WHEW. I have been working like a mad woman on the second draft of Velaria. This novel is killing me slowly–I literally forget to eat and take my medicines, and I don’t get to sleep until 3 AM at times. It’s not very good for me, but I must do it. I MUST write when my muse inspires me.
I’m up to 13,713 words right now on this second draft, which is pretty good considering I just started it on Saturday. Some of it I pasted in from my original draft, but most of it is brand new storyline. I’m almost to the part where one of the characters realizes she’s pregnant… which, by the way, is going to throw a HUGE monkey wrench into things. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to work this. So far I’ve just got the bare bones of this plotline and the details are coming to me as I go (well, either they come to me or I ignore them for now and move on anyway).
I’m exhausted and have not gotten a good night sleep this entire frickin’ week, but it’s absolutely worth it. My future is getting closer and closer, I can feel it!
And now, for the moment I’m sure you’ve been waiting for this whole blog post. Here’s a chapter from the novel, the one where the foursome is changed into spirit form and Ardith’s jealousy causes a big problem. I realize this excerpt will leave you with a lot of questions, some of which I will be prepared to answer. I just basically wanted to give you all an idea of where I’m going with this work.
“Change us!” I cried, practically shaking Liriba in my desperation. What was she waiting for? Could anything be more dangerous than that horrible beast?
She sighed, and said, “Alright.” And then with one wave of her hand, all of us changed.
Any sense of physical pain I had previously felt from hunger, exhaustion, or injuries was gone. The world around me looked so bright and vivid, like no danger or illness or famine or plague had ever touched it. The sky was such a vivid blue that it was almost glowing. I suddenly realized the monster that had just seconds before haunted the sky was nowhere to be seen.
I looked at my companions and saw that all our physical flaws and imperfections had vanished… but that was not the only thing that had changed. With the exception of Liriba, all of us had different eye colors than our original. Julius’ eyes were a radiant turquoise blue, and Galen’s once-blue eyes were a fiery orange.
“Your eyes are the same color as Julius’,” Liriba said to me, and I was amazed at how crystal-clear her voice sounded.
“My ear!” Galen exclaimed. “I’ve always been deaf in my right ear, and now I can hear out of it!”
“That’s because in the spirit world, there is no imperfection. Your spirit cannot be damaged or destroyed by anyone except the spirit-lords,” she informed us.
“Who are the spirit-lords?” I asked.
“The people who rule this realm,” she said. “I’ve already said too much by mentioning them so I’m sorry, but I cannot speak further.”
I noticed some small groups of people walking on the road that I had not seen before. They looked perfect, like us. “Where are we?” I asked.
“We are in the same place we were when I changed us,” Liriba said, “only this time, you are seeing the unseen. These are souls who have been long dead. They walk on the same land you do every day.”
“You mean… they’re ghosts?” Julius asked.
Liriba chuckled. “I suppose that’s what you would call them, yes.”
“So they do exist,” Galen breathed, looking around at them in wonder.
“Of course they exist,” Liriba said. “You don’t cease to exist just because you lose your physical body. But we do not have time to discuss all this, we must get to safety and enter into our physical bodies again before the sun sets tonight.”
“What happens when the sun sets?” I asked.
“You will be trapped like this forever.”
She was right, we didn’t have time to sit around and chat. Getting trapped in this world would ruin my chances at saving Greylace. We had to keep moving.
As we walked, I realized the ground was moving past my feet a lot faster than it used to. “Liriba,” I asked, “are we moving faster, or is it just my imagination?”
“You are indeed moving faster than you would in the physical realm,” she confirmed. “In fact, at this rate, we will probably be able to camp just outside the castle walls tonight… that is, if nothing goes wrong.”
I heard birds singing from the trees and looked at all the beauty and harmony surrounding me and thought, What could go wrong?
A lot could go wrong, Ardith, Liriba warned… but her voice sounded different. I looked at her strangely. I’m talking to you with my mind, she said without moving her lips. I suddenly realized I was actually hearing her thoughts in my head.
I can hear you! I exclaimed in my mind, and when Liriba smiled I heard her laughing. You’re laughing… but you’re not laughing!
Yes, it is a little strange until you get used to it, she agreed.
We can speak without… speaking? It was Julius’ voice this time.
Indeed we can, Liriba said, and Julius caught up with Liriba and me and walked between us. I just knew it was her he wanted to talk to and not me. She was the beautiful one. She was the one that had the real power. I had no chance against her and never would.
