Short Pieces

Here, have an excerpt about Caitlin and Gabien

As I’ve been lamenting a bit on social media lately, this year has, creatively speaking, blown so many donkeys that I’m pretty sure there isn’t a single unsatisfied donkey between here and Spokane.

But Dara having been working so hard on her Overwatch fic as of late (a fic which, by the way, you should read, because it’s totally awesome and you can find it here) has been a prod to my own ability to write, I think. So I’ve been lately instituting my strategy of “ridiculously stupidly low daily word counts”, just for the sake of being able to say I’ve written something.

I’ve also returned to dealing with my still-due novellas for the Warder universe, in no small part because I’ve realized that I really need to write Caitlin Hallett and Gabien Desroches’ meeting before I can really have them appear properly in Warder Soul.

So I’m back in dealing with their story. And hey, here’s an excerpt! Caitlin’s coming out of a very spiky conversation with her father Thomas, a conversation which has not gone well. Caitlin’s looking to console herself by busking on George Street.

Except she’s got a surprise waiting for her. Muahaha.

Excerpt behind the fold!

At the top of the wide stairway that led from Duckworth down to the George Street entrance, I could tell that my favorite spot for busking was already taken.

I heard them before I got a proper look at them—which I couldn’t help, because a fiddle in full voice will carry in the open air. Nor was there only a fiddle. Underneath the sizzling reel coming off the player’s strings, there sounded a steady, snapping rhythm, bum-ba-da-dum-ba-da-dum-dum-dum, and it took me a few shocked moments to realize that I was hearing somebody’s booted feet tapping out a beat against a board.

That’s podorythmie, I thought for a moment, blankly. They’re Quebecois.

In the next moment, as the fiddler’s reel jumped from B minor to a brighter D major, all I could think was that some Quebecois asshole had taken my busking spot.

I almost bailed then and there. And would have, except for the one other thing I picked up on: power resonating through every note of the tune. Power that felt familiar, a little like Dad’s but more like mine, young and vibrant and as of yet ungrounded in the life energy of a city.

Whoever the Quebecois fiddler was, they were also a Warder.

That, all by itself, would have been more than enough to propel me down the stairs. I knew everyone of the Warder lineage in St. John’s, and as far north as Torbay and as far south as Petty Harbour besides. Most of them were related to Dad and me, if you followed the family trees back far enough. This fiddler couldn’t be any of them, by sheer dint of what it meant to be a Warder. The magic wouldn’t let Betty Doyle leave Petty Harbour or Seamus MacDonald Torbay, any more than Dad could set foot out of St. John’s. And aside from the other active Warders on our side of the Rock, I’d met a lot of the younger Warder-bloods like me. None of them had power that felt like this.

For that matter, none of them played fiddle like a house on fire, with enough extra flame to take out the rest of the block.

Yeah, this is going to be fun. 😀

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  • Reply Geri Fargher June 19, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Question about the grammar: “they were a Warder.” I thought someone was only Warder-blood until they committed to a city, then they became a Warder.

    • Reply Angela Korra'ti June 19, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      Technically speaking, yes, and good catch. I’ll fix the sentence later. Right now I need to keep up the momentum of writing new things!

      • Reply Geri Fargher June 19, 2017 at 11:51 pm

        Staying with momentum and making new words are a good thing – I’m weeks behind on my knitting deadlines due to a lack of same!

  • Reply colomon June 21, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Is the St. John’s connection only in this book of the series?

    • Reply Angela Korra'ti June 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Nope! This requires a little bit of explanation, though. By “series”, I am assuming you’re meaning the Free Court of Seattle books. And the excerpt in this post is not actually a part of the main storyline of that series. The novella is an important side story, however. The main characters in it, Caitlin and Gabien, will be showing up as supporting characters in Free Court Book 3, Warder Soul. I’m writing the novella first because I really need it before I can properly do Book 3. Up until now though what’s established in the Free Court books is that my male lead, Christopher, is from St. John’s. This novella features his cousin Caitlin, in St. John’s, and Warder Soul will also feature significant St. John’s-based action.

      • Reply colomon June 21, 2017 at 4:04 pm

        Thank you! I actually got the Kindle version of the first Free Court book, but I was busy reading something else at the time, and by the time I was looking for something to read I’d forgotten WHY I got it (other than you were a fiddler).

        When is this excerpt set? For what it’s worth, I think podorythmie might have been in play on Newfoundland’s west coast — for instance, Ed Doucette can be heard doing it on the old LP Music from French Newfoundland. I want to say I remember hearing / seeing Emile Benoit doing it as well (on recordings, never caught him in person, alas) but haven’t been able to turn anything up in a few minutes of looking. Wouldn’t be surprised if Kelly Russell talks about this somewhere in his music books, too.

        • Reply colomon June 21, 2017 at 5:31 pm

          Err, cousin with character in current book, so presumably close to modern day.

        • Reply Angela Korra'ti June 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm

          I’m a newbie fiddler, yeah. I started playing only this past year, long after I finished Book 1. 🙂

          The story is set in modern day, yeah, and you do bring up a very good point–i.e., that podorythmie should not necessarily equal “Quebecois” to Caitlin. She’s not a Francophone, but she is both a Newfoundlander and a musician, and as a St. John’s native, she’s certainly in a position to have seen any musicians that would show up at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival in the summer. And certainly out of my own musical collection, I should know better: I’ve got Acadian music that also features podorythmie. 😉 I’ve not encountered it with Newfoundland music–so far. But that’s only a function of my Newfoundland music collection being more influenced by Irish and Scottish heritage than Francophone.

          Also, hiya! Glad to hear you got Book 1 and thanks in general for coming by to chat!

          • colomon June 22, 2017 at 6:28 am

            Just checked, and De Temps Antan were at the 2014 festival.

            … which I should have remembered, because we were there for that one. Now that I think about it, I remember being upset that we missed their mainstage set, because they were joined by members of the Dardanelles (whose own mainstage set the previous night was rained out). (Not that I wouldn’t have liked to see Andre, but we see those guys all the time in Michigan / Ontario. At that point I had NEVER seen the Matthew Byrne line-up of the Dards.)

          • Angela Korra'ti June 22, 2017 at 7:05 am

            Yep, DTA played the 2014 festival, which I particularly noted with pleasure although I was unable to get there for that show. My wife and I visited in 2012 and had a beautiful time, and we totally want to come back when we can! Particularly for that festival. It was GREAT. We did get to see the Dardanelles while we were there and they are in fact also in my Newfoundland music collection. 🙂

          • colomon June 22, 2017 at 9:02 am

            Do you have Aaron and Emilia’s duo album? Absolutely spectacular tunes. (Hmmm… also A Crowd of Bold Sharemen? Jim and Fergus’s duo albums? Daniel Payne’s Chain? Christina Smith and Jean Hewson’s August Gale?)

          • Angela Korra'ti June 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm

            A Crowd of Bold Sharemen yes, Aaron and Emilia no. I shall look up the latter! 🙂

          • Angela Korra'ti June 22, 2017 at 7:37 pm

            Yep, I found ’em when I googled. Thanks! 🙂

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