I recently finished the second draft of a story I’m working on, and I decided to share it online. I’m sharing one chapter at a time, and the story is about 487,000 words right now (roughly 5 paperback novels in length, give or take), so this will take awhile.
I estimate that 2nd draft is about 80% of the way there, story-wise; but 80% is not 100%. This chapter might show up in the final story completely unchanged. It might show up with minor changes, or heavy revisions; or might be cut from the final draft completely. If it does remain, it might be in a new place in the story or the same place.
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With his belly filled, Iliar figured he had two options. He could stay on the beach, or he could go inland.
If he stayed on the beach, he had a ready source of food. The seaweed didn’t taste good, and it was slimy and squishy, but it was something.
If he stayed on the beach, too, there was the sun. The sun was marvelous. After years–centuries, if that old man had been honest; he still found that hard to believe, but sometimes it felt like it had indeed been that long–of dreaming of nothing more than the sun on his face, he found that now he never wanted to be away from it. He craned his neck back, staring at the bright orb. Pain lanced into his eyes, and he winced and closed them. He had forgotten how intense it was.
But it still felt good. Really good. His skin was warm, a blessed break from the damp and the cold below decks; and the orb of fire was hot behind his eyelids.
But that wasn’t a reason to stay on the beach, he reminded himself. There would be sun inland too.
There might even be people inland. He didn’t know how he felt about that. People had kidnapped him, had killed his Papa. People on that Gods-be-damned ship had been either vacant, staring ahead at the inside of the ship so absently it made him shiver to even remember; or had been actively trying to kill him. Even the man who had saved him at the end had been one of the pair who had killed his Papa.
He shivered. He didn’t think he wanted to meet people. Not right now. Maybe not ever.
The beach was deserted. That was good. There was still a haze to his thinking, like he had woken up stiff to an oar-shift and his muscles were still sore. Maybe that’s just how thinking was. He didn’t know, he realized with a shock.
But…he frowned. The beach was deserted now, but that might change. He had grown up in a port after all, and…he strained his memories, reaching back like he was trying to clutch water between his fingers. The harder he tried to clutch at them, the more they dribbled away. But he remembered sailors saying that they sometimes passed people close to shore, and took them on. As crewmen for some boats, but he had seen the sailors spit as they talked about how some boats took on slaves. Anyone they could find and kidnap, the sailors had said.
That decided it for Iliar. He would not be caged again. Would not spend another Gods-be-damned moment on this beach if it put him at risk of that.
He stood up and started walking inland.
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