The first draft of the third book in the Gordath Wood series is done. It comes in at around 98,000 words. I’ve left trails of breadcrumbs of things to fix, along with several pages of notes of where I need to massage the text. I’m going to let it rest for a few days before tackling edits, but that’s where it gets tricky — let it go too long and I will lose momentum. Try to edit too soon, and I don’t have enough perspective. You’d think I’d have it down now, but no.
Here’s another tidbit (without giving too much away):
Kate sat down in Lady Terrick’s private office, facing her, Torvan, and Maksin. Her stomach clenched and she tried to stay calm. The little package in her pocket was a guilty lump.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, she said to Lady Terrick. I don’t understand what I did wrong.”
Lady Terrick looked tired and worn out, but she smiled kindly at Kate.
“Kett, child, it’s just that – as a foster daughter of Terrick, you are just as if you were one of our children. And what you do is as important to our family as it is to yours. If Colar–when Colar was in your home, I’m sure your parents were as concerned for his reputation as we are for yours. ”
Oh shit. Samar must have looked in the package. But then, why the hell were Torvan and Maksin here, glowering at her with suspicious triumph? Kate struggled for calm, even as she felt her face redden, just proving her guilt. If only I knew what I’m guilty of.
” Lady Terrick, if I’ve offended anyone or done anything wrong, it was by accident, I promise,” she said, striving to keep her voice from shaking.
” How did you know Yare was to be found at the river?” Maksin growled. Kate stared at him, confused.
” What? ”
” How could you have known about the river? How did you know Yare would be there? ”
” Thani said that she saw Kate and the young heir come home from a ride, and both of them were quite damp, ” Torvan put in. He threw a glance at Kate and added slyly, “Thani said that the girl’s hair was wet and covered to hide it. She touched her clothes later to make sure, and her outlandish clothes were damp though the girl changed into more modest clothing ever since. ”
Thani had gone into her room and felt her clothes. That bitch. Kate burned with rage. That stupid little bitch. When I am Lady Terrick she’ll be scrubbing floors in the outhouse.
” I couldn’t figure out how the girl could have ridden straight to where those men were, Lady,” Maksin said, back to harping on Kate’s other sin. “She knew about the river, and she must have known the men would be there. She was in league with them, ma’am. That’s the only way she could have known. ”
Torvan threw him an angry look. “She knew about the river because she and the young lord went a-trysting there.”
Kate laughed out loud and brought both hands to her mouth to hold it back. “Lady Terrick,” she said, and for the first time a wobble entered her voice. She focused on Colar’s mother. “Ma’am, you know that’s not true. ”
Lady Terrick lifted a tired hand. “I know, child. Of course. But you see, householders are talking, and no one knows how you found Yare so quickly. As for the other, I suppose that was, well, Colar should have known better, although I wonder at your upbringing, child… ”
” She is bringing down the reputation of this House with her lewdness and unbecoming manners ” Torvan said. ” And just now, where was she? In the pasture with the crow ”
“I helped him walk two of the horses to the village for shoeing,” Kate cried.
” And how did she know the boy was there!” Maksin put in, almost whining.
This time Lady Terrick help up both hands to simmer them all down. “Kett, please tell us. How did you know? ”
Kate felt herself pale. She licked her lips. ” Lady Terrick, it was a guess. I thought of all the places Yare might hide, the swimming hole would be likely. There’s a rope swing, so I knew the kids played there. That’s all. A lucky guess. ”
” A lucky guess,” Torvan sneered.
” Only the soldier’s god gives that kind of luck,” said Maksin.
Lady Terrick pinched the bridge of her nose. “All right. Torvan and Maksin, back to your duties. Kett – please see to Eri. She’s missed you all day and has pined for you. ”
The men stood and bowed, and Kate curtsied, still awkward. As they pushed their way past her, Torvan turned and threw her a malicious glance. When they were gone, Kate tried one more time.
” Ma’am, ” she said, a catch in her voice.
” Go now, child. Eri waits. ”