In honour of Elisa (http://elisamichelle.wordpress.com/) finally finishing the edit of that ridiculous manuscript, I’m posting this clip of the current chapter of Changeling that I am writing. In said ridiculous manuscript, the villain, a stereotypical terrorist named Ahmed, introduces himself with, “It is I.” After much giggles over how stupid that is, especially in a modern setting, we decided that something had to be done. Enter, Changeling.
“Welcome back to the mountains, Sister Aisling.”
I tilted my head and gave a curtsey. “Thank you, Brother. We have business with the father.”
“You may tell us.”
“No. The business we have is only for him.”
Something nudged my back. “What are you saying?” Alistair whispered.
I leaned back into him and murmured, “They won’t let us in.”
Alistair grumbled a curse under his breath that made my face heat up. “Stubborn bastards,” he finished, with a slight growl to his voice.
I shuddered and looked back at the two Gabal Mages. They still stood, blocking the path with their wooden staffs, but something had changed. A sinister, familiar presence existed nearby, lurking just in the line of the forests surrounding the narrow deer path. The feel of it made my skin itch, repulsed by its mere presence. A small gasp escaped me, and Alistair touched my shoulder, his voice rumbling something in a worried tone that I barely heard.
“By the Druid,” I whispered.
“What is it?” The sound of a sword behind unsheathed split the air, and I backed up into the warm safety of Alistair’s chest. He held his sword in one hand, and behind him the other soldiers and tribesmen slowly readied bows and blades. “What’s going on? What are you doing to her?”
Harkness crunched forward in the snow. “Who’s there?”
The presence shifted to the side, moving ever closer. I choked and slumped back into Alistair as the spirit moved over me, smothering me.
Alistair’s free hand hooked around my waist, holding me upright. “Show yourself!”
Then the spirit finally stopped roaming the path and came to a halt in front of us. I managed to open my eyes, not even realizing they had shut in an effort to withstand the pain, and saw him—dressed in plain, weatherworn robes, with his grey hair clubbed back and his dark eyes narrowed and lined as they glared at us.
The tears slipped down my cheeks unbidden. I thought I would never have to set eyes on him again.
A small sneer upset his face. He spread his arms, letting the loose sleeves of his robes fall open, and he rumbled, “It is I.”
Almost as soon as the words left the old man’s lips, Alistair unleashed the most ungraceful, obnoxious snort I had ever heard. He released me and my knees locked, nearly making me fall. I managed to catch myself just in time to see him slap his hand over his mouth as he trembled with laughter.
The path fell silent, all eyes on him.
Blue eyes watery with tears of hilarity, Alistair flapped his hand at us and bit his lip to keep from bursting into anymore ungainly laughter. “No, I’m fine, really,” he stammered through piglet snorts of stifled chuckles. “I can’t—you just—no, really, keep talking.”
I eyed him warily. If he was about to go insane, I needed more warning.
Because, really, even in a fantasy setting like this, having ANY character, even the most villainous villain in the story, introduce themselves as “It is I” is just unacceptable. And hilarious. Good for a laugh. Alistair’s reaction is pretty much ours.