Friday, November 04, 2005

Nanowrimo Day 3

Today's word count is 9,313. Unfortunately, for some reason, I cannot update my Nanowrimo page so you will have to trust me on this. Whew, it's been a long day.

Today I learned the dangers of procrastination and distraction. I had already written close a thousand words this morning, but I spent the rest of the day doing various other things. By late afternoon, I was only up to 1,700. I would fall way short of my target of 3,000 words per day.

Could I have just left it at 1,700? Or at 2,300, once I had reached that number and was feeling very tired? Surely I could! After all, aren't I more than two thousand words ahead of my initial target. Maybe I could take things a little easy.

The 3,000 figure has become a bit of an obsession for me, and I'm afraid to let up lest I lose momentum. So I forced myself to struggle till midnight, where I stopped somewhere at 2,980. Yes, I was stretching it a bit. Perhaps I shouldn't have done it, because now I don't know if I have energy for tomorrow. But it's done, man, it's done.

Excerpt for today:

The battle began in earnest. We had an exchange of artillery fire, each side attempting to soften the other. The captain directed the firing of the mortars from the rear flank of our troop. The exchange lasted for nearly an hour, and at the interval between shots, we would inch our way forward, trying to gain as much ground and loose our cannons before the enemy could fire theirs.

Either the captain miscalculated, or the enemy commander was exceptionally canny. Their next barrage sailed well over the forward troops and into the ranks of our own cannons. One shot landed close to my master (and by a stroke of luck, I was on the other side.) His steed, normally calm in the face of cannonfire, was suddenly took fright. The horse reared on its hind legs, came down again, and straddled sideways. Afraid that the horse would topple on top of me, I took several steps back. And fall down she did, my master still in the saddle.

The horse was on its side, struggling wildly to stand. My master's leg was pinned underneath, twisted at an odd angle at the knee. He grit his teeth but did not cry out. His horse, it turned out, was badly mauled by shrapnel and could not get up. The captain took his pistol from his belt and fired it at the poor animal. "Enrique!" he called me, "assist me! We must fire our cannons before they do."

I lifted the carcass of the horse as best as I could, and the master wrenched himself free. Supporting himself on my shoulder, he barked new orders to the remaining gun crew. They recalibrated their guns, and let loose another barrage. This time, luck was on our side as the guns decimated the front ranks of the enemy line.

Our infantry commander seized the opening afforded by the the last artillery barrage. Knowing full well that the enemy mortar was angled high, he ordered a charge that brought the main body of our troops well underneath their trajectory. Reeling from the blasts and faced with the charge of our own soldiers, their lines broke and their men fled into the hills.