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About Order & Entropy

Book IBook I – (Index) Book IIBook II – (Index) Book IIIBook III – (Index)
Book IV – (Index) Book V – (Index) Book VI – (Index)
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For centuries there has been a tenuous peace through the ruins of the Corinthian Empire.  One bought with the blood of countless thousands, and floundering in the shadows of a cold war fueled by magic, faith, and dragons.  The memory of mages may be long, but time brings complacency, and ambition is a wolf ever circling at the door.

Three children are cast into the royal court of the small western kingdom of Avrale.  A land ever caught between the true power brokers of their world.  Yet the forces of fate spiraling around the Ashton children hint at a larger picture.  That nothing about them is at all ordinary, even if all they want is to live their lives, and find their place in a world that seems to always have other plans.  They will learn that gifts can be burdens, and that great power is never without consequence.

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Extra I:11: Of Deer & Trees

There was a very short chapter back in Book I. The loosing donor in a string of edits, it wound up short, and I was always displeased with that. Book III and on really started to draw in some wider mythos that I’d always meant to get around to. The names of months implying gods, and goddesses all but forgotten. Who’s hand might one day be felt, but they were not much on my mind. Estae and estrus, Rhaea derived from Rhan, there further derived from Ra. The cataclysm of that old world in mind, but the details vague, and while Thaea had long had her name as the living world, the world tree was at most a passing thought. A conclusion not yet reached in the implications of how half a world was burned.

For something like a year I’ve been sitting on a fix for that short chapter back in Book I. I know one little nuisance edit this implies in a chapter soon after, but I’ve gone ahead and inserted this recently, and here it is as an extra to draw attention. A pair of scenes that in themselves don’t do much, but as foreshadowing of a lot of things down the line I’m much happier with.

I’m getting around to this between two chapters where these events are relevant, and have retroactively added them to the chapter where they now belong.

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VI:40 – A Scratch at the Door

Oh you can’t go home again,
because you never truly left,
the roots planted so deep,
as a heart inside your chest.

You are how you began,
so much as how you grew,
and if you think this less,
look to the diamond’s truth.

– The Mouse, The Witch, and the Window, 421 E.R.

A Scratch at the Door

Jovan 3rd, 1 S.R.

♫ “O’ Laeune twas a ghostly watcher,
high ‘bove the rollin’ moor,
an’ two riders there were a ridin’,
come to the mountains’ door.” ♫

Katrisha ignored a bard in the square behind her, but not without a twinge of recognition to the song. She tried to keep her attention on the duel a young woman had arranged against two guardsmen, and a knight. Sadie, it seemed had less qualms about cheating in her fight.

The girl wasn’t even trying to win. Glancing to Leta as she showed off. No, it was far too familiar, to how she had looked to a princess some years before. Katrisha rubbed her eyes. She’d let that go. She tried to focus on the match.

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Commentary VI:38

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Conventional Understandings

“…in the wife of… your youth… find… purpose. Love her as thyself, as one…” Mahla hesitated. “…spirit, one soul, to guide the flesh to what is worthy.”

This is a blend of differing things. Certainly one could point to passages that inspired it. All together on the other side there is a clash, and contrast through the chapter. The bible it is easily forgotten is full of polygamy, though admittedly in it’s moralistic tales it does oft go bad.

‘The wife of your youth,’ in the original context, speaking of wayward women is likely to instill monogamy, but the phrase alone is ambiguous. One could, particularly in differing contexts see a preference to a first wife.

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VI:39 – Bonds as Spoken

What steps a dance in parried thrusts,
twixt keen defenses all restraint lost,
thus entwined in surrendered grace,
relief was all there written on a face,

a soldiers’ wedding twas in the end,
there back to back we did defend,
an’ all was lost in our bitter defeat,
a war carried on, our part complete.

– A Soldiers’ Wedding, circa 150 E.R.

Bonds as Spoken

Rhaeus 42nd, 1 S.R.

“May I sit with you?”

Katrisha looked up from where she had set herself in a courtyard. A gray haired woman in red stood over her. She still only knew her in passing, however much they had come to share a complicated sort of charge.

“I suppose.” She let out a long breath, returning from somewhere, lost deep in thought, or all too far from it. It was fuzzy, where she had been, with her staff far away in her room she was not sure, but not there.

Raewyn sat beside her. A nervous composure allowed a certain youthfulness to win over age, if Katrisha was one to judge.

“Are you afraid I will be angry, that you did not, as you said, ‘follow my lead?’” Katrisha offered, when nothing else was forthcoming.

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Commentary VI:37

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A Binding Invitation

Still a week behind on commentary (and some change.) Got my editing pass done at 11 Sunday for 37, did not do a first run on Saturday because I was feeling good about it, and tackled other things, and getting ahead. Hope I don’t have too many egregious errors as a result.

Did not write my commentary in line this time, but certainly do feel like I have some things to say. We’ll see how many of them cause last minute edits before I publish. One little detail certainly fell in the opening scene.

Do read all you please into the epigraph, I have myself spend a good deal of time scratching my head over the symbolism, and trying to decide how much I intended. It does begin with the closing line. The single sentence inline commentary I wrote this week, and it became the epigraph, which I think plainly implies a spider weaving a web at the start. I do want to find a rational interpretation of a ‘shot across her bow,’ and I think perhaps I do. There is very much meant to be something of Rhaea’s boughs that were described as strung with gems or jangling filaments. Mind you I read entirely other things into what I’ve written as well. Less consciously intended, but perhaps very apt.

