After a lovely day spent lolling by the pool with my family in Santa Barbara, we zipped home, and I ran out the door to Borders and writing.
Which I did. It was difficult to get back into it, but I tweaked all the places Jenni said needed tweaking and moved on. There was a big jump to this scene, but I can’t imagine what of any interest happened between the last scene and this one, so. Jump, it shall be.
I’m also not certain why Benim wants Kalim, and before I write more of this section, I’ll have to nail that down firmly. What I do know is that Benim’s a spy for the enemy, and you’d think that would be enough, but nooooooo.
I also have to figure out time for everyone. This is a sticky process at the moment, since it feels as though Kalim’s time is passing faster than everyone else’s for me. Or maybe it’s because he’s moving and the other main characters aren’t going anywhere physically.
Eesh. These novels. Here, have the newest version of the opening.
Kalim, arms laden, scuffed the sandy expanse of the monastery’s courtyard as he crossed. Another day closer to his acceptance date. Another day nearer to the worst possibility—never being elected soul-bearer and never leaving the monastery. More than anything, he wanted to see the world. To explore.
Bashak’s mild ridicule of his worries did not help. That had been this morning’s trial before he had dumped a task suitable for one of the younger initiates on him. The day before he had brushed him off with the casual comment that Kalim had no reason to be concerned. With a frown, he shifted the dried yarrow and a bundle of coarse-woven cloth and trudged on to the infirmary.
Of course he had to be concerned. It was his entire life in the balance.
A lookout cried out, and Kalim spun about, following the man’s pointing finger. In the distance, far beyond the open monastery gates, a point of swirling dust and sand swelled.
Excitement surged, and clutching his burdens, he dashed to a fig tree to shelter from the desert sun and leaned. No one would chastise him for gawking—others, including the masters, had slowed to a halt.
Loud cries as the men on duty processed the potential threat and rushed to shut the huge gate. But Kalim straightened, his eyes intent on the speeding object. A sandship!
More yells as the gate duty identified the approaching visitor. The gate’s forward progress halted, reversed.
Mouth ajar, Kalim watched the approaching ship. It was only the third visit in his nearly eleven years as an initiate.
The ship’s sails, shadowed with sand lifted skyward by its passage, were now clearly identifiable, as were the streamers whipping from its tallest spar. The wooden ship zipped across the desert, the scrub in its path crushed beneath its runners, while an unfelt wind billowed its sails.
Kalim’s grasp on the herbs tightened as the sandship whizzed closer. Would it stop in time? He braced himself, while a few in the courtyard broke, fleeing to the safety of the perimeter.
The sails flattened, men swarmed the rigging, and the ship skidded to a halt a few yards from the monastery walls.
Now off to figure out how close the latest fire in Kern County (Bull Fire, 4500 acres last night with 500 personnel, 7 water-dropping helicopters and 7 air tankers) is to my middle child’s Boy Scout camp. A text did get out to say they all were fine, but they have no power or phonelines. I’m not sure how a text managed to overcome these hurdles, but I’m grateful, and I’m hoping he doesn’t have to evacuate the camp like they did when he was 15 or so and flames crowned the hills above them. (Yeah, he got sent to prepare the evacuation site in Porterville for 300-500 kids. Gotta love the Scouts. If you’re ready for leadership, then, by gum, you get it. In spades.)