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Welcome back! Those of you who follow me on Facebook already know Harsha was being sort of quiet for a few days. In the meantime, Arvid was talking up a storm. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when characters talk, I can usually jot a few notes, set them aside, and pull out the conversation later when it makes sense to work on it. This time, though, I had scenes so vividly plotted, I wanted them on paper before I lost details.

Since Arvid was so helpful, I decided to reward her by letting her have the WIPpet this week, as you may have guessed from the banner. 🙂 The scene below isn’t what I wrote last week, but it’ll help if ever I parade the new stuff out. Much love to our beautiful hostess, K.L. Schwengel. Arvid sends her deepest thanks for helping her come alive.

A brief introduction for those of you who are new or just like review:

Arvid is a shy, insecure, hard-working, booty-kicking warrior woman. About 5’6″ Dark copper skin, brown hair, brown eyes, athletic build. She’s been chosen for a quest she feels unworthy of, the success of which her entire tribe depends upon, thrust into the lime light, and sent off on her own without her lifelong bestie, from whom she’s been inseparable since toddlerhood. Let me emphasize: She is shy and insecure. (And, yes. I adore commas.)

Enter Taiamuk. Tai is a 6’3″, long-haired redhead with gray eyes, a multitude of freckles, numerous scars (mostly arms and torso), and muscles a la Jackie Chan in Shanghai Knights. (See pillow fight scene if you have no clue what I mean. It’s on YouTube. PG-13. I recommend not watching it with kids in the room.) Notable scars include three stab wounds on his right side and a long, horizontal gash across his chest.

For reasons I shall not here disclose, Arvid is stuck trying to survive the winter, for which she is ill-equipped, with Tai.

Remember: Arvid is shy and insecure.

Please pardon the first-draftiness. You get 5 paragraphs for the 5 from 2015.

The next day was her usual laundry day. While she scooped snow into her flour barrel, she wondered what to do about Tai. He seemed to have nothing but his single pair of trousers. She had one extra dress. She usually washed both on one day, but that was out of the question now. Whatever she did about Tai, she needed to split washing into two days.

She carried in the barrel and set it next to the fire. While crumbling a few sprigs of dried shineweed into the melting snow, she considered her options. She could wash one of her dresses today and lend him the other tomorrow while she washed his trousers. That would require three washing days, though, and the thought of him trying to squeeze into her dress elicited images of popped seams and broken laces. She could sew together some of her precious rags to fashion a loincloth, but with so few to use for cleaning and bandages, she preferred to reserve them for those purposes. Besides, sewing took a long time these days.

Kneeling, she dunked her dress into the slush to let it soak while the water warmed. With just the one barrel to use, she never bathed on washing day, since the water took so long to warm. No bathing meant no exercise. No exercise meant more cuddling to keep warm.

She was weighing the pros and cons of death by stubborn refusal to snuggle, and trying to decide whether it counted as suicide or not, when the pair of trousers landed in her tub of wash water. She stared at them while heat gathered in her cheeks. That answered that question. It didn’t count as suicide if someone else made the decision for you. Of course, it might count as murder, seeing as he now had a significant head start on freezing to death.

He sat down with his back to hers and his rear-end perched on her bare feet. Eyes bulging and cheeks aflame, she plunged her hand into the frigid water and started scrubbing.

Poor Arvid. Tai makes her life miserable on so many levels. 🙂

This is the kind of place Arvid and Tai are holed up in. They do have a fireplace and chimney, but only one blanket and no winter clothes.

This is the kind of place Arvid and Tai are holed up in. They do have a fireplace, but only one blanket and no winter clothes.