Sometimes, you have to make your own destiny.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chapter 6, Pt. 3


The next morning, no one joined Silay for her training, so she got up and ran through the exercises Riya had taught her first, then the few sword drills she had learned from Jarlen. When she finished, she built up a small fire and started heating what remained of their bread for breakfast. She had just started boiling water when Riya came out of the tent. Her eyes were red with dark circles under them.

Riya looked at the pot of water. "Oh, good. Tea." She nodded at Silay. "Thanks. And good morning."

"Good morning." Silay took the pot off the fire and added the tea leaves to it to seep while Riya walked off in the direction of the privy they had dug last night.

When Riya came back, Silay poured tea into cups for each them. They sat in silence for a moment. Finally, Riya spoke. "I'm sorry about last night."

Silay shrugged. "It's all right."

"No, it's not. What we're doing... what you're doing... it's important. Too important to let past problems get in the way. The future has enough problems of it's own."

"If there is a future." The two women jumped at the sound of Jarlen's voice. He walked over to the fire and accepted a cup of tea from Silay before sitting down. He looked at Riya. "I truly don't know if I can find it in myself to forgive you. But I can set the past aside for the sake of the future. It will be helpful to have someone who knows about magic with us." He paused, shifting his gaze between Silay and Riya. "Is that acceptable to you?"

Silay desperately wanted to ask about  what had happened after Riya stole the Wardstone, but felt this wasn't the time to ask. Instead, she nodded her assent to Jarlen's proposal, as did Riya.

"Good." Jarlen stood and stretched out his back and arms. He pulled a small bag of coins from his pocket and tossed it to Riya. "Your plan for getting supplies is the best. Silay and I will stay on this road, and you can take the main road through Fela. The roads join up again just outside the city."

Riya pocketed the coins then also stood. "Let's get going then."

As Silay helped break down the camp, she noticed that while Riya and Jarlen still didn't speak to one another, they also weren't actively avoiding each other. She was surprised by the amount of relief she felt at this. Apparently the tension between the two had been bothering her more than she had realized. But now that concern was gone, Silay felt her worry about the plague growing stronger. Both Jarlen and Riya felt that they were doing something important. The problem was, Silay still had no idea what she was going to do.


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There are a lot of pacing issues in this story, I know. Not to mention some struggles with keeping a consistent voice between all the characters. This is because this blog is essentially a rough draft of a story. I edit each individual post, but I don't go back and edit the piece as a whole. Which has some mixed results. Once I do finish the story, however, I plan to go back and smooth things out. 

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Also, check out the new 'Artwork' tab! Thanks to Lirantha for sharing her sketch of Silay. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Chapter 6, Pt. 2


The days quickly fell into a pattern. Ride until dusk, set up camp, and fighting lessons first thing in the morning. After his comment about 'dirty fighting' Jarlen started alternating days with Riya, teaching Silay the basics of fencing, with two of the swords he had packed. While Silay found this interesting, she secretly thought that Riya's lesson were more useful. She didn't say anything about it though, for fear of stirring up trouble between her two companions.

The growing silence between Jarlen and Riya was the one thing Silay couldn't understand. Neither had done anything to openly offend the other, at least as far as she could tell, but the animosity between them was clear. Riya had said that some people just didn't like magic, but Silay wondered if it was more than that. Of course, Jarlen could just be upset about the delay Riya had caused by getting herself and Silay arrested. Either way, they continued to go out of their way to avoid each other, until, after a week on the road, Riya approached Jarlen at dinner.

"We're running low on food. We can ration, but it would be better if we could stop and restock."

Jarlen rubbed his chin, which he had somehow managed to keep clean-shaven, but before he could answer, Silay chimed in.

"I could fish!"

Riya looked at her. "When? While you're trying to ride your horse, or during the few hours of sleep you get?"

"I could skip training tomorrow."

"No!"

 "Absolutely not!"

Silay blinked. She was pretty sure it was the first time she had heard Riya and Jarlen agree on something. "It was a just a suggestion."

Riya smiled. "I know. And if it comes to that, I can hunt. But hunting and fishing take time," she glanced at Jarlen, "and time is something we don't have a lot of. Well, that and food," she amended. "The best thing would be to go through a town and pick up supplies along our way."

Jarlen straightened his back. "I haven't been keeping us to side paths for the fun of it, you know."

"The plague, right?" Silay looked at Jarlen, and he nodded. "We don't know what causes it yet, and still aren't sure of the early signs. If one of us got sick..." Her voice trailed off, and Riya raised her eyebrows.

"You mean if you get sick, Silay," she said. "Jarlen and I are just along for the ride, remember? You're the one that doesn't have death in her future."

"Because I have nothing in my future, for all the good that does me," Silay retorted. The group lapsed into silence for a moment, before Silay spoke again. "So, supplies?"

Riya nodded. "I'm no Healer, but my magic should protect me at least from getting sick. I could cut through one of the smaller towns, pick up supplies, and then meet back up with you."

"And by 'pick up', you mean steal, I suppose?" Jarlen asked lazily.

Riya's eyes flashed. "By 'pick up' I mean buy."

"With whose money?" When Riya didn't answer, Jarlen gave a triumphant "hmph."

"Look, I didn't exactly plan to end up on a month long quest to stop a plague when I left Surwas"

"Which, if I remember correctly,"Jarlen replied, "you did because you had stolen Silay's Farstone."

"That was an accident." Riya jumped to her feet. "What the hell is your problem? I've tried my best to stay out of your way, but you  just can't le me be. So tell me! What is it? What is you hate about me so much?"