Without warning, my jealousy began to rage out of control. It felt like fire was consuming my body from the inside out. The feeling was horrible, but I couldn’t stop it. I desperately tried to blank out my mind, thinking that’s where it came from, but it was more deeply implanted in me than I realized.
Shh, Liriba said, stopping us with her hand. I hear something.
I heard it, too. It was a strange sound… A deep gurgle, like one would expect from a pot of boiling water.
W-what is that? Galen asked nervously.
I feel something strange inside me, Liriba said. It’s almost like… there’s something eating me… And with that, a terrible, blackish-green substance began bubbling out of her mouth. I was petrified. Somehow I knew it was my fault, but I tried to resist that knowledge and pretended I didn’t know what was going on.
“Liriba!” I was so distressed that I yelled it out loud. “What is happening to you?!”
She collapsed to the ground and choked out, “My spirit, it’s being poisoned. One of you has something against me.”
I began breathing very heavily and feeling faint. The fire in my soul was growing hotter and hotter in addition to my growing sense of guilt.
“IT’S ME!” I cried, hoping the admission would stop the poison. “It’s me. I’m the one who’s doing this.” The poison only got thicker and blacker. “But… I… I don’t know how to stop!”
“What’s wrong, Ardith?!” Julius asked, panicked. “What do you have against her?”
“Tell him, Ardith!” Galen cried. “Tell him before something worse happens to her!”
“Julius, I…” I whimpered, turning to him. “I—I love you. Alright? That’s what it is. And I’ve seen the way you blush when Liriba talks to you and… Alright, I’m jealous. I admit it. But I never meant for this to happen, you have to believe that!” Tears were beginning to fall and I searched his face desperately for an answer.
To my utter shock, I heard him chuckle a little… and even through my tears, I could not miss his smile. “You thought I loved her? A woman I’ve known for less than an hour? Instead of my dearest friend?” His arms went around me and both of us forgot everything else existed for a moment. “I’ve been such a fool not to tell you I love you. I do, and I have…. ever since that day 8 years ago at the pond, when those kids from school—“
“Dared us to kiss,” we both said at the same time, smiles bursting across our faces.
He loved me. And not only that, we had fallen in love on the same day! A pleasant feeling, like cool breeze in spring, washed through my spirit and the fire faded away.
I suddenly heard Liriba coughing and sputtering again and realized she didn’t have much time. I reluctantly broke the embrace and knelt next to her on the ground, fresh tears burning my eyes. “Liriba,” I called her name brokenly, my voice catching in my throat. “I… I’m so sorry.” I laid a hand on her body and allowed myself to let go of every drop of resentment I had ever felt for her. Nothing happened at first, but then we all watched in amazement as the healing touch of my apology cured the effects of the poison. She stopped vomiting after a few seconds and then the gurgling sound ceased.
Galen came over to us and both of us helped Liriba stand up. She was obviously weakened and miserable, but much to my surprise and relief, her eyes held nothing but forgiveness. “You didn’t know that would happen,” she said. “You wouldn’t hurt me on purpose… would you?”
“No,” I assured her ardently. “Never. You’ve been so kind, and…” I sighed in anguish. “So far, all I’ve done is hate you. I’m so desperately sorry.”
“Then all is forgiven,” Liriba said, with a feeble, yet genuine smile.
I embraced her, and she returned the hug with more strength than I expected. “Do you feel alright?” I asked.
“Not to worry, Ardith. Your apology cured me and your acceptance of me is strengthening me as we speak.”
“I feel so terrible—“ I began, but Liriba stopped me by pulling back to look me in the eyes.
“Please don’t. I’m so glad you two finally settled that. From what I hear, it’s been a long time in coming.” She winked, and then gave Julius a very significant look.
I turned to Julius in surprise. “Is that what you two were talking about back there on the road?”
“That, among other things,” he said, his grin stretching from ear to ear.
I gave him a quizzical look, but he just shook his head and continued to smile that suspicious smile at me. Then he drew me close, wrapped his arms tightly around my waist, and kissed me so hard that every worry disappeared.
P.S.–Everyone but Liriba will think all of this was a dream later on in the book, when they’re changed back into physical form. So basically, every victory they achieve in the spirit world will have to be re-achieved in the physical world. It will be quite interesting, so please stay tuned 🙂