the curse, no one will dare contest you. The people will love you for liberating them even as they fear your power, and you’ll be free to shape the world to your will.”

“You are king, father,” I said. “Not me.”

Threads in the fabric of my coat snapped beneath his grip as his eyes searched mine. “But you are my heir.”

“Thibault.” There was a warning tone in my aunt’s voice, and my father’s jaw tightened before he released me. Me: a tool to be used at his discretion. Always, I hated him, but hearing him describe how he’d use me to cement his control over our people made me want to strike him down where he stood.

My mother chose that moment to step between us, fixing my coat so that it hung straight and smoothing my hair. “Such a handsome young man,” she said, and a second later, my aunt shouted, “Turn around so I can see him, Matilde.”

She dutifully rotated, and my aunt gave an approving nod, before casting a sly glance my father’s direction. “He looks the spitting image of you at that age, you wheezing old hog.”

He scowled. “Remind me why I haven’t yet cut out your tongue, Sylvie?”

She cackled with laughter, and I turned to sit on a bench, the hopelessness of the situation abruptly making me weary. But I had barely a moment’s respite before the sound of heels clicking against tile filtered into the room, and Marc appeared with Cécile on his arm.

I’d intended to ignore her. Instead I found myself on my feet – the backs of my legs aching from where I’d banged them against the heavy stone bench – because once my eyes had landed on her, there had been no looking away.

Dropping into a deep, if somewhat unsteady, curtsey, she said, “Your Majesties,” then to me, “Your Highness.”

My aunt was speaking, and my father as well, but their voices made about as much impression on me as the distant roar of the waterfall, and I scarcely noticed when they departed.

Say something.

“You look exceptionally… ” I searched desperately for the correct word, then blurted out, “Colorful.”


Her cheeks turned a faint shade of pink. “I didn’t choose the dress, my lord.”

Do not say another word, I ordered myself, but my mouth had other ideas. “I wasn’t talking about the dress. I’ve only seen human hair that color in paintings, and I was certain the artists were being fanciful. It’s more noticeable now that you’ve cleaned up...” I shifted my weight, knowing that I was making a fool of myself but unable to stop. “And it’s somewhat brighter in here. See the lamps?” I bit my tongue. “Of course you see them. I just meant... Your hair is very red.”

Your hair is very beautiful. You are very beautiful, was what I’d intended to say. What I wanted to say.

What I couldn’t say.

Not without risking everything.

“Your Highness.” A half-blood servant held out a tray with two crystal glasses filled with Élixir. I focused on his face, using it to recall my purpose and to push myself back into character.

“Do you suppose it would be inappropriate,” I asked, “for me to top them up a bit with some whiskey?”

The half-blood appeared horrified at the notion, though he knew better than to say anything. Especially to me. “I suppose you’re right,” I said in response to his expression, then plucked up the glasses and handed one to Cécile. “Cheers!”

“What is it?” she asked. “Not some sort of poison, I hope?”

A quick painless poison might have been preferable, because being bonded to me would inevitably be the death of her. And, conversely, the death of me. “I call it Liquid Shackles. It has another name, but I prefer to use my own inventions. As to its nature, well...” I shrugged, considering how far I could push the truth. “I wouldn’t say it isn’t harmful, but it certainly won’t kill you. At least it shouldn’t – we’ve never had a human drink any before.”

“Why do you call it Liquid Shackles?”

“Because it is a clever metaphor.” Because it will bind you to someone you hate for the rest of your life.

“And if I refuse?” She lifted her chin and scowled at me. “I suppose you’ll just force it down my throat.”

If only she knew the truth – that if we resisted, my father would force it down both our throats.

“Certainly not,” I said. “It is always better to delegate nefarious tasks. You know, to keep one’s reputation intact. Keep in mind that I have to drink it too.”

“What does it taste like?”

“Having never been bonded before, I haven’t the foggiest idea. But I expect quite vile.” I clinked my glass against hers, wondering how I was going to keep her safe. “Bottoms up!”

It tasted like sugar water, but burned like whiskey, and I immediately felt the presence of the foreign magic flooding my veins.

“Quite lovely, really,” Cécile murmured, and her voice sounded like music in my ears. “Are you certain there was no liquor in that?” she asked.

“Quite.” Only magic greater than even my own. And infinitely more permanent. “Though I see it has made you rather punch-drunk.”

“You mean it hasn’t affected you at all?”

On the contrary, the world around us seemed too bright, everything but Cécile’s face a blur unworthy of my attention. A different sort of tension replaced that which had been plaguing me, and all I wanted to do was touch her, if only to prove she wasn’t a vision or a waking dream sent to tempt me from my path. “I expect I have a more resilient constitution,” I said instead.

She lifted her hand, her fingers brushing against the side of my throat, and though they were cool, her touch seared through me like fire. I wanted her, this human girl that I’d only just met. And it was not just desire, but something greater than that. A desire to know her. An involuntary shudder ran through me, and I closed my eyes, hoping that blocking her from my sight would ease the sensation.

It did not.

It’s only the magic making you feel this, I told myself. It isn’t real. And to take advantage of her in this moment was a cruelty I refused to consider. Catching her hand, I pulled it away from where it had remained pressed against my skin.

