Stargate Monuments

marthawells

Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus


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The Cloud Roads
marthawells

Snippet Post 7, I think

The DDoS attack sort of sank the whole Clarion-Write-a-Thon snippet thing I was doing, and I did not actually finish my writing goal as I had to stop work on the third book to do revisions on The Serpent Sea. (Thanks very much to everyone who donated! I know Clarion appreciates your donations a lot.)

I finished the revision off yesterday, and it is a much better book with over 4000 words added and a lot of corrections made. We went to a new local brewpub to celebrate, and I had a mixed berry cider which was delicious, and tasty fish tacos.





Earlier, Moon had asked Jade why Emerald Twilight was putting itself out to entertain them. She had said, "They probably don't get many sister queens and consorts as visitors. Usually it's young daughter queens, or warriors acting as messengers or bringing Arbora to trade crafts."

It explained Shadow's curiosity about Moon. As reigning queen, Ice probably never left the colony, which meant Shadow never left either. He probably got few opportunities to talk to consorts he didn't already live with.

Before the food was brought, the queens sat to one side of the platform to talk, with the consorts taking the other. On their side, Jade and Tempest and the others made pointedly polite and occasionally cutting remarks at each other until it was apparent that no one was going to be lured into an embarrassing outburst.

On the other side, the consorts stared at Moon, and he stared back. These were the consorts taken by the sister queens, the ones with important bloodlines who represented important alliances. Finally, one said, "They said you threatened Ash in the greeting hall."

None of the queens had mentioned the incident. Moon was starting to suspect that if one of them brought it up, Jade might have to do something about it, like fight Ash. Which would be a stupid waste of a fight, considering how easily Shadow had dealt with it. He corrected, "She threatened me."

"And you offered to fight her," another consort said, his derision obvious. "That was foolish. What if she was hotheaded enough to accept?"

Moon looked away, knowing his expression was sardonic. "Then maybe next time she'd think twice."

"You'd fight a queen?"

"If I had to."

"They claimed he fought Fell." This was said with deliberately provoking skepticism.

Moon turned his head just enough to eye the speaker. Apparently he was being asked to prove it. The trick was to do that without disrupting the dinner.

He was still young enough that his wounds had healed without scars. All except one. He pulled his shirt down his right shoulder and twisted around. At least two of them gasped.

Only the very top of the red ridge of scar tissue was visible, where it curved up along his shoulder blade. It marked the spot where Ranea had broken his wing joint in his other form; it hadn't made an open wound, but when he had shifted to groundling, it had transformed into broken bones and this ridge of damaged skin. Flower had said it would probably fade a little over time, but it didn't hurt often now and it wasn't where he could see it, so it didn't much concern him.

He pulled his shirt back up and turned around. They were all staring, this time with shock rather than disdain.

After that, the consorts talked to each other, but not to Moon.

Jade had said Indigo Cloud had had consorts fight to defend the colony, but Emerald Twilight was too secure to need defending. Moon had proved he was different from them. Too different. You are your own worst enemy, he told himself. Not that that was a new revelation, it was just that he was starting to notice it more.



Oh, and Got to see a scan of the great review that The Cloud Roads got in the July/Aug issue of Interzone by Juliet E. McKenna. Very much improved last week for me. Here's a quote:

Thus the world is made all the more convincing for the reader, and all the more alien, by Wells's finely tuned instinct for what to explain, and how, always in keeping with Moon's viewpoint, and what to simply show without further clarification; other species with blue skin or horns, treelings, skylings, and waterlings, some sentient, some not, some with magic... It reminds me of the SF/F fantasy I read as a teen, long before YA was categorized. Those books explored adult concepts without 'adult content'; the complexity of morality and the potential, uncaring harshness of life. This story's conclusion satisfies on all those counts as well as leaving me eager for the sequel.

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Oh yeah! I like Juliet McKenna's books, but I admire her taste a lot more because she likes your books! I cannot understand why you aren't up there with the really great fantasy writers - but I'm trying to do my bit by recommending you to everyone who might be the least bit interested!

Currently re-re-re-reading 'The Death of the Necromancer.' I love your alt-history Paris, it's so elegant and sophisticated!

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