After thirty-five weeks, I've finished serializing Sand and Bone. The novel has been completely edited and posted. It is released as Creative Commons BY-NC-SA. On the website, you can download the EPUB, MOBI, and PDF versions of the book. Or you can just read the chapters right on the website.
One of my favorite movies is Final Fantasy: Advent Children. It talks about the events after my favorite Final Fantasy game. There is still damage in the world; just because the world was saved doesn't mean that the battle is over.
However, one specific fight scene has stuck with me as being iconic. It is when Cloud is fighting the summoned beast in the city. It is too large to jump to the top, but he still tries. It doesn't make it, but he does get high enough that Barratt is able to boost him up. One team member after the other pushes him far beyond his limits so he can finally defeat the enemy.
I love that fight. I love people working together to be more than individuals. In this chapter, there is some of that but in a different way. Like the previous chapter with Tsubàyo and Mikáryo getting him through the night, this chapter is about the people who Rutejìmo touched in his life helping him succeed.
This is the last and final chapter of both Sand and Bone and Rutejìmo's trilogy. For what started as a “simple world-building piece” turned into something a lot more over the last few years. For those who have been reading it since the beginning, thank you. I don't know what else to say, it is a lot to commit to a reader and I couldn't get this far without encouragement and well-wishes.
This chapter ties into two places. In the beginning of this book, you have a warrior coming home after being amushed. Everyone rushes out to help him except for one person. In this chapter, it is Rutejìmo coming home and, once again, only a single person heads the opposite direction.
It also ties into the first chapter of the first book. As a young teenager, Rutejìmo was sneaking into the shrine that held the remains of the fallen warriors that served the clan. Over the books and years, he was told he would never been one of them but now he's earned that right. He isn't a screw up anymore, he isn't a failure.
Sand and Bone 35: Shimusogo Valley
Rutejìmo can finally see his home. After days of running, loss of family and friends, and even his own death chasing after him, he is only a few miles from home. But those last steps will be his most perilous as the forces against him throw everything they can to make sure he never delivers the message.
Read the chapter at https://fedran.com/sand-and-bone/chapter-35/.
The hardest part about finishing a series is that I don't have a clear direction. This story is over, though there are many others. I've thought about where the characters go from here, the survivors as they deal with the repercussions of Rutejìmo's message. Some of them are sad and painful, others have a lot more joy to them.
If I write more about Rutejìmo, it will be short stories and novellas about the events in life that I didn't write about. His marriage ceremony, learning about his path, and even the birth of his children. The epic parts of his life are done with this book but that doesn't mean all of his adventures are.
This is an “anchor” novel, it sets up events in the desert during the Industrial War. My future novels could branch out from here either expanding on the lives that Rutejìmo touched, characters who showed up in any of the three books, or plots going on. Flight of the Scions is the beginning of a series that ends shortly after this one, though not the same type of ending.
Only one patrons has voted for the next novel in the last few weeks, so I'm going to say the next novel is going to be Second-Hand Dresses. I'll start serializing it next week, though I'll need to figure out how to handle the adult scenes there (I have “on page” sex for that one, which makes me nervous). Like the other novels, the earlier chapters only had beta readers but it will be properly edited by the time I finish.
If you like it, please review my books or even become a patron. My first three novels are free on my website. Reviews, conversation, and subscriptions are what pays for the next book. Two of those only require time not not a single dollar but help me immensely.
I do have my books properly edited. By the time I finish serializing them, they have gone through at least two editors and a number of beta readers. The patronage is what pays for that, the more I get, the faster I can finish a book and move to the next one.