Since I now have a job with normal hours that does not require a lengthy commute, I have much more time to
procrastinate write. That being said…
It is July. In April, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo for the third time, acting as a NaNoRebel in multiple facets of the meaning. This month, I am once again participating in Camp NaNo (the short name for it), rebelling in the same way –– perhaps even rebelling more, actually. Let me count the ways…
- I am adding to a pre-existing work.
- I am co-writing with a writing buddy.
- I am, when the mood strikes, editing –– and that is not limited to fresh writings.
I think that’s a long enough list, short though it is. Do I feel any guilt for rebelling? Naw. Camp NaNo is much more relaxed than NaNo proper. You set your own word goal –– anywhere between 10,000 and… 999,999, if I remember correctly. There are “cabins” set up, so you can
procrastinate chat with ten other writers about writing, etc. [Start ramble] This July, they finally set up private cabins, so you can properly choose who you want to have in your cabin. This is a vast improvement, as previous attempts to choose cabinmates was much like playing Russian roulette. You never knew if you’d all end up in the same place… At any rate, that’s not what I was going to talk about. [End ramble]
I can’t say as I’d made much progress this week, except to realize that I was actually getting closer to figuring out how to get to the ending of this story, which is what I’ve been seeking since the last Camp NaNo. Let me tell you, that is progress! Honestly, I wish Camp NaNo was quarterly, with NaNo proper remaining as the “Big Shindig” (or whatever you want to call it). Truly, I think my writing would benefit from it.
Enough of that, however. Perhaps… It is time for an excerpt…
Two things you should know:
- Kedric and Aubyn are the same person.
- An erchyll is a staff that fires blue beams of… fire.
Rikane watched as Kenneth planted two hefty forked sticks into the ground, forks up.
“You realize this is a really bad idea, right? We don’t know what will happen if we actually manage to break it. It could be very, very bad.”
“How bad could it possibly be?” Kenneth scoffed, “Come, now. Hand it over.”
The general rolled his eyes. This was a waste of a perfectly good weapon, in his mind. It was akin to ––
“Rikane! Come on! They’re bound to notice it’s missing any minute now. This is our chance!”
“It’s all you.” Rikane stated, handing him the erchyll and stepping away as far as he could justify.
“Where are you going?”
“Not far.” he replied. “Not far enough, that is.” he thought.
Disappointment crossed the scholar’s face, “You’re not really interested in this, are you?”
“I am, but I’d rather not get burnt to a crisp if that thing explodes.”
“It won’t ––”
“You don’t know that, do you? No. You don’t. And so, I choose to err on the side of caution.”
“You didn’t choose that when you were talking to my sister.” Kenneth accused, “How is this any different?”
Rikane stiffened and looked up. He’d wondered whether the scholar had been present when he’d tested the queen’s virtue, but in the moment, he hadn’t cared. Perhaps he’d been filled in on it later and was warned to watch the general. He couldn’t help but chuckle, a toothy grin splitting his face. He turned to face the queen’s younger brother.
“You choose your confrontations strangely, scholar. We’re in a field, far from the walls of Merivale, and while there is an erchyll near you, I can reach it much faster than you and blast you to pieces before you know what’s happening. I would only need to scamper off into the woods and hide there to avoid your comrades. Likely, Kedric would find me, but I’ve seen him fight and could win if I wanted to. Though if Regan were with him, it might present a bit of a challenge.” he paused to let his words sink in, “But, considering who you are and what you’ve done thus far, I’ll refrain from doing you any harm and simply warn you to mind your own business.”
“Mind my own ––” Kenneth cut himself off and narrowed his eyes to slits, stepping closer –– away from the erchyll, “Yvette is my sister. It is as much my business as anyone’s!”
Rikane smirked, “By all means, step closer. I quite enjoy defending my honor, though you are a lesser opponent than I would normally choose.”
Kenneth scowled in earnest now. Rikane took a step forward, “It’s about time someone raised your ire, for once.” he said.
“Stop it. We’re here for a reason.”
