29 November 2007

Why the Romans never came here...


May:These are not mountains, but hills. Low hills.

June:Okay, so this is from northern Norway. I'm rather happy that I don't live there :)

November (we had snow in October too but I didn't get a pic):
Yeah, I used a flash for that one. Shame on me. I was too lazy to get the tripod, and there's hardly any daylight. The sun's above the horizon for less than six hours a day now (and I'm at school then), and for most of the time it's hidden behind the hills anyway.

But I wish the Romans had come here. Not only would that mean nifty ruins filled with plotbunnies, but maybe, just maybe, I'd actually have hypocaust heating that works. The guy who came over to "fix" the heating earlier this autumn will be written into my novel as human sacrifice.

Okay, granted, it wasn't so bad today. For the first time in about a week the temperature in my room has risen above 15*C. Hurray.

25 November 2007

I won! Again!

The results from the first round of the Physics Olympiad have been posted on their website - and I got 25. place. Well, 15. actually, since there are a lot of us with the same score and we're sorted alphabetically.

18 points out of 24. Best of my school. I rock.

Also, my NaNo wordcount bar has turned purple. I like their word count validator this year - it gave me 61 extra words :) Last year it removed 17.

Unfortunately I hardly have time to write now. There's a gigantic physics test on Tuesday, the presentation of my rune project is soon, and of course there's the Russ Revue. Just two weeks left, and we've hardly written a thing. All we have is a few half-finished, very lame sketches.

And I desperately want to continue with my NaNo. Flavius Labeo is getting more and more sneaky. If he hates Imerix, why give him a promotion? And why on earth is he meeting Silurian chiefs in secret?

Tricksssy Batavianses, preciousss.

I need to write a chemistry report, but I can't concentrate. It doesn't help that it has the following equation:

AgNO3 (aq) + NaCl (aq) → AgCl (s) + NaNO3 (aq)

Maybe if I write the net ionic equation instead... Hm...

22 November 2007

Suddenly, penguins arrived

Another snippet from NaNo 07. It includes two dares and one of my least favourite authors.

Gabriele made me post it. It goes nicely with her snippet, lol.

The Romans and Batavians are attacking a Silurian hill fort, but they face a foe more deadly than the Silures. Mwahahaha.

Imerix is the MC, Finvagar is a friend of his, Ingomar and Madaluin are also Batavians who serve in the same auxiliary cohort. And Calgacus, well...


Suddenly, Knut Hamsun appeared. The appearance of this Norwegian Nobel Prize winner was completely random and unexpected, especially when you take into account that he was born about eighteen hundred years after the battle. Why on earth he would chose to turn up at this particular place and time has puzzled mankind's greatest thinkers since, well, last Thursday at least.

But came he did. He rode right into the thick of battle, on a moose. The beast had a saddle and reins and stirrups, but the blatant anachronism did not seem to matter much to Knut Hamsun. He patted his mount’s neck and whispered something in Norwegian. The moose snorted and tossed its head, nearly poking out Hamsun’s eye with his sharp antlers in the process.

A nearby ninja saw him. He stared. He blinked and rubbed his eyes. When he was sure that it was not just the aftereffects of last night's post-battle booze-up, he tapped the chief ninja on the shoulder. Soon the entire First Cohort of Ninjas had lowered their swords, and the rest of the army followed suit. Fortunately the Silures were rather curious too, otherwise Hamsun might very well have been responsible for the greatest disaster in Roman military history since NaNoWriMo 2006.

Nobody noticed the UFO. It hovered over the hill fort like a big shiny, well, whatever is big and shiny and usually hovers above hill forts. A hatch opened and a beam of light shot out. The beam of light was a rather unusual beam of light. It jumped across the uneven ground until it found Calgacus. While everybody was looking the other way, the beam of light grabbed hold of the glorious leader and founder of the People's Front of Caledonia and pulled him into the UFO. The hatch closed and the UFO zoomed off, hopefully never to return.

Back on earth not much had happened. The legionaries simply stared at the moose and its writing rider. Even a dead Silurian opened an eye. The moose in particular was the object of some curiosity. Not because it had stirrups, but because it was purple. Whether it was its natural state or it had been painted, none could tell, but purple it was. Very bright purple.

Ingomar took a careful step forwards.

‘Er, Mister Hamsun,’ he said tentatively, ‘it’s very kind of you to drop by, but we’re a bit busy at the moment. You know, there’s a battle and stuff going on.’

