Today’s Weekend Writer Warrior snippet is from The Scholomance, my book about that legendary school where dark magic is taught to all those who manage to enter, only to find that leaving is not so easy. My heroine, Mara, was born with telepathic power and has no interest in magic, but her only friend, Connie, has been obsessed with magic since childhood and disappeared in search of the Devil’s School years ago. When Mara suddenly receives a letter from Connie, she goes at once to save her friend, only to become trapped in the Scholomance herself. In the next eight sentences, we are introduced to Horuseps, the first demon that Mara encounters, as he oversees the welcoming of the new applicants.
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From the hips down, he seemed to be covered in layers of black, plated armor of some alien design, with odd serrations and grooves over each snugly-fit seam and joint. On closer inspection, one could see those seams moving slightly, just slightly, with each minute movement of his body, and one realized it was skin. Those heavy, shiny, armored plates were him, his shell, from which his moon-white upper body grew like blown glass somehow affixed to obsidian. He had no nipples, no navel. His chest had all the sculpted look of muscles (in a slender, slightly effeminate way), but no hint of bones beneath—no ribs, no sternum, not even collarbones. His demon’s face was thin, beautiful, smiling welcome as he waited for them, and his eyes were the eyes of an insect—ovid and black, shining as with many facets, but these were in fact lights. Lights not reflected from somewhere else, but generated inside him and moving around. He had galaxies in his eyes.