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Normally I would try to be at least a little clever in opening this post. As much as I would like to be clever right now, I’m not feeling well, and there are many little forces working to frustrate me right now. (No. I don’t mean my kids. Or Beloved.) Maybe by the time this post goes up for real, I’ll be ready with some wit. In the meantime, this will have to do:

Last week I was sort of stinky and only gave you 10 words of The Queen of Bears. This week, I give you 17 or 18 sentences. I kept losing count when I was trying to get this post figured out, so I just grabbed a section that seemed about the right length and made sense from beginning to end. As you may remember, I am serializing the first draft of this novel WIPpet style and you are all invited to pick it to pieces. This blurb probably needs it.

The next evening Arvid shuffled into the meeting hall. Since everyone who passed their coming of age trials in the town and its surrounding villages were called to the meeting, the single, circular room, though massive, left little space for maneuvering. Oya went ahead, gently pushing and slithering her way through the crowd. Arvid followed slowly, quietly working her way past the junior trainees to stand behind the Grandmothers with the other Trainees expected to join the Warriors that season.

The eldest Grandmothers were given short stools to sit on, though most leaned against their sticks. They chattered contentedly with each other, either complaining bitterly of the trials of old age or bragging about their various offspring as pleased each best.

Ahead of the wizened Grandmothers sat the Warriors. Those with only one season of fighting experience sat on the floor closest to the Grandmothers, joking with each other, pretending they didn’t see the haunted looks in each others’ eyes, and showing off their battle scars. One young man with an absentee ear winked at her as her gaze passed over him. Arvid flashed a tight smile in return, but kept sweeping her eyes over the assembly, trying to count the number of women who sat among the warriors this season. None sat among the youngest warriors as there had been no raids on the villages last year. The men had done very well so no enemy forces crossed into their territory. Further forward, though, women sat interspersed among the men, some beside their husbands, others with their fathers or sons. They bore the same marks of battle as the men, missing or lifeless limbs, eye patches, deep gouges where knives and swords cut deep into their skin, hairless skin that seemed to be melting off even years after the burns healed.

In the center of the ring, sitting with the Elders, five women, the eldest of them a score younger than any of the Elders, gazed at the gathering crowd. Two of them sat stiffly in chairs.  Blankets covered their missing legs. Another wore a veil to cover scars too atrocious to display. Beside her, a one-armed woman twirled three smooth, round stones in her remaining hand, seemingly unaware of them as they gyrated in her palm.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by My Random Muse.  If you enjoy WIPpets, click on the linky – that smiley, little blue fellow – in the right-hand menu.

To play along, post an excerpt of your WIP that somehow corresponds to the date.

Hopefully this is a legal image. I got it from Tumbler.

Hopefully this is a legal image. I got it from Tumbler.