Nanowrimo began on Sunday, and I was out of the gate with more than 2000 words before I went to bed at 2am on November 1. By the end of the day on November 1, I had almost 4,000 words in. As of this writing, I’m sitting at 5,465 words and counting–already above where I need to be for today (I would need to be 5,000 words in to be on par for the day — I will probably push for at least 7,000 before I sleep tonight).
My project is, of course, the project I’ve been doing the world-building for which I’ve posted here. The Last Colony tells the story of humanity in its twilight, with the potential for a dawn. The synopsis as posted to the Nanowrimo site is as follows:
Old Earth is dead.
A hundred light years away, New Earth is dying, murded by human hands.
Thousands of years after the human diaspora, another homeworld is dying the same death, promising that history does, in fact, repeat itself, and no one cares.
The Rose Foundation and the Psychean Guard have a plan. The world of E557 is their last hope to save all that is right and good in humanity. Sustainable energy. Virgin soil. Some of the best and brightest minds in a generation.
But the conglomerates of New Earth want what E557 has to offer, and damn the consequences–after all, it’s just another world. There’s always more where that came from.
War is coming to E557–the Oracle has fortold this. It is a fight humanity cannot afford to lose.
But can the galaxy afford for humanity to win?
The excerpt I have posted is actually the prologue to the story and takes place eleven years before the story’s start. My friend Mike is already hooked. Jen hasn’t seen the story yet (I should probably send her the first nine pages). One of my WoW buddies has it in his hot little hands, too, but I went to bed before I could see what he thought of it.
In addition to this wonderfully magical noveling experience, I’ve also started a few specks of new fiction. One is nowhere near complete (it’s in the beginning stages) but it’s an explanation as to why Quin’lisse Adama missed the wedding of one of her best friends. When it’s done, hopefully it’ll knock a few socks off. The other is a serial for the RoA and Sentinels Realm Forum entitled “The Devil is in the Details.” The frst few posts of it are below the cut line.
The Devil is in the Details
From the safety of his desk next to the stove, he could hear her yelling. He had his stone turned off and was glad of it, knowing that she must be yelling at someone over it. It didn’t matter whether it was the main channel or a private one. The Chancellor was angry, and if the Ice Bitch was yelling, it had to be bad. She didn’t usually yell. Not like this.
The yelling stopped, and a moment later the door came open. Arcavius Cavandar pretended to be busy with the papers on his desk, mostly research notes. He glanced up to see her staring at him, expression contorted in rage, though not at him. Her eyes were already softening. I wonder what that was all about?
He decided to risk asking. “What’s wrong, Chancellor?”
“Someone decided that he didn’t have to answer to me and has run off willy-nilly.” She paced toward the stove and hefted another scoop of coal, feeding it into the smoldering fire. They had been promised better accommodation months ago, but it hadn’t been forthcoming. The chancellor had decided to simply make the best of it, and in recent weeks the place had become much less drafty with the generous application of caulking to the walls and better windows. She had joked that she would send Alliance Command the bill for the improvements later. Arcavius wasn’t about to complain. The chill put a bone-deep ache into his leg, broken in the Dragonblight the year before.
“Who, Chancellor?” Arcavius was aware that he might have been overstepping, but curiosity, again, got the better of him.
She turned to him, her glare almost baleful. “Who do you think, Arcavius?”
“Your husband?” It was a likely assumption. The man was known for going off and doing what he felt needed to be done at any given time.
“Close,” the chancellor answered, wrinkling her nose. “Tanith informed me today after being MIA for two weeks that he’s going to be gone for at least another week. On errands, he says.”
“Errands? What kind of errands?”
“Wouldn’t I like to know?” The chancellor scrubbed her hands over her face and sighed, seemingly uncaring of the smudge of coal dust that now graced her left cheekbone. “Get Jonathan for me ASAP, please, and see what you can find out from your contacts in the Argent Dawn.”
Arcavius frowned. “Why would the Argent Dawn know anything about what Sir Tanitharil is doing?”
Jude Auroran’s expression was grim. “Call it a hunch, Arcavius. Get me Jonathan, and get him quickly. And tell Vee I want to see her.”
“Viath Myrin, Arcavius.”
“Oh!” He’d never heard the head of the Retribution’s intelligence apparatus called by a nickname other than ‘crazy cat.’ He was fairly certain he wasn’t even supposed to have heard that. “I’ll see what I can do, Chancellor. You got her to carry her stone all the time now, right?”
“It’s not carrying it, it’s whether or not it’s on that’s the problem, I’m afraid.” She scrubbed a hand over her eyes again and exhaled a sigh. “Just get them both for me, please? And quickly.”
