Inside-out #writephoto

“You will wed Nallea,” Lord Rydan commanded. “It is already agreed. This is not a lad’s game.”

“She’s seven!”

“In eight years, she will be fifteen. I will not argue this with you.”

“I don’t know her. I have no idea who she will be!”

“That is of no consequence, Raze. You will be Lord of Vestrelle. You bear responsibilities, duties to the land, a future in the kingdom. Do you think these puny provinces will remain under separate rule? Do you believe our rivals will idle contentedly within their walls?”

Raze curled his fingers in silence, any reply wasted breath. “What about love?”

Rydan’s eyes tightened into pale slits, and he faced his son. “Love will follow.”

“Did you love my mother? Did she love you?” The questions had barbs, and Raze would use them to pull his father’s heart inside out. “Was your marriage forced upon you against your will?”

The Lord waved away his argument, but his jaw softened. “No, it was not.”

“Did you wed her for love?” Raze would force an answer. Even if it made no difference, his father would acknowledge the unfairness of his demand.

Rydan retreated to the window that peered over the rose garden pruned and dripping in the squalling rain. Its glory had turned brown and brittle during the bitter months of snow, love’s blooms reduced to thorny canes with sharp tips. A corner of his father’s heart had remained faithful to his mother, tenderly caring for her roses, his affection for the delicate petals a stoic confession of love and longing.

Four years ago, she’d drowned on the winter sea, and though they’d all, more or less, moved on with their lives, they each saved a sacred place for her. She had carried a piece of their hearts with her when she died, and the wounds had yet to heal.

“Yes, we wed for love,” Rydan said. “There is your answer.”

***

Thanks for Sue Vincent for her Thursday #writephoto prompt.
Check out her site and join in the fun.

131 thoughts on “Inside-out #writephoto

  1. […] you remember the character Raze from one of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompts. Well, he’s back with a series of his […]

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  2. […] you remember the character Raze from one of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompts. Well, he’s back with a series of his […]

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  3. reocochran says:

    Look at this grand amount of responses! I hope you realize your writing draws people in, whether a full length book or a short story, Diana. xo 💐

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s crazy, isn’t it? I spent 11 hours blogging today, just responding to comments and reciprocating on blogs. Yikes! All fun, though. Thanks for the lovely comment, Robin – always welcome 😀 ❤

      Like

  4. It is strange to think that so many arranged marriages were sorted out when the children were so young! I enjoyed the story, Diana, you always write such thought-provoking ones! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennie says:

    Wonderfully written, Diana. A powerful story.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. willowdot21 says:

    This is just so bang on, to marry for love is beautiful, but in certain countries and or religions and as in your story to cement two kingdoms love often comes later. I really enjoyed this story. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very nice D. Your writing is like silk it flows so smoothly!

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  8. […] Continue reading here: Inside-out #writephoto […]

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  9. Ah, of course. You see a wrought-iron window (yes, wrought) with a gray sky, and you write romance. I KNEW you see love everywhere around you, just like me. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. fictionspawn says:

    Great! Injustice admitted.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, this is beautiful. 😀 Tender, unexpected and still open-ended. Your imagination and writing thrive on these prompts; it’s always a delight to read your response. A wonderful mini-story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika. I do enjoy these. They’re nice and short too, so easy to pull together. I also love reading the variety of responses from all the different writers. Fun all around. Have a great week, my friend 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. House of Heart says:

    Your captivating writing inspires me to have a go at some short fiction. An exciting and enchanting tale Diane.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A great little fiction piece on the power of love, even during the times of those arranged marriages. I agree that your stories are like tiny novels, tiny intriguing novels 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. dgkaye says:

    Profound Diana. Your short stories are like tiny novels. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. This is so rich. (Sorry…couldn’t help that.) The imagery, dialogue, analogy… Perfect. Love this scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ~M says:

    Also, I sent you an email today. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. ~M says:

    Beautifully written as always! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Helen Jones says:

    A poignant take on the prompt, Diana. Funny how quite a few of us saw sadness in the image, isn’t it? Sue chooses such great images for telling stories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Val Boyko says:

    I love this piece Diana! It certainly got the imagination and conversation going 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  20. pennygadd51 says:

