A Crowning Moment – WIPpet Wednesday

I had an interesting experience this week, when an inner ear infection caused an onset of severe vertigo. The world was spinning – and spinning fast. It’s a terrible feeling when you can’t focus on anything and even closing your eyes won’t make it stop. In the end, relief came in the form of a big needle and a sedative – so once the spinning stopped everything went into soft focus and I felt much better. When I wasn’t falling asleep mid-conversation or smiling dreamily at everyone…

Although the worst of the vertigo has gone, the world still has a tendency to list – and I’m struggling to sit in front of a computer screen for any length of time. So as far as writing weeks go, it’s not been very productive. But at least, and yes I’m using creative licence on a grand scale, I can relate to Josiah in this week’s WIPpet. His world may not be spinning in a literal sense, but he has certainly lost perspective.

In honour of the 12th of June, here is an excerpt from Chapter 12 of my work in progress – The Fall of the Kings. What you need to know: There are 12  Kings of Gaelladorn and this scene is part of a coronation ceremony. In Gaelladorn sovereignty isn’t necessarily for life, and during this ceremony Gareth is releasing his throne. In theory Josiah as Overseer must appoint the new ruler, but in this case he’s allowed himself to be ‘helped’. This part of the ceremony is conducted before the Heartstone and away from the crowd – afterwards a public coronation will occur.

Strangely, Josiah’s speaking in a different first person tense in this passage. (I am so looking forward to untangling this during editing…).

They come one by one and kneel down before the Heartstone, forehead to the stone whispering promises to the One God.  I can’t hear what they say, but I dutifully extend my hands and raise them up at the appropriate moment.  Acknowledging their place as appointed Sovereign before the One God.

When Gareth comes, I feel regret.  The pain of another passing.  Perhaps it is because we’ve been through so much together.  Or because it was he who opened the door to this day?  As I raise him up, I ask him if he goes willingly.  The words are formal, and unnecessary, but I say them anyway.  With an embrace he releases his sovereignty and too quickly he is gone and I am left waiting for Marcus.

I have spent much time with this man in the few weeks leading up to this day.  Yet this is the first time I’ve been so conscious of his size.   As he comes up the path he has to duck to avoid the overhanging trees, and when he straightens I feel small.  The plain white tunic, chosen for its simplicity only accentuates the raw power of this man.

Yet he kneels and lays his forehead against the stone.  His hair hangs down over his eyes, and I can’t hear what – if anything – he says to the One God.  But after what seems like the right length of time I step forward and lay my hand upon his shoulder.

“Do you, today, before the One God accept the office of his appointed Sovereign?” 

I’ve said the words before, and have always felt the thrill of doing my part in the greater plan of God’s will.  But as I say them now, the glow of the Heartstone seems to dim.  Although I am not looking at it, the familiar brightness in my peripheral vision seems to have failed, and I feel a cold stab of fear in my belly.  But I am looking down at Marcus, who is accepting the charge and I don’t turn my head, but continue until all the words are spoken. 

When it is finished and Marcus has risen and left to join the others, only then do I turn to see what has happened to the great stone.

The Heartstone is still bright, its light steady and comforting. I kneel and touch my forehead to it. It is still warm, solid, the same as it ever was. For a moment I am comforted, until I realise, to my horror, it is me that has dimmed and grown cold.

Many thanks as always to the lovely K.L. Schwengel for hosting this blog hop. If you would like to participate, you either need to choose a passage from your work in progress with some relationship to the date or *drumroll* post a new beginning (a new WIP or story idea)! It’s the biggest change to the Wednesday WIPpet since… um… well some people had theme tunes last week! Check out the linky here.

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27 thoughts on “A Crowning Moment – WIPpet Wednesday

  1. Glad you’re feeling better it’s really not nice to have the room spinning. Josiah certainly has lost perspective and I could really sense his belief/optimism for the new sovereign ebbing away throughout this scene. That last line, ‘it is me that has dimmed and grown cold’ is really quite chilling and a foreshadowing for what will come I do belive.

    1. Poor old Josiah – yes things are going to get worse than he can possibly imagine. And they were already pretty bad. In fact I think he is hands down the character that has suffered the most at my authorial hands. And thanks – am glad to be feeling better too.

  2. Ooooooh, I like it! Not what Josiah is going through, but the set-up, the questions, that little twist. Like Kate Frost said, chilling.

