I've finished the Chapter 13 of the Fourth Draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
This is the second chapter in the sidestory of Patrick and Weasel. It's pretty long, like all of their chapters will be. There is a lot of material that needs to be included in these chapters to basically make is so people care what happens to these people by the end of the story, but I don't want to take too much attention away from the main storyline with Mal and Silmera. So I decided that I would do 5 or 6 really long chapters and put them into likely places in the main storyline where things are a bit slow to jazz things up with a switch between locations and characters rather than 10 or 12 normal sized chapters that pull you away from the main storyline and are more of a distraction than a good subplot. That's sort of the definition of a subplot after all, something going on in the background that's somehow important to the ending, but doesn't take attention away from the main storyline.
So, anyway, this chapter was new to draft 3, and as that was basically the first draft of it, it needed a crapton of work in this draft. This chapter is entirely from Weasel's point of view, and shows the turmoil in life between grief and anger at her husband's murder, and her dead son, and her loss of ability to procreate, replaced by her need to kill Samirreh as brutally as possible, stabbing them repeatedly so she can watch the light go out of their eyes and feel their blood on her hands. The need sets into her and she has to kill or it actually physically hurts her. She's starting to lose control of herself and her darker urges, and having fond thoughts of killing not only her enemies, but also her friends as well. The only things that can calm her are cutting herself and focusing on the pain, or being near Patrick, which she still sees as a betrayal to her dead husband. There are so many comflicting things bouncing around inside of her that it's literally driving her mad. She's a really fun character to write because she's just so incredibly messed up. It almost seems that a character this crazy is too far gone to ever find redemption, which only makes it that much better when she does in the end.
Anyway, since we don't have much time with these characters I almost have to overexaggerate their personalities in order to get across who they are and what they're doing so you don't forget between this chapter and the next about them. It's kind of a thin line to walk between overdoing it, and enough to get the point across.
In this chapter we see a lot more of what it's like living in the Samirreh occipied Four Kingdoms outside of the Hidden Valley. People huddle together in hidden villages and pray that the Samirreh don't notice them, or that the army they supply will be close enough to help them if they do. Disaster can strike at any moment, and they live constantly in fear of being discovered, because if they are, they'll meet a very brutal end.
Also, in this chapter I've had Patrick be the one to discover what the Samirreh are doing in conquering the Four Kingdoms in such a roundabout, indirect way rather than just sweeping straight across and slaughtering everyone. They're carving a magical symbol into the land in blood, which Fayt Nightfang will use at the end to become a God and bring his beloved dead wife back from the grave. I thought that it was important for someone other than Aaron to figure this out, because Aaron, for all his good intentions, is not very bright, and he never completed his training as a Wizard. He's something of an underachiever, only doing as little work as he possibly can and still get by, hence the reason he didn't press Mal's father for the right to teach Mal to control the Dark God, and why he caves in so easily to Silmera's manipulations. He doesn't have the patience, motivation, or intelligence to do more than he's already doing. Not to say he's a complete lazy idiot, he's just got all he can handle on his plate already with trying to coordinate between hundreds of bands of soldiers scattered across the whole continent and come up with a feasible plan to defeat the Samirreh. Plus, I wanted to show that Patrick is a lot smarter than the average farmboy. He's a genius, and it's not just war and strategy he's studied. He studied just about any subject he could get his hands on, desperate to find something, anything, that would get him away from his father's farm and his destiny to spend the rest of his life working on it. So having him see a pattern that the Wizard missed emphasizes that he is a genius and Aaron is not.
Also, i show in this chapter that for all his genius, patrick is only human. He is completely and utterly exhausted, so much so that he didn't even notice Weasel was there talking to him. Being a legendary general and keeping one step ahead of the Samirreh is taking a lot out of him, and he doesn't really have any way to relieve his stress. Markus, though a reasonably good friend, holds him with the same sense of awe that the rest of his army does. The only person that doesn't do that is Weasel, and she refuses his every advance, which only frustrates him and adds to the stress he's already got. He needs someone that will listen to him, care for him, and hold him when he needs it, and she's the only likely candidate, but she's got so many of her own problems, including not wanting to betray her dead husband by being with another man, that she is trying desperately to hold him at arm's length, which is kind of her only lifeline. They both want and need each other, but her dead husband is continually standing between them.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
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