“Yes’m.” He tucked his research notes away. They’d have to wait until another day.
There was a woman’s voice, raspy, as if rusty from disuse, coming over the stones. Arcavius found it unfamiliar, frowning as he stared at his stone and wondering if somehow someone else had tapped into their channel on accident—it would have been a first time for that, though it wasn’t as if he knew every voice that ever came over the stones.
Whoever it was, she wasn’t a very happy person.
As if we need more of those these days. He cleared his throat and tentatively asked, “Who is that? I don’t recognize the voice.”
“Briannia Cass,” the voice answered, only marginally softer in tone than it had been before, when a litany of curses had been coming over the stones. He’d only turned his on because he had caught a portal back to Stormwind, to deliver some paperwork and hopefully track down Jonathan Emerson. And to stop in at the Argent Dawn post in the city, where he could hopefully learn something useful to the Chancellor.
He blinked a little at the name. It was familiar—familiar because it was on the rolls of those considered to be missing in action since the early offensives in the north. Before the departure of the chancellor’s predecessor, Maradis, and a few other events, Bri—that’s what the Chancellor had always called her—had been part of the command structure. Her loss had changed that.
Arcavius swallowed and then cleared his throat. “We thought you were dead.”
“I am,” the voice said.
It took Arcavius’ mind a moment to catch up. A Death Knight, then? “Oh.”
“Tell Jude I need to talk to her.”
Arcavius swallowed again. “Yes’m.” His mind reeled even as Bri settled down, ending up in conversation with Nassaluuna, one of their compatriots that was now largely out of the Retribution’s employ. He looked down at his horse’s neck, frowning. How’s she going to take this, on top of everything else?
He exhaled a breath. Time enough to find out after he did some digging in Stormwind. The Chancellor would be in meetings for another few hours, anyway.
The shouting match with his sister left him comparatively unphased, given the level of wrath she’d unleashed on him. There was nothing for it—that’s what he kept telling himself. The Silver Hand had a hold on his soul, oaths binding on him from before Lordaeron fell. Intellectually, he knew the oaths he swore to the Retribution and the Alliance technically superseded those oaths. But when someone like the man disguised as a bishop came in the dead of night to eight of Lordaeron’s survivors…no. No, that was as important as his oaths to the Retribution.
Besides, this wouldn’t take long. Another week, maybe two. Possibly less. It was another turn scouting, out in the field, tracking the Cult of the Damned, watching their activities here, at home. That was important. Very, very important.
We can’t afford to be broken from the inside again. We won’t survive it.
He leaned against a wall, watching as the farrier re-shod his mount. Ivan had been taking care of his horse’s feet since Tanith had begun to lend his sword-arm to Stormwind’s Cathedral almost three and a half years before. He’d even helped the former knight of Lordaeron get the barding for his mount right.
“You’ll be gone again for a while, then?”
Tanith nodded. “Probably not too long, and hopefully you won’t see me right away when I get back.”
“Not expectin’ any trouble, then?”
He shrugged. “Hope not, Ivan.”
Ivan grinned up at him, moving to get another shoe. “You’re better than that friend of yours you referred to me. That girl…comes back every time, needs new shoes for her horse, or repairs to the barding. She asked me this last time if I could come up with some kind of cuirass for a gryphon. Imagine that, huh? A cuirass for one of those beasties.”
Tanith swallowed, then shrugged, trying to keep his expression passive. Quin’lisse, what kind of trouble are you getting yourself into these days? He tried not to sigh. He knew that she’d been assigned tasks by the Argent Crusade that he wasn’t privileged to know about. He doubted she’d spoken more than a few words about her duties to Fiammeta Castelon, either, who was technically her employer.
Fia… he winced. He would have to find her tonight, if he could. He hadn’t seen her in weeks—had it been more than a month already? Of course it had been. He’d stormed out after learning that Quin Adama was training at the Golden Veil to be a Companion and hadn’t been back since, through no fault of anyone at the Veil.
Work just kept getting in the way.
He sighed. Ivan looked up again.
“Somethin’ wrong, Sir Tanith?”
He shook his head. “Nothing you can fix, Ivan. How much will I owe you this time?”
“Two silver pennies should do it.”
Tanith nodded and paid the man when the job was done. He mounted up and pointed his horse toward the trade district, to pick up a few last supplies on the way out. As he rode, he was dimly aware of someone on his guildstone saying something about Dawsen Astherion being stabbed and possibly dead.
