Writing is not sitting at a keyboard non-stop.
You write a Structure; learning as you go.
Like building a house and not just milking the people who pay you; that is for Agents.
Griselda had to move quite a bit; harassed by Stefen: and not well enough.
I lost most of the writing; back in printed or some form but now I’m writing to match up something … humans will become dwarfs; yes they will become humans … but if they choose and later – Rafus/Drufus/Weena/ and the births of children in Ascan et al.
I’ll just give you the rough stuff:
He needed something, and Weena was happy to take the money and supply it but as much as he tried to buy her, she twisted and turned – a regular client was fine but her Pimp would never let he leave and he worked for King Stefen.
She’d worry about the consequences if anyone ever found out but to Weena’s thinking … she could always get rid of the baby, and probably would – Rafus would never know but it should keep the gold flowing as he sought the next child, and it could be a good earner providing Griselda never found out.
Griselda, however had her own problems and life was becoming a little tricky and not settling down as she’d planned.
There was no empire for her. She could harass and stalk Stefen as much as she liked but too much stalking and he treated her like a Tax Collector.
Far too much stalking and Stefen turned on her, especially as his people died at her hands.
Griselda also had problems with her plumbing and plumbers talk, although usually about how they will take a month to arrive and then sucking through their back teeth before they quote a price for their turning up but this plumber knew which side his gut was buttered on as they draped him over an ant-hill, and he was seeing red ants while he talked, so it might have helped if the bathroom hadn’t been completed.
Stefen’s new lady wasn’t occupying a bath to the north-east of the castle which had collapsed onto the plumber’s wife; enjoying the new bath when the ceiling dropped – Stefen did like to make a point or possibly a good splash. Natomi was in fact to south-west where the Admiral’s bath was highly guarded and adjoining his bedroom.
A very clean Lady later joined him without the bath roof falling on her, which is more than could be said for Griselda who had found herself placed in the bath earlier and left to watch the ceiling after it had been winched up – the soap suds weren’t there but the remains of the plumber’s wife were.
Unfortunately, Stefen believed that people such as Griselda learnt from lessons and he was wrong.
Griselda moved north at speed. Following Griselda from a distance.
Most people preferred a mile at least.
They headed towards the waters around the Lodge – finding more slime than they had left from Griselda.
People watched as Griselda rode out – usually over people if she could, no matter where or who they were, or where she was; it didn’t really seem to matter to her as she rode through them.
People watching her ride out prayed as she passed, often dropping down to their knees in the mud and the middens so she couldn’t see them and Griselda just kicked more shit over them but they were still alive afterwards … often for a short time, but grateful for the chance.
Peter Jamesson she liked and she thought he would bed her, if only to spite Stefen Matira although he might regret it later but Griselda, as a Dwarf, married to another Dwarf considered herself above all rules including loyalty so why should she care – Stefen had taken a second wife, she would take a second husband and Stefen’s enemy. Maybe there should be some loyalty but leaving her in that bloody bath waiting for it to fall changed everything. She did that to people, no-one did it to her.
His new woman should have died and she would have taken the time to kill the plumber, builders and all their families – others would have, had, their hands and tongues cut off and been blinded – Griselda felt that would have been humane but how did Stefen find out about her plans for his wife?
How did Stefen find out?
Rafus having watched Weena holding his business meetings for hour after hour, finally managed to find time with her, “Griselda has gone,” was his first statement and I made it happen.
“How did you make it happen, Rafus?”
“You made it happen, Weena. I didn’t.”
“All I did was tell you about that Plumber who liked Dwarf women?”
“He won’t touch you again, Weena.”
“He paid me well, Rafus. I have my clients.”
“Well, he ended up on an ant-hill and his wife in a bath.”
“What aren’t you telling me?”
“You have my child or you end up in a bath.”
“Find someone else, Rafus. I earn enough without having children. I don’t want to end up dead. I would have carried your child but not when you are a killer.”
“How many have you killed, Weena. How many leave here on their backs for the middens?”
“I have to live, Rafus!”
“So they have to die, Weena!”
“Go, Rafus. We are finished.”
“And so are you, Weena,” Rafus walked to the door and opening it, stood back, “take her and put her in one of the cells – a Royal Cell.”
