I was sooo tired last night, I could barely keep my eyes open. I finished yesterday’s Dark & Early session quite short — well under 1K — and so I tried to stay up until I got the normal NaNoWriMo daily goal (1667) but I just couldn’t make it. I did, however, finish two more bookmarks. This time, I tried Joy’s pattern. It’s quite a bit more complicated than the one I found online, and not as fast to make, but oh, they are so pretty! I laced one with two colors of ribbon and it looks quite nice. I’ll post a picture later.
Because I was so exhausted last night, I wasn’t sure how well I’d do this morning, if I even managed to get up. I almost stayed in bed, but finally dragged myself up shortly after 5 AM. The morning seemed endless. It’s dark outside still (stormy) and it’s been a really long week, but I finished up last night’s section, started a new one, and finished it (it was one of those blessedly short < 1K sections). So excellent progress this morning, even though the word count isn’t huge.
Snippet: Mrs. Lane is an interesting character; unfortunately, I didn’t “know” her before starting this story, so I’m sure I will need some serious revisions later. I want her to be as remarkable as Miss Belle, providing some comic relief but also a larger than life and highly interesting, well motivated character. This is a start, but I’m sure she’ll need much more work to get her just right. First draft, revisions coming.
Mrs. Lane stood in the doorway to the kitchen, her chin jutted out, feet braced wide, gripping a wooden spoon in her hand as fiercely as any knight wielding a mace. “The carriage house is ready, my lady.” Bristling with indignation, she shot a glare at Mr. Nevarre that would have sent His Majesty stammering and scurrying away. “I shall be on guard, sir.”
Mr. Nevarre bowed lower to Mrs. Lane than he’d done to the lady of the castle, again, never lowering his eyes from her challenge. “Then I shall sleep well indeed, safe in the knowledge that Castle Nocturna will withstand any threat.” He straightened and turned his attention to Lilias. His mouth tightened, his eyes dark with speculation. “If the lady still wishes to extend the invitation?”
Weighing her alternatives, Lilias concentrated all her senses on the man. Could she trust him?
At first glance, he appeared as any other gentleman: his clothing fine but not fashionable, his manners impeccable, obviously well educated and traveled. However, at closer glance, one noted that his skin had been darkened considerably by long years in the desert sun. Instead of the shorter fashionable curls most gentlemen had adopted, his hair was long and tied at his neck in a queue. The shoulders and arms of his coat strained, promising incredible strength that a gentleman of leisure could not claim.
And his eyes, brown with flecks of gold, but not soft or warm in any way, rather as cold as the cobra focused on its victim. Every time she studied him, she was reminded of some kind of fanged serpent. How could she possibly allow this danger to remain in Nocturna, near her sister and innocent students?
On the other hand, if this man had tried to kill her last night, then it might behoove her to keep him close–where she could defend herself at the first sign of danger. To do so, though, she would need to use her magic and allow the castle’s nexus to fill her. She suddenly felt as though the massive stone walls of the castle had tumbled down to stack upon her shoulders.
Perhaps she wasn’t suffering the beginning stages of mage madness; perhaps she could live long enough to ensure Violet’s dream of a Season and a happy marriage to some young gentleman. And perhaps this deadly man meant her no harm, neither.
Releasing a little sigh of resignation, she inclined her head. “Allow me to direct you to the carriage house, Mr. Nevarre.”
She walked with him through the heavy oaken door opposite the main entrance, following the pebbled path that meandered alongside the Great Hall and then across the courtyard.
“When I was a girl, I used to carry a hoe,” Mrs. Lane called after them. “Snakes love to creep into the henhouse and devour the eggs and sweet little baby chicks. Mark my words, a venomous viper dies as quickly as a garden snake once its head is chopped off.”