So, we're more than one week in. As of yesterday, I should have been at 15k. Am I? Nowhere near. I'm at about 10k. BUT I'm still ahead of where I was last year, and last year I won :) So I'm okay.
Another advantage I have this year is the absolute awesome shininess of my story. The more I write, the more in love I am with the book that is becoming Jesscapades. And, because I'm still in the death grip of my last assignment (even though it was due yesterday, ack-ack!), I'm going to cheat on this post. Today, instead of thoughts, you get writing :) More specifically, you get my favourite scene so far of Jesscapades - the flashback to the first (and only) time she's been in the Glass Room. It's Nano, it's rough, but I like the sentiment :)
It had been a week after her somewhat unorthodox acceptance to the Academy. It was something all the new students were shown, to introduce them to the concept of what they were about to undertake to become, and, Jess suspected, to awe them.
And who couldn’t be awed?
They’d taken the students up one at a time, the rest milling around the bottom of the tower, watching as the evening light deepened into gold and hit the tower, refracting into a thousand million rainbows, cascading over the white pebble paths of the surrounding gardens.
The group of students had been strangely quiet; awe at the place, their acceptance, their decision to step forward and become Shards, assassins of Fate – and, although she hesitated to recall it, more than a little fear at what their new lives would entail.
Jess smiled at the memory of the group, all in their late teens and yet barely more than children, huddling together for comfort, and simultaneously holding themselves apart as they felt befitted their new station in life.
Jess’s pulse had raced when her name had been called, and for one stupid moment she’d been frozen in panic: What if they’re taking us up there to kill us?
But of course, the other students had all come down, and the expressions of certainty, peace, absolution on their faces fed the hunger and curiosity inside her.
She’d stepped forward to the teacher’s side, and peeked around him to the interior of the tower.
He’d smiled kindly at her, confirmed her name, and checked it off on a list before turning to lead her in.
Although the tower was wide, several hundred meters across, the inside was almost completely hollow. A rich wooden staircase ran around the perimeter, spiralling slowly upwards against the walls until it reached the top and formed a balcony the whole way around. The slit windows in the walls allowed only a little light, but Jess had seen the dust dancing through the air, smelled the dryness of a place seldom disturbed.
Which, now she thought on it, was a little odd, since a Shard went up there twice daily. But then, one person coming and going would not make much difference, would not disturb the tower overmuch.
At the top, railed walkways arched into the centre of the room, like wheel spokes suspended in the air. Jess remembered how she’d held her breath as she’d crossed, feeling the emptiness of seven stories of air below her, around her, teasing about her hands and feet and wanting to pull her down, over and down.
A wooden ladder, right in the centre of the room, where the spokes met to form a platform. The teacher had gestured Jess ahead, and she’d been halfway up before she realised he wasn’t climbing behind her.
“Go on,” he’d reassured when she’d look down, licking her lips nervously as her gaze accidentally drifted over the edge of the railings. “He’s waiting for you.”
Who? Jess had thought, before turning and resuming her climb. As she neared the top a strong, lined hand had reached down to take her, pulling her up and out of the hole...
And Jess’s mouth had fallen open, and she’d gazed in utter amazement.
She stood under an elaborately carved altar, and all around her, in every direction except right below, and above where the altar’s roof protected their heads, as far as she could see – glass.
Glass in every imaginable shape and colour and form, some recognisable items like goblets or plates, others abstract, swirling, twisted, some animals, some ornaments, some intricate, some plain. Thousands upon thousands of glass items filled the room, every one of them suspended by a shining thread from the crystal dome that roofed the tower, every one ablaze in the dying sunlight.
Jess had shielded her eyes with one hand from the brightness, but she could not stop looking, drinking in the magnificence of it all. “What is it?” she’d asked. “What are they?”
The old man beside her had smiled. “They’re lives, Jessana.”
“Yes, every one of them.”
“And... what do they do?”
“This is our record,” the man had said. “This is our commission. When the object falls, the life is over. It is our job to ensure that happens.”
“How do you know who each one is?”
“Who are they?”
“They train for years, working with glass, learning it, feeling it, breathing it, until they know it intimately. It speaks to them, tells them its secrets – and they can tell from the colour, the texture, the shape of the glass who it represents.”
“How do the objects get there? What makes them fall?”
“Fate. More than that, no one knows.”