There are a couple things with this chapter that I found enjoyable. It was more than the interplay of the individual characters but also how they work together.
Nudity verses sex
It was touched at the end of Sand and Bone, but public nudity isn't a problem. It is also not automatically sexual like it is in many parts of the United States. I wanted this scene to show that but also to show how the clan works together when they travel. That includes sharing the shower areas and taking turns.
It reminds me of the shower scene in Starship Troopers. While the scene was pretty much fan-service for the viewers, the characters didn't treat it as a sexual encounter. It just was. Of course, when the US created co-ed bathrooms, it is a big deal. Same with breast-feeding in public. Neither are a big deal if people don't make it so, but a large hunk of the population seems to make it a big deal.
That isn't the case here. It doesn't matter if it is Desòchu dancing naked in the last chapter of Sand and Bone or the clan taking turns with the shower. There is a time and place for sex and the culture understands that isn't it.
Of course, that leads into the cultures who do have taboos against nudity and the warriors' sterility to rant and rave about it. If you read the epigraphs of the chapters, you'll see those voices.
No rape exists here
Part of this culture also comes from author intrusion. I decided a while ago that rape doesn't exist in my world. No matter how dark, no matter how gritty I try to get, Fedran will not have it. If I make a reference to it, that is a mistake on my part because it doesn't even enter the consciousness of the characters.
I made this choice for a number of reasons but I felt that I could come up with a story that could show horror without using rape as the mechanism. That doesn't mean people won't get tortured but I won't let sexual violence be that mechanism. Even the torture will mostly be off-page.
Struggling for money
I can understand it. Writing is not a rich career. What I made just softens the blow of getting a book out and it remains a labor of love instead of a viable fiscal path in my life. There are times when I'm looking at my balance counting the hours to payday or hoping that one check will get in fast enough that I won't bounce a check.
In some ways, the struggle this chapters has with the hundred thousand pyābi offer is a reflection of my own writing. I take commissioned jobs frequently but they don't advance my career. I can't share them, I can't even say anything more than “I wrote a fifty thousand word commission and it took up my bandwidth for two months.” That is frustrating because I'd rather write a fifty thousand word novel in this world.
I don't though. My Patreon is slowly building up (I tripled my subscribers since the first of the year!) but it is a long way to let me give up writing commissions in favor of my own worlds (the fantasy or even the sci-fi one).
I like the idea of the clan being poor like most small business owners I know. They worry about every job, every mission. At the same time, they are willing to buy presents for everyone because it brings joy. They struggle but also share what bounty they do have. I love that about this clan, it is a little thing about a close-knit family and circle of friends that I think makes them special.
Sand and Bone 13: Voting
Rutejìmo and the other of the clan finally come up to a choice the next morning. Do they take the job that Nifùni found or trust Rutejìmo's feelings that there is something wrong. Even though both men have a strong opinion about their own choice, it is up to the clan to decide if the job is worth the risk.
Read the chapter at https://fedran.com/sand-and-bone/chapter-13/. All of my books are free downloads at https://fedran.com/. If you like what you read, please consider becoming a patron or reviewing one of my other books. Even a dollar a month helps get this edited and properly published. Plus, you get to see how it ends now instead of waiting weeks.