Words in Chapter 18: 1407 (including notes)
Words total: 76,627
Reason for stopping: End of scene and time I mowed the grass while it's still fine.
I still have small groups of characters haring around the countryside trying to catch one another. As it's vital that they don't catch one another too soon, I had to invent another path up through the woods so that Gladdis and Edmund and the various fell creatures could cut straight back to the mountain in order to head Ceri off at the focusing arrays instead of catching up with her on the road before she could reach the mountain.
They could have gone up the short cut that I'm making Moris and Rishard use, in order to avoid them meeting Ceri. On the other hand, that would mean Gladdis and Edmund meeting Moris and Rishard (the neighbour) and Googy. And that would mean Goorgy would be able to tell Gladdis about Tasseff Park going critical several scenes before I want her to know. Aarrgghh! So I had to hastily throw some hedges and stiles across the short cut, making it impassible for people riding nuggles. (Which is what Gladdis and Edmund are currently doing. A nuggle, just to remind those who've forgotten how big they are, is about the size of a Section A Welsh Mountain Pony. *g*)
Cloak flapping behind her, Gladdis led the horde of fell creatures as they streamed along the lane. Right behind her pounded Edmund, the little nuggle that bore him gamely stretched out its neck and galloped on.
"There's a short cut I know!" Edmund said after a few minutes.
"And how long is it since you rode that way?" Gladdis panted. Staying on a galloping nuggle, even one that was cooperating, took some doing and it had been centuries since she had last ridden a horse.
"Quite recently. I think."
"And I think not. I don't suppose you've ridden that way since the farmers enclosed the land and built stiles and planted hedges."
"Well..." Edmund hunched his feet higher and twisted his leather-gloved hands into the long white mane in an attempt to stop himself bouncing quite so high at each jerky stride. "It might be some little time, I admit."
"Do you think you can stay on the nuggle while it jumps a hedge?"
Edmund raised his right hand in the air, as though brandishing an invisible sword. "On my great charger Brightmane, I cleared rivers in one bound. I leaped walls. I sprang across ditches awash with blood and filled to the brim with the corpses of men." The nuggle swerved to avoid a puddle in the road and Edmund slipped sideways. There was a pause while he regained a more or less upright posture. "But on a nuggle? No, definitely not."