Up Dark & Early this morning to grind into the next section. This one’s entirely new — it doesn’t even exist in the two-year-old Fast Draft version. I made a [note] to look up a poetry quotation. Back to Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (Lord Byron). It surprised me to see how many times Conn used it in Dear Sir — now I really need this poem specifically because I know Byron was publishing those exact cantos in the year of my story (1812). Problem: I need a very specific sort of quote, so finding that reference may prove difficult.
ETA: Ah, Byron, you may have been mad, bad, and dangerous to know, but you gave me the perfect quote and very early in canto 1. Thank you.
But one sad losel soils a name for aye, However mighty in the olden time; Nor all that heralds rake from coffin’d clay, Nor florid prose, nor honeyed lies of rhyme, Can blazon evil deeds, or consecrate a crime.
What in incredible warning for my character! Exactly what I needed.
Decent progress, nothing earth-shattering, but good. I plan to finish this section tonight and then switch gears to the Maya Fantasy. I have a few plot things I want to look at, and the synopsis is still dreadful.
Today (so far) 1,127
Snippet: this is continuing yesterday’s post between Lilias and Violet.
Joining her in effort to pick up the worst of the mess, Violet shuffled papers on top of the larger teaching desk, her gestures stiff with frustration. “Is this truly what you envisioned for us?”
“I always wanted to be a teacher.”
Her sister huffed out a long sigh. “Not me, certainly not like this: watercolors, French, dancing and simpering, while always hiding what we truly are.”
“I know very well what you want, dearest. As soon as we have enough students to support Nocturna, you may have your Season.”
Wistfully, Violet stared unseeing at the chalkboard on the wall. “The Season is in full swing now. Lord Byron is supposed to publish his latest canto soon.”
Heart aching, Lilias went and wrapped an arm about her sister’s waist. It hurt terribly to know Violet wanted something with every fiber of her being, and Lilias couldn’t provide it. Blinking back tears, she mentally tallied the receipts and expenses for the thousandth time and came up short once more. With careful budgeting, she could use the Littletons’ modest tuition to provide food and supplies for the castle until the harvest. Running a castle of Nocturna’s size was a daunting endeavor in the best of times. If she could sell the wool for a decent price, and enroll a few more students, then she could eventually afford to pay Violet and Miss Weston more than a roof over their heads and meals in their bellies.
“More students,” she said more forcefully than she intended.
Violet’s bottom lip jutted out, her eyes sparking. The air tingled with electricity as if a storm hovered on the horizon. She could raise a terrible thunderstorm in moments if she became angry enough.
“I need more students to support us, and to accomplish that feat, we need our existing students to be happy and accomplished, so their parents will be pleased and provide referrals to their acquaintances. This is our only hope, dearest.”
“But I hate teaching! I’d rather muck out stables or shear sheep or–”
“If you don’t cooperate and ensure the success of the Nocturna School, you will indeed be forced to become a governess or companion, working for little more than a few pounds a year, constantly at risk from unwanted male attention. You know what happened to Theo.”
Miss Theodosia Weston had not fully recovered from the trauma of her first and only formal appointment as companion.
Violet drew herself up and marched from the room. “You might not be paying me a salary, Headmistress, but I’m nothing more than an employee of Nocturna School for Young Ladies.”
Angry footfalls echoed in her sister’s furious retreat down the hall of classrooms which had once been full to capacity with eager, young mages talented in every gift from medicine and weather to marvelous inventions, some of which were covered in dust in the storeroom, their purpose long ago forgotten.
Drooping a moment, Lilias took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and let all the pain and guilt wash away on the flood of power always curling around the castle. Her sister was young and rash, selfish in her passionate dreams of adventure and romance. She simply didn’t comprehend why she couldn’t have what she wanted, as soon as possible; she was too young to understand that treasured dreams could sadly become tarnished beyond repair and quite often, an unbearable nightmare.