Despite numerous attempts by real life to sabotage my writing time in recent days, so far things are going reasonably well with The Icarus Child. The book has started much earlier than I expected (by about seven years), and seems to be enjoying itself meandering along while I tap my fingers and wait for the plot to show up.
Which is business as usual with the Aekhartain tales.
If you enjoyed Unbound and Free, the beginning of this one is very much in a similar vein. Except my boy Icastar has even more troubles than Demairo had, but they both live on the island, look after some sheep and only have seals for friends, while ghostly voices make demands of them. Poor boys. It’s no fun being born on the island.
But that was last week. This week I’ve moved forward four years (Ica’s gone from 7 to 11) and things may be about to happen in a vaguely sinister way. I’ll have to wait and see just what and when if I manage to write any more tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
Nevertheless, Week 1 word count: 20.5K.
And now for a snippet. Spoilers are so mild as to be nonexistent. Just a cute and casual game of something (no idea what, don’t ask me) between a boy and a selkie. (See, he has some fun sometimes.)
“Your move,” Icastar said, placing his pebble in a new square.
The seal lying opposite him huffed, rising up as far as he could to study the pattern of lines etched into the sand. Shells and pebbles of all different colours and shapes lay scattered over the grid, but it all made sense to Icastar.
Groaning, Simmien settled down again, rocked forward a tiny pace, then nudged a spiral shell the colour of dawn forward into a fresh square.
“Ha!” Icastar crowed triumphantly. “I knew you’d fall for that.” He skipped a black pebble across three squares, making use of the one left empty by the spiral shell and collecting another of Simmien’s pieces along the way. “You make it so easy.”
Simmien huffed deeply and dropped his heavy head onto the sand. Right in the middle of the game.
“Hey!” Icastar protested as shells and pebbles vanished without trace. “That’s cheating.” But shove as he might, there was no way Icastar could move his uncle’s head unless Simmien wanted him to.
Which the selkie clearly didn’t, since he gave a lazy yawn and twitched his whiskers before deliberately shutting his eyes.
“Sore loser,” Icastar grumbled, poking a thick blubber roll on his uncle’s neck. Simmien ignored him, which he could, since he was almost twice Icastar’s size in this form and many times heavier.
“I’ll tell Aunt Sisi on you,” he threatened, but the selkie just let out a rumbling fake-snore and Icastar gave the game up as lost. As it usually was whenever Icastar looked about to win. The only time they ever managed to finish a game was when Simmien won. Icastar considered getting angry about it, but the big selkie looked so silly laid out on the sand, his head in the middle of the game grid, that the boy couldn’t help but chuckle.
“I will beat you one day,” he warned his uncle. “Fairly and without any cheating.”
The seal opened an eye, groaned and rolled onto his side, the better to sunbathe.
Shaking his head, Icastar swept up the scattered shells and pebbles and scrubbed the marks out of the sand. Once a selkie started sunbathing, there was no chance of getting them to do anything else for at least half the day. Since it was already mid-afternoon, Icastar abandoned all hopes of another game. They’d only started one as a way to pass the time anyway.
More updates and hopefully another snippet to come next week. It may or may not contain selkies. (Actually, after what I scribbled today I suspect it may contain a goat. Try to control your excitement ;)