Another chapter is done! I’m getting super excited because the third book is getting very close to being finished. I have about four more chapters to go and much of the end is already written. The only problem is that I have scenes written in different places that are completely out of chronological order. So I have to piece them together. It’s like a puzzle.
Anyhow, this post’s teaser is from chapter sixteen when Chalice and her gang return to Portalis. When they do, they meet up with something quite unexpected. Hence, the teaser:
When the afternoon slowly shifted into early evening, Marcus suddenly spun his mount around and held up his hand. “Halt!” he shouted and slowly, the small train of people, horses, and wagons ceased their forward movement. “Strelzi, be on your guard!” he yelled down the line and watched the soldiers immediately move into position around everyone, unlacing their bows and nocking arrows.
Chalice heeled Nipha forward. “What’s going on, Marcus?”
“Something is wrong, Maefeline. This close to the entrance, we would have already been met by Portalis scouts. They are stationed in critical locations hidden in the forest and monitor the terrain around the gate. The fact that there is a distinct lack of them has me worried.”
“Maybe they’re not scouting today?”
“No.” He shook his head. “They should always be here. If they are not, then something is wrong.”
Chalice glanced around and a million thoughts ran through her mind. Was Dar’Maalda here? Had his men already taken over? But, no, of course not. They couldn’t be. There would be sign of a battle. Then, what is going on? she wondered. But before she could think of any other possible explanations, she saw them …
Coming November 2013.
This is totally random, but I wanted to share this. Rémi Gaillard is French guy who goes around with his camera-carrying buddies and plays jokes on people. He’s hilarious! Watch these.
Tour de France:
I did it again! Yay! I finished another chapter! Chapter 15 was a tough chapter to tackle. It’s a very powerful one where Chalice has to tell her friend, Sieren, to do something that she knows Sieren will not want to do. The situation really puts Chalice is a hard spot, where not even her friends are sure that what she is doing is wise and so they start to question her. The moral dilemma Chalice finds herself in really comes out in this chapter of the book and of course, Chalice always does what she has to do. She does what she sees as being right, even if it hurts her or puts her in a bad light.
The following excerpt is the last bit of the chapter, where Chalice has an upsetting dream:
Chalice found herself in a dark, stifling hot room, the fireplace roaring next to a man clad in black whose facial features she knew well. It wasn’t the face that paralyzed her, however. It was the eyes. The two glowing red eyes that meant he was in a rage. He held a paper in his hands that he brandished at a short, chubby man with a pockmarked face and that man was dead silent.
“We suffered severe losses in the gulf and yet you said they went to Durambourg?”
“Yes, my Lord. It was in the message.”
“You lied, Ivan! There was no message. This message in my hand. This message tells the truth. My spies have not heard a word of them in Durambourg. Instead, they’ve spotted them sailing along the north river to Cedarwood.”
“But … my Lord, I did not …”
“You lied!” he yelled again as the ground shook beneath their feet. The man held up his palm toward Ivan, who seemed to know exactly what was coming.
He threw his hands over his head and begged: “No, my Lord! Please!”
In an instant, a bar of black light shot out from the man’s palm and Chalice felt herself being yanked backwards into pure darkness. She sat bolt upright in bed, barely able to catch her breath, her heart beating frantically inside her chest. The commotion woke Jeremiah, who placed his hand reassuringly on her back.
“Chalice, what is it?”
“He knows!” her voice trembled. “He knows where we are. Ivan is dead. We have to go, Jeremiah. We have to go now.”
I saw this on PG’s blog and died laughing:
I think Christopher Nolan has done it again!
Another day, another chapter. If I keep going at this rate, the book will be finished in no time. Keeping my fingers crossed I don’t get stuck anywhere like I did on chapter eleven. In this chapter, chapter fourteen, the characters come across the charred ruins of a village, which has a major impact on Chalice and how she views the war with Dar’Maalda. She begins to realize some very important things about herself, about Jeremiah and about the people who are aiding her.
