Pile of mess
BB Fran Cool and Literary
I'm up to 4.6k/16pp on chapter 38. Had to stop before I did the last chunk because I ran into a veritable mountain of notes, some of them contradictory, left over from probably a dozen different outline drafts. I just spent the last two hours sorting the notes out, assigning them to whatever chapter they're still relevant to. *wipes brow* I don't even want to think about the complete chaos that is my note pile for the last 4-6 chapters of the fic. My plans for them have gone through so many revisions by this point I've completely lost count. Given the current outline I'll probably end up throwing most of it out entirely, since it's all so utterly OBE'd.

As for 38, it ends with a big action sequence, and I'm already on draft 3 or 4 for it. Still not clicking for me, but it's getting there. I'm going to keep pecking at it until it works. There's so much happening in these chapters (and I've been building up to them for so long) that it's taking a few extra comb-throughs to get everything straight. Maybe another four pages to go, then I can run it by the betas.

Still trying to decide if I should keep going with the Arthur chapters, or go back and take care of the Gwen chapter 37. Hmm.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2036063.html.

BB Fran Cool and Literary
Finally cracked into chapter 38 today. I got a few pages finished plus outline sketched out for the next chunk. As expected, I cried my way through the pages, which wore me out for this writing session. But thankfully after this this start to get less bleak. It took a lot of organizing and gardening and general stress-relieving activities to work up enough oomph to tackle that three-page angst bomb. But next up is [CENSORED] and I am super excited about that, especially when I get to the bit with the [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [CENSORED].

Hey, I might tease, but I won't spoil. ;-)

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2035746.html.

Garden weekend
Tired & rumpled.
Went to the local(ish) huge plant nursery yesterday with my mom for our traditional pre-Mother's Day plant shopping. It's an all-day affair because the place we go to is ginormous, and even though we were better prepare this year than any other, I was so worn out by the end that I'm only just now starting to recover. I have all the annuals I needed for my front garden pots, plus a few new shrubs to fill in blank spots in the back.

I was so wrecked today, though. Just as well it was grey and chilly outside because I barely had the energy to walk between the sofa and the bathroom. I lumped around in various permutations and had an afternoon nap, and my brain is finally starting to function again.

Aaand apparently my arms aren't functioning yet, because I just dropped my entire plateful of dinner onto the floor five seconds after taking it out of the microwave. *thumbs up to self* Guess I won't be having leftovers after all.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2035215.html.

36 off to betas
Oliver Cookies (Bloom County)
Ch 36 is done and off to the betas. For a chapter that was so wrenching to write, it finished itself quite suddenly. But these things sometimes end where they want to end. It took three writing sessions over the past week to slog through it (not to mention the rest of the time since I finished a chapter) so it hasn't quite sunk in yet that it's finished.

*has some food and rests*

OK, I just started the outline rough for 38 (have to skip 37 and come back to it since it's a Gwen POV chapter) and OMG, Merlin and Arthur really need to stop making me cry. I'm seriously using up all my tissues. D: Thank goodness things will start getting better again soon. (glares at muses) That is, they'd *better* start getting better again soon.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2034738.html.

Fic: A Bird of Paradise 33/42 (Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana NC-17)
Merlin Sword
Title: A Bird of Paradise 33/42
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana
Rating: NC-17
Length: 233k / est 300k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

( "What's happening?" Merlin whispered, but Arthur held out a hand to silence him.

"You wish to love Arthur, and so you shall," Trickler smirked. "But then..." His demeanor darkened as he continued the spell. "Onuppan þín lufiend coss, lufaþ sceal aheardunge be billhete."

Elena gave a small whimper, as if she was somehow aware of what was being done to her. Arthur's grip on the stone ledge whitened his knuckles.