Hamsun immediately launched into a garbled speech. Imerix and Finvagar stared at each other. Latin was one thing, but this Norwegian sounded like gibberish. It probably was, too.

To their surprise the moose translated Hamsun’s words into perfect Latin.

‘My master Knut Hamsun says he has come here to inspire you to brave deeds,’ the beast said, rolling its r’s in a delicate way.

‘Thanks,’ said Ingomar, ‘but no thanks. We have chocolate for that. Excellent chocolate, too.’

‘Oh, but he has come from far!’ the moose continued.

‘So have we. Bugger off.’

The moose frowned. Imerix wondered vaguely how it could frown with those antlers and no eyebrows, but frown it did.

Before the beast could translate Ingomar’s words, Hamsun had taken a book out of his pocket. It was a heavy, leather-bound volume with golden letters stamped onto the cover. He opened it, and cleared his throat.

‘Which, er, book is that?’ Finvagar asked, eying it with some suspicion.

‘Why,’ said the moose. It sounded shocked. ‘It’s Markens Grøde, of course! The book for which my master got the Nobel Prize in Literature!’

Finvagar gave an odd sort of twitch and Ingomar looked downright scared.

‘Did I hear you correctly?’ Imerix said, hoping and praying that he had. ‘Is Hamsun going to inspire us to brave deeds by spending a month reading about a guy who ploughs his fields?’

‘Actually,’ the moose said dryly, ‘the book is much deeper than that. It is about man’s struggle against the elements, it is about finding one’s roots, living in harmony with nature, it is a tale of how modern technology destroys-’

‘The industrial revolution is still a couple of centuries away,’ Madaluin interrupted. Everyone turned to stare at him.

‘And what exactly is this industrial revolution?’ Ingomar said, puzzled.

Madaluin shrugged. ‘Search me. It just sounded like a cool thing to say.’

‘Ssssh!’ said the moose angrily.

Hamsun had cleared his throat again. The moment the first word passed his lips there was a mad rush as every single Silurian, Roman, Batavian and ninja reached for swords, spears, fruit knives and other assorted sharp pointy things that could be used to slit Hamsun’s throat. Some turned their blades on themselves in desperation. Madaluin had dropped down on his knees, clutching his ears and howling in misery.

Imerix clenched his teeth together to block out Hamsun’s voice. He was not going to be murdered by some Norwegian author from the future and his horrendously tedious books.

Before he could drive his sword into Hamsun’s throat, something else happened. Logic told him that it was impossible. But then again, Hamsun’s appearance was also rather strange. One highly illogical occurrence more or less hardly mattered.

A dust cloud had appeared on the horizon, glittering in the sunlight. It moved towards the hill fort with an astonishing speed. As it came closer, it turned into a flock of penguins. There were penguins of every species imaginable, emperor penguins and king penguins, yellow-eyed penguins and fairy penguins, magellanic penguins, Humboldt penguins, African penguins, Galapagos penguins, adelie penguins, chinstrap penguins and gentoo penguins, Fiordland penguins and royal penguins, Mosely’s penguins and rockhopper penguins, snares penguins and macaroni penguins. There were even a few Chatham Islands penguins. But most were emperor penguins.

They cried harshly and their feet thudded on the ground as they stampeded up the hillside.

Hamsun stared at them. ‘Pingvinene!’ he yelled. ‘De har funnet meg! Løp! Løp for livet!’

‘The penguins,’ the moose translated calmly. ‘They have found me! Run! Run for your lives!’

The moose blinked. It stared at the penguins, and then panicked completely. It tried to run, but it was too late. The first of the emperor penguins were already upon them. They ran right over Knut Hamsun and the moose, screaming their battle cries. When the last of the penguins' feet had left the Norwegian author, they turned and stampeded back the same way, until Hamsun lay trodden down in the mud with penguin feet marks all over him. He was very much dead.

The penguins let out a yell of triumph and stampeded off into the distance. In their wake followed a squirrel. It danced over the dead author, holding aloft an acorn and carrying a flag much too big for it. ‘Victory!’ it squeaked. ‘We have victory!’

Then the squirrel too disappeared.

Madaluin got shakily to his feet, and the dead Silurian hastily resumed his being-dead position.

'Well, that was random,' Finvagar said.


One of my friends came up with the squirrel. She was so inspired by my, erm, genuis, that she has decided to write a book about Hamsun and penguins.

A moose. Not a purple moose, but a moose nonetheless. Made it with my art school group last year when we were on a land art course.

