First of two, I wanted to thank everyone for the overwhelmingly understanding response to my depression post a few days ago. It was not an easy post to write and it was NOT an easy post to send live. Just the simple act of getting these things off my chest and out in front was a relief, and I'm so glad you were all so understanding, compassionate, and encouraging. It has made the days easier to get through and the need to cry far less.
Through all this, I have still been able to write! I've been doing a lot of word-wars, which have slowly but surely crept my word-count up in Ethandune to (as I write this) 28,897 words. My writing is my core, and you'd probably never be able to tell what a mess I've been these past two weeks if you read what I've written during that time, which in itself is an encouraging thing to note.
Well, you don't get to read what all I wrote during the past two weeks, but you DO get a glimpse, so at least that's SOMEthing. (Everyone seemed chill with the term "snippets" so I guess I'll just let sleeping dogs lie.) Also, just a brief reminder of the chronological order of the stories:
ethandune // talldogs
maresgate // cruxgang
AND NOW, SNIPPETS
The high ground was a sudden outcropping of the bones of the mountain, twisting upward like a wrestler’s shoulder locked in battle with the sky. I swarmed up after the others, coming up out of a rustling backdrop of coffee boughs, and emerged with my head in the clear wind and my eyes burning with the sun. For a moment everything was a sparkle-haze of glare-flecks, like the mottling on a meadowlark’s egg, with the mothy-winged gleam of the men’s silhouettes all around me. Then, as I climbed to my feet, Plenilune opened up below me, my vision cleared, and I was looking down, down, down on a kind of beauty best taken naked than wrapped up in words.
Dammerung turned his head—I saw the little winging of silver hairs at his temples glint in the sunlight—and said to Coeur de Leon, “Which are the kingdoms of this world that are vying for your obeisance?”
Dammerung walked back from the edge; passing me, I saw a shaded aspect to his countenance, his eyes downcast to his feet as he picked his way over the rocks. The pommel of his sword gleamed an odd blue-green, and I told myself it was only the backlight of the forest playing tricks with my vision.
“Not a peaceful time,” he said idly, not looking back; “not then, nor awhile after. There was much to be buried of Plenilune dead—” He turned of a sudden, his foot on the top step which led down into the orchard. That bony, harsh, maliciously unhappy visage seized his countenance and froze it for a second in a mask of black ferocity. “Sometimes their graves can’t hold them, and they walk back undead.”
I had drunk too much sun, as a man drinks too much wine; in a sleepy, pleasant daze I walked tagalong after Goddgofang and Aaron Golightly down the sloped track to town, bumping now and again into the jostling bodies of Lapwing and Wagtail, who walked with me.
The track led me out of the coffee-swathes into a sudden, long greensward that arced across the hillside and went swooping down toward a rocky, cliffed bay below. The grasses of the sward were long and uncut, filled with the whirring rattle of the summertime cicadas, and coming out of the trees I was met with an uphill rush of sea-wind that roared among the grasses, lifting my damp hair off my forehead, and blowing up my arms from my sides with its force. The long grasses flattened and ran away before the wind like the brothers in Joseph’s dreams, and, spurred by the vein-fire magic of the thing and the respite of the open turf, I began to run downhill along the track, into the head-wind, and knew in those flying, salty, throbbing minutes how a gull must feel on the wing.
Slowly, slowly, like the swing of a cat’s tail, the foot began to move again.
“The coffee—it is ready? I will take it black.”
Knoll Fairfax handed the cup over reluctantly. “You do not demand an explanation of me?”
Aaron spoke up for the first time, having hung back on the leaf-green outskirts of the kitchen-garden, so that, once again, I had forgot his presence.
“Goddgofang likes you,” he put in gently. “He will not press a man for answers, not if he likes him.”
“Oh!” mocked Fairfax. “He likes the answers to come willingly.”
Goddgofang set his cup on his knee and shrugged pleasantly, his eyes on the curl of steam and the shadow of his moving foot.
Fairfax came round on the de la Mare, shaking his head wrathfully. “I never fought under your father. What view of action I saw was in the north, when the Carmarthen decided our borders were weak with our own civil squabbling. But I heard, even then, that your father was like that. You might be him, two decades and a hand-cast of years ago.”
“Actually,” Goddgofang raised a gentle smile to the man’s face, “I look more like my uncle.”
[What if the problem is not that large?]
I spun round on Malkin. “What do you mean?”
He shook himself, compacted his limbs, and vaulted gracefully into the deep recess of the windowsill, so that his lean black body swallowed up a cat’s-shape of stars in the glim of the night sky. [What if we are going about this all the wrong way? What if—instead of being so massive as the celestial oceans, the problem is really quite small—like a door?]
Like a door. Small—like a door. Small—like the way into the kingdom of heaven. Small—like the manger of the Christ. Small. //Small.//
“I’ve been looking at this all wrong!” I cried. “I have been trying to crowd the sun with angels, when all along they were small enough to fit through the eye of a needle!”