NaNo Animated -- Lesley

Chunk 2

Wow, I got off the ship and just crashed. :( And I don't mean only sleeping a lot, although I've been doing that too. It's like all my energy and enthusiasm and writing-fu just flowed out and ran into the gutter. I'm a little short of halfway to where I should be right now, wordcount-wise. I know I can catch up; the trick is whether the oomph will kick in soon enough. [crossed fingers]


"And so you're taking care of him in return. Good, that's properly done."

"Not everyone agrees, Father." And Arden told him how the priest of Baruno had come in and ordered all the men slaughtered.

The Emperor scowled and said, "Petty of him. A man in his position should be able to compromise around the edges. Bad enough we had to kill all the others -- there'll be repercussions from that for generations. But every last one -- except for yours, and I agree that they'll likely agitate to have him killed as well. I'll have to speak to Ripavo about that, make sure he knows when enough is enough."

Arden went down to one knee, bringing the water up to his chin. "Father, there is more." And he told him about the encounter with Ashti, and the fight between Baruno and Dereno, and Dereno's scolding. "So the Revered Lord really isn't Ripavo anymore. That is, I assume he's in there somewhere, but Baruno is riding him like a horse, and also some few others, and he plans to mount you next. Ashti and Dereno were both very clear about that."

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NaNo Animated -- Lesley

Chunk 1

Hey, NaNo 2008, here we go. :D

I've been writing but haven't posted before now because I haven't felt like packing everything up at however much before midnight, lugging it down three decks to where I can get a signal (usually, sometimes, intermittently) and then fighting with the internet on the ship's end and the blown server on NaNo's end, to try to get a count in before midnight. Ick. So I'm just posting what I've got right now -- which is more than I need for Day Three, go me -- and I probably won't post here again until the night of the 5th, at which point I'll be home and once again using my desktop-sweet-desktop and our DSL connection. [hugs DSL connection]

For anyone who hasn't heard, I'm continuing with Swords and Shadows this year. This chunk below wraps up Chapter Seven and is about half of Chapter Eight, I think. The first six and a half chapters are still here if you want a refresher.

Please note that when I wrote about the first thousand words of this, I was horribly seasick. :P I take no responsibility for any glitches or stupidity in that chunk -- I'm just covering my eyes and promising to fix it in revision. [wry smile]

[This is my tenth cruise, by the way, and I've never been seasick before. :/ I already had a bit of the flu, though, and with my stomach already delicate, 65 mph winds (instant hurricane -- just add rain!) were enough to set me off. That's definitely an experience I never want to repeat. :( ]

Anyway, here we go -- enjoy!



Chapter Seven, Cont.

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NaNo 2007

Chunk 17

Well, it's not midnight yet but I know I'm not going to do much more than this. It's just a few hundred words and completely pathetic, but hey, the boys are moving again. :) And we're at a decent stopping point, which is better than leaving you all in the middle of a paragraph, right?

I really ran out of steam a few days ago and I have no idea why. Alea and I were talking about trying again in January, so we'll see what happens then. I have some writing committments for December that I'm actually looking forward to, so that's good.

So, for a temporary wrap....


Roscha hauled himself to his knees and Luka stepped over and pulled him up the rest of the way out of reflex. Luka was still staring at the glowing god, his second in less than a month and if it kept up he was going to find himself becoming a pious man.

Dereno planted the head of his hammer on the floor and leaned on the shaft with both hands so he could stare down at Luka. "And why are you still here? You could have been in Cara by now, dealing with this outrage."

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NaNo Animated -- Lesley

Chunk 16

Less tonight than last night. At least I finished Chapter Six and got a good start on Chapter Seven. Enjoy. :)


Luka made a startled exclamation into Arden's mouth, then let go of his arm and reached up to grip his hair hard before attacking back.

They grappled for dominance, with a little less violence but a lot more passion.

So far as Arden was thinking at all, he was sure he'd win that battle. They were matched fairly evenly when it came to brawling but on this particular battlefield, Arden was sure he was the leader in experience, by several orders of magnitude. The Ruvori were moralizing prigs who stoned, strangled or drowned men who lay with other men. Luka's desires obviously leaned in that direction, but any actual experience he'd had would have been fast, furtive, and weighed down with shame, and likely engaged in with another man just as hesitant and just as inexperienced.

