The one nice thing about working at the post office in december is that I get paid hourly instead of salaried, and overtime during this month is triple pay instead of time and a half, and so to avoid that, I actually get off on my scheduled days off. Something that rarely happens. So, anyway, since I had this lovely day off I thought I'd do something I enjoy, like work on something I'm writing. And so the Fourth Draft of Exile Chapter 26 is done and can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
There was one major change to this chapter in the third draft, which is a part with Fayt Nightfang watching Silmera. I wanted to give the impression sooner that what Silmera did will have consequesnces, and I wanted the antagonist to make another appearance so you remember that he's there, and up to no good. This was a little hard because I don't want to give away too much as to his identity, or his plans at this stage of the story. I did drop a few little clues as to his identity, but nothing really solid. Still, an observant person could probably figure out his identity from this chapter alone, especially when you combine the small part from his point of view to Silmera's thoughts earlier in the chapter about Parth.
Other additions to this chapter were Silmera's memories of Parth and Torren, two things that will come back to haunt her in the ending. Also I added a bit of her fantasizing over what it would have been like to be a normal girl in a little village like Areina. This serves two purposes for the story, it makes Silmera seem more real and makes the reader more sympathetic towards her, and it also shows that even though she thinks that it's ludicrous, she's actually starting to fall for Mal. In the second draft she just sort of thought, well, I guess I'll take him because he's all i've got. When in actuality she's been developing feelings for him all along, and as such things are so alien to her, she just doesn't realize it until the end. Also, added was some dialog and thoughts on the Northern Sage's sacrifice of giving his life to eternal servitude just to have his wife back from teh dead. This is very important to the story, because this is the reason Mal gives up his own life at the end.
The idea of giving a life for a life needed to be introduced earlier in the story so that the seed of it could be planted in his mind. This is a bit of a spoiler for what will happen in the last book of Beyond the Lost Horizon, so if you don't want to know details, skip the rest of this paragraph. Temari will die rescuing Raven from the Black Tower, and the Witch of the North will offer to bring her back for him if he will take her place, because she was mortally wounded fighting one of the Covenant. Keeping with the whole dead is dead and no one comes back from it theme, she is like the Oracle. Her physical body died, but her Demon Core remained, needing a human body given willingly to inhabit, just like the Oracle. The Witch of the North offered her own dying body to bring Temari back from the dead in return for Raven taking her place for the rest of eternity. Raven agreed and the Witch thrust Temari's core into one of her wounds, and Temari was reborn, her regenerative abilities repairing the damage to her new body.
A couple continuity errors were fixed and some language cleaned up to make it more readable, and I've continued with changing speech patterns for all of the main characters to give them more personality