Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Finding Honour
Time Setting: Modern day
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Minimum Word Count Goal: 120,000 words
Timespan: April-August
Location(s): Mackenzie and elsewhere throughout British Columbia
Main Characters: Borden Crosby, Eirian "Eira" O'Riordan, Honour Sorken
Background Information: Borden was born and raised in the logging town of Mackenzie and had a fairly insignificant childhood. In his teens he was involved in a terrifying one-car rollover but escaped largely uninjured — physically. After he graduated he joined the military and was stationed in Nova Scotia. Five years ago his military career was abruptly terminated due to a dishonourable discharge, and he was imprisoned on assault charges.
Eira was born in Ireland and moved to Canada — settling in Nanaimo, British Columbia, specifically — before she began school. Her brother, and only sibling, stared to become acquainted with unsavoury  company in High School and soon he was engaging in shady activities his family really knew nothing about; but since Christmas Eira has learned quite a bit — and really wishes she would've known what he'd been up to and could've talked him out of it.
Honour was inserted into the foster system when she was one day old and has been with one kind, loving family from day one, enjoying life in Mackenzie, British Columbia. She's just started school and is well-known as a darling sweetheart throughout the community, along with having a profound understanding of things around her that children her age aren't expected to understand. Her parents — if she has any — are unknown, and many honestly hope they never make an appearance and take Honour away from them.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 14

Word Total: 90,001

Year to Date: 810,742

Summary of Events:
Chapter 29:
Agathe woke up and found it was raining, so she woke Étienne who went out and plotted an escape route out of Le Suid camp, he then put on his armour, woke the Wouest-Suides, and they all went and got their weapons. The Wouest-Suides then left and Étienne went and woke the women and they started on their way.
Chapter 30:
Étienne, Agathe, Caroline, Marie, and Génevieve journeyed onward, stopping to eat a deer Étienne had killed earlier in an abandoned huntsman's cave, then they came upon a town and, being as Étienne was pretty sure they were in enemy territory they couldn't trust the townspeople and found a way around which led them right into a berry patch and they found another huntsman's cave to camp in for the night.

Excerpt of the Day:
""What are we doing here?" Agathe asked
"We're eating," Chevalier de Versant replied. "We've yet to eat all day and we need energy for our walking."
"But this place must belong to someone else," Agathe said, indicating the wood.
"It's an old huntsman's cave," Chevalier de Versant replied. "It hasn't been used in ages, I'm sure it hasn't been used since the war broke out. And besides, hunting isn't usually done until autumn, and we're not quite there yet. By the time hunting season begins we'll be long gone from here and if the hunter comes to use this cave he probably won't notice the wood missing or anything."
Chevalier de Versant then gathered some of the wood and used his dagger to shave some kindling bits off one of the pieces with swift and easy strokes. Then he cut the remaining wood smaller and put the blade of the dagger against his armour, flicking it in a special way that Agathe didn't quite get a good glimpse of, causing sparks to leap off and catch quickly on the dry kindling. Chevalier de Versant then quickly added wood to the fire and soon it was large and beautifully warm.
Agathe eventually drew near to the fire to warm and dry herself, as did the other women. Chevalier de Versant took one of the pieces of meat he'd been carrying and managed to stick it onto the tip of his sword and began to roast it over the fire.
"How are we going to eat that?" Marie asked.
"With our hands," Chevalier de Versant replied.
"But surely you don't think we'd do such a thing, do you?" Marie asked.
"Whether you would do it or not is irrelevant Mademoiselle," Chevalier de Versant replied. "You will because that is all you can do. We have no utensils."
Marie regarded the chunk of roasting meat with scepticism. Agathe wasn't entirely sure how their were going to all succeed in sharing the meat off the bone, unless Chevalier de Versant was going to cut a chunk off for everyone, which would probably work. It wouldn't be clean, but it would work, and they did have the stream to wash their hands in.
But really, overall, their life was going to be somewhat dirty until they arrived wherever this refuge camp was in Le Ganéis. It wasn't really going to be preventable, as much as they might not look forward to the idea, but being as they — Agathe was pretty sure — were in enemy territory they couldn't really approach people, so they wouldn't be able to get anything, and who of them had any money to purchase anything with? At least they were free, and they were on their way to safety, that was what was important to Agathe. They were not going to suffer what they very well could've suffered at the whim of the king of Le Suid."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 13

Word Count: 84,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 27:
The Wouest-Suides questioned Étienne about the promise Agathe had made, but they wouldn't believe Étienne that the promise would be carried out, so Étienne dislocated the shoulder of one of the men. Agathe was then watching Le Suid soldiers, looking for the key, and found it. Étienne then plotted on how to get the key from the man who had it and came up with an idea.
Chapter 28:
Agathe was getting excited for departure when Étienne asked her how sneaky she was and taught her how to stealthily pickpocket, being as he wanted her to get the key. Étienne then attracted the attention of the key's holder and successfully got the key. Now all they need is some rain.

Excerpt of the Day:
""Mademoiselle," Agathe turned to see Chevalier de Versant looking at her seriously, his dark eyes holding an intense gaze that almost made them terrifying to look at.
"Yes?" Agathe asked nervously.
"How sneaky can you be?" Chevalier de Versant asked.
"Sneaky?" Agathe asked.
"Yes," Chevalier de Versant replied.
"Why?" Agathe asked.
"Answer my question and then I will answer yours Mademoiselle," Chevalier de Versant replied.
Agathe nodded. "I can be fairly sneaky," she replied.
"Can you take something off of someone else's body without them noticing?" Chevalier de Versant asked.
"How do you mean?" Agathe asked.
Chevalier de Versant moved closer to her and put his hand gently on her upper arm, his gaze and its intensity never leaving her. "Like this."
Opening his hand, Chevalier de Versant revealed a woven black cord holding a simple, unmarked round piece of metal. Agathe put her hand up by her neck and felt her necklace was missing.
"How did you do that?" Agathe asked.
"It is a rather simple little trick," Chevalier de Versant replied, letting Agathe take her necklace and return it around her neck. "I did it all the time when I was young, anything to get people to take notice of me."
"How would they take notice of you," Agathe asked.
"They'd come hunt me down to see if I knew the whereabouts of their missing things," Chevalier de Versant replied. "I usually braided their things into the manes and tails of the wildest horses in town, and then I had to get them off because I was the only one who could get near enough to the horses without losing my heard."
"I don't think I'm that good," Agathe said. "But I have never tried to take something away from anyone before."
"Well then maybe you should practise," Chevalier de Versant said, picking up a necklace out of his hand.
Agathe felt her neck. Gone again. "How do you do that?" she asked.
A mischievous smile curled Chevalier de Versant's lips, but he said nothing, instead he clasped Agathe's necklace around a belt loop on the right side of his pants.
"The key wouldn't be clasped, though, would it?" Agathe asked.
"No," Chevalier de Versant replied.
"Shouldn't I practise with something that isn't clasped then?" Agathe asked.
"In time," Chevalier de Versant replied. "But start with this."
"But practising with an unclasped object is easier, isn't it?" Agathe asked.
"Yes," Chevalier de Versant replied, glancing upward.
"So why are you starting me with a more difficult task?" Agathe asked.
"Fine," Chevalier de Versant sighed and reached for the belt loop. He startled and looked at Agathe.
Opening her hand, she smiled and showed him her necklace."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 12

Word Count: 78,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 25:
Étienne did some exercises to strengthen his back and thought about what sort of plan of action he should take to guide the women out of the camp. He and Agathe then discussed their escape and also what to do about the Wouest-Suides, Étienne said they should let them go too.
Chapter 26:
Three of Le Suides brought out Étienne's bow and tried to fire it because the general had told them whoever succeeded in firing it would get to keep it — if they could do it before the king's next visit, which could be at any time — which fired up Étienne's desire to escape. Agathe then talked with the Wouest-Suides who'd overheard the escape plans and promised them that they would get out as well as all Le Ganéis.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Now, Étienne's physical ability was improving, but that wasn't all it took to get these women to Le Ganéis. He needed a way out of this cage, first of all. But who had the key? He remembered what the key looked like from when he'd been taken out to be chained and to be hung and flogged. It was a large key — a very large key — on one end was the part that did the unlocking that looked like an E, and on the other was a flat, rectangular piece of metal that looked really quite odd.
It would be a fairly easy to identify object — if it was hung out in plain sight — but of course Le Suides were afraid of him, they were giving him a very wide berth, the soldier who brought them their food even approached with hesitancy. Étienne knew he was the only one strong enough probably to get a man and get the key off of him, but if they wouldn't come near him then how would he do it?
And once he got the key how would he unlock the cage? Would he be able to get around and get the right angle on it? He wasn't sure, and there was no way he was going to get up and see now or Le Suides would surely catch on.
But once he got it unlocked, then what should be done? Could they just up and leave under the cover of predawn? When should they leave? Probably when the soldiers were having their breakfast, which he was pretty sure was shortly after sunrise. And they shouldn't up and leave without his bow and sword — among other things.
The most important question, though, was how did they get out of here? Sure he knew that northwest of them was the direction of Le Ganéis camp, but surely they would be on the lookout for any suspicious activity in that direction.
So should they go northeast? Would it even be safe to go that way? As that was the way most everyone went for their supper in the evenings, so it would be rather probable to assume that the mess tent was in that direction, and so that would then be passing right by absolutely every single one of the men who they were wanting to escape from, and that would not be a good idea in the least.
Étienne sighed. He wasn't sure. Would all of that work itself out once he got the key and got out? Did he want to go by the skin of his teeth on this whole thing? Did he have any other option? He sure hoped he did."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 11

