Word Count: 42,038
Crossed the 40k word count mark…in the home stretch as far as NaNo is concerned. But I’m just halfway through the second act. The Prodigal’s Foole was just a hair under 90,000 words and I expect the same for The Empress’ Curse.
The second act is having some issues…and I’ll need to go back and fix them at some point. It’s dragging…and I’m not sure if it’s just me trying to info-dump or what.
One of the criticisms I received in the first book was the lack of explanation of how the magic system worked. I did that deliberately–Symon was coming back into a world he thought he knew, but it was very different then he’d been taught. That discovery was to happen more in book 2…brilliant idea except for the fact it’s taken me 5 years and counting to get it out there.
So I’m working through that. Anyway, thought I’d share a flashback scene with you this week–although I’m reasonably sure this might become one of the “discarded” chapters. This first bit It takes place in the mid 80’s on the frozen planes of Antartica. Tomorrow, a bit from Christmas future. Enjoy!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The American team in this snippet are from McMurdo base and had arrived in time to see a large, transport take off.
The Vostok teams were nowhere to be found.
The Americans followed the rail and came to a natural amphitheater, illuminated by heavy work lights. The room was massive—fifty feet high and nearly two hundred feet around.
But it wasn’t the chamber that caught everyone’s attention. It was the bodies.
Soviet soldiers in heavy winter gear lay dead over the floor. There were dozens of them. Each had an AK-47 or similar automatic rifle lying on or near their bodies. Upon inspection, it was obvious that the weapons had been fired…continuously.
There were bullet holes everywhere and the entire chamber smelled of death and gun powder.
“Jesus H. Christ,” said Rivers. “What the hell happened?”
“Looks like they were all firing at this,” called one of rivers men. Stevenson looked and the man and saw what he’d missed upon arriving amidst the carnage. A large carved box, a sarcophagus maybe, sat in shadow near the middle of the chamber. The work lights that had been near it had all been smashed and glass mixed with the frozen blood of the Soviet military men. Dr. Stevenson hurried over to take a closer look. He knelt down a saw that there were intricate carvings on the outside of the box, chipped away by high caliber weapons fire. The top of the sarcophagus lay ten feet away and the inside was smooth and very empty.
“What were they shooting at?” mused Stevenson. But before he could think any more about it, Rivers called to him from the left.
“Doc, come here.”
Stevenson hurried over, his brain still trying to wrap around the chaos and mystery. Rivers was kneeling at one of the bodies.
“Yuri,” muttered Stevenson.
“L-T!” called one of the SEALS “We need to get out of here!”
Both Rivers and Stevenson swung around toward the voice. The lieutenant was looking at a point about ten feet off the ground. The light from his gun-mounted torch illuminated a grayish rectangle mounted on the wall. There was a little blinking red light.
“The place is wired!”
“Out,” shouted Rivers “Now!”
“No time doc. We have to move!”
The men ran for the elevator. Once they’d all scrambled inside, Rivers slammed the button and the lift began to rise. They never made it. There was a blinding flash, a roar of sound and tons of rock collapsed, flattening the elevator and the men inside.
The Australians arrived an hour later to find an abandoned American plane, an empty Russian base and a smoldering scar in the rock face that might have been an entrance to a mine. It would take the Americans, Soviets and Australians three months to find the bodies. All the archeological treasures in the amphitheater had been obliterated in the blast and subsequent cave in. No one knew about the sarcophagus, or the Soviet transport that had escaped with the tomb’s occupant.