“This ends the third book of the Tales of The Four Part Land.” 180,550 words down, and I finally write ‘The End’. Sad, like waving goodbye to well known friends, but good to see Laeccan Waters finished after two and a half years of work.
And a new personal record for the length of a chapter (which I hate using, for whatever reason). 40,485 words. I don’t have any novellas as long as that chapter. Hell, the definition of a novel starts at 50,000.
Current totals for my novel writing is ~475,000 words of first draft material, and only eighteen chapters in use. I guess they just annoy me somehow.
As before, this is an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, so there are some spoilers lurking.
They arrived at the edge of the docks to find them strangely empty, although there was one small boat beginning to row out into the harbour, and it was stuffed full of Áðexe.
Tarranau muttered, and made a slapping motion against the water, the others watching as a wave suddenly appeared out of nowhere and flipped the boat, dumping all the Áðexe over the side. Being excellent swimmers, once they had got their bearings they ignored the boat and continued towards the vessels in the harbour.
The watermage cursed. “Well, that was a bloody stupid thing to do, wasn’t it?”
“You had better fix it before Á?ðan finds out. He’s going to be very unhappy if we lose some of the boats.”
“No, he’ll just say something about life being interesting, then hiss a lot.”
“Well, there is that too.”
Tarranau waved them to silence, and then began skipping razored discs of ice across the water, slicing them in at head height. One after another, crimson stains began to bloom in the water, and with it the increasingly frantic motions of the sailors trying to reach their craft. But none ever did, although the last had been within touching distance of the bow line before Tarranau had been able to slay the creature.
As he turned his back on the sea, he could hear the fish biting and chewing at the corpses as they floated. Life, at its end.
“Sawwaed, what’s your nose smelling?” Bwyell had his helmet off and was sniffing the air.
“Blood, death, broken things. The usual after battle…” He paused. “And smoke. There’s smoke somewhere.”
Atyniadol looked at them both. “We’re in a town, why would the smell of cook fires be that strange in the morning?”
“I don’t think it’s a cooking fire.” Bwyell glanced up and down the docks, then began trotting off to his right.
The others followed, somewhat bemused by his antics. He was certainly convinced, wherever he was going.
After a few minutes of searching, Tarranau waved at Bwyell. “Are you sure there’s anything?”
“I know I smelt wood smoke back there, wood smoke with the tinge of varnish and the like. Not the kind you’d toss on a fire.”
“Well, there’s doesn’t seem to be any.”
Ceinder pointed to the farthest end of the docks, which they could now see. “Tarranau, Bwyell was right.”
Flames leapt from one of the seashore warehouses, and were quickly moving to engulf one of the others next along. Áðexe ran from the flames, but some of those running carried burning brands.
“Some bright officer is burning down the harbour before we can use it. Atyniadol, Sawwaed, can you stop them? Bwyell too. Ceinder and I will deal with the fires.”
Sawwaed nodded, and set off in a jangle of armour, the others close behind.
As the mages ran, Ceinder glanced over at her husband. “How are we going to put out a fire that’s already that big?”
“A lot of water and a lot of dust and earth. Unless you have a better idea.”
“I was hoping you did. Your intellect isn’t impressing me right now.”
“Well, it’s a little stressed out.”
“Why? It’s only a battle.”
This is an excerpt from the new material written for NaNoWriMo, and is a short scene between Tarranau and his wife, Ceinder. Also, as always, SPOILERS ABOUND.
The work of cutting through the forest went on unabated, day by slow day, as the army of Hálsiend dragged itself closer to the seashore and to Hádsw?pa, the small town from which Þracian’s assault had been launched. There was little in the way of entertainment, and at any one time perhaps a tenth of the army was engaged in hunting, foraging, and scouting. The humans and the airmages regularly lead those excursions, as their ability to pierce the trees with their magical sight allowed them unique advantages when hunting for game. As did their ability to bring down the game at a great distance. Still, it was dull, tiring work when it came down to it, and they would return to their tents at the end of a day to find they had moved but a mile or two, still in terrain that was beaten muddy by the passage of so many claws.
