Anyway, it's day 5, and I'm already behind. I mean, behind even in my tippy-top secret schedule which has me writing 2000 words a day. The 5000-a-day thing was a joke. Yeah. Sure. At least I finished the first section (basically a novella). Thank you, Robert Schumann. Your symphonies 3 and 4 got me through in the end. But I'll probably change my writing soundtrack for the next section! (You don't want to know just how many times I went through the loop to get to 8000 words!)
And to celebrate (or to motivate me to get to work on the next chapter), I'll post the excerpt with the Blind Frogmaker. (Note that at this point Lady Bloodless is possessing Dawa.)
Dawa suddenly realized that the dog had stopped barking. Short on the heels of her realization came the sound of a distant voice, Lopsang's voice, shouting for Moghi.
The sound seemed to galvanize the stranger into action. His axe flashed silver as he channeled his internal energy into it. He hacked at the chains binding Dawa. They came loose in a slithering jingle, leaving Dawa now attached to several separate lengths by the manacles still clamped to her body.
"Moghi! Moghi, don't come out, it's not..." The door burst open in a blast of cold air, followed by Lopsang. His face paled at the scene that met him. His voice dropped from a shout to a whisper. "...not safe."
"Did you think these walls would keep danger out?" Lady Bloodless smiled ironically as he stared at her in horror. With the loosening of the manacles, the power of speech had returned to her.
"Oh, very good!" Lopsang recovered his poise with obvious effort. "This is called 'Luring the tiger away from the mountain.' Moghi, your death will be avenged!"
He jumped to one side, spreading his fan in front of him open to the word "Shield!"
"I think," said Lady Bloodless, "you are confused about who will be avenging whom." With a quick twist of her arms, two of the chains whipped out, sweeping down a row of the prayer flags hung from the ceiling. Instead of holy symbols and scripture, each one now held only the outlined sketch of a frog.
Lopsang's eyes widened in shock. "The Blind Frogmaker!"
The gray stranger choose that instant to step around Dawa and reveal himself. A wide grin split his face. His voice came out in a gutteral hiss, "Surprised? No one ever invites the Blind Frogmaker, but I arrive or I go just as I please."
"Yes, I am surprised," said Lopsang. "Surprised that Lady Bloodless scours the dregs of the Hundred Sunless Valleys for her army of terrorists."
Lady Bloodless lashed a chain straight at his face. Lopsang ducked away barely in time. She said coldly, "We fight for the freedom of survival, while you and your traitors defend the right of ignorant peasants to grow fat on the backs of our kind."
/Don't waste your breath! Kill him!/ urged Dawa. She instinctively reacted to their unexpected reprieve with a chaotic mix of terror and rage. She wanted Lopsang dead, for Xie Yiping's sake, but also out of fear that the hunter would trap them again. /Kill him now!/
"Do you forget your history? Shambhala gave you mercy and let you live, yet you repay good with evil! Only in hell is that the law," declared Lopsang.
"Damn you!" snarled the Blind Frogmaker.
"You can try," retorted Lopsang, but the Frogmaker had not waited for his reply. Frogs dropped by the hundreds from the rafters towards Lopsang's head.
Only to be met by an open fan...
...and be scattered as a cloud of dismembered parts to every corner of the room.
...while Lady Bloodless sent chains spiraling around to snag the fan.
...only to have the chains looped around Lopsang's left forearm, then caught in his fist.
Energy streamed up and down the taut chain, clashing in the middle. Lopsang and Lady Bloodless stared at each other with fixed concentration. Lady Bloodless had the advantage of Dawa's energy added to her own, but Lopsang had the advantage of superior energy techniques, using advances made in Shambhala since Lady Bloodless's era.
With his free hand, the hunter pressed his fan, now folded once more, onto the chain, introducing a perturbation into the energy stream. If the wave reached her body, it would jolt her heart into arrhythmia.
/Technique...does...make...a difference,/ came the rueful thought from Lady Bloodless.
/So do numbers,/ returned Dawa.
...because a single frog had penetrated Lopsang's defense.
One was too many.
I don't think he had this many frogs (nor were they so demonic!) when I started. I'm not one of those people who can have a fully shaped character before they start to write. I have a name, a concept, and then make it up as I go along. Any inconsistencies will have to be fixed later.