Chalice held up the pigeon and before letting it go, sent it mental images of Mount Vaassa and of Bunejab in his village. Once she was sure the pigeon knew its destination, she opened her hands and it flew deftly into the air, growing smaller and smaller with each passing second until it was no longer visible. Then, she turned, looked out into the distance ahead of the ship, and froze.
A light peach clock tower, whose face streaked with black soot held the constant time of a quarter after midnight, a ghostly reminder of the horrific events that had happened there a year earlier, was all that was left of her beloved home, Canton. The closer the ship approached, the clearer the images grew. All the docks, all the fishing wharves and all the tack shops – gone. Completely gone. Her grandfather’s inn, the shops along Canton Run, her schoolhouse, and the canneries – all were piles of dark rubble and black stones scattered among the tall weeds that now grew there, poking out of the once beautiful cobblestone streets. She wanted to pull away from the terrible scene, but found that she could not move.
In the back of her mind, she heard the sound of metal hitting the deck and Jeremiah’s voice: “Don’t look at it, Chalice!” Then, she heard footsteps running toward her and Valderion shouting: “Oy, Jeremiah, we’re not done.”
Ignoring the sounds behind her, she squinted at something in the middle of the village square. Something that looked an awful lot like a pile of … were those … charred bones? Some were in the pile and some were strewn around the square as if wolves and other forest animals had come to scavenge what was left. Paralyzed with horror, she just stood and stared. It was all she could do. She could not pull away no matter how hard she tried, when suddenly a pair of strong arms grabbed her shoulders from behind and Jeremiah spun her around, holding her close to his body.
“Don’t,” he said. “Don’t look. Don’t do that to yourself.”
She gripped his shirt tightly and buried her face into his chest as the horrible images swirled around in her head. Papa’s remains were somewhere in that pile of bones, she knew, and those images would now haunt her for the rest of her life. It was too much. She wanted to scream. She wanted to curse the men who had done this to her village, her friends, and her family. She felt her will and her sanity leaving her. She felt like giving up. She leaned into Jeremiah who held her fast in his arms and did not let her fall.
It was then that she realized how much she needed him. She had always prided herself on her independence and strength, but now, she had no claim to that anymore. She knew now that she couldn’t do it on her own and his words to her in Nipha’s stall that one day served as a sober reminder:
“Don’t try to carry the weight of this whole war on your shoulders. That burden is too much for one person. Even for you.”
Jeremiah didn’t know just how right he was.
I can’t believe how fast I whipped this chapter out. I’m a writing binge right now, I guess. From here on out, I think finishing this book will be quick as I already have much of the later chapters already written. This is my curse. For some reason, I cannot write in chronological order. Scenes pop in my head all the time and I have to write them down before I forget. This is why I have so many of the later chapters already written.
In this chapter, Chalice and her friends find themselves between a rock and hard place and have to make a quick decision in order to escape. Hence, the excerpt below:
“Denni,” Lofty said. “I checked their waterline and our ship is more shallow on the draft. We can lose them if we head for the wetlands.” Ardenne’s face revealed the terrified indecision she was so clearly feeling.
“It’s just a storm, darling,” Darion said, trying to soothe her worry. “We’ve been through those before.”
She shook her head and an expression of utter dread crossed her face as she spun around and headed for the starboard railing, the whole group at her heels. Looking out over the side, she gasped. The dark thunderclouds that hung over the gulf had turned completely black and were swirling violently in the sky, blocking out all sunlight.
“I knew it. That’s no storm. I had a bad feeling about this ever since we arrived in the gulf. It’s been in the back of my mind this whole time.”
“What has?” Chalice asked.
“The maelstrom? You mean, the one that killed Paelianna?”
“How do you know? It could just be a big storm.”
