Here is an excerpt from an early draft of Quest for Revenge that never made it into my final draft. It gives a bit of an insight into Melina’s character and her life in the palace before she begins her adventure.
Fingers sheathed in soft black leather gripped the grey stone window ledge. With a soft grunt of exertion a figure clad all in black scrambled through the window. The intruder’s sudden appearance elicited a squeak of surprise from a middle aged maid.
The maid jammed her fists onto her ample hips and faced the intruder with a huff of annoyance. “What is the meaning of this, child? Have you never heard of using a door?”
The intruder casually pulled off the leather gloves and tossed them on the four poster bed. “Never mind, Lanarra, forget it even happened.”
“How am I supposed to forget it?” Lanarra demanded angrily. “Your father will hear about this, Your Highness, mark my words.”
Princess Melina dropped her riding cloak on the floor of her bedchamber. “You wouldn’t dare.”
She glared at her maid. Lanarra glared back, unabashed. Then she sighed in frustration, and went around the room picking up items of clothing as the princess dropped them.
“What was it this time?” Lanarra asked grudgingly and Melina knew she had won. “A troll? A griffin?”
Melina scoffed. “Griffins aren’t evil, and they don’t attack humans, Lanarra. They’re very gentle really.”
“Well, they give me the willies,” Lanarra grumbled. “Look, you’ve got blood on your shirt! Do you know long this will take to get out?”
“No. But it’s a good thing you do. And it was an ogre.” Melina yawned widely and glanced out the window, where the sun could be seen peeking over the horizon. “Now excuse me, Lanarra, but I need to go to bed. It’s almost dawn.”
Lanarra humphed again. “It is dawn, and for most people it’s time to get up!”
“I’m not most people, am I?”
“Thank Erius for that.”
“What was that?”
“Nothing, Your Highness. Don’t forget you’re expected to be at lunch today. Your father has guests.”
Melina grunted and collapsed onto the bed, sighing at the feel of the silken sheets on her skin.
“Did you hear me?” Lanarra demanded.
The princess had heard her perfectly clearly, but pretended to be asleep. The maid left the room, muttering under her breath and making a point of making as much noise as possible.