Liz's Looming Lunacy

An author trying to find her place in the world.

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Location: Bayport, New York, United States

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Cybernetic Requiem Revisited or: NaNoWriMo Blues

     Newer Used Computer Reschedule: December 04
     Fred's got a few problems coming up so the 'puter's been rescheduled for after NaNo. That's okay, I'll try to muddle through anyway.
     Here's an excerpt. yes, I decided that I am gonig to torture people for the sheer fun of it. (just kidding LOL). This is extremely rough, sorry about that.....

~ # ~

     Rowan extinguished the amulet’s light. She led the way to the door and then opened it, looking to each side of her down the hallway. She waved Pahil to follow her and then stepped out into the corridor.
     The dim light in the corridor cast an ominous gloom over the portraits that hung at intervals along its length. The one opposite the door which led into the king’s private chambers was that of a stern-looking fellow with flowing reddish-brown hair and beard who could almost have been a younger version of Lord Seadragon, if he had different eyes and chin. Did all the highbrow folks look so much alike? Well, not all—Lady Haramiko, for one. Lord Galen did look something like that, except for the ears chin and eyes, of course, but his Ma had been an elf so you could see where he got it from, that one.
     Rowan hissed at Pahil to get moving and he did so, albeit a bit reluctantly. He had never been out of the king’s chambers so all of this was new to him as he was leaving it. Of course it distracted him! He quietly closed the door behind him and went to follow her down the stairs. They had to go quiet and slow; to be sure they made no noise in their progress. It would not do to get caught and taken into their army. No one knew he was inhabiting the body of the king, none but Rowan had ever seen His Majesty, so they had to get out without being caught up in this business.
     When they were close to the foot of the stair they heard voices and had to duck back up the bend and just out of sight.
     “Olin, you’d best look after your men. My kitchens can’t take in more out of this mishandling.” That must be Derry, thought Pahil. His voice sounded more like that of a young lad than a grown man, but the worry in his voice over his kitchens showed care for his demesnes.
     He heard a loud, wet smacking of lips. “You know’s well as me that army’s gotta eat, Derry,” Captain Olin said. “We’re waitin on His Lordship and it ain’t our ken that he got sick ‘fore we got here.”
     “Your men never did their own huntin’? We could use the meat.”
     “Damn fires chased all the game away.”
     The two men continued talking, their footsteps echoing down the corridors.
     “Damn,” murmured Rowan loud enough for Pahil to hear but not for her voice to carry. Pahil’s startled chuckle made her shush him quickly.
     “Sorry, Pahil whispered to her. “It’s just I ain’t expectin’ to hear a Lady such as yourself using words like that.”
     “We don’t want them to hear us.,” she reminded him under her breath. “Still, that’s the escape route I wanted, through the kitchens.”
     “They ever come up here?”
     She stared at him. “Rarely.”
     “Then like as not we’ll have to wait anyway. If they’re awake and to the kitchens, like as not there will be more of them.”
     She sighed. “You’re probably right. I’m usually in my own room by now, so I always thought everyone else would be too.”
     “Like as not you should expected the unexpected as well as stuff you know is gonna happen.” Like as not the king forgot that too, if he’d expected Pahil to be just a thief with no brains in his head and no friends here to speak of since Luk was still back by L’Adje in Thorne’s Holde.
     The two of them settled themselves on the stair for a wait, maintaining a companionable enough silence. Pahil worried, though: what if they never managed to steal away from here? Rowan, he was sure, was a recognized mage; but if the person who had ruled this kingdom for so long, if he had changed bodies so many times so as not to be recognizable—well, if he got caught, he would be forced into the army. Rowan said they were desperate for men. The army itself would go towards Thorne’s Holde. If the army could leave now, before the king returned…
     He turned to Rowan. The shadows formed interesting contours on her face, almost driving the thought from his head, but he managed to remember it well enough. “What’s the signal for the army to march?”
     “When His Majesty sends word.”
     “How will he do that?”
     “Well, I was supposed to convey it for him, but I won’t be here to do it.”
     “Were you supposed to go with them?”
     “Well yes, I’m His Majesty’s mage, but…” She glared at him, which made for an interesting effect upon the stair. “Don’t tell me, let me guess…”
     He nodded. “What better cover for us? Me for a soldier, and you already have a spot.”
     Rowan shook her head. “If we run across His Majesty on the way, I’m dead, and if we try to desert and fail we’re dead.
     “If His Majesty is still trying to get the book we have a bit of freedom,” Pahil pointed out, “and for the other thing the idea is to not get caught. Easy answer, right? We don’t need to grab a pillowcase worth of food form the kitchens, we’ll be sent with it for part of the army.”
     “You’re technically insane, you realize that,” she told him.
     He felt himself grinning at that. “Thanks.”
     “It wasn’t a complement.”
     “I know.”
     “Well, if you’re determined for it,” she said. “The one thing is to convince them that you’re available to recruit.”
     “I heard they took anything still breathing.”
     She started to laugh. “Well, yes, I suppose you can put it that way.”
     “You did put it that way.”
     “Did not!”
     “Did too—pretty much, anyway. They inducting the cook too?”
     Rowan shook her head. “Not since he lost part of a foot in the last skirmish.”
     “Part of a…?”
     “Didn’t you notice the limp?” When he shook his head she sighed. “I wonder how you lasted so long as a thief if you don’t see things like that.”
     Pahil grinned despite the circumstances. “I didn’t come here to steal anything, Lady. For that matter, if you remember, I was the one stolen, so that’s one up on the thief there already.”
     “This is true,” she concurred; but when Pahil stood, she tried to get him to sit down again. “What are you doing?” she hissed.
     “I’m going to volunteer for the army.” Pahil said, grinning, he couldn’t help it. “If I volunteer instead of waiting for them to come and get me, that gives me just a bit of an advantage. See, they won’t be expecting us to make a break for it when the first good chance shows itself.”
     Rowan shook her head. “It sounds crazy. Still, it makes more sense than other ideas we’ve thought up both alone and together.”
     “Exactly. It’s too crazy so they won’t expect it.” He looked towards where the two men had gone.
     Rowan shook her head, her face even more solemn in the dark. “Pahil, you can’t just go into the kitchens like that, they will arrest and shoot you for a thief or a spy.”
     “Well, like as not it would save you havin to find a new job.”
     “That’s so funny I forgot to laugh.”
     “We might as well move though, so they ain’t got to find us here.” The stair groaned slightly under his feet while he shifted.
     “Hold -- if we wait until after they come out of the kitchens we can sneak though there,” Rowan said, stretching out a bit.
     “Like as not we could sneak out now if we knew where to sneak off to,” Pahil said.
     “What do you mean?”
     “There’s got to be someplace where a guy who’s so not suspicious like me could hang around and not look suspicious till the cows come home or they want me in the army.”
     "I'll let you know when what you just said makes any sense to me." Rowan took the half-filled pillowcase from him, setting it beside her on the stair.


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