“No, Chalice.” Ardenne shook her head. “When you’ve been sailing as long as I have, you get a sense of the sea. You get to know her intimately. When we left you in Sundria and headed back out, I noticed she was behaving strangely. It was a sign that something was coming. I’ve studied drawings of this, drawings that belong to my father. And this,” she pointed to the roiling clouds, “this is it. You see it? That is where the eye of the cyclone forms. That is where it starts. It works its way down to the water, where it sets the current in motion. The winds are so strong, they lift the sea water into the air until the whole thing becomes one huge vortex of water and air. When it begins, it spreads out for leagues, engulfing the whole sea. We don’t want to sail through that. No ship can survive it.”
This teaser is from part two of the last chapter, which I had to cut in two because it was just too long. The following excerpt is thus from the end of chapter 12, a chapter in which Chalice goes to find her uncle and free him from the prison that binds him. In the process, she has to do something very unpleasant. This unpleasantness is not mentioned in the following excerpt, but found rather within the chapter itself, which will be revealed only at publication of the final book.
“Can they be trusted?”
“They can all be trusted. They are my men. They have always been loyal to me.”
“Good,” she said and nodded to Marcus whose glowing emerald ceased its brilliance, releasing the two guards by the door. Chalice watched them for a moment to make sure they didn’t move before she continued. “Next question. Do you have a war room where we can talk over maps and charts?”
Davinthore blinked, not believing what she had just asked. “Yes, I do, but … don’t you want to stay a while and rest. We can talk over tea and supper.” He reached out to touch her face affectionately. “My niece, you look so much like Bron and yet, I don’t even know you. In fact, I don’t even know my own son.”
“Your father. That is what I call him. Bronaan is his name, but most call him Duquaine.”
“Or Duque,” Marcus interjected jauntily.
“Yes, or Duque,” he agreed, smiling broadly at Marcus. The two exchanged a meaningful glance that only two old friends could. Then, Davinthore turned back to Chalice. “What say you? Will you not stay for tea and supper?”
He is such a sweet man, Chalice thought. She was sorely tempted to take him up on his offer. She thought about Valderion – how determined he had been to see his father and how fiercely he had defended his honor. She wanted nothing more than to let them pass the evening together and give them some father-and-son time. After all these years, there was no one else who deserved it more. But unfortunately, terribly, she knew she couldn’t and she hated herself again for what she had to do. She shook her head sadly and said: “I’m sorry, but there is no time. If you want to help, we need to talk now. You want to help us, right?”
“Yes, of course. Anything you need.”
“Okay. Let’s go, then. Take me to your war room.” She took his hand and helped him to his feet. He moved toward a side door a few paces to the right of the hearth and she followed. Sensing Valderion close behind her, she turned and put her hand up. “You stay here.”
“What? Why?” he protested. “Why can’t I come?”
“No one can come. Not even Jeremiah. I need to talk to your father alone.” It was true. No one was allowed in this time. She had plans for her uncle and his ships and she needed to relay them as quickly as possible with no one to interfere. If the others were present, she knew they would and she didn’t have time for that. At this point in their journey, she knew what needed to be done. She had to act swiftly and place all the pieces on the board before Dar’Maalda beat her to the endgame. And she wasn’t even sure where he was in the last stages of his plans, which made it even more difficult. She was guessing and the wrong guess would mean the difference between victory and death for the Resistance and her people. It was a risk, but she had to take it.
“Chalice, he’s my father,” Valderion continued to protest. “I have a right to be there.”
“No, you don’t,” she said sternly. “You’re not even supposed to be here. Remember? But you disobeyed my order and came regardless. So you will stay here with the others while we talk.” When he opened his mouth to protest, she cut him off. “I’m not going to argue with you about it.”
Chalice looked up at Jeremiah who had placed his hand on Valderion’s shoulder. “You better listen to her, Valderion. I know when Chalice means what she says and she is very serious right now.”
Valderion paused and stood in silence as he watched Chalice disappear behind the door with his father. After all this time, after all the years of waiting and worrying, he was finally reunited with his father and yet was only given just moments to be with him before Chalice whisked him away. It wasn’t fair and he wasn’t sure if he would ever forgive her for it.