“Then why’d you bring up your sister?” Rikane challenged, “Huh? Why? I’ll tell you why. It’s because you wish you had the guts to be one of the big boys. That’s right. All your life, you’ve been the little one, looked down on and left to tend your books, pitied by even the lowest of chambermaids, because you’ll never amount to ––”
Kenneth’s fist met his pointy nose quite suddenly. He’d seen it coming, but Rikane was so starved for a bit of action that he let it make contact, the blood running down his face as he grinned.
“Doesn’t that feel good?” he goaded, “Don’t you just love the feeling of your fist making an impact, the snap of broken cartilage, the sight of blood? So exhilarating!”
The scholar held up one finger in warning, “Don’t. Just don’t. One punch is enough for me.”
“Come on, now. You know you want more.”
Kenneth’s face wrinkled into a furious scowl, and he aimed another punch at Rikane’s jaw. The general caught his fist expertly in one hand, feeling the strength of the scholar’s momentum. Their eyes met, and they stood there for a moment, Kenneth trying like anything to regain his composure. Rikane tightened his grip, cracking the man’s knuckles.
“This is doing nothing for either of us!” Kenneth snapped, “Just agree that you will not pursue my sister anymore, and we’ll be done with this.”
“Who said I was pursuing her?”
“I was there. I saw the whole thing!”
“It may have looked like that, but I only asked her a question.”
“Aubyn didn’t seem to think so.”
“He’s a hard man to convince.”
Kenneth seemed unsatisfied with his answer, but changed the subject, “Let’s do what we came for.”
They brushed themselves off, though neither had made contact with the ground. The scholar looked around for a moment, “We need rocks. How good are you with marksmanship?”
“Having seen you in action, I will admit that you are probably better with throwing rocks than I.”
“Oh, so you’ll admit that I’m better at something than you are?”
Rikane wrinkled his nose and immediately grabbed at it, regretting the movement, “Throwing rocks is child’s play, and a skill I never considered my own.”
“Right!” Kenneth snorted, “Start looking for rocks, will you?”
The general pointed, “There’s a rock.”
His companion rolled his eyes, “That’s a boulder, blödian!”
“Well you said to start looking for rocks.”
“Just. Rocks that I can throw.” He scanned the ground, looking around. Rikane picked up a pebble.
“Don’t insult me.”
“I might not be as formidable as Kedric, but I have my ways of getting vengeance when you least expect it.”
“Do you? Well, I hope I don’t inspire you to follow through with that.” Rikane sneered, “How about ––”
“Ah, perfect!” Kenneth snatched up a rock that was double the size of a man’s fist, “This should do nicely.”
“Wouldn’t it make more sense to find two larger rocks to balance it on, so that we don’t just knock down the sticks holding it?”
“No. This should do.”
They both moved something of a distance away, Rikane further than his companion. The scholar heaved the rock at the erchyll, but missed by at least a foot.
“Shut it.” Kenneth grumbled, bending to retrieve the rock.
“Maybe it’d work better if you climbed a tree and dropped the rock on the erchyll.”
The scholar paused and looked up. Rikane followed his eyes to a branch that hung over their experiment. Kenneth’s face lit up. I really shouldn’t have said that.
Before he could stop him, Kenneth was halfway up the tree, the rock in a makeshift sling he’d made using his cloak. Rikane sprinted away from the erchyll, hoping he’d be in time to miss ––
There was a loud explosion, and he flew from his feet into the air, landing face first in a pool of mud. Trying very hard to ignore the slimy stuff that now seeped into every fold of his clothing and chilled him to the bone, hardening here and there, he rose to his feet and sputtered mire from his mouth. Turning back to where he’d come from, he looked at where the erchyll had been. Nothing remained of it that he could see, but the sticks that had held it up were burning up with blue flames. He had a feeling it was the type of fire that would not go out easily, but would spread until it exhausted itself.
He scanned the area for Kenneth, but couldn’t find him. He was about to head back to Merivale when he felt a tap on one shoulder. Turning to see who’d done it, he saw no one, but heard a chuckle at his other side.
“Oldest trick in the book, and you fell for it!” the scholar mocked. Rikane reacted with lightning speed, grabbing Kenneth by the collar and pulling him into a headlock.
“You nearly killed us.” the general growled, “And here you are, pulling pranks? We have to put this fire out now!”