You may recall (and you’re forgiven if you don’t, I know how busy you are) that this month I’m working on a few projects. I’m making good progress in my editing on Bound, and yes, added words are being counted toward my word count for JuNoWriMo. I’m not adding a lot; I’m really trying to cut down on the total word count. But sometimes more needs to be said, and today’s WIPpet Wednesday offering is one of those passages. Will it stay? I don’t know. But experimenting is fun. 🙂
So, the WIPpet math for 19/6/13: 19 paragraphs +6 paragraphs -1 paragraph -3 paragraphs. Don’t worry, it’s mostly dialogue. (Aren’s POV)
My return to town was quiet, made late at night and in the midst of a street festival, but Severn knew I was coming as soon as I dropped the magic dedicated to blocking his awareness of me. He had me brought to his chambers before I had a chance to unsaddle my horse. The only reason I made it without a beating was that the palace guards feared me only a little less than they did Severn.
He dismissed them with a wave, and they bowed as they left us. The room was uncharacteristically cluttered, littered with half-empty wine bottles, and I wondered how many other people had been sent away before my arrival. “How wonderful,” Severn drawled after the guards closed the door. “Just what I wanted for my birthday. A ghost.”
I didn’t speak. I’d learned over the years that if I didn’t have an answer that would satisfy him, it was best to give none at all.
“We thought you were dead,” he continued, his voice as cold as I’d ever heard it. “It’s not like you to disappear.”
“I was injured escaping from the mountains. I needed time to recover, and had no way to contact you without being seen.”
Severn poured two glasses of wine and offered me one. I drank the full glass, not because I wanted it, but to show that I trusted him not to poison me. That, or I feared him enough to do as he wished with no thought for what might happen to me. It didn’t matter to Severn; respect and fear were nearly the same thing to him. “I searched for you. There was no sign.”
“Perhaps the distance interfered with your perception. I can assure you that at no time was I dead.”
He crossed his arms over his chest. “You weren’t blocking me?”
“I don’t think I could. You know me too well. And I had no reason to.” I held my body still, and kept my eyes glued to his. I have nothing to hide, I thought. I did, of course, but Severn wouldn’t be able to see far into me. He lacked that particular set of skills, and that made me useful to him— and him mistrustful of me.
It was several uncomfortable moments before he released me from his gaze and sipped from his own glass. “You’re ruining my party. Tell me what happened, and go.”
“Annyk is dead.”
“You killed him?”
“His brother did.”
Severn sneered. “I’m not sure whether I’m impressed by your skill or disgusted with your continuing unwillingness to dirty your own hands. Either way, it’s done.” That was the most praise I could expect from him. “Any sign of more magic?”
Now I would have to tread carefully. Severn might not have been able to see my thoughts, but he would know if I lied to him outright. Half-truths would be better. “I think I found someone, but I was attacked before I could bring her in.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Her? Interesting. Where?”
I fought back the tension that cramped my shoulders. There was no chance I was going to let him take her. Not after she saved me. Severn would never understand that, though, and there would be no stopping him if he learned there was an unidentified sorceress in Qittavia. “In the mountains,” I lied. “And well-hidden.”
“Obviously, if Annyk didn’t find her.” He narrowed his eyes at me. “There’s more, isn’t there?”
“What aren’t you telling me?” Familiar energy began to build, infusing the air in the stone-walled room, causing the hairs on my body to stand up and remembered pain to race through my body. He wouldn’t be afraid to hurt me if he thought he wasn’t getting what he wanted.
“There’s nothing. I’ll go back and find her again, or I can tell someone else where to search.” The energy leveled off, but did not disperse, and my body broke out in sweat as I fought to not react to the pain.
Want to see more from the other WIPpeteers? Click this link to connect to MORE links that will take you to them (updated all day, so check back!), and be sure stop by and maybe leave a nice fruit basket at our host blog, My Random Muse.
Tommorow is the last day of this round of A Round of Words in 80 Days. It’s been fun; I’ll do things a bit differently next time (starting at the beginning, setting clearer goals at the start), but I’ll definitely do it again. I’ve found some interesting bloggers to follow, and it’s always nice to just go through and visit someone new. I like being reminded of how many of us are in this together, writing and struggling and loving it.