Word Count: 72,003

Summary of Events:
Chapter 23:
Étienne considered Agathe's request for him to lead the women to safety while Agathe and Génevieve discussed their circumstances and the purpose of them, along with Génevieve challenging Agathe in regards to her feelings for Étienne.
Chapter 24:
Agathe thought some more about her feelings for Étienne, but she couldn't figure out what she felt and decided it wasn't really worth worrying about. Étienne then told Agathe that he was going to lead her and the women to Le Ganéis and began to work his back muscles, being as he'd just been laying around for nearly a month.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Even though Étienne didn't want to do it, he felt good now. He felt like it was right, like he'd done what he should've done. But really, deep down within himself, he just wanted to die, he wanted to give up now. But additionally he couldn't just die and leave this undone, because if he didn't do it, no one would. No one could. No one else knew about these women who would want to save them from the life they believed they were destined to if they remained. He was the only one. He had to. Even if he didn't want to, he felt good, strengthened, encouraged, and empowered to carry it out. Once it was done, then he could quit and it would all be done, and he could rest in peace — hopefully having restored his honour throughout his actions as he carried out this final task.
Étienne looked out the wagon toward the sun. It's light had paled as it'd risen higher, but it was still shining bright and glorious, it wasn't being hidden by the colds, or dulled or paled by their covering. It was shining in it's fullest force, and it almost felt like even the sun was pleased with what he'd done — as if the sun had any emotions or knowledge of what he'd been doing.
It was the right thing. Étienne felt certain of that much. None of his comrades knew anything about these women. None of the other Wouest-Suides probably knew about it either, only Le Suides knew, and they weren't going to do anything good or honourable in regards to the women, Étienne was quite certain.
Looking over at the bars that formed the walls of the wagon, Étienne raised his left hand and grabbed the bar. He gripped it tightly and steeled himself. Tensing the muscles in his arm, he pulled himself up, his jaw held firm and a grimace crossed his face, he knew.
Pain screamed and tore across his back, it was almost as if he could feel every single one of the thousands of strokes the whip tails had made across his back. It was excruciating, but he felt it had to be done or he would never be able to use his back again. He'd already been laying on it for nearly a month.
Once he was upright he relaxed. The pain still smarted across his back, but it didn't seem half as painful as it'd been before. It felt really not too bad. He looked over at Mademoiselle d'Enclume; her hand was over her mouth and she looked startled.
"I cannot lead you if I cannot move," Étienne said."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 10

Word Count: 66,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 21:
After they returned from battling for the day Le Suides flogged Étienne with fifty six lashes, along with washing his wounds with salt and vinegar four times. Agathe watched in horror while Étienne fought off unconsciousness, being as he was terrified of dying.
Chapter 22:
Agathe used her apron and her petticoats to bandaged Étienne's back. After five days of sleep Étienne woke up and told Agathe that life wasn't worth living, even though she tried desperately to encourage him. Agathe then wondered how to inspire Étienne with hope.

Excerpt of the Day:
"As soon as the fetter was opened, Chevalier de Versant's arm dropped limply. Agathe's eyes widened in terror. No. He couldn't bread. The other arm was unbound and Chevalier de Versant's body collapsed to the ground with all the life of a child's cloth doll.
The two big men took Chevalier de Versant up, one holding his arms, one holding his legs. The braider unlocked the wagon door and opened it while the two big men climbed up inside and set Chevalier de Versant down.
Agathe looked at the men with wide eyes. They were going to leave him here? One of the men looked at her very seriously. His gaze seemed to communicate that Chevalier de Versant was alive.
As soon as the soldiers left and the wagon was locked Agathe took off her apron. She put it against Chevalier de Versant's back, grimacing as it quickly became soaked through with blood.
Gently she rolled him over and crossed her apron ties across his chest, tying them to the opposing corners of her apron. Then, grateful the Wouest-Suides had fallen asleep during the long, drawn out flogging, Agathe tore strips off her petticoats, the longer and wider the better, and wrapped them around Chevalier de Versant.
Now Agathe had to admit that she was grateful she'd been denied the ability to remove her extra winter petticoats. With much effort she managed to tear more large squares out of one of the layers and wrapped them around Chevalier de Versant until his chest was bound like he was wearing tight-fitting armour of pure white.
Carefully Agathe put her fingers on Chevalier de Versant's neck. She could feel a rather weak throbbing beneath her fingers. Then she noticed that Chevalier de Versant was breathing. His chest rising and falling slowly.
Agathe felt relieved. She bowed her head down and rested her nose against Chevalier de Versant's cheek. Closing her eyes, she relaxed, breathing deeply, relieved that he was alive, not that she was entirely sure why."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 9

Word Count: 60,004

Summary of Events:
Chapter 19:
Étienne spent the day hanging off a post — the hanging part of hung and flogged — and Agathe wanted to comfort him. Being as she couldn't think of words to say she decided to sing. Étienne enjoyed the music, but worried about what was going on with his comrades for a bit before choosing to think about more pleasant memories.
Chapter 20:
Le Suides returned from their day of combat and immediately after supper gathered to braid the 56 tail whip with which Étienne would be flogged. Once the whip was braided they had a bit of a hot discussion with Étienne about the war before all the men spit on, slapped, mocked, and derided Étienne who, in the dark afterwards began to think about his upcoming punishment and how in spite of it the murder of those three men had not eased the pain of Jacinthe's death, as Agathe had tried to tell him it wouldn't.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Mademoiselle d'Enclume was right. He'd believed that maybe Jacinthe could be brought back by the deaths of enough of Le Suides. Étienne felt like such a fool. He felt worthless.
Tears flowed down his face as the agony and guilt rolled over him at what he'd done, and he couldn't think of any reason for having done it. Why had he done it? Because he'd been hurting due to Jacinthe's death. Had it helped? No. But what could he do now that he'd done it? Suffer, it seemed. Or maybe die.
The general had said that there was the distinct possibility Étienne wouldn't survive the flogging, and if he did survive that there would be similarly small chances of him surviving and recovering from the injuries. It would be — he was sure — highly unlikely that he would survive this flogging.
Granted, it was not the way Étienne had pictured his life ending: heirless, widowed, disgraced, having murdered three men with malice aforethought and a sensation of pleasure during the act, but at least he wouldn't have to suffer the agony of life alone and full of regret for his actions, the wretched things he'd done in his blind pain.
Étienne sighed. There was nothing like this agony, and he didn't even fully understand it. He wished he could get off this post and go to the wagon and talk with Mademoiselle d'Enclume, or if somehow he could wake her even from where he was and talk with her, but it was late now.
Mademoiselle d'Enclume — for having been born and raised in a somewhat isolated and inhospitable region — seemed wise beyond her years — which certainly weren't much more than half his own — and she seemed to have a comforting presence about her, she had confidence in something, something that had never failed her.
It was almost as if she were a mother, kind and loving, and yet also knowledgable about what people in need required. Even if it was that they didn't know they needed it. She seemed to have an incredible intuition, that was why she'd persistently challenged him about his motive, about what he was doing, she'd been trying to show him what he was doing, and only mow had he seen it.
Étienne felt horrible, never had he felt more wretched in his life. Even though his father hadn't seen much of him, obviously his father had seen more than he'd seen, his father had seen what kind of a horrible man he'd turn into, and how he would shame and dishonour the de Versant name. How much of a fool he would be. How worthless he really and truly was. Even if he could bend bronze, he had no honour, and honour mattered more."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 8

Word Count: 54,003

Summary of Events:
Chapter 15:
Agathe tried to convince Étienne that his murdering was wrong, but he remained stubborn. Awhile later a soldier came and mocked Étienne and a melée broke out and Étienne killed another man, Agathe asked him if they couldn't achieve peace, but Étienne told her peace would be impossible without the peace-seeking nation being annihilated.
Chapter 16:
Agathe then watched as Le Suid blacksmith was summoned and made a set of heavy fetters and chains for Étienne who violently protested being chained until he exhausted himself. Agathe felt sorry for him and all the pain he was going through. When Étienne woke up Agathe asked him if he really believed his wife was dead. He believed she was, yet he also believed she wasn't and he thought that Agathe was somewhat delusional.
Chapter 17:
Agathe, Étienne, the women — Marie, Caroline, and Génevieve — and the Wouest-Suides got into a discussion about why the war had started and how it could possibly start while Étienne worked to break his chains, which he finally succeeded in doing after a very long time. After they all went to sleep Étienne dreamed of Jacinthe again, this time at his property in Herbemont, and he dreamt that they'd had a daughter, which horrified him.
Chapter 18:
Agathe woke up and found that Étienne was crying in his sleep, so she rubbed his shoulder to comfort him. In his sleep Étienne took her hand and kissed it, startling her. They had breakfast and then Étienne waited for someone to come too close. After awhile he got his victim. The victim wasn't discovered until the army came back for the night and the general found it. Étienne was then sentenced to hanging and flogging and his chain was repaired so that he could be hung by his wrists from a post. The general then told Étienne he would be flogged with a fifty six tail whip — one tail for each man he'd killed in combat and captivity — that would be braided with knots, metal, glass, and stone shards.

