I've finished chapter 24 of the fourth draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
This chapter marks the end of part two, as I said before I split this story up into parts, each break being when a period of time passes "off screen". The break last time was 14 years, this time it's 4 years.
Chapter 24 was one of the chapters that was almost completely rewritten from scratch in the second draft, and didn't recieve much attention in the third as I was focusing on different things in that draft. Also, it appears taht this was one of those chapters I wrote in the middle of the friggen night when i couldn't sleep, because a lot of things like sentence and paragraph structure were pretty messed up and sloppy in this chapter. It was screwey to the point that I had to completely rearrange several paragraphs and fit in new ones to make sense of what I'd already written. That is the reason for the delay in getting this chapter done, it needed some deep overhauling. Also I had Mal doing some things that completely contradict his attitude later in the story, so I had to change that to make Lilia the aggressor, which actually takes less work than you might thing, strangely enough. There's a chapter later on that was from Silmera's point of view in the first draft but was changed to be from Mal's point of view in the second with very little change to the actual material.
Anyway, so the story is skipping ahead 4 years from here, because really, nothing happens in those years worth mentioning that isn't mentioned later. Pretty much all you miss is Malcolm Thatcher: The Emo Years, which we can all do without I think. Plus, this story is long enough as it is. The fourth draft is currently at 303,499 words, and at least 1/3 of that needs to go in the next draft. To do that I will first look at the story as a whole and say to myself, all right self, what here does the story absolutely need, and what here can it get by without. Then I'll go through it pretty much line by line and do my best to say the same thing in fewer words. That cuts out more than you might think. I cut 90k words out of Beyond the Lost Horizon, and I really only chopped out two chapters, one that was basically a retelling of something that had already happened earlier in the story, and the other a running gag that I decided was a little too stupid to remain in the finished manuscript. The rest was just rewording things so that it said the same thing in fewer words. Well, that and I rewrote huge chunks of the ending because it was a little too drawn out and frankly anti-climactic. After the final climactic confrontation, people don't really want 3 chapters of resolution, they want one at most, so things got way compacted and the story is much better for it. And Exile will be too, once I start chopping. Everything I cut out is better off cut out, and most of it isn't even really cutting, just rewording.