Now that Shadow Magic is off to the publisher, I've been really cranking on National Rebirth (debating on changing the name), in the past week or so I've gone from 14K to...

47947 / 100000

It's like an early Nanowrimo. I set my internal editor on vacation, not to return until it's time for revisions. Hopefully, when it's time to read over the thing, I will not find that it's a lot of crap and have to redue a bunch of it. Just for the fun of it, I'm posting the first page or so of Chapter 1 (unedited mind you) just to give folks a sneak peek.

 

July 29th, 1993, near Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Beth turned her face upward and closed her eyes, warm sunshine caressing her cheek through the bay window. She sipped the hot cider Bardo had sent up with her breakfast, the warmth on her face matched with a similar sensation that flowed down her throat into her belly. She sighed, drinking in the late July morning with sheer delight. The baby slept, or Beth guessed she was by the lack of a tiny foot or elbow jabbed into her side or her bladder at any given instant. It was a moment of peace, something she’d learn to savor living at the Archiquette farm. Nearly five months had passed since she left Cicero, yet some days it seemed like she’d been here her whole life. The person she was when she lived in the city was someone else, a stranger to her now. In a few days Beth would leave her past behind completely, and be renamed a sister of the Clan. She could just forget everything and move on. That’s what she wanted, wasn’t it?

A gentle knock at the door between her room and the nursery drew Beth’s attention. The familiar Irish tinged brogue that filtered from behind the oak door brought a smile to her face. “Mitexi and I wanted to talk to you ‘bout the preparations for Thursday. Can we come in, lass?”

“Sure, Greer, come in. I was just enjoying the morning saying hello.” Beth smiled and turned toward the opening door. Not long ago the idea of something as abstract as a time of day saying anything to her would have been absurd at best. Living here with the Clan, she’d come to learn there was life and spirit in things she’d never dreamed of before.

The two women that stood in the doorway were so physically dissimilar, that if it weren’t for the fiery red hair Greer had passed on to her daughter you’d barely know they were related. Greer’s tresses were streaked heavily with grey, which gave the woman a regal appearance that matched her position as the Archiquette matriarch. The Irish woman’s pale skin, parts of it kissed with red from her time working outdoors, contrasted dramatically when compared to the deep coppery-brown tones her daughter had inherited from her Oneida father. Yes, if you simply looked at them together you might not ever guess these women were mother and daughter, but if you knew them and loved them as Beth had learned to, for their strength and their inner fire, you’d see just how alike they were.

“Yes, Lady Brigid has blessed us with a wonderful sunrise this mornin’.” A motherly smile crossed Greer’s face as her gaze met Beth’s. “I can’t tell you how excited we are ‘bout your Namin’.”

“She can’t tell you, but I hear about it about twenty times a day.” Mitexi pushed past her mother, a mischievous grin on her face. She walked to the window seat and sat on the edge of it, at Beth’s feet. “So how’s the sweet little beast this morning?”

“Quiet for once. She’s been so restless lately I wasn’t sure I was going to get any sleep at all.” Beth caught the exasperated look on Greer’s face that Mitexi was pointedly ignoring and smothered a laugh. “I’m almost afraid to move for fear of waking her.”

Mitexi reached over and gently patted Beth’s stomach. “You be nice to your mommy, now, or I’ll have Grampa feed her Brussels sprouts.”

Beth made a face at the thought. “Not much chance of getting me to eat those. I hate them just as much as your kids do.”

All three women laughed at this. Greer pulled a chair next to the window to Beth’s other side. “So…” Greer fidgeted with the cotton shirt that hung open over her white tank shirt. “You hungry? I can see if there’s anythin’ left from breakfast.”

“Bardo brought me a plate earlier when he noticed I was up.” Beth motioned with a hand to the tray on the table next to her king sized bed, and grinned. “And no, I haven’t chosen a name yet, but I have a few I’m tumbling around in my head.”

“I never said…” Greer blanched at the stern look both Beth and Mitexi gave her. “Okay, I admit it, I was wonderin’ if you did. I don’t mean to be a pest, but the Namin’ ritual is just a few days away.”

“I know.” Beth was frustrated with herself. Why was it taking her so long? “I’ve been Elizabeth all my life. It’s hard to find something that feels just right.”

“Beth, honey, you don’t have to change your name.” Mitexi leaned forward and clasped her hands together. “You can simply reclaim the name Elizabeth as your Clan name.”

“No.” The word came out so forcefully that Beth cringed and smiled apologetically. “It’s a fine name, but now that I know that the people I thought were my birth parents were frauds, I just can’t keep it. It’d be like living a lie. I don’t know who I am, I mean what name my real parents called me, but I know it wasn’t Elizabeth. I can’t even explain how I know. Crazy isn’t it?”

“Oh yeah, we’re the type of women that would tell you trusting your intuition is crazy.” Mitexi nudged Beth’s knee with her knuckles. “You have to learn to trust yourself more.”


 


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