Excerpt of the Day:
"The general in his gold-trimmed armour rode around the back, looking satisfied, he turned and looked toward the wagon and Agathe could tell he'd noticed. His smile faded, he reined in his horse, and looked quite frozen.
He barked out the names of two soldiers and the two big, burly men who'd held Chevalier de Versant when he'd been chained came forward.
"Let us see Le Ganéis' hands," the general said.
The two soldiers strode forward, seized Chevalier de Versant's arms, causing him to panic and begin to struggle, and they pulled his arms through the bars, revealing the broken chains.
"Summon the smith!" the general barked. "And do it promptly this time!"
Some soldiers took off with incredible haste for wearing full battle armour.
"Turn Le Ganéis to face me," the general said.
The two soldiers obliged.
"So you have broken your chains," the general said.
"And I will continue to break them as long as you repair them," Chevalier de Versant growled.
"Ah, but we are not repairing them this time, Le Ganéis, no, you've wasted any chances at mercy," the general said.
"So you've finally got the mettle to engage in combat with me?" Chevalier de Versant asked.
"Who says that we never did?" the general asked.
"The fact that you haven't done so yet," Chevalier de Versant replied.
"Ah, but Le Ganéis, we don't need to waste the lives of valuable men on your blade," the general said.
"So you let them die in battle," Chevalier de Versant said.
"Their lives are better spent on the battlefield, than in battle in their own camp with a raving madman," the general replied.
"Raving madman?" Chevalier de Versant asked. "How dare you levy such an insult against me! I am no madman!"
"Oh yes you are, and I can already see as much now," the general said. "You are falling quickly into madness as we speak."
Chevalier de Versant set his jaw are and stared at the general. "So you still are too cowardly to engage all of you in combat with me," he said.
"We are not too cowardly to do so," the general said. "We are smarter than taking such a foolhardy risk. We will not give you any opportunity to escape. No. We are going to break you Le Ganéis. We are going to destroy you."
"There is no way you can do that other than to kill me in battle," Chevalier de Versant said.
"Oh yes there is another way that it can be done," the general said. "Le Ganéis, by the powers of authority and justice given me by the most honourable and esteemed Roi Éric, de Le Suid, I sentence you to be hung and flogged.""

Herbemont: ehrbhmonh

Friday, September 19, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 7

Word Count: 42,007

Summary of Events:
Chapter 13:
Étienne observed Le Suid soldiers were up earlier than usual and surmised they were planning an ambush so he knocked a man unconscious and stole a horn to warn them and was tackled by the Wouest-Suides who he got revenge on by dislocating joints. He tried to intimidate Agathe but she told him she had God on her side and so was unafraid of him and challenged him on his faith. He told her faith was unnecessary, but was unwilling to divulge into how that could possibly be true. Agathe felt she ought to discuss more with him regarding faith and God, but didn't know where to start.
Chapter 14:
Étienne had a night mare involving Jacinthe and woke up. Being as it'd rained and he'd gotten soaked he was too cold to go back to sleep and stayed awake. He then attacked and — despite Agathe's best efforts — strangled a Le Suid man. Some other Le Suides came and found their comrade dead and one of them and Étienne got into a heated discussion and Étienne challenged the man to combat, but the man never came back and did combat with him, not that Étienne really cared too much, he'd guessed someone might've realized that giving him a weapon and letting him go wasn't a good idea.

Excerpt of the Day:
"A rocking motion woke Agathe. She felt cold and wet, but the sky was rather light, so the sun would hopefully warm her soon. A sick feeling passed over her as she heard someone chokingly gasping for air.
She shot up and lunged for the figure draped in something grey and wretched looking. The firm, thick muscle was tight and solid under her fingers. She pulled desperately, bracing her feet against the cate. Even if she got one had off would be a victory.
Desperately she pulled, her hands slipping on the wetness, but his sleeve wasn't moving, which was something she was grateful for. She was putting so much effort into it that it caused tears to spring to her eyes.
She wished she had a third arm so that she could pound at him or something, or maybe even knock him unconscious. For a moment she relaxed on her pull to readjust her grip. She felt his arm relax and she quickly pulled at it.
Chevalier de Versant pulled his other arm in and the man he'd been holding — his eyes wide and mouth hanging slightly agape — collapsed to the ground limply. Agathe turned her gaze away — especially with the sight of blood on his neck. She looked at Chevalier de Versant.
He looked satisfied, content, and even pleased with himself. The bloodthirsty mongrel! He'd killed the man!
"You're a monster," she finally whispered sharply.
Chevalier de Versant turned and looked at her, he looked as though he was inclined to laugh at her statement. A smile curled his lips but he had yet to laugh.
"Mademoiselle," he said. "Surely killing that man does not make me a monster. I've made my reputation by killing men. Day in and day out I have killed. I've killed hundreds of men, if not even a couple thousand men in the past ten years. Have I only now reached the threshold of monstrosity?"
Revulsion mashed Agathe's stomach around as she thought about it. Chevalier de Versant was a soldier — a Chevalier — his job, what he was paid to do, was to kill does who did not wear the white and silver of Le Ganéis Roidoummé in an attempt to regain the land that those men had taken from Le Ganéis."

Mademoiselle: mahdehmwhahzhell

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 6

Word Count: 36,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 11:
Agathe sat in the wagon wishing she was further from the battling while Étienne, enraged at Jacinthe's death, near lead the charge of Le Ganéis and fought ceaselessly throughout the day killing all Le Suid soldiers he could reach until he was the last one left on the battlefield and was following Le Suides to their camp. Le Suides disarmed him and took him to the wagon while he shouted angrily at them. Finally he collapsed due to exhaustion and shortly thereafter fell asleep. Agathe observed him and redid the bandages on his hands.
Chapter 12:
Étienne woke up in the wagon and took off his full battle armour. After awhile Agathe woke up and told him how she and the other women — common women — had ended up immediately behind the lines of Le Suid. Étienne then told her how he'd been captured and, after dissolving into tears for a few moments, attempted to strangle the soldier bringing them their breakfast, but he was unsuccessful. Once breakfast had been eaten he threw each of the bowls out and knocked nine Le Suid soldiers unconscious and continued to wait for another one to try and strangle.

Excerpt of the Day:
"The vocal tone shot nervousness and terror through her. She had felt his rage, it was still fresh, still simmering under the surface, there was wildfire anger brooding in his eyes again, his face was hard and stony.
"Behind the mountains across the plain, behind the camp of Le Ganéis, lies the headwaters of le Rivière de Petit, and on those headwaters is the city of Premierpetit," he said, almost as if he were beginning to narrate a great tale, yet with the dark thunder of anger in the undertones.
Agathe was amazed. There was a city? Just beyond her? Within a hundred furlongs?
"The cowardly mongrels sent a a party there," he said through his teeth. "And set the city aflame."
She couldn't help but gasp. Innocent civilians! They'd endangered the lives of innocent civilians! What a horribly wretched thing to do!
"They ignited the southeastern corner and the eastern side of the city," he continued. "When we noticed the flames we as the second wave went to stop the fire, and only a small portion of the city was claimed."
His hands were clenched tightly into fists in spite of his bandages, his whole body looked to be trembling, the wildfire burned in his eyes, looking all the brighter because of the golden light of the sunrise. His jaw was hardened, his neck twitching, but yet it appeared that his eyes were growing moist, as if tears were coming into his eyes.
"One of the houses claimed," he said, his voice dropping to a rough whisper. "Was the house of my brother in law. The house in which my wife — my pregnant wife — had been living, so as to be near me as I battled."
Agathe already felt pain in her heart. She understood his opening statement. Her heart broke for this man in front of her. Especially because of his clarification that she had been with child.
"They killed her," he whispered. His face looked utterly savage, as if the look itself could slaughter an army, but those hovering tears still remained. Not falling. Just resting, waiting, and looking so awkward in his glowing, burning, raging eyes.
She put her fingers to her lips, she could feel a catch closing up her throat and tears coming to her own eyes. His breathing was coming quicker, more obvious, and less at rest.
"And so I intend to kill them," he continued to whisper. "All of them. There will not be one of them left. They will all lay on the ground in their blood as food for the wild animals."
Agathe covered her mouth further, reviled by the gory description. She saw tears coming to the threshold of his eyelids, ready to fall.
"I will kill them all!" he cried in a voice that sounded like a roar of rage, a battle cry, and a scream of agony."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 5