Rafus left in a mist. He cared for Weena but now everything he did was watched and controlled. He followed as Weena was taken and put in a cell that would have graced a Prince. She look at the walls as they threw her in but then someone else entered, “they will take you for a bath,” she said and Weena screamed, “No!”
“Is water that bad for you? I will take the first bath if it bothers you, then you can take one. You will work for me as my hand-maiden and that means you bath … do … do you … do you really understand what a bath is?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Good. Then bath and then bath me. I don’t want the Guards to do it. There will be clothing for you and I need someone loyal to me and that will be you. My name is Natomi and I will be the next Queen. Be loyal to me and everything will be okay; betray me and you will slowly live to regret it … do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand. What happens to Rafus’ child?”
“It will be born outside of the castle and someone will bring it up. King Stefen does not want it in the castle and Rafus knows that. Now, I need a bath.”
Griselda wasn’t considering a bath. Her horse had stumbled as they past a river and thrown her down some ten feet into a fast moving river. Only a passing tree had given her something to hang onto. Now soaked and holding branches she had as usual, managed to get one leg cocked over the main stem of the tree as it took her south until after her first real bath in months found her lying in mud by the lakeside. It wasn’t a river and yes it flowed south until finally it went under the causeway and into the sea. The tree snagging had saved her. She was still stood there where the remainder of her followers rode up.
She recognised one of the Guards who had been good in bed-chambers. It didn’t matter what chamber when the mood was on her … in the same way as when she killed … the mist descended and her hands were red. Her mind at times, did send her a message from her mid-area that running a turnstile from her lower regions was not approved but more, it wasn’t earning her a lot and the idea of children wasn’t in her mind, although at times she did stop and consider life, but never for long, and never hers.
That she would eventually rule, however, was in her mind and that meant deaths. That it might mean children also made her think but she was soaked to the skin; surrounded by her Guards and there was nothing to eat but scrub for the horses.
She looked at Gereft, who even know was summonsing a relief horse for her and finally she mounted up.
“I must have swept down a good mile, Gereft and none of the sons of bitches bothered to follow me.”
“They are approaching now, Queen Griselda. They didn’t abandon you … none of us, will do that.”
“Then let us move on, Gereft, we have a few miles to travel and I will dry off as I ride; you can warm me up later.”
Griselda’s original Guards had already ridden over the three days, some hundred miles when she decided to leave them and go for a swim but they headed back with current – some wishing her dead and others, just wishing. They followed her, in the main, because they had no choice.
The causeway flooding had cost them another two days – Griselda as usual, had pushed her people through the water – lose some, gain some, was her attitude and that attitude left her with thirty people as she had ridden beside the sea seeking lake.
She had wanted to detour to the prisoner’s camp but Stefen, being no fool had his own Guards out: monitoring and harassing like a good Tax Collector should and the prisoners were ready with those manacles and around her neck would do nicely, Lady.
If Griselda had ever liked anything; power being the exception; she might have enjoyed the world the Admirals had tried to destroy and the people they tried to kill. Now she saw the destruction and just rode on: killing; using people; destroying lives and worth, didn’t matter to her.
People had put up fences, although most were based on the grab what you can and see if they fight back, basis.
The buildings still standing were now virtually roofs patched with grass; sheep with a horn; milk no one would ever touch and people with growths where no growth should grow on a body.
Bleeding sores with nothing but blood to run away from and Griselda rode through them as if nothing mattered.
Nothing, really did matter to Griselda … in her mind she rode on; in her body … she considered something that happened but they were failures to be destroyed when they failed to be of use and meant nothing to her.
They finally stopped and there was nothing although Stefen’s troops were re-inforcing Toshon and Rocs were high in the sky.
She felt this was a good land to settle until the night arrow attack when archers just surrounded the camp and shot arrow into it.
There were few left of her Guards when she finally made the end of the sea flowing lake and looked some five mile away at Peter Jamesson’s castle.
She’d sent Gereft who, on his return, dismounted as soon he saw her, and knelt before her so he was below sword level.
The Admirals might be a lot of things but common-sense was never a strong point when they felt they had power, but she realised she was still outside the castle and awaiting entry.
She’d already cut the head off of someone who said, “Move to the Droga’s castle,” and anyone loyal should and would give up their blood and water for her.
She was a Queen; what else could they do but bleed for her!