Jarlen stood slowly, until he was taller than Riya. He looked down, meeting her eyes. "I was called to Sojan for help. After you had stolen their Wardstone."

Riya sat down as suddenly as she had stood up. "Oh."

"Oh?" Jarlen wasn't yelling, but he might as well had been. "Is that all you have to say? 'Oh'? People died there, Riya, and there was no need for that to have happened. People died because of you."

Riya looked up, meeting his eyes. "I know. Which is why I turned myself in and got it back for them."  She glanced back down, towards the fire. "That was it, you know. The end of my time as a thief. I've never forgiven myself for what happened."

"Nor I have I."

With that comment, Jarlen rose and went to his tent.

Silay looked at Riya, and was surprised to see tears in her eyes. "Riya, are you all right?"

Riya brushed her hand across her eyes. "I'm fine!" Then, so soft that Silay could barely hear it, Riya whispered, "I'm always fine." She got up and went into the tent she and Silay shared.

Silay sat by the fire for a few minutes longer, before putting it out and heading to bed herself.
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So... a little backstory on Riya and Jarlen. Don't worry, there'll be more.
***
I was reading the introduction to an Orson Scott Card book (I, I know, he's a jerk, but he is a good writer), and he was describing the difficulty of distinguishing between different characters, and how each character is different depending on whom they're with. So not only is there Silay, there's also Silay-with-Riya, Silay-with-Jarlen, and Silay-with-Riya-and-Jarlen. And so on, for each character. Which is a lot to keep track of. I have noticed that as a result of this, Silay has lately become more of a background character. After all, it's Riya and Jarlen who are the experienced travelers. They might just be "along for the ride", but they know more about riding than Silay and so have taken charge. But don't worry... Silay is still the main character here, and I won't let her fall by the wayside.
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P.S. You may have noticed the invite to share artwork at the top of the page. If not, scroll up and check it out :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Character Profile: Jarlen (May contain spoilers)


Age: 52
Height: 6'3"
Hair: graying dark-blond
Eyes: blue
Destiny/Occupation: Alchemist

Description: Jarlen started to study medicine after his mother and younger sister died from a disease the Healers couldn't heal. Not having magic, he took up alchemy, using potions and herbs to treat his patients. He lives in Welis, where he was born, and the people there are proud to have an alchemist of their own.

 Alchemists are fairly rare in Ohicink, since most people without magic don't typically pursue such studies. As a result, Jarlen travels every few months to nearby towns to teach them about what he has learned, and has several students throughout the country. He joins Silay's unquest in the hope that he might be able to help where the Healers cannot.

He typically wears a tan or natural colored cotton shirt with long sleeves and a dark blue vest. His pants are dark brown, and go down to his ankles, and he has brown leather riding boots. When he is working or teaching, he wears the black robe that marks him as an alchemist over his clothes. The robe goes down to his ankles. It buttons at the wrists and down the front to his waist. From the waist down, it's open. The front and sides also have pockets that hold his most used tools. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Chapter 6, Pt. 1


It seemed as if she had just fallen asleep when Silay felt someone shaking her shoulder. She groaned and rolled over, but the shaking continued.

"All right! I'm up!" A dim light glowed in Riya's hand, but otherwise it was still dark. Silay glared at her. "What do you want?"

Riya grinned. "It's time you learned to defend yourself. Get dressed and meet me outside. Bring your dagger."

Silay followed Riya out of the tent, wincing as her muscles complained about yesterday's horseback riding. Riya noticed.

"We'll stretch first. Follow what I do." She showed Silay how to stretch out the muscles she had used yesterday. When they were both warmed up, the lesson began in earnest.

Riya looked Silay up and down. "The way I see it, it's less important you learn how to fight properly than it is that you learn what to do if you're attacked again. What did Talis do first when he caught you?"

"He grabbed my arm and twisted it behind my back."

"Which arm?"

"My right arm. Then he grabbed my dagger."

"All right. Let's start there. Stand in front of me."

Silay took a step forward, and Riya's hand lashed out, grabbing Silay's arm and yanking it behind her back.

"Ow!" Silay tried to pull herself free, but Riya didn't loosen her grip. "I thought you were teaching me, not attacking me!"

"I am teaching you. Now try to get free."

Silay struggled for a moment, then stopped. "I can't. And this hurts."

"It's supposed to hurt. And you can get free. Just think for a moment. You can't use your right arm, so what can you use?"

"My left arm."

"And?"

"My legs?"

"Right." Riya thought for a moment before asking her next question."What do you know about male anatomy?"

Silay twisted her head, trying to see Riya. "What do you... oh."

Riya gave a smile that Silay couldn't see. "Exactly. Now, remember your left arm? Easiest way to break this hold is to drive your elbow where it will hurt the most."

"What if it's a woman I'm fighting?"

"Hit the stomach. Elbows hurt, trust me. Now try it."

"But I'll hurt you."

"I'm protecting myself with my magic. You won't hurt me. Now try it. Drive your elbow back as hard as you can."

Silay did so, and her arm hit a wall of Riya's magic, which gave away gently. Riya released her, but before Silay had regained her balanced, Riya grabbed her arm. "Good. Do it again."
***
When Jarlen woke up an hour later, Silay was still practicing different ways to break Riya's hold. Jarlen watched for a moment.

"Learning how to fight dirty?" He asked.

Riya glared at him. "Learning how to fight usefully." She stopped the exercises, and they all sat down to eat a small breakfast before packing up and continuing their journey. Riya and Jarlen didn't say a word to each other the whole time. 
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Yay! Fighting lessons :) Also... what's up with Riya and Jarlen?