Tarranau was busy cleaning his armour, as best he could in the circumstances, when Ceinder came to sit by his side. They remained quiet for some time, until the watermage broke the silence.
“I still wonder about Ddif and Fyn. About whether I could have saved one of them, or both. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wondering, either. I think it’ll be one of those memories that just stays around, all through my life.” He paused, before continuing. “Have you ever noticed how our failures dog our steps, and our successes flit away on the wind? It’s like that damn incident at the mines. I killed miners, innocents, but I saved you, saved my friends. But I never remember that, I just remember the faces of those I killed, the aftermath of my actions.”
“Tarranau, if you’re going to turn into that mopey sot who nearly got murdered because he was too drunk to defend himself, I’m going to kick your ass from one end of the campground to the other.”
Despite his mood, the watermage chuckled. “No, no, I’m well beyond that. I hope, anyway. I just wish my successes were what came to the fore when I thought about something, rather than my failures. I have to live with the absence of my friends every day, knowing I can never see them again. I don’t want to dream about it as well.”
“Then don’t. You’re worrying about one of the things you can change. Why do you think Á?ðan is compulsively happy all the time? Because of his perspective on life, on his view that everything, no matter how trivial or dangerous, is a new adventure for him to explore. There’s always something over that horizon, and it’s rushing up to meet him. He’s looking to the future. You’re looking to the past. The past is dead and gone, immutable. You can’t unsay words, undo actions, so give them a rude gesture and turn towards the rising sun.”
“You know, you always have the right things to say to cheer me up.” Tarranau wrapped an arm around his wife’s shoulders.
“Yes, I also remember having to tell you to marry me.”
“Hey now, I asked you.”
“After I’d given you the kind of hints even a toddler could understand.”
“The kind of hints that involved the words ‘I’m coming with you’. You didn’t really go for subtly, dear.”
“I didn’t want to have to wait the rest of my life.”
“I’m so glad you treasure my intellect.”
“Your intellect, yes. Your common sense wandered off when you were a small boy and never came back.”
“And yours didn’t? I at least have the excuse I was being forced to come over the mountains to Læccan. You volunteered for it.”
“I had my reasons. Even if most of them involved an oaf.”
“There you go with the flattery again.”
“If you like, I have a whole list stored away against those times I might need it.”
“I think I could do without you trying to sweet talk me any more, my dear.”
“Good, because I think there are other things to do aside from talk.” So saying, Ceinder pulled her husband to her feet and led him away.
A quick update for those on how NaNo is trundling along – fairly well, I’d say. I’ve managed to put together 11,000 words in 5 days (yesterday I had other matters to attend to), pushing the total length of the manuscript to about 128,000 words. A good length, but still shorter than the first drafts of Tarranau and Chloddio.
It’s that time of year again – November, when National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo) becomes the focus of a great many writers. Including me. And I’ll be working on Laeccan Waters, a name that might be a little bit familiar to people around these parts. Yes, it’s the same story as the last time (two years ago), because it’s still not done and still needs at least 50,000 words. Even though it’s already at 117,000. Apparently, I tend to write long books.
I’ve just finished rereading all of the material I’ve got in place for my story, and I’m sort of hoping today is a really really long day. Like the rest of my life long. For some reason the nerves are quite bad with this whole picking a story back up thing. With luck, it’s just anticipation being a pain in the ass. Either way, we find out tomorrow.
I woke up to a wonderful gift this Friday morning – A long review of Tarranau by Alex Laybourne. Here’s how it opens…
Epic Fantasy is not normally a genre I read, but ever since I have started becoming serious about my writing, I have promised myself to expand my knowledge base in as many areas as I can, and the first thing I wanted to do was to expand my reading interests.
Tarranau was the perfect book to get me started, because to summarize for all of those who do not have the time to read this but would still like to hear a few words… It was AWESOME.
As you can imagine, I was super pleased. It’s such a lovely present to see on a Friday morning.
AND L.M. Stull is making this deal even more enticing —> Visit her blog for details on how you can snag an autographed paperback! But you’ll have to hurry – these offers only last until Sunday night California time.
