Wednesday, November 17, 2010
NaNoWriMo: Day Seventeen
Day seventeen! Yes, a milestone that felt as good as day fifteen when I was able to pass 25,000 words. I made my 31,000 mark only two days later. Now my NaNo Stats graph can't laugh at me for at least another day.
Here is the latest chosen excerpt.
Enjoy and continued writing success through November.
Peace and Writing Love,
* * *
The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 9 excerpt
Athmore coughed and massaged his neck. “We should get back to them. They get a little strange around this hour. I hate to see how they pass the time now.”
Yinadi smiled a large grin, the man he had shown himself to be—the speaker for the steward—now gone beneath the image of a mischievous Weaver. Athmore’s student dashed off into the shadows of skinny trees along the next hill, the grass short as if trimmed recently. Yinadi led them along a half beaten road side that showed a small farm house in the distance. A few other dwellings, residents of Gundo or not, rose up around the farmland just outside the fence line. Athmore breathed heavy and raspy, his age catching up with him for how swiftly Yinadi was taking them across the up and downs of the land.
Yinadi hid behind a tree, his body fitting its shape almost perfect. He picked up a rock, sized it with a short toss and gave Athmore a nod. He ran off toward the farmhouse, hunched and quick, and released the rock with a well readied arm. Yinadi staggered forward from the follow through and doubled back to their location. The clack of the rock hitting the fence bounced softly back. A moment later, the door opened and a figure strolled out. His whistle was also soft, but as noticeable as Athmore’s. The man twirled a walking staff up and tapped it on the fence’s gate post and returned to the house as commonly as he had come.
Athmore moved from behind his tree and went for the farmhouse first. The man at the fence left the door open, the golden glow of the inside spreading on his advance.
“Come,” Yinadi said. “They’re expecting us.”
Gerad and Kyona tailed Yinadi, hanging in his shadow as they entered the house. A pungent fusty scent hit him in the face. While it seemed to come from all directions, any crack or split floorboard, they approached the house’s attendant. He smiled toothless and pointed his walking stick at the far wall.
Athmore did not speak to the man, but slid his finger down the side of his eyepatch. The man’s toothless grin became a laugh and mumbled words over an old tongue sounding like, “Good to have you back.” Athmore patted the wall and something like a foot thumped behind it. Two sharp lines cracked down the wall on either side of him and continued on through the floorboards. Dust puffed up from the floor and it shifted beneath them.
“The door, Yindai,” Athmore said. “Let our guests down.”
Athmore stepped off where the floorboards showed their separation, Gerad and Kyona backing with him, and Yinadi jammed his fingers into two knots in the wood. The knots fell out, false plugs it seemed, and he hoisted a portion of the floor up and let it rest against the wall.
Gerad glanced down the rickety steps sending them to a level in the house that was beneath the ground. Yinadi went first, Kyona and Athmore after him, leaving only Gerad standing at the top, still examining the sturdiness of the steps. The old man at his back whistled and he turned.
He smiled, shooing him with his hand, and mumbled, “It’s worth it.”
At the bottom, he met Kyona and Yinadi. Athmore was already paces ahead of them in a tunnel leading nowhere. Another wall came to them at the end. Voices were on the opposite side, cheering also mixed with shouts that sounded like wagers being placed on something. When Athmore shoved the at wall with his shoulder, it slid like the solid slab it was, but gave way to a larger room that looked every part of being burrowed from the earth. Roots hung from the clotted dirt ceiling and lined the walls. The occupants slowly turned to them, some seated on tree stumps and others toward the center. Two men floated in the air above the crowd, a wavy field of energy under their backs. They appeared the most surprised by Athmore’s arrival.
“Testing levitation?” Athmore asked. Smiles grew across the gathering. “Who’s the high bidder. I’m in!” Roars and laughter jumped from the men, hands slapping Athmore’s back as he disappeared into the crowd.
Yinadi turned to them, the last hint of the speaker Jarrin disappearing in his grin. “Meet the Steeltongues.”