"Then with love's kiss, that love will turn to hate," Trickler continued, proudly. With his free hand, he drew out a dagger, slim and deadly, and slipped the hilt between her hands, alongside the myrtle. Elena whimpered again; perhaps the Sidhe magic in her resisting Trickler's spell. But Trickler was determined. He pressed her hands together with crushing force.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2034455.html.

Dick moves
Dead Zone - Johnny Bubble (sageness)
So yeah, RL has not been helpful in my getting writing done of late. But that's no excuse for people to be dicks at me. If you don't want to read my fic because I'm too slow for you, then kindly fuck off. I've had whole series of people pestering me and insulting me and seriously, people? Seriously? All that makes me want to do is post NOTHING. In the words of Willy Wonka, you will get NOTHING. Because if it's not fun anymore, I don't have to do it, because nobody pays me for this in anything but comments.


Not that I'm going to flounce because of a handful of selfish asshats who don't understand the concept of fandom. But man, it is not helping at all. I've stalled again on the chapter with this impossibly frictiony scene and right now my only hope is that my beta [personal profile] cerianite can help me drag it out of the mud. We were going to meet last weekend but RL got in the way. RL has been very much in the way for a grand variety of reasons. But I will not let RL or this chapter defeat me.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2034326.html.

Another chunk down
Busy Busy Writing Writing
Got another chunk done on 36, bringing the total for the chapter so far up to 10pp/3.1k. One more writing day might be enough to finish, will see. I'm currently aiming for Sunday, since that's the next day I'll have free time to spare.

Crocus season is almost over. I'm trying to keep better track of bloom start/end dates this year, though weird stuff is happening like the Forsythias being so late. Here's the results so far:

00 Edgeworthia - No Bloom (cold winter killed the buds, and possibly the plant)
01 Witch Hazel - March 12-TBD
02 Crocus species - March 16-April 6
02 Galanthus - March 16-April 6
03 Crocus vernus - March 28-TBD
04 Pansies - April 1 (Store-bought)
05 Chionodoxa forbesii - April 4-TBD
05 Daffodils - April 4-TBD
05 Iris reticulata - April 4-TBD
05 Lenten Rose - April 4-TBD
05 Pieris japonica - April 4-TBD
06 Hyacinths - April 7-TBD
07 Daphne - April 10?-TBD

As you can see, there were the usual early bloomers and then a whole bunch of flowers started at once in April. Literally they all opened on the same day, it was quite impressive. The daphne is a bit of an estimate as it's got a ton of buds out but none of them have actually opened yet. I figure Friday's warmer weather might do the trick.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2034127.html.

Take 2
BB Fran Cool and Literary
Made progress today on ch 36v2. (Kept confusingly thinking it was 35, but it is 36.) Serious chapter is serious, and it's slow going as there's a bunch of logistical stuff to sort out as I go. But yay, I got to page 5, and structure is happening. 37 will be a Camelot chapter, and then 38 will be more Avalon. Instead of skipping the Camelot chapters and coming back, I'm just going to keep going in order because reasons. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ At least ch 37 is already solidly prepped and waiting, whereas 38 is still rather lightly sketched.

I will say that I am enjoying the general atmosphere of stakes-upping. Not that ABOP overall has been short on stakes, but after 250k you have to bring out the big guns to keep the tension going. It gives me the chance for some juicy angst, which I have always enjoyed.

Tomorrow is a bit busy, but I should have writing time again on Thursday. Am going to just keep pecking away and polishing until this chapter is sorted.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2033793.html.

Best laid plans
BB Fran Cool and Literary
Finally got some writing time today, and had a brainstorming session with [personal profile] snowgrouse. After much rambling, I realized that the whole of chapter 35 needed to be scrapped and a new outline was created. As I'd hoped, it's loads better for the second draft, the same elements in play but with proper stakes and tension and character stuff. The first draft was just too shambling to work. I'll be able to recycle most of the conversations but the one new character is just getting axed entirely. He may show up later on in Falconry (much later) because he is kinda neat, but he just didn't fit here.

