Sand and Ash 13, Mikáryo

The thirteenth chapter is the last we are going to see of Mikáryo for the rest of the book. That isn't to say she won't show up in conversations (oh, she is and Rutejìmo is going to get in trouble for it), but her on-stage role is at an end.

Mikáryo is probably one of my favorite characters of this trilogy. She abrasive, rude, and demeaning, but she also has one of the largest hearts. What isn't shown in the chapter (because of limited point of view) is that she does love Rutejìmo, but she can't show it. She had to break his crush on her and it was obvious that he wasn't going to do it himself. The phrase “this will hurt me more than you” isn't something she would say, but when she slapped Rutejìmo and cast him off, that was one of the hardest thing she had done in many years.

I was thinking the cover for the next book would be this scene.

I know where my characters came from and I have a pretty good idea of where they are going. I know how much abandoning Rutejìmo hurt her. She won't know his fate for three years after this chapter. Three years of guilt and regret is hard to face, even knowing that she did the right thing.

Which leads to an observation that new readers may not understand until later.

Mikáryo knows what Rutejìmo is becoming. She has seen the same thing happen with two others; one succeeded but the other died. Like with the coming of age rituals, telling Rutejìmo what would happen would make it more difficult for him to succeed or will ensure that he failed. This is a relatively common theme with this trilogy: one cannot know their path ahead of time, they must experience it. She also knows how painful his fate is.

Now, the question is if she thinks he can survive it… well, she has grave doubts which leads into those three years of guilt and regret. Mikáryo is a warrior and Rutejìmo is a pacifist. I feel that it would be hard to have faith that pacifism would work when their entire life is dedicated to the violent defense and protection of her kin. Her sister was murdered by Tsubàyo. Her other sister, a non-warrior, died protecting her husband and Mikáryo's secret (which does not come up in any of the novel, so nah). Her father cast her out of her clan for a week in the middle of a battle. Mikáryo's life is violence, which makes it hard to see how any pacifist could survive the trials she went through.

I even sketched out that moment when she finds out Rutejìmo's fate three years after this chapter. It was painful to write, even in note form, but it's also an important one because it shows how much she cares for Rutejìmo. If I ever write her story (working title of Shadow Rider), it will have that scene. Not entirely sure how much that story idea could work, mainly because it needs to touch on fifteen years of Rutejìmo's life but also her own struggles which means it would be a novel covering thirty-something years. I might split it into two novels, I haven't decided.

Mikáryo had a tattoo for Rutejìmo made after this scene. It ended up being the only non-horse-related tattoo she would ever have. She had it put on her left wrist, right at the joint and about an inch tall. It was of a man running between two horses, a tooth pendant hanging from his neck.

Outside of the characters and plot, I was in the middle of realizing there was a second story in this novel and fleshing it out. I had to really finish the third book before I realized how far it went, but I think intuitively, those scenes fit in with how Mikáryo casts aside Rutejìmo.