Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Late. It keeps getting later every night, I think. It's coming up on 4 am. I'm tired.
I'm cropping in the opening to the last book I'm working on. I'm not sure I'm going to get it done during NaNo, but I'm doing alright with it. The other one -- Working for the Guild -- is still moving, but so slowly that I'd have a hard time getting a good snippet it out of it. I just hope it makes 50k or I'm going to be very unhappy with it.
So here is the opening from Gift:
The night came, a cold black Tasal night in the depths of the endless winter, where the sun slept beyond the edge of the world, and never showed himself. The icy winter remained without relief, and the snows blew through days that were lost in the darkness of time. Here only the cold white of snow and the darkness of eternal death reigned, and few survived. Only the strong came out of the north of Tasal.

So they sat and waited, the five men. They huddled in the cave and watched the far peak across the snowfield, where the red fires of the God Abaddon burned bright. The vigil of the endless day and night was their sacred duty and they came here to live by their wits, far from the protection of the tribes and villages. They were the Chosen, whom even a chieftain would not defy, and they lived like animals in the cave, fighting with the wolf for the kill.

There had been unease in the world. They waited now for a sign to show victory or loss.

The sign came finally. Loss. The red fires of Abaddon flared and died -- and in all the eons of Tasali Legends, the Power of Abaddon had never failed here in the heartland of his believers. For a breathless moment the five watched the darkness with a mixture of awe and fear -- though none of them would have admitted to the last.

The fire flickered again; less now, but not dead. A cold wind blew with the moan of a thousand dead, and somewhere too close to the cave, the wolves howled in dismay.

For a dozen heartbeats all had been lost and Tasal had been without Shaman, Power and God. But the light had returned, so that the God was not defeated beyond redemption. Beyond any doubt, Shaman had died, though, and the new alter in Kalia destroyed, along with the promise of victory over the decadent southlands beyond the strait.

However, the ancient seat of power shined again with the promise of support that had always kept the Tasali fighting all within their reach. Abaddon stood with them, and such a blood-thirsty and dangerous God was not match for the soft whispering Gods of plenty from the south.

Something suddenly shined brighter above the mountain, the light nearly overpowering the blood red glare of their God's power.

The sign was not their sign. The light flared and remained in the sky, an affront to their God and them.

Standing at the opening to the cave, four men glared. The fifth stepped back one pace and drew his dagger. He killed the strongest of his companion's first and a second before the first even fell. He took a cut across the arm from the third as he jabbed the man through his heart. By then the power of the God was strong with him, and he grabbed the last and ripped his throat out. He threw the bodies down the hillside for the wolves to feast upon and then he gathered his scant supplies and prepared for his journey up the mountain to the Altar of Abaddon.

He was Shaman now and the war was his to fight. The affront of the Southerners and their Gods would be avenged. He swore so upon the holiness of his new station in life.
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