Exactly 2300 words. I wrote an extraneous six word sentence to round it up.
1300ish between midnight and 2am, then a further 1000 this evening. I hope I can keep up this pace, but I’m not going to count on it.
So far, I’ve discovered why I often find the first chapter of a book boring. It was certainly boring to write. But 2300 words in, I think it’s about to get interesting.
Here’s an excerpt. First draft, unedited, out of context. Please, no comments or criticism. Anyone who points out grammatical or typographical errors will be whipped in the public square. Spoilers are irrelevant, cause even I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Vala had deliberately taken a roundabout route to the Arbiter’s Hall, and chose a personal transit pod. She rarely afforded herself the luxury, but she had hoped to make peace with her confused feelings en route — mixed results. She was able to let it flow through and disencumber her, but its source and meaning eluded her. Perhaps she would ask Kanen for his insight.
It wasn’t until the transit pod set her down outside the Hall that the strangeness of Kanen’s request struck her. They spoke regularly at Arbiter’s Conclaves, they often appeared together on the panel of Grand Reviews of the Consensus, and had even traveled together on an exchange to Metro Maghribiya as apprentices. She would see him again surely within the week. What could have been so important as to merit a personal summon to the Hall?
She put indulgent speculation out of her mind, and came back to the present. An apprentice bowed slightly in greeting as she passed under the boughs of the gnarled oaks that formed the Hall’s entryway into the cool air of the Great Hall. Arbiters of all ages sat on stones, leant on trees, and lounged on patches of moss, discussing subtleties of the Consensus, sharing observations on changing opinions, and leading group meditations. Several visiting Arbiters from other parts of the global Metropolitan Network were visible by the style of their robes, including a small group from assorted hubs if the great eastern MegaMetro, and a lone elderly Arbiter from Shintokyo conferring with a three rapt apprentices.
“Tala! Tala, a moment!”
Tala turned to see Delko, another co-habitator, break off a conversation and hurry toward her. A brassy throb at the sides of her neck told her she would prefer not so speak with him right now, but she took a deep breath and let it pass.
“I’m on my way to speak with Brother Kanen. Is it a matter we can discuss tonight at our residence?” said Tala, breathing steadily to preserve her demeanour.
“Why, yes! Which is to say, if you prefer,” said Delko, and immediately contradicted himself. “It’s just that Verin told me at our morning meal that you seemed unwell. That is to say, she told Remu and I at our common meal, not a special confidence to me, you see. She mentioned it, and she was concerned for your health. Have you been dreaming?”
“We all dream.” Tala managed not to snap at him, but with some effort.