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VI:38 – Orders of Precedence

By common law she was his wife,
though if so said, he’d married thrice,
those women kept in a proud abode,
though each had grown a little old.

The eldest wed him in a dewy glade,
a youngest’s husband, to war had strayed,
she twixt the two, a pilgrim there stopped,
who found better work in aiding their lot.

Each lady two babes to the man had born,
but for one, who’s eldest’s father was gone,
five worked the fields, the rest in the home,
where it odd, I of all women, felt not alone.

– The Red Texts

Orders of Precedence

Katrisha walked past Mahla and Dahlia, sat side by side at a library table over a book. Dahlia was holding the veiled woman’s hand as she traced with the other carefully along a line she was reading. Katrisha recognized the words, stumbled through as they were. Stopped a moment, and glanced back.

“…in the wife of… your youth… find… purpose. Love her as thyself, as one…” Mahla hesitated. “…spirit, one soul, to guide the flesh to what is worthy.”

“You’ve your eyes closed again,” Dahlia rebuked with a gentle squeeze.

“It’s easier to remember,” Mahla protested with some desperation, and glanced back to the page.

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Commentary VI:36

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The Quick Brown Fox

There was a slight rustle of the canvas door, but at a glance no one was there. Braced as her ribs were, she regretted a half-hearted attempt to sit up, and winced. A slight scratching announced a scramble onto the chair beside her. A quick jump of a small brown lump of fur hit her shoulder face first.

I remain human, and I easily tune out certain tense fumbles as I edit nuance into what I’m trying to say. “Scrambled on” was a leftover of old sentence structure. Fixed now. I am continuing to run a week behind on commentary, as invariably I wind up finding too much to edit, and uncertainty of what I’m ready to say.

Lots of little things going on here. In my outline this was labeled, “foxes are the best medicine?” I have an outline of bullet points to the end of Book VI, though anyone one of them seems prone to blow up into two or more scenes. I’m hoping to resolve the book before chapter 45, preferably by or at chapter 42.

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VI:37 – The Spiral

A spur so strung across a bough,
dangled down in search for hours,
an’ up a trunk was carried neatly,
thread so fine pulled beneath she,

an’ step by step ‘round she went,
with studious plucks hours spent,
there at last the work was done,
just in time for the eve had come,

an’ by the dawn the night had left,
bright jewels tucked in each cleft,
smiled sweet for a love above her,
a trap laid so plain, it was an offer.

– In Her Parlor, 322 E.R.

The Spiral

Areth looked perturbed to a Torta and her kits in the corner, as Ossua led Anik’ka away. There was one last glance by the Temyn to Kiannae as she passed.

“She wasn’t much too happy to see you.” He looked to Kiannae. “Far too happy, to see you. I still do not feel like I got a proper explanation for that near drop to a knee on sight. Passed off with coaching from ‘our’ interpreter, that her wounds ailed her.”

Kiannae glanced to her sister.

“Torta, as she said it, with sarcasm is my understanding. A sort of half y in the o, Etore once implied. ‘Agreement of good,’ perhaps not so much. Too cute by half? Well, the legends are what they are. If you know the story of Lynx, Wolf, Moon… and Yune, they claim the Torta got written out. The ones who actually tricked Lynx and Wolf into fighting each other, and not humanity. Done on behalf of their goddess.”

“Is so,” Ari agreed. “Is too cute.”

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Commentary VI:35

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The Price of Right

I honestly drew a total blank on a title for this chapter. I had everything done the day of publication, except a title. The epigraph wasn’t too hard. I’m 90% certain I haven’t written it before, but do have some weird impression it’s familiar from somewhere.

The chapter title we wound up with really started off the thought, “I don’t know what to say.” It however plays nicely with various things going on, particularly the complexity of dealing with an Interpreter, and translation, but also so much more.

I’m still running a week behind on editing commentary. I might catch up later in the week, but I might just as well fall behind again so, we will see what I opt to do. Chapter 37 is coming along nicely. I largely have a first draft I feel good about, though some things need more thought. I considered holding this off for the morning, but we’ll see how engagement goes on a literal Tuesday night.

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VI:36 – The Best Medicine

That broken may be mended,
that severed by gift so united,

it is a jagged edge twisted,
that the healer cannot repair,
a sickly thing of the abyss,
that all should rightly fear.

Beware the work of mages,
that meant to bring their end,

to kill that more alive by birth,
is no more the ungifted’s friend.

– That no Gift Can Mend, 223 E.R.

The Best Medicine

Katrisha lay in a cot, staring at a log ceiling between her and the upper floor. Particles of dirt hung in her spell, caught from boots tromping around above. They slowly burned to aether, not unconsidered in the design. A bit of elevated filament density. In all probability not needed, but she had some concerns about backlash in her condition. It was also something to stare at.

Areth had offered better accommodation, or private. She’d chosen private, though the room only had a freshly hung tarp for a door. Wren had sat with her a while, checked on her thereafter. Each time she lay there, staring at the ceiling, he returned to other patients when called. Liora had sat with her a while as well, but said nothing. Held her hand a moment, then left. This had turned her eye, but only that.

There was a slight rustle of the canvas door, but at a glance no one was there. Braced as her ribs were, she regretted a half-hearted attempt to sit up, and winced. A slight scratching announced a scramble onto the chair beside her. A quick jump of a small brown lump of fur hit her shoulder face first.

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