Sunday, 9 October 2011

"Lovely Creature of Earth"

The Meeting on the Turret Stairs - Frederick William Burton, 1864 - public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, or Hellelil and Hildebrand (1864), by Frederick William Burton. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The end of Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland draws nigh. Just completed the second, unexpectedly long chapter of the Young Duke and his beloved enemy, back at Garcastle waiting for the Grey Wolf to come riding home from Langdale. Now I've blocked in every moment of time: nothing can happen now but the last negotiation to avoid a ruinous war which nobody wants or can be sure how to step back from, and the final culmination of a forty-year family feud. Again and now until the end, my grey-gold Kate must take centre-stage, and bear the weight of the tale on her aching old shoulders, where Katy Elflocks great as the green hills and the black sky cannot. But this Garcastle segment, given wholly to her antagonist the Duke, has been needful, and reshaped parts of the ending I'd long thought set in stone.

And there is that romance that animates it. It is a romance that, even in the moment of its greatest triumph, is not very obviously fortunate in its stars. It is also one without which it would have been hard, mighty hard, to manage the forthcoming descent into the fire.

The final two chapters await, and the epilogue. This backfill has left me six weeks behind my summer schedule, and ahead lie the grand crises of the book. Realistically, I'll do well to get this whole draft completed before December. That will make it almost exactly four years since I got my first idea of it, a true winter's tale from root to crown.

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