That Was Not Fun

So, remember this? In preparation for surgery, one of the things they’re trying to do is get my hematocrit (red blood cell count) up to normal levels via something called Venofer, which is given in IV drip.

Less than 2% of people have a really bad reaction to this stuff. All I can say is, that was the day I should have bought a lottery ticket.

I ended up in the ER with muscle cramps so terrible I couldn’t walk, with a spike in blood pressure, ridiculous vertigo, a fever, and severe nausea.  I’m deeply grateful for my local medical staff, and even more grateful for my husband, both of whom took fantastic care of me during this. But lemme tell ya… it was not fun. Not fun at all.

The symptoms are mostly gone at this point, though the vertigo and nausea remain. Makes me glad I finished the final edit on the book before this happened.

Have a teaser from The Sundered. I’m gonna go lie down.

Songs are sung about my childhood city. It gleams like a faceted jewel on the velvet-black water, crystal and glass refracting light onto shocking white stone. The whole thing glows. There are landfalls all around the city, too, creating docking areas, and they’re linked by a series of narrow white curves rising from the swamp, bridges as graceful as the line of Aakesh’s jumps. And it has good towers –– not ugly penis-things, but high stamens of balance and perfect strength, form and function and beauty in crystalline perfection. Only when you enter do you realize the brilliance of this design: Tenisia’s all white, but all its citizens are dark.

It’s a perfect skin color, dark as the richest lager and smooth like melted chocolate. They don’t need Sundered help to keep from sun damage. They keep their hair short – men and women both – and wear brightly colored robes of fine, soft cloth. Their children run safely in the streets – there are walls between the walkways and the canals, imagine that – and the smell of food is never greasy or too heavy with spice.

My father made a lot of mistakes in his life, but choosing to raise me here makes up for a lot of them.

The canal walls need constant maintenance, of course. Tenisia provides it. It’s safe. It’s the only city I’ve ever known that I’d be willing to live in, if I had to stay. Maybe when I raise a baby, I’ll do it here. Of course, I’ll be setting him up for disappointment when he finally gets to see the rest of the world.

Or maybe by then I’ll have found the Hope, and we can all stay.

“Man, that is gorgeous,” says Demos, slowing his boat beside mine.

“Jewel on the water,” I agree.

“We going to stay long?”

I can’t really answer that. “I need to research my Sundered One before I can say.”

Demos nods, thoughtful. Doesn’t say anything, and just falls behind to end our conversation.

“My lord.”

I still jump when Aakesh appears in my boat. I really wish he wouldn’t do that. “What? Dammit, don’t do that.”

“The bridge on the east side of the city is advisable.”

Curious advice. “Okay. Why is that, exactly?”

“I would prefer not to draw the attention of those currently unloading at the west gate, my lord,” Aakesh says more quietly, and glances toward Gorish.

Gorish, who’s still unclaimed.

Gorish, who’s playing a little in the water beside the boats, careful not to do anything scary like splashing people, but sort of humming tunelessly under his breath and entertaining himself.

He’s ripe for the picking. Unless he’s claimed. By someone.

Dammit, Gorish.

“There are envoys from Bek here,” Aakesh adds casually.

What.

“Wooo! City living to-night!” Tomas howls. “We are sleeping like kings!”

“There are men from Bek in this city,” Aakesh repeats quietly, and I stare at him.

Don’t freak out, Harry. “So, what, Aakesh? People travel. You know, like us? It happens.”

Aakesh looks toward the city, and I think for once I see a hint of something in his face. Apprehension? Worry? Fear? “Not armed as these are.”

He didn’t say my lord. “And you can tell that from here? You’re too far to scan anybody.” I pitch my voice low. Not on purpose. Just reacting to him, to his odd caution. What weapons can he be talking about? This is Tenisia. I know Tenisia. We’re safe in Tenisia.

Aakesh doesn’t answer.

And Gorish isn’t claimed.

I’m beginning to think I am never, ever going to leave this headache behind.

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