and the winds will drive
yes, a man grows older
but his soul remains alive
all those tremulous stars still glitter
but I will survive
let my heart grow colder and as bitter
as a falcon in the dive
"It makes things seem a little more normal around here when you continue posting snippets."Ethandune is now roughly 68,140 words in size and I think I am approaching the endgame. Phew! My perception is so skewed: it feels like a tiny, baby creature and the thought of handing it off to my beta-readers for editing makes me feel shy and I want to yank it back, protesting that it isn't done yet because no story of mine can possibly be this brief. But it is, and I think my beta-readers and prospective publishing houses are probably relieved for that!
He rolled over so that his face was lost in the pillow: I could hear him muttering a malignant equation under the more unhappy patterns of the twelve houses.
God and Goddgofang alone knew where that man was headed. We heard a door bang, and the rest of us knew only that he was gone.
“Open or shut?” asked Goddgofang.
“Shut,” said Golightly. He came back. “But he keeps pretty geraniums on the steps.”
Goddgofang pushed back his long-coat and thrust his hands into his front pockets. “It salves my soul to know the High Sheriff of Ethandune is kindly toward his botany.”
“—And so I think he misses much which he might have sniffed out if only he had the knack of the hunt. He’s a tender of souls, by the twelve houses, not a carnivore such as ourselves. He hasn’t got the blood for it.”
I saw his profile gash with a smile, driving the deep lines back into his cheeks. Odd—for the first time, in that chancy electrum light, I noticed that he had silver colour winging in the dark brunet hair at his temples. Odd that I had never noticed that before.
Goddgofang lifted himself up in the stirrups to get the belt round his waist properly. “This is Kiss. She hasn’t seen a lot of wear yet: she is a pretty young thing. My father gave her to me on my entrance to the University.”
The day remained clear and warm; it was a shock urging our horses into the dark, damp close to Vergreen Street and feeling the ancient, bloodless shadows sift across our skin. We came out in a blustery flurry of windy sunlight and climbing hydrangea, turned south, and rode into Coeur de Leon’s yard to find Deborah in stall and Goddgofang just mounting the doorstep.
The young man laughed, white about the mouth. “Poor Mamma! She could make a dragon sit and stay and play dead.”
"I once bit Grimms when I was quite small. He still has the mark to prove it. I do not remember why, only I remember that I was furious and—hell!—it felt good to sink my teeth into his hand.”
I rubbed down, steaming like a horse, and rolled myself into my clothes; Goddgofang affixed my braces at the back, pulled the strap back, and let it go, sending a sharp crack through the room and a beautiful rage flooding through my brain.
The voice hardened. “Please do not coddle me, Simon.”
[His] face was a death-mask of white, freckled skin and the fine-boned construction of skull. Without that dashing smile, I came to see how terrible his countenance was: grim, rugged, unmerciful: like one of the ancient conquerors whose names still lived in...history and whose blood was draining from a head wound into his son’s lap.
I saw the likeness of his brother in his face.
“Sophia? Sophia does not buck. Are we speaking on the same cousin? Tall, genteel girl—Helen of Troy.”
"That man will kill us all."
"And we will let him."