Wednesday 21 January 2015

Slowing Down

Image by Shadowstarflame

Well, my Christmas writing frenzy has slowed almost to a halt. Crawled over the 55k count the other day, but guests staying, work, moving house and interesting people have proved a distraction I'm unable to break.

I also got turned off by an important scene I needed to write. When the plot is straightforward, it's plain sailing, but I came to this part that is a linchpin for the rest of the story. The pressure had me pairing my socks, washing dishes and inspecting my belly button.

Had to remind myself I'm supposed to be writing a fast draft, and that I can come back and work the rest out later. I've managed to leap over it now but the plot gets harder from hereon in.

Rough as ever, from the past few days.

With my eyes shut and streaming, I listened to the laughter of my brothers on the lake, ashamed that I was seeking insight into my own future without having thought of theirs. Could I, in all good conscience, ride off to war whilst they were still so young? 

When I stood, wiping my cheeks with the back of my hand, I was uncertain whether my tears belonged to the fire or my family.

“The spirit of the lake has dampened the wood,” A---- said, suddenly before me. “You cannot light a fire here.”

“Then what shall we do for warmth?” I asked.

“I do not intend to stay so late,” she replied. “We shall eat and ride home.”

“We have travelled all this way, and already you wish to return?”

“Do you not enjoy the journey as much as the destination?”

I turned from her to gather a log for the dying flames.

It was hard, too hard, to know what to say to A----. I had never embraced her, yet I had done my best to tolerate her, for my father’s sake, and the sake of my kin. She was beautiful, and in the time she had been with us she had not aged a day, yet hers was a harsh beauty, unlike the softness of our true mother. At times she behaved more as a sister to me than a mother, and at times, more as though she wished to be my lover. Beneath her looks and her confidence, something desperate lay.

She came towards me around the pile of wood, running her fingers down my folded arm. 

“Don’t,” I told her.

“What is it, you do not like my touch?”

I stared at her hard, willing her to return to her blankets.

“Ah, you do not like my touch as much as that of Caílte mac Rónáin,” she smiled.

“And you do not like my father’s touch as much as that of Nyel of the White Field.”

She drew back, her eyes wide as a fox in a trap, defiant in its fear.

“F------ told me what he saw, though he did not understand it at the time.”

She turned away, then turned back, her hand pressed to her lips.

“It would break his heart,” she whispered.

“You would break his heart.”

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