He snorted softly at the lunacy of that. The boy, for all of his ability to attract trouble, would probably outlive him.
Besides, why would Dominika Vissent stab a friend, anyway?
In the end, it wasn’t Arcavius that located Jonathan Emerson, liaison from Stormwind to the Retribution of Arathor, but the Chancellor herself. Arcavius found himself embroiled in other affairs.
She arranged to meet the knight at the tournament grounds on the edge of Icecrown, a now-familiar haunt for most of the Retribution, given their strong ties to the Argent Crusade’s mission to stop Arthas in his tracks. She was waiting in the Silver Covenant’s pavilion there when Emerson arrived, fresh from the lists and slightly flushed from combat.
Jude had just finished exchanging brief pleasantries with Zephe Pajari, one of the Retribution’s few shamans, when the paladin appeared. She excused herself from Zephe and turned toward Emerson, expression schooled into impassivity. After exchanging a few pleasantries with Jonathan, Zephe withdrew herself, probably to find her sister elsewhere at the tournament grounds.
Jonathan Emerson had arrived accompanied by his tow-headed young squire, Arthedor, who he dismissed before bowing respectfully to the Chancellor of the Retribution.
“It’s good of you to come so quickly,” Jude said quietly, hands clasped behind her back, beneath the folds of her cloak.
The paladin nodded slightly. “How may I be of service?
Rather than wasting both of their time, Jude opted to be direct. “I have it on good authority that you may know assignments handed down by the Cathedral at Stormwind. Do you?”
Jonathan frowned slightly, considering the question carefully before phrasing his response delicately. “I could certainly discover…” He looked around for a moment, taking in the various delegations arrayed throughout the pavilion and the comings and goings of personnel. His brow furrowed a moment. “Perhaps this matter could be more appropriately addressed in more…discrete environs.”
Jude smiled wryly. “What are you thinking?”
The man immediately blushed. “I assure my lady I meant nothing untoward.”
She almost laughed aloud. Who would, after all, consider anything ‘untoward’ when it was her involved? She was fairly certain no one had thought those kind of thoughts knowingly in two years. “I know, Mr. Emerson, I know. In any case, the Covenant grounds are secure enough for my purposes.”
Casting another suspicious glance around, Jonathan lowered his voice, stepping slightly closer so his voice would have even less chance of carrying to other ears. “Very well, my lady. How may I be of service?”
“By ascertaining to what ends one Tanitharil Auroran was dispatched on Cathedral duty, if he was dispatched at all.” She paused. “He’s one of us and no one saw fit to inform me.”
Jonathan’s brow furrowed in deep thought, his lips forming the syllables of the elven first name coupled with the human surname. Finally, he regarded her with a long, wary gaze. “He is of a relation to you?”
She gave him a withering stare. “Do you really think that’s relevant, Sir Jonathan?” In truth, it was, but only peripherally. ‘If she can’t keep her own brother in line, what hope did she have with the rest?’—that was a question some would ask. She didn’t care so much for those who would voice the question, but it was still a concern.
Jonathan smothered a smile behind a mask of impassivity. “You would know better than I, my lady.” He clasped his hands behind his back. “I will seek out what answers there are to be discovered.”
Jude nodded slightly. “I appreciate it.”
“I am set for an evening voyage back to Stormwind tonight.” He tilted his head slightly. “Will you be in the city any time soon yourself?”
Jude shrugged briefly. “It’s possible. Perhaps not likely, but not imposible.” She managed to smile. “I tend to stay well out of Varian’s reach when I can.”
A wave of confusion passed over Jonathan’s expression, confusion quickly buried, filed away for another time, another place. “Hmm. I see.” He smiled a little. “Another matter to be addressed at a later date, perhaps.”
She smiled wryly. “Indeed.”
“Well, rest assured. I shall seek what word I can of this…Tanatharil.” He stumbled slightly over the unfamiliar syllables. She elected not to correct his pronunciation—he pulled it off better than most.
“My thanks,” she said quietly.
He nodded. “Will you be needing anything else, my lady?”
She shook her head. “No, thank you. Be safe, Jonathan.”
“Very good. Light’s blessing.” He bowed.
“Safe journeys,” she said softly, inclining her head. She watched him go, waving for his squire to attend him as he went. I may have said too much when I mentioned Varian, she thought, chewing the inside of her lip. Though if he doesn’t know of the antipathy by now…well. He’ll learn of it soon enough anyhow. She paused by one of the lance racks and hefted one of the weapons. A few tilts would be good for her soul.
To be continued…
I’ll be posting the story, like so many others, to the fiction section of the blog sometime soon.