Word Count: 30,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 9:
Agathe's captors and her captor's captors were not getting along so she had to reprimand them. Étienne visited Jacinthe and was told that she was expecting a child. And Agathe and the rest arrived at the Le Suid camp not far from Premierpetit.
Chapter 10:
Étienne, having reached the vicinity of Le Suid camp, was waiting to go into battle in the second wave when someone noticed a fire was behind them. They discovered that Premierpetit was aflame and worked to put the flames out. Étienne then realised that one of the damaged houses was that of his brother-in-law, in which Jacinthe had been living . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Étienne dug even harder. She'd slept on the other side of the bed. He wanted to know. He had to know. But he didn't want to find out. Regardless, he dug. If he stopped now he'd never begin again. No one would let him. He had to find out now. He couldn't wait. He didn't want to know.
Peeling away more stones, he suddenly stopped. His heart was pounding so hard it felt like his eardrums were throbbing. He was gasping for breath because he was exhausted, but he didn't want to breathe. He wanted to hear nothing. He wanted to have the silence to really take this in and realize what this was.
Taking them up in his hand, he looked at them. They looked like little, partially burned bones. He was catching his breath now. His head was starting to go quiet, his mind was starting to work, to figure it out.
In his mind he pieced the bones together into a hand. Hand bones. They looked to form a hand the size of Jacinthe's. Jacinthe. No. No! No! No! No!
"No!" Étienne cried. He clutched his hand around the little pieces and clutched his fist to his chest. Over and over he screamed the word, tears seeped out of his eyes and down his face. In his mind images of her, his beautiful, his beloved, flashed. Snippets of her voice teased his eardrums. Sensations of her touch, fingers all over, lips against his own, arms embracing, her whole body warm and close to his own in the dark of night.
He could feel activity moving around him, hands — rough hands, mens' hands — pulled at him, but he just balled down, clutching the bones in his hand. He wasn't moving from here. Not anywhere.
"Chevalier de Versant," a gentler touch — but still a man's hand — touched between his shoulders.
He opened his eyes and looked where the focus was clearest. More bones. Many broken, but laying in the shape of a human. A Jacinthe-sized human. No!
A hand took his jaw and raised it and turned his gaze up into the face of Chevalier duPont. Concern was etched all over his comrade's face. He couldn't believe Chevalier duPont's change.
"Chevalier de Versant," Chevalier duPont repeated. "Who is this?"
Étienne pulled his head away from Chevalier duPont's fingers. Tears streamed down his face, breaths came shaky, unwilling to stay put long.
"Who is this?" Chevalier duPont prodded.
Étienne couldn't bring himself to speak her name. He couldn't force it past his throat. He couldn't make his vocal chords move. He couldn't utter the sound. A few whimpers escaped. But not her name.
"I will kill them," he finally said. "All of them. I'll kill them. Not one of them will see daylight again. They will all die."
"Chevalier de Versant," Chevalier duPont said. "Who is this."
Étienne's breath came quicker, he felt his throat beginning to block up. He had to say it. He had to speak her name. Just once. One more time.

Chevalier: shehvahlhyeh
duPont: dyupon'

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 4

Word Count: 24,007

Summary of Events:
Chapter 7:
Agathe was still journeying out of the foothills with her captors and was told, possibly, what she and the women would be subject to doing, and wasn't looking forward to it, while Étienne and the archers attacked the Wouest-Suides who were starting to retreat even faster.
Chapter 8:
The regular pass Agathe's captors used was blocked by a recent landslide so they went to a different pass and were ambushed by Le Suid forces who captured the wagon. Étienne was engaging in more combat with the Wouest-Suid troops in full retreat and one soldier tried to pull him off the mountain with a rope that he cut off of himself. He was then tended to by two fellow archers.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Agathe jumped and the women screamed at a loud clang. The soldiers at the back turned and looked up, another clang sounded and Agathe whirled around, the soldiers around the front were both laying on the bench unmoving, dents in their helmets.
Two more clangs sounded and the soldiers at the back were knocked out. Agathe screamed with the rest of the women when four soldiers in grey garb and no crest jumped down. The grey soldiers bound up the Wouest Suid soldiers and stripped them of their weapons.
One of the grey soldiers found the keys and unlocked the door. The women all gathered rather nervously, not sure what these soldiers would want to do with them. One of the soldiers looked up and startled.
"Women," he said.
The other soldiers all looked up and all looked equally as astonished. One stepped forward, Agathe surmised that he was likely the leader.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"We are being taken away for having pledged allegiance to Roi Joseph huit, de Plandoule," Agathe replied.
"Well then we'll keep you there," the leader said.
He and the other soldiers pitched the Wouest Suid soldiers into the wagon. Agathe knelt down beside the soldiers and worked to pry the soldiers' helmets off their heads.
"Who are you?" one of the women asked.
"We are soldiers of the army of Le Suid Roidoummé," the leader replied.
Agathe looked up. "What are you going to do with us?"
The soldiers looked at each other, then they looked back with smiles on their faces.
"No," Agathe said firmly. "We may be women, and we may be weaker, but we are not playthings. We are not toys. Such activity will not be tolerated."
"And how would you stop us?" one of the soldiers asked.
"We won't tell you," Agathe replied. "But we advise you not to make any attempts, being as it would better for you to not find out. You would not want to experience it."
Agathe looked at them fiercely. The soldiers didn't look afraid, but they closed and locked the door without doing anything further. They then climbed onto the wagon and started the horses forward.
The landscape slowly started to widen out. Agathe didn't pay any mind to it, however, she continued to work on getting the soldiers' helmets free of the Wouest Suid soldiers' heads. She managed to succeed and laid them all out so they were comfortable."

Huit: wheet

Monday, September 15, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 3

Word Count: 18,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 5:
Étienne found a place suitable for firing down onto the enemy and made his way up there to fire. He discovered that it was the opening of a tunnel and after he'd run out of arrows he followed it down and found that it came out behind the lines and thought it would be a way to get all the archers up there, except there wasn't enough space for them. Agathe took Jacques his new clothes and came home to find a soldier. He had seen her take the clothes to Jacques and ordered her to take him there. She did and the soldier then took her and Jacques to wait for the wagons to haul them away.
Chapter 6:
Étienne had told his superior about the tunnel he'd found, and the fact that another tunnel branched off of it onto a much larger plain which his superior thought would be a good place to put the archers for his plans to drive the Wouest-Suides southeast. Jacques was taken away after three days. Étienne engaged in more battle and then Agathe was taken away. Finally the Wouest-Suides were where they could be seen well from the larger space and Étienne led the archers to the place and they readied for the attack.

Excerpt of the Day:
"No answers had come to Agathe so far. Only food and weeping women. The soldiers had not denied the residents of Extraireville the ability to see her and Jacques, although it had made Agathe feel downhearted that many of them had been weeping.
Today many ad gathered as, early in the morning there had been the sound of hooves and wagon wheels on the roadway. Now, standing before them was a pair of stockier horses of pure black, harnessed to a wagon whose sides comprised of stout iron bars. Inside were four young men who looked subdued.
Three of them — like Jacques — were dressed in rough, grey material, while one was dressed in normal, somewhat colourful clothing. He had been either willingly surrendered or forcefully taken before he could escape into hiding. The other three had been found somewhat similar to Jacques.
One soldier came and took hold of Agathe's upper arm. Two seized Jacques' arms, being as the soldiers all seemed to be uncertain of what Jacques might do as, throughout the three days he'd been chained to the tree with Agathe he had not shown any signs of having been broken, saddened, giving up, or submitting. His fight had not been crushed.
Agathe heard and felt the chains fall. Jacques was led forward. He walked willingly, with an even stride. Agathe heard the chains being redone around the tree, but watched Jacques walk willingly forward.
As she watched her brother, Agathe had a feeling that their father, even their brothers and every other man who had once lived in Extraireville, would have been proud of Jacques for his actions. Sacrificing his freedom to keep the other boys free.
Jacques stepped up inside the wagon and sat down easily so he was facing Agathe, he gazed at her with calm and peace. Agathe felt comforted and a thought struck her and flooded her with awe.
Had their Great Lord's Son done the same when He had been taken? Agathe had a feeling He had. He would've been dignified, willing, and accepting of what was to happen — even though He had been somewhat afraid of it before, He had willingly gone — He wouldn't have been broken. He would've willingly accepted what was to happen.
She smiled at Jacques whose eyebrows twitched upward inquisitively, wondering as to why she'd smiled. She looked at the sky and back at Jacques. Jacques gave a glance up, returned her smile, and gave her a small nod. She had a feeling he understood what she'd meant.
The wagon's door was closed loudly and roughly, it's lock clicking loudly. The driver flicked his whip and the horses began to move forward. The wagon jerked into motion, and the women broke out into mournful wails. Except Agathe.
As the wagon moved away Agathe felt comforted. If Jacques, young though he was, could be peacefully accepting of the situations befalling him, then surely she could as well, even if she didn't know where she might be heading. She was heading somewhere with a particular purpose in mind, and it wasn't necessarily the purpose that her captors might think it was."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 2

