A snippet from the first draft of the third chapter of The Empress’ Scroll.
[I]ndeed, Illa was happy. The first time she smiled was when the woodworker’s son, Emiel, told her that she was pleasant to converse with. His family made hunting bows for a living, and he taught her how to wield one. They shared similar views about the importance of family profession, no matter the talents they had.
“But what if you no longer have a family?” Mikkel had asked, ruining the moment for her.
Supposing that it was a realistic question, Illa had replied with conviction, “Then you fend for your family’s legacy.”
Yet Mikkel asked further, “But what if your lack of talent causes the demise of the business?”
To which Illa could not answer, and sulked long enough for Mikkel to say as compensation, “You looked lovely when you smiled.”
So rarely was Illa complimented by anyone outside the family that she didn’t know how to react, save for the involuntary warmth in her face. However, that had also been the last time she saw Mikkel.
Updated 25 October 2017.