NaNo TB-non-T: 2014

the healer's curse coverAnd now we come to 2014 🙂 I’ve posted quite a few shorter excerpts from Shard, but I thought I’d post some from my World of Warcraft fanfiction, The Healer’s Curse, which I wrote on my 50k Day One (so the whole thing is a bit wordy). These are the only parts that will ever see the light of day, so feel privileged! Bit of background for those of you who don’t play WoW: Edethra (on the cover) is a troll restoration druid (healer). Death knights are people from all races who died, were raised to life and enslaved by the Lich King, and who then rebelled against him. They are not popular in the lore, however, since they did play a big part in killing thousands of innocent people before they broke free from the Lich King’s hold. Blood elves = high elves who were corrupted by arcane magic and who still use it but don’t let it control them (oversimplified explanation, but oh well). Durotar = desert land where the orcs, tauren, and trolls come from. Orgrimmar = capital city of Durotar. Vol’jin = leader of the trolls and the one who eventually overthrows the orc warchief. Pandaria = the misty, hidden continent where the previous expansion took place.

Death Knight
Death Knight

Excerpt 1

“In the meantime, we need to find you a good horse. Come with me. Can you ride?”

“I can ride raptors, so I imagine riding a horse will much easier,” Edethra replied.

He could not help laughing at that one. “Yes, the raptors. Mangy little beats, are they not? Yet one does grow to love them. In any case, yes, a horse is much easier to ride, or at least it was for me. Some trolls find the sudden calm unsettling. Then again, a horse is a good, intelligent creature. You can trust them while you are riding; if they do not want to go forward, it is a bad idea to make them go forward, because more likely than not there is a threat lying in wait for you that the horse can sense.”

“Always listen to the horse,” Edethra summed up. “I will remember. I have heard that they are highly intelligent, but the only horse I ever really saw was Kilthael’s hellfire steed, and he was too terrifying for me to get to know.”

“Kilthael?”

“One of my friends. He is a death knight.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You are friends with a blood elf death knight? How curious. Although I have heard that I that you druids have a particular affinity for them. Why is that?”

“I think it is because they are a manifestation of nature, just we are. Death is natural, after all, is it not? Why should we be afraid of it? So I think we druids have an affinity for them because just as we demonstrate what nature is like and how she thinks and acts and does, so do they. In any case, they were once people, just like all of us. It is not their fault that they were forced into submission by the Lich King. And I know that there are still many who serve him, but almost none who have had the chance of leaving his service have stayed with him. Is that not true?”

“Yes, you do bring up a good point. But still, I am not sure I could ever really be friends with one.”

Edethra smiled knowingly. “Then you do not know what you are missing. There is much to be learned from those who have been dead and who have lived to tell the tale.”

Excerpt 2

Durotar
Durotar

Finally she took a deep breath and, gathering the reigns, she urged the yak forward, and it made its way down the golden red slope toward the village she had adored so much once in her youth. As she neared the village, she could tell even from a distance that they noticed her, and continued to notice her. Some children had been playing outside the spiked fences of the main gate, and they stopped to stare at her wide eyed. Several adult trolls and one orc had been having a somewhat heated conversation by the guard post, and they, too, stopped what they were doing and turned to look at her. No one seemed hostile, but all seemed curious and in wonder.

Edethra rode to the small stables just inside the main gate, where several raptors were tied up. When they saw the yak they strained at their leashed like wild dogs, yapping and growling, snapping their drooling jaws at the animal. The yak, however, who was at least twice their size, merely stared at them with half closed eyes and made little snorting noises. Edethra dismounted and went to the stable hand.

“Excuse me,” she said, and the troll stared at her for a moment before replying. She knew her accent was greatly changed from the usual troll accent; she had been in many places and spoken to many different kinds of people, different races, even those in the Alliance, and one cannot experience so great a variety without being affected by it in some way.

“Hello there, mon,” the troll finally responded. What can I do for ya?”

“I need to keep the yak here for now, until I know what my plans are. Do you know how to take care of these?”

“Aye, mon. I jus’ came back from Pandaria myself. I can care for him, ya.”

“You?” she asked in surprise, and with an unexpected sense of relief. This bothered her a little; after all, Sen’jin was her home. She should feel relief just to be back here. Shouldn’t she?

Aye mon. Dey sent me over der to do some fightin’ but I wasn’t much good at it, so here I am.”

“I see. Well thank you, then. Can you tell me where Vol’jin is? I understand I am meant to meet him.”

“Certainly mon. But don’ be spreadin’ it ‘round that he’s here. Some of dese orcs shouldn’t know too much, if ya catch my drift.”

Edethra frowned at him and for a brief moment they exchanged a mutual glance of understanding and shared knowledge. Trouble was brewing. Even if Sen’jin remained peaceful, Edethra had passed through Razor Hill to get here, and the unrest there and in Orgrimmar, not to mention in Pandaria, was not only tangible, but obvious and out in the open. They had to be careful now. Edethra nodded and followed the way he pointed, but walked slowly so that the few orcs standing around would not notice anything odd about her behavior. They did take note of her, but in the same way that the trolls did, and they seemed more in admiration than anything else, staring at her armor and especially at her staff with the strange, swirling mist it carried with it. She ignored them, however, her opinion of them tainted heavily at the moment by things she knew had nothing to do with them. Nevertheless, she walked past at her leisure, looking around at everything.

