Word creation has nearly come to a halt for me, for a couple of reasons. One is that Christmas is coming up, and I’ve been doing a lot of Christmas shopping. Another is that I’m kind of under the weather, and my brain doesn’t work as well when it’s fogged up. Finally, and possibly the most important, I’ve gone back to doing a lot of research for the third book of The Pendragon Chronicles. In addition to the book on the Anglo-Saxons I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I’m also reading two excellent books that support newer theories that the Anglo-Saxon “invasions” were not as invasive as previously thought, Britain AD by Francis Pryor, and The Origins of the British by Stephen Oppenheimer. Fascinating stuff. I may post more on the books and what I’m learning about the period later.
While I love research, I’m a little frustrated that I’m not getting much actual writing done. So I may return to Amber’s story a little each day, to make sure I’m also producing, and not just reading and taking notes. A Wasted Land has grown a whopping 800 words, mostly in sketches and ideas I’ve gotten from my research.
Now on to WIPpet Wednesday. My math for 12/11/13 is easy — I added up all the digits = 9. So here are nine paragraphs from A Wasted Land. Kustennin has just asked Celemon if she would consider taking the position of Master of Horse.
“I can train horses, but I do not know how to train them for battle,” Celemon protested.
“I have the greatest confidence in you that you can learn that too.”
Celemon could hardly comprehend the enormity of what he was asking of her. It was strange; on her ride just now, she’d been worrying about her age, how old she was and how few prospects she now had. Her betrothal to Aurelius had dragged on for three years, complicated by multiple deaths, wars, and the disgrace of her father. Now she was over twenty — when marriageable age for a woman was fourteen. She did not want to manage her brother’s household forever, but what else was there for her if she were unable to find a husband?
And now Kustennin was offering her an alternative.
But when she considered Kustennin’s proposal, she was struck by the opposite thought from what had been plaguing her on her ride — she was too young, or at least too young for such a position. Yes, she had grown up with horses, but what did she know of being “Master of Horse”? She didn’t even know what the duties would be, although her father had been Master of Horse for most of her life. But for Cai the Tall, Master of Horse had entailed riding with Arthur’s warriors, and Kustennin could not intend that for her.
Apparently she had been silent too long — Kustennin urged his mount forward and laid a hand on hers where it held the mare’s reins. “I know you told me recently that you would prefer if we refused to wage war,” he said. “But our lands and our people must be defended. And of course you would be a safe distance away from the battles.”
The thought crossed her mind, unless they come to us. “What would I be expected to do?” she asked.
“Run the stables of the British military forces. Decide which stallions will be bred to which mares. Buy replacement horses as needed — and as funds allow. Oversee the servants working in the stables. I’m sure you would know more about what is necessary than I.”
She wondered if Kustennin knew that he was describing a dream come true. She had always loved helping her father and Cador in the stables, had loved the discussions of what qualities to breed for in different horses, whether the dam was more important or the sire, loved to help with training the two-year-olds to take bit and saddle. At the same time, she was overwhelmed at the responsibility — and the thought that she would be raising the animals to carry Kustennin and her other friends and family members to war and perhaps even death.
WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