I've been posting excerpts over at the LJ community, but thought I'd put them together here for completeness' sake.
1055 words of Hawks and Dragon on the train, despite people trying to monopolise or steal the table seats I'd so carefully booked in advance. Annie is still exploring:
Dropping a coin into its slot, Annie took hold of one of the telescopes placed on the viewing area for pubic use, and looked out to sea. She saw a ferry, a lifeboat, a pair of sailing yachts racing each other. She watched other craft steer carefully around each other as they came into the docks, headed out to sea, or simply followed the line of the coast. Nowhere could she see a whale, a dolphin or even a particularly large fish or group of fishes. There were definitely no sea monsters, unless they were hiding deep below the surface.
When Annie ran out of coins, and the telescope's lens turned black finally, she turned and made her way back to the station by a parallel route to that she had used before. Passing shops she would usually have browsed in for hours with barely a glance in their windows, Annie arrived in good time for the next train to her second destination of the day. The train was slow, and rattled along with many stops in only a short distance, each time jolting Annie on the lumpy, faded and fraying seats. But she arrived soon enough, knowing from her earlier research that she had only a short walk to the castle.
I also wrote some 300 or so words of Searching for Julia:
She decided to start with the drawer labelled Pre-Victorian Family Histories, and carefully pulled out a collection of pamphlets. These had been handwritten, and mostly referred to family stories from several centuries before the date at which they had been set down. Linda found more tales about Guy: a thug as Kate had already stated, about William who had become the first Duke through a combination of drunken boasts by the King in Exile, trickery on the battlefield, and the possession of knowledge that might have been detrimental to the King regaining his throne. Then there was Rupert Peveril, who been awarded with the second instigation of the title being only a Peveril through his wife, whose brothers had all predeceased her. Again this award came through association with a King in Exile and also through a close friendship he had formed with his namesake, Rupert of the Rhine.
Other stories in the pamphlets told of assassins, mercenaries and spies: even after the awards of title and estates, Dukes of Derwent Dale had served the Crown by stealth and murder in foreign lands. No Parliamentarians, Reformers, or major patrons of the arts amongst them, although some, even before Regency and Victorian attempts at gaining respectability for the family, seemed to have preferred farming to fighting in their later years. Peverils, if the accounts were to be believed, had played a role in many major historical events, although always in the background and with their roles rarely meriting any kind of mention in more reputable histories.
That Rupert section is horribly badly worded, but I'll play around with it again when I have easier access to my notes and to my reference books.
616 words of Hawks and Dragon and Annie is still investigating:
Where she had expected a broad expanse of grass populated by a few people sunbathing, walking or playing games, Annie saw instead a jumble of fairground caravans, tents and rides. Between them people pushed and shoved, dragging children, dogs and hard-won prizes in their wake, all desperate to reach the next attraction, or perhaps to get out of the crowd altogether for much-needed fresh air. Beyond the funfair, the church was an island of solitude, ignored by all but a very small selection of visitors.
Annie decided to go there first, stepping down the wooden steps that had been laid over the original stone ones and walking around the inner edge of the walls, as far away as possible from the bustling crowds. As she reached the corner of the walls, she noticed that the area to the side of the church had been fenced off. Flags fluttered from tall poles at each corner of the pen, and a sandwich board had been propped up in front. Drawing closer, Annie could make out its announcement: Medieval Tournament – Here All Weekend. She wondered if there would be knights, and whether they would joust on horseback or fight on foot with big swords. Perhaps she would make another trip down to the coast on Saturday – maybe bringing Rose – and watch the tournament as a human, before returning on Sunday as a hawk and seeing the knights fight for real. Annie couldn't say how she knew, but she did: just as the fair that was here in her human world was also there in the hawks' world, but rougher, so the tournament in the hawks' world would be bloodier and more violent than any show put on for modern tourists.
Now to research Annie's religious background...
Not much over 100 words of Searching for Julia, as I wanted to track down my historian and quiz her on the Hundred Years War. But here's what I came up with:
After replacing the pamphlets, Linda pushed up her glove and checked her watch. Eleven already: she should have thought to bring a flask with her. Laying the gloves on the desk, she unlocked the door and walked out into the hall.
A small folding table had appeared, and on it was a teapot, a cup and saucer and a small plate of freshly baked biscuits. Glancing around, Linda saw no sign of whomever might have brought them, but neither could she see anyone else they might have been intended for. She fetched the battered, but most definitely antique, chair from behind the desk where Kate – or more often Mary Ollerenshaw – sold tickets. If she was going to enjoy elevenses, she may as well do so sitting down.
521 words on Hawks and Dragon, and I upped my target for the month, although I suspect the final story will come in at a little longer again. Annie is still exploring:
Annie left the churchyard by the same way she had entered, although she'd noticed that there was a small gap in the wall, close to where it met the castle's seaward wall. A dog was sniffing around close to the gap, and one of Annie's old fears made a brief return. She didn't want to disturb the dog; it might jump up at her. Even if it was friendly, it seemed an awfully large dog, and she didn't want to be knocked over and possibly injured. Not when she would be flying again at the weekend.
Shaking off her nervousness like water from a brief downpour, Annie decided to brave the noise and crowds directly in front of her instead. She would cut through the middle of the funfair to enter the castle's inner walls, and then explore the buildings that she knew lay on the other side of them.
As she dodged between the stalls, ignoring those who entreated her to try her luck, to quench her thirst with freshly squeezed oranges, or to taste the best candy floss on the South Coast, Annie felt a new sense of unease creep into her very core. This had nothing to do with her old fears. It was as if a creature close to her was crying out in fear and pain, yet making no noise that could be registered by human ears. There were human screams from up ahead, certainly; screams of fear, and of joy, and the rattle and whoosh and whine of a small, old-fashioned rollercoaster.
268 words of Searching for Julia as well, and Linda is being thoughtful:
Sipping her tea, and nibbling on a biscuit that was far superior to any Kate had baked for her – not that Linda would ever admit that to anyone – she listened to the sounds of the house. Somewhere a vacuum cleaner hummed. Doors opened and closed. A floorboard creaked almost directly above where she sat. Yet Linda saw no one, and heard no voices. How many staff kept the Lodge in its current state? How many more had been required when a large family lived here, without modern conveniences, but with far more resources to pay others to do everything? What secrets had those people known? Did any of the current workers in the house have knowledge of how life had been before the war? Did anyone remember Julia before her marriage, or even after it?