Hopefully this week will be much less crazy than the past few weeks. If things are calm I'll be able to get started on the rewrite sooner rather than later. I do miss writing, but it just wasn't an option for a while.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2033411.html.

*coughs at dust*
Sexy Painter
I dusted off my Photoshop skills for the first time in ages today. It's been so long since I did anything in PS that I had nearly lost my muscle memory. But I managed to stagger my way to a positive result. I made a set of banners for the first four stories in the Falconry series, and I'm going to use them to make a nice Tumblr post for each fic once I finish Paradise. I actually made a fifth banner as well for Augury, but it'll be a while before that sees the light of day and I might change it before I post it depending on how the outline goes for that fic.

The impressive snow from yesterday also made an impressive melt this morning, so by the afternoon I was able to go out and do a bit of spring pruning. I tackled some aster stems and english roses that have thorns the size of your thumbnail. Those were pruned very, very carefully. And the stems do not go into my compost pile, because if they did, one day I would end up cutting myself open on one of them. They're like nature's barbed wire.

One thing I didn't do was writing. RL was somewhat awful and stressful this week, so it's not terribly surprising that my brain wasn't up to dealing with a high friction chapter. I actually did get a bit done on 35 yesterday, going back and starting a rewrite on a scene I wasn't happy with. There's a lot happening in these chapters and things with Merlin and Arthur are understandably delicate, so I need to do some polishing. But alas, not this weekend.

I'm trying a new recipe tomorrow: Hawaiian Chicken and Coconut Rice. Should be yummy. The chicken is marinading for the night, and tomorrow is cookery.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2032382.html.

Weekend report
Between yesterday and today, I got a little over 12 pp/3.9k done on ch 36. I might have gotten further but Merlin and Arthur keep stopping to talk and bicker. Apparently they have a lot to say, and to be fair it's been a while since they had a chance to talk this stuff out. On the plus side, the more they talk, the further along their reconciliation will be by the end of the fic.

Alas, I ran out of steam today before I could get close to wrapping up the chapter (which still has a ways to go thanks to the aforementioned bickering) and I have a busy work week ahead. Hopefully I'll have some time to poke at it later in the week, and then next Saturday I can finish it off.

It was too cold and blustery out today to do the late winter pruning I'd planned, so instead I pulled out two seedling trays and started a pack of Rudbeckia 'Cappuccino' and a pack of blue pansies. A little bit of a late start for seeds, but it's a long blooming season around here these days, so I don't expect it to be a problem. They should germinate in a week or two and I may post progress pics. Flower babies! They will be wee and adorable.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2032054.html.

More finale brainstorming
BB Fran Cool and Literary
My other beta got back to me and we had a great, long chat about ch 35 and ramifications. I also caught her up on the new plan for the ABOP finale, and ended up fleshing it out some more. I revised the high-level outline for the final chapters, and it should come as no surprise to hear that there was mitosis. That plus the split of ch 39 into two means the total chapter count bumps up to 45. *boggles*

Just this week I went back to the first posted chapter of ABOP and had a good laugh at the estimated size. I actually thought this monster was going to be 26 parts and 150k. Ahahahahahaha no.

On the other hand, the finale for ABOP is going to be AWESOME. *two thumbs up* I just need to actually reach it instead of playing Zeno's paradox forever.

I should totally name my next non-Falconry fic Zeno's Paradox. Maybe if I plan on an infinite story, I will actually be able to write something small and self-contained. (Ahahahahahaha no.)

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2031702.html.

Fic: A Bird of Paradise 32/42 (Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana NC-17)
Merlin Arthur Smile
Title: A Bird of Paradise 32/42
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana
Rating: NC-17
Length: 222k / est 300k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

( "What does this stuff do, anyway?" Arthur asked, looking at the wash basin Merlin had dirtied. The Pixie dust had dissolved into it, and the water shimmered with a faint but unearthly light. It reminded him strongly of the waters of Avalon. "What's it made of?"

