Updated: Feb 29
I've done a bit of Latin in my time. I studied Classics at university, and I love the language, so when I came to write the Casting scene in Bound in Silver, Latin seemed like an obvious fit for the archaic and ceremonial setting.
I think the Latin slots into the book nicely, and that you can basically guess what the words mean from context, but for you completists I thought it might be helpful to do a little translation. So I've set it out below in [square brackets] throughout this excerpt from Chapter 22 of Bound in Silver.
PLEASE NOTE: This excerpt is right at the end of the book so it contains substantial spoilers for the Solis Invicti series. I wouldn't read it until you need it!
And I think that's all the latin. I hope that helps, and don't forget that you can get signed copies of all my books, including Bound in Silver, from the shop on this website.
The last strike echoed around the room for a few seconds before silence fell. The satin of the dress was sticking to my body as my muscles rolled into balls of tension.
Just let it be over quickly, I thought.
“Insta [Step forward]!” Sol called.
One of the sponsors took another step forward and pulled his hood from his shoulders. He was no one I recognised, so Drew was still somewhere in the pack. I was almost certain that he would have put himself last if possible to avoid disrupting the ceremony more than necessary. All hell was going to break loose when everyone discovered that the Secundus had put forward a candidate. It was going to go down very badly.
“Quem designas [Whom do you nominate]?” Sol asked the man.
The sponsor beckoned to his candidate, the skinny girl who’d thought he’d look hot in a robe. She’d been right. The candlelight glinted off sculptured abs that looked as though they’d
been oiled up in preparation.
She crossed the room towards him and came to stand by his side. As he turned to her I saw that there was a symbol painted across his chest: the symbol of Solomon’s house, the stylised ‘SI’ topped with a radiate crown. It looked as though it was painted in blood. I wondered whose.
“Hanc designo [I nominate this one],” the sponsor said.
“Istane approbatus est [Is this one approved]?” Sol asked, his voice echoing back at us through the huge room. This time it was Alyssa who answered.
“Illam repudio [I reject her].”
At that, the sponsor pulled the hood back over his head and returned to his original position, guiding his candidate with him. When they had stepped back he shook his head at her. She covered her face with her hands, her frail shoulders shaking with silent sobs. I wondered then whether her emaciation was the result of an illness and if she had hoped to cheat death by turning Silver.
The conquistador was up next, and there was some more Latin, but from his reaction I guessed that he had also been refused.
When the third sponsor was called forward she pointed to the girl next to me, the one who had been reading in the library.
“Hanc designo [I nominate this one],” her blood-daubed sponsor said when she reached her side, the words becoming familiar with the repetition. I still didn’t know what they meant, but I guessed they were something along the lines of ‘this one’s mine.’
“Istane approbatus est [Is this one approved]?” Sol said. He must have been asking whether or not she’d passed the tests.
“Illi assentior [I accept her],” Alyssa replied.
There was a brief murmur around the room and the sponsor beamed widely at her candidate, so I guessed that it had been a yes this time. They looked at each other for a moment and then the Silver took the human’s hand in hers, weaving their fingers together in a gesture that looked more tender than I might have expected. I prayed there was enough between them to make her a Silver rather than a Weeper.
More candidates were called up, one by one, until finally, as expected, I was the last one standing. There had been no other murmurs, so it seemed that the reading girl had been the only one to pass Alyssa’s tests. So far.
By this point, my limbs were feeling so drained from the effort of keeping me vertical that I was panicking about covering the ground to get to Drew’s side. The only sponsor left hooded was one of the two closest to the throne, the furthest away from where I stood. It looked like an insurmountable distance. I was going to make a fool of myself.
At least I wouldn’t have long to be embarrassed about it.
“Insta [Step forward]!” Sol called for the eighth time.