Word Count: 12,003

Summary of Events:
Chapter 3:
Agathe and her mother discussed the lack of amity between Agathe and her older sister Mathilde, while Étienne fought some more and succeeded in taking a tent in the camp of the Wouest Suides. Agathe and all of the residents of her village gathered at the church — even the Wouest Suid soldiers — for Sunday morning service.
Chapter 4:
Étienne went to Premierpetit again to spend a night with Jacinthe and told her of their advances, having taken half the camp of the Wouest Suides, and driven them westward. Agathe thought about the collapse of the kingdom of Le Ganéis and Le Ganéis people and how, as dark as it seemed, there was some kind of purpose for it all in the grand scheme of things.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Women, girls, and boys were the residents of Extraireville, only young boys, all of whom were now over the age of four as — being as there were no men — no children could be born. The oldest boys were getting acquainted with the mountainsides, becoming as agile as the wild goats, getting to know the crevices, caves, nooks, crannies, and all the little secret places of the mountains, as when they were twelve the boys were taken away.
Unless they were able to hide and become as little thought of to the soldiers as to not be noticed. Such was the case with Jacques. Jacques was now thirteen and had been hiding in the mountains for nearly two years, even though he hadn't really needed to begin hiding so early, he had just chosen to do so.
Jacques was the last of Isaac and Marjolaine d'Enclume's sons, Agathe's youngest brother. He was the only one who had remained of the d'Enclume men after the Wouest Suides had taken all of the men away after they'd recaptured Ferdélè from Le Ganéis.
Isaac, Isaïe, Guillaume, Émile, and Joseph had all been taken. And along with them had been taken Jean, Mathilde's husband. Jacques had been nine then, and he had been adept at climbing the mountains, and he was still adept, but even one who was adept would damage his clothes sometimes, thus why Agathe was sewing for her brother new clothes.
They were grey — which was something that disappointed Jacques, being as he wanted to have more colourful clothes — being as grey helped him to hide among the rocks in case it should be that he were wandering outside and a Wouest Suid soldier happened to look in his direction. The last thing they wanted was to lose Jacques.
In losing Jacques more could be lost. No one could know how many boys might be around Jacques when he was noticed, the soldiers might take away all of the boys who had been hiding in the mountains. And the soldiers would surely know that the women had hidden them, and therefore might take some of them away — and no one knew where the women went to because the soldiers had never said.
All the women knew was that once every so often — and coming up sometime soon — a wagon would come through the village with boys inside it, to collect any boys who had come of age or had been found up in the mountains, and shortly thereafter would come a wagon with women inside it, women who had been caught hiding the boys, or women who had staunchly and courageously pledged allegiance to Le Ganéis, Le Suid, or Le Wouest, the nations with whom Wouest Suid was at war."

Mathilde: mahtildh
Extraireville: ehxtraihveelh
Jacques: zhahkh
Marjolaine: mahrzhohlaynh
Isaïe: ahzayh
Émile: ehmeelh
Jean: zhohnh

Friday, September 12, 2014

Corruption Rent: Day 1

Word Count: 6,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 1:
Étienne engaged in battle with the army of Wouest Suid as he's been doing day in and day out for eleven years, while Agathe reluctantly helped her sister shoe a horse before getting into a heated discussion about the necessity of doing as much being as there were no men in town and she felt it improper for them to be daring to use their father's forge.
Chapter 2:
Étienne went to Premierpetit to visit his wife Jacinthe after fighting was over for another day. Agathe and her younger sister hoed the garden and discussed the ridiculous idea going around that if only they would present enough money the Wouest Suides would release their men. Étienne then reluctantly left his wife and headed back to the battlefield, wishing that the fighting would end.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Finally he exited the camp and got onto the fairly broad and level pathway — wide enough to bear a good-sized wagon — and asked his horse to pick up speed. They moved along the pathway, winding between the peaks of the low mountains until they came to a valley.
The valley was filled with many flickering lights, across the bottom and up the sides; it would've been an optimal place to put a camp, except that for years before there had been a city built up here, which was their stronghold: Premierpetit, situated just beneath the headwaters of le Rivière de Petit, which went for not too long of a distance before feeding into le Rivière de Blanche which, in turn, emptied into le Baie de Turquoie in the south.
He sighed as he thought about it. He hadn't known the years when Le Ganéis' southern border had touched le Baie de Turquoie; his father had. But he hadn't. Now the mouth of le Rivière de Blanche was flanked by Les Suides, and the Suid-Estées.
Shaking his head, he nudged his horse down the gentle incline, between the outlying residences of Premierpetit. Now was not the time to be downcast at all that had happened in the nearly four and a half decades of war. Now was the time to think about the one who helped him forget that there was a war, had ever been a war, or would be a war for an unknown time to come.
Riding through the streets, he made his way to the eastern side of the city, climbing up a bit of an incline, and arriving at the house. He put his horse in the stables and tossed in a good pile of hay.
Then he went inside. Quietly he removed his armour, hanging it by the door. He moved through the house on silent feet until he came to the main chamber. Sitting in a chair near the fire, working on some kind of handcraft, she sat. Oblivious to his presence.
Stepping silently forward he put his hands on her shoulders. She startled and looked up. Ready, he met her face with his won and lightly touched his lips to hers. After an initial moment of surprise she engaged in the sweet exchange.
After a moment all too brief for his liking she pulled way. He opened his eyes and gazed into hers, dark as midnight, but alight with life and joy. He took in her face. Light as eggshell, soft as goat's leather, framed by hair darker than her eyes — which would've seemed impossible — bringing out her delicate face and its features, the fine chiseling of her face. All of its beauty. His beautiful — rapturously beautiful — Jacinthe.
Her soft, gentle hand caressed his jaw. "Étienne," she whispered, as if he would've disappeared had she spoken any louder."

Premierpetit: prehmyehrpehtee
Jacinthe: jahsihnth
(Les) Suides: (leh) zhweedzh
Le Rivière de Petit: leh rihveeehr deh pehtee
Blanche: blahnsh
Le Baie de Turquoie: leh bayee deh tuhrkhwah
Suid-Estées: zhweed ehstays

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September Novel No. 2 Essential Information

Novel Title: Corruption Rent
Series Title: Saga of Le Gané
Time Setting: 1560 Age of Peace*
Genre: Medieval-esque Fantasy
Minimum World Goal: 90,000 words
Timespan: March-June
Location(s): Ducdoummé of Marceaux, Le Ganéis, Ducdoummé of Ferdélè, Wouest Suid, Ducdoummé of Madeux, Le Suid
Main Characters: Étienne de Versant, Agathe d'Enclume
Background Information:
Le Ganéis Roidoummé: The 1400s in Le Ganéis were restless and rife with corruption that finally reared its head sixteen years into the next century. In 1501 the first in line to the Le Ganéis throne, Duc Mathieu, set off on a journey around the world with his ships wrecking off the coast of Aom Yarp. In 1515 the king, Roi Didier XIX, de Roudrienne, died heirless. Due to Mathieu's disappearance the next brother, Guillaume, ascended to the throne and became Roi Guillaume IV de Plandoule. In 1516 Mathieu turned up alive and well and claimed the throne, however he had violated the Purity Law of 565 by marrying a princess of Aom Yarp so Guillaume retained the throne. Upset, Mathieu rallied his Ducdoummé to rebel and in 1517 Guillaume declared war on Mathieu and his country of Le Nourd. Over the next fourteen years Guillaume's younger brother Louis, cousins Pierre and Gaston, and nephews Éric, Rodolphe, Albert, and Richard incited their Ducdoummés to rebellion and made it La Guerre de les Neuf. In 1548 Guillaume died and his son Joseph inherited the throne to become Roi Joseph VIII de Plandoule. At this time La Guerre de les Neuf has been raging for 43 years.
Étienne: Born the youngest son of eleven surviving children in a mining town, he was trained in the military by his patriotic father's orders. For being from the mountains he became a surprisingly good horse and bowman with such strength that his bow needed bronze plating to keep it from being broken when he fired. In 1549 he joined the army, battling on the Ferdélèois front from the beginning. He married his wife in 1559.
Agathe: Born the second oldest daughter in a blacksmith's family, she's lived all her life in the rough, treacherous foothills of northern Ferdélè — through its being captured by Wouest Suid in 1542, retaken by Le Ganéis in 1549, and recaptured by Wouest Suid in 1555. Since 1555 the majority of residents in her town are women as the men are being forced to make weaponry for the Wouest Suid army as a repayment for having allegedly helped the Le Ganéis forces take Ferdélè in 1549.
Le Gané/Le Ganéis: leh gahneh 
Ducdoummé: duckdoomeh (dukedom)
Marceaux: mahrsoh
Ferdélè: fehrdehleh
Wouest Suid: ooest zhweed
Madeux: mahdooh
Étienne de Versant: ehtyeh deh vehrsan
Agathe d'Enclume: ahgath dohncloom
Roidoummé: wahdoomeh (kingdom)
Duc Mathieu: duck mahchoo
Aom Yarp: ahohm yahrp
Roi Didier XIX de Roudrienne: wah didyeh dihz noof deh rhoodreeehn
Guillaume: gheeohm
IV: cat'
Plandoule: plahndoolh
Nourd: nohrd
Louis: loowhee
Gaston: gahstohn
Éric: ehreek
Rodolphe: rohdohlf
Albert: ahlbehr
Richard: reechard
La Guerre de les Neuf: lah ghwehr deh leh noof (The War of the Nine)
VIII: wheet
Ferdélèois: fehrdehlehwhah (denonym of Ferdélè)
*does not correspond with 1560 A.D.

Embittered Competitor: Day 10

Word Total: 60,000

Year to Date: 720,741

Summary of Events:
Chapter 19:
Terri had Spencer over for breakfast the morning after he was caught and encouraged him to work at changing his ways and doing things differently from how he'd been doing them. Steele reported to the CPRA official and then talked with G.D. about Spencer and how he'd been following the societal norm with his actions. And Terri contemplated the idea of incessant self-improvement as she drove from Wainwright to Sundre.
Chapter 20:
Steele competed at Sundre and talked with Guy about Spencer and how he hoped to see Spencer come back once the season and a half ban the CPRA had instituted on him was over. He also talked with Annabella Reidy about what his autumn was looking like before putting Riverbed and Prairie away and heading to bed himself.

