I can’t truly call it a vacation. I worked the day job faithfully and made daily progress on the current novel. But MBW, the HA, and I were at a resort on the beach in Mexico. So I did soak up sea, sun, sand, and cerveza. I’ve got the evidence.
Next trip: Howard Days. Will I see any of you there?
Now, without further ado, here is the next entry in Magnus Stoneslayer’s journal.
I don’t think about death very often, dear diary. A barbarian never does. I suppose I should take a moment to explain why. A barbarian, please understand, knows that his birth is a death sentence and that life is just the slow walk to the gallows. So he might as well enjoy the journey; the ending is predestined. It is not a despondent attitude; the barbarian does not throw up his hands in despair and wait passively for his demise. Instead he fights and claws until the end because, even though the end is fated, the barbarian does not know when that fate will befall him. A bleak outlook does not equate to a certainty of doom, so the savage warrior will not cover his head and let the blade fall. It might be the fatal stroke, it might not. If the blade has his name on it he’ll die. If not he’ll feast tomorrow.
So there’s no point in worrying about it.
I still was not thinking about death when, gaunt as a starving wolf, I staggered to the apex of the ridge, tottered for a moment, then started down the other side, my weakened legs wobbling then steadying under the direction of my iron will. And I was still not thinking about death when a ragged band of outlaws emerged from their refuge in the cave complex that riddled the eastern face of the hills like the flesh of worm-ravaged fish. They demanded I stand and deliver. If these destitute brigands had not been nearly as malnourished as I, and had there not been so few of them, I might well have died. But they were famished and desperate, eking out only the most precarious of existences on the far edge of the civilization that lay somewhere out of sight in the lands sloping away to the east.
So I did not die. They did. And now, dear diary, the meager scraps comprising their provisions and the shelter of their cave allow me to think about life. My fate still lies ahead of me, perhaps somewhere in these eastern countries. I’m curious to see what’s out there.