It’s hard to believe it’s been so long since I last posted an update. It was not intentional, the days have just rushed by in a blur! But I want you all to know that the first draft of Gust of Wind is almost finished. There’s about thirty scenes left to write and then I can start working on the revision. Yay! (Revision is my favorite part—it’s when the story comes together, IMO.)
I’ve been aiming for Christmas, but it’s going to be a crunch since the editor usually needs four to six weeks to work his magic. So please don’t hate me if it’s January or February when it’s finally ready for release. At least we are getting there! And….I’ve been taking notes along the way for the final episode: Spark of Fire, so it won’t take nearly as long to write!
It’s been a challenging year for me but the wheels are slowly starting to turn in my favor. The final pieces of that situation I mentioned awhile ago will finally be done in just a few weeks and then I can put that nightmare behind me permanently. When it’s all said and done, it will have been three years, eleven months, and sixteen days from start to finish. A long time to have your life hijacked by a situation you never wanted or asked for, but had to respond to on behalf of yourself and disabled people everywhere. Sometimes life presents a difficult choice and one must rise to the occasion and stand up for what is right. This was one of those times and I did my best…and I have reason to believe my efforts were not in vain. Many faceless, nameless disabled people will benefit because I stood up and said NO to bullies. As beat up as I am…I’m a little proud, too.
But, it took its toll on me and I am exhausted; physically, mentally, and emotionally. That’s why Gust of Wind has been delayed for so long. One way or the other, I have worked at it every day while trying to put the pieces of my life back together so I can decide where I am going from here.
Okay, enough of that depressing stuff! Halloween is just around the corner and I submitted a spooky Flash Fiction story to the Alone in a Room with Invisible People Flash Fiction Halloween Contest and my story was one of the ones selected! Woohoo! (It’s called “Twenty-Seven.”) Holly and Rebecca will be reading the stories on their podcasts on Tuesday, October 29th and Thursday, October 31st. There will be different stories each night so be sure to listen to both podcasts. I’ll be posting links to the podcasts on the Quest of the Guardians Facebook Page so be sure to check in and listen. Almost a hundred writers contributed stories this year and AIARWIP will be reading a selection of the spookiest, funniest, scariest ones for you! (Sounds like a fun thing to do while you hand out candy to Trick or Treaters!)
In the meantime…how about another excerpt from upcoming Gust of Wind? Yes? 🙂 HINT: Malakai has been mistaken for a young researcher named Qais Bacri by the Curator of the great library of Dai’awin…
EXCERPT FROM GUST OF WIND:
“How’s your research coming, Qais?” Caius asked. “Are you finding what you were looking for?”
Malakai looked up from his meal, his mouth full of the sweet corn that had recently arrived from Arh’et. “Mm-hmm.” He nodded, trying to chew and swallow quickly. “Researching here is much more productive than in the library on Wind Drifter,” he added for good measure.
Caius chuckled. “I would imagine so.”
Malakai took a sip of water.
“I wouldn’t normally do this,” Caius said, sipping some wine. “But the city is traveling to Kinsa Castle today—Lord Ansa has been called to a council meeting with the king.” He set his goblet down.
Malakai froze. Kinsa Castle? —Margo! He glanced through the railing along the balcony of the community eating area where Caius had invited him to an early lunch. A patchwork of fall colors passed below them as Arh’et made the transition into the autumn harvest season.
“The curator of the king’s library is my cousin and I frequently stop in to see him while we’re there,” Caius continued. “Would you like to accompany me, Qais?”
“You won’t be able to borrow any of the books, of course,” Caius lifted his fork. “But there might be time to skim through a few since Lord Ansa often lunches with the King after the council meeting. And the paintings in the castle are spectacular, too, if you’re interested.”
Malakai nodded. “That would be great. But—are you sure it’s okay?”
Caius shrugged. “The king won’t even know you’re there.”
Malakai’s mind raced. Does he dare? Will Faeran somehow sense his presence? …Don’t just sit here looking stupid, Caius is staring.
Malakai took another bite of his corn. What if I see Margo? What if she sees me? Don’t be silly, she’s in the dungeon. Will there be an opportunity to rescue her? Simeena?
