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This confrontation as far as I can remember has always been here, but it’s changed a lot of ways over the years. I worry about a lot. So much editing, moving around. New text at the last moment. Pushing later onto Sundays. Violence, more swearing, it’s just going to happen. Death and despair. Also I’m coming up on the end of extant written content. In another week most new chapters will be almost completely written in that week, or in the month before as I jot down prose that occurs to me. That means written, edited, and published usually in maybe fifteen hours total work?
Fight sequences are the worst on this short time scale. It’s easy when a fight has two combatants, but even three makes the flow of prose such a tangle to edit, and keep consistent. Really not sure I got this opening exchange right, but it is meant to be almost entirely testing. An engagement first to judge your opponent, to force them to send out a rider, and pick that off. A testing strike to gauge defenses, and countermeasures.
In real medieval times it was somewhat easy to gauge your target. Swords, numbers, unless the whole thing was a setup, wagons full of soldiers, one had a good idea outside of skill what they were dealing with. Yet introduce guns in more modern times, sometimes concealed, or here enchanted weapons, unknown numbers of mages, or other gifted. Numbers don’t tell you much, and Etore is kind of right about that. If you know your enemy doesn’t work well with other gifted, numbers, won’t tell you much more. Still a bit arrogant, but she clearly has narrow limits. I think this is more a cover, and excuse than to be taken with the authority she is trying to project.
Here we see some opposing ends. We’ve seen Kia deal with killing before, and Kat, for the most part, however key her role, she hasn’t done so her self. Etore on the other side, has seen some things. She’s been death, but it’s hard to get the full measure of what she feels on the mater yet. Certainly more nuanced than earlier versions of her, more embracing of what it means to be a mercenary, a thief, maybe more. I’m cautious with how I use the word assassin, since I have plans for this word that are very specific, but more generically used. Assassins will be a bit like magic, it’s a word with a very specific meaning of practice, but that the general public may misuse. Then again the divide may never be as obvious, except in commentary.
On the subject of violence, it’s something I tend to thread with some of the same delicacy I’ve used around sex. Although let me be fair to comment society is so much more permissive around violence than sex. I don’t like gore, elaborate prose describing the horribleness of violence in sometimes flowery ways. On the other side I have every intention for violence to have costs. Healers may mitigate physical scars, and widen the band of survival, but the particular point of the the damage to Randal has stuck. Everyone around him died, he probably should have.
Cadith, The Wolf. Also has been here as long as the scene, but he didn’t get a name, or an exact relation to the throne till maybe three years ago. Book III so far seems to be the place where everything from Book I comes back to haunt us. Ghosts, brigands, the uncertain place of Wren in things.
I really do need to get around to posting content on Osyraen iconography, and how it relates to central savanna ecology. Short version would be to say central Osyrae is ecologically harsh, and the actual top of the ecosystem is…debatable. Of course other than humans. Though it is not clear if Osyraens could manage to live in the central savanna without their domesticated animals for defense.
Alright sorry, trying again for a short version:
The Lion: You might expect the lion pride to be the king, but Lions easily get bullied out of areas by a ram heard. They also easily take pray from packs of savanna wolves, taking as the saying goes, the Lion’s share.
The Ram: The sheep of central Osyrae have a peculiarity, adults all have prominent horns. This has also spread into the mountain populations. Hence Osyraen sheep are more often called Osyraen Rams. The common people of Osyrae have a close iconic connection to the Ram. Snakes, Lions, and Wolves all fear them. Gaining little advantage by blending in, they are extremely white to reflect the savanna sun, and to stand out, encouraging most predators to keep their distance.
The Savanna Wolf: Fast, smart, clever, inventive. Savanna wolves are hard to tame or domesticate, but there have been efforts to bread these aggressive hunters with more manageable dogs. The Savanna wolf is the only animal that dares challenge ram heards, peeling off the young, the old, the weak, and the vulnerable, even tricking defending adults into trampling their fellows through agility.
Osyaens treat the deadly animals of their lands with respect, and honor. Even the loathed viper has been insured some places on the fringes of the wild lands, and its chief predator the constrictor is a beneficial wanted resident of the city. They keep rat and viper populations under control. People in the capitol actually bread rats as pets, of for release as food for the constrictor populations. To insure the vipers are kept out. Constrictors are also kept as pets by some, and even feral city constrictors are quite docile. Still, to watch one kill a viper is a bit unnerving, and the way they choke the life out of their prey does not reduce a cultural impression of insidiousness. Particularly as they get everywhere, slithering through every crack.
In open savanna, and farmlands the Ram’s tromping hooves, and resistance to viper poison generally keeps them far away from residences. Iconically one might see in Osyreaen culture the following implications:
The Serpent: Is everywhere, an unavoidable thing in the dark corners.
– Things of the underworld, but who get things done
The Ram: Is the nobility of the people, proud, strong, and not to be messed with.
– The people, the workers, the commoners
The Wolf: Is clever, fast, and cruel.
– Soldiers, warriors, mercenaries, fighters
The Lion: Is proud, and powerful, but the people are stronger.
– Royalty, barons, the rich, and the prideful
Ok, language. Expletives serve a function in language. I think I covered this somewhere before, maybe it was just in a writing group, but taboo words, swearing, cursing, these are things that cary meaning. Overuse them, they loose their meaning, but when the delicate, or cordial among us start throwing uncharacteristic words around, that when you know the proverbial shit has hit the fan.
Shit, was always my mother’s favorite cheat word. When my mother said shit, you know it was bad, or well, hurt like something else. I like the word shit among the large array of swears. It’s such an evocative powerful word, on the inner most edges of linguistic taboo. Also sometimes robbed of it’s meaning by this shit, and that shit.
It’s descriptive of life, because there will always be shit. It’s what life does. What horses do certainly, among other things. I imagine caravans sometimes go into areas, nice village squares, and are expected to haul out the literal horse shit when they go. I feel like sack of horse shit, makes a very nice thing for a caravan master to degrade someone as. Really, rooted in the culture. Evocative of the horrible things that come with being a merchant.
I’ve generally been fairly restrictive with language in O&E, it just felt right, but at the same time, words will find their time. Sometimes to accentuate the worst situations, or the word people. Sometimes to make light of how we use, and view language. Which we will see more of if I ever get deeper into Sylvia Grey.