Y’all, Queen of Fury is so close to being done. We’re almost at the 110,000 mark, closing in on the final final FINAL bit, and then I get to write the epilogue.
Music has been a huge part of getting this book done, mostly through the suggestions of my bestie Jenn and some lovely folks on Twitter. After months of trying to find the right soundtrack, I stumbled on Wardruna and Garmarna, and welp. The story is there, in their songs. They’re Norwegian and Swedish, respectively, with lots of keening, drums, hurdy-gurdies, and since I don’t understand either language, I can write and not get distracted by narrative.
Anyway, there’s about 7 hours of music here, and I’ll likely be adding more.
And an excerpt, featuring Gawain and Lanval, chatting up the mysterious forest… and problem of Hwyfar. Knights being bros.
From Queen of Fury – Chapter Eight: Training and Trailing
We made good progress the first day out, on our way to the Plain of Maeldoi, an ancient fortress now in ruin that had once served as the last peaceful treaty between Avillion, Braetan, and the surrounds. It had been a thousand years since it was last used, and that alone was cause for concern on my part. I did not want us walking into a trap.
There were spies in the court of Avillion, Ryence’s men and women waiting for the right moment. And there were Arthur’s spies, too; for what else were we? None of it sat well on my conscience, as I preferred the far more straightforward approach of steel upon shield or mace upon helmet. My own brain was not made for such intricacies of politic.
“Your expression looks like a crumpled walnut, Gawain,” said Lanval, riding up beside me as we came to the narrow pass between the craggy Logodenn Mountains—which were somehow named for mice, and yet were more like broken teeth—and through Brocéliande, the forest we would take refuge within.
“I always look like that,” I said. “Years of being punched in the face.”
Lanval laughed. His easy air always amazed me, no matter the circumstance. “I am willing to guess the source of your consternation has one of two roots.”
“Are you, now?” I asked. In addition to being almost insultingly sunny, Lanval also had a perilous window into people’s thoughts and moods. Palomydes called him a “soul reader” but I think he was just good at guessing.
“I could not help but note the expression on your face upon beholding the Queen Regent so arrayed in her resplendent armor,” said Lanval. He always spoke like that, too. Like some confused poet left in knight’s armor. “Indeed, who among us would not be so moved?”
“It was impressive,” I said, trying to sound as if I had barely noticed.
Judging by Lanval’s smirk, I was not terribly successful. “I do think she’s the only woman I have ever seen who would match you eye to eye. You are certainly unused to such a challenge. To say nothing of her presence this morning.”
“Like all royals, myself included, she is just a person. She shits and pisses like the rest of us,” I grumbled.
“Ah, well, even I could not say that Hwyfar of Avillion is like the rest of us, and I only know her from my brother’s stories and my own limited experience. I am simply looking out for you, and adding a word of caution.”
“I do not need cautioning,” I said. “Arthur already gave me plenty of that before I left.” Indeed, my uncle had been very clear about where I needed to keep my attentions. And my loins.
Lanval let out a little hum. “And, historically, you have been so very inclined to follow Arthur’s advice.”
He had a point. “I would not do anything to compromise this mission, which is to assist in the protection of the Holy Isle and leave as soon as she’s wedded, bedded, and contained.”