And first draft of novella complete at 32k words. Title “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls”, it’s a loose sequel to On A Red Station, Drifting: set in the Imperial City two emperors and 60 years later, with a cameo from Linh and the Great Virtue Emperor. Featuring 4 POVs, entirely too many characters (I think I’m at 15 named ones plus 23 dead emperors’ ghost simulations), and a sort of complicated structure like a Chinese knot: four threads merged together to fill in the absence of a fifth character (it started out as a sort of meditation on the five elements, so there’s one character per element, and the fifth one is the one in the centre, who never speaks up). It’s out to readers at the moment; guess we’ll know soon how much of an ambitious failure it is… *g*
There was a sound, on the edge of sleep: Suu Nuoc wasn’t sure if it was a bell and a drum calling for enlightenment; or the tactics-master sounding the call to arms; in that breathless instant–hanging like a bead of blood from a sword’s blade–that marked the boundary between the stylised life of the court and the confused, lawless fury of the battlefield.
“Book of Heaven, Book of Heaven.”
The soft, reedy voice echoed under the dome of the ceiling; but the room itself had changed–receding, taking on the shape of the mindship–curved metal corridors with scrolling columns of memorial excerpts, the oily sheen of the Mind’s presence spread over the watercolours of starscapes and the carved longevity character at the head of the bed. For a confused, terrible moment as Suu Nuoc woke up, he wasn’t sure if he was still in his bedroom in the Purple City on the First Planet, or hanging, weightless, in the void of space.