Nov 14

Kieri Phelan’s First Command, Part 2

Posted: under Background, Excerpt, snippet.
Tags: ,  November 14th, 2022

 

“And yes, Gerry spent a campaign season studying something military with them down in Aarenis a few years ago, but that doesn’t explain it, really.”

It didn’t explain anything, Kirgan Marrakai thought.  As Kirgan, he could attend the daily briefings.  His father had a seat at the table with the other senior nobles, the lesser standing behind them, while he–and other kirgans–stood silent, backs against the canvas wall, supposedly learning something from watching their elders give way to the Prince and this stranger, this mere Captain Phelan,  who had the Prince’s ear when it came to matters military.

Well, he was a professional, after all.  A hireling soldier, fought for money: not honor, not loyalty.  Rumor, gleaned from servants, was that the man had squired for Aliam Halveric in Aarenis, that he had attended the Falkian equivalent of the Bells.  But he displayed no ruby.  Had he dropped out?  Been thrown out?  Had Halveric refused to hire him?

Arrogant young cock, thought Kirgan Marrakai, seeing the back of the man’s head tilt toward the Crown Prince.  And nothing to be proud about.  Couldn’t even keep a horse.  Probably rode as badly as any farmer’s brat.  He amused himself that afternoon, imagining how his own stallion, who regularly threw him, would throw the arrogant young cock faster and harder.

The army moved slowly, leaving plenty of time for the young men of noble families to amuse themselves with sport: hunting and arms practice and mounted competitions.  They had servants to set up and take down their tents, cook their meals, care for their horses and their clothes.  They were–barring the arms practice all their fathers insisted on, under direction of an armsmaster or Girdish Marshal–on holiday.  When they came to a tributary of the river behind them, flowing from the north, the army paused to water the stock and the people, and some of the servants went to washing clothes.  The younger men found places for water play.

Kirgan Marrakai noticed that Captain Phelan let his men take quick baths, but did not bathe with them.  Arrogant, he told himself.  He bathed every day from a tub in his father’s tent, water brought in by his father’s servants, the proper way to bathe.  He told his friends.

They noticed the red-headed captain–hard to miss that flaming hair in the sun–heading still further upstream, with a rag of some sort over his shoulder.  Too shy to bathe with his men?  Well.  It would be good sport to know why.  Maybe he…lacked something.  They sniggered over that delicate suggestion.  Maybe he was disfigured in some way not visible when he was covered neck to wrist and head to heel in cloth and leather or metal.  Perhaps he was a branded criminal and the Crown Prince would definitely need to know that.

They turned aside, walked fifteen strides back toward the army, and then back around.  He was out of sight; the stream here ran lower than the rest, and they headed that way, but at a distance, sure he could not see them, moving as quietly as dozen young men with no training could.  One would go ahead, bending low then taking quick looks, until he could see the red head and if it was moving, then signal the others.  Finally, their forward scout waved them down and forward, and they came crawling through the lush grass to where they could see a wider space of moving water.  And their target.

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Jul 02

Good News

Posted: under Background, Good News, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  July 2nd, 2022

Most of you will know that four years and 5 months ago I was bucked off, landed head down, and got a concussion that messed with my brain quite a bit.  It was only about six months after the previous concussion (that one involved a mountain bike and a pothole with an overbite) and…yeah, damage is cumulative.  At first I couldn’t read more than a few sentences at a time (short simple ones) and couldn’t write anything.  Also couldn’t knit worth beans, and couldn’t read music either.

Long story shortened…it became obvious over time that although I recovered the ability to write coherent prose, I could not write fiction anywhere near my previous standard.  And after four years and–was it two, or three, failed book attempts???–I pretty much quit trying and worked harder on what I could do to recover physically and the rest of mentally.

Then, out of Paksworld,  in May this otherwise frenetic year, came an idea begging to be written.  And very tentatively, I started.  And it…moved.  Breathed.  And is now behaving like my other books, in that it pulls me forward (rather than me trying desperately to push it forward) and hands me what I need to do a scene or a sequence, and has built interior and exterior connections the way a book-length work must.  It’s at 35K words now, and shows no sign of quitting.

This book is set after the end of Crown of Renewal, and though a lot of familiar characters are in it, they’re older and in a different time of life than they were.  They’ve grown up, or grown out into new dimensions, or aren’t where they used to be.  Well, except Dragon, who lives on a scale of time and space the humans (even the half-elven humans) don’t have.  There’s Prince Camwyn, who was perhaps 15 or 16 when iynisin invaded the palace in Verella, and his friend Aris Marrakai, two or three years younger, who woke and discovered the danger but all else were enchanted.  Camwyn’s been gone for years now, in Dragon’s care, it’s thought, without any memory of his past, Dragon has told the king.   Aris, grown to be of age to squire Arcolin in Aarenis, still misses his friend and worries about him, feels guilty that he wasn’t faster that night.   Dragon wants Camwyn on the throne of Horngard, the mountain kingdom in the Westmounts  from which Arcolin fled long ago, as an abused bastard.  Horngard has declined even more since Arcolin left, a series of bad kings and worse councils has left it poor, depopulated, half-forgotten by the rest of the world…and prey to banditry and petty tyrants warring over scraps and rags.

I’m a very happy writer, grateful that if the same plot daemon isn’t back on the engine room, someone is keeping the revs up and the process going.  If you’re going through a bad patch in your work, whatever it is and whatever caused it…I hope you have a similar experience of unexpected success.

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Dec 02

Progress Report

Posted: under Contents, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  December 2nd, 2009

3061 words today.

That battle I was talking about?  It’s unfolding rather differently than I planned originally, but better.   To argue with the A-Team “I love it when a plan comes together”—I love it when my plot-daemon knows better than I do what should happen. Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb 22

Progress Report

Posted: under Contents, the writing life.
Tags: ,  February 22nd, 2009

As of Sunday evening, the current wordage for the new book is 97,129.

There are problems with that scene, but I can fix it once it’s all out in the open…

Chances are excellent that I’ll hit 100,000 on the book this week.   There are other things going on in our lives, including plumbing work that needs doing, dealing with bureaucracies (academic and governmental both), so I may not get as far as I’d like, but…it’s quite happy to be written, now that I’m able to write again.

A cloud on the plot horizon that I wasn’t sure would head this way has now headed this way…I think we may find out (if not in this book, in the next) how the elfane taig became the banast taig that Paks and Macenion stumbled into.    There are threads that begin to look as if they connect to other threads…life would be easier if I could outline, but not nearly as much fun.

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Dec 11

New stuff

Posted: under Contents.
Tags: , , ,  December 11th, 2008

The blog now has a Links page that will let you hop directly to the Paksworld website (saves me having to put in the link in every post–since I forget.) It also has links to my main website, and to my LiveJournal. Both of those have information on other books, on writing in general, and many other things…this site is only for Paks-related stuff.

The website now has additional content–three of the front page links are now live with a little content behind them. There will be more, but this is a start. The FAQ is only partly done (time…it vanishes under my fingers as I type…and the books need to be done too…) but I’ll add to it from time to time.   The bio may go up tonight or tomorrow.  Fiction (books in print, forthcoming books, and Paks-related short fiction) are now on the site.

The new title block will be done in a couple of weeks–maybe sooner but it is the holiday season and at some point I have to stop and bake cookies for the choir party. And then for the other choir party. And then for presents. And…..

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