"Pixies," Gaius said, rather archly. "As the name implies."

Arthur recoiled. "You mean this is made of Grunhilda?" He grimaced. "What is it, magical dandruff?"

Merlin snorted and stifled a laugh, but Gaius actually chuckled. "I suppose you could call it that. As we are made of flesh and blood, Pixies are made of magic. And such magic is far too valuable to waste. Any, ah, leavings or debris are saved and ground into a fine powder."

"Oh, that is disgusting," Merlin said, staring in horror at his hand. He shuddered and shook it away from himself, even though he had already cleaned it.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2031464.html.

Aaand mitosis
Busy Busy Writing Writing
OK, so 35 ended up being a mitosis chapter. Merlin and Arthur started talking and bickering and suddenly I was at 19 pages/6.3k. There's still plenty left to fill up ch 36. On the plus side, that means I get to post! And also bump up the expected chapter count by one. Note that I have a suspicion that one or two future chapters will also end up splitting, but I'll deal with that when the time comes.

35 is off to the betas. Time to get posting.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2031223.html.

Writing time at last
Busy Busy Writing Writing
Ah, writing time at last. It's good to be back. I made some great progress today on ch 35, up to page 11/3.6k. It will be a longish chapter because there's still a bunch to go, but I should be able to finish it tomorrow as it's going fairly smoothly. And then I'll get to post ch 32!

Had a brainstorming session with [personal profile] cerianite yesterday and we figured out some important bits of the last few chapters of ABOP. I am very happy with the resulting outline and how it lets me bring in a bunch of elements from Gauntlet and the earlier parts of ABOP to tie everything up with a neat bow. I'm also finally feeling out how Merlin and Arthur's reconciliation needs to go, and it's good stuff. Despite all that's already happened in ABOP, it's still got plenty of bang to end with.

I had a nap this afternoon, so I think I shall use my extra wakefulness time to make some homemade lo mein and roast potatoes. Mmm, snacks for tomorrow. :-d

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2030897.html.

What is this spring you speak of?
Tired & rumpled.
We've got a multi-day snow/rain/ice storm barrelling down on us as I type, and all I can say is that this better be the last gasp of winter or I am going to have to go and dig the crocuses out of the snow by hand so they can see the sun. Though I admit that it will be nice to get one more snow day in before the DST change, I will be very happy to put my snow shovel away for the year.

I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show this weekend, and as ever that show is HUGE. It's so intense (and packed with people and things) that I'm still recovering from it. The big displays were a bit meh this year, landscapes rather than gardens and in a same-y way. But there were lots of other things to see and I managed to restrain myself to only a few purchases. Also, we had some fantastic dim sum at this hole-in-the-wall takeout place. Mmm, dumplings: one of the world's perfect foods.

I'm currently waiting for my brain to finish recharging so I can poke ch 35 again. Unfortunately, I have my allergy shots today, which always knock me out a bit, but maybe by Thursday I won't feel quite so wrung out. I'd love to get some writing done this weekend but I'm not sure I'll have the time since I'm going out Saturday evening. At least I'll get some brainstorming work done so I can sort out the outlines for rest of the Avalon chapters. Still a lot of work to be done there.

Man. What I really need is to just take a day off and nap repeatedly. -_-

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2030826.html.

Food (Hamster Eating) (cheesygirl)
Despite the weather being a nuisance, me and [personal profile] cerianite were able to do some outline work for the Avalon chapters. We only did ch 35, but there was plenty to figure out for that, and I won't have any writing time next weekend so it's going to be a bit before I can get 35 done anyway. We worked out some really nice bits with two new characters, one of who might end up being an Idriys-type who expands her role. This is the first chapter in a while with completely new material (rather than resolving big plot threads as part of a multi-chapter arc and drawing from canon) and it's a good change of pace. I look forward to cracking into it.

I'm taking a new step in my breadmaking adventures this weekend. I've really enjoyed the challah recipe I found for the breadmaker, but I felt that it could be better. I also read that a long rest in the fridge before baking makes a better loaf. So I used the dough setting on the breadmaker, then let the dough rest in a bowl in the fridge overnight. Today I cut the dough into three pieces and braided it (I'm not ready for the 6-part braid!), brushed it with egg wash, and now the loaf is resting for a couple of hours before it's time to bake. It will be the moment of truth!

My recipe is an amalgam of a few different challah recipes, including this and this. It makes a 1.5lb loaf, which is medium on my breadmaker. If you need the quicker option, you can use the light crust setting on the breadmaker and bake it there instead of using the dough cycle. It's still yummy. :-)

Challah Bread

1. Bring eggs and butter to room temp before baking.

2. In baking pan, combine:
3/4 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of active dry yeast

3. Let sit for 10 minutes.

4. To the baking pan, add the remaining ingredients:
3 cups of bread flour
2 teaspoons of salt (1.5 tsp if using salted butter)
3 tablespoons of unsalted sweet cream butter
3 tablespoons of honey
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons wheat germ

5. Use dough setting on bread machine.

6. When dough cycle is finished, place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and immediately place in the refrigerator. The dough should rest overnight.

7. Remove the dough from the fridge approximately 2 hours before you plan to bake. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface and cut it into the desired number of braids you want to use.

8. Flatten each piece with your hand, then roll into cigar shaped lengths. Roll each piece once, then return to the first piece to roll it into a rope approximately 10 to 14 inches long.

9. Roll each piece to the same length then braid. Place the loaf on a doubled sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Doubling the pan protects the bottom of the loaf from burning.

10. Make the egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water) and brush the loaf with the wash. Reserve the rest of the wash in the fridge, and let the loaf rise uncovered for about an hour. It will not have risen much at this point. Brush the loaf again with the egg wash.

11. Let the loaf rise for another hour until it increases to about 1 ½ times its size.

12. 15 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

13. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temp is around 190 degrees F. in the center. If you used a whole egg wash, the crust will get darker than with the egg white wash, so don’t be fooled into thinking the bread is done until it passes the thump and temperature test.

14. Cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing and serving.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2030422.html.

Estimate update
BB Fran Cool and Literary
Just did a quick calculation, and so far the word count for the completed chapters for Bird of Paradise is at 240,691. Given that I still have another 7ish chapters to go (each 5-8k), my estimate of 250k words is clearly off. At this point there's a decent chance I'll hit 300k, which is kinda insane.

As much an achievement as it will be to write something so ginormous, I'm wondering if I should try and split up some of the rest of the books in the Falconry series so they're more manageably sized. Though it wouldn't actually change the overall length of the series, so not sure if there's a point to that idea. Certainly it's true that any time I try to write something short it inevitably balloons into epicness. And dammit, looking over the plans for each book it really doesn't make sense to split them up, because each one is its own complete story within the larger story. So I suppose I'll just have to resign myself to perpetual WIPness.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2030256.html.

Ch 34 done
Busy Busy Writing Writing
Phew! Ch 34 is done, 15pp/6.7k. Man, for just a bunch of conversations that was quite a ride. It more uphill than expected but I plowed through until I got to the end. \o/ Off to betas for review, and ch 31 posted. *lights up figurative cigarette*

And now I have a metric ton of Avalon stuff to figure out. /o\ *takes off writing hat and puts on brainstorming hat*

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2030009.html.

Fic: A Bird of Paradise 31/41 (Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana NC-17)
Merlin Arthur Excalibur
Title: A Bird of Paradise 31/41
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana
Rating: NC-17
Length: 216k / est 250k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

( "We don't have any proof," Merlin continued, the word 'proof' said with contempt. "After everything we've been through, we shouldn't need any. But you don't want to know, so go ahead and forget it. We'll deal with this ourselves. We'll stop Mab and Gwynn, and you can keep on doing whatever Uther tells you."