Arden, on the other hand, had been exploring men's bodies and learning how to give and take pleasure from someone who was made the same way he was ever since his cock first stiffened.

What he hadn't considered, though, was the possibility that he simply wanted Luka more than Luka wanted him, and what that would do to the power balance.

Or maybe he'd just underestimated Luka's experience. That was always possible too.

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NaNo 2007

Chunk 15

OK, I've been stuck and this is a really lousy time to be stuck. :/ I managed to break 30K words, which is where I should've been at this time last night, if I wanted to have any hope at all of hitting 50K on time. I'm really doubting I'm going to make the deadline, but I'll keep pushing and see how far I can get. [sigh]


Luka thought about addressing the Molani emperor as "Gramp" and decided to save it for some time when he'd become weary of life. Or perhaps for a time when he was travelling in some foreign land, several months' travel distant, and sending a message back.

He was as close to relaxing as he'd come since the seige had begun, until Roscha banked the fire and lay down on one of the blankets, then pulled the other one over him and patted the space next to him, obviously expecting Luka to come sleep near him. Luka scowled, but before he could object, Roscha said, "You need to be near me. Their water skins are full of beer and they've been drinking it all day. If we're obviously together, they'll leave you alone."

Once it'd been brought to his attention, it was obvious that the soldiers across the clearing were nowhere near settling down for the night. They were as raucus as any he'd ever camped with and clearly enjoying their drink. It wouldn't have been a problem if he'd been a free man; he could handle any six amorous drunks, or even a shamed and murderous drunk.

But he couldn't fight back. And right then he felt as much like an owned piece of flesh as any slave in a mine with an iron collar around his throat.

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NaNo Animated -- Lesley

Chunk 14

Hey, I wrote today! Go me! The bad news is I'm only a bit over 25K, so I need to write about 5K per day for the next five days if I want to finish. Ack! [flail] Thanksgiving must've come later in the month this year; I was a bit farther along this year when I left to go to Reno, than I was last year, but I'm farther behind now than I was when I got home last year. :( Damn. I'm past the point where I'm sure I can do this, but I'm going to give it a shot, so we'll see. [crossed fingers] I did a bit over 3K today, so that's a nice warm-up. I'll keep telling myself that....


There were many tactics used in war which weren't strictly honorable, but winning the war as quickly as possible meant bringing as many of your own men as you could back home, alive and missing as few pieces as possible. If the commanders had to make some hard choices and take some dishonor onto themselves to make that happen, that was still their duty and part of what made warfare such a cursed business.

But that didn't mean a man had to admire the ones on the other side who did it to them. Luka could respect the men on his own side who burned crops or fouled wells -- or spied on the enemy. Or at least appreciate them, even if "respect" was going a step too far. But enemies were still enemies and moreso when they went sneaking and lying. He respected the men on the other side who faced him openly with a sword or a spear. He hated them and did his best to kill them, of course, but he could still respect them as warriors fighting for their own people, and all the more if they were skilled.

Spies, though, they were different. Luka had to acknowledge that they were necessary, but that didn't make it right, or honorable, or admirable.

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NaNo 2007

Chunk 13

It's been a few days and I'm now almost 8,000 words behind pace [flail] but I'm up at my mom's and I'm not writing as much as I'd like. I also have spotty access to the internet; Mom has a wireless hub but unfortunately it only works when it feels like it. Sometimes unplugging it and plugging it back in, with or without rebooting my laptop, will help. But then again, sometimes it doesn't. :/ I'm piggybacking off a neighbor's unsecured wireless right now because I haven't been able to get Mom's wireless to work all day. No clue how long this will stay open.

Anyway, keep a set of virtual fingers crossed for me. :)


They mounted their horses and continued to the gate. The Molani guards set to the watch called a challenge, and Arden responded with his full name.

The senior sentry gave him a quick bow, but gave Luka a dubious look. "Highness, we've been ordered not to allow any Ruvori to leave."

Arden gave him sharp glance. "This man is my slave, and therefore Molani."

The sentry bowed lower and even more quickly while waving them through.