She did notice with some interest that she was not the only returned warrior here. Several others stood around – and not only healers like her, but of all classes and specialties. Warriors, paladins, hunters, rogues. There were not many, perhaps twenty or so that she could see, and they stood in shadowed areas. Some wore armor, and some wore tunics and leather that were still out of place, being in the style of Pandaria and certainly not of Durotar or, indeed, any country whether in the Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor. As she walked past they nodded at her in acknowledgement, and some seemed to recognize her and gave a little bow. She acknowledged each of them in turn, and finally came to the little hut where Vol’jin was apparently staying in concealment.

The Day After November

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And again we say goodbye to yet another year of NaNoWriMo. Even after 6 years NaNo has not gotten old, and every year it’s a little bit sad when it ends. But it’s always good to look at the positive side: we all have words we didn’t have before. We all had adventures and twists and turns along the way. We all learned more about ourselves as writers, and we all allowed ourselves the time and space to do the thing we love. And whether you wrote 100 words, or a 1,000, or 50,000, you should be proud of yourself and consider yourself a winner.

As for me, I (once again) didn’t reach my goal, but I don’t really care because I wrote almost every day and broke my own monthly writing record. Not only that, but I love the story that came out of this and it was lovely to spend time with my most favorite characters once again. And although we say goodbye to NaNo until next year, I’m certainly not saying goodbye to writing.

So with that I bid adieu to all you NaNoers and I’ll see you again in eleven months 🙂

(Of course, I’ll still be here rambling about life and things. But it feels like I should say goodbye. So goodbye.)

Day 26 and Things Get Deep

The madness is slowly but surely nearing its end. And being a reflective person, I thought this would be a good time to do so.

don-t-panic-i-m-not-crazy-i-m-a-writer

Why do I write? This NaNo has reminded me. I’m not sure exactly when I forgot this, but the important thing is that I’m going to do my best not to forget it again. I write because, quite simply, I must. Writing is It. Not It as in “all I need,” but It as in “the thing I have to do.” I have said this in the past, but through all my many phases of life and changing and growing and what not (and there have been many phases), the two things that have always stayed with me are God and writing. There have been rough patches, of course, with both of them, but I’ve never managed to get away from either. I’m not an expert with either, and I make mistakes with both, but there it is. So I hope that after November ends, I will remember this and not neglect my writing again, no matter how busy things might get next year.

hiloniqueThings have also gotten deep in the actual story. Scenes that I have been unsure about, struggling with, and changing for eleven years have fallen into place. Plot holes have been filled in – well, the important ones, at least. And I have stayed true to that book that I wrote in Estes Park, Colorado when I was twelve and busy chasing after fairies and hobbits with my lovely friend and fellow writer, Hilary. This book is so sentimental and nostalgic to me; it’s the first thing I wrote, the thing that opened up this whole world of writing…so I guess it’s fitting that it’s this book that has reminded me of the things I mentioned just now.

Anyway, enough of that…NaNo victories so far!
1. This is the first NaNo where I have not relied on extensive battle scenes for word count.
2. I’ve written almost every day of the month, except for two days when I intentionally gave myself a break. Usually I only write on 10-15 of the days, so this is big.
3. So far I’ve written over 40,000 words more than I ever have in a month before.
4. My typing speed has increased, which is always a plus and helpful for more things than writing fiction.

NaNo non-victories:
1. I am now drinking more coffee than I was drinking even during exam time. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m going to blame it on NaNo.
2. That’s really the only negative here, and I’m not sure I’m really counting it as a negative 🙂

We’re seriously almost there! Let’s do this, people.

Day 23…and…Yeah

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So it’s Day 23. A lot of the past week’s writing has consisted of me staring at my laptop clicking between scenes and trying to figure out how on earth to proceed. The silly thing is that I know what needs to happen next, but the words aren’t flowing. Ah, well, it’s week 3 and that is usually par for the course around this time of November! The important thing is to keep pushing through, even if I know that I’m going to have to seriously rework these scenes later on. And a little candlelight doesn’t hurt to get the inspiration going again 🙂

On the bright side, I know that what comes after this next part is going to be incredibly fun to write and I’m stoked for that, and I should get there by tomorrow! NaNo, after all, is all about pushing through and getting the story out. With that said, I’m going to keep this short and just say that we can all do this! It’s the home stretch. So here are some snippets and I’m off to write a bit more for the day.

Snippet 1

The man ran as fast as he could, and the messenger trailed along after him, more out of terror of what was behind than out of obligation. And the man knew, he knew in his heart that it did not help how fast he ran or how soon he arrived, they were not ready. This might well be the last time he could see the light of day, and he could not even see it, for it was smothered in the smoke of hatred and evil and greed, and now perhaps he would die without having seen the sun one last time. But he tried to push these things from his mind, as he had had to do for weeks and weeks now, because it was too painful to think of how things had once been and how they were so terribly and unalterably changed now. He missed the clear skies and open seas and lush meadows and thick, quiet forests with only the sound of streams trickling through the undergrowth to disturb the silence. He missed the smell of fresh air. But he could not think of those things; not now. They were coming.

