One foot in sea, one on shore

“Buccaroos” by Charles Marion Russell. Lithograph. Public domain.

A post in which to say the novella writing is going well… very well. Too well. 9K in four days is pretty much the most I’ve written in one go in, oh, two years? It has nothing to do with time, since there’s hardly enough of that to go around these days. I think more than anything it just has to do with the fact that Professor is a character I’m so familiar with (even though I’ve never written from her POV) and the world, well, it’s already established. Writing characters 20 years before they appear in The Aldersgate rocks. Sir Gawen in his early 20s, Maelys in her prime and in love, Sylvan and Ellinora as kids playing around in the castle. It’s no end of fun. Plus, it’s a great distraction from other stuff. You know, as writing tends to do.

Not to mention I’ve absolutely fallen in love with a new character who didn’t really exist a few days ago. I knew I wanted someone to travel with Professor from the carnival in the Territories to Hartleigh Castle, and that’s when Tolley showed up. Then I figured out who she really was and I started doing cartwheels. In the whole scheme of the Aldersgate Cycle she turns out to be pretty damned important. I like to pretend it’s all planned, but in this case… yeah, definitely feels out of my hands.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a pantser, and this is mostly true. However, I did start a wiki page for the AGC books and, I couldn’t be more grateful it exists (even if it is insanely ugly). There’s details there I forgot that are truly important. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been entrenched in secondary worlds, and it’s good to be back. Like finding your favorite comforter in the back of the closet after misplacing it for a few years.

So, last night there was a stampede. And I got to re-introduce Sir Gawen again. A bit of first draft stampede fun as Professor (Robin) tries to save her stuff.

She ran to Dollop and started untying the more important bundles around him. The roll of blueprints; the small, delicate bag; her ammunition and works in progress; her diaries. These were non-negotiable items. How in the hells could she show the queen was she was working on if she lost her work? Dollop could get lost, could get trampled to death. It was too much of a risk.

She was just about to loose the package containing most of the clockwork she’d been working so diligently on when someone scooped her up by her middle and threw her over the saddle of their horse. The rider took a sharp left, and Robin lost her grip on the last two bags: the diaries and the clockwork mechanisms. The wind knocked out of her and her entire vantage point compromised, all she could do was cough up spittle and kick her legs like a spoiled child.

Tolley was by in a flash, flanked by Marrick. Keeping her head up hurt, and her cursed savior wasn’t saying anything, but Robin could guess by the quality of the leather she was on that it was likely Sir Jack himself.

It was not a tick too soon because a herd of steer came thundering down the hill, splashing into the stream, hell bent on getting away from whatever it was behind them causing them so much fear. There was no sign of smoke, but toward the end of the stampede Robin thought she caught sight of a handful of horses and riders. They weren’t knights by the look of them, what she could see.

She felt cold water on her face as the horse dipped into the river, and she felt herself get hauled up by the scruff of the neck and shaken slightly, like some limp rag doll. She felt her braids slap the side of her face and she almost lost her specs, if it wasn’t for the fact she caught them just in time.

“Aye, now. Calm yourself, wee one,” said her captor—decidedly not Sir Jeck’s voice. An Islander by the lilt, of all things. Not a familiar Islander voice, either. The enormous hand at the reins, she now noticed, was flecked with brown freckles and sprouting red hair. “You’re flailing like a hooked fish!”

Water kept splashing in Robin’s mouth, and she put up her hands to wipe some of it away, then spun halfway around to get a better look at this man. They were still progressing, north easterly, but the sun was behind the man’s head and she could make out nothing but a huge hat and red curls set afire like a halo. He was the largest man she’d ever seen. Somehow she’d been rescued by a mountain.

The Wind Through the Wheat: