Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shrine War Update and Excerpt

After the sudden passing of my mother on Saturday, July 23rd, I took a break from writing to deal with her personal affairs as well as my own grief, but she would have wanted life to go on. So today for the first time in weeks, I traveled once again to Japan and at 8,770 words have finally come to the final part of my story, the final big conflict between the Inugami and the kitsune shrine maidens trying to defend their shrine against them.

Writing a series of complex scenes is a lot like playing chess. Before your big attack, everybody needs to be where they are supposed to be and finally all my characters are in their proper places.

There has been some attrition as you can expect in any conflict. Of the original ten Inugami, three are down for the count, but the shrine maidens are in a serious sticky wicket. Only Sen and Chiyo are left in the oratory in a doomed effort to save their souls and Inari's Mirror from the desecration of the spirit dogs. They assume Hoso to be dead and the twins probably sharing the same fate. Or worse. Inugami use kitsune souls to power their soul crystals to power their magic.

My sole human character is outside hiding in the bushes and freaking out, but his part of the story is not yet done. Not to worry. He's not going to save the day. Sen and Chiyo are going to have to solve this one all by their lonesome.
Here's a rough draft of an excerpt that follows Kiku and Kuwa who tried to defend the shrine entrance from the Inugami. Currently they are hiding in the canopy of the trees that stand on the shrine property


Kiku carefully made sure her feet were solidly placed on the tree branch and tried not to think of the hard ground so far below. Kuwa held onto her twin sister’s back trying her best not to hinder Kiku’s progress across the canopy of leaves and branches as they tried to put distance between them and the attacking Inugami. Kuwa’s left leg dangled uselessly, her thigh heavily bandaged using material torn from her haori. Fortunately the Inugami iron dart had not punctured an artery nor did it appear to have been poisoned.

“Sister, dear,” Kiku muttered through gritted teeth, “perhaps you might consider not eating so many rice balls in the future.”

“We are high enough in the tree the Inugami cannot see us through the branches and leaves. Unfortunately, we cannot see them either,” Kuwa replied. “Still, we are well out of the range of their darts while they are still in range of our soul arrows. Please, sister, put me down on this branch. We can make a stand here.”

Kiku made her way closer to the trunk and allowed Kuwa to stand on her one good leg. She took a moment to massage her throat where Kuwa had wrapped her arms for support. “Do you see them?”

Kuwa carefully looked over the branch toward the ground below. “No. Nothing. I think they may have gone up to the haiden.”

Kiku clenched her fist in useless frustration. “Sen and Chiyo will need our help. How many Inugami did you see, sister?”

”Nine,” Kuwa said. “I saw nine when they charged the human. I know we struck two of them down.”

“But they are not dead. Their soul stones were fractured so they have lost the source of their magic. Our soul arrows went through them, but they will shake off the paralysis quickly enough.”

The two kitsune looked at each other.

“Kuwa, you must stay. I cannot carry you, but I must help defend Inari’s Mirror.”

Kuwa clutched the trunk and eased herself into position where she could straddle the large branch, one leg and two tails dangling on one side and her wounded leg and her two other tails on the other. “Yes, sister, you must go. And with Inari’s help, I will try to see if I can find a vantage point that will allow me to deal with any spirit dogs I see. They will not leave the shrine with the Mirror if I can help it.” With that, she worked her bow out of her torn haori and, with prayer beads in her one hand, she closely inspected her bow so Kiku would not see her tears. Within moments, Kiku was swallowed up by the branches and leaves as she made her way across the treetops toward the hoiden.


  1. I still like this; it's infinitely better than anything I have ever done with my own writing. Good luck and please let us know when it's finished.

    1. With all due respect, I have to disagree. Your writing has blown me away several times, especially your Mayan stories.