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Okay. So, the overwhelming vote last week was for either this snippet, or both. Both would be a bit long for one post, but for those truly interested, I posted my favorite scene on Monday.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by KL Schwengel. The rules go: 1. Post a snippet of your WIP that has something to do with the date. 2. Add your link to the linky. Of course, you’re free to just read. We love input.

My math this week: Um, um, let’s see. It’s eleven paragraphs, so let’s say I took the ones from 10 and 14 and stuck them side-by-side. :-D I’ll start you off with Namatha’s dramatic-ish last line (consider it a bonus) and go from there.

Oh. I should mention I skip a bit. Basically, Namatha takes Arvid to the Boar’s Hall. It looks just like the sow’s hall, except no nests and instead of looms they have meat-processing equipment.

“The night is over, Arvid, and the boars are calling for you.”

…The king accepted the belt gingerly and examined it closely. “Such delicate work, but the pictures form no pattern that I can see. What does it mean?”

Arvid’s hands quivered as she pointed to each picture in turn. “It’s a story, High… um-“

Namatha leaned in to whisper, “Your Majesty.”

“It’s a story, Your Majesty. This is my brother, Kiano, and me fishing with our father when we were little. This is Kiano teaching me to use a spear. Here, he’s preparing for his first battle and that’s me lacing on his armor. And here,” she swallowed down the lump rising in her throat, “this is when he hugged me goodbye when I left. That was five days ago, I think. The next one shows the day he will marry my friend, Oya, and this picture here is him with his children, when he has them, fishing.”

Whispers traveled around the cavern. The king showed the belt to the boars standing closest to the throne. They passed it around and whispered together for several minutes while Arvid waited.

When it made its way back to him, the king spoke. “Arvid, my council and I have debated your case all night long. The errand you are on will present great danger to yourself, to us, to your own people, and to countless others. Our task was to decide whether eliminating you would be enough to prevent this danger, or if it would merely prolong the inevitable. Do you understand?”

Arvid shook her head. “No. The lives of my people depend upon the wizard Balak. I was sent only to rescue him.”

Ridges of spikes rippled along the backs of several of the boars, though none flared to full life. The king waved a hand soothingly.

“We had determined to put you to death, because we believed what you have just given us great evidence of. You do not understand the true nature of this task.”

Arvid opened her mouth to object that yes, she did understand. If they only knew of her mother and Ouida and the other women and children who suffered so much.

The king cut her off. “No. You do not understand. But,” he caressed the belt, “this story…” He looked around at the boars standing closest to him. In spite of their rippling spikes, the council nodded their heads. “We have changed our minds, because we do understand.”

So. Obviously this isn't embroidery, but it does tell a story. Apparently, this is King David when he sees Bathsheba washing... her hands. :-P I got a kick out of it.

So. Obviously this isn’t the simple stick-figure embroidery I envisioned when I wrote this scene, but it does tell a story. Apparently, this is King David when he sees Bathsheba washing… her hands. So provocative. :-P I got a kick out of it.

My Favorite

Okay. For those of you who wanted to see my favorite scene (thus far) of Queen of Bears, here it is.

When she woke up one morning to find the icicles on her roof dripping, she decided to celebrate their survival. She had a few dried berries left in her stash. Reciting her mother’s recipe aloud to aid her memory, she stewed them into a sweet sauce. She had nothing to pour it over, but it tasted good anyway.

The bear returned from hunting with a couple of scrawny rabbits. She butchered them and added them to the pot to stew. After washing her hands, she dipped her fingers into the sweet sauce and held them out to the bear. It licked off the sauce and nosed her for more. Laughing, she gave him the bowl. “Alright, you glutton. Eat up.”

It did. She stood to wash the dishes, but it reared and put its hands on her shoulders, licking her face.

She batted at it. “Ugh.”

It kept licking.

Putting her arm around it, she kissed its fur. “Alright, alright. I love you, too.”

It dropped to all fours with a growl. She gasped as it curled into a ball on the floor, looking as if it felt great pain. Dropping to her knees, she stroked its fur. “What’s wrong? Are the berries bad for bears? They didn’t hurt me. I’m so sorry.”

With her arm around it and her head laid on its back, she cooed to it, trying to soothe it. She kissed it again. Heat burst from it, driving her back. Light filled the room and the bear’s roar shook the hut. She put her hands over her ears and closed her eyes until she felt the heat ebb.

Opening her eyes, she gasped again. A man! As pale and many times as spotty as the wizard, but tall and muscular, wearing practical leather trousers and a scabbard across his bare chest, which was adorned with plentiful, white scars, including three familiar-looking stab wounds. His long hair blazed the color of fire, clashing with his soft, gray eyes. He patted himself all over, as if he were checking that all of him was there. When he looked up, he smiled at her, showing a full set of gleaming white teeth. He stepped forward, arms open wide like he wanted to embrace her.

A man! A man befriended her? A man lived with her, cuddled her at night, watched her bathe? She kissed a man? Furious about the deception, she launched a side-kick at his chest.

