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NaNo Day 18 Part 3

For some reason, I always seem to get the BIG SCENE wrong the first time around.  You know, that scene for which a character has been yearning for pages and pages, and it should be a candybar.  It should be golden, warm and syrup sweet to write, and yet…

Yet it’s not.

I think I put too much expectation on myself.  This scene should be so big, so climatic, so fulfulling and wonderful…Naturally, it’s impossible to get it right the first time.  However, I wish I didn’t usually get that first draft so absolutely wrong.

Sigh.  I went back to work on the scene where Dharman and Sal finally achieve their heart’s desire.  I actually cut over 1200 words before starting.  I am not including those words in my NaNo count, even though they’re technically “new” words.  They’re not the right words, and I’m going to hit 50K.  It’s more important that this story be right.  Dharman and Sal deserved better (or worse, if you want to look at it from a Story standpoint) than what I’d given them.

So straight new words (not counting revision):  1,456.  (Day’s total:  4396!!  *boggles*)

NaNo Total:  47,945 

And you know it, this obsessive compulsive writing maniac is tempted to stay up and force it through to 50K tonight. I could do it — Sal’s scene isn’t done yet, and then there’s all the aftermath to sort out.  However, I wouldn’t do it full justice.  Tomorrow is soon enough.

Snippet:  This takes place after the scene I posted a few days ago when Shannari was Dreaming as the White Dragon and she nearly killed Dharman, then he met a stranger whose insight into her shocked him to his knees.  An argument ensued, made worse by her guilt and worry that she’d almost killed him.  Series spoilers removed.

Bitterly, she said, “So you think you’re all interchangeable?  That what I feel for you and Sal could just as easily transfer to Jorah?  Or Lew?  How about some stranger as long as he swears a blood oath to me?”

“How do you feel for me?”  His voice tightened, his hands closed fists at his sides.  “If you care so very much, why deny us?  Why refuse us?”

“You know how I feel.”

“Do I?”  His face darkened.  “Then I should stand guard and leave you to your sleep.”

“Come here,” she retorted.  He hesitated.  He actually hesitated.  The blizzard snows began to blow within her.  “Your blood is mine and I want you here, in my bed, this very minute.”

If a warrior could slam himself into a fluffy soft mattress, Dharman did.  He lay on his back and glared up at the ceiling, his bond as hard as steel in her mind.

He’d closed himself off, she realized with a start.  She could feel his bond, but his thoughts and emotions weren’t leaking through.  He’d managed to seal the link between them, locking her out.

As I’ve done so many times since he became my Blood.

Tears burned but she refused to soften.  She touched his bond, seeking the red thread in her mind.  Breathing hard, he stiffened beside her but the bond hardened, forged with his determination.  He was First Blood, but he wanted to be more, so much more.

He expected her to rage and tear at his bond until he broke down and let her in.  That’s what he wanted, in fact.  He hoped to prove how much she would miss him if his bond was gone, and he thought he could force her hand.  In some ways, he didn’t know her at all.

Irritated more than she cared to admit, she simply arched a brow at him.  “If you’re tired of serving as Blood, I’ll let you go.”

Her brief satisfaction at the well-aimed barb dissolved beneath the raging panic that filled his eyes.  “Nay,” he breathed, his voice broken.  “You wouldn’t.”

“Aye, I would,” she retorted, wielding her voice like a rahke.  “You already think I would cut you out of my life because of a simple disagreement, so why would I stop short of breaking your bond entirely?  If you want to be free…”

“Never,” he whispered, squeezing his eyes shut.  His control came crashing down faster than she’d breached the Shining Walls with his blood and his pleasure years ago, his bond roaring wide open in her mind.  “Never free me, na’lanna Qwen, I beg you.  Never release my bond.  I’d rather you cut open my chest and hack out my heart this very minute than ever force me to leave you.”

Lightly, she touched his mark over his heart.  His entire body jolted as though she’d plunged a rahke between his ribs.  In many ways, she had. 

“You were right,” she whispered, casting her breath across his bare chest.  “I shouldn’t taste his blood.  Even if he’s not the Black Dragon of my Dreams, he’s certainly Shadowed.  I don’t want another blood bond.”  Gently, she brushed her mouth over her mark in his chest, looking up at his face.  “I only want you.”

