1 September 2007

A Friday (Saturday?) snippet

To celebrate the fact that I have a new teacup, you're getting a snippet. It's not very long, and it's written in a haze of cheap Earl Grey, at 1 AM when I was supposed to be reading about nuclear physics. I haven't done any editing, just de-ninjaing. There's a lot of dialogue that I'm not completely happy with, but my characters change their way of speaking so often that it's impossible to keep track of it. One day it's all slang and swearing, next day they speak like they're in a Shakespeare play. *rolls eyes*

Anyway; this is quite far into the novel, when the Romans have started reconquering the north. The Batavians have been driven back to the Island (the land between the two branches of the Rhine in the Netherlands). Civilis decided to attack four Roman camps at once - all the attacks failed. Geravan and Verax were leading one of the attacks; while Geravan attack the legion itself, Verax was supposed to destroy a bridge the Romans were building but he flunked it completely (serves him right for walking into my novel without asking for permission first).
Thiadulf is Geravan's (slightly over-protective) older brother. He's been dead for about 120 k already, though.
Verax and Briganticus are both Civilis' sister-sons, but I dunno if they are brothers or cousins - I made them cousins. Briganticus was on the Romans' side throughout the revolt, but he died during one of Civilis' attacks. This snippet takes place right after Civilis has told them about his death. The 'he' in the first line is Civilis.


‘He’s mad. Completely mad,’ Verax muttered to Geravan once they were out of earshot. ‘Did you see the way he looked at me after announcing Briganticus’ death? “Any trouble and this will happen to you as well.” He might just as well have said it.’

It was typical of Verax to say not a word of thanks, even though Geravan had just got him out of the trouble he so feared.

‘As long as you don’t join the Romans like Briganticus you should be alright,’ Geravan said as he dropped down beside a fire in the Batavian corner. Loud snores were coming from the surrounding tents and Geravan felt his eyelids droop. It was almost two days since he had last slept, and that had been no more than a brief slumber. But there would be time to sleep later. He rubbed his eyes fervently and suppressed a yawn. ‘Anyway, what do you make of Briganticus?’

‘Not sure.’ Verax sat down beside him and prodded the fire back to life. ‘I never saw much of him even though he is – was - my cousin. He was a bad influence, you know.’

Geravan raised an eyebrow. ‘I wouldn’t have thought it possible for you to get any worse.’

‘Shut up.’ Verax grinned from ear to ear. The orange glow of the fire threw the scars on his cheek into sharp relief and made him look much older. ‘In fact, I think I only met him once, when I was about twelve. There was a feast, midsummer maybe-’

‘Was this the feast where you found out where the wine was kept, and then got so drunk that I had to push you into the river to sober you up a bit?’ interrupted Geravan.

‘It might’ve been. It would explain why I can’t remember much of it. Nice wine, though.’ He smiled reminiscently.

‘Didn’t think of sharing it with your best friend though, did you?’ said Geravan grumpily.

‘Of course not. Thiadulf would’ve murdered me.’

‘Fair enough. Go on.’

‘The feast was well underway by the time Briganticus finally arrived, all dressed up in a Roman uniform with medals and a nice sword. But he wouldn’t even let me look at his dagger. He said it wasn’t a toy.’ He shot a sideways glance at Geravan. ‘He was so proud because he had been promoted to some high rank, and seemed to think this immediately made him a good deal better than the rest of us. All haughty and arrogant. Know what I mean?’

Geravan nodded. The description fitted Verax perfectly as well.

‘Anyway, Civilis was not amused,’ continued Verax. ‘There was a bit of a row. More than a bit, to be honest. Briganticus got a cup full of wine in the face and then started accusing Civilis of being nothing but a petty king who was allowed to rule only because the Romans said so, while he, Briganticus, would make a real name for himself some day.’

‘I bet Civilis loved that.’ Geravan whistled.

‘Yeah, he did. I think blood might’ve flowed if Briganticus hadn’t run off. But not before he’d announced for all to hear that he wanted nothing to do with barbarians.’ He smiled happily. ‘And look where it got him! He’s dead. And, compared to him, I’m now more than ever the loyal devoted nephew. Civilis might very well reward my loyalty.’

‘I thought you just said that he was completely mad.’

‘Aye, he is. But I’m not.’

Geravan scoffed. ‘Wouldn’t be so sure if I were you.’

‘Thanks, you’re not so bad yourself.’ Verax yawned widely. ‘I think I’ll get some sleep. That crazy uncle of mine will no doubt want us to carry out another pointless attack before dawn.’

This is where I sit and write when my little brother has the comp. Yep, candles. I never liked the lamp I have in my room, for two reasons: a) It's right behind me when I'm sitting at my desk so my shadow is always lying across my writings/drawings which is terribly annoying, and b) That lamp has been acting a bit weird ever since I accidentally knocked it down (I was playing badminton. Inside...)

But my favourite place to write is this:
Well, that's the view from that place anyway:)

Also, what the hell am I still doing up at 3.30 AM?

1 comment:

Gabriele C. said...

Very nice. I love the interaction between Verax and Geravan, and the flashbacks to their childhood.

I want to sit on that mountain. :)