A wave lapped at the shore, foam tinted red.
Water splashed as boys sprinted from the ocean, running before the surf.
Some fell, and did not rise. Others stumbled, then ran all the more.
Fountains danced upon the sand, becoming flowers for but a moment.
Flowers there would be, but not here, not yet.
Men no longer ran from the surf. They stood with shovels and concrete, waved and shouted.
They built, and the beach disappeared under their construction.
Then they left.
A wave lapped at the shore, foam tinted white.
And the second half of the double feature.
A string. Such a petty, tiny object. Used for mundane tasks, boring tasks. Yet it represents the universe. Ever wonder why that was the case?
Because it is string. Circular, I know. But the infinite possible actions with a piece of string mirror the universe.
Someday, we’ll understand what we see. Truly understand, that is. Right now we build theorems and descriptions and formulae, and no one really comprehends.
When measurement produces what something is, and not what something looks like, then we will know.
And upon that day, we believe.
This is an excerpt from the third novel, Laeccan Waters. Currently, the main characters and their Hálsiend allies are trying to extract themselves from a raid that went badly wrong.
Ceinder fought desperately to defend those Hálsiends around her, but their numbers were getting thinner and thinner each time she looked. Even with her assistance on their strikes, there were so many of the enemy that exhaustion was killing many of her allies, as they became slow, and too tired to block the next blow. Indeed, she was reaching that same level herself, and if she did not collapse right then, she would do soon. Still, she had managed to hold the line, preventing the Þracian troops from overwhelming them here.
On the other flank of the battle, Atyniadol and the two warriors were all but fallen, their armour covered in nicks and cuts, and with red seeping out from several places on Atyniadol, for her thinner armour could not turn blades aside the way the mountain plate of Tri-Hauwcerton could. Atyniadol knew that soon she would need to step back from the battle to staunch her wounds, but there was never a break, never a moment when she could disengage and take that time, for they were so closely pressed by the enemy Áðexe that losing the rhythm of attack and block would see her skewered on the end of a thrust. So she fought on as the crimson trails crept further up her arms.
Next to her, Sawwaed and Bwyell could both see the distress that Atyniadol was in, but despite their best efforts, they could not carve out a pocket of peace in the centre of the maelstrom either, and so they lashed left and right with their hammers, the blows less well-timed and more wild, as they relied again and again upon their armour to save them. Their shields were chipped and dented in many places, for they were as much weapon as protection, and often their most effective assault was to slam a foe with the heavy boss upon the shield’s face, and finish the matter with a second strike from the war hammer.
By now, they had built a bulwark of corpses about their position, and the Áðexe of Þracian were forced to climb over the bodies of their friends in order to get at the humans, but while that slowed the pace of the assault, it meant that the enemies came at the humans from on high, at the level of their heads, and thus were the humans continually forced backwards, into a tightening circle, their backs to their Hálsiendic allies.
Sawwaed risked a glance along the line of their retreat, and saw the dim figure of a man face down in the snow. Knowing that it could only be Tarranau, he shouted and bellowed over the field of battle, calling for all soldiers to pull back from the battlefield in a fighting retreat. They had probably left the matter for too long, for their were down to less than one hundred and fifty troops, but at least the casualties they had inflicted upon the Þracians were so grievous that their force could never been used again.
The Hálsiends now gave ground with every step, ceding the hilltop position to their foes as they clustered about the western edge of the rise. With them came Ceinder, still on her feet and still deflecting enemy blows, although now she staggered with each one that she pushed aside. Bwyell reached Tarranau’s body first, flipping him over and listening for a moment before nodding to Sawwaed. Sawwaed grabbed the two nearest Áðexe, detailing them to carry Tarranau during the retreat.
Of the Þracians following them, there were perhaps six hundred left, and while that matter meant that the casualties inflicted were far in the favour of the Hálsiends, the difference in size of force still looked to spell the end for the humans and their allies.
Yes, that’s the proof copy of Tarranau sitting on my desk. I’ll get a better picture when I don’t have to use my camera phone. And that means in about two weeks there should be a little “Buy” icon splattered all over this website.