20 November 2007


It took me 20 days, which gives me an average of 2500 words a day. Last year it was 2273, so I'm getting better, or at least quicker. Whoever said NaNo is harder the second time is very much wrong. I found it much easier this year (probably because I have some writing experience now).
The story still isn't finished though, faaaar from it. I just finished chapter 5. I have 19 chapters planned. I just hope it won't take me a whole year to finish. I still need to edit NaNo 06. But now I have two novel projects going on at the same time, yaay!

Only I'm miles behind with my homework (and whose bright idea was it to have a 5 hour long physics test next week?). My grades are still good though. I got top grades on that Norwegian test about Knut Hamsun (didn't stop me from having him murdered by a bunch of vicious emperor penguins) and the religion test which I didn't study for went well as well.

It's a bit sad that I've reached 50 k. Now I don't have that cool deadline to force me to write.

And what do I do without a deadline? Physics? Ha!

Catching up on the lost hours of sleep, more like.

Also, this is my 100th post *throws confetti*. Never thought I'd manage to write 100 posts about how much I hate physics lessons, whoa.

19 November 2007

Got him!

Calgacus I mean. He was in one of my hill forts:

But I got him out. Eventually. With some help:

Okay, a lot of help. But I did get him out.
Hopefully he'll be dropped off somewhere, erm, historically correct. 'Cause I don't trust those UFOs.

Admit it; you're jealous of my drawing talent!

'Nuff said.

Back to my NaNo, which is now all sparkly and Calgacus-free. Wheeeee!

18 November 2007

Snippet time!

Despite the unsolved riddle (don't think I have forgotten, Gabriele - I B 3 d V - you still have to solve it!), I'm posting a snippet. I'm in a rather good mood since I managed 1400 words in less than an hour (I love word wars) and Sven Kramer got a world record on the 5000 m speed skating.

This snippet is from my NaNo "Suddenly, ninjas arrived". It will get a new title sometime. Obviously.

Labeo has invited Merula over to have a cup of wine and share some gossip. Still not sure if what he says is actually true. I'll have to confront Imerix :)
It's very much a first draft. Unplanned, unedited, with dialogue that makes me cringe, a good deal of typoes (probably), characters acting completely out of character, but fortunately no ninjas. At least I hope so. They sneak in everywhere :) Labeo will probably be renamed sometime.


Merula shifted his cup from his right hand to his left. It was equally uncomfortable in both. This was not a normal friendly invitation, or even an attempt to impress a Roman of high birth, he had realised that a long time ago. But Labeo continued speaking airily of everything from the weather to the Silurian losses in the battle. Only when the sounds of the camp around them had become very faint, and an owl hooted outside somewhere, did he set down his cup. With his elbows on his knees and hands under his chin he regarded Merula. ‘There is something I have to tell you.’

‘Then say it.’ Merula felt a growing apprehension. He had raised his cup to his lips but now he quickly lowered it. Best to have his wits with him.

‘You asked me why I do not think highly of Imerix son of Servofredus,’ Labeo said carefully. He stared unblinkingly into Merula’s eyes. ‘I served with him in the auxiliaries before the revolt. The entire cohort went over to Civilis, except me and just a few others. I felt no loyalty to the prefect,’ he added with a slight smile when he saw Merula’s puzzled look. ‘He was Tiberius Claudius Victor, another of Civilis’ sister-sons.’

There followed a short silence during which the flame of the oil lamp danced and flickered. Labeo poured himself some more wine and took a careful sip. ‘But I know Imerix from before that. He is an able warrior, there is no denying that, but his sword sometimes has trouble distinguishing friend from foe.’

‘What do you mean?’ Merula shifted uncomfortably.

‘He did not always want to be in the auxiliaries, even before the uprising,' said Labeo delicately. 'The estate of his family is not so far from that of mine, and when he was a lad I saw him occasionally. From his mother’s side he is related to the Bructeri, and that is a tribe with fire in their blood.’

‘I have heard of them.’

‘A year or so before he was of age, Imerix left his home and went north, across the Rhenus to his mother’s people.’

‘That is no crime,’ Merula said. He still felt he had to defend the man who had rushed to his aid unarmed and without hesitation. ‘Family is family, though you are separated from them by a border.’

‘Of course,’ said Labeo. ‘I myself have a sister who is wed to a chief of the Frisians, and we have not become strangers to each other. But Imerix stayed in the north a long time, even though he had come of age and was supposed to carry his shield in the auxiliaries. I believe word was sent to him, but he chose to ignore it.’

