First of all, if you haven’t yet seen Botnik’s Harry Potter chapter written with a predictive text keyboard programmed with all seven books, you should go read it now. It’s the funniest thing I’ve read all year. Then come back and read this post much later, because just about anything will pale in comparison.
I was so inspired that I decided to use Botnik’s app to upload the text of THE TETHERED MAGE and see if their predictive text keyboard could write a chapter of the sequel for me! I didn’t have the time to invest to get good at using it, but here, for your amusement, is my predictive text chapter of an unspecified Swords & Fire novel.
(Note that this will be funnier if you’ve read THE TETHERED MAGE.)
I tried another time to leave the Mews without thinking about fire warlocks. I was hoping to find Marcello in the ducal library. Gray walls held nothing more than a perfunctory smile stretching toward disappointment. I maneuvered between rows of sleek men, fishing for young courtiers.
A new voice said, “The Empire depends on our hospitality.”
A disturbing figure that was worse than any doubt of my own limits flicked his fingers through his hair. Prince Ruven leaned against a wall, like a terrible idea.
Ruven smirked knowingly. “I can change your empire.”
I said lightly, “Here I almost missed your presence in my gut.”
Ruven placed a hand on my shoulder, and I gagged. “You should take my kingdom without hesitation, or ambition burns in my heart.”
My throat was nothing casual. “I couldn’t commend you to my mother.”
Ruven chuckled. “So I suppose it could be dangerous to tell her this foolishness.” His heart was done with my mother. He sighed and sipped a little dish of cheese.
My mother glided through the crowd with a spyglass, watching for assassins. Of course she wore a new diplomatic dagger. It seemed designed to keep any trouble from her life, like some foreboding of nine Hells.
I stared at my mother’s things as she sucked down the whole cursed hall. A moment lengthened under the assessing stare of her intrigues.
She smiled faintly at my breeches. “The Mews has secrets, like a terrible idea about your projects.”
She shrugged wearily at my marred design. It seemed designed to tighten my corset without fuss.
I wanted to protest that she knew nothing of my life. “I tried to do something for you. You have no choice about my overly intricate schematics.”
She raised an empty glass. “That must hurt. You should think of Raverra and your duty.”
“You know I wanted to make everything fit in this gown.”
She shrugged. “I could only imagine what you meant. Destruction, undergarments, and your dignity seem bent with powerful magic.”
A moment later, all my friends from Ardence said that my mother was untouchable.
The doge himself occupied my favorite chair at our table. I gestured to the steaming cups already awaiting us on the table, with both hands on fire. It could be anything, at our family dinner.
I stared past the doge, and Zaira lifted her hand in despair. Marcello bowed stiffly, with a grand resignation.
It could never happen that we wanted a quiet moment for private conversation. I wanted to ask him before breakfast to make sure that she wore her own ignorance as a swarm of ants.
The doge said wearily, “A certain unctuous merchant conveyed bodies in his robes to get into your corset.”
My mother would never stand for that.
“You should preclude comfortable trousers,” I said. “Anything that we can spare to keep them from being unimpressed.”
Marcello murmured, “They want to join your family in their ruthless cruelty.” He leaned against my side and hurled a glass of wine from the room.
In my mind, that was mere noises. I said carefully, “To make the empire covered with their power.”
The doge said, “The Empire stands to keep hidden among the Serene Envoy’s mistresses.”
My mind lacked precise control of my anger. I wanted to protest his attention, for his eyes gleamed with a soft echo of his own ignorance. “You should pay more attention to the imperial seal. The imperial palace is not what you truly wish it were.”
Zaira shrugged ruefully. “A few seconds without fear could change the world.”
The doge dictated a long answer. “You’re a trivial terror, for you know why I can hate you.” His elegant disapproval shaped Zaira’s cellars with his bold voice, and Zaira laughed at his face.
She gave me a challenging smile, and Zaira snorted, “I could survive your presence if you weren’t selling meat to the ragpicker.”
He ordered her to make assumptions, or the generals would pounce. His face burned, as if he might argue with her in the foyer of our palace.
Lace cuffs flew out of her coffee, and Zaira hesitated. A moment later, as he gasped in recognition, she tossed a little orphan girl at him.
I stared at war.
Zaira raised her fist and tried to clench the doge in her hand. She slipped a handful of powerful magic in her hair. Fire leaped at his face, as if he expected something simpler than a pure breath.
Zaira yanked the doge from his seat. His brows lifted toward the spreading flames. I tried not to flinch at her reflection, with her dark fire flickering between us.
She tore his heart, fluttering like a pigeon, with her courtly coiffed hair.
Marcello winced as he scooped a handful of shrieking tendrils in his hands. I asked Marcello for a cake, and he spread the city into flame.
Zaira snorted in her hand. Her arm hung over a hundred deaths. A fire gnawed at the stones scattered around the doge’s door.
I was done at last: vulnerability cluttered the floor.