Snippet 2

“The warrior is here,” she said.
“We know that,” I said, “but how do you?”
Cahmeelle looked at me, her own expression now very somber and grave. “We found out through our own spies. But the important thing is that we found this out from Tsifira’s people, and that means that she knows. She may be here.”
Instinctively Anaru, Goulius, and I placed our hands on the hilts of our swords. It was second nature by now. “So you mean she could be here? In the Cape?”
“Yes. I have been here myself for weeks, waiting for you, since I did not know where you would be. I have laid low and tried not to make myself stand out, but I have been keeping an eye out for her and for the warrior. I have not seen either, but I can tell you that some of her servants are here. And Tsifira has no concern for secrecy; if she has sent some of her more powerful servants, they will not hesitate to use their powers if need be, and then the whole colony will be on us. We must be very, very careful and not draw attention to ourselves.”
Adyah and I exchanged guilty glances.
“What is it?” Cahmeelle asked anxiously. “What have you done?”

Day 18 and Thoughts

my writing buddy extraordinaire

Guys, it’s the 18th! We’re over halfway there! My writing companion Aragorn (look at that face) has now finally realized that he can’t actually type, so thankfully he is now content to simply watch me.

So, even though I’m way behind on my personal goal for the month and will probably not make it, that’s okay because a) I’ve now written 31,000 more words than I ever have in a month’s time, and b) I’ve actually been writing every day, even if it’s only 727 words like yesterday. The discipline of writing daily has always been a struggle for me, even during NaNoWriMo, so this is kind of a big deal. My recent search history also includes such fascinating tidbits as the Mary Celeste, black spiced rum recipes, pub crawl (I forgot to add the ‘wordcount‘ part to it), and how to make bumbo. Things always get interesting in November, and Google possibly now thinks that I’m an alcoholic who lives in a shack on the beach and sees sea monsters and pirates on a regular basis. My friend sent this to me on Pinterest and I find it rather fitting:

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I’m sure we can all relate! Anyway, my tip for the next portion of NaNo is this: Do not be afraid to write badly. Because, really, it might end up not being bad after all, or at the very least it might end up being salvageable. So don’t not write because you’re afraid it isn’t going to be pretty. Just write.

And now for some snippets.

Snippet 1: A man receives a message from Cahmeelle.

Just then the cry of a hawk lifted him out of the mire of this dark thoughts and he looked up to see the bird descending from the sky. He recognized it; the bird was Cahmeelle’s, and she used it often to send messages, especially urgent ones she did not want anyone else reading. The hawk landed on his shoulder and the two exchanged pleasantries, and then the man took the message from the hawk’s foot.
“Going,” it read in elegant script. “Danger.”
He frowned. What on earth did that mean? What sort of danger? He knew short messages were necessary, but for the love of all things, could she not embellish a little? “What does she mean?” he asked the bird.
“She would not say, my lord. She simply rolled up the message and told me I was to stay with you for a time.”
The man sighed. “Typical,” he muttered, increasing his pace. “And I suppose I am to simply guess, then? She must know that in these times she cannot be so vague.”
“Perhaps,” said the hawk very cautiously, “she was afraid.”
“Of what?”
“On my last flight back to her, I was nearly captured by one of Tsifira’s griffins. They patrol the skies looking for me. Perhaps she thought that Tsifira might get hold of the message somehow and did not want to divulge more than necessary.”
The man looked with some admiration at the bird. “You do not seem afraid.”
“Neither do you, my lord.”
The man smiled sadly and stroked the bird’s head. “Fools who hope against hope have no time for fear,” he replied.
“Quite so,” the bird agreed and then busied himself picking at his feathers.

Snippet 2: Elizabeth’s nightmares.

“It took you long enough,” said the horse.
Surprised, I stared at him. Had he spoken? Impossible.
“There is blood on your hands,” he remarked.
I looked down and saw that he was right; both of my hands were soaked in blood, dripping with it, and the ground soaked it up thirstily. Where was it coming from? I did not feel pain or appear to be wounded. But there seemed to be an endless supply of it.
Come back, the wind whispered, and the hair on the back of my neck raised as goosebumps covered my body. Come back. Come back, it begged mournfully. I gripped my sword more tightly instinctively and felt its power roll through my body, as though it were alive in and of itself. I looked down at it, frowning. It grew warm beneath my hand. Come back. What once was lost is restored. What once was stolen has been returned. Come back. Blood was bubbling up from the ground now, and it was as though veins beneath the earth had been opened up and they were bleeding profusely. I jumped to my feet and tried to get clear of it, but soon there were streams of it everywhere, flooding the clearing and rushing off into the forest with a sickening gurgling noise. Come back. Come back. I raised my sword and looked into the forest. Steeling myself, and ready for anything, I plunged ahead into the darkness, while the gentle wind grew ever more insistent. Come back. Come back…