The final sponsor stood forward and pulled the hood from his head, drawing it back from his long, dark hair to reveal his face. The expected gasp ran around the room as the Silver recognised Drew. There was no denying that the outfit suited him. His bare chest and stomach were pale enough to show the redness of the blood painted onto his skin, drops running down the defined indentations of his muscles.
As the volume in the room rose I felt my nervousness growing too, my hands shaking. I clutched at the rings at my neck, trying to calm myself down.
Sol sat forward in his chair and pulled his own hood from his head. In the darkness of the room his golden hair seemed to glow, his cold blue eyes staring at Drew. I couldn’t quite make out his expression from this distance, but the crowd had hushed quickly as Sol looked down from his throne.
“Secunde [Secundus],” Sol said, his voice seeming quieter and more uncertain than it had done previously, “quam designas [Whom do you nominate]?”
“Scisne, Prime [Don't you know, Primus]?” Drew replied, his tone confused. “Hanc designo [I nominate this one],” he added, reaching out his hand towards me.
But now the script had changed, and I wasn’t sure what was going on. When I didn’t immediately approach, Drew nodded at me encouragingly, so I made my way slowly across the floor until I stood at his side. I thanked any god that happened to be listening for the fact that I’d managed the walk without tripping or stumbling.
I’d been concentrating so hard on my feet that it wasn’t until I was in place by the throne that I looked up at Sol and saw his expression.
He looked shocked. His brow was slightly furrowed as his silver-shot eyes searched my face with patent disbelief, and I realised that he hadn’t been expecting to see me here. He hadn’t known that Drew had put me forward for the Casting.
Laila had known and Ben had known, but they hadn’t told Sol. Why hadn’t they told him?
What he did know, however, was that the bond was gone. He knew that if Alyssa gave me the go-ahead I wouldn’t be human this time tomorrow, and I wouldn’t be Silver either.
“Emilia,” he said softly to me. The look he gave me was heavy with regret I hadn’t expected from him.
He was so close that I could trace the silver in his eyes in the candlelight, so close that I felt I could almost smell the fresh, spicy scent of him over the smoky, waxy aroma of the candles. I could touch him, I thought. I could just reach out and touch his skin, stroke his golden hair away from his forehead and feel his breath on my lips.
“Certe non scivi [I certainly didn't know],” he said to Drew. “Num scivisti, Administrator [Surely you didn't know, Administrator]?”
Alyssa turned around and pulled her hood down too, a concerned expression on her face.
“Sane, Prime [Of course I did, Primus],” she said.
“Num ea approbatus est [Surely she's not approved]?” he asked.
“Ei assentior sane [She certainly is].”
The clamour that rose from the spectators was so loud and sudden that I started, stumbling sideways a little, having trouble keeping to my feet. Drew caught me and looped my arm around his so I could lean on him for support. I looked at him for an explanation, not knowing what was going on or where I stood.
“You’re through,” he said sadly over the noise of the crowd.
I knew it had been coming, but the confirmation still thudded into my chest like a ten-tonne weight. I wrapped my spare hand around the rings at my neck once more and squeezed them tight.
Sol stood from his throne and the room quietened almost immediately. He nodded to Alyssa, his expression grim, and stepped down from his pedestal, walking around the throne and out through a door behind it. As he did so, Alyssa walked to stand beneath the throne before turning to face us. It looked as though this was some kind of handover.
Without a word from Alyssa, the unsuccessful Sponsors guided their candidates back into the crowd until I couldn’t differentiate them from it, leaving just the reading girl and her sponsor with me and Drew in the centre of the room.
Alyssa turned to the other pair.
“Illam Primo offere [Present her to the Primus],” she said.
The Silver woman guided her candidate out of the room, following the route Sol had taken through the door behind the throne. We all stood in silence for a few minutes and I wondered what was going on. I was leaning more and more heavily on Drew, the exhaustion gradually sinking back into my bones now that the adrenaline was washing out of my system. I just wanted to lie down and sleep. I’d had enough. I just wanted it to be over.