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NaNo 2007

Chunk 12

Very short chunk tonight -- my apologies but I was dashing around like mad today and I'm exhausted right now so I'm going to post what I've got and then go fall into bed. I'll be travelling tomorrow, going to visit my mom for Thanksgiving, so I have no idea whether tomorrow will be any better. In between my e-mail binging every eighty seconds today, I did some really great work with Alea so now I actually know where I'm going; once I have some more time to write and the energy to keep my eyes focused, I should be able to get some things done. So thanks to Alea, and thanks to the rest of you for your patience. {{{}}}


His mouth opened several times, like a babe searching for a teat, until finally he managed to say, "Lady, I beg pardon, but what do we do?" The goddess turned and glared at him, despite the fact that she'd been staring right at him the entire time. He didn't know how it had happened, but only that it had.

The goddess sighed and took on an aspect of impatience. "Put down Baruno, little prince. He has horded power and bartered it into more, multiplying his influence on the mortal Earth like a moneylender redoubling his coin. He has accumulated enough to manifest upon a mortal, as I have upon this my servant.

"But Baruno remains. This is...." Ashti paused, as though searching for words. Perhaps she was puzzling out how to explain the unknowable affairs of the gods to a mere mortal, but Arden got the feeling that there was something she was reluctant to say.

"This is costly," is what she finally chose. "I cannot remain for long without expending a great deal of... of influence. I must leave soon. Baruno remains. He stays, inhabiting his mortal host continuously. Rather than influencing through dreams and portents, or even through commands, he controls directly. It focuses his influence, allowing him to make frugal use of what he has. And mark well, little prince -- what he has is more than any other god, enough to manifest four times over already, and still he craves more. He would starve us all and rule this world with his own hands."

"Who?" Arden dared to ask. "Who has he inhabited?"

"You can puzzle out whom he has already inhabited for yourself if you think on it. I will tell you something much more valuable -- that the one he seeks next is your emperor."

Arden felt a frigid shiver move up his spine, and while his shocked mind sorted through everything the goddess had piled on his shoulders, she reached out with two fingers and gently but firmly touched both his and Luka's eyes, simultaneously, in the impossible way of deities. She said, "Do not delay and do not fail" and then... left.

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NaNo 2007

Wow, It's Evening Already

Just dashing in to say that I've been busy -- I just posted a column at Romancing the Blog (my first one!) -- and I haven't gotten back to the boys yet today. Unless I feel particularly inspired later this evening (right now I'm heading downstairs for some dinner and to spend some time with my incredibly tolerant husband) tonight's NaNo chunk is likely to be a bit thin. At any rate, I'm still trying to figure out what more Ashti can tell them without giving it all away. [duck]

Back later, although probably not with as much as I've been posting the last few days. :/

[ETA: Or... let's make that tomorrow. :/ I fell asleep after dinner and just woke up a bit ago. Not going to make it tonight. Sorry! /EDIT]

NaNo 2007

Chunk 11

A bit closer, although not quite caught up yet. Until the counter-widget catches up, I'm at 19,547. And hey, our first actual fantasy scene is in this chunk! :D


Arden gathered up the clothing into a bundle, tucked the sheathed swords under his arm, and followed the soldier out into the main room. Luka was still squatted down near the fireplace, staring at something in his hand.

"I got your clothes," Arden said. "Bought them off of a looter. And these." He rattled the swords and their wooden sheaths clacked together. Luka spun around to stare, and flailed around to find his balance.

"My swords--!"

My swords," Arden corrected, "at least for a while. I hope you understand if I don't give them to you right away. I'd like to think that you'll retain enough of your sense not to kill me in my sleep so long as I'm the only one who knows where to look for Tochi, but it's hard for a newly enslaved man to settle down and accept his lot and I'm not going to gamble my life on your being sensible about it. If you give me a reason to trust you for more than a few hours, I'll let you have them. It'll be handy to have a companion on the road who can fight.

"For now, though, we'll have to count on your looking fierce to frighten off any bandits."

Luka threw him a hateful look, which was no more than Arden had expected.

Arden turned and headed out to the horses, asking over his shoulder, "What did you find there?"

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