“I think, Mademoiselle de Troyes,” I said, “that you are not yourself. This all seems like a dream now, but like every dream, eventually you must wake.” And because I couldn’t help myself, I brushed back a tendril of hair that had fallen across her face, careful not to touch her.

Because though I badly wished it could be otherwise, I knew I never would.

message 2: by Christa (new)

Christa | 8 comments How lovely. I was hoping we would get to see this from Tristan's point of view. Thank you!

message 3: by Louisa (new)

Louisa (lpcoolgirl) | 14 comments Oh, wow, that was fantastic! Loved it! Can't wait for more!

message 4: by Ellie (new)

Ellie M (byelliem) | 28 comments Aaaaaaawwwwww I love them so so much. These extra scenes are THE BEST <3 <3 <3

message 5: by Pili (new)

Pili (piwi) | 34 comments YESSSSSS!! Thank you so much Danielle! I so love seeing scenes like this from Tristan's POV!!

Eileen (BookCatPin) (eileenbookcatpin) | 0 comments Oh Tristan~~ This is perfect, thank you! :D

message 7: by Cynia (new)

Cynia | 3 comments -sigh-

message 8: by Perla (new)

Perla The IB Teen Book Blogger (ibteen) | 15 comments Did the Élixir emphasize what was already there between them, or rather their feelings for one another, or did it help their feelings progress much more rapidly? I know it did not create feelings out of nothing, I guess I'm asking if they would have fallen for each other as quickly and deeply if not for the Élixir and the bonding? I think it just made things crazier, but they were always inevitable. Like if they met any other way (impossible I know) they would always fall in love.

message 9: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (nicole_t) | 43 comments <3 I love it! I wouldn't mind reading all Cécile chapters from Tristan's POV haha! I hope you can write more! :)

message 10: by BellaKara (new)

BellaKara | 29 comments I love this!!!!!!!!!!!

message 11: by Rachmi (new)

Rachmi  | 13 comments I was wondering, did you make this scene from Tristan's POV just now, for this extra or was it there since the beginning but then cut out in the editing process?

I love these extras from Tristan's POV but couldn't help to think if it's harder to write if you didn't write it at the beginning and have to go back to it for these extras.

message 12: by Al (new)

Al (TheGirlWithSunseyHair) | 4 comments Danielle wrote: "If you haven't read STOLEN SONGBIRD before, I'd advise you to wait until after you read CHAPTER 12 to read this extra :)

Tristan Prepares for the Bonding Ceremony

“Interesting choice,” I said, ..."

Thank you for sharing! Love Love Love!

I love this scene so much! I'm loving all the inside peeks of whats going on through Tristan's perspective. Oh the misunderstandings! They can be so awkward but I'm loving every moment of them. :) <3 (Did I mention how much I loved this? No? hahaha ;D )

And because when I read I tend to listen to music, this song Holding Onto You by Twenty One Pilots was playing and it fit with the scene oddly enough (at least in my brain ha!).

Though the song's meaning is different there were a few lines I literally thought of Tristan and what was going through his mind haha.

"You are surrounding all my surroundings,
Sounding down the mountain range of my left-side brain,
You are surrounding all my surroundings,
Twisting the kaleidoscope behind both of my eyes.

And I'll be holding on to you."

message 13: by Avy ❄️ (last edited Feb 24, 2016 11:20PM) (new)

Avy ❄️ (justanotherhopelessromantic) | 20 comments Oh my gawd I'm freaking out so bad again!

These extras are amazing! These scenes always make my day, I can't wait for Warrior Witch!

message 14: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Jensen | 359 comments Mod
Perla wrote: "Did the Élixir emphasize what was already there between them, or rather their feelings for one another, or did it help their feelings progress much more rapidly? I know it did not create feelings o..."

Hi Perla
Good question! The Élixir starts building a connection between them the moment they drink it - that is what its purpose is. It also has the side effect of making them a bit high/happy/buzzed on magic, which is why they are both a bit loopy. It doesn't create feelings, so what develops between them is their own making.
As to whether they would have fallen in love without it to help them over certain obstacles... I'd like to think so, but who can really say? I'll leave that up to readers to decide.

message 15: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Jensen | 359 comments Mod
Rachmi wrote: "I was wondering, did you make this scene from Tristan's POV just now, for this extra or was it there since the beginning but then cut out in the editing process?

I love these extras from Tristan'..."

Hi Rachmi,
These extras have all been written just for this event, although I have a couple that *might* have a future purpose... It is time consuming, of course, but I enjoy providing extra details that I wasn't able to include in the novel.

message 16: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Jensen | 359 comments Mod
Al wrote: "Danielle wrote: "If you haven't read STOLEN SONGBIRD before, I'd advise you to wait until after you read CHAPTER 12 to read this extra :)

Tristan Prepares for the Bonding Ceremony

“Interesting ..."

That's so pretty! Love it! Thank you so much for sharing it with me :)

Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥ (jenstarcrossedbookblog) I love, love, love this scene! ♥ Thank you so much for writing this!

message 18: by BellaKara (new)

BellaKara | 29 comments Love it!!!

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