Excerpt of the Day:
"As soon as she'd finished her breakfast Terri headed outside and looked for Spencer's trailer. It was still there. There was no sign of activity inside it. She walked over to the door and knocked on it gently.
After a few minutes the door opened. Spencer hadn't changed from what he'd been wearing yesterday — it was just all rumpled and bedraggled now — he looked like he hadn't slept too well.
"Are they here?" he asked.
"Who?" Terri asked.
"The cops or somebody like that," Spencer replied.
"No," Terri replied. "I doubt they even know anything yet, it's still a little early."
Spencer sighed and looked out at the quiet rodeo grounds.
"Would you like me to fix you some breakfast?" Terri asked.
"With what food?" Spencer asked.
"Come down to my RV," Terri said.
Spencer stepped out of his trailer and closed the door. He followed Terri to her RV where she quickly fixed him up some fried ham, eggs, and toast, along with some coffee. He ate the food wordlessly.
"I don't know that what you've done can be punished by criminal charges," Terri said. "So you probably won't suffer as bad of consequences as you seem to be fearing. And even if they were criminally indictable, Steele wouldn't press them."
"And how do you know him so well?" Spencer asked.
"He's like a bonus little brother to me," Terri replied. "While he was a teenager we really got to know each other well, and besides, he told me as much."
"Why wouldn't he?" Spencer asked. "I deserve it."
"Well," Terri replied. "That's why there's mercy, and Steele's received his fair share of it and knows is value. Your guilt over this will punish you enough, and it'll be relieving to receive mercy, instead of the added anguish of punishments others would inflict upon you."
"So he's just going to let me off?" Spencer asked, not believing it.
"All he'll probably ask for is a reimbursement for the financial costs he incurred," Terri replied. "But the CPRA's going to need to make a ruling on it. That ruling will be dependent on what Steele says and how seriously Steele takes it, but that will also be dependent on their rules. But Steele's not going to levy you with more than the reimbursement."
Spencer sighed. "I might as well quit rodeo."
"No, don't," Terri said. "You're a pretty good tie-down roper. You just need to work to improve, that's all. You have the power to change. You can start to work hard and achieve wins honestly, which will be all the more satisfactory and fulfilling than gaining a win by cheating. Being as this was instigated by your action you have the power to change your actions and do things differently. And I hope that you do. Rodeo isn't a ruthless world. Rodeo is a friendly community, as are most all sports. Business is ruthless, but rodeo isn't business, it's sport, and sport for the most part is a community.""

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Embittered Competitor: Day 9

Word Count: 54,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 17:
Terri watched the beginning of the rodeo with the bareback bronc competition. Rawlinson Haring's horse was rather fired up and reared in its chute and got stuck. It was freed and Rawlinson managed to ride for the full eight seconds. Steele competed and got a 6.5 second time. Spencer roped his calf, but the calf got its legs freed before the time was up. Spencer got upset and caused his gelding to be nervous and run around for a bit. After helping Spencer catch his gelding Steele went and watched the rest of the rodeo competition.
Chapter 18:
After the rodeo competition was over for the night Steele headed back to his trailer. G.D. Hagen had been on watch but it appeared that he'd fallen asleep. Steele noticed a light under his tack room door, so he opened the door and found Spencer working on sabotaging his stirrup. He confronted Spencer and condemned him for resorting to sabotage. Terri came and talked with him as well and they took Spencer back to his trailer, Terri then told Steele some of Spencer's personal history that she'd looked up.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Steele nodded. "But additionally," he said. "You've gone and handled things in an incorrect manner."
"By being caught," Spencer said.
"No," Steele replied. "You've gone wrong by looking outward. The source of your problem is not me, it's not anyone else. It's not outside of you. You hold the problem in yourself."
"No I don't," Spencer snapped.
"Yes you do," Steele said. "The problem is within you because you're obviously not good enough. You need to make yourself better, you need to work and train harder. You need to work on increasing your speed, your communication with read, reducing your reaction time. It's all because you're not good enough. You have room to improve. But you don't want to. You're comfortable where you're at, and therefore you refuse to change yourself, but resort to such underhanded tactics and activities as causing injury, cost, danger, and the risk of death to your fellow competitors. You need to change. You need to improve. That is the only way you're going to outdo me."
Spencer was silent. There was a mixture of rage and shame on his face. Steele looked at Spencer calmly. Spencer was like the masses. They thought they were all good and perfect, and that it was something someone else had done that had caused all their problems.
"Everyone in the rodeo is constantly working to improve themselves," Steele said. "And we do that because — even if it may not appear to be so — we are athletes. Like hockey players, football players, snowboarders, track and field athletes, basketball players, divers, swimmers, skiers, and any other athletes, we need to continue to improve. We can never stop because everyone around is is working to get better, and so to keep up we need to keep going. You can't stop. You can't plateau. You need to work. Genuine work and effort yields innumerable rewards that bring satisfaction. You're an athlete and athletes never stop improving."
Spencer's dark eyes simmered and he tightened his jaw again, looking like his rage was taking over his shame.
"If you want to be the best work is required," Steele said. "That's why I'm as good as I am. I work. And I work hard. Sure you've done better at the NFR than I've ever done, but that doesn't mean you're good enough. You haven't won it. You and I both can, and need to improve if we ever want to have the NFR championship buckle for ourselves. What you've done doesn't get you the NFR championship buckle, it gets you fines and even banishment from the PCRA."
"I don't want your help," Spencer hissed through his teeth.
"And that's not what I'm offering," Steele replied. "I'm not offering you anything. I'm just telling you the truth, the reality, and how things are. There'll be consequences for you because you've made the choices you have, denying the truth and reality that you need to improve and thinking that by doing criminally negligent sabotage you'll be able to come out on top.""

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Embittered Competitor: Day 8

Word Count: 48,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 15:
Terri and barrel racer Kelleigh Braul talked about summertime, the weather, how they enjoyed Canadian weather and various related topics prior to the rodeo performance. During the performance Steele's pigging string broke which quite upset him.
Chapter 16:
Terri and Steele met at a restaurant and discussed everything so far and surmised that Spencer was their most suspicious suspect and planned to organize a group of friends to keep an eye on Steele's trailer and Spencer. Steele told G.D. about it once he arrived in Wainwright and then talked with E-L Reidy about the fact that he didn't know how to teach people to ride and yet he'd agreed to teach Rider.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Steele looked at his pigging string and clenched his jaw. Seriously? Really? Honestly?
He reached over and took his loop of the calf's head and stalked off toward Riverbed. He mounted up on her and went over to sit by Guy.
"It broke?" Guy asked.
"It broke," Steele replied through his teeth, staring ahead at the legs of the referee's horse trying to temper his fury.
"You're just being run through the wringer," Guy said. "It's like once your vehicle gets to be about ten years old everything absolutely falls apart. And if your vehicle manages to survive through that time period then it must be a model built prior to the eighties."
"No it isn't," Steele said.
"It isn't?" Guy asked.
"No," Steele replied. "It's deliberate sabotage because if my pigging string were getting that close to failing I would've gone and bought a new one. But, additionally, pigging strings never fail. They never wear to the point of failure because they aren't used for hundreds and hundreds of years. If someone were the descendant of the first tie-down roper and still using his pigging string it might fail, but I've had this pigging string from the beginning of my career, and my career's been only about a decade. There's no way that it should've broken."
"But how would someone sabotage it?" Guy asked.
"They steal my spare set of keys to my trailer," Steele replied.
"Oh no," Guy said.
"That's also why my rope failed and Prairie's saddle fell off," Steele replied. "Along with the two times that Riverbed has gone nasty on me."
"Someone's trying to sabotage you," Guy said. "But why?"
"I don't know," Steele replied. "But I tell you that I'm going to find out before one of my horses drops dead. Because right now I think that might be all that my saboteur hasn't done.""