His eyes flew open.  He held his breath, staring into her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered against his chest, pausing to swipe her tongue fully over the old white scar.  “I was afraid and ashamed that I’d hurt you, which always makes me angry.  I wasn’t truly angry at you, certainly never enough to send you away.”

“The thought of losing you turns me inside out,” he whispered, trembling beneath her faint caress.  “If you want this man who smells of sandalwood and dragon, I’ll find him.  We Nine will pin him flat on his back at rahke-point so you may have your way with him.”

“Tonight, the only warrior I’m going to have my way with,” she slid her leg over his hips so she straddled his abdomen, “is you.”

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NaNo Day 18 Part 2

Oh, yes, the plot thickens.  *rubs hands together wickedly*  Misdirection and suspicion abound.  The Keldari and Shanhasson intersection approaches, kicked off by this scene.

Words: 2,042

NaNo total: 46,489


“Your father says you were recently in Keldar.”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” Percy replied, holding up his hand.  One finger had been hacked off, the stump blackened as though rotted…or blasted by dragon fire.  “I barely escaped with my life.”

She kept her expression politely interested and made the appropriate noises of sympathy, but she knew him to be a liar.  No desert savage or dragon would have stopped at removing a finger if they’d truly wanted him dead. 

Percy leaned forward, still a safe distance away, but her muscles tensed.  His pale blue eyes flashed like drawn steel, and she suddenly remembered the silvered gray of Stephan’s eyes.  They shared a very similar ghastly glow that had nothing to do with light and everything to do with Shadow.  He’d leaned across the table very much the same way, that same dreadful look of hunger in his eyes.  He’d worn a small ring on his hand so evil it had throbbed and crouched like a venomous spider.  That ring had been on exactly the same hand.  That missing pinky.

Heart pounding frantically, she let her hand settle on the hilt of her rahke.

:If he does so much as twitch toward you, his head will fall into your lap,: Dharman swore.

She let shaky laughter travel through their bond.  :On the floor is fine.  It’s easier to clean than my leathers.:

Stephan was dead.  She’d seen his body hanging in the gate at High Bridge.  Even if this man was trying to masquerade as the dead Duke of Pella, his face was entirely too young and fresh.  However, the suspicion lingered.  This man could easily pass as a younger brother or cousin of Stephan.

“Your Majesty, is something wrong?” the young man asked, swallowing nervously.

“I must admit, you seem rather familiar to me.  Have we met before?”

“Not to my knowledge, Your Majesty.  Although perhaps you met my brother, Alastair?  I know he spent some time in Shanhasson before he…he…”

Color drained from the young man’s face and he suddenly looked gaunt and worn.  Now that face she could definitely see on Stephan.  Slowly, she loosened the rahke, drawing it slightly.

“Forgive my son, Your Majesty.”  Benton sniffed and wiped his eyes with a handkerchief.  “Your predecessor took Alastair from our family home as a sort of…hostage.  He didn’t survive Theo’s reign.”

 “I’m sorry for your loss.  Unfortunately, many people lost their lives during Theo’s reign.”  Relaxing, she let the rahke slip back fully into its sheath.  Theo’s enemies made for likely allies.  “What news can you tell me of Keldar?”

“There was a gathering of tribes,” he lowered his voice, flickering his gaze at his father and at the Blood at her back.  “To the south and west of [Far Illione main city].  They say the ground split open so deeply that you can see the heartfires of the earth, and a river as red as blood pours across the sands.  They say there’s a dragon in the crack, Agni, the Red Dragon, He Who Burns.  When He comes out of the ground again, He’ll burn everything in His path.  So the savages…”

He gulped and looked to his father again.  Benton nodded encouragingly.  “It’s alright, son.  She needs to know.”

“They throw sacrifices into the smoking crack,” Percy whispered breathily.  “The women they steal.  They toss them to the dragon and hope it keeps Him from burning them all.”

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NaNo Day 18

Wading through the blowing sands of Keldar, I continued work on Mykal’s thread.  Oh, he’s bad, very bad, and not at all a trustworthy sort of character.  (Which is likely why I’m so intrigued with him.)  He has a very devious plan indeed, but oh, where did this plan originate, hmmm? 

Goal today:  I’d love to break 47K.

