Up early before church, jotting notes in the car, writing during the football games–I’ve been frantic today. This is a GOOD scene, one of those candy bar scenes I’m just dying to write.
I’m very pleased with the section I wrote today. Indirectly, I used a bit of that mythology section I struggled with the other night. I like it so much, I’m going to include quite a chunk of it, edited to remove key spoilers both from Road to Shanhasson (which isn’t out yet) and the big twist in Return that I don’t want you to know about yet.
Today: 2,722 4,398
NaNo total: 20,801 22,477
What an incredible day!!! Threads of Shadow began to play out; misdirection ensured. I got Gregar on scene. Varne got pummeled. And Dharman and Sal finally got a very small part of their heart’s desire. I need to decide what the next scene(s) should be, how close I am to the BIG DOOM coming. *cackles wickedly*
The Dream began as many others. She floated on her back gazing up at a large full moon that filled the sky with silvered brilliance. The water was cool, but when she tasted it, she was surprised by the slight saltiness. The Silver Lake had never tasted like the ocean.
The three jagged peaks of Vulkar’s Mountain did not loom on the horizon.
High above the steep edges of the bowled cavern, the full moon still gleamed, but that was the only familiar element from her other Dreams. She took a step and froze.
Her body had changed.
Shining scales covered her sinuous form, a long tail curled at her clawed feet, and impossibly large butterfly wings shimmered and floated about her. Staring down at her reflection in the water, she saw a beast with a large triangular head, vicious teeth and a long, graceful neck like a swan.
She’d walked as the Dark Mare before, but never a dragon. Staring at the image, she noticed a dark spot on the creature’s chest. She peered at it, and realized a scale was missing, directly over her heart.
“Allow me,” a male spoke like thunder. She jerked her head up, wings cocked, prepared for flight. Sliding across the midnight sky, the moon became her missing scale, lying in a massive clawed foot as black as the night.
With a gentleness that surprised her, the black claw placed the circled scale on her chest. Light blinded her, a flash of pure silver that burned in the night, illuminating a black dragon so large he dwarfed her. He made a small sound of pain, turning his serpentine head aside at her brilliance.
“Who am I?”
“Dim your light, azhar-jalbi, and we will talk.”
Brightheart. She knew this as an endearment he’d often called her as surely as she recognized him, but from where? Confused, she watched the blazing luminance of the moon dim within her, but she didn’t understand what or how she did it.
Darker than the night, he edged closer, curling one taloned foreleg at her in invitation. Why not? What did a dragon fear? With a single leap, she joined him on the edge and stared out over a barren land so baked by the sun the earth had long ago cracked open and died.
“Here in this land they know you as She Who Hung the Moon.” He cocked his head, opening his mouth slightly in what she assumed was a smile of greeting. “I’m rather new to this land and form, too. I find myself thinking and saying all sorts of strange things, like azhar-jalbi. It’s right, though; this land is right in a way I haven’t felt in a very long time. I must admit, though, it’s very strange to call you brightheart again. I believe I’ve called you much worse over the years, but I can’t say that I regret it.”
He winked, and she laughed softly. She had a feeling this big hulking brute of a male was bad, even to the point of unadulterated evil, but there was something achingly familiar about him. “Oh, yes, you were more likely to call me thal-jalbi, the coldest heart of all.” Her amusement died in her throat, choking her. Where had that come from? “Do I know you?”
“You always know me.” He nodded solemnly. “Although we only rarely have an opportunity like this to talk. I’m afraid we’re usually trying too hard to kill each other.”
“Oh.” She gave him a sly look from beneath her lashes–if dragons had lashes. “Who won last time?”
“You did,” he replied without hesitation. He stretched out on the sands and looked up at the night sky, the tip of his tail tapping and twitching to some music only he heard. “This place is very strange, its people more savage than I guess even your barbarian horse king living among his herd.”
She drew back, shaken by an image of a fiery red stallion blazing through her mind. Vulkar. She’d been the Dark Mare then.
The black dragon chuckled and rolled over on his back, giving her a playful look. “They even expect me to fight. With swords.” He unsheathed his claws and swiped ineffectually at the air. “They call it Dancing the Blades.” He shuddered delicately. “I’d much rather breathe on my enemies and kill them with my poison.”
He gave a little puff through his nostrils and she scrambled away.
Curling on his side, he stretched his muzzle out on his front legs. “You were never afraid of my poisons, brightheart. I occasionally sent them just to keep your claws sharp, but I knew you’d sniff them out. You always do.”
A cold dread pounded in her stomach. She knew this man, this dragon, yet she couldn’t think of his name. “Shadow.”
“Iyeh.” He grimaced, his sword teeth flashing in the night. “I’ve always been Shadow, but never yours, not since the beginning. Others were sent to tempt you.”
“Gregar,” she whispered. She remembered the laughing, dark-eyed man who carried an ivory blade as white as this beast’s teeth. Warily, she slipped closer and sniffed at the dark form. “You don’t smell like him at all.”
The black beast winked at her, breath puffing out again on a laugh. She smelled the acidic taint in the air, but beneath its bitterness, another scent lingered. She couldn’t quite place it. “I know caffe very well indeed, but I never smelled like it. I quite like this scent. The land is so dry, here, that one’s skin turns to leather within moments if not protected. They use an oil–you don’t want to know where it comes from–and each male tends to wear a trademark scent so they can identify each other from long distances. So they say. I believe they use it like dandies at court used to prance about in jeweled slippers to attract the ladies.”
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Averting his face, he whispered, “I actually began to consider…dare I say hope…that you might…love me again, too.”
Such yearning filled his voice. Another memory flashed through her mind. She held him clutched to her breast, wings beating the air, but she couldn’t stop their tumbling spiral from the sky. Down, down, they’d fallen toward their doom. He’d whispered, Release me. Save yourself. And her answer had been, Never, my love.
A tear trickled down her cheek. Holding his breath, he reverently licked the fluid from her scales. Lowering her head, she rubbed along his cheek and down his long neck. “What happened to us?”
“Love happened to us. Great love turned to hatred and jealousy.” The black dragon hissed bitterly. “He never wanted you to love anyone but him.”
She snorted, shaking her head. “Not my Khul. He’s never been jealous.”
“I don’t speak of your horse king, but of your Fire, your Red. He won’t like me at all, brightheart. He never does. Perhaps I should save us both the trouble and simply kill you now.”
She bit him gently, gripping his vulnerable throat in her jaws and he rumbled with pleasure. “You are welcome to try.”
He raked his claws up her flank to the vulnerable spot beneath her foreleg. A well-placed spear planted there would find its way to her heart. “I could kill you now.”
“But you won’t,” she whispered, staring down into his liquid ink eyes.
“I suppose not.” He breathed out a long, drawn-out breath and licked his jaws. “But it’s been so very long since I tasted your blood. Your scent…torments me. It’s never been safe for us to be together.”
Before she could answer, he flipped her over so hard the stars blurred and the ground shook. Talons dug into her, one clawed foot at her throat, one of his rear feet planted on her abdomen. In a heartbeat, he could eviscerate her or rip out her throat. Her breathing quickened at the thought, but she didn’t fight him. There was no need. All she had to do was let her heart glow, a symbol of her love.
Releasing a chuckling hiss of pain, he withdrew. Shadows enfolded him, his wings slithering along the ground in a dry rustle. At the edge of her glowing nimbus, he paused. “The coming darkness is not my doing. Even I would spare you that sorrow.”