Folded Uniforms– a WIPpet/ROW80 post

Mourning

Mourning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s almost Halloween, so it only seems àpropos that I post something a bit on the scary side for my WIPpet today (tonight, really…  it’s almost midnight).  It seems àpropos, but…  I’m not going to do it.  I want this post to look ahead to the second day of November, All Souls Day, and its peaceful message for the departed.

Mostly because I’m working on this scene with Alanii at the moment in preparation for NaNoWriMo.

WIPpet

My WIPpet math is…  well, it’s absent at the moment.   mean, first I took 30 sentences for the ay, then I added two small paragraphs for the year (1+3=4, 4/2=2), then…  well, I lost count.

I think it’s about 36 sentences total.  So maybe 30 for the day and then 6 for the digits in 2013?

Alanii stepped backward and found a place out of the commander’s way so he could think through all he remembered about his meeting with his father. As he did, the older man moved about his small barrack’s office, settling the neat stacks of uniforms he’d been preparing in order along a low shelf by the door. On top of each, the man next placed a small scroll of parchment wrapped in ribbon.

“What are you doing, sir?” he asked finally. It did not seem the kind of work he would have expected a military officer to be performing. Handling uniforms and linens should have been the work of a scullery maid or washman surely.

The Guardsman looked up from where he was weaving the ribbon of a scroll in through a collar lacing on one of the uniforms. “Preparing for the High Feast night ceremony, Andarniis.”

Alanii nodded. “I’d suspected that. But–.” He stopped short remembering the other Feastday ceremony that involved the Royal Guard. There was the admission and welcome of the new recruits into the Andar’s service, but there also was the Farewell and Host of Song where the Guard themselves celebrated their lost comrades.

The commander sifted through the small stack of parchment on his desk. He found one and drew it out. Withdrawing also a ribbon, the man passed them over to Alanii. “These are for Nessad, if you would like to add anything for his family.”

Alanii looked at the note, then timorously outstretched his hand. Fighting the urge to crumple the small roll of parchment, he stood there, now not just seeing the uniforms laid out, but counting them, seeing them for the first time as not just cloth, but trying to envision the men that had worn them.. Mostly he saw Nessad’s smile, the way the man had grumbled at camp each morning as his wiry curls had fought taming into the three-tiered tails, how the man had been as quick to a laugh or to drawing his blade as needed.

And then how the man had died, alone on the floor of an inn because some spoiled girl’s petty vengeance against a fellow fosterling.

“You don’t have to say anything if you don’t—”

Alanii shook his head, realizing that he’d begun to fume, and forced a semblance of calm to his expression. “No. I just…” He looked pointedly at the stack of parchments the commander had withdrawn Nessad’s from—the man’s eulogy, he realized. “How many?” The stack looked huge.

He realized he’d never actually considered how many men were actually in the Guard before.

“Total losses 89, although three of them are simply retiring because their injuries won’t allow them to live as fighters anymore.” The man motioned to three uniforms that already had their ribbon-tied scrolls. The ribbons were green and black. The ribbons the commander had handed him were white and black.

86 men… How many others had died for a spoiled brat’s petty games? How many had he put at risk himself? “Eighty-six? That’s..”

“That’s nearly a quarter of our entire force, yes. With the small number of recruits we were able to draw in, that might end up being a third of the Guard’s membership for the coming year. Your father cannot pay enough to draw the men we need anymore over the purses offer by the Lanii and Harnii.”

There you go.  Alanii’s starting to realize that he’s not the only one with problems to deal with….

As always, a big shout out to K.L. Schwengel at My Random Muse for hosting of WIPpet Wednesdays.  For a WIPpet, writers post pieces of a draft (Work In Progress) that somehow relate with the date at the group linky.  Company, comments…  even gentle (or not-so gentle) critiques are always welcome.

ROW80 Check-In

I’m getting back on track!  Woo Hoo!

Okay..  so it’s not really that exciting yet, but I did get my sponsor post done.  That counts as something, right?

ROW80LogocopyReally, it does feel like something, and I’m going to say that it is, because I need some successes to halt this downward spiral of feeling like I’m falling further and further behind with things.  I mean, barring the barest of “this happen then this should happen, and maybe this will happen” outline, I’ve done no NaNoWriMo prep.  I’ve barely looked at my drafts except to rewrite over and over the same section for days.  Maybe by posting it and “setting it free” as my WIPpet today I’ll release something.

I did get to the gym and get a workout in, and I caught up on all my sponsor visits while I was at the garage waiting for the car to be repaired  Hooray for multi-tasking!

What a difference a day can make…

How about you?  Have you been turning things around?

8 responses to “Folded Uniforms– a WIPpet/ROW80 post

  1. I’m very curious now about what exactly the spoiled brat did!

    Good luck with Nano. Maybe you can “prep” as you go. 🙂

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    • I’m glad to hear you’re curious, Ruth. That’s a good sign!

      And thanks… I’m not actually too worried. I’ve never done NaNoprep before this and usually “win” the wordcounts without too much hassle. I just really wanted to try something new….

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  2. I never planned my first NaNo out… but I did a rough three part plan for the second. It certainly helped me with midway slumps to have a rough plan, and the final story was reasonably whole, where the first year it was more of a mess. I think there is value in trying out different ways to draft… to stretch ourselves and see which best suits us.

    shahwharton.com

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    • You’re so right, Shah. Figuring out what best works for us isn’t always a one time affair (though I suspect too many of us get into these habits and limit themselves because of it).

      I had a similar experience during the first year of NaNoWriMo, but at the time I didn’t have any sense of direction… I didn’t even know who I was going to write about or anything. I’ve always had a general sense about this year’s WriMo project. I knew my characters, my settings, my basic beginning, middle and end points…. I would have liked to have tried planning more than I have, but… I’m in it now.

      So are you participating in the madness this year?

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  3. A powerful piece. I like how Alanii comes to a slow realization about what’s going on. I’m also curious about the spoiled brat and what the cause of this was.

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    • Thanks, Kathi. I’m glad that Alanii’s slow realization didn’t bother anyone. He’s generally a very caring guy, but he can get a bit focused and not see the “big picture” at times.

      The spoiled brat? Well, it’s a matter of perspective, of course. She’s doing what she feels she much to keep from losing her home and way of life….

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  4. I think you’ve conveyed Alanii’s realisation really well. I work at the Australian War Memorial and some of the things I come across just on an average day can be pretty sobering. I got the same sort of vibe from this scene.

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    • Ohh! That’s serious praise, Emily. Thank you!

      Working at a War Memorial… any war memorial seems to me to be a pretty heart-breaking job. Every life has a story…. and so many stories seem like they should be a little bit longer, don’t they?

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