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Thursday, November 17, 2005

NaNo Plodo

Just over the 17,000 word mark now. This is not great, but I am getting to enjoy it now.
I'm making enough progress to keep me working and that's good enough for me.

There's another excerpt below if anyone can bear the deathless prose.
Unusually it was Luci who was silent and unresponsive this morning. Drusilla was skipping through the ripples on the sands. Her mind still full of the dream she’d have the night before. A dream where Guto had ridden up to the Legate’s house and demanded that Drusilla be given up as a hostage. Julius and her mother had handed Drusilla over to the warrior Briton with tears in their eyes. Drusilla had laughed in the dream at the sight of them crying over her.
Guto had reached down from his sturdy pony and she’d clasped his hand. He’d swung her up behind him and they’d galloped off into the hills. Drusilla had felt his body hard and warm under her hands. She’d smelt that musky honey aroma from his skin and she’d wriggled in anticipation of the kisses he would give her when they reached his stronghold.
The dream had ended before the ride, but Drusilla had cuddled down under the blanket and continued to imagine the arrival at a beautiful hall . A hall made from living trees with branches full of birds overhead. Guto had ridden the pony straight into the hall. Then he’d lifted her down, set her on her feet and pulled her close. His lips were just about to press hers when Kalliope’s hand shook her shoulder.
“Get up Miss lazybones . I need you to do chores for me. Hurry the tide is on the turn and I want you at the beach before the seaweed dries too much.”

Now Drusilla picked up strands of the green hair-like weed and waved them in the air as she danced along. She was in love. The world was a wonderful place. The sun was shining and the water glistened in shallow mirrors, each reflecting her happy face. The little crabs scuttled around her feet and she smiled as she skipped to avoid them. The sky had a blue-ness unlike any she’d seen before. This was the realm of gods surely. Venus must have been born on a day like this.

“Come on Luci. You’ll get a chill sitting on that damp rock. Come here and dabble your toes in the water. It’s warm and there are lots of little creatures to see.”

Lucilla looked thoroughly miserable. Her shoulders were rounded, her head was down and her hands played with each other in a restless manner. Drusilla became concerned. She stopped jumping about and walked up the beach to her sister’s perch.

“ What is the matter? Have you lost something? Are your menses paining you today? Please cheer up Luci. I’m feeling so happy that I may just burst unless I can share it with someone.”
Luci looked up but said nothing.
“Come on. Last night you wanted to know where I’d been and all about Guto. I didn’t want to tell you then, but I do now. Give me a smile and I’ll tell you why he is so wonderful. I’ll tell you all about the dream I had last night too.”

“You had a dream?”

“Yes. It was wonderful. Guto was so powerful. So masterly. I wanted to give myself to him right in front of mother, but he took me to his palace.”

“ Oh you had a love dream about your tame Briton. I have the same dreams about Quintus you know.”

“I don’t care about Quintus. You can have all the dreams you want about him. You can marry him if you want. In fact I shall tell mother what a good idea it would be for you to marry Quintus instead of me.
For one thing he likes you better. Julius likes you too. Everyone would be happy. Then I could have Guto.”

“ If Guto’s people accepted you, which is unlikely.”
Drusilla stuck her tongue out.
“Why wouldn’t they want me? I am rich and I am strong. “

“You are silly too.They’d probably want to sacrifice you. Those Druids are supposed to be fond of human sacrifice.”

“Guto would protect me.” Drusilla’s voice wavered because she was less sure of this than she wished to be.

“I had a dream too.” Luci’s voice interrupted this uncomfortable thought.
“Yes you said so already. What was it about?”

“I dreamt about a battle. I was in the middle of it. I was in a chariot. The chariot was a small one, the kind they use in the Coliseum. It was small and cramped because you were in it too. I was crouched in the well of it keeping my head down because there were arrows zinging through the air and flames all around. I was wearing a shift and I had a stabbing sword in my hand. The sword was sticky and my tunic was sticky. It was blood. I was covered in blood. It was all over the sword and my clothes and my arm was red to the elbow. I had a shield in the other hand. You were standing up and holding the reins of the horses. You were like a great warrior. Your legs were braced in the straps and your hair was streaming from your head like the fires around us. You had on a black robe. Your arms were bare ,but you had great bracelets of gold on them and a huge gold torc around your throat. I was afraid of you. You looked at me and I didn’t recognise you at first. You had tattoos on your forehead and your face was so fierce and cruel. I thought you’d gone mad. You were screaming and grinning. It was horrible.”

“Where was this battle and who were we fighting?”

“I don’t know where it was. There was smoke and lots of fires. I think there were firepits. It was some big open space, no trees, but there was a stream. I remember that because some men were lying in the stream and their blood had turned the water red. There were bodies all over the field. Some of them were naked, but painted with blue markings. Some had leather and furs. There were women’s bodies too. They wore black tunics like yours.

Lucilla swallowed and reached out to grab Drusilla’s arm

“And there were Roman bodies. Men with their throats slit. Men screaming with their stomachs open. Breastplates and spears and shields in heaps.

“We were with the Romans?”

“No Drusilla. We were with the Britons. You and I were leading the Britons in battle against the Roman army.”

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