Guilt and shame made Arthur's face flush, but also hardened him against Merlin's accusations. "I am doing what's best for Camelot," he ground out.

Merlin gave a bitter laugh. "You know what, Arthur? I don't care what you think, because you are just as big an arrogant, short-sighted, stubborn ass as your father. And if you march on Deorham, I will do everything in my power to stop you."

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2029819.html.

First dent
BB Fran Scruffy Layabout
Ugh, so many characters. It makes my brain smoke like an overclocked CPU sometimes, I swear.

Managed to get the first five pages of ch 34 done before I ran out of steam. 2.5k, very dense stuff. Fortunately I have the long weekend to keep pecking away at this thing until it's done. But my eyes have stopped focusing properly so that's a sign that I need to stop for the night.

I had to re-read bits from the early chapters of ABOP for reference, and man has Arthur come a long way. Poor thing was such a wreck on Day 1.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2029511.html.

Outline time
BB Up Before Noon
Now that ch 33 is over, I've dusted off my notes for the last chunk of ABOP and man has it been neglected. To be fair, a lot of things depended on how 33 shook out, so it would have had to be tweaked anyway. But there wasn't nearly enough meat on the bones. After some outline work, 34 and 35 are more solid now, and I've decided to skip over the last two Gwen POV chapters until I finish all of the Avalon stuff. So I'll be doing 34/35 and 38/39, then going back to do 36/37 before I finish with 40/41.

Phew. This last bit feels simultaneously very little and intimidatingly large. My beta [personal profile] cerianite called it "the last plateau before the summit of Mount Everest," which I think is accurate, especially the bit where you don't want to look down or slip and fall. As ever, the best thing to do is focus on the chapter and scene in front of me. I'm going to try and focus on polishing up the outline this week, and then I have a three day weekend to start tackling 34, which is perfect. Hopefully by then I'll have caught my breath from 33 and have some oomph again.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2029216.html.

Fic: A Bird of Paradise 30/41 (Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana NC-17)
Merlin and Gwen
Title: A Bird of Paradise 30/41
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana
Rating: NC-17
Length: 211k / est 250k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

Gwen has listened in silence for years as Morgana's muttered nightmares have proved true again and again, and her latest are terrifying visions of people with glowing red eyes and the destruction of Camelot itself. When Camelot loses its only protection against the devastation that is to come, Gwen must find a way to rescue Merlin from Arthur before it's too late.

( "Arthur made his choice. He doesn't care who he's marrying as long as Uther tells him to do it."

Gwen shook her head. "It's wrong, Morgana. It's wrong to lie to her."

"And you know all about lying to people," Morgana said, coldly. "You had so much practice, lying to me for years. Please, tell me how important it is to tell people the truth."

The words struck like a blow to Gwen's heart. "If that's the way you feel," she said, her throat tight. She shoved the paper back into her pocket and turned to go, then turned back again. "You know, you hate Uther so much, but sometimes you're just like him. And I can't bear it."

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2028918.html.

BB Fran Scruffy Layabout
Ch 33: 27 pp, 11.1k. *collapses* Man, that chapter was a beast. But it is done! Hurrah! *throws confetti*

Now I get to post ch 30, send 33 off to the betas, and move over the note pile for 34 into the WIP document. A writer's work is never done.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2028781.html.

Almost there
BB Fran Cool and Literary
Got up to 21pp / 8.7k on chapter 33, but it's still not done yet. One more big scene to write before I can wrap this beast up. This is, emotionally, the equivalent of the battle scene in Bird of the Gauntlet, which was also double-length, so it's quite appropriate that it's getting so long. I'm out of steam for tonight, but maybe I'll be in luck and have enough oomph tomorrow to finish it off. At least the rest of it isn't so high friction. I'd really like to get 33 done this weekend.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2028348.html.

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