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November 15, 2010

Mirror's Gate

Works in progress update: Mirror’s Gate

My muse has been an aggravating and fickle creature all year. Usually I’ve been able to coax it to do something for me only after I’ve had a long enough dry spell that it starts to aggravate me, and then and only then can I start kicking the words into gear again. And even then, only if I come at it obliquely and try not to stress too much about getting something done.

Bah. My discipline has suffered sharply this year, and it’s still taking much to get it to recover.

But that said? I wrung words out of my brain tonight. Part of tonight’s work, I think, has been fueled by needing a break from editing Lament of the Dove for Carina Press–and so I’ve thrown about five hundred words at Mirror’s Gate tonight, continuing Chapter 2, and letting my heroine Yevanya follow up on the strange sighting of a man who looked very disturbingly like her dead husband. She’s come to visit her husband’s teacher and colleague Genrek, and Genrek reacts quite strongly to her news:

“Do I want to know what you were trying to accomplish?” For the first time in more days than she could remember, Yevanya felt herself grinning with honest pleasure. Genrek was a great hulk of a man, towering over her by many inches, and yet she had never found him anything but amiable in his gruff fashion. She always supposed it was not because he found her fragile and dainty; next to Genrek many things were, such as carriages, hills, and the smaller varieties of bear. No, she’d won him over for venturing what her cousin had never been able to: interest in the nature and workings of magic, for all that she had not a shred of the talent herself. Nor had it ever hurt that Genrek had been Aleksandr’s best and favorite teacher–and later, his colleague and his friend.

“Bah. If you had been here in the city these past months, you would not need to ask that question.” Genrek clapped both his great hands upon her shoulders and gazed down at her, all traces of levity fleeing his face. “You should not have come to Istra, my child. Tell me you have not brought the children?”

Her grin fading, Yevanya shook her head. “My uncle looks after them in the country. I didn’t wish to subject them to–” To my selling the house, her mind finished, even as she could not. Nor did it seem to matter, with Genrek’s worried scowl so fixed upon her. “They are safe,” she said instead. “What haunts this city, Genrek? I must know!”

The words came out more stridently than she intended, and the sorcerer’s gaze upon her sharpened. “What have you seen?”

“Purest impossibility.” To her dismay and disgust, sudden wetness blurred Yevanya’s sight. She offered no denial, no equivocation; relief that he’d so quickly divined her purpose required matching forthrightness. “A man on the streets, as my cousin and I went past in our carriage. Genrek, he…” Her voice shook. “He was so like Aleksi that he might have been his twin. Or his ghost.”

“Blood of the saints,” Genrek rasped, round-eyed. Then, before she could utter another word, he whirled and stalked away to one of the room’s innumerable shelves. From one he plucked a corked and slim-necked bottle; from another, a pair of small cups that looked as fragile as eggshells in his grasp. Returning to her, he thrust one of the cups at her. He uncorked the bottle with his teeth and spat the cork aside, heedless of where it fell. “Drink,” he commanded, pouring for her into her cup, and then into his own.

It’s going to be fun when Yevanya actually finds the man she saw. Muaha.

Written tonight: 508
Chapter 2 total: 2,877
Mirror’s Gate total (first draft): 6,660