It is about time I did an update on the NaNoWriMo progress. So far it is going good without being outstanding – around 15,100 words in the fist 8 days. At current rates I should hit the target goal by the end of the month, though with Skyrim due out in a couple of days productivity may drop off. So far the words are split between the first novelette (7250 words done) and the novella (7900 words done.)

Once done it will still need a bit of polishing, and I do mean to make a few adjustments to Obadiah when that happens as well. I came to the idea that I’d like him to be a purveyor of innocent snark – by that he makes comments that are on the surface innocent enough but in a different tone could be snarky. The idea came from a comment he made at one point which fitted that concept – “A most novel solution, sir,” Obadiah said, “But I do trust that it has not caused us an impediment to getting out, should the need arise.”

And now for a short extract (which still needs polishing up), of the opening passage of the first novelette, which goes by the working title Hammer of the Pygmies.

The room shuddered in accordance with the muffled explosion that sounded from outside. The fine crystal chandelier swayed, while upon the table porcelain and silverware rattled.

There sat at the table, reading a newspaper, a tall man of handsome demeanour. His blond hair, moustache and sideburns were neatly trimmed, with not a strand out of place. He had reached the age where its exact nature was hard to pin down, for while not a touch of grey marred his hair, the sure sign of the passage of years, he was yet no longer a youngster either.

Sir Richard Hammerman, gentleman adventurer, late of East Dalforth Estate in Albion, but of present making his residence in Her Immortal Majesty Queen Elizabeth the First’s Cape Colony in South Africus, twitched aside the corners of the evening newspaper he was perusing to look down the length of the table towards the doorway into the room with a keen blue eyed gaze. It took only a few moments for the door to open. A big, solidly built man with a ruddy complexion entered. He bore a large walrus moustache and short cropped ginger hair as well as an expression of thoughtful concentration.

“The Doctor?” Sir Richard enquired.

“Indeed, sir.”

Sir Richard replied with a touch of a nod before returning to his paper. “It would prudent, I think, to have a cup of tea ready for him, Obadiah.”

“Certainly, sir.”

Obadiah Crabb stepped back out of the room, leaving Sir Richard to his reading as he awaited the arrival of the good doctor. The Cape Colony Times, the local news sheet, held reports from across the Empire and its Dominions, from Indus and Australis, from across the dark continent of Africus and the New World, and was the paper read by the Gentlemen of Cape Colony. Sir Richard tuned a page before picking up a cup of tea to take a sip from. His eye caught note of news from the Indus frontier, of reports of clashes with tribal revels, followed by a report of the continuing boom of the Australis Gold Rushes, where the lucky were striking it rich overnight.

When the door at last reopened, Sir Richard had finished with both his cup of tea and the perusal of the paper. The man who entered the room, Doctor Hamilton Gooding, had a face dominated by a long nose and an impressive bushy salt and pepper beard. Smudges of soot covered his face, all bar for circles about his eyes where his brass goggles had sat, goggles that were now pushed up onto his head. He pulled off a pair of thick leather gloves, and tossed them down along with a heavy work apron that bore the pock marks produced by hot sparks.

“Problems, doctor?” Sir Richard enquired politely.

“Aye, that there is laddie,” Hamilton replied in his thick Scotti accent. “The wee mule is having a spot o’bother. I requested a Number Three tumbling ratchet and what they supplied me with was a blasted Number Five. Caused the whole contraption to o’erheat and near take my head off.”

Obadiah slipped back into the room, setting down a fresh cup of tea before Doctor Hamilton.

“Much appreciated, laddie,” Hamilton said, easing his frame into a chair. Taking up the sugar prongs he added a cube of sugar to the tea and commenced stirring it in.

“Has this set back our plans?” Sir Richard asked, folding up the paper and setting it down on the table. Obadiah busied himself clearing away the plates and platters that had been set down for dinner.

“Not at all. I’ll have the wee beastie back up and functioning afore you can mention it.”

“That is good to hear.”

Out in the hallway, the clock began to jangle, marking the arrival of a new hour.

Sir Richard pushed back his chair and rose to his feet. “If you will excuse me, I am expected down at the club.”

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