Wednesday, March 11, 2009
More Kat Among the Pigeons
Dare I say it? Writing is going VERY well right now. Draw the Line is still moving along at its snail pace of 500 words -- about 35k now. Hmmm... if I want a 100k book, how long is that going to take me anyway? 200 days, right? So a bit over half a year. I suppose that's really not too bad. Kind of odd for me, but not too bad.
I need to look at what I want to happen before the halfway point, though. Because I'm not writing it straight through, it is harder to see the steps.
Kat Among the Pigeons is also doing well. Far more work than I expected, but doing fine. I'm probably a third of the way through it. I also have a short story I started that I need to get back to soon, so that's good.
Short story class is nearly done, as well. So there... getting things done. I feel as though I'm actually on top of things, and that should last for at least an hour or two more before I remember all the things that I really do need to get done.
Ah, and let's talk about the weather, shall we? -16 wind chills last night. Too cold to sleep. We have snow back on the ground yet again, though only a dusting of it. It will melt. I know it will. In fact, it looks like we might be back up to about 50 on Saturday, so I don't have to suffer through this for too long. Will it stay this time? I really have my doubts. It's been that kind of year. And what if the cold does go away? I'll probably half 100f weather with 99% humidity the next week.
Not that I mistrust it or anything.
The big thing I need to work on tonight are the two new sections for FM. I have them both mapped out, and the main board done for one, so that won't be too bad. I hope to have both done and going by this weekend, though it's hard to say if I will get there. I have a few things to sort out with it first, but I don't think it will be too hard to do.
I do need to get back to work on the DAZ Newsletter, though it's almost done. (See, I told you there would be something that would pop up.) It's almost done, though, so it shouldn't be too much trouble.
But here is another bit of Kat Among the Pigeons! Hope you enjoy it!
I had just about reached the point where I thought it safe to get us back to home when something came flapping through the trees at us. Remembering the nuthatches and their fear of 'big wings' brought magic right up to my fingertips, but as the creature landed in the tree before me, I could see it was another great horned owl. The lighter feathers on his chest and wings caught the faint moonlight and made them look silvery, and the brown circles of his face had turned darker in the night, so that only his great golden eyes shown from them, while his ear twisted back and forth.
"Who is it?" he demanded staring into the night. "Who is it?"
Only I realized he wasn't looking at me.
I spun and found the ethereal shape of a man on horseback a few yards behind us. He glowed very softly, and not from the moonlight. That was pure magic. I could almost see the face in the shape of light --
But more than that, now that I knew it was there, I could feel the cold, empty hunger that it brought with him. It wanted... wanted something. It yearned for something, and I had the odd feeling that thing might be life.
Cato had fluffed up again, but he didn't hiss and looked as though he tried not to draw attention, wise cat. This wasn't something you wanted to look at you and to know that you even exist. I didn't know quite what stood there before me -- not a ghost, at least in the conventional sense. It had too much of a feel of fae in the magic that made it glow.
I did know this creature did not belong here. Neither horse nor rider should not have been wandering the woods, and they most certainly should not have been following me.
"Who are you?" I asked aloud, and sounded far too much like the owl.
Cato made a little shushing sound, like I shouldn't be talking to this creature. I needed some answers, though, before I could send it back. This wasn't like the trolls: Sleep would not work on a specter, and I had the distinct feeling I wasn't going to talk this one into crossing back either.
Purpose. That's what I felt, above the hunger. It had a purpose.
The horse took quick two steps closer to me. The owl lifted and flew off, drawing the look of horse and rider. That told me two things: that it really was here in this world, and not just a shadow from the other side, and that it had trouble concentrating. The creature should never have taken his eyes from me.
I lifted my hand and started to let lose a bolt of magic that would have shattered the ephemeral bonds of the shape he held. However, it looked back, and the rider pulled the horse to the side. My magic swept past and shattered against a tree.
I pulled up another bolt, but the horse and rider had already turned and rushed into the shadowy woods. I couldn't let it go that easily. I raced after it.
Maybe not wise...