Monday, September 08, 2014

Embittered Competitor: Day 7

Word Count: 42,003

Summary of Events:
Chapter 13:
Steele was back home for a bit and went through his mail before going outside and doing a little work with his horses. He ended up seeing Riverbed's mother and her latest foal, and then, for the first time, saw Riverbed's father, the stallion whose herd Riverbed's mother was a part of. That night Steele competed at the rodeo and Riverbed acted up on him again, she refused to be caught after he roped the calf and even bit his arm causing bloodshed. Terri's parents, who had been watching the rodeo, came shortly afterwards to see if Steele was alright.
Chapter 14:
Terri's parents invited Steele over for dinner the next day and Steele met their newest foster kid, a Cree girl named Rider. After lunch she asked him a lot of questions, including if he could ride horses without a saddle. Steele rode Terri's mare Fancy — who pastured at her parents' place — without saddle or bridle, awing not only Rider, but all Terri's nieces and nephews, even though Fancy wasn't trained as much as Riverbed and Prairie were. Rider then asked Steele if she could get riding lessons from him and Steele wondered how it was going to work.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Suddenly Riverbed raised her head, turning it west — toward the mountains — and uttered a deep, rumbling, vehicle impersonating nicker. Steele instantly sought out a black form in the trees. He felt excited.
A nicker rumbled in return and Prairie raised his head, whinnying. Finally the horse came forward. She was paler than she'd once been, but still a lot closer to black than her daughter. Her bald face brightly illuminated her head.
Gingerly she trotted forward and exchanged greetings with her daughter and Prairie over the fence. Slowly — as much as he wanted to run — Steele made his way through the fence into where Prairie and Riverbed were, and then out the other side, so that he was twenty feet from her.
She turned and looked at him. Steele didn't move. She looked so elegant. Her coat glistened in the sunlight — for the most part — her long mane hung thick and tangle, she looked to be alright for food, and her belly showed no sign of another foal.
Steele turned — as did she — at the sound of a little nicker. She nickered in reply and a little black foal — less than a quarter of a year in age — came out of the trees. One hoof was white on the foal, but nothing else was.
Honestly, Steele was surprised that she hadn't been concerned when her foal hadn't followed her, unless it'd been napping nearby. The foal turned around and began to nurse at its mother's side. After the foal had nursed Steele gazed its mother in the eye.
"Riverside," he whispered.
She stepped forward and inhaled his scent. Then she nickered deeply. With calm and gentle slowness Steele stroked her neck. Slowly he worked his way down until he was able to get his arms around her neck in an embrace.
Releasing her, Steele then extended a hand to the foal. The foal sniffed his hand inquisitively before trying to taste it. Steele moved his hand away and stroked the foal's cheek, then down its neck, its sides, and its rump.
He reached both hands over the side of the foal and just like a calf — except with longer legs — Steele laid it down on its side. Riverside watched with curiosity. Carefully Steele raised the top hind leg and looked. It was a filly.
Gently he stroked the foal as she lay. She looked so small, but within a year she would be halfway to being a full-blown horse. A year later she would be one, but not a mature one. It would take two more years before she was mature enough to have foals of her own.
Steele wondered for a moment. Should he try and tame the filly? Once she was old enough should he try keeping her? She was roughly about three months now. Rodeo season would be winding down by the time she was old enough. Steele thought about it."

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Embittered Competitor: Day 6

Word Count: 36,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 11:
Terri ended up being parked next to Spencer and had quite the nice, amicable, and intelligent conversation with him and wondered if he would really do such sabotage as Steele was suffering. Steele then suffered more sabotage that night, he successfully roped the calf, but something on his saddle broke and his saddle fell off of Prairie. Steele examined the saddle and found it had been sabotaged by someone cutting one of the belts that held the cinch to the saddle, they had also stolen his spare trailer keys some time before.
Chapter 12:
Terri was heading to her truck to go to bed and noticed a light on in the tack area of Steele's trailer, she got no answer and then got knocked unconscious. Steele had heard a commotion near his trailer and went out to see what was going on, he found Terri and revived her. She then explained to Steele what had happened and Steele took her back to her trailer, having seen no immediate signs of concussion. Steele then found footprints and noted that they were smaller than his feet and so he borrowed a boot from Terri and compared it quickly as it was beginning to rain and found that the person who'd knocked Terri out'd had men's size eight/women's size eleven feet and what type of boots they'd been wearing. He hypothesized about the suspects he had in mind and surmised that whether or not it was Spencer, it had been a man. The next morning Terri invited him over for breakfast and he repeated as much to her.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Competition was over for another night and Terri headed back toward her trailer. She was puzzled by what'd happened to Prairie's saddle, and she wanted to see what Steele thought about it.
As she approached his trailer she saw the lights in his living quarters were out. He must've gone to bed already. But no, there was a light in the tack area. Terri walked up to the tack area door.
"Steele?" she asked quietly.
No response, he mustn't have heard her.
"Steele?" she asked louder.
Still nothing. She should go in there and turn that light off then. Grabbing the handle, Terri tugged. The core was locked. If it wasn't it usually opened quite easily.
"Steele?" she asked again, concerned. She knocked on the door.
It sounded like there was someone moving around toward the front of the trailer; Terri turned to look but could see no one. She thought she heard sound behind her, but before she could turn around something collided with the back of her head, hard, and blackness enveloped her before she hit the ground.
(  )
Rubbing his eyes, Steele got out of bed. What was with all this noise? Was the saboteur in his trailer? He turned on the lantern beside his bed. No one. Climbing out of bed, he used the lantern to survey the room and saw nothing. Opening the door, he went to step out and startled.
Terri's head — and her shoulders, thankfully — was on the found outside of his door. Stepping over her, Steele went around and saw — much to his relief — that Terri's entire body was there. He checked her for bleeding wounds and found none. He checked and found her camera seemed undamaged as well.
Then Steele noticed something. The tack area door was open. Getting to his feet, Steele checked out the inside, but saw nothing suspicious. Whoever had his keys must've been there. He closed the door and locked it with his own keys. He then returned his attention to Terri.
Picking up her hat, he tossed it into his living quarters, and he also set her camera bag inside the door and turned on the light. He pushed the door mostly closed and then gently gathered Terri into his arms and brought her inside and laid her on his bed.
He closed and locked the door to his living quarters and checked Terri's vital signs, she had a pulse, her breathing seemed normal, now he just needed to revive her."

Friday, September 05, 2014

Embittered Competitor: Day 5

Word Count: 30,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 9:
It was pouring outside Terri's RV and she and Steele discussed the weather for awhile before Chad de War decided to go four by four driving in the mud and got stuck. They then went over to where he was and told Chad to call a tow truck even though he wanted to keep trying to get out. Chad looked out of his truck and saw the depth of the mud and realized they were right, then he fell out of his truck and into the mud. Steele and Terri guided him out and Terri took him to a hose while Steele called a tow truck. Later that evening Steele was competing. Spencer missed his calf and got no time. Steele roped his calf but the knot opened on his rope and the calf escaped, leaving Steele without a time. Steele tried to fix the not but found it irreparable. Steele then began to wonder who would do such a thing and got to wondering if all of the women he'd rejected over the years — the first one most specifically — were behind it.
Chapter 10:
Terri and Mark Vest got talking about Steele's knot opening and Mark asserted that it had to be sabotage because he bought his ropes from the same company as Steele and had never had one fail like that. They then discussed who could do it and also thought about the women Steele had rejected and decided to try and do what they could to help Steele find out who it was who was sabotaging him. Steele thought the idea was not bad, although he told Terri that she should put a good filter on who was helping out as guys like Evan-Lewis Reidy might not take their job as seriously as they ought to be. The rodeo was then about to start so Terri headed off. Steele got Riverbed ready and then went to ride around the warm-up ring. He rode beside Dixon Sawatsky and was told that Dixon's dad Ben had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Dixon was shaken and wasn't sure he wanted to compete, but Steele encouraged him to and he did and managed to get the fastest time.

Excerpt of the Day:
"But was it just one woman? Was it more than one? Was it . . . ? Steele glanced around feeling slightly nervous as his mind brought up her image. He was sure she'd left him with all due pleasure — except for the fact that she'd been facing prison time — but nothing said she couldn't be released. As soon as he'd been free he'd paid no mind to anything that might've been said about her. He didn't know how long she would've been locked up.
It had been nearly seven years since she'd been locked up. About that time he'd perused the Criminal Code of Canada and it'd said that the minimum sentence for a first-time assault charge — which he was pretty sure was what'd been brought against her — was five years. It was conceivable that she could be out now.
But why would she want revenge on him? Because of the prison time? He hadn't brought the charges against her, the police had because they'd seen all the damage. As he rode out with the other cowboys he looked at the back of his right hand: they could still she the damage if they wanted to.
However, he had to admit that it made reasonable sense. Maybe she was mad at him for the prison time, or maybe it was for other reasons, there were a few of those he could think of. Either way, it seemed to make sense. She would do something like that. She would go out for revenge.
Steele stopped at his trailer. He could feel the inner pain that had rocked him when he'd regained consciousness in the hospital. The pain that he'd never really felt until then, the rejection. The heartbreak. All of it.
Images flashed through his mind as he stayed still on Riverbed. The tangled limbs, the flying clothes, the fire. Steele shuddered and rubbed the lower side of his right forearm at the recollection. The pain, police, paramedics, and then unconsciousness.
Blessed unconsciousness. Except that he'd woken up in the end. And it'd all been real, there had been no surrealism about it. It had all really happened.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Embittered Competitor: Day 4

