Sand and Ash 30, Flight of the Scions 12, foreshadowing, and magical healing

Now that we are past the depressing post of last week, time to make things a little more positive and cheerful. So, we have a discussion on standing up to leaders (might be a little applicable with today's politics) and why my fantasy world doesn't have magical healers (despite the fact I've enjoyed being a Reiki II sort-of-practitioner for over fifteen years).

Sand and Ash 30: Shifted Opinions

Chapter Thirty is an interesting turning point for Rutejìmo in Sand and Ash. Up to this point, most of the Shimusògo clan had been complying with Desòchu's dictate that kicked Rutejìmo out of the clan for a year. As much as I refer to anyone as an “elder” in the clan, the warriors are the guardians of the clan, both physically and socially. They are the true leaders of the clan (though they never take the highest position that Tejíko has simply because almost every single one will die before that happens) and, in general, people rarely tell the leaders they are wrong.

This is the chapter where that changes, when things get so bad that two people were willing to stand up and speak. From my psychology classes and my own experiences, that is a very hard thing to do. It is so easy to just “follow orders” or not say anything, but sometimes you have to.

While I was editing it, there was one little thing I had forgotten I had written:

A breeze kicked up around him, sending sand cascading over his feet.

That sentence has nothing to do with setting a scene or establishing a mood. Instead, that little phrase is one of the foundations of the entire third book in the series, Sand and Bone. I think it's kind of cool that I was foreshadowing an entire book this far into the previous one.

Sadly, the other foreshadowing in this chapter has a far more immediate consequences. There are quite a few of them. Editing now, I can see where I added the little details that tell me “something important is about to happen with this item so I'm going to remind you about it.”

That part, on the other hand, reminds me how much I'm going to hate the next few chapters.

Flight of the Scions 12: Virsian

I love Virsian in chapter twelve even though she is just a secondary character in this novel. She is special though since she is probably the most powerful healing I have in the world, which is to say, she can repair small injuries, scratches, and bruises.

Healers are very rare in Fedran: there are no magical restorations, no life-threatening injuries being healed with a wave of the hand or even a day-long ritual, and bones stay broken for a long time. There is magic that will accelerate healing, much like Reiki can do today, but the relatively power level of healing is actually at the same level as the “I heard Reiki could do” levels.

Magical healing is a crutch. In role-playing games, it is a way of avoiding “and for seven days, you do nothing” that is tedious for most players. The goal in games is to get them back to the fun stuff, which appears to be slaughtering monsters.

In a novel, as in real life, healing has a different purpose: it slows us down. We are stuck sitting on a bed or trying to get across the room and being forced to face our mortality and fragility. Healing is a point where the despair creeps in and the doubt fills in all the gaps. It is also the point where decisions are made, regrets are given, and life comes crashing down after being held up by the straws of blindly charging forward.

If I established a powerful healer, then I feel that I lose that slow down that is critical for character growth. Fighting is easy, you just have to blindly attack the enemy. Life is hard and scary and painful, it is the point where you aren't sure who the enemy is much less how to move forward.

And I want my readers to enjoy those moments as much as the fighting. I know that much of my growth didn't come during the times when I was up at three in the morning trying to finish some project, but in the days of being burned out that followed. Some of the greatest things in my life came while I was healing: I moved to Iowa, I met the woman who would be my wife, and I found that I could stand up on my own without someone's help.