This is a week where we talk about teenagers being unprepared for the world. I'm sure there is a deep seated introspection on my own life, but none of these teenagers are really "ready" for the adventures they are on. I consider that fantastic because it forces them to grow and this story will shape them for future stories (and novels).
Sand and Blood 29: Rescue
With this chapter, we are now at the climax of Sand and Blood. Unlike Sand and Ash, this is a violent ending. Actually, I like to think this is a visceral one between untrained teenagers with aggressive powers and high-strung emotions. In many ways, I took some of the rawness from Lord of the Flies as inspiration for this, these are teenagers who are thrust into a violent world. Three of them embrace the culture of brutality and death, one of them did not.
It probably wouldn't surprise anyone that Rutejìmo ends up being sickened by the violence, even in the rush of surviving the fight. It is one more way you can see him growing into his pacifism. Part of living in an isolated valley is that he doesn't have a lot of books or education on non-survival topics, such as philosophy. He doesn't really know what pacifism is, actually he never calls it that in any of the three books, but I like to think I show him realizing it on his own.
Read Sand and Blood 29: Rescue at https://fedran.com/sand-and-blood/chapter-29/.
Flight of the Scions 34: Distant Threats
I spent a fair amount of time thinking about Damagar. For a giant, telepathic toad, it is fairly powerful. In fact, it is one of the "dragons" in my world, an intelligent being capable of nearly infinite amounts of magic… if it was awake. At its full power, Damagar should have been able to kill these three teenagers and probably a couple hundred miles in all directions.
The biggest question is why didn't it? Mostly, it is Hunger. Because of its size and power, its personality is broken into separate specialized fragments. The various organs and limbs are up but they don't much influence on Hunger. On the other hand, the shards (for a lack of better word) such as Observation, Strategy, and Stubborness are capable of setting off Hunger.
In the story before this (which I never finished), Damagar was severely injured by a pair of armies fighting over it. The "spirit" of a dragