I'm actually doing a lot better than I thought I would. I have been able to write a page (and perhaps a little more) each day, which I didn't even think I would be able to do.
So...all started off to flying colours. I've added some new characters to my story - one of these being Rhona Aman. Her last name is Aman because in the land of Pieno where she lives, everyone has the same last name as their village (except the rich district).
Yes...I needed to work more on my setting, and that setting has produced a lot of new possibilities.
Here is an excerpt from my new Chapter 1 (yes, these new characters and setting are still going to fit in my original story):
Rhona wrung the rough dish towel as hard as she could and then set it out to dry. As Fauling Dendrey had predicted, the weather was sunny, and it wasn’t too windy, either. Mami couldn’t have asked for a better day to do the washing.
However, since it was the perfect day to do the washing, that meant that Rhona had a hard day’s work ahead of her. But how could Mami be expected to dive her arthritic hands into the hot water, bending over with her bad back, scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing until the clothes were clean enough to be pulled out, heavy and dripping, ready to wring? In addition, this was one of Mami’s sick days.
Rhona sighed mournfully. Mami seemed to be having so many sick days recently. Rhona was only sixteen, but after a hard life that had quickly snatched her childhood away as soon as it could, one would guess that she was nineteen, or perhaps twenty. At least, that’s what Guus, the Territory Inspector and Tax Collector, always thought.
“Rhona Aman, you musn’t think of Guus,” she chided herself sternly. “Now you’ve reminded yourself that tomorrow is tax day, and if you don’t cheer up, you know very well that you’ll work slower. And if you don’t work fast enough, you won’t have time to go to the market to sell some produce. And if you don’t get to the market today, then heaven knows what you’ll have to say to Guus when he comes tomorrow morning.”
As she scrubbed Padi’s shirt, her careworn face grew even more solemn. This morning, she had accidently taken Padi’s shirt out with the laundry. And then who should come along but that pest of a five-year-old Zacknuss, running into her so that she dropped all the clothes on her way to the washing tub. Then Mami had come to the doorway to see why she had shrieked, and she saw Padi’s shirt.
Rhona remembered how Mami’s face had paled as she remembered her dead husband. Rhona had had only enough time to guide Mami back to bed before she had crumpled into sobs. Padi had given up his life for them in the mayii mines so that they wouldn’t be evicted off the little land they had left. That was the day before the men would be moved to the mithril mine where the dwarves had been massacred so that Ustah Ranling could have the wealth.
The men from the neighbouring homes brought Padi home on a stretcher. He was still alive, but his legs were twisted out of a recognizable shape. Mami gave an unearthly shriek and rushed to Padi.
“Don’t cry, Lera,” Padi said, gasping out the words. “It’s better that I die now than have to go to that place accursed by the shedding of our neighbour’s blood.” Those were his last words.
What Rhona didn’t get was why the Ustah would do such a thing. He had always been such a kind ruler to his subjects. He had even came out of his home to hear his people’s problems when peasants came to the castle to talk to him. That practice happened no longer, and Ustah Ranling seemed like quite a different person now.
Rhona swiped at her eyes. Now was not the time to be weeping! There was work to be done.