Sunday, November 04, 2007
NaNo Day 3: 11,012 (46,161 Total)
I hit a problem with the story, but I worked past it. It means a good bit cut from my outline, but I should still have at least 50 to 60k of story by the time I'm done. That's good enough for this first draft. Who knows. Maybe tonight I'll come up with some other answer, but I'm not going to work myself up too much over it.
To answer one of Cheryl's notes on an earlier post -- Yes, you have heard of these characters before. The first novel, Mirrors, was one of my 2005 (I think) NaNo novels.
And for both Cheryl and Gabriele -- This snippet might help explain things. Someone has just witnessed something magical he shouldn't have, and now some decisions have to be made.
"This is crazy. This can't be happening."
Darion leaned forward and met the man's look. "I can make you forget about it. You'll leave here without any knowledge of the gargoyle or anything else that's going on. It will make things a lot easier for you, Detective Barber. Knowing there are things going on that you can't control -- because you don't have the magic to do so -- will not make life any easier for you."
He stared. I could almost see thoughts going through his head, but he finally shook his head no. "I'm a cop for a reason. It's because I don't look away, you know. And knowing this -- I don't know that I can help, but if there is something going on, I know who I can turn to, right?"
"Absolutely," Darion said with an emphatic nod. "Not all the fae are friendly towards humans, but some of us are. And some of us aren't happy with what has been happening here, especially when something like a damned gargoyle thinks it can just walk in on humans. Its kind should never be over on this side, and the fact that he's already screwed up so badly with his stone of power --"
"Explain that one to me."
Darion nodded. I was just glad to have everything moving away from the focus on me and on to something I wanted to talk about anyway. I didn't know much about this stone myself, and from the look Darion gave me, I think he realized it. I gave a nod, hoping to encourage him to go ahead with it. It would save me asking the questions and looking stupid.
"Gargoyles, and some other creatures across the veil, carry special stones that have magical power stored in them. Fae don't use them because we have enough innate power of our own. But the creatures of lesser magic strength often do. They're very dangerous, especially on this side. Falling into the hands of humans is much worse. And that's what we think has happened. The damn, stupid gargoyle was prowling around allies and shadows and lost the stone he carried. He's marked Skye to find it."
"As if she doesn't have enough to worry about already," Cherry said.
I saw Barber look a little confused again, his head turning to look at Darion and then at Cherry and then back again. He glanced once at me, and I could feel his confusion this time --
He looked back at Darion this time. "You call Skye 'he' and Cherry calls Skye 'she.' Why?"
They both looked startled and blushed and I felt a little welling of amusement, which surprised me. I should have realized that this part would be coming up soon. I didn't even know how to approach it --
"Skye Emerald McFaeland is unique, Detective Barber," Darion said. He sounded remarkably solemn, too, which took me by surprise. "He is the only fae-human half-breed alive, and the first one even born in more than two hundred years. Fae and Humans don't match up well."
"I'm not male and I'm not female," I finally said. "And I'm not both. I'm neither. I am, in many ways, just what people perceive me to be. I can influence it sometimes by the way I dress and the way I act. But sometimes the way others see me has an influence on what I am as well."
"That has to be hell."
"Sometimes it is," I admitted. "It's hard sometimes, especially when people aren't sure. I do my best to avoid crowds and to be the center of attention in larger groups that don't already know me. It can give me a hell of a headache, and it makes the people surely because they can't tell. They don't like the feeling any better than I do."
"Which do you prefer?"
No one had ever asked that question before. It made me feel a little better, just hearing it. "I don't care which one. It doesn't matter to me, so long as the person is consistent."
"Ah." He nodded. I felt the shift. He was more comfortable with 'he' than 'she' which didn't really surprise me. He'd felt that way from the start and only shifted when Cherry had tagged me as female. He was more comfortable with me again. "Okay, let's get back to something important. This stone. What should I be looking for?"
"I don't think you could find the stone itself. I've been testing out areas with magic, and even I can't find it," Darion said. "They're tricky. They have so much power that they start getting smart about it."
