Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for the 'The Wild' Category

The Wild: Chapter 47

Friday, November 29th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter

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Mountains w/tree; Artist Sarah Adams
Chapter 47

They hurried back through the labyrinth, returning to the mouth of the fissure they had climbed. Kina saw them from below and yelped in joy, but it proved a slow, hard descent, slipping and stumbling on the icy stone. Bennek was the only one who wasn’t weary. The vigor of the storm infused him. He used the strength it gave him to help the others in their retreat.

The sun had long-since retired behind the mountains and twilight was hard on them when they finally reached the bottom of the cliff. They spared only a moment to greet Kina before hurrying on across the plateau. “It’s as cold as the night we found the Snow Chanter,” Pantheren grumbled.

“No,” Lanyon decided with a wan smile. “It was colder then.”

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The Wild: Chapter 46

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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River & slope. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 46

“It was a good tactic,” Lanyon insisted as she held Lehe in her arms, trying to quiet her, to stop her shaking. They crouched together a few steps off the pavilion, where the footings of the arches helped to break the wind, if only a little. “Put no blame on yourself. If I’d been there I would have helped you. Now let’s make ready. It’s not over yet.”
“But what can we do?” Lehe moaned. “We can’t stop him. We can’t.”

“I have the talisman,” Lanyon reminded her. “It has brought him down before. Let it taste him again, if he dares to come after us.”

Kit stood over them, his braid streaming in the gale while his wary gaze shifted continuously between the labyrinth of the Storm Lair and the dark clouds swirling beyond the pavilion. “He will use the fire spell.”

“We will do what we can.”

No one mentioned Bennek’s or Pantheren’s names.

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The Wild: Chapter 45

Friday, November 15th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Snowy Mountains. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 45

Lanyon’s breath burned as she climbed after Kit; behind her she heard Lehe’s harsh breathing. There was not air enough at these heights! They had climbed far above the region of stunted trees. Even the hardy shrubs were left behind. Now they faced slopes of bare stone and teetering rubble. They stopped to rest every few minutes—there was no choice in it—though they never lingered long for it was cold. Bitterly cold. Summer was forgotten in this high place. Ice sheeted the puddles, and in the lee of the boulders there huddled tattered cloaks of snow. “I think Siddél does not live here alone,” Lehe whispered as they made ready to climb again. “Surely the spirit of winter is awake in this place.” Only by moving could they keep warm.
They struggled up a long talus slope. At its top they were met by a low face of sheer stone. They traversed its base and after a few minutes they were in the open again. A faint wind roiled the mist. Kina was still on her leash but she stopped abruptly, her ears pricked, listening. Lanyon swept off her hood. At once she heard from above a distant, deep rushing roar. It had the sound of a great cataract, but she knew it was a gale wind pouring around the high slopes and scouring the summit. Riding above its throaty voice was a weird keening. Lanyon held her breath to hear it better: a remote chorus of haunting wails that rolled down from the upper slopes, a discordant sound, lost a moment later behind a rumble of far-away thunder.

Kit looked at her. “That was not the howling of arowl.”

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The Wild: Chapter 44

Friday, November 8th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Owl on branch. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 44

Bennek stared dumbfounded at Kit. His heart was racing and despite the fog his throat was dry. “Kit! You thought I was Édan? But I made the same mistake with you. How is it you are here? How is it I could not see you with my spirit sight?”
Kit looked beyond Bennek with an affectionate smile. “Lehe is a powerful witch. She has cast a glamour on my presence in the Mere.” Then he turned to Lanyon and hugged her with one arm around her shoulder. “Lanyon, greetings! I knew you would find your way back.”

“Kit!” With tentative fingers she stroked his hideously scarred cheek where the arowl had ravaged him. “I have heard somewhat of this story.”

Kit answered with a cocksure smile, his arm still wrapped around her shoulder. “We will tell a better tale this time.”

Bennek stepped forward, feeling more annoyance than joy now that his fear had passed. “Lanyon is my wife now.”

Kit looked at Lanyon with an affected sympathy. “I foresaw it long ago. It is a hard fate, but I wish you joy.”

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The Wild: Chapter 43

Friday, November 1st, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Mist & River. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 43

The night was growing old when Bennek went to take the watch. He cautiously approached the little hillock where Pantheren stood with his blanket wrapped around him and his spear in hand. “Pantheren,” he called. “I have come late, and for that I offer apologies. You must have need of sleep.”
“What has wakened you? Is something stirring in your spirit sight?”

“No. If there is anything about, it’s hidden from me. It’s only my duty that has wakened me, though you should have called me sooner.”