FYI:  Mykal is reeeeally loving the Nickelback album, Dark Horse.  I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which song(s) he might like best.  *winks*

Today:  898 dark & early;

NaNo total:  44,447 words

Snippet:  four tals, the chieftains of the most powerful tribes of Keldar, meet in the darkest hour before dawn.  Gah, just realized there’s a reason I liked “Rashan” so much – I already used it!  Doh!  So the tal’Cobra needs a new name.

He didn’t have to relearn, exactly; the knowledge was there.  He simply had to filter it through layers of silt.  Occasionally, very disturbing memories filtered up through the murky water of his past, little pockets of miasma that chilled the marrow in his bones. 

Nightmares, he whispered to himself.  Only nightmares. 

I am Mykal tal’Mamba and I have a purpose. 

Not even hidden pockets of quicksand could prevent him from achieving it.    

Rashan tal’Cobra gripped the hilt of a wicked scimitar in one hand and a short sword in the other.  “If we’re to Dance the Blades at dawn, why meet now without our ravs?”

“So he can set us one upon the other,” Gana tal’Tellan retorted.  His face was so heavily tanned and lined by the punishing sun that Mykal couldn’t make out his markings.  It didn’t matter.  Tellan claimed to be the holiest and purest of all tribes in the desert, the last hope, the remnant that would be saved. 

Yet they had proven to be the most corruptible.  So much precious White blood given to them in the beginning, only to be squandered in their thirst to claim the title of azi, supreme tal’Keldar.  As sands blew constantly in the face of the storm, so had Tellan lost all they held dear.  [tie this to Given in Fire.  See, I do leave notes to myself!!  And yes, I’ll be finishing Given in Fire before I turn Return over to my editor so that this all makes perfect sense.]

“You don’t even bring a White to sacrifice,” Nijar tal’Gaboon sneered.  “How can you hope to challenge us for azi?”

The Gaboon had been well named; the man had very long fangs but less potent venom.  Mykal smiled, holding his hands out empty of all weapons.  “You bring a White?  A true White?”

“Absolutely,” Nijar retorted, drawing himself up proudly.  “I have the granddaughter of the first azi.”

Rashan hissed, muscles coiling for battle.  “You filthy jackal.  You would sacrifice one of my blood after swearing to treasure her?”

Shaking his head, Gana merely laughed.  “This child couldn’t possibly be the granddaughter of the great Zahak, for his munakura was barren.  You should be a slaver, Rashan.  How much water did Gaboon pay for your precious kin?”

“I can guarantee us a true, precious White.”  Mykal spoke softly, but his low voice carried, even to the bickering tals.  Silenced, all three stared at him.

Gana finally voiced the question they all burned to hear.  “How?”

“There’s only one White Daughter left in all the world,” Mykal whispered.  “Only one who still smells of roses.”

Rashan spat on the sands, a grave insult, but Mykal saw the whiteness of the man’s knuckles on his weapons and the grooves of strain about his mouth.  “You lie.”

A faint shudder shook Mykal’s shoulders at the memory.  “Smoldering roses that grow thicker with her desire.  Is that not how a White should smell?”

Releasing a rumbling snort of challenge dragon to dragon, Rashan took a step closer and raised the scimitar over his head.  Roaring, he asked, “How could you possibly know this?”

The creature inside Mykal stirred.  Scales slithered against his spine, claws clattering beneath his ribs.  He stiffened, fighting to keep his face smooth despite the rolling, prowling beast crawling inside him.  Dragon spawn indeed.  “I have my ways.”

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NaNo Day 17

My goals for today:

  • brainstorm some possible upcoming scenes, done
  • get at least 2000 words
  • color my hair   Ugh.  New color.  Not so hot.  Although the monsters think the pink (where my gray soaked up the most color) is cute.  *dies*
  • exercise
  • fixed a Mykal scene that was bugging me and expanded it, 755 words
  • edited the next Mykal scene for continuity.
  • Continue next Mykal scene (where I got stuck before).  Forgot to write down starting words for this section, but so far, I’ve cut instead of added anyway.  Continuity is better.  Red herrings stinking to the Three Hells.  I’ve managed to confuse myself!
  • More work on above scene, another 492 words, but it’s not done.  Slow going.  The threads are very delicate, very fragile.  I have to lay them just right.  This is the beginning that brings Keldar to Shanhasson, a major plot intersection filled with (hopefully) suspicion as the reader tries to figure out WHO the antagonist is!  (I’m still trying to figure that out myself.)  I must be careful.  A POV character canNOT keep secrets, which is making this all quite fun indeed.  My intention is to give enough clues, combined with things seen from other POVs that shed the light on two possible bad guys.  One you really don’t want to be the bad guy, but you really think might be; the other would be really easy to make the bad guy, but isn’t that too easy?  See how complicated this is??
  • prepared a new submission package of Letters.  Trying to get up the nerve to send it.  Sent it.  *dies*  Let the angst begin!