"Like they're alive?" Barber said, looking worried again.
"Yes, in a way." Darion looked at me, and I thought about the little plate I had accidentally awoken in the Ruby House a few months ago. That had been during the trouble with Lacey Weaver -- and I did not want to bring that up right now. I'm sure Barber would think of it eventually, remember how he had actually met us all, and no doubt realizing there had been magic involved in that case as well, but I really didn't want to get into it right now, with everything else going on. "Anything that holds magic for a while can start getting smarter, or at least cunning. It makes them dangerous. And a stone that was made by gargoyles is going to be worse. They're -- well, crude in some ways. Coarse and uncaring about others. That translates into their magic. I fear that a stone like this is going to badly warp whoever takes hold of it. It will make the person --"
"Cruel," Barber said. "And powerful? More than one person?"
"Yes," Darion said. "Anyone who handled the stone or who was close to it for a while would be affected. That much magic and unprotected humans -- it's not good."
"How long would it take?"
"I don't know. Not long, I suspect. And I don't know how long this stone has been out there, anyway. The Gargoyle came to Skye last night while he was out trying to find things out for Kelly and told him to find the stone."
"Why you?" he asked, looking back at me.
"Because I'm half fae, so the magic part didn't surprise, shock or frighten me," I said. "And I do find things, you know."
"Yes, that's true. And you agreed to find it."
"I was coerced and then I was trapped into it with magic." I put a hand gently on my chest, but I didn't pull down the shirt to show the long cut that was not healed, but at least didn't bleed. "It wasn't what I wanted, but I'm going to have to hunt for it anyway."
"I think I can help," Barber said. He lifted a hand when Darion started to protest. "No, I think I can help because I think I already have some information for you. The gang trouble I was talking to you about, Skye. It's been a big change in a little gang, and suddenly they're taking on people with a lot more power -- normal human power -- than they have, and they're winning. And they're mutilating the bodies. Tearing arms off, twisting heads clear around, crushing legs. We've been trying to figure out how they do it. This, I think is the answer, especially since they changed their gang name to Stones."
"Where can we find them?" Darion asked, already starting to stand.
"Sit down. I don’t know where they are. None of us do, or we'd have gone in already. We are tracking them."
Darion nodded and sat back down. He leaned forward. "These are going to be very dangerous, Detective Barber. They are going to be changed and charged with magic. Going up against them with guns may not help at all."
He started to say something, and then nodded. "The other gangs had guns. Hell, just about everyone has guns, and it hasn't stopped them at all. I don't want to see good cops killed trying to take on something they can't win against."
He looked toward the door again, as though he could see the gargoyle still. He paled a little again as he probably thought about trying to take on things like that in a battle in which guns did no good. I felt sorry for him. Life as a Chicago cop hadn't been easy before. This just made it worse.
But he stood, finally. "I'm going back to the office. I'll ask info on the gang be passed by me because I think there is a connection to the Kelly Fairbanks disappearance. Hell, there even is, since Skye will be working on both."
"True," Darion said. He stood as well, and held out his hand. "I'm glad you chose the way you did. I trust you, Detective Barber."
Barber hardly even paused before taking the hand and nodding as well. "I don't know what I feel yet, but I'm glad you trust me. It occurs to me you could have made me forget without my permission. I'm going to want to know more."
Darion nodded. "When you're ready, when you have questions, and when we have time. Right now though --"
"Right now Skye needs some sleep," Cherry said. She caught my arm and started to get me up before I could even protest. I hadn't realized it until then, but I had been almost asleep where I sat."
"Yeah, sleep," I agreed. I looked over at Barber and held out my own hand. He took it as well and shook, man-to-man. I could tell from the touch that he was the kind of man who, once he made up his mind on something, stuck with it. Good. It would make things easier for all of us."
I went off to bed, curling up under the blankets again and hoping I got a couple more hours of sleep before the next round of trouble. I could tell there was more coming. I could feel it in the air.
But I closed my eyes and ignored it again, and slept while I could.