It has begun

The very observant will note that the progress bar for draf 4 of CURSE OF A DARK GOD has moved. Here’s the opening, although I’m sure it will change. We’re on our way, folks.

It was well past midnight, and they were deep in enemy Fir-Noy territory.  There were eight of them: Talen, Sugar, River, and five of Shim’s soldiers, all of them staying back in the deep moon shadows at the edge of the wood, crouching low in the dry autumn weeds that had not yet been eaten down by the village livestock.  They had to be careful.  Talen, Sugar, and River all had sizeable Fir-Noy bounties on their heads.  And even though they wore weaves of might, being multiplied didn’t make their flesh impervious to arrows and blades. 

This vulnerability had been made abundantly clear to Talen in his training.  In addition to his many fine bruises and the finger which had recently healed from a break, he wore a bandage around his arm where a soldier had cut him in practice two days ago with a spear. 

The night shadows of the clouds played over the moonlit fields and houses and road that ran through the village of Plum.  The village where Sugar’s father had been killed and her mother taken and beaten.  The village where the Fir-Noy had burned her life to the ground.  The village that was their destination.

Purity, Sugar’s mother, had hidden valuables there.  Weaves and maybe a codex of lore.  Talen and the others had been tasked to steal into the village and retrieve the items, right under the noses of the sleeping Fir-Noy.

Except this wasn’t right.  They were supposed to have come out across from the ash ruins of Sugar’s old house.  “I think you’ve brought us to the wrong end,” Talen whispered to Sugar.

“No, I’m just coming to get what’s mine first.”  Sugar pointed up the road to the entrance of the village.

Talen followed her finger.  The Fir-Noy here had begun to build a wall around their village.  A wooden palisade atop a mound of dirt.  But she wasn’t pointing at the half-finished wall with its timber supports still showing like bones.  She was pointing at a tall pole that had been erected at the gate of the village.  Something had been fastened to the top of the pole.  Talen peered closer and saw a skull shining pale in the moonlight. 

“That’s your father’s, isn’t it?”

“You’re going to help me,” she said.  “He deserves better than that.”

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9 Responses to It has begun

  1. Ben says:

    Oooooh, sounds cool! Can’t wait to see this one in bookstores!

  2. John Brown says:

    Neither can I!

  3. Jared A says:

    Awesome.

    How much time has passed between this book and book 1? Or is that a secret?

  4. Janeite42 says:

    How exciting! I am really looking forward to this book.

  5. Nice! An interesting change from the draft of one of the versions I read. Out of curiosity, how much are you going to be able to salvage from v.3?

  6. John Brown says:

    Steve,

    Interesting question. The opening dance/festival is out. The bits with the orange-eyed priest of Mungo are gone as well, as are all of the scenes with the skirwolves. Eresh kept some of his, but his role has changed. Moon is gone. She’s passed away in this version. That cut really hurt, but that’s life. Still, I think this version will work just as well. Maybe better. The attack on Legs is gone and possibly the major event that occured with him towards the end (avoiding spoilers), but not sure yet. His role had to be reduced. The seabattle is gone. The final battle takes place in a new venue and changes in some significant ways, although you’ll recognize much of it. Same with some of Sugar’s episodes. And even though I’m keeping many of the scenes, like this opener with Sugar in the village of Plum, they have to be rewritten because the structure has changed. I’m planning on writing 130k words for this draft. So I slashed 70k, will rewrite about 130k (I think), that leaves probably about 40-50k that I should be able to simply cut and paste. I liked the previous draft a lot. But I think this should give the whole thing more velocity.

  7. John Brown says:

    Jared A,

    No secret. It’s about 3 months.

  8. Tony says:

    This sounds great. I finished Servant a few months ago and have been waiting anxiously for the sequal ever since. I’ve been keeping myself occupied with college, work and other books in the meantime.

  9. John Brown says:

    Tony, all the more reason for me to get it done. Glad to hear you enjoyed book 1