One Hundred Thousand (and 688)

Posted: August 6th, 2022 under Contents, snippet, the writing life.
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Words, that is.   I hit one hundred thousand words on the new Paksworld book just after 1 am yesterday morning.   Celebratory snippets follow (not the same snippets as in the Universes blog on the main site, BTW.)

1) Camwyn, who has forgotten his past before the injuries that required healing by Dragon, has a great deal more to learn about the world.

Camwyn rode back to the city thinking about what she’d said.  Dragon had said nothing about a Company of Camwyn, about “dragonkin,” but M’dierra did not feel like a liar.  He wished he knew exactly what she meant, who they were, what their rules were.  Paks and his other tutors had taught him about beliefs, about familiar heroes: Gird, Falk, Torre.  They had not mentioned a Camwyn, though if Dragon’s name was also Camwyn…but Dragon had said his name, his real name, was too long for humans to say and known only to the high gods.  “In my disguise as a man,” Dragon had said, “I use Sir Camwyn, but very seldom.”  He’d liked it–liked it now, in fact–that the name Dragon had given him was kin to that name.

2) Aris Marrakai, meeting a Royal Courier from Tsaia on the bridle path of the Guild League Road between Foss and Ifoss.  The courier asked Aris if he was the third son of Duke Marrakai, for whom he was carrying a message from the king, as well as messages to Duke Arcolin.

“Yes,” Aris said, immediately thinking of his father. Had he died, then?  “Your horse won’t make it to Ifoss faster than a walk, in this heat.  I can ride faster and have a mount sent back for you.”

“No!  You give me your horse! ”  The courier sneered at him, rage and contempt in every line of his face, his voice loud.  “Of course it’s hot! It’s the summer, it’s the gods-blasted South!  But the king expects his couriers to travel at a gallop.   I have the king’s authority to requisition horses from any Tsaian.   Hurry up and get off.  You can pamper this lazy nag all the way to Ifoss at a creeping walk if you want to.   I don’t have the time.” From the corner of his eye, Aris saw heads turn on the Guild League road itself.

“This isn’t my horse to lend,” Aris said, keeping his voice level with an effort.  “It’s Duke Arcolin’s, one of his own chargers. There may be one on the road over there you could hire.  Some caravans–”

“I don’t care whose horse it is! I order you, in the King’s name!  Get off that horse and give it to me!”

3) Gwennothlin Marrakai, now a member of the Bells and just resigned from service in the Royal Guard because of her father’s ill health (and her own boredom), demonstrates her investigative talent faced with the reluctance of the king and her own older brother to tell her why Juris’s marriage may be delayed and what is really going on.

“Thank you,” Gwenno said.  “Now that you are no longer my commander, but still are my liege, and in consideration of the family emergency I mentioned which has to do with–very likely–the succession to duke of my brother here, and thus the status of everyone in the family, I ask you to tell me truly what you and Juris are talking about.  I am quite capable of keeping secrets, as Juris knows from the secrets I kept for him.  I’m sure he remembers.”

Juris flushed a deep red.  “Gwenno!”


Keep in mind that all these are in first-draft status, which means that the wording of incidents, as well as incidents themselves, could–and likely will–change a little by the time the book’s finished and the revisions are done.  But all three of these (and the incidents in the snippets on should be in the final book in some form.  I think.


  • Comment by Michele — August 6, 2022 @ 9:09 pm


    I couldn’t bear to read them all. I want MORE! Lovely to see familiar names though. Stay inside, stay cool. Keep tapping away. Your public awaits.
    And a heartfelt thanks for all your effort.

  • Comment by Caryn — August 7, 2022 @ 12:39 am


    Great snippets! Thank you. This will be fun.

  • Comment by Mary Hargrove — August 7, 2022 @ 2:14 pm


    OK, now I’m concerned about the safety of the horse Aris is riding!!

  • Comment by elizabeth — August 8, 2022 @ 5:10 pm


    I sure hope people like it. But at least I do. I should have the monster first/rough draft ready for some beta readers in another month and a half.

  • Comment by Eowyn — August 12, 2022 @ 9:13 am


    I would almost feel sorry for the courier who probably has no clue how to handle a horse like that but their attitude….

  • Comment by elizabeth — August 15, 2022 @ 7:23 pm


    Eowyn: That courier is not a good horseman, obviously. And (in what I wrote today) there seems to be a systemic problem in the Royal Guard’s courier service, not yet known to other major characters (like the king.) Some couriers–too many–are routinely damaging their mounts trying to achieve unrealistic delivery times. What’s driving this? May or may not be a larger plot point.

  • Comment by elizabeth — August 15, 2022 @ 7:24 pm


    Mary: So is Aris. He’d be concerned if it was his horse, but since it’s his commander’s horse, for whom he is responsible, he’s determined not to let the courier have it. Bad situation.

  • Comment by elizabeth — August 15, 2022 @ 7:25 pm


    Michele: Thank you. This one is now 25,000 words farther along.

  • Comment by Jenny Larsén — August 18, 2022 @ 8:29 am


    Thank you for the snippets!I get so curious, but I tell myself that it’s good to practice patience as a virtue.
    One thing I was wondering about, that I haven’t found mentioned: in the bit about Aris, he confims to the courier that he is the third son. And in The Crown of Renewal, he enters the palace in Verella on an errand for his father, and it is mentioned that he was adressed ‘not as Aris or lad, but as Sagan Marrakai, second heir’. Is there an older brother between him and Juris that is not an heir?

  • Comment by Jace — August 20, 2022 @ 9:18 pm


    The Pony Express stations were only about every ten miles apart so the horses could maintain a quick pace. I don’t know if horses can gallop for ten miles or not.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 18, 2023 @ 2:36 pm


    Hit the wrong button and accidentally deleted this. The thing to remember about horses is *they aren’t machines; they’re all different.* SOME horses can cover 100 miles in less than 12 hours. Some horses can cover 100 miles in two days. Some horses would need four days. Some horses are inherently faster, some have more endurance, etc. A horse whose conformation and heart/lung development prioritize speedy endurance can definitely cover 10 miles in an hour on level terrain that’s not deep mud or snow. I had an Arab mare at one time who got in a mood one day and started running around the two horse lots (at that time there was a gate at each end of the dividing fence as well as a gate in the middle of the divide. She ran for over a half hour…FAST. Did not slow down. It was a hot day; she didn’t care. Then she loped for maybe five minutes, and too took off again. When she was done, after 45 minutes that would’ve killed a Quarter Horse, she came prancing up, threw herself on the ground, rolled and rolled, then stood up, shook herself, and walked off to graze. I couldn’t measure the distance, but for most horses that running speed would’ve meant 20+ mph. for however long they held it. She hadn’t been conditioned for it, she just did it, and I stood there staring and terrified she was going to kill herself or founder. Horses like that can gallop ten miles. Probably in less than a half hour. Then rest up a day and do it again.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 28, 2023 @ 10:28 pm


    There were originally three older brothers and an older sister, but one of his older brothers died of a fever. So he’s fourth-born son, but third living son. In between him and the next older (Sanis) is his older sister Gwennothlin. He has two younger sisters and a younger brother (the youngest living child). All three older siblings are now Knights of the Bellw.

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