“I’ve been watching the star that gleams from the Storm Lair. Most often it flickers and flares in a quiet way, but sometimes it disappears altogether for one or two heartbeats . . . as if someone has walked in front of it.”

Bennek looked up hungrily at the golden light that was the seed of Siddél’s lightning. “Do you think he is at home?”

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The Wild: Chapter 42

Friday, October 25th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Distant mist. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 42

Lanyon held Bennek at a distance when he would have embraced her. Her angry fists crumpled the fabric of his shirt as she struggled to push him away. “Why are you here?” she demanded. “Why have you come? Why?”
Bennek refused to give way, holding tight to the collar of her coat, determined she should not escape from him and vanish again. In their struggle they turned one about the other, like children wrestling, while Kina cavorted about them, barking, as if it were a fine game.

“Do not struggle so, Lanyon! I came to find you. Surely you knew I was coming?”

“No!” Tears welled in her eyes. “You are supposed to be with Jahallon! Safe under his protection! This path I walk can have no good end. Bennek! I did not want you to come.”

He shook his head. “Do not be unkind to me, Lanyon, I beg you. Do not misread me. I would have stayed with you all this time if I could have. I wanted nothing more than to return to you. Don’t be angry. Please. You must forgive me.”

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The Wild: Chapter 41

Friday, October 18th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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The Owl. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 41

The owl was a distant presence, watching over them as they rode north. They would glimpse her soaring far out over the plain or rising through the misty air behind them. Sometimes her shadow swept over them, swift and silent. She flew in the daylight, but she also flew at night. Lying half-awake in the darkness Bennek heard her calls, and the terrified cries of the small wild things she took for her pleasure.
She cast a subtle veil within the Mere so that when Bennek looked there for Pantheren he saw him as the faintest of shadows, perceptible only because they rode side by side. “Don’t leave me,” Bennek joked. “I think I would have a hard time finding you again.”

“Your eyes don’t remember how to follow a horse’s trail?”

Bennek glanced behind them, awake to this new worry. “If Édan finds our trail he will follow us.”

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The Wild: Chapter 40

Friday, October 11th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Mountains & River. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 40

Samokea was still a dangerous land. Each day as Pantheren and Bennek rode north, they heard the mournful baying of small packs of arowl that had come too late for battle. Pantheren refused to hunt them. “If we kill them, it will only draw more.” He was done with battle. His only purpose was to find Lanyon. He carried her bow with him, the one made for her by the Snow Chanter, hoping he might return it to her in some near season. So it became Bennek’s task to watch for the arowl packs, and to guide them away.

They set out each day at dawn, stopping only when the horses needed rest. One evening they saw in the distance the great palisade they had climbed in their quest to find the Snow Chanter. Bennek’s heart beat faster, knowing they were drawing near to Kesh. That night clouds came from the east to veil the stars. His sleep was uneasy. He dreamed the stars wavered, as if waves of light and shadow rolled through them. And next the night sky shattered, its broken pieces falling down to the world, falling on him so that he was crushed beneath their terrible weight.

He sat up, gasping for air.

Pantheren was startled out of sleep. He leaped to his feet, sword in hand. “What is it?”

Bennek didn’t answer. All his senses were turned to the Mere, seeking, seeking . . . and then she whispered hush.

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The Wild: Chapter 39

Friday, October 4th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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The Tree; artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 39

A bier was made, and Jahallon’s body was placed on it. The men of Habaddon and Samokea filed past their chieftain. Many wanted to believe he was not gone, that soon he would waken, but as morning turned to noon and graying death came over Jahallon’s face, hope left them.
Uleál was given the command by a vote of the captains. He was not pleased to learn that his brother Jakurian had returned from the north only to leave again in pursuit of Édan. He sent couriers after them to call them back. Other couriers were sent to Habaddon, while all along the battlefield the wounded were tended, and those who could not ride were carried on litters to shelter in the stockades.

During this time, Bennek was hardly aware of the world. He wandered away from the battlefield, without any thought save that it could not be that Jahallon was gone. It could not be, and yet it was.

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The Wild: Chapter 38

Friday, September 27th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Snowy Mountains. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 38

That night the men of Habaddon groped their way north through darkness and rain until they were deep in Samokea . . . and with every mile they advanced the dread afflicting Bennek grew worse. He could not ignore it as he had resolved to do. Finally he spoke to Jahallon. “Sir, there is something awaiting us. I know it. I cannot see it, I cannot name it, yet it is worse than the onslaught of arowl, and more dreadful than the talisman.”
“Would you have us turn back?” Jahallon asked him.

“We cannot turn back.”

“Then have courage, Bennek. We must have victory, no matter what happens.”

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