Today is the first full week of 2015, and it’s been a fairly productive one.
As of this afternoon two and a half drafts of a fantasy short story have been finished. The story is, at the moment, called “Snowmelt” (Or “Viking Irrigation”) and is consistently coming in at around 3,000 – 4,000 words or so. Not sure what the final count will be, but I doubt it will be much larger than 4,500 words. I may even be able to shave some out of it.
So, what is the story about? Well, it’s set in the Wendigo universe, and follows a 15 year old shieldmaiden who has just been field-promoted to Jarl (Lord) of her land after her father was killed prior to the story’s beginning. She has also survived an assassination attempt by her uncle and his illegitimate son. Men loyal to her killed her Uncle, but she had to personally take down her cousin. They grew up together, and his death traumatized her.
So, how do you salve this hurt in her soul? Well, if we want to be nice to the character we spend the whole story putting her in situations where she can cope, grieve, and recover. But, we’re not going to do that.
Instead, she’s thrown right into the fire. The first place she visits in the story is the farm that her cousin owned, to break the news to his widow.
The following is from the third draft, so it’s subject to change. Also, the names are placeholders at the moment:
Blood pooled on the blackwood tabletop. Ayla raised the wet knife. “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you.”
Ylva sat stock-still, her hands pressed to her sides. She kept her voice level, matter-of-fact. “I am your next of kin, and your Jarl.”
“And you don’t want your children raised by the woman who bereft them of father and mother.” Ylva’s hand strayed to her side and touched the hilt of her misericorde, the mercy dagger. The weapon she had killed her own cousin with.
Ayla’s eyes narrowed and her fair face flushed. She slammed the knife down. Its keen edge bit into the cut of goat meat.
Ylva kept her features smooth, but her insides roiled with nauseating guilt. Ayla, how can you ever forgive me?
Ayla sawed at the meat. “How did Sindri die?”
In other news, progress is being made on the Wendigo novel front. It will not feature any of the characters in this particular short story, except indirectly. It will be focused on the happenings of the mainland continent to the east of where this story takes place. No actual draft writing was accomplished, nor will it be until February. But, the outline is progressing very smoothly. The goal is to finish it by January 31st, but I would love to get it done beforehand, if possible.