It has taken a few days to feel better after all the shoveling and headaches associated with the blizzard that came through here last week. But I'm on the mend. I've been using the time to construct a new short story. I've had the idea for this story for some time but was unable to pull it together.
That changed this week. Most pieces fell into place. The story is about a magic horn, the kind made from a ram, not the kind you find in a orchestra. Once I knew this, I wrote a small piece of backstory to get the history of the item in place.
Then I focused on the present. Who were the characters of the story and what are they doing it and why? This was the hard part. I knew the horn was in a secluded place so I put in a hilly location, hard to get to. That immediately suggested that I use a young James Claymont, from my novels, who I've established as someone who climbed sheer cliffs and mountains as a young man. In this story, he is a journeyman, bard-in-training, and his master is the guide into the hills.
That only left the person being led. I struggled with this for days going back an forth. I settled on a man who is without scruples, who seeks the horn to buy it. Most people don't do that because the horn is said to grant the user the one thing he wants most. In reality, it passes judgement and gives the person the one thing is deserves.
So when the merchant is unable to buy the horn he uses it figuring it will grant them more money. But that doesn't happen. And in fact it isn't until later that the merchant discovers that the horn has turned his riches to dust, forcing the man to live like all those he swindled for years.
And it was the sense of justice in dealing with the merchant that took me a while to sort out.
I have a few more details to sort out, like the title, but it is mostly put together now. I'm hoping to finish work on this and then go back to Book 4, which stalled just before the storm hit and which I've not looked at since. That's not a problem. I needed time away from it. But I really need to go back to it once I finish with this new project.