Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Of Storms and Things
I opened one of the last boxes of books still to be catalogued at LibraryThing a couple days ago, and there I found most of my Andre Norton collection. I should have had the books listed by now, but I've been slowed down by reading a few pages out of several of them. Andre Norton was one of the earliest sf authors I ever read. I can't remember how I learned she was a woman, but it had an impact on me. Yes -- it was then that I realized women could write these types of things that I loved.
Norton had a lasting effect on my style and the type of story I tell. I tend to write young adult material with a lot of 'outsider' main characters, for instance. That probably doesn't sound particularly Andre Norton-ish, but it was from her that I fell in love with that type of character. I still want to write like Andre Norton, even though her books are outdated in some ways. But they were great adventures. They are still great adventures. I'm having trouble putting them down and getting work done.
I always loved her sf better than her fantasy. I'm still not certain how I got sidetracked into fantasy and writing it -- and selling more fantasy than sf, for that matter. But maybe this was really what I needed, to revisit the things that inspired me.
Ah... well, a bit later now. Had quite a storm here and I got some incredible lightning video. It was, in fact, the lightning that knocked out the power and left me without the computer for a little bit. I was just turning the camera off when it hit -- which means I missed the incredible sound afterwards, but that's all right. It was so loud it might have damaged the camera's mic.
And here is a little bit of that short story I began back in April. I've been working on it off and on since then, and I hope to get it done this month:
Keris looked to the window, about two yards away. He looked to the doorway and the shield. Then with a prayer to the gods of fools, he sent the shield out the door and he pushed himself up, dashed to the window and threw himself out --
As he had expected -- hoped -- whoever was after him went for overkill. He had thought they might, given that they sent an entire storm to kill him. As soon as the shield moved out the door lightning struck with a force that destroyed half of the house and sent him flying out the window and into the bushes beyond --
Parts of the house hit him. He dared not try to shield because he would draw attention again and it was all he could do to keep from cursing when something struck him firmly on the back of his right leg. He knew he was bleeding, but he didn't dare move -- he hardly dared breath.
Silence filled the world where only the shift of broken wood creaked now and then.
"Did we get the bastard?" someone asked. Accent. His ears were still ringing and he couldn't quite hear it well enough to decide where the man might be from.
"Must have," someone else said. Magic brushed over the top of him, so close that he could feel it like warmth against his skin. "No sign of him."
Damn poor mage not to have picked him up. He had started to move, but he stopped instead.
"We better go," the other said. "We don't want to be here if someone checks."
"Yes. You start back. I'll follow right behind. Be careful! There's no telling what trouble we might run into back at the palace."
"Lord Faulk will have everything in hand."
"I hope so!"
Faulk. It was a name to make his skin chill even more and a knot suddenly grew in his stomach that had not been there despite everything that had just happened. Faulk was a problem -- a man who had not taken well to being told that Princess Chloe would not marry him. In fact, he had been so rude about it that the king had sent him packing and he'd not been invited back to the palace.
Apparently, he had come without invitation.
Keris felt a wave of hot magic wash over the area and heard the particular wooshing sound of a gate opened. Hellish lot of magic going on around here suddenly, and it did not make him feel any better.
"Keris -- I know you're out there. Go carefully, friend. Go very carefully. We need your help. Chloe needs you. I know you won't let her down."
And then another woosh, and the magic died down. He didn't move. He wasn't certain he could, between shock, injury and worry. He didn't dare mess this up -- and he was a long time out of contact with the court. Too long, apparently.
Though whatever Lord Faulk had done, it must have been recent. He'd had some contact with people, after all. Just last week, Master Ferick had promised him good weather, and there had been nothing strained or unsettling about the conversation. Ferick would have let him know. Ferick was loyal to the royal family.
That, finally, gave him a little hope.