Word Count: 1,708
Daily Reward: Not sure I deserve one, but QI N episode 3 (XL)
The more canny of ye will notice that there was no “day seven” post. Thankfully, my bonus-chapter on Day Five means that I have maintained my position, and not fallen behind. We have come to, what I call, the First Week slump. The introductory chapters have completed, and now we’re trying to move into the plot more strongly, and I the original adrenaline rush of writing has faded, being replaced by self-doubt and, in extreme cases, loathing. In this case, the story has just reached a turning point. This is one I alluded to in Chapter Six and the repetition of which might be unnecessary, if the character has not taken heed of the warning in the first instance, what changes it with the second? And why aren’t I following the Rule of Three?
It is generally at this point in the story I either lose my focus and go back to playing Pokemon/reading/wallowing in angst or forge on through it and let the story seize hold again.
Also my back hurts. I’m not sure why, but it is making sitting in my writing chair painful.
But hey, I finally got to introduce Tawny!
(Note: despite the fact that Daniel escorted Kataryna to the cafeteria so that she could have something to eat, I could not work her actually eating – or staring at the food in a sort of a daydream – into this scene and by the end of it I would expect she’s lost her appetite.)
“Is this seat taken?” The voice drew Kataryna from her dazed fantasy, delivering her abruptly back to the present. As soft and smooth as honey, a predatory purr, it belonged to an elegant chestnut-furred female. Her pose was pure hunter, her figure sleek, her hair neatly coiffed into a high and elaborate bun, the ends of it falling to frame her broad muzzle like a veil.
Kataryna felt a faint spasm of unease, possibly a trace ancestral fear — her four-legged fore-bearers had likely been pursued by predators such as these, neither leonine nor lupine.
The woman seated herself without waiting for an answer. Her long, muscular tail coiled itself around her feet; the tip brushed Kataryna’s ankles. She drew her feet back. “I’m Tawny,” she purred. “Tawny LaRoux.” Her teeth flashed white and sharp, tongue flicked out, moistening her lower lip. “Third-year Archaeologist in the Discipline of Earth.” She planted her elbows on the table, leaning forward so that Kataryna found herself staring into her cleavage. “And you are Kataryna Lemieux. I’ve heard all about you, yes indeed.” Her lips curled in a smug smile. “I’m to be your bodyguard.”
“Bodyguard?” Kataryna jerked upright, making the chair clatter against the floor. “Why do I need a bodyguard?”
Tawny rose her eyebrows, her rounded ears arching forward. “It is compulsory,” she said, leaned back and recited, “Those who enter the Deadlands must be accompanied by a trained Survivalist. And that would be me.” Her eyes narrowed. “You are planning to enter the Deadlands, are you not?”
“Well, yes…” A short, sharp chill shivered down Kataryna’s spine.
“Then it is sorted,” Tawny declared. “I shall accompany you. We leave tomorrow, at dawn. Don’t be late.” She slid the chair back, preparing to leave.
“Wait.” Kataryna swallowed, picking up the courage to continue.
“Yes?” The woman’s deep brown eyes studied her so intensely that Kataryna’s tongue grew clumsy and thick.
“Who,” her voice cracked on the word and she gulped, then started afresh. “Who sent you to me? How did you know I’d be here?”
Tawny’s laughter was short and sharp, more like a bark than a laugh. “Oh, I suspect we have a mutual friend,” she purred. “Druid Maeve approached me a short while ago, to see if I would take on some extra-curriculum study and keep an eye on you. Of course, I told her I would be delighted, especially when she told me all about you and your studies. Roaches, how fascinating! I’ve killed more than a few of them myself, of course. They can be such nasty bastards.” She stood and stretched full length. “Well, fare thee well, uh-wur-neen.” She massacred Daniel’s word. “Whatever that means.” She stepped away, then cast a sly glare in Kataryna’s direction. “Oh, and she also mentioned something to me about her brother. I hear he’s a rather fine specimen of a man, and she wishes for him not to fall into the wrong company, so to speak. Now, I’m not sure what ‘wrong company’ she might mean, but I do think the only son of a clan chieftain should be very careful with whom he associates. Do you not? Especially in this time of political unrest.”
Clan chieftain? Kataryna could not hide the flush of shame and the stabbing hint of betrayal. Why hadn’t he told her?
Because he knew what would happen if he did.
She let her head sink onto her hands. Her heart disintegrating into a thousand broken pieces.
She must never see him again.
Evidence of the First Week Slump (aka, the reason I know to expect it)
2010: Aroha’s Grand Adventure – Day 7 – (not sure why the link says “Day Six”)
2011: Fellowship of the Ringtails – Day 6 – This was for SocNoc, in June.
2011: Tail of Two Scions (Mark I) – Day 6 – slump not so bad. Story was, sadly.
2012: Tiriki’s Great Escape – Day 8 – woah, total fail day!
2013: Tail of Two Scions (Mark II) – I didn’t blog this one! But it should be noted I managed to draw an animal-a-day AND write 60 526 words!