Word Count: 24,002

Summary of Events:
Chapter 7:
Steele went for a walk of the rodeo grounds and then got talking with Evan-Lewis and Annabella Reidy about a variety of topics. After awhile Spencer came over and talked for a bit with them — although Steele wished that Spencer wouldn't have entered the conversation.
Chapter 8:
Terri talked a bit with steer wrestler Kim Newby about Steele and then headed to get photos of the beginning of the rodeo. However, on her way there she thought she heard someone dropping some kind of tool in or near Steele's trailer. Steele came back from having supper with some of his friends and went to watch a bit of the rodeo. One of the bronc riders got hung up and Steele managed to undo the girth on the rigging which helped the cowboy free himself. Terri was then watching the calf roping as Steele got a good run — he was really in his element — and Spencer did not bad. Spencer also did a backflip from a squat at the challenge of the rodeo clown. When they were driving the extra calves out at the end of the tie-down roping one came over to Terri and wouldn't leave so Steele had to scoop it up and take it out. Afterwards Steele iced his shoulder again — as he'd used his sore arm to lift the calf — and then chatted a little bit with G.D. Hagen.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Three ropers later Terri was given the opportunity to find out. Spencer rode his gelding, who pranced like a dressage horse, into the little compartment, turned him around, and backed him into the corner. The barrier was pulled out across the opening and hooked into place. The calf was ready.
After a few moments of tense anticipation and silence the doors clanged open and the calf shot out, a few moments later the barrier flew away as Spencer's gelding charged through it in hot pursuit of the calf. The rope sailed around the calf's neck and stopped its speedy escape.
Spencer powered over to the dark calf and threw it down to tie its legs. When he'd finished he threw his hands up in the air with such force he fell backwards. Quite a few people laughed.
"You should'a been standing," the clown said. "Then it would've worked. I don't know that you can do a backflip from a squat."
Terri couldn't help laughing at that line. That was definitely a good one.
Spencer stood up and looked at the clown as if he was accepting a challenge. Squatting down once again, Spencer looked at the clown again.
"What? You're gonna try it?" the clown asked incredulously.
Spencer gave a single nod. Terri got her camera ready and started it in video — there was no way she wasn't filming this. To everyone's utter amazement Spencer did it. A backflip from a squatting position.
"Well then," the clown said. "I guess I've been proved wrong."
Spencer gave a large, pleased nod before returning to his gelding and getting into place. As the next ropers went Terri watched out the corner of her eye as the clown tried to backflip — he wasn't very successful — after awhile he gave up."

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Embittered Competitor: Day 3

Word Count: 18,043

Summary of Events:
Chapter 5:
Terri wondered as she was driving why there was such a big fuss over Spencer competing in Canada, being as she couldn't say she thought he was worth fussing over. Steele was relaxing outside his trailer when a woman approached seeming to want to solicit his affection. Steele tried to get her to leave peaceably, but she refused so he carted her off far away from himself and went back to his trailer to try and settle himself. Terri wondered what could be done to tell all these women who loved Steele that their love would be forever unrequited.
Chapter 6:
Steele could feel something was off with Riverbed, but he opted to ride her in competition anyways, she got him a slow time but he wasn't really bothered. But then she put up a fuss when he tried to remount her and get her out of the way so competition could continue and he ended up falling out of his saddle, with his left foot still in the stirrup. Riverbed then kicked out with her hind legs. Guy managed to get Steele's foot free, but Riverbed bit Guy's mare and startled Guy who startled Riverbed in return. Terri then called Riverbed over to herself and stroked the mare while Steele was tended to. He got to his feet and walked under his own power. The next morning he surveyed his bruised collarbone before taking Riverbed out to work with her. She did everything flawlessly and normal. Steele then remembered noticing how her eye had looked funny, but now her eyes were normal. He suspected she might've been drugged. Terri went and checked up on Steele and shared that she, too, had seen that Riverbed's eyes had been glassy-like, but Steele didn't share anything he was finding with Terri. Terri then headed off to the next rodeo.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Slowly Terri touched above Riverbed's nostrils and stroked the smooth, soft grey hair there, then she moved her right hand to Riverbed's left cheek, ready to pull her arm away the instant Riverbed moved her nose towards Terri's elbow to get a bite in.
Riverbed made no such attempt so Terri moved her hand to the left side of Riverbed's neck. She slowly, gently stroked Riverbed's neck. Riverbed seemed calm and receptive to the stroking.
"Now what's with all this girl?" Terri asked. "What's with all this being so nasty? You haven't been incorrigible like this since you were a little filly. You're a grown up mare now, there's no time for immature behaviour anymore. And Steele's never done anything to you to warrant such nastiness either. Come now Riverbed, why's so nasty?"
Riverbed made no response at all to Terri. Terri looked at Riverbed's eye that she could see and saw it looked wet. Almost exceptionally wet. Teary. But horses couldn't cry, they had no tear ducts. They had the ability to lubricate their eyes, but not cry.
Had Steele noticed? Regardless Terri would have to tell Steele about it. It could mean that something was wrong with Riverbed. She could be ill or something. It would be worth getting a veterinarian to check out.
Terri ventured a timid glance around Riverbed's head, looking at where Steele had been, he was standing, it appeared, as no one was crouched down and it didn't appear anyone was on the ground. She couldn't see the paramedics, who'd quickly rushed out to come to Steele's aid.
She continued to watch, although still stroking Riverbed's neck. Finally the cowboys cleared away and left Steele and the paramedics advancing towards Terri. Steele had his left arm across his best holding an ice pack to his right collarbone and she could tell he was only tolerating the guiding hand of the one paramedic.
Steele stopped right by Riverbed's head and looked at her. The paramedic tried to push Steele onward. Terri looked at the paramedic and shook her head. Steele wouldn't be leaving his mare. The paramedic gestured that she wanted to see Steele yet. Terri nodded and smiled.
The paramedics moved off and Terri looked at Steele. His face was emotionless. His eyes were sadly blank and cool. He made no move to touch his mare, but just gazed at her. After awhile he adjusted the positioning of the ice on his shoulder so that it stayed there without his hand on it and held his hand out to Riverbed."

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Embittered Competitor: Day 2

Word Count: 12,034

Summary of Events:
Chapter 3: Steele competed once again and got a good time, although all the horses seemed slow, ending the night in a tie with Guy L'Aubental. Then Terri came over to Steele's trailer and they discussed Terri's observations of Steele and how Steele felt that Spencer had a goal in mind of showing him up and it seemed people were inordinately worried about the whole thing.
Chapter 4: Steele met Spencer himself for the first time and Steele got the impression that Spencer was just like everyone had described him to be. They then went into the arena to compete. Spencer was to go last and Steele just before him. Steele got a time .1 seconds better than G.D. Hagen, who'd been on top, and Spencer went and notched a time .2 seconds slower than Steele. Spencer's gelding, who'd been highly nervous, freaked out at the crowd's reaction to the fact Steele had the lead and Steele stopped the gelding. Afterwards Steele talked with G.D. — who'd done more competitions in the US — and G.D. recommended that, even though they didn't really know what Spencer could to, to be on his guard being as people had deliberately gone and pitted the two of them against each other.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Red fidgeted and backed into the corner. Spencer was all ready and then Red moved forward again and Spencer had to reset. Finally Red stayed still. The calf shot out and Red shot forward, Spencer swung his rope. The crowd was silent, waiting.
The rope sailed over the calf's head, Spencer ran out, tossed the calf down onto its side, tied its legs together and threw his hands up in the air. The six seconds passed — slowly it seemed to Steele — and then the announcer revealed that it was a good time. Everyone was still silent, waiting for how long the run was.
"Spencer Grinnell has notched a time of seven point one seconds," the announcer said.
The entire crowd exploded into an uproar of cheers, most of them leaping to their feet and jumping around, and that was when what Steele had been expecting for some time occurred: Red lost it.
Spencer had just mounted Red and was quickly returned to the dirt — although far less ceremonially than he could've gotten off himself — as Red charged forward. The arena volunteers had been on their way to the calf and had quickly leapt away. Steele watched as Red began to drag the poor calf."

Monday, September 01, 2014

Embittered Competitor: Day 1

Word Count: 6,004

Summary of Events:
Chapter 1:
Steele did some morning training with his backup horse, gelding Prairie Soil, and enjoyed the spring morning while Terri arrived in Camorse — site of the first rodeo of the CPRA season — to visit Sprague and Marigold Hawes and their children for awhile before taking pictures at the first rodeo of the season.
Chapter 2:
Steele groomed his main horse, mare Riverbed Course, and then chatted with fellow competitors Guy L'Aubental and Tyler Arrison before they and Tyler's friends, bull riders Chad de War and Rawlinson Haring went out for Chinese food with Terri. Later Terri was taking pictures of the rodeo events and noticed a man watching the tie-down roping and surmised that he must be Spencer Grinnell, the American, who Tyler had told everyone about over dinner they both watched Steele lay down a 6.7 second run.

Excerpt of the Day:
"He nudged his gelding into a jog. Prairie's mane started to really bounce and flap a bit, not having enough momentum to stay up and flying like a flag. The strings on his hat tightened on his neck whenever they went down as they held his hat onto his head.
A thrill was beginning to build within him as they circled. There was nothing like it. To ride a horse fast, and a horse who wasn't being goaded to be fast either, was exhilarating.
Finally he leaned forward, that was all the cue his gelding needed to shoot forward at his full speed. It felt quite fast although it was only half the speed limit for vehicles on Highway two.
Prairie made one circle before shooting out the gate and circling the whole yard. Riverbed hurried over to the straight fence they'd be running alongside and ran alongside them for the whole two hundred feet of its length. She kept slightly ahead of Prairie, both because she was younger, and because she was actually slightly taller and longer legged — thus why she was his go-to horse — than Prairie.
He watched his mare as she pounded full bore toward the log fence; her hindquarters collected and she propelled herself over the fence to continue running alongside them. She'd done this before, and just like usual it caused that little twinge of fear. Sure she'd never met her father or any of the other wild stallions around, but he always had that little fear within himself that she would one day run away from him.
They turned at the edge of the yard, came around, crossed the driveway, and slowed to a jog for a ways, then a lope, before finally walking again. He walked Prairie back to the training ring and Riverbed stood by the perimeter and watch."