Emerald and Crystal-Fire

She could hear him down below - walking, by the sound of it - singing a Te Deum as he went, and singing it remarkably well.
plenilune

It is time for Katie's monthly snippets program (again!).  Unfortunately I spent almost all of last month focusing on a single scene so I feel as if I don't have much to show you unless I dump the whole scene on you.  Which you would love for me to do and which I will not do.  I've also got to the point where I skim over documents looking for snippets, come across a really good one, and suddenly wonder - "Didn't I post that already?"

August Snip-Whippets

Malbrey’s horse, a skittish, angry white mare he called Pearl, was beginning to stoop in front of her, starting the sharp, winding descent toward Glassdale. Her own leggy grey, moving like an ill-omened shadow among the uncertain pine-light, felt like a rock under her: every jump and jar and skitter on the steep road, barely cushioned by saddle and muscle, made her pelvic bones jangle as if she had dropped them on a shingly shoreline.
Plenilune

She could see Aikin and Brand riding out together, Brand looking like a shard of sunlight and Aikin with his dark hair spiked and dyed red at the ends. 
Plenilune

Feeling more than ever alone, cold in the wide freedom of Capys’ steep fell country that seemed to mock her fiercely like the flash of the fox’s white teeth, Margaret tugged her surcoat close at the throat and turned her face toward the overlook where, through the pine trunks, through the heavy silver mists and latent banks of snow, through the flicker of crow-wing, she could see Glassdale below. For a moment she became confused, her mare jostling her thoughts out of order; as if she were stumbling out of waking into a brief dream she thought she was seeing, not Glassdale, but a fresh waking view of the Cumbrian fells that knelt their knees down to the earth by Aylesward in England.
Mother… Father…
But then a blue-jay screamed overhead and the dream ripped away like cobwebs and it was Glassdale again. The memory of England was darkened by the ugly shadow of dissention and strife that still hung around her memory of her family. Glassdale, bright as an emerald and crystal-fire, was the thing that left her aching under her breastbone. 
Plenilune

"They are men hard to swallow."
"And sooth! they taste of fire and iron."
Plenilune

Time runs into the well at the world’s end, gentlemen: we cannot keep Plenilune from her overlord forever.”
Plenilune

A thick, strangling feeling was beginning in her throat, a painful stabbing of tears behind her eyes. She pitied herself, she pitied Plenilune, but she also pitied Skander for he must be thinking poignantly that he was responsible for what was to become of her. For his sake she tried valiantly to fight past the coarseness in her throat.
Plenilune

...Rupert, etched as with stone, head upflung, put back his lips and showed her his teeth as if he could feel her between them and, like a wild animal, was savouring the moment before he ground her in his jaws. 
Plenilune

Art in my way!” Rupert barked. “Play no black marble, dragon games with me, old mother, for I am in no mood to be gentle.”
Plenilune

Her words filled Margaret with dread and a rush of blood like the scent of the last victory. She was not aware that she was not breathing. She was aware of Rupert’s face, cold, white, fixed, as close to a kind of horror as he would let himself appear with Malbrey right beside him. He parted his lips—he had clenched them—then tucked them together again, resisting the urge to touch his tongue to them. His hand lifted from the reins and stole out, silently, purposefully. The thing in his face, in his eyes, surfacing like a nightmare Margaret had pressed beneath pillows and suffocated, was clear and awful and chilling. But the woman was unmoved. She looked back into that face and smiled a little, an odd, dark softness in her ancient eyes. For a moment, wrapped against the cold in shadow and sunlight and a cloak flecked with the colours of a grouse’s wing, she looked purely beautiful.
Plenilune

"Come on, you need some wine. You look peaky."
"And you?"
He turned to her, having stepped back into the light of his tent, and held out his hand: it was shaking visibly.
Plenilune

"I do not know perdition as you do."
Plenilune

8 ripostes:

  1. Jenny, is anyone but Shakespeare allowed to have such brilliant snippets? I thought not, but then I read these and as I know you to be above plagiarism, I can only say, Well done indeed! This one: "They are men hard to swallow."
    "And sooth! they taste of fire and iron." and then the one about time running into a well were my favorites. :) As always, this was a delight to read!

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  2. G'aaaaah. This style of writing leaves me in ecstasy; I love how you execute it. There is such wit in so few lines. Like Rachel, I'm very fond of "And sooth! they taste of fire and iron," but I also like Rupert's "Art in my way!" Wretched as he is, it is impossible not to respect him.

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  3. Rupert's "art in my way!" is my favorite. Ack. Can't help liking Rupert, at least a little...
    The first one, about Malbrey's horse, is so uncomfortably evocative. I could practically feel the jolting of the animal! Bravo!

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  4. That's exactly why I like Rupert so much. He is terrible, but he is made of the same high stuff as the rest of the Honours men - "here we have battle and blazing eyes, and change and honour and high surprise!" - and I'm almost sorry that I'm doing everything from Margaret's point of view and won't get much chance at all to follow him extensively throughout the story... But oh well. Sacrifices, sacrifices. :P

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  5. Yes--Rupert is a fine kettle of fish...you can't despise a man like that...you just can't. And say--did you make up that bit of poetry up there? Tantalizing!

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  6. Ai! I have been pen-slain! What with emerald and crystal fire, and the stuff of legends in those little snippets that leaves you all breathless and wondering if those little snippets are like this, what will be the full work like?

    The third snippet was beautiful... I just loved it so! And the sixth and eighth snippets just left me shivering with delight. And I have to agree that Rupert's "art in my way" strikes a terrible authority not to be trifled with.

    Thank you for being so kind in sharing those gems of rare and exquisite beauty!

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  7. This are lovely Jenny. Thanks for sharing them.

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  8. Oooooooooooooh. I love your writing style. I could read it all day. Please do keep writing!

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