A muddled sea of faces looked down the long hall towards a slate board that took up the entirety of the far wall. Some dozed, their chins rested lazily on propped hands, or even lay with their heads askew on one folded elbow. Kerron saw one boy doodling furiously on a sheaf of papers, occasionally flipping the stack back and forth to compare the lines. He usually ignored students who chose to use his lectures as extra nap time or time to study for other classes. It was their money after all—or their parents money—and it was no problem of his if they performed poorly due to their own bad planning.
Thankfully, today it seemed that the majority of the faces staring down at him this afternoon were attentive, taking notes and copying the diagrams he had sketched on the slate behind him. He turned back to the board and drew a closed circle and a three-part knot. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about names in fiction a lot recently, and the naming of characters in fantasy and science fiction, specifically.
When you’re working in a world created from whole cloth, or even in one loosely based on an historical time period or culture, there are certain considerations when it comes to naming characters, places, and things. It’s essential for a writer to avoid false exoticism, using fantastic names to describe objects or creatures with real-world equivalents. As James Blish wrote, don’t call a rabbit a smeerp.
“they look like rabbits, but if you call them smeerps that makes it science fiction.”
Would you like to meet the Marquise all grown up? Of course you would. Have some inciting incidents, while you’re at it. Oh yeah, and Cor. Continue reading
“I have been offered the Moon Chair.” Kesav held up the sheet of fine parchment stamped with the seal of the Rabh Alai, her black eyes glinting “It says here that the Rabh agreed to my petition just this morning, and I will be invited to the Council chambers in one week to take my seat.”
“This is wonderful news, my Lady!” The man across from Kesav clapped his hands together. “I never doubted you would,” he added.
Kesav nodded, a wry smile on her face. “Of course not, Melar.” She walked towards a long table that took up nearly the entire back of their room at the inn. She rubbed her hand idly along the wood, feeling the deep grain of the table beneath her fingers. Of course she had received the Chair, she had poured quite enough money into the purses of the Iron and Dust Chairs, after all. With their support and the not-quite-unwilling support of the Sea Chair—who on principle could not let his affair with a certain young priest become common knowledge—Kesav had been far ahead of the rest of the final applicants when it came to the final selection. Continue reading
WARNING: this snippet contains some spoilers for the main story. The protagonists find this document at the climax of the book, revealing some very important history. Just a warning, in case you’d rather discover this information at that same time as the characters. I include it here for fun and for feedback.
The last writings of Tevos, Rabh Alai of the pannari
Year One of the Hegira
I am not to be trusted, that much is clear. I fear She has already taken too much control. My thoughts are not my own, more than not. There are times when I can no longer discern the difference between Her will and mine. But for now, in the darkness of this vault, I feel her presence lessen and wane. Perhaps she takes her own power for granted. Regardless, I will endeavor to write down as much of it as I can, while her attention is elsewhere.
Brother, I beg you, take heed. Do not trust your own memories, for we have all been deceived. Do you remember His name? It sits on the tip of my tongue, as if I can taste it, and yet I cannot bring it to voice. She has erased His name, His memory, His grace. I feel that once He loved us, as we assume She does. Once, He guided me and spoke to me. But now all I hear is silence.
Briac watched as a speckled blackbird toddled slowly along the ledge of his window. He sat sideways at his desk, a few papers idly held in one hand, as the bird pecked at bits of dirt on the sill. Beyond, the streets of Kharo sprawled and twisted towards the sea; a maze of stone and wood that brought the myriad smells of the city towards his office. A smooth breeze brought in a pepper scent mixed with honey bread, followed shortly by sawdust and iron. But beyond these lay the ever-present tang of bodies, pressed together as they moved through the markets and streets. Far beyond the houses and tidy squares lay the harbor, already bustling as the sun rose in the sky. Dawn was a busy time in Kharo, as humans and pannari alike began to crowd the streets, and Briac found himself moving in his chair to turn toward the window and take in the city sounds. Though his tower rooms were separated by the main city by the walls and gardens of the Cathedra’s grounds, they afforded him a birds-eye view of the southern edge of the city.
Briac had been at this desk for several hours already, reading through the proposals and correspondence that had arrived late the day before. Most were not addressed directly to him, as few people would send a message personally to the Rabh Alai, but instead came to him after review by the Ninth Council. Continue reading