I didn’t head to Kaldi’s this morning, but decided to stay home and pamper myself with some fresh squeezed orange juice and hot tea.  I’m feeling a cold coming on, which is the last thing I need right now.  If I feel up to it this afternoon, I plan to exercise.  I’d planned to exercise faithfully this month, but I fell back into the deadly obsession of writing every spare minute I have.  This story consumes me, as I expected and feared.  Even Revision Xibalba has fallen by the wayside.  I really, really need that story revised by the end of the year, so I need to come up with a plan to achieve it.  Maybe after I hit 50K the burning urge will subside enough for me to handle both stories again at the same time.

Words:  1,803 2,558 3,050

NaNo Total:  42,302  43,057 43,549

Snippet:  this one’s rather inappropriate, but it’s so key to the upcoming drama with Mykal that I decided to post it anyway.  Shannari’s Council has suggested that she take a “proper” Green Land husband, and this is how she and her Blood reacted.  Thank the Lady that Rhaekhar and Gregar aren’t also present, else it would have been a bloodbath!

“There are, however, a few requirements these candidates must fulfill before I’d even begin to consider them as my king.”  She smiled wider and every man at the table blanched, even her father.  Deliberately, she settled more fully against Dharman, and his arms immediately came around her.  She knew he bristled with fury like an indignant herd stallion, and Sal still growled and bared his teeth like a caged tiger.  Jorah was silent, but he shone brighter, his golden hair and skin catching the light and reflecting it back until Benton, who sat nearest on the edge, winced and shielded his eyes.

“Any man who desires to sit at my right hand as my king must first come to my bed.”  Through the bond, she asked Sal to look at her.  He did so, immediately.  Slowly, she ran her fingers through his hair, lifting the heavy red pelt and letting it spill through her hand like silk.  Then she traced the bite mark on his neck.  Old and white it might be, but she knew Phillip remembered how the red-haired warrior had gained that scar years ago.  The King of Maston made a sound very much like a whimper and fled the room.

“This man must come to my bed and survive.”  She laughed softly, twisting her hand in Sal’s hair, giving him a jerk that pulled his head sharply to the side.  He moaned deep in his throat and melted against her, burying his face in her lap, perilously close to the junction of her thighs.  “This man must come through each of my Blood and meet with their approval.  And then, he must satisfy my First Blood’s challenge.”

“Challenge?”  King Challon asked, his voice shaky.

Dharman smiled so widely the other man recoiled.  “No man comes to na’lanna Qwen’s bed except through me.  Any man desiring to lay with her must challenge me for the honor of touching one hair on her head.”

Sal retorted, “And I,” followed by sharp ayes from each of her Blood.

Letting her eyes smolder, she rubbed the back of her head against Dharman’s stomach.  “Surely the servants have spread the tales, yes?  Two of my Blood sleep in my bed each and every night.  That will never change.”  Never mind that nothing had actually happened.  Yet.

King Challon spluttered, his face pale but splotched with red.  “Your Majesty, you can’t honestly expect your king to…that is…  What exactly do you mean?”

Sal lifted his head and licked his mouth thoroughly.  She felt a rush of heat flood her, even though she knew firsthand he hadn’t actually done anything.  “That means, exactly, that if she desires another man, he would have to fight each and every one of us first.  And then, if he still has blood remaining in his body enough to rise for her challenge, he would have to watch me and her First Blood nag her from sundown to sunrise, for we have first claim on her heart.  And then, if she still desires this man, he may crawl into her bed with her First Blood at her back and my rahke at his throat to ensure he does it right.”

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NaNo Day 16

My goal was two-fold today.

  1. Hit 40K.
  2. Fix those two really bad “scenes” I sketched out last night.

Both goals were accomplished, but it took me off and on all day.  I don’t have any idea what comes next.  *panics*  I’m heading to bed and hoping some very sweet dreams inspire the next section.  I’m off the next two days from the Evil Day Job, but there were several ongoing issues that will likely require me to at least log on briefly.