The owl hooted softly again and the guards at the front of the tent talked together in a low murmur. The oil lamp spluttered and went out, but Labeo did not make as if to light it again. The only source of light was now the glow of the brazier, and that was very faint. It threw dark shadows onto Labeo’s face and made him look like a spirit from the underworld. Merula reached for the decanter of wine and poured himself another cup. He did not really want it, but he felt worse was still to come.

‘It is not uncommon for the northern tribes to go to battle against their neighbours,’ said Labeo. He had lowered his voice so that Merula needed to lean in closer to hear. ‘They do it for spoil and for victims to sacrifice to their gods. It is the same with the Bructeri. The Rhenus is broad and swift, but it does not keep all raiding parties out. A force of Bructeri crossed into Roman territory close to Oppidum Batavorum, no doubt hoping to raid the farms in the fertile lands along the river.’ Labeo’s fingers traced the inlaid patterns on his cup. He raised it to his mouth and took a gulp before continuing. ‘A cohort of the Fifth was sent to deal with it, and with them the Batavian ala. At that time it was stationed there in its homeland.’

‘And Imerix was part of the Bructerian raiding party?’ Merula said. He began to wish he had never accepted Labeo’s invitation.

‘Indeed he was.’ Labeo’s eyes shone like a cat’s, pale and forbidding, in the faint light. ‘And his brother, Maginwer, was in the ala.’

Labeo swirled his cup in his hand for a while before taking a sip. Then he said brusquely, ‘Imerix killed him.’


And suddenly my plot was much more complicated than I had intended it to be, lol.

Mount Doom, aka Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand.

15 November 2007

35 k!

The ambush took a little longer to write than expected. It became a major battle, with chariots and everything and lasted almost 10 K. But I got rid of one walk-in and stabbed another in the eye (he's still alive though, dammit). And the pink fluffy bunnies made their appearance (so that's one dare down, three to go). It was rather funny. They had chariots and spears and war paint.

Characters are getting whiny though. Cadwaladyr still hasn't shown up, which is a good thing I guess, since both Merula and Imerix (my two POVs this year) would kill him if he did. At the moment Imerix is still loyal to Rome. I hope he doesn't stay that way because it's boring.
And Flavius Labeo... Yeesh. He was supposed to be just another annoying officer. Just some Batavian who is very pro-Roman and overly cultured, and who had stayed loyal to Rome through the revolt and was rewarded with a citizenship, who feels very superior to Imerix because Imerix took part in the revolt and was rewarded with a dead family instead of a citizenship, blahblah. They know each other somehow.
But I've realised that Labeo is actually just mocking the Romans. He's poking fun at them. Suddenly I'm not sure if he's on their side after all.
And there's a family feud of sorts between Flavius Labeo's family and that of (drum roll) Julius Briganticus (Civilis' sister-son who stayed loyal to Rome during the revolt). Which makes everything nice and complicated.
And Flavius hates Imerix. I don't know why, but he absolutely loathes him. I think Imerix has a dark mysterious past, and it annoys me because he told me that he was just random person #34 who only played a minor role in the revolt.

I'm not sure if Flavius Labeo is still Claudius Labeo's sister-son. Might have to edit that (in December obviously). But anyway. I'm starting to think that Flavius might actually be plotting.

Wish he'd tell me, though. He's about to tell Merula something important now (or so he says) but I have now idea what it is. That of course means that I am very stuck. Perhaps I can get Merula very drunk so that he just blacks out.

10 November 2007

25 K down, 25 to go!

Woohoo! I'm halfway!

Starting to feel a bit sleep deprived though. I poured hot water over my chocolate and am currently eating tealeaves.

And I've realised that nothing actually happens in my 25 k. I've had a skirmish with the Silures and one of my characters ended up in the infirmary but that's about it. Oh, and the cat that ate Sammy just walked out of the novel again and Merula is still normal. Yaay.
But all in all it's kinda boring. I mean, this time last year I had three dead emperors, several burned frontier forts, one half-dead MC, a highly cliché "The Romans suck"-speech and a character whose sole purpose was to get cut to pieces so that Marcus could stitch him back together.

No such fun yet this year. All I have is a cavalry commander called, well, Cavalry Commander. And a storm. I have a storm that pulled a tree up by the roots. Though I'm not sure why that is actually important.

