No, I am not doing Nano. Not this year, anyway. But all things considered, Drakeshelm is coming along rather well: ideas keep clustering and gathering, and I slowly keep writing, and the current steadiness of the work is encouraging. The main document clocks in right now around 28,260 words, so a little over halfway to "novel" status. Yay, two thumbs up for me! Would you like some snippets? I think you would like some snippets.
snippets (as promised in the above)
Dragon-powder and brutish curses exploded in her ears, but in that moment the healer in her had surged uppermost, vision tunnelling, the dim ring of battle rising in her ears to sing over all else so that she was caught in a shining bubble of one single note. She remembered sweat and blood and sleet coursing off a naked leg onto soiled stone.
She remembered Destrian’s face.
Not as tall as Commander Herro, but still he was taller than she—most folk were. She looked back at him, her lips pursed in a flat, grim line while her vitals seemed to slow inside her body, cautious, ginger, sensing their way like a cat in the dark. The wind whistled round the orderly’s helm and buffeted about his cloak; he stood motionless, waiting.
“Touchlight and I brought you down. I made him run for Envelain as soon as we got you here. I stayed with you. You don’t remember? You were coming in and out like Cerberus trying to get out of hell.”
No. No, he did not remember. He remembered the tunnelling of light and the consul at the end of it, sprinting for him like a little golden race-hound with her dragon-helm becoming the mask of a supernatural fiend.
“You made the mistake of laughing.”
Slowly, she raised her eyes from the dance of her knife. Herro stared at the ceiling still, unblinking: but he had been listening, and had gone so far as to listen to the gaps between her words and taste the bitterness underlying the sweet-and-spice of her blithe tone.
He turned his head toward her. The firelight shot off his eyes and quenched again. “You laughed at them. At the bird and the pike and the cracks in the dark. You laugh. That is why people hate you.”
Carrilus huffed, humoured. He put down the paper. “We were at the bend of the Ghir where the forest comes down to the edge of the cattle flats. We had made our bargain and were ready to return home when two horses and their riders broke out of the wood and came at a flat gallop toward us. Anyone would take the pale horse for a good one at a glance! But the consul killed that admiration the instant she came up to us. She reined in on the outskirts of us, pushed off her hood so I got a picture of her face—pale as a vampire, with a sporting of blood on her lip to add to the effect—and then she laughed. She said, ‘You poor bastards! Who is your leader? Whither do you go?’ She has a way of setting your back up before you have even met her properly, have you noticed that?”
Alwin had, but in his mind he was trying to link together the frayed ends of the story which Drakeshelm had been telling him to the sudden recommencement in Malamour’s tale. She had been running. Running for her life.
Struggling to think—it was like crawling through furze.
“Yes, sir. I left Moneypenny there.” Destrian turned round. “Was Moneypenny still on duty? He has not been sent to the infirmary?”
“I’ll be damned if I know or care!” replied Carrilus. “Stand out of my way!”
Destrian’s shadow fell across the light. In his still carefully modulated voice, he said, “I do not know what has come over you, sir. I am not your enemy. Commander Herro needs rest and quiet; I would thank you to lower your voice.”
“I would thank you,” murmured Carrilus, “to get out of my path and let me have a look at him. He is my friend—”
“He is my Commander.”
In an arc of scarlet and silver, Krichirin lifted the weapon, gilt tassels falling back to his elbow. It sparked, smoked, smudged the world in black and orange and the throb of horrified blood. He aimed it at Drakeshelm’s head and fired.