Words:  3446 (including yesterday’s uncounted words)

NaNo total:  40,499

Snippet:  This was a very difficult but incredibly fun and wicked scene to write.  *laughs*  And no, it’s not as bad as it sounds.  Honest.  :mrgreen:

Panting, Dharman took one glance at her face, her mouth hanging open with surprise.  He rolled to his feet and stomped toward the bath.  “Great Vulkar, Sal, your hair is bad enough.  I don’t need your hands on me too!”

“I don’t know why you’re so upset; at least you released.  I’m about to die.”  Sal flopped on his back, smacking his lips with loud appreciation.  “Besides, it wasn’t my hands.”

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NaNo Day 15

I didn’t have a cup of coffee until after 7:00 p.m. yesterday, so that should tell you what kind of day it was.

Compound that with difficulties in my story line.  Specifically, working out the romantic arc AND the Keldari arc.  Bringing them together and meeting at the appropriate time is going to be quite the challenge.  I’m afraid it’ll be sort of like building a bridge from both sides at the same time in the hopes of meeting in the middle, only to find out one side started off by an inch and the whole thing is ruined.

And, well, getting the emotional tension from angst to frustration to fulfillment without the journey being too cheesy or easy…   This is far from the same Shannari I started with five years ago.  She’s got different fears this time around, different hang ups, and figuring out how she would REALLY react is difficult.  I’ve been rewriting a lot to get her reactions right.  She’s not afraid of anything but running, but ironically, she runs a lot and doesn’t even know it.

I did manage 1034 words last night; however, I’m not going to update my word counts yet.  I really need to rewrite, fill, and stretch the two “scenes” I started in those measely words.   I need to make them meatier and more complex before I can go on.

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NaNo Day 14

Being devious is very hard work.  I’m not very good at it.

I started the next section in Mykal’s POV and trying to not only get into his head and figure out his voice (for one thing, he’s dra’gwar, and I thought he was something else entirely), I’m also trying to figure out exactly who the unnamed antagonist is and laying down hints everywhere that deliberately point to the wrong suspect(s).  This is my BIG TWIST.  It’s hard to lay down red herrings and misdirection when I’m really not sure how this will all play out. 

That’s what first drafts are for!  Figuring things out. 

However, that means I didn’t get a lot of words this Dark & Early session.  I also stopped advancing yesterday’s part 2 section.  I had a feeling things were happening a little too easily.  Easy and clean is never a good thing when writing big candybar scenes that a character has longed and ached to fulfill for YEARS. 

I also managed to sort of run out of DVD. 

What does that mean, you ask?  Well, funny, I was just telling May about the long years of daydreaming I’d done for this story, playing it out in my head like a DVD.  There’s a bunch of things I knew from the very old version I tried in 2004, but I got a lot of things wrong.  (Like who Mykal really is)  Some of the big scenes from that old version are flavoring the story now, but in unexpected ways, which shifts the DVD off its track just a little.  Enough little shifts, and all the sudden, this story is nothing like what I expected.

That’s where I am now.  The dreaded middle, and my DVD is actually a little corrupted.  There are some big black holes it skips, and I’m going to have to find a way to fill in with new dreams.  The way in which Dharman finally gets his heart’s desire was happening much too easily.  The same thing happened with Gregar in book 2.  Too easy.  Not real.  Not him

Back to the drawing board.  e.g. I’ll be pulling out the notebook later today and brainstorming.

Words:  520

NaNo total:  37,053

Snippet:  nothing good enough yet from today’s section. :oops:   

I’ll cheat and share something from last night’s–as long as you understand this section may be entirely axed and rewritten.

Dharman flung himself out of the Dream so hard he slid off the edge of the bed and slammed his skull onto the stone floor.

Sal yelled, “ALARM!”

Steel pricked Dharman’s flesh in at least five key spots, along with hard knees to pin him to the floor.  Panting, he didn’t move.  “Is she awake?”

“Yes, I am,” she answered, her voice muffled.  “Get off me, Sal.  I want to see what’s wrong.  Dharman?  Are you alright?”

Her voice rose with concern, which shouldn’t have made him feel so good.  The knees and rahkes left him, but even with his eyes closed, he knew the other Blood hovered close, ready to eliminate him if he proved Shadowed in any way.  He’d taught them well.  “I’m fine, na’lanna Qwen.  Just give me a moment to catch my breath.”

