Monday, February 24, 2014

The Weekend Was a Lost Cause

I started out Saturday morning thinking it would be a nice, quiet weekend with plenty of time to work on the story. What actually happened was, I started looking at new laptops - Macbook Pros, to be exact - and that was pretty much the end of any chance at productivity for the weekend. I was legitimately in need of a new notebook computer. The one I was using was over six years old. The wireless was dead, as was the battery, so I could only use it when plugged in to both power and a network cable. That's not entirely bad, of course - it was still quite functional otherwise - but I was just getting kind of tired of having a notebook computer that was locked down to one area of the house where I had a network port and power.

So, in the afternoon I went and bought my new 13.3" Macbook Pro, complete with 8 GB of memory, 256 GB of SSD storage, and a gorgeous retina display running at 2560 x 1600 resolution. After getting back home, I then spent the rest of the day configuring, downloading and installing software, more configuring, learning the features and quirks of the system, and basically geeking out with my new toy.

And on Sunday? The same thing, only more so. Oh yeah, had a lovely lunch with my parents too.

So now, I finally have the system setup the way I want it, I have all the apps that I need for now (including the latest version of Scrivener for my writing), and I'm ready to get back to the story. And it's Monday evening, so I may not actually get to write much until next weekend. But, we shall see. Maybe I'll get all motivated and stuff, what with my new toy, and pump out a few words this week that are worth sharing. You never know...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Digging Out

Wow, it's been a crazy few weeks. Spent the first week of February in Brazil on business. Lots of meetings, but they were productive and I came home exhausted but satisfied. Second week was a combination of digging myself out from under the previous week's backup of work, plus more off-site meetings later in the week (much closer to home, thankfully). Third week, more digging out, and then we get dumped a foot of snow with drifts even deeper than that, and now I am literally digging myself out from under all the white stuff.

Needless to say, I haven't done a lot of writing. But this weekend promises to be quiet, so check back for a story sample soon.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chapter Ten, Scene Four

About a month after Balfrith and Eldamir departed the University, at the end of the first week of the Gods’ Highway, his letter was delivered to duke Osric.

Captain Osbeorn ushered the courier into the main hall and, it being a quiet day, directly to the duke. “My lord, this courier has come from the University of the Arts, bearing a letter addressed to you.”

The duke, engrossed in his work, reviewing structural drawings for the planned fortress wall repairs, looked up at the captain with a frown. “What is so special about this particular letter, Osbeorn, that you would interrupt my work this morning? Can the courier not wait, or at least leave the letter here, for my later reading?”

Osbeorn bowed slightly, and said, “My apologies, my lord, but I thought this one might have some interest for you - it is from your youngest son.” He wouldn’t say Balfrith’s name, for though it was not specifically forbidden, he still knew that the topic could be a sore one.

Osric sat back, blew out a gusty sigh, and wiped a hand across his face. “My wayward boy has seen fit to grace me with a letter, has he? No doubt he wishes to taunt me, though it does seem odd that he would wait so many years. Well, hand it over.” He reached forth his hand, and the courier looked first at the captain, who nodded, then stepped forward and placed the folded letter into duke Osric’s waiting grasp.

Osric glanced at the courier, and said, “You may go - your job is done.” The courier, visibly relieved, bowed and backed away two steps, before turning to stride quickly from the hall. Osbeorn remained, waiting for his own dismissal, which did not come immediately.

Osric looked at the letter, carefully folded and sealed with the wax stamp of the University Provost. But the address was definitely written in Balfrith’s hand, the same sharp, quick letters Osric remembered from his writing lessons with the boy, many years ago. He’d always been impatient, even in his writing.

Breaking the seal, he slowly unfolded the pages, looking first at the cover letter, which was written by the Provost himself. It was only a short greeting, introducing the Provost and mentioning that Balfrith and an Elefdar companion, Eldamir, had visited for a few days to ask questions about a certain heirloom. Branulf, of course. The Provost apologized for not being able to help more, but he had given Balfrith what information and help he could, and sent him on his way.

Osric set the cover letter aside, and looked at the folded letter from his son. He unfolded it part way, then stopped and looked up at the captain. “You may leave, Osbeorn.” His servant bowed and left hastily.

Looking at the letter once again, Osric unfolded it. Then he stopped again, and set it down on his desk. Do I really wish to read his mocking words? If they are simply more of what he said to Aldfrid and Wilfrid when he visited, there will be nothing there that I wish to hear.

He sighed again, exhaling loudly, closing his eyes. Finally the duke shook his head, crumpled the letter into a ball, and tossed it into the hearth. No fire burned there, it being the height of summer, but it would eventually be lit, two or three months hence. And the letter, and his son, would be forgotten.