He flew across the room, hitting the wall and sliding into a pile on the floor.

*fight, fight fight* Basically: she attacks, he defends until…

pinning him against the wall with her dagger pressed against his throat, his crossed wrists the only thing keeping it from biting his flesh.

He babbled at her, the words quick and desperate. She couldn’t understand any of it, but his expression pleaded for a truce. Wary, she released him and backed several paces, knees bent to defend if necessary.

He opened his palms in front of him. Keeping his knees bent as he stepped away from the wall, he babbled faster than she ever heard anyone talk before. Blood dribbled from the long, horizontal line across his abdomen and various scratches her dagger left on his arms. In slow motion, he removed his scabbard and threw it away from himself. He unbuckled a dagger from his waist and tossed it aside as well.

She tilted her head to one side, puzzling. His words were meaningless, but his actions seemed clear enough. When he unbent his knees and lowered his arms to his sides in neutral position, she sheathed her dagger.

He breathed a sigh and smiled. Speaking in his strange language, he took a few steps toward her, hand extended. She stared at the hand, wondering if he wanted her dagger. The hand hung in the air between them. His eyes flicked to her hand. With her dagger sheathed, there was nothing in it to give him, so she wasn’t sure what he was looking for.

After a minute, he transferred the hand to his head, scratching, and put his other hand on his hip. He babbled a few more words until his expression changed to one she thought meant he had an idea how to communicate. She lifted a brow, curious to see his solution. Reaching toward her, he closed the space between them.

She leaned away, but didn’t ready herself to defend. She supposed, now that she thought about it, if he really wanted to hurt her, he’d have made his move while he was still a bear. His arms encircled her, his body well within her personal space.

Something in his tone sounded familiar. She listened and realized he was using the same inflections Kiano used when he wanted to romance Oya. His eyes moved to her lips, lingering there, before he bent his face toward hers. She shoved her knee into his groin, turned, and stalked out of the hut, leaving him groaning on the floor.

Ta da! That’s it. :-) ‘Tis my favorite because it goes against the expectations of most fairy tales and their permutations. Also, I like the bear. His name is Taiamuk, by the way, and he adds a lot of entertaining frustration to Arvid’s life. Very entertaining frustration. At least, I think so.

From The Blue Fairy Book, compiled by Andrew Lang, 1889. This mild surprise and immediate acceptance was the reception Taiamuk expected.

From The Blue Fairy Book, compiled by Andrew Lang, 1889. When I previewed it, wordpress removed the white background, which made it a little hard to see. Just in case, it’s a really tall young man placidly explaining to two tweenish girls that he is a prince and “thanks much for your hospitality, wanna come live with me and when you’re old enough I’ll marry one of you? I have a single brother.” To which the girls reply “sounds good.”  This mild surprise and immediate acceptance was more like the reception Taiamuk had in mind than the one he got. :-P




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Great news! I finished drafting Queen of Bears!

*cue Kermit-esque arm-flailing*


You know what that means? I’m taking it off the WIPpets. Yyyup. Off it goes to steep a while before I touch it again. In the meantime, I’ll pull another sandbox out to play in for a bit. Before I do that, though, here’s the excerpt that comes right after last week’s. Now, I offer you a choice. I have a favorite scene that happens quite a bit later in the story than all this. I can either post that next week (warning, it will be loooong for a WIPpet) or I can just post what happens after today’s snippet.

I bow to the Grand Mistress of the WIPpeteers, our gracious hostess, KL Schwengel. To play along with WIPpet Wednesday, post a date-related excerpt of your work in progress and add your linky to the Hall of WIPpeteers. Or just go read the excerpts. There are lots of talented writers among the WIPpeteers.

Arvid finished her pastry and chose one of the widest belts in the pile waiting to be decorated. Her embroidery abilities were only passable; Mother never could get her to sit long enough to learn it well. Still, she supposed even her unskilled fingers were more suited to the task than the claws of the Petsuchos. But the flowers and scrolls her mother fussed over didn’t seem appropriate for a Petsucho boar. Animals, perhaps? Or maybe simple people designs?

Her mind wandered to Kiano and Oya. She reminded herself they were alright. Oya should be nearly home by now and Kiano would live to fight many more battles. He and Oya would get married and have a passel of babies.

Arvid dug a needle out of her pack, selected the finest wool the Petsuchos had to offer, and set to work. Petsucho cubs gathered to watch her fingers, crowding around until she found it difficult to move her elbows any direction without jabbing someone. Sows paused in their chores to peer over the cubs and whisper to each other. They spoke Nairi out of courtesy for her, but Arvid paid little attention.

Just as she finished a bell rang. Arvid held up the belt and smiled at it. Namatha’s face appeared next to her, scrutinizing the belt. “I would never have guessed that such tiny patterns would be so labor intensive. The night is over, Arvid, and the boars are calling for you.”

Dun dun duuuuunnnnn!!!!

So. What does everyone want? More of this scene? Or something a little further on?



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