“Let me up.”  Sal must have complied, for her palm settled on Dharman’s cheek.  “What happened?”

“I have a confession to make.”  He opened his eyes but didn’t try to get up yet.  Once she found out he’d been spying on her sleep, she might put him back on the floor.  “I’ve been guarding your Dreams.”

She didn’t say anything, but he could see the thoughts whirling in her mind.  He knew the moment she made the connection, remembering what she’d done just a few moments ago.  Her cheeks flushed and then drained of all color.  “I ate you.”

Squatting down beside her, Sal laughed, cutting it off to a choked clearing of his throat at the look she shot him. 

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NaNo Day 13 Part 2

Lunch session was very, very interesting.  I didn’t plan to write this scene either, but it suddenly came to me, and I had one of those manic crazed sessions of writing as fast as possible before I lost it.

Why so cool?  Dharman meets someone unexpectedly in her Dream.

Words: 1,581 3,301

NaNo total: 34,813 36,533

Unexpected developments.  This might be the big one for Dharman.  Placement is still iffy.  What’s really creeping me out (in a most excellent way) is how this unnamed antagonist is driving events so easily.  I already see the next Dream where he sees how the small seeds he planted here have resulted in exactly the fruit he planned.  I can even see the look on his face.  Although the face I see isn’t the face Dharman sees at all.  *mysterious*

Also brainstormed with Sis, always a delightful experience.  Planning devious things to do to Mykal once he arrives in Shanhasson.  *laughs*

Snippet (spoilers axed):

Vulkar help him, he wanted her so badly.  He growled, “Who am I?”

A flash of light blinded him.  She twisted and curled in his hands, flesh melting into glossy hard scales.  The White Dragon turned, tail lashing, her jaws gaping wide to threaten him with teeth as long as his rahke.

He opened his mouth, but a whinny tore out of his throat.  He jerked his gaze down to his body.  Coat as blood-red as Sal’s hair, he wore the shape of a na’kindre, a very small na’kindre compared to the beast towering over him.  A look flickered in her slitted eyes that tightened his stomach with dread, yet he didn’t turn away.  He’d never turn away from her.

She snapped those mighty jaws shut on his spine and he screamed, broken, unable to fight or flee.

:Is this what you want?:  She roared in his mind, shaking him side to side, tearing through his hide and breaking his bones.  :Is this what you drive me to do?:

:Na’lanna, all I want you to do is love me.:

With a howl, she tossed him into darkness.

“Impressive,” a male said.  “Does she know you walk in her Dreams?”

Trembling, Dharman pushed himself up.  His human body had returned and he didn’t feel pain any longer, but her Dream had shaken him more than he cared to admit, especially to a stranger.  Tensing, he cast out his senses, searching for the source of the threat.  He dropped his hand to his rahke.  “Who are you?”

A man stepped out of the darkness.  Although he was swathed head to toe in black cloth, he didn’t radiate evil.  The man’s skin was leathery and dark, as though burned and peeled and burned again in impossible heat.  Strange markings dotted his cheeks beneath each eye.  For some reason, the man’s pale silver eyes seemed horribly out of place.

A man of such dark coloring would surely have dark eyes.

“I’m here because she Called me, even though she knows not what she does.”  The man smiled, and Dharman tightened his fingers on his rahke.  His skin prickled, his heart pounding like stampeding na’kindre, even though the man was trying very hard not to appear dangerous.  It was the very lack of threat that alarmed him.  This wasn’t Gregar or Rhaekhar, and the only other man who’d appeared in her dreams was Shadow wrapped in dragon hide.  “Would you deny her?”

“I would give her anything,” he replied stiffly.  “My blood is hers.”

“Would you give her your life?”

“Aye,” he retorted, unsheathing his rahke.  “Would you?”

The man chuckled, pacing a slow circle about him.  “We shall see very soon, very soon indeed.”

Dharman shifted his weight on the balls of his feet to better attack.  “How do you know her?”

“I always know her, and she always knows me.”  The man shrugged, unconcerned.  A long slivered moon of a blade hung on his hip, but he made no move to touch it.  “Yet this, I do not understand.  If she wants to enter so badly, why doesn’t she?  It’s her Dream.  She can do anything she wants, even Call me forth from those burning sands.”