    A challenging topic for a piece of flash fiction – well done! I was interested in the comments on arranged marriages. I have known two men in arranged marriages, and they both said that it was the best thing that ever happened to them. At the same time, there are many thousands of educated women in India who are searingly frustrated at being forced to abandon their careers and be homemakers.
    And yes, I married for love forty-two years ago, and we’re still happily together. In part, that’s because we’re also ‘best friends’; we delight in each others company just about all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was intrigued by the comments about arranged marriage as well, Penny. I write fantasy which I usually set in a pre-technological time era. I wasn’t thinking about it as a commentary on arranged marriage, but a way to initiate the conflict that is going to set off a cascade of events. All fun though. Marrying a friend for love seems to have a high success rate among the people I know. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  21. It’s hard to imagine being forced to marry someone without love. Admittedly, love doesn’t always equate to longevity or respect or any of those other characteristics we’d like in a mate. But I’ll still pick it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too, Jacqui. But my poor characters have to endure my cruel dabbling … it’s one way to start a story off with a bit of conflict! Thanks for the visit! Have a great week. 🙂

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  22. Joanne Sisco says:

    When I was young I made a terrible mistake. I married for love. I should have married for money first …. then for love 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really? You’ve piqued my curiosity – too bad we can’t go out for coffee! I married very young for love (a mistake – it lasted 10 months) and married again at 35 for love (going on 25 years). For me, the problem was maturity, not love or money. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • Joanne Sisco says:

        LOL! I married only once, but occasionally I joke with my husband that we didn’t plan it very well because we were both poor as church mice 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I’m glad you made the right choice after all, Joanne. You should have seen my face when I read your comment. Ha ha. My first marriage was more like a long date. 🙂

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          • Joanne Sisco says:

            Sorry about that 🙂 Sometimes my sense of humour is a little *odd* 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            • Humor of any sort is always welcome. 😀

              Liked by 1 person

              • I’ve had such a good time with the discourse between you two. I realize that a post on marriage could create quite a lot of conflict/conversation/connection! I married the first time for love but, alas, it wasn’t right. Maturity? We dated throughout college, so you’d think that we’d know right from not right. But I do believe now that ‘later’ marriages are much more likely to ‘take.’ My second one is going on 33 years. A great combination of friendship/romance/conflict (of course!) and laughter does the trick for most successful marriages, I think.

                Liked by 1 person

                • So glad you had fun with this, Pam. I had no idea my fantasy flash fiction was going to become a forum on marriage! Ha ha ha. And there’s that “friendship” word again. My hubby and I were friends for 8 years before things became serious. And laughter comes in a close second. 😀

                  Liked by 1 person

  23. Steven Baird says:

    A thorny and beautifully executed piece, Diana. I hope you expand on this, I’m curious to see where it goes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wrote about 50K words four years ago and abandoned it because it was too broad in scope, too slow, and the magic system was boring and not close enough to the plot. I do like the characters quite a bit and some of it may be salvageable, but I would need to start again at the outline. 🙂 It’s a possibility. ❤

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  24. Nice piece of flash fiction, Diana, which all makes us ponder the result!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Erik says:

    I love that you didn’t “tie it up” (at least this scene) with a neat little ending. “There’s your answer” is the perfect admission while still not budging on his decision.

    I’ve often said that I believe I could “be married” (or live long-term) with just about anyone, because of … choice, oddly enough. I’m not talking about a culture where one party is expected to be property. But if it were just a matter of being told “this is your person” and if they were told the same, part of me thinks I would enjoy the challenge of making that person feel loved and chosen even if they didn’t start out to be.

    Liked by 5 people

  26. C.E.Robinson says:

    Diana, wow, this is a powerful message! You write fantastic flash fiction! Have a peaceful weekend! 🎶 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Bernadette says:

    Saved a sacred place in their hearts…. simply beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Excellent flash! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  29. balroop2013 says:

    Good one Diana…what you write here is the reality of many girls even in 21st century. These girls live a life of servitude as they are considered to be the property of their fathers who marry them off for honour, money or ego and then they become the property of their husbands and then sons…stories of untold misery of girls who are oblivious of love… one can’t even imagine!
    Thanks for highlighting the issue.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. This story shows the powers that interplay in how families try to portray a whimsical idea of marriage and love life. I like how you narrated the tough but transparent father and child dialogue. Will there be a sequel to this?