Oooh, there's a hill fort on the horizon there, though. Maybe something will actually happen. Hm... Ambush.

Yes, ambush. Time for Cadwaladyr to get off his lazy butt and kill some Romans.


What do you mean "I'm in Caledonia now"?? You're supposed to be in Siluria, you twit! You have to ambush Romans, not make alliances with tribes in the far north.

Well, I want an ambush, and I'm getting an ambush. A chance to kill some of those annoying walk-ins. Yes, Hvepnus, that means you.

Okay, Silures, I've put the Romans in a nice forest and added a few bogs. Now it's your turn.

26 042 words!

8 November 2007

Why does everything happen in November?

Writing during class is good for word count, but that's about the only thing it is good for. I think I'll start paying attention during physics at least. My school had decided to participate in the Physics Olympiad as well (as if the chemistry one wasn't enough *rolls eyes*) and I didn't hear about it until, well, yesterday. And the test was yesterday. So I was not prepared at all, but I think it went better than the chemistry olympiad (and that one went well...). I managed to answer all the questions at least.
As long as my score is higher than the nerd's, I'll be happy :)

I don't understand why it all has to be in November, though. What's wrong with October, or even September? They put Abelkonkurransen in November as well (that is a math test they hold every year throughout the country) - on 1. Nov. And the teachers didn't tell us until an hour before they gave us the test. They did that last year as well, only then it was somewhere in the middle of November. I'd slept very little because of NaNo and got a very bad score (40/100, but even that was good enough to qualify for round 2 - though I never actually got around to doing round 2, haha). This year went better - 78/100 points, which should be enough for round 2 but I don't know yet. And I don't want to either because round 2 of this math thing is one day after round 2 of the chemistry thing (makes sense, right? Gives you about a day to prepare for a gigantic and frighteningly difficult math test).

I really should get a move on with my Norwegian project. Thank god it's only an oral one, but there is a lot of research involved (it's about runes). And I'm doing it with a friend who is in another class so we don't have the chance to do much at school. We're going to Trondheim on Monday to interview this professor. Awesome. But it means less time for writing.

I really wanted to reach 20 k today but I guess it's impossible. The campaign against the Silures is just starting and it's a bit difficult to write because I didn't do any planning. I guess I could kill Madaluin though... Hmm...

And the printer isn't working. That is a bit of a problem because I need to print an essay for school, and I really don't feel like writing it all out by hand. I think I'll mail it to myself and hope the school computers work (that would be a bloody miracle...)

Okay, I realise I'm just rambling, so I'm going back to my novel and see if I can add a battle somewhere.

Edit: 20 k, I did it! Am so going to regret this tomorrow at 7 AM, though. I now have less than five hours to sleep before the alarm clock goes off. Who cares.

7 November 2007


... normal.

Merula, that is. A cat suddenly walked into my novel, ate Sammy once and for all, and *wham!*, suddenly Merula is normal. No more talking elm trees.
I think all the insanity was Sammy's fault - he must be some sort of evil spirit in salmon shape who drives Romans insane.

Merula has figured out how to use a sword (pointy end goes in enemy), he talks to people instead of trees, and no longer has ambitions to become High King of Greenland.

However, now he wants to keep the cat. Says it followed him home.

4 November 2007

This is going well, I guess

Current word count: 7 283. Yaay.

I want to reach 10-12 k this weekend, and I think I can make it, despite the ridiculous amount of chemistry homework. The Norwegian test yesterday went crap, because I didn't study for it at all. There was a NaNo meeting in Trondheim on Thursday and that was much more fun than reading about Knut Hamsun. There were three of us, plus one morale support, and we ended up freaking out the other customers in a cafe, yaay. And we are all going to kill off important characters (muahahaha). Must be the lousy weather making us all depressed and eeeeevil (snow yesterday).

My cousin dropped by for a visit today. Apparently he likes ancient history. Never knew that. We discussed everything from Roman battle tactics to Agricola's campaigns (which made my brother roll his eyes), and he borrowed half my bookshelf. It must run in the family... :)

Publius Cornelius Merula is weird. He said he wanted to be a tribune but now he's suddenly prefect of some random auxiliary unit (Second cohort of ninjas, I think). And he keeps talking to Sammy the Fried Salmon even though he was eaten some 2 k before the story even started.
Maybe I should go easy on the Irish coffee-filled chocolates. Whoa.

8 107 words!

Hey, Merula, if you're ambushed by Silures, waving a salmon around won't help you. Ninjas, that's what you need!