4 Jul 2012
A good story starts at a specific place and ends at an equally specific place. There might be other stories about these characters, and those of you who know my ongoing love affair with Allan Quatermain have no doubt about my approval of that if it’s done well, but each story begins and ends on its own.
29 Jun 2012
The only survivor of a military operation disastrously interrupted by an Umbral attack, Vincent Trung was rendered comatose after the undead creature noticed the sergeant’s psychic connection to his squadmates and exploited it, forcing Trung to experience almost two dozen excruciating deaths in a matter of minutes. Trung was written off as a lost cause by the doctors and psychics of Xương, the powerful Chamnơian nation he worked for, but kept on life support for study.
To the shock of the Xương military, Trung not only came out of the coma several weeks later, but seems to have done so with his mind mostly intact. Notably, however, his psychic talent for spreading the sense of proprioception among multiple individuals had abandoned him. With his unique abilities gone and the military leery of a potentially unstable soldier on active duty, Trung was offered a choice between a desk job and an honorable discharge.
28 Jun 2012
After the day she brought Yún to class, Mingyu and I spent all of our spare time together. We’d sit outside together at lunch, away from the other students, first talking about our pets and then, later and more quietly, about our families. She brought me a little bag of iron shavings to feed Ahmar, and I gave her some of the copper wire that I’d taken from the building sites for Yún.
I told her how my father left after getting a job offworld. He never wrote to me. I think he wanted to forget about us, forget he ever had a wife or a daughter, forget he ever lived on Engaul. I don’t know what we did to make him hate us so much, but I remember seeing mother crying once after getting a letter that could only have come from him. All she would tell me was that he wasn’t coming back. She married Rijal six months later, and had Rahman eight months after that. My little half-brother who took all her time and all her love away from me.
Ahmar was supposed to make up for it, I guess.
27 Jun 2012
In the Middle Ages, it was sometimes believed that twins could only be born if the mother had been involved with two different men. Twins were a proof of infidelity and as such were a shameful thing to befall even the most innocent family. One twin might be secreted away, sent to live in a local monastery or with a distant relative and thus forgotten.
Or, well, honestly? Sometimes people just move away from home and no one quite knows where they’ve gotten off to until it’s too late.
26 Jun 2012
“It is said that there is only one true road to the Land of Silence, and it is so narrow that people may only walk in single file, always forward, never back. Only those who are still part of the kingdoms of noise and life may even dare dream of entering and somehow returning to life again. But there is a way, and I have found it. I have spoken with hundreds of sages across dozens of worlds. I would have sought out more still if it had been necessary. But I have found it! And it was right under my nose, all this time!
“This is what the herb-witch told me: you must sit by the bedside of a dying person. As they draw their last breath, you must grasp their face in both hands and stare into their eyes. Death will look back at you. You must know what you wish to say immediately, or the moment will pass and Death will leave. If you receive no other answer than passing, you have failed. You must try again — and again, and again, if you are determined. I am very determined.
25 Jun 2012
This is it, then. This entry concludes several things: my regular run of columns (although I reserve the right to post additional articles from time to time), my Novagallia series, and my three-week June theme on magocracies. It’s Mureure, location of Chateau Delinoix and a rather sizable number of TDA-related people (Delinoix, Bouvillier, and others). It is also where the Lady Delinoix spends much of her time.
As you might imagine, then, I have a lot to talk about here.
Before I begin, though, I want to publicly thank the columnists for their fifteen months of dedication and imagination. Primarily, I want to thank Sean for taking over the creative director role and doing a better job than I ever could. Without Sean stepping up to take over, the columns would have ground clunkily to a halt many months ago. But his vision, drive, and dedication kept us going until we figured we had enough worldbuilding to be able to start telling more stories. Thanks, Sean! And thanks, too, for the rust bunnies.
And let me not in any way downplay the awesomeness of Marci, Sister I, or Geoff, who have all contributed immensely and amazingly to the canon of the Ingressa. I have enjoyed reading all of their columns, day in and day out, for so many weeks, and I hope everyone else has as well. Some of my favorite highlights from them include Marci’s Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain series, Sister I’s introduction of demon binding to the House of Bouvillier (which I loved so much I add mentions of it everywhere I can), and Geoff’s irregular series about the Minoan Trail planets.
Although the regular columns conclude this week, we are all staying in contact with one another, and several of us already have plans underway for the next fun thing to come out of Royal Archivist. But until then, I need to blather at you for several thousand words about Mureure. Let’s get started.
22 Jun 2012
I spent a year and a half writing Building Character. That’s not the longest I’ve spent on a writing project, nor is it the most words I’ve produced under a single banner. But for that year and a half, these columns were always on my mind, always driving me to do research or seek out inspiration.
This is the last month Building Character will be produced, at least in a weekly format. I thought that this might be a good opportunity to look back at some of the characters introduced in these columns, in a “where are they now” sort of way. I hope these tidbits spark a few story ideas for you, and I hope that you’ve found one or two things to enjoy while you’ve been reading Building Character. Thanks for sticking with me.
21 Jun 2012
Part 1 can be found here.
“I wanted to show Ahmar—that’s my xiùtù—to my friend, Mingyu,” I tell him. I make my voice as small as I can, make it sound like I’m ready to cry. “She had one, too. We brought them both to the schoolyard after everyone had gone home, and I took Ahmar out of his cage to show her. But he got scared when she took hers out, and started twisting in my hands, and I dropped him. Mingyu tried to grab him, but when she did, her xiùtù got away from her and they both ran off, and we’re so sorry. We’re both so sorry.”
Finally, the man in the red suit looks back at me. He’s not trying to smile anymore. He’s wearing a thin sneer of frustration and disgust at having to deal with a child on the edge of tears. Maybe that’s why he wouldn’t look at me before. Maybe he doesn’t know how. For a moment, I wonder if he has any children.
“Do you understand,” he asks slowly, “what you have done?”
“I do, sir,” I say, with a little sniff. “We didn’t mean to.”
20 Jun 2012
Psionic talents tend to run in families. There’s clearly genetic influence, though it’s equally clear that we just don’t understand the components of psionic talents well enough to map those genes yet. Current research seems to indicate a variety of other factors coming into play, ranging from environment to family structure.
But what is most intriguing is what seems to happen when otherwise identical twins are born with psionic talents.
19 Jun 2012
It is said that when the vandalism of Anna’s father’s grave was discovered, there was absolutely no question who had committed the act in the minds of those who knew her. The authorities were notified and went to her home at once. However, though they knocked and called her name loudly, no answer came. Her mother’s attempts to contact her by more conventional means met with similar failures. Cursory investigation at the university revealed Anna had not shown up for her classes or her scheduled time in the lab, an unheard of event. When the police entered the apartment, the place was empty, clearly unused for a far greater span than Anna’s recent disappearance. Her family searched and found all of her notebooks missing except for a single torn sheet that had the date and time of her father’s service, and under that a complicated math equation.