[some paragraphs deleted]

The truth dawned on him. The breath exploded out of his lungs, and his knees sagged until he fell, barely catching himself before he planted his face on the stone.  “She refuses her heart.  She refuses to love.  She refuses…me.”

Iyeh,” the man’s voice echoed with compassion and he slapped Dharman on the back.  “She can’t shine with love.  She can’t be brightheart.  She can only be darkness and shadow, and that, my friend, is my domain.”

“Keep your filthy hands off her.”

The man laughed, and his genteel, amused tone grated steel claws down Dharman’s spine.  “Oh, this is priceless.  I’ve never had her before you, but this time, young Red, I may very well take her before she’s ever even yours.” 

He leaned down and lightly touched the old scar on Dharman’s chest directly over his heart.  The day she’d brought down the Shining Walls with his blood, her teeth in his flesh, seemed like an eternity, a lifetime ago. 

“This time, my teeth will brand her flesh before yours.”

With a roar, Dharman surged to his feet and thrust the rahke as hard as he could.  His blade sank to the hilt, grinding on the man’s ribs.

Laughing, he grabbed Dharman’s shoulder and pulled his body harder onto the blade, writhing on steel with a low sound of pleasure. 

Appalled, Dharman jerked back, his hand burning with the man’s blood.

“It will feel ever so much better when she does it.”  The man melted away, but his voice lingered.  “Your blood may be hers, but soon, her blood will be mine, all mine.”

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NaNo Day 13

Back to the Evil Day Job today, so it was Dark & Early this morning.

I started a section last night, thinking that’s where I needed to be, but woke up with a different scene in mind that happened before.  That’s the problem with “summary” scenes — it’s not always apparent what to summarize and what to live out on page. 

And of course, I’m eager to skip all this angst.  I made that monumental mistake when I attempted this story years ago — I actually skipped all of this and tried to give pieces only via flashbacks.  What a mess.

Shannari made a very difficult request today, but for spoiler reasons, I can’t share much, so the snippet isn’t as meaty as usual.

Words: 1,459

NaNo Count:  33,232


“No,” she said sharply.  They all looked at her as though she’d spat on Vulkar’s name, and perhaps she had.  “I won’t let them grow up as mindless pawns the Gods shuffle around on a chess board.  Although they’re Daughters of Leesha, they’re also mine, and they have a right to lives of their own.”

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NaNo Day 12 Part 2

With my afternoon session, I ran into another full-blown intense emotional scene.  Whew.  Again, my nerves are in tatters.  So intense.  And yeah, not Romancelandia-correct, but the torches and pitchforks would have come out a loooooong time ago for this Story.  :mrgreen:

I think I’m ready for a “summary” lead in to the next major part of the book when they officially Return to Shanhasson.  Actually, I think I need a Mykal section.  Squee!  The Keldari plot thickens…

I’ll update this entry again if I get any more tonight after monster homework.  Back to the Evil Day Job tomorrow.

Word count: 1,620

NaNo total: 31,773


She slammed her fist into his stomach.  Her knuckles cracked against the hard slab of muscle, but she welcomed the pain.  This was a good pain.  It told her she was alive.  She hadn’t frozen solid yet.

Dharman didn’t even grunt.  Raising her throbbing fist in his hand, he kissed her knuckles.  Now, he made a low rumbling sound, whether pleasure or sympathy, she didn’t want to know. 

“A few more blows like that and your hand will be broken and swollen.  It won’t hurt you so much if you use my face.”  Like a horse, he nuzzled his cheek against her fist and wrist.  “Or use the heel of your hand to spare your knuckles.  Otherwise, you’ll finish much too soon.”

“We don’t want that,” Sal drawled, shaking his red hair forward to hang in his eyes.  “I want a turn.”

She didn’t think; she slapped him so hard the noise exploded in the tent.  Shaken, she stared at him, her mouth falling open with horror.  Her palm burned.  Lady, what had she done?

“Don’t give it all to him just because you know he likes pain,” Dharman growled, drawing her attention to him.  “I like pain, too, when it comes from your hand.”

“I like anything you do.”  Sal tipped his head back, shaking his hair away from his face so her handprint blazed clearly on his cheek.  “Give us more.  Hands, teeth, whatever you need.”

Dharman shifted his weight forward, his eyes flashing in the tent.  “Vulkar, especially your teeth.  I want that most of all.”