Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Great Weapons: Beyond These Walls 01b

This replaces the original opening for Beyond These Walls (which is Chapter 2 of The Great Weapons -- which is, obviously, a working title, because yeah). My basic outline is still intact, it's just a question of getting through this section without A) getting too caught up in details, or B) writing myself into a corner.

Miledha woke early, feeling more rested than she had any right to. The sleeping area at the back of the barracks was broken into small cells, each with four bunks and four lockers. There wasn't room to do much more than sleep, but then there didn't need to be; there was a common room at the front of the building, and a covered porch outside. The older guard, Ishua, had pointed her to an empty bunk, and handed her a blanket. She didn't actually remember closing her eyes.

She pushed her blanket back and swung her legs off the bunk. Across from her, one of the guards -- a girl only a couple of years older than herself -- blinked sleepily and asked, "Are those the only clothes you have?"

Miledha shrugged. "I had a travel pack, but I lost it."

"Ah," said the guard. She turned and opened the locker at the foot of her bed. It was solidly built; all the woodwork here was. "I have some pants, and an extra tunic. You look like you're about my size."

"That's..." Miledha hesitated. She'd been about to refuse, but that was more reflex than sense. Her skirt and blouse needed washing, and the guard's outfit would be more practical if she had to do any sort of running or climbing. "Yes, that would be helpful. Thank you."

The guard smiled. "I'm Kierna."

"Miledha," she replied, and the guard bobbed her head with a quick Oh, I knew that already motion that made her look almost shy.

None of the guards had been at all hesitant about changing their clothes back here, so Miledha stood up between the bunks and stripped off her blouse and her skirt. She pulled the pants up and adjusted the ties so they sat comfortably, then slid the tunic down over her head.

"Not bad," said Kierna, as she buckled her sword-belt on over her tunic. "Why don't you hold onto those? I'm not likely to need anything but regulation wear any time soon. And you can leave your own clothes on the bunk. Nobody will touch them."

"...Thank you," said Miledha, again.

Another woman appeared in the doorway: Ishua, the older guard who had led Miledha to the empty bunk. "You ready, Kierna?" she asked. "Shift-Captain wants to say something inspiring before we go out to do make-work."

Kierna nodded. "Yeah, I'll come be inspired."

Miledha felt she should say something, but Ishua had already disappeared down the hall and Kierna was ducking out the door after her. Miledha took another moment to adjust the tunic, then pulled on her boots. She ran a hand through her hair, a mass of black curls that was probably tangled and lopsided after the night's sleep, and wished she had something to tie it back with. Oh, well. If I'm going to be doing witcheries today, at least I'll look the part.


  1. The guard smiled. "I'm Kiena."

    This would ordinarily be a very minor typo, but it's the first instance of her name, which makes the later, correct instances of her name seem jarring.

  2. Thanks! The embarrassing part is that I'm pretty sure the first one is the name I decided on, after which I promptly wrote every single following instance with a new and incorrect spelling. Cold sober, too. I'm sticking with the incorrect spelling, since that's the one that seems to be hooked into my brain, so I've gone back and "fixed" the original instance.


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