My problem is I'm too close to the story. I'm wondering if any of you want to read--or reread-it. I need to know if the story still bogs down in the Furdi chapters. I've cut about 8000 words.
Here's the first chapter. It is short. If you've read it, it refers to things that don't happen until the third book, only bits of which are written.
Chapter 1If you'd like to read more, please let me know at tia dot nevitt at gmail dot com, or leave a comment below. Thanks!
The Fallen God
It took me many years to forgive her. For most of those years, I wanted only to kill her.
Then one day, she showed up at the doorstep of my hovel one day with that husband of hers behind her. Once, I lived in a castle on a cloud with a vista that seemed to encompass all the world. Now, because of her, I was here, forced to scrape an existence out of the stubborn earth.
For a moment, we just stared at one another. Forgotten was my wish to kill her as I absorbed the impossibility of her presence. She looked to be about fifty--the age I felt, although we were both much older.
"I never renounced you, you know," she said.
I opened my mouth several times before I managed a reply. I lived the life of a recluse by then, and had not spoken to anyone in months. "I know. You just stopped believing."
"You can't compel belief. You can't give it if you don't have it."
"So you told me, once."
We were silent for a moment.
"This is for you." She handed me a square package, wrapped in sackcloth and tied with string. "If anyone deserves an explanation, it's you," she said. She turned away.
"Do with it as you will."
She walked away, her husband beside her.
I took the parcel inside, set it on a table and stared at it. An explanation. I hadn't realized until that moment how very much I wanted an explanation. I untied it with increasingly eager hands and yanked away the layers of sackcloth.
It was a codex. No, many codices.
I opened the top one. The brittle sheets of papyrus were crowded with words. I flipped through it, reading phrases here and there.
It was her story.
It was clear that the words did not come easily. She was no writer. Parts of it showed heavy editing. In many places, words had failed her and she had simply drawn pictures instead. In these, there was no sign of hesitancy, no stray marks, no rubbed-out lines.
Her drawings demonstrated her true genius. In these, I saw the world through her eyes. The aqueducts of Ulrith. A Furdi shepherd on a clifftop. A snarling chimera. The placid lake of Fermere. The pyramid of Thesk with his bright light shining through the storm. The arena within the pyramid.
A dying god.
At the bottom of the stack was a scrap of papyrus, upon which she addressed me directly.
"I would have done none of these things had you not made me what I am."
She was right. She would have lived the simple life of an artist, had I not intervened. I had seen that as a waste. I saw her only for her heroic proportions, for her strong arm, and I made her into the legend I required.
She became a myth all on her own.
Do with them as you will, she had said. I saw nothing for it but to write, to take her words and pictures and stitch them into a coherent whole. I took her story and rendered it in my words, while adding my own side of the story.
Therefore, what follows is my last great act as the Lord of Truth.
She had started with her childhood, but I see no need for that. The divorce. That is the true beginning of her story.