Retreat, Day 7

plottingToday’s wordcount:5006
Current Hearts of Tabat wordcount: 99942
Total word count for the week: 10014
Total word count for this retreat: 27091
Worked on Hearts of Tabat, story “Days of Sweetness, Days of Want”
Time spent on SFWA email, discussion boards, other stuff: 30 minutes
According to Fitbit, 11646 steps, 85 flights of stairs, 5.26 miles

From Hearts of Tabat:

The journey upward was full of splinters and soot, but both girls made it. They wandered through the rooms here, which were lower-ceilinged but just as once richly appointed as the downstairs had been. Here too, though, looters had stripped away most of the valuable things other than the built in furniture and even there, the shelves that had once held drawers gaped openly. Bales of paper, blackened on the outside, fell aside at the touch to reveal white internals, blank and ready for words that would never come.

There were two separate suites, both facing out over Printers Row, and in one, rather than looting, someone had smashed: a mass of crockery, and a number of terra-cotta house dolls, every Trade God in the house, it seemed. Revelation picked through the fragments, taking out the faces where she could find them, accumulating them into a little heap of smiles and eyes and pointed noses.

“What are you doing?” Grace said irritably. “Those aren’t worth anything.”

Revelation bit her lip and kept down on her knees, sorting through the fragments. She thought to herself, they have value because I want them, even if someone else might think they’re worthless. Anger smoldered in her like a damp match.

“Do you think they’ll have some power, because they’re Trade Gods?” Grace persisted. “That’s foolish. Only the moons are real.”

“I know that,” Revelation said. “I’m not a heretic.”

“Then why are you sorting those out? Do you think you can put one back together?”

Revelation shook her head. Grace pulled at her shoulder. Reluctantly, she swept the faces she had found, two handfuls worth, into her pockets and let Grace move her along.

The fire’s touch had manifested in every room, charring walls, blackening fabrics. It smelled overwhelmingly of burned things, which was not a smell that Revelation had considered unpleasant before this day, but now pressed at her nose until she found herself dipping her face into her shoulder, trying to breathe through the fabric of her cloak. Grace seemed unaffected by the smell, moving quickly to anything she thought might yield some value, and forcing her gleanings on Revelation, whose load grew heavier and heavier as they sorted through the rooms: a brass lantern; half a picture frame, the edges gilded; a small glass jar full of an unknown white paste; a handful of yellowy-gold feathers, so bright that she thought they must be painted at first.

They both froze when they heard the noise from below.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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