Fae can run easily in the woods. It's a gift of being magical, which means we are closer to that innate magic of nature. I had no trouble following the two. They seemed to have trouble navigating between the trees and the brush, and mostly followed the elk trails, to a brook, across it -- Cato howled as we splashed through that one. I thought about stopping to pick him up, but the rider had slowed a little, and I thought maybe his reserves were running low.
"I have to get him!" I said, panting a little as we jogged on.
"Yeah," Cato answered, more out of breath than me.
We startled more than elk during the mad dash through the woods. I think we even passed a couple bears. I sent out a little pulse of power to make certain nothing came charging after us and grabbed Cato. Startling bears or moose is never a good idea; they'll sometimes charge you just out of pure frustration, I think.
We turned back toward The Edge. Good. Maybe I could get this thing through to the other side and be done with this for the night. I wanted to go home and not have any more problems. This thing must have come through with the trolls, wandered around a bit, and then found me. With my magic, I would be a beacon to anything from fae. I didn't quite know what this was, but sometimes things start as myths and drift over from the human side. Myths always have some magic involved, and if they are strong enough, they migrate to fae. This had the feel of something out of a storybook, though I couldn't name it.
At the next turn, the horse and rider stopped and looked at me as I charged forward. I slowed. I didn't want a confrontation since I couldn't be certain of its powers. It looked like a ghost, but that didn't make it one. And besides, even ghosts can be dangerous.
The horse panted and the rider leaned forward over the neck, patting it behind the ears. I could see the odd shape of some helmet on his head. I couldn't make it out, but it wasn't a cowboy hat and didn't look Native American, either. I wanted to see more clearly, but the moment I took a step forward the horse and rider turned and fled again.
I didn't want to spend all night running through the woods.
"Kat!" Cato protested when I started up again.
"Stay here. I'll come back for you!"
"Stay?" I heard him call out as I dashed back into the shadows of the trees again. "Are you crazy?"
I thought I must be, but I couldn't stop chasing the horse and rider. They were tiring and I thought it would be easy to either destroy it or get it back through The Edge. I wanted the last answer, because I always hate destroying something. It might not be a danger --
I knew that wasn't true. I could still feel the hunger and the need like a cold breeze where they passed. It wanted something here. It shouldn't be in this world, but wanting something as well meant an imbalance.
I thought I could hear Cato panting along behind me. I started to tire and slow. Off to the left The Edge glowed and I could feel growing magic in the air. I drew a little to myself, hoping I didn't cause more problems -- and hoping that whatever I pursued couldn't do the same.
I could see horse and rider clearly ahead again, in a little opening where they stopped by The Edge, the horse's head down and the rider slumped in the saddle.
This was almost over.
I glanced down to see Cato throw himself in front of me. I tripped over him and landed face down in the snow bank.
And from here I could see the wide, deep ravine between me and the rider. If Cato hadn't tripped me I would have tumbled over the embankment, and I don't think I could have pulled magic up quickly enough to save myself from some a serious injury.
I scrambled back from the ravine on hands and knees and looked across to the horse and rider. They had cast aside the charade of being worn. I looked into his face: Dark eyes, almost real, stared back at me. We measured each other in that silent moment, and I knew I didn't come out the stronger of the two of us.
Half panicked, I pulled more magic to me. It came like the flash of lightning in the air, and I started to cast --
The rider turned to The Edge, the horse prancing forward those few steps --
And they passed through without even opening a door or tearing a hole.
"Oh hell," I said softly. The magic danced in my hands as I stared. "Oh, that can't be good at all."
"Can we go home now?" Cato asked plaintively. He nuzzled up against my side since I still knelt in the snow. "I think it would be very nice to go home now."
"Yeah," I agreed and carefully let go of the magic before I picked him up. "Thanks, Cato. I think you saved my life."
"Least I could do for that half a can of tuna," he said.
"Whole can," I replied.
I gladly picked him up and carried him back away from The Edge again. He sat with his paws and head resting on my shoulder and kept watch behind as we left.