It’s #WIPpet Wednesday !

 K.L.Schwengel’s brainchild encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

WIPpet Math:

Today is December 18, 2013.

  • I added the month and the date: 12+18=30.
  • I then added the digits of the year: 2=0=1=3=6; 30+6=36.
  • I subtracted 2, for the number of weeks left to the year: 36-2=4.
  • Today’s offering is 34 sentences.

Eden Mabee offered a favorite for this week’s WIPpet Wednesday, so this week I offer a snippet of my Trueborn Weft series fantasy WIP, Chameleon’s Dish.

In the dangerously superstitious past of Shakespeare’s England, an amnesiac girl and a foundling boy must keep her strange nature hidden as they stalk her lost identity.

We rejoin Henry and his wild mate, Nockatee, at the White Hart Inn, in London, where they’ve gone to trade and to seek the words Nockatee feels hold the answer to the mystery of her identity.

This snippet occurs shortly after the events of my previous WIPpet, Tisira, Named. It’s the companion volume to Bounded by a Nutshell (Trueborn Warp Series Star Trek fan fiction.)

“Your friend is as fine a worker as ye, Henry lad.” Goodman Thomas was a round man given to cheery laughter; now he set steaming stale bread trenchers before them. Nockatee’s nose wrinkled as she scented the mutton stew, and then she licked her lips and set to. Henry slid a little ways down the bench from her; she had that look, almost, that she had when she savaged the rabbit.

Goodman Thomas backed off half a step, eyeing Nockatee warily. ” He wants table manners, though. Best ye eat offhours, lads, but if ye’ll sweep the dining room, wipe the tables, and clean the dinner pots, I will be sure that your goat has oats and a stall, and ye’ll have full porridge bowls, at fastbreaking.”

What say you, Nockatee?” But she only made a sound that might have been answer, or a snarl of warning. “I will haply work, Goodman Thomas, and I thank you most heartily for the kindness.”

The innkeeper shook his head and turned back to Henry rather than watch Nokatee attacking her meal.“Those dishes you brought with you, Henry lad. My wife favors them, and bid me offer you coin, and a room for the season, if you will sell them to us.”

“They are Nockatee’s dishes, and so it is -” he caught himself at the shadow of warning in her eyes and the stronger caution of her presence in his mind. A deep breath, and he said, carefully, “His choice.”

Mayhap it were better I ask later, then…when he is not eating.”

But Nockatee, ever full of surprises, had another. She set aside her spoon, sipped the wetted flat beer with a wrinkled nose, and then said,”I will sell them – Henry, will you set the price? I know little enough of that manner of trading.” And then she went back to the trencher, as though she would not stop until there was nary a crumb remaining for the roaches to feed upon.

Later, when the dishes had been unpacked in the serving nook, and the dining room and pots gleamed with care, they went to their tiny room up under the thatched eaves. 

There was a narrow ticking bed, which would demand that they sleep snuggled together, and a near as wide as the room opening above the courtyard, which was quiet with the night chill and the season. They opened it, and sat together on the bed before it, looking out.

This is the place where the play will be performed?” Nockatee’s voice was faraway, and her language strange in Henry’s ears, almost like when he had first found her there beneath that ancient pine. Aye, she was more Tisira now then his Nockatee, and there was something in it that clutched at his heart, for fear that he would lose her to that other, unknown life.

Aye. In this courtyard, and in others. We have coin enough to go to as many as it takes for you to hear your words.”

She nodded, and her lovely blue eyes reflected starlight as she gazed upon the heavens, her expression faraway. In his mind, too, she was – dimmer? – than she had been, earlier. Almost as if she were elsewhere – elsewhere, in the life Tisira had lived. But was there a place for him, in that other life?

He touched her hand, and, gently, stroked her presence in his mind. He only wanted her to know that he was with her, and would be, as the words they had spoken promised.

He held to a hope, as he curled into the bed, with her warmth against him, that whatever was of Tisira within her wanted to keep the promise his Nockatee had made.

There we have it – Henry and Nockatee have a room, and a plan to find her words. But will finding her identity mean the sacrifice of the life they now share?

For December,pick the WIP, and POV character! If you have a favorite, don’t be shy! Someone decides, and it could be you

Here’s a song for Henry,  Nockatee, and the shadowy presence of Tisira …

Want more WIPpets? Click the cute little blue froggy to read and/or join in yourself!