    Sorry about your vertigo. I’ve never had it, but I imagine it’s incredibly unpleasant. 😦

  3. Ugh. I had a friend who had a bout with vertigo. I don’t think I want to try it. Hope you’re feeling worlds better.

    I *love* this piece. Very moody. Very intriguing. Lots of foreshadowing and, as Kate said, that last line . . . yeah. Nice. I can’t wait to read the finished piece one day. 🙂

    1. Thanks Kathi – yes I am feeling much better – although am on meds for 6 weeks and the world not quite solid… Makes life interesting.

      I’m glad you like this WIPpet. I so want to finish it one day. Am working on it. Promise.

  4. This is great Raewyn. It becomes quite an ominous passage as it goes on, and it’s a bit of a shock to me to learn at the end that it’s not the Heartstone that is dimming and going cold, but Josiah. I wonder what’s in store for him? Hopefully I’ll find out in the not-too-distant future. 🙂

  5. That last sentence is so final. Poor Josiah. I think this may be the first time we’ve seen Marcus take on his villain role? He seems like such a nice guy when his wife is thinking about him, but I definitely caught the footsteps of doom thumping along with him as he entered this scene. You must’ve struck an incredible balance in writing Marcus. Just one more reason to read the book. 😀

    1. Thanks ReGi. I find Marcus hard to write in many ways – I’ve never been able to write in his POV. But I hope he will be balanced. Celeste loves him with everything she has, and he is all that and a box of chocolates. But sometimes the temptation is too great when you’re flying close to the sun. Marcus will be a villain of sorts, but a very human sort.

    1. Thanks EM – things are getting better, but has been frustratingly debilitating. I’m glad you like it. One day. You know when I’m finished – I’ll send the whole thing through to you.

  6. I want Marcus to be wonderful, I really do… and yet, just know that the name invoked the God of War, I have to wonder. Much as it seems Josiah seems to be doing…

    (yeah… I really hope that Josiah’s discomfort comes not from something Marcus does as king …that could be hard on more than Josiah after all, but that it comes from his own realization that he did not do his duty as he was expected)

    Like it.

    As for the vertigo… ouch! Glad it’s improving, but oh, my! Do you know what caused it?

    1. Hmm I didn’t know it meant God of War – somehow is fitting. And yes Marcus will do something so devastating Josiah will struggle to live with the consequences…

      And vertigo did suck. I found out afterwards that there is a strong (many many of my grandmother’s family) family history of Minier’s disease. The symptoms, sadly, seem to be in line – but I won’t know for sure unless I have more episodes. Not fun.

  7. I’m echoing everyone else’s sentiment, I love that last line! Most particularly, though, I love the words and descriptions and voice that you use. I’m glad the world isn’t tilting so very strangely. I’ve only experienced vertigo when I’ve been ill, which isn’t fun. It’s hard to keep your eyes open even. I guess big needles are good for something, huh? Glad you’re on the mend.

    1. Thanks Sarah – I almost didn’t include it because Josiah’s relationship with the Heartstone hasn’t been explored much in these WIPpets. I’m glad you liked it!

      Vertigo wasn’t much fun (U2 makes it sounds like it should be) – and I’ve never been so grateful for a big needle in my life…

  8. Yeek, that does not sound fun! My niece was insisting I spin around in circles with her when I was there on the weekend, but at least that my choice and when I wanted the room to stop spinning I could just sit down and let it ware off. Glad you’re feeling better!

    Love the excerpt, there’s a great sense of foreboding hanging over it. What is Josiah in for now?

    1. It’s exactly like that except you just can’t make it stop. And yes I’m so glad to be on solid(ish) ground now!

      I’m glad you liked the WIPpet. Actually the next part is proving difficult to write because it takes time for things to go wrong. But it will go wrong. Badly, badly wrong.

      Oh and don’t worry about the spelling. It’s the curse of not being able to edit your own comments. I do it all the time!

  9. I had a similar episode with an inner ear infection in college. Not Fun. I hope you are fully better by now!

    This tense seems to work very well for this passage. It might be tricky to get it to fit in the context of the rest of the story, but the dreamy removal from the action speaks to what Josiah is experiencing. The last lines are very powerful and sad.

    1. Thanks inner ear problems firmly (I hope) in the past!

      Yes I quite liked the POV in this one too, and I have no idea how the edit will turn out. It’s already a bit difficult with Josiah being the only person speaking in first person too. Thanks for the encouragement.

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