Jul. 1st, 2011

Word Count: 55068. Back to a word count I feel more comfortable with. I had some personal issues there in the middle of the month that made it difficult to write, but otherwise the writing flowed much better after essentially slacking off for May.

I can't believe I'm at the halfway point. Well, technically that's July 2, but whatever. I'm around 50% done. I'm over 330,000 words so far on the year. I didn't have a target on word count when I started doing this, but even my top end expectation wouldn't have come near where I am now. I thought it would be really hard to write several thousands of words per day, but the words come really easily for just about everything except poetry. I think that's the point of writing a lot; if you can get to the point where you can just vomit the words out without really thinking about it, then you can start to tighten up the quality of what you're writing, and it just progresses naturally.

I'm quite fond of a few of the things I wrote this month, especially Suck It, Algernon. I think writing the Nightworld story is useful to me, but I don't think I'm going to like the finished product. Oh well, they can't all be winners.

I still like to write. That having been said, on January 1 I'm going to sleep like a rock. Thanks to everybody for reading, commenting, and generally providing the impetus to not suck.
They left the mastodon far behind them, having cleaned up the mess they had left behind. They tracked the hose to an encampment of Vlad's creatures that was too well defended to attack, so they slinked around it and plunged deeper into the Blue Warrens. The sound of the river grew ever louder, even though the passages snaked around and doubled back so often that nobody could remember which direction they were headed. Korvina still claimed to know where she was going, but Janosh often wasn't so sure.

When they rested, Georgi and Esmer went off to be by themselves, whispering to each other with heads touching. Bobo and Hodo snoozed while spooning each other, something that nobody found peculiar. Ispil preferred to go and stare blackly into the darkness by himself, which suited the others just fine. That left Janosh and Korvina. Janosh approached the SnowGuard while he was on watch, which meant equal responsibilities toward watching the passage for intruders, and watching Ispil for any signs of homicidal mania.

"What were the Zkarben doing back there?" he asked. "Making a monster?"

"Making a servant," corrected Korvina. "That mastodon would never be able to be much of a fighter again, but it probably could carry heavy loads. It's curious to find the Zkarben so far from home, however. There aren't that many of them, and they're hard to replace."

"The tunnels do seem to have a lot of Vlad's creatures in them," Janosh said. "I was under the impression that this way was clear and safe to travel through, barring the odd monster."

"That's what I thought," said Korvina. "Finding out why I'm wrong is part of what we're down here to do."

After ensuring that everybody got some sleep, except for Ispil who got some dark muttering, Janosh shared out some food and then the group got going again. He was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't cold in the Blue Warrens; currents of warm air kept the environment hospitable enough to avoid hypothermia, but not so hot that the ice melted. At times the ice overhead creaked and crackled as it shifted, and sometimes small chunks fell to everybody's consternation, but the glacial mass seemed largely solid.

After another half-day's travel (give or take), the noise of the rushing water became so loud as to drown out casual conversation. The tunnel the group was travelling in suddenly opened up, and the glow of light as bright as any suncalf up ahead signaled that something of interest was around the corner. Korvina got down on her hands and knees and crept forward the rest of the way; the others followed suit.

The walls of the passage melted away left and right, and the bottom dropped out of the corridor as well. Janosh peered over an icy ridge and found himself looking down into an open space as big as Stuvitze itself. Here the underside of the glacier had melted away from the bedrock until the ice formed a natural arching roof over a void. Meltwater from points on the glacier upstream had carved a shallow valley into the rock and formed into a raging whitewater river eighty feet across.

"The Cascade," said Korvina softly.
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