I heard this wild cry of terror, as though hounds howled against the night.
The plain, Mag Mell, was empty – stripped of all lore, all magic and life – and Niamh Golden Hair’s curses rang in my ears.
I would rue the day I had turned from her cause, she had said.
As the sound caused dread to prickle my skin, a part of me laughed. There is a reason Mistress Niamh is Tír na nÓg’s greatest spell weaver and seer, though not many risk the King’s ire to say so.
The mists pressed down upon me. They started to dance. So wrapped up in my own misery – my own hot denial of her visions – was I that I did not see their grasping fingers twine ‘round my legs.
And then that cry. That hideous, desperate cry.
The King. It had to be.
I carry no weapon in the lands of the Tuatha. There would be no use – nothing man has made can harm them now. Once upon a time it was said they could be killed – that the Fae feared man’s iron and the cold touch of steel.
Fairy tales, I say. They were not driven to their hills. They did not retreat. These are bedtime stories to sooth the frightened Celtic heart, told reassure them that the Fae would trouble them no more.
Would that they had known that Fae had little interest in the world of man. Unless, of course, man came stumbling through the veils. Blundering, as I had, so many years ago.
The cry that rent the air told me I was hunted. It is always so for those who can travel between the worlds. Why did I think I would be any different?
Did it matter that I had won for him a war?
Did it matter that donning the name of one I had heard since my days in swaddling – a man-god who saved his king – that I became the myth?
All that mattered now was that I was a man outside of time, beyond the help of kindred, and I had just turned my back on the last of those who cared.
A haunting wail pierced the air, adding anguish to that wild cry of terror. We sang in tune, my hunter and I, and when he ripped the world from beneath my feet, I nearly wept with relief.
“What do you remember?”
Dubh an Suíle mac Alasdair lifted his eyes to the red-haired man before him. He looked smart in his uniform, and he was young, yet, his green eyes spoke of many battles.
Every day it was the same question. What did he remember?
For Papi Z’s prompt: “I heard this wild cry of terror…”
Also, the 450ish words above are a slightly different version of the opening page of Changelings: The Coming Storm, the sequel to Into the Mist.
Sometimes, giving over to D’s voice is the only way to jump start a new scene, or, in this case, a new book. Don’t get me wrong, the core of this book has already been written – it’s the second part of Maureen and Sean’s journey. Yet, this part here – with D and the red-haired man – this is new territory. And as much as I have enjoyed researching it, it was not something I had anticipated writing… yet. It has not been easy to get into the flow of the relationships forged over a very brief span of time – relationships that are key to understanding why D risks life, limb and time to keep Maureen and Sean safe.
It makes me wonder, for anyone, when you’re shifting gears in a project at work, in the home or in your writing, is there a trick you use, or a method you employ, to help you find that ‘sweet’ spot so you can move forward with it? Or do you just ‘keep on truckin’ in the hopes that it will find itself? Is this where planning comes in?
17 thoughts on “Hunted”
I loved this, Katie! I wish I could give you some good, substantial advice as “shifting gears.” Goodness knows, I do enough of that at my day job 😉 Much depends on what I’m shifting from and what I’m shifting to, but in most cases I have to give myself a few minutes to reacquaint myself with the project I’ve shifted to. I’ll review notes that I made whenever I last worked on it. I might even distract myself with something completely different just to make the shift feel fresh and not just an artifact of multitasking. Eventually I get back into the groove and that’s usually when another project pops up and I have to shift again 😉
How you described writing a response to Papi’s prompt (first it was a story, then a poem, then the beginning of book 2) is a wonderful process. You wrote until you found what felt right 🙂
Thank you, Marie!
I shift a lot in my day job, too (and that groove thing – oh have I been there 🙂 ) – which is probably why my brain resisted. I should have done something completely different in the middle, and I think I’m going to start working on another project entirely concurrently, just to help my brain not atrophy.
So, your question regarding moving ahead with projects–the way I do it, and it’s worked for me for quite a while now is I jump in and do it. Sometimes I will have spent two or more days on a particular aspect of a project only to find that it’s not what I’d intended. In those cases, I go back right to the beginning and start again, but by that time all the juices are flowing, I know what I don’t want and I keep moving forward.
Also, bouncing between projects is fairly easy for me. I move ahead and keep the pace going. It’s the only way to be productive–even if at times the project faces obstacles or I introduce missteps, I keep it going. No matter what, I try not to let how I feel slow an otherwise productive day!
I hope this helps, Katie!
Thank you, Jack! “…go back right to the beginning and start again…” that’s exactly what I ended up doing. Had to start on an entirely new document too, just to make sure I wasn’t carrying any of the other stuff with me.
The nice thing about being stuck for a while, though, was that I came to some crucial decisions about the one-time books that were to come after these two. They may still, but there are some different stories I want to tell, now.
I was wondering if that was the opening to Book Two! Excellent shift into the world of the Fae folk, darling! So exciting!
Thank you! I’m excited for it now, too – There’s going to be a lot of writing as D and then cutting for this one, but if he behaves as well as he did for this bit, then it’s okay!
I cannot wait to read your book. Great scene for the prompt. Very cool and atmospheric.
Thank you! D does have a way with words sometimes!
No, D messes up the words. You’re the one who makes it all right and awesome. 😉
Hey, I like the way you think, Green! 😄
When do you plan to release the 1st book? And could I be so cheeky to ask have you a cover yet? 😉
It will be a late spring/early summer release – because of the somewhat abrupt ending, I want to make sure that book 2 is nearly ready to go. I don’t want too many irate readers on my hands.
And yes you can be so cheeky (because you are an excellent artist), however, a dear friend/little sister (not by blood, but because I’m the ‘bad daughter’) is my cover artist – I asked her last January when I decided to finish the books (for real this time).
This isn’t the only project I’m working on though, and my bounty hunter story featuring a “real” version of D and a very southern, fictionalized version of A is going to need some artwork – we’ll have to chat when I get to that point. Love your header on your artwork blog, by the way – that is really really cool.
Very intense scene. Great job with the atmosphere and a sense of fear.
Thank you very much – it started out as a completely different story, then a poem, and then the new opener for book 2. In the space of 30 min (I think that probably helped to keep it tight). It really was a great prompt!
I’m still trying to make time to do something for it.
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