Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Day 27: 8133 (17544 book, 178202 total)
Only three days left. I'm glad. I don't think I could take much more of a month like this.
I started with an injured wrist, which worried me. Oddly, it didn't bother me nearly as much as I expected. Well, not until I jammed my arm against something yesterday, and now it's been hurting like hell again. Gah. I still got quite a bit of writing done, so it's not nearly as bad as it was in October. But it is still annoying.
Of course, everything is annoying right now. I can't say I've enjoyed this NaNo nearly as much as I have the ones in the past, but I don't think it was the fault of NaNo or even the books I've worked on. For obvious reasons, I've not been in a good mood. I don't know if it's going to improve much or not, but I think having NaNo done will be a help. I'm going to finish Guild, and I likely will reach the 200k mark, but I'm not certain I'll have Gift done. Probably close, though. I'll be spending most of the last days doing nothing but writing. Hmmm. . . . maybe that doesn't sound so bad after all.
We're supposed to have a wind storm and snow tomorrow. With my luck, we'll lose power. It's been that kind of month, you know.
I'm tired tonight. I think I'm going to be going to bed before dawn for a change. Sounds like a good plan to me!
Snippet of Gift:
He crossed to the table and pulled out a chair -- and pushed Peri down into it before he took the chair to the right. The Lords and servants were looking increasingly distressed, but it was the look of worry on Keshrin's face that drew all of Peri's attention. The others had found their seats and a silence fell across the room.
"Is there trouble, Your Highness?" Valerian asked, leaning forward to see the king.
"All kinds of trouble," he said, and ran a hand over his hair -- a nervous gesture not lost on anyone else here. "We have word from the border. Toru has gathered another Tasali army, and he's invaded the north of Kalia again. Words is that this is no small landing force, either."
"Heading south," Valerian said and won a nod from Keshrin. "Are the Kalians putting up much of a fight?"
"All that they can -- but it's not enough."
"Kalia was already devastated when the army went through there last winter," Brisen said. "So there can't be much at all standing between the Tasali and the Avanti border."
"Still, you have an excellent army, King Keshrin," Valerian said. "The Tasali are truly barbarians, and I don't think they have any idea of strategy beyond running headlong into battle. Toru has some military experience, but nothing to match your own General Roald."
"I suspect you are right," Keshrin said. "What do you know about a General named . Romanus?"
"The Kolti General?" Valerian's eyes went wide as he sat back. "One of the best generals in the army and a good leader. Gods all, tell me he's not leading the Tasali!"
"No, no, of course not," Keshrin replied.
"Praise the Gods for that," Valerian said. "I thought the world had gone mad."
"He's leading the Kolti army that's coming at us from the East."
Silence fell everywhere, and it seemed to Peri that no one breathed for a dozen heartbeats as they all stared, stunned by the news.
"The Kolti are marching against Avanti?" Antonius finally said, shaking his head in disbelief still. "Why? Why now?"
"They say because we are the cause of the infractions last winter," Keshrin replied. He put both hand son the table and looked up and down the group. "They say we crossed into Kalia to test our ability to take the borderlands, and that we're keeping a Kalian Lord hostage to use in our plain of taking the lands that have been set aside as a buffer between Tasal, Kotli and Avanti."
"Of all the stupid, ridiculous Kolti ideas I have ever heard --" Valerian began, his voice gathering strength and momentum as he spoke. "What the hell do they think the Tasali were doing all the way to the border, for the love of the Gods! What do they think Shaman was doing here!"
"They say that we fabricated the story of the Tasali and Shaman to cover our real plans -- because, plainly, no army could have invaded Kalia from the north in winter."
"Gods!" Valerian snarled.
"Fabri. . . ?" Robyn asked.
"Made up the story. Pretend," Keshrin explained. "Hadad?"
"Yes." He looked back at Tain, both of them plainly unsettled by the news, which meant they understood well enough.
"We have one other problem," Stephan added, looking down the table at Peri and the priests who had sat near him. "The Most Holy High Priest of Kolti has given his approval to this war. He has made it a Holy war, a Crusade and his chosen man with the army, who is coming specifically for Tomas, Antoni and me."
"And what have we done?" Tomas asked, his face gone paler now.
"Can't you guess?" Perseus asked, his own voice hard with anger. "You've stood with me."
"Not just because of you, Peri," Stephan said. "I sent the Most holy a report on all that happened with Shaman. He denies Shaman existed, Peri. He says we've created the lies to win gold and fame in the world of men. You were only added glitter to his excommunications."
"Gods," Tomas said. "Excommunicated. All three of us?"
"Yes." Stephan looked to Antoni and back to Tomas. "Forgive me, but this is of no real importance right now. We fought Shaman. We know he was real. We know that the Gods were with us, and we know we saved Avanti, if not all the world, from a very great evil. I respect the Most High Holy and I love the temple, but I shall not take this to heart. If I did, that would mean I must regret what we did. Do you regret, Tomas?"
"No, of course not." His voice steadied and he sat up straighter again. "It was only the shock."
"I understand. I had to sit down when the messenger handed me the note."
"We all know where we stand then," Keshrin said. "Now, I would be honored if you would all try to help me figure out what we should do next." There were nods from his friends, but the Lords seemed unsure still. Keshrin looked at them, his head tilted this time. "Unless the five of you want to tell me that Shaman never existed, and that these friends of mine are really our enemies, I suggest you join in the conversation. I will not have any more of this stupid court rivalry and jealousy. I don’t' have time to be subtle, and I don't have time to play diplomat now. Either you are with us against the true enemy, or you are not. Make your decision now."
Peri saw the changes that came to their faces -- the moment when they went from looking at him to looking at the real trouble. Good. He hadn't been certain they could work past their own bigotry.
"Well, Peri, it seems you are going to be with us for a while yet," Keshrin said. "Though, perhaps, you would be wise to get out before the Kolti invade."
"I would not leave under these circumstances," he said, bowing his head to the inevitable. "Though, Gods forgive me, I could have used a slightly less powerful omen to tell me I shouldn't go."
The candles flared all around the room.
"Fine," he said with a sigh. "That's sign enough."