    Liked by 2 people

  31. A very enjoyable piece of flash fiction, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. What a great snippet, Diana! To convey the combination of emotions in such a short passage–wonderful! Have a great weekend 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Oh, I like this one. Marriage to save nobility, or sustain it? Will love win, and will it then be the end of it all? Very nice.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. As much as I am against it, many of the arranged marriages, especially in Asia and Africa, are happy and don’t end with divorce as you would think. Perhaps friendship and liking each other is the best foundation for love after all. I got very lucky 30+ years ago, we married so quickly and we are still going strong.

    As for your piece, it’s written beautifully -as always. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can imagine that some arranged marriages work well as parents will chose spouses carefully (hopefully). But I certainly wouldn’t want to marry that way. There are no guarantees, either way – and there are some fairy tale romances that come true too, as you’ve proved. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well done! I hope you DO expand this snippet into a larger work. It would be fascinating.

        I live in a college nabe, btw – and many grad students have rented one of the large apartments in this building, walking distance to several colleges. I have had fascinating conversations with those from India who DO plan to go home to arranged marriages (male and female, btw), and with one couple whose marriage was arranged (living here while the husband does some post-doc work).

        Interesting perspective, very different from the American ideal, but these extremely intelligent and well educated students seemed to have accepted it as the best way to form a life-long partnership.
        xx,
        mgh
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to educate a world!”

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s so interesting, Madelyn. I suppose if parents are attempting to find the kindest, most responsible, most thoughtful person for their child to spend his or her life with, at least their hearts are in the right place. I certainly didn’t make very good choices myself when I married as a teenager. My parents could probably have done better! Ha ha.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Basically, according to these grad students anyway, that is the thinking in much of India today – at least among the arranged marriages in their experience. Economic support potential seems to play a part in the thinking of the girl’s parents, but they look more toward education than “dynasty merging.”

            These are families who can afford to send their children to America to study for advanced degrees, however, so they may not be representative. Still, I found it fascinating that the high value on schooling combined with the value of arranged marriages.

            One of the single Indian students used to ask my advice on how to date American girls – lol – but he had no intention of marrying one. His reason, interestingly, was respect for his parents’ desire that he return to India to marry the woman they had chosen for him.

            My mother would probably have done better, but I’m sure my Dad would have been clueless! Either would have kept a closer eye on financial solvency than I ever did, that’s for sure!

            The mavericks I tended to be attracted to certainly didn’t have much focus on finances, and I never cared much for the ones who did. It often seemed to me that they were trying to buy their way into my bed with little interest in getting to know who I was as a person — and I have many funny stories (in retrospect) about the attempts of athletes and former athletes.
            xx,
            mgh

            Liked by 1 person

  35. Purpleanais says:

    What a beautifully written poignant piece, Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Diana, it’s no surprise that you pulled me right into this snippet. “love’s blooms reduced to thorny canes with sharp tips.” How beautiful.
    Mega hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Frank says:

    I can’t read the word puny without thinking of the incredible hulk: “Nallea smash puny provinces,” Lord Rydan said.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Almost Iowa says:

    One wonders how many novels begin with a fragment like this?

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Oh, this is one of those snippets where I so desperately want to read what happens next. Raze sure knows how to get his point across, but will it make a difference?

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Very touching story, and I can’t help but wonder what Nallea will eventually think about all this. Will she happily bow to her family’s wishes? Will she see the benefits of marrying a prince, a king? Will she rebel and try to follow her heart? I’d love to read this story from her POV too! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • This was part of an old WIP that I abandoned after 50K words. It was fun to revisit this scene and edit (a lot). The scope was too broad and I didn’t like the magic system. Perhaps someday I’ll do the hard work of resurrection. Thanks for reading and yes, in the original Nallea….

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  41. How sad. He’s denying his son the love he found and married for. I know it was often done for political reasons, though. It’s still done in some of the villages here although many are working to stop it. In villages, it’s like marrying children, especially the girls, into household slavery. They often don’t get an education. Good writing, Diana. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Suzanne. I don’t know how this will resolve. Perhaps Raze will be given another choice or will make his own choice. Political marriages should be a thing of the past, I agree. Thanks for reading, my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  42. Aw, VERY nice! But now I’m sad for everyone. 😥

    (I’m the emotional type – it will pass. 😉) Enjoy the weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  43. delphini510 says:

    A wonderful story, I am deeply touched by this hesitant but honest conversation between father and son. Not a wasted word.
    miriam

    Liked by 2 people

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