Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Nine down

Eighteen still to go.

Last night, after I had eaten (aves con chilli, as it turned out), I sat down at the keyboard and hammered out nine chapter headings. That tips the scales at 1502 words, which whilst not exactly earth-shattering, is better than I've managed for a while.

So what have I been babbling about? Dragons, mostly. Since the hero of this four part epic is a dragon (and much misunderstood to boot.) Did you know, for instance, that:

The knowledge and wisdom of a lifetime is stored in a dragon’s jewels. Every experience, thought, action; every loss and every regret is tied up in those elegant and mesmerising gems. And yet from the moment a dragon dies, those same memories begin to leach away, returning to the earth from which all power comes. To save those memories for eternity, to retain a remembrance of a greatness now passed, the jewels must be reckoned. And only the living flame can seal up a jewel against the ravages of time.
That excerpt comes from The Apothecarium, written several thousand years ago by a dragon known as Healer Trefnog. Little is known of Healer Trefnog beyond his one book, which forms the basis of much dragon medicine and herblore to this day.

Other dragon lore, handed down over generations, was finally committed to parchment by a failed mage called Aderyn. In his Educational Notes for the Young, the writes:

Perhaps the first spell a young kitling might be encouraged to learn is that of concealment. Any dragon skilled in the subtle arts will easily see through it, but the mental exercise is a good grounding for later workings, and a novice can safely be left to practice unsupervised. It is also of great use in hunting, and in avoiding the unexpected attention of men.

Corwen teul Maddau was perhaps the greatest dragon mage of his generation, although by the time Benfro meets him he has been dead for many years. In his master work, On the Application of the Subtle Arts, he cautions against using magic (the subtle arts as dragons know it), without first understanding the environment in which it is to be employed:

The subtle arts are so named because, like the grym they attempt to manipulate, they are interwoven and complex. There are simple spells, wards and other glamours which the novice should be able to master with relative ease, but as you seek to combine the effects of different workings to achieve some greater end, so the complexity multiplies. Great care should always be taken when employing the arts to understand both what it is you are trying to achieve, and what other workings may already be in progress around you. Unexpected effects are commonplace, and quite often one spell will negate another entirely.
Men get a look in too, nasty and war-like thought they are. Mostly in the form of histories of the various royal houses. I shan't bore you with them right now, as I have to go off and make some more up. Nine more tonight, nine tomorrow, and my nice agent might just get to see the new draft by the beginning of next week. Here, though, are a few lines from the Prophecies of Mad Goronwy, by which the House of Balwen set great store:

When Balwen's last sits on the stolen throne,
And kitling sleeps beside the babe ne'er born,
When darkness stills the forest birds at noon,
In blood and fire the world shall rise anew.
It's great fun writing fantasy, really.


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

"It's great fun writing fantasy, really."

Is that because you aren't grounded in reality, Jamie?

April 05, 2006 7:01 pm  
Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

Glad to see you've got the fun back James! You ride that pony.

April 06, 2006 2:00 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Pony? What Pony? All I can see is a bald little dog, and I'm not going to ride that.

April 06, 2006 2:20 pm  

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