Now, me, I love a good backstory, while I can take or leave most television shows. Backstory is especially appealing since I have been spending a goodly portion of my time divided between researching my ancestry (So my own backstory) and providing a comprehensive developmental edit for a very dear friend who is fond of writing through backstory.
Backstory, if executed correctly, is woven into the plot with a seamless flow. I like to look at it like dating my characters. If I know everything about a character all at once, then the mystery and excitement is lost. Discovering pieces of my characters in small helpings leave me wanting more so I come back more often.
Does that make sense?
You will find a story of mine, titled The Soldier's Gambit, in the upcoming bestseller Precipice 13. 13 is associated with luck, ill or good, or even fate and so that was the theme for this year's edition. I decided to give you the backstory, or rather I suppose the prequel to The Soldier's Gambit which could be more risky than it sounds. It may have unintended spoilers and those readers who do not like spoilers (I do not fall in that category) may decide not to read this bit.
But I suppose I have given you warning. Travel forward at your own peril.
I offer the following in response: The Servant's Bond
The doge summoned her.
Rumblings of war echoed in the council chamber. The advising dogemen whispered in panicked tones about her as she walked the length of the mahogany table to the doge’s side. The doge aged before her eyes, the stress of the siege embedding into the deepening folds of his gaunt face. “I am here,” she said. “What is your will?”
“The next few hours will likely see us prevail the onslaught, or see us crushed by the Valtirissi as the breach our middle defenses.” The doge bid his charge Anastasia forward with a tight wave of his hand. She emerged from the shadows dressed like a waif, void the sparkle of court. “My will, Servant,” he said, “is that you secure safe passage to the Bonne for my cousin here. Her betrothed will keep her safe, and if we survive, will see us the reinforcements and money required to make us whole again.”
Servant had a name once, until the Omen-Readers stripped her kindred of their freedoms for a broken oath, and bound them to eternal servitude for their penance. All of her belonged to the bargain now, to the doge who knew her name and whispered it upon their first meeting. But, there was always a catch, and the doge summoned her little as a result. “We serve in pacts and contracts, Your Grace,” Servant folded her arms. He should not need reminding. “What do you offer in return?”
“Is it not enough that she serve the crown, my liege?” an adviser spoke. What drove his words she did not know. Many were suspicious of her kind, having fallen prey to ill-conceived contracts driven by greed. The doge, however, had been a shrewd man, conservative and patient.
Servant had been bound tight to the doge for over two decades, a rarity among her kind.
She watched the lines of her master’s face shift and struggle. Would he offer my name in exchange? she hoped.
“You will see Anastasia safely to the Bonne,” he said. Sweat beaded across his brow. “You will tell no one her name. You will tell no one her station. And most importantly, you will tell no one of your station either.” The last words were more a threat than a request.
He will not bargain for my name. I shall have to be clever. “This I shall do, and in exchange, you will allow me leverage to do all that I must to fulfill this request. Do we have an accord?”
Advisers rushed with words of caution and warning. The doge silenced them as a new barrage of war-time thunder shivered through the chamber. His look was suspicious, but she left him with little choice.
“Very well, Servant. Anastasia safely to the Bonne, you do not give her name until then. You will not reveal your station or hers until you are certain she is dining with her betrothed. And you may leverage what you need as you see fit.”