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Here, Have a NaNoWriMo Excerpt

November 5, 2014

As my country votes resoundingly for two more years of pissing into the wind, I find that I’m glad that I’ve chosen to write light-hearted fantasy this month. Working on my darker, more dystopian book would just feel a bit, I don’t know, too much on the nose maybe?

Anyhow, here’s a little excerpt of what I’ve been writing. This is rough, rough draft material, filled with excess for the sake of wordcount, and in the NaNoWriMo spirit, I will be trying my damnedest  to avoid revising until after Nov. 30. World, meet Valyssa, one of the Three Scholars.

Val paid her coin for the booth in the water merchants’ tent, and made herself as comfortable as she could on her makeshift couch of old tattered pillows. Since her flight from Larh, acquiring enough money for food and basic needs had not been a serious problem. In the two weeks time it had taken her to find her bearings in the villages of the Fringelands and join a caravan to traveling to the Tents of Xel, she had been able to find short-term work first as an interpreter for a Gedlander merchant, then as an identifier of salvage from one of the many dig sites at one of the many ancient villages that were found along the Fringelands caravan routes. Her knowledge of spoken Geddish was rough (her accent was atrocious, she was told), and most of the salvage had been scrap barely fit for recycling (a box of ancient pistol ammunition and a tarnished silver necklace were the notable exceptions), but combined with the money her father had provided her with, she had been paid well-enough to eat, drink, and rent a riding gecko for her trip to the oasis town she presently found herself in.

Val was thankful that some of the esoteric knowledge she had been forced to accumulate in her life actually had a practical value outside the walls of Lahr. The rural Fringelands that separated the city-states of the Civil Coast from the wild Madlands were constantly being traversed by those seeking to profit from the knowledge and treasures of the Earth’s obscure past civilizations. This happened to be something of a specialty of the religious orders headed by each of her parents. These skills also enabled her to perform just enough research to learn that an Inokian vault had been located some months ago in the Madlands, not far from the Tents of Xel. Without having any other vector to pursue, it seemed as good a path to follow if she was to attempt to aid her family in any way.

The worst part of her flight from Larh had not been fear of providing for herself, except in the very beginning. But after the paralyzing terror of her first night camped outside the walls of Larh alone (in a storm no less), Val resolved to enjoy her freedom. It certainly seemed to her that it would be temporary. Her father, and especially her mother, were masters of their city’s political scene. How long could their persecution possibly last?

Val considered the worst parts of her last two weeks to be a dead toss-up between the lice she acquired from the inn she had stayed at on her second night, and the lusty leering advances she had to endure from the men of questionable hygiene she had encountered on her travels. It was enough to make her reflect fondly on her Kellian, even as she remembered how stoic and boring he could be.

The Tents of Xel, an oasis town settled by a tribe of nomads who one day decided that an oasis was a suitable place to change their lifestyle, and now named for it’s de facto mayor, had proven to be the least civilized place Val had encountered yet. Which she supposed made sense, considering its location. Quickly discovering that her previously profitable talents were less in demand here due to local competition, she turned to her skills in mathematics, particularly her knowledge of statistical probabilities. She knew that some on the losing side in a game of chance might consider her use of these skills to be cheating, but, she reasoned, that was only because they were on the losing side.

I’m only about 3,000 words short of today’s target wordcount. If I can avoid falling farther behind, I’ll be in good shape.

How’s your November going?

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