, , , , ,

Word Count: 16,185

I’m having real difficulty. I can’t write anymore, and I know why. It’s because the story has moved to quickly. That’s always the problem with not doing detailed plans, I find, the narrative tends to jump into the action to soon. I know what I need to do, but I also know that to do so I would have to take some time out to go back and edit. And if I did that, I’d feel like I was betraying the spirit of NaNo. Not cool.

So, I’m pushing on, hoping that I can make up on my lost words 😦

Well, here’s an excerpt for you.

The Lieutenant  gave the conscripts a break from training. If he overtrained them, it’d almost be worse than if he did not train them at all.

He used the time to seek out Calista. He knew that she was not in the barracks- over the past week she’d spent a total of ten hours in their room at the barracks. He knew that the majority of these hours were not spent sleeping. She was living off horribly sweetened tea, the grittiest stuff she could get hold of. It was stuffed full of chemicals, practically all caffeine, and usually she wouldn’t touch the stuff. She prided herself on at least being an addict with taste. But desperate times called for desperate measures, even with tea.

Still, she didn’t shake like other caffeine addicts did, not even when she missed a cup. She was still strong.

“Andromeda,” he said, quietly. They were on the front line, the other soldiers in a coma of alertness. They were so focused on watching the horizon that nothing said sotto voce around them would rouse them.

“Gardis,” the General replied, taking a slow measured sip of her tea, not turning away from the horizon to look at him. He could hear the question in her voice, so bitter it was an accusation.

“I came to see how you are,” he explained.

“You’re neglecting your duties. Again.”

“The conscripts needed rest. I cannot wear them out before they’ve reached combat, Calista.”

“I am your General.”

“Yes, I know. And I am here to make sure that your needs are being fulfilled.”

“I am satisfied.”

“Enough tea?”

Calista reached down, patted a pouch by her side. It was stuffed to bursting. “For now.”

“Have you food?”

“I have what I need. The Savants bring it for me when they change over.”

“Are you warm?”

Calista finally turned to her Lieutenant. “You fuss like a mother. What is wrong with you General? I hope to God that you are not worried about me.”

But of course I am, Calista, is what the Lieutenant wanted to say, but he knew he could not. He could not risk the full force of her anger once again, at least, not so soon. So instead he said “A dissatisfied General is a weakened General. I worry about you now for the sake of the town, General.”

He added the last almost mockingly, and the ingratiating tone he used irritated Calista.

“Return to your post, soldier.”

“I’m here to relieve you General.”

“I do not need to be relieved,” Calista hissed, livid.

“Then I will wait here until you do, General,” Gardis replied, a smile on his face.

“Lieutenant, you will return to the barracks and to your conscript or I will have your balls.”

When it came to knowing how seriously to take Calista and her threats, the Lieutenant was a pro. He merely allowed his smile to widen. “There is a time for castration, my dear, and you know as well as I that this isn’t it. I humbly request that you return to the barracks for an hours rest and a meal. I will take over your duties until you return, and I will be sure to tell you of any developments. I would also be grateful if you were to check on the progress of the conscripts. After your rest and your meal, of course.”

Calista spun round, the back of her gloved hand catching the Lieutenant painfully in the jaw.

The soldiers near them broke out of the trance, alerted by the awful meaty sound the contact made. Calista had put force into her blow. It smarted, and the Lieutenant would probably bruise, but he did not show his pain.

“Ma’am,” he said simply, bowing his head.

Calista spat in his face before marching away, towards the centre of the town.

Back towards the Barracks.