As far as my own goals are concerned, I’m catching up on my JuNoWriMo word count, which means I’m currently trying for more than the 2,000 words a day that I’d set as my goal. My reading didn’t have as measurable a goal, but I’m getting it done when time allows. I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying Matched; it really didn’t seem like my thing at all, but I like the set-up of the Society (and some of you know how picky I am about that sort of thing), and I like how Cassia is developing as a character. Now, I’ve heard from several people that the other two books in the trilogy are a big disappointment, but I’ll at least try the next one. This is one advantage of library books, isn’t it?
School is almost out here; Simon gets a day off on Thursday and only goes in for a few hours on Friday, so I guess today is really the last day of school. We’ll see how having both kids home will affect my productivity. We also have a week-long vacation planned for the end of July, and I don’t see myself getting a lot of writing done there (not sure if I’ll even take the computer), but I can read.
Annnd… that’s about it. Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget that the next round of ROW80 starts next month. 🙂
June 19th, 2013 at 10:54 am
Wow! Such great tension! I cringed every time Severn made a move. You always leave me wanting to read more. Great description and dialogue!
June 19th, 2013 at 2:33 pm
Like the idea of the servant trying to somehow circumvent his master. Definitely makes me want to know what’s up and brings out a lot of the tension and danger he’s in.
June 19th, 2013 at 3:12 pm
Great passage! The tension was palpable 🙂
FYI, I nominated you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award: http://writingwordsonapage.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/wonderful-team-member-readership-award/
June 19th, 2013 at 9:39 pm
Aww, thank you! ^.^
June 19th, 2013 at 6:40 pm
“Just what I wanted for my birthday. A ghost.” Oh how dry and sarcastic can we be, Severn? BTW, love that name. 🙂 I wish there was a Like to Infinity and Beyond button because I’d press it several times.
June 19th, 2013 at 6:41 pm
Ooh, I wish I could like this comment just as much. 😉
June 20th, 2013 at 12:46 am
I’m here from ROW80 and was quite delighted to read your Weds story. What tense atmosphere and conflict. I so want to find out more about the woman our heroine is protecting — and more about her. May the next round go well for you.
June 20th, 2013 at 7:21 am
Thanks, Beth. And for you, too!
June 20th, 2013 at 4:43 am
I love the tension and interplay between Severn and the narrator. The only thing that niggled at me was the intro sentence. How can his return to the city be quiet when there is a street festival? While I can see what you are trying to achieve here a word like ‘unobserved’ might work better. 🙂
June 20th, 2013 at 7:19 am
True, thank you!
June 20th, 2013 at 6:18 am
Great tension and I like the sense of fear that Aren has, remembering past pain etc. I’m intrigued about the woman he’s protecting.
June 20th, 2013 at 6:32 am
Great tension! I love that Aren has already managed to block Severn and cover it up. “I don’t think I could…” Playing to someone’s ego is always a great way to throw them off. Very nice.
June 20th, 2013 at 9:10 am
First, I’m so happy to hear you’ll be doing ROW80 again! YAYZ! 😀
Second, I’ve been thinking of doing WIPpet for months. With my summer blogging feeling so light, I felt now is a great time to add it. Is there an official logo/icon thingy for it?
June 20th, 2013 at 10:27 am
Best of luck with juggling writing and the kids this summer. Strategize some surprise activities to distract them when you’re desperate for time. And have fun! (I love that you have that in your profile. Most. Important. Thing.)
June 20th, 2013 at 12:29 pm
This is another great excerpt Kate. I really felt Aren’s fear as Severn is questioning her. What a nasty piece of work!
June 20th, 2013 at 5:40 pm
I’m glad to hear that you’ll be doing ROW 80 again – it’s kinda nice to be able to set your own goals, isn’t it?
Severn sounds like a real piece of work. I can’t wait to read more though!
June 21st, 2013 at 1:51 am
This scene grabs me in and hooks my interest. I’m curious about all of the characters in here, their history, the intrigue, and the world of magic you’ve created. Great stuff!
June 21st, 2013 at 4:37 am
that was a great read – now I want to know what comes next, before and long time after:) glad your’e coming back next round – enjoy the hols.:)