I haven't posted the serial for a few weeks because I was first on vacation, then on a conference, then I cheerfully committed to a book signing in Cedar Rapids on July 16th. Since that is so close to getting Sand and Ash done, I spent a week getting everything lined up. Only a few steps and I can order the proofs for that book and have two books of mine at the signing.
This week, the two chapters have nothing to do with each other.
Sand and Blood 15: A Quiet Conversation
One of my favorite parts about this series is that character development happens between the actions scenes. There aren't many revelations in the heat of combat but in the retrospective of that fight. Rutejìmo figures out his life when he is forced into his own head or to talk with others.
This chapter is a great example of that. It reveals a lot about the world, such as the risk produces power, but also helps Rutejìmo clarify what is happening. This conversation ends up being one of the bricks of his life, something he remembers as being important. There is the understanding of how magic works, the confirmation that he is following his clan spirit, but also the first points where acts like a man instead of a spoiled brat.
Read Sand and Blood 15: A Quiet Conversation at https://fedran.com/sand-and-blood/chapter-15/.
Flight of the Scions 21: Flight
Damagar is my Big Bad for this novel. If you can't tell from the anime-style wall of wind, the mental communication, Ruben's foaming at the mouth, or the casual way he plows through someone's memories, it will become more evident later when he actually shows up. Right now, Kanéko and her new friends are dealing with his psionic scan. He isn't even physically there, he's just looking for them.
Which leads into why Kanéko can fight him off since she has no magic and he's more powerful than anyone else in this novel. The answer is computers, imagine that. The two major telepathic powers in my world are both based on the Internet and computing concepts.
The vomen (Ruben, short people with blue eyes) are a giant network that uses random access memory for communication and affecting the world. Their "magic," as it were, is rewriting the shared memory and having the telepathic gestalt change reality based on consensus. They also have a real-time democracy where every connected vomen is capable of voting on any change to the votim (the group mind) to determine if they are going to change the world.
Damagar, on the other hand, is a really big microkernel intelligence. Internally, he has a number of personality fragments (kind of like D&D Psion's crystal familiars) that work together to move its body, cast spells, and make decisions. I did this because its is a giant and I thought a dedicated personality (a "coprocessor") for each limb made sense.
Personalities take energy and Damagar has a limited amount of processing power. In effect, his consciousness can only handle a certain number of decisions at once before it spends too much time trying to decide something instead of acting on those decisions. If every single one was active, it would just sit there because nothing would have attention to actually get anything done.
There is some more complexity, but Damagar was in "sleep mode" when the teenagers woke him up. Like a worker process, it takes a while to "spin up a personality" and get it active. In addition, if it wakes up too many, too fast, a "garbage collection" personality (Hunger) wakes up. And Hunger (along with Rage) have a tendency to take all processing power.
Through the original story, there was chapters from Damagar's point of view that showed its reason for hunting Ruben and the struggle to manage its resources along with its fears. There was a reason Damagar was under the rock and that is part of the "sleep mode" it was in. It also references the original version of Damagar (a Western-style dragon) before I changed it into its current form (which is in 3-4 chapters).
I don't know if I'll ever write a novella about Damagar's experience through this event (the taken out chapters). It might be interesting, but it depends on reader's interest.
The other reason Kanéko can fight him off is that her strength is obsession, visualization, and planning. She doesn't have magic but she has an active imagination and an analytic mind. These are the basis for receiving telepathic communication (but she can't initiate it herself).
Read Flight of the Scions 21: Flight https://fedran.com/flight-of-the-scions/chapter-21/ (subscribers)
I also made the rest of the unedited novel available for $4/month subscribers.
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