As usual, this is a first-draft, unedited snippet from book 2 of Witherwilds:
Baxente wanted to jerk away from the hexarch’s touch but could not for fear of jarring the bells. In the courtyard below, a crowd of wellborn watched him, expecting him to show the vile nature for which the Hexad had supposedly cursed him. He would not give them the satisfaction.
Standing on the other side of the hexarch, Xaxili stared at him with eyes shadowed by dark circles. As if reading his worry about the bells, she said, “You hardly need another ill omen, Cousin.” Sunlight sparkled off the rubies in the crown she wore. When she noticed his gaze on it, she reached up to ostensibly straighten it. “The people need to see us together, to know you accept with grace the Hexad’s decision that I rule the peirlands.”