“Thank you, Caius,” Malakai said. “I would have never dreamed of having such an opportunity.” He smiled despite the panicked racing of his heart.
“Ah, I see we are almost there,” Caius said, gesturing toward the view from the balcony.
Malakai turned. They were crossing the Yellow Valley and approaching Hornberry Draw. It opened like a V and the edge of the vineyards came into view. Malakai rose to his feet and walked over to the railing. “It’s so beautiful from up here. Just look at all that purple!”
Caius joined him. “That’s the Hornbush thorn-berries. They’ll be starting the harvest soon.”
Malakai’s brow scrunched. “I, uh…I thought everyone in Hornberry Draw was killed last spring?”
“The king sent a group of peasant militia there a couple of months ago to clean up the mess and get ready for the harvest,” Caius said, smirking. “Can’t be without Hornberry wine, after all. Lord Otue would be distraught.”
Malakai forced a chuckle. He returned his gaze to the view below as the Cloud City passed over what remained of his village. He peered toward the hill and the graves of his parents—still there. The mound of dirt over his mother had settled and lost its fresh appearance. That’s probably a good thing.
The bodies that had littered the ground the day they buried Oceana had vanished and there were fresh graves in neat rows outside the village. Malakai turned his attention to the winery as the city drifted by. The well came into view. Margo’s pitcher no longer decorated the ground. It was as if all that he had known and loved had been erased and now, scattered militia tents between the stud-walls of new construction had taken its place.
“Last spring we were passing over this area,” Caius said. “And I saw a flash of light in the Yellow Valley.”
Malakai dragged his attention back to the present, his breath catching. “What was it? Lightning?”
“I don’t think so,” Caius said. “It was near the Yellow Castle, far from this city.”
Malakai tried to look back to the valley but they had already left it behind and were crossing the mountains to the west of Hornberry Draw. In the distance he could just make out the wastelands and the Forbidden Bridge. “What do you think it was?”
Caius shrugged. “At the time, we could only guess. But now that we know the Coward King is back I would imagine it had something to do with his return.”
“How is that even possible?” Malakai asked. “I mean, I thought he died three hundred years ago?” He leaned over the rail, amazed to see thousands of peasant militiamen riding horses as they approached the wastelands. Some were engaged in mounted fighting with wooden swords. Others were practicing their skills in maintaining a formation and charging as one unit.
Caius stared at Malakai a moment. “How is it possible that King Faeran still lives after three hundred years?”
“I guess the magic has kept him alive,” Malakai said.
Caius nodded. “And if the magic can keep Faeran alive, it can certainly bring King Jakin back as well.”
Malakai avoided Caius’s gaze. The look on his face made him nervous, like he was studying Malakai’s responses. He decided to be bold and behave how he imagined the real Qais might in this situation. “What do you know about the magic, Master Caius? I mean—I’ve always wondered about it—how it works and stuff.”
Caius hesitated. “According to some of the oldest scrolls in our library, it’s feelings—emotions—that power the magic—and thoughts that give it direction.”
Malakai’s brow scrunched. “Feelings? Then how is the magic tied to the Trah’ez and the elements?”
“That was the doing of King Sortia.” Caius said.
“King Sortia…King Sortia…” Malakai pretended to wrack his mind.
“King Sortia was the one who joined the magic of the elements into the Te’eta and shared it with the citizens of Surot,” Caius said.
“Oh yeah,” Malakai said, nodding. “At the Time of the Separation, right?”
“Yes.” Caius said. “That’s when King Tation took the fear magic to Kinsa to keep it under control.” His voice drifted off.
“I don’t understand,” Malakai said. “Keep it under control how?”
“Ah, there’s Kinsa Castle now,” Caius said, pointing.
Malakai turned, then gasped.
Perched atop a steep hill, the castle guarded the Kinsan wastelands where thousands of Jax Riders were training their steeds. Just beyond them, the blue flames of the tar pits of Z’lea licked upwards like a glowing ring of fire. Beyond the castle, Jax wasps flew in and out of a mountain, swarming around its peak.
“I need to fetch some things,” Caius said. “Meet me on platform five-twelve.”
Malakai nodded and watched Caius scurry away, then returned his gaze to the landscape. He took in as much as he could while he had the chance.