I had a huge realization after I went to bed last night.
See, the most precious thing has been happening with this story. In that dreamy land between awake and asleep when I first go to bed, I’ve been dreaming Story. I love it. I wish it happened every single night, but what I’ve learned is that it really only happens when I’m DEEP in the Well. When every comment or song or image has the power to speak to me in the language of that particular story. When I hear a song and unexpectedly nearly burst into tears because it reminds me of the emotion in the story.
THAT’s magic, and what drives me as a writer. I love those moments.
So there I lay last night, drifting off to sleep, and I realized I had not yet done enough redeeming in order for Mykal to receive his heart’s desire. I was missing something. Or rather, he had not yet rid himself of something. I dreamed his Dream, then, and it took everything I thought I knew and turned it all on its head again, yet fits perfectly with everything I’ve known all along. I know that doesn’t make sense, exactly, but that’s why it’s so cool.
And of course, the key with Mykal is that he can always do what her Blood cannot. That’s his gift to her, and his danger.
Today: 2,637 3,447
NaNo Total: 75,661 76,471
Snippet: I adore this scene. It brings Keldari culture and directly applies it to the plot and characterization. If you’ve read the Keldari Fire novellas and have seen “My water is yours,” this is what it all means underneath the surface.
An intolerable eternity later, she finally pushed tiredly up out of her chair and led the way toward her bedchamber without a single glance in Mykal’s direction. He could almost convince himself she’d forgotten about his presence entirely, but a tenseness remained in her shoulders even after she shut the door and privacy was ensured.
Outwardly, she remained controlled and calm. The First Blood helped remove her armor, he and the red-haired warrior speaking to her soothingly, giving her the intimate little touches that spoke of great affection and dedication. Inwardly, though, Mykal swore a fierce storm blew in her so cold that it burned. She felt brittle and sharp in his mind, as though…
As though she might break.
Sympathy and understanding welled within him. She’d nearly lost those she held most dear, after already suffering great loss. She needed to release this storm of emotion with her beloved, but she dared not break down before him, a man she rightfully did not trust. He watched, silently, trying to decide whether she would most appreciate the dragon or the savage. Should he offer arrogance, and thus drive her to battle and violence? Or better yet, he would once more do what her Blood could not.
“In the desert,” he began, ignoring the fierce glares from her two closest warriors, “I would offer you what small water I possessed in exchange for hospitality. Whether you accepted me into your tent only, or your sepah, the entire encampment, or not at all, would be entirely up to you. Keldar is a hard land, a hard life, and you might as easily kill me where I knelt. Water is all in the desert, more precious than blood or family, and if you accepted me, you would be required to share your stores with me. Most guests are killed outright to spare the water, so to offer hospitality first with no gift from me, and then allow me into your private tent, is truly rare.”
She listened but couldn’t look at him.
Slowly so as not to alarm her guard, he unbuckled the leather straps crossed over his chest and disarmed himself, handing his weapons to the nearest warrior. Letting the taamid slip to the floor, he held his hands palm forward at his sides and slowly moved closer. Both warriors bristled, but he came only near enough so she could breathe his scent and touch him if she desired, where he knelt at her feet.
“Once accepted, a guest is often proven more loyal than even a rav or brother by blood. He’s been given water, the most precious commodity in all the desert, followed by shelter from the punishing sun. A guest who dared to kill or harm his host would be the vilest of all creatures, worse than any scavenger or jackal. We Keldari would rather take by force or die in the attempt than sneak and steal a single drop of water.
“My water is yours.” He softened his voice and hung his head, deliberately shaking his hair forward to hide his face. “My heart is yours, my very life.”
Still loose, his hair pooled on the white marble like the foul oil slick spreading in his soul. Shadowed he may be, but he came on bended knee and offered all that he had, willingly, to her, with no pride, no honor, to stand between them. If he didn’t think she’d regret the loss too greatly, he’d hack off his hair, the last symbol of honor that he did not deserve.
“You accepted me as guest into your private tent.” He bowed low, pressing his mouth to the white floor. He rose slightly, and then leaned closer, slowly stretching out his head to press his lips to her boot. “That you might additionally offer a single, precious tear humbles me, brightheart.”
Her breath snagged loudly in her throat, the sob bitten off before it could escape, but her bond shimmered with rains and winds that had not graced the desert in a thousand years and more.
Keeping his eyes low so as not to force aggression on her warriors, he carefully lifted his mouth and pressed a chaste kiss to the back of her right hand. “You made a promise to your Red. Let not my presence as guest interfere.”