Snippet Sunday

This little scene occurs during Marianne’s first few days on Tolar. It’s not in the book. 
            All those Christmas presents, Marianne
thought. And she hadn’t been allowed to bring a single one of them with her to
Tolar. They were at Susan’s house now, along with her goldfish. She heaved a
sigh and glanced around the refectory.
            “Does
something trouble you, proctor?” 
            She looked
over at the Sural. He was staring at her, his brows drawn together, concern darkening his mahogany eyes. 
            “No, high
one, everything is fine,” she said, taking a bite of her roll and chasing it
with tea to neutralize its spiciness. Tolari bread really took some getting used to. 
            He didn’t seem to want to let it go. “You seem lost in thought.” 
            “I have a
lot to think about.” 
            “Because you
left a great deal behind.” 
            She tried
not to flinch. That was too close to what she’d been thinking. She shrugged. “I
miss Christmas.” 
            “Who is
Christmas?” 
            Now she
laughed. “It’s a what, not a who. A big celebration near the beginning of
winter. People spend time with their families, exchange gifts, eat and drink
together. It was Christmas when I left Earth.” 
            “I see,” he
said, nodding. “Perhaps you will enjoy our seasonal celebrations. They may be
similar. There is music and dancing, and friends share meals and drink
together.” 
            “Drink?
What do you drink?” 
            “Spirits. To
relax the body and lighten the heart. They are made from grains and mixed with
fruit.” 
            Alcohol. It
had to be alcohol or something very like it. The Tolari drank? That wasn’t in any of Central Command’s information about them. “When is the next one?” 
            “High
summer.” 
            She did a
quick mental calculation. That was only about four months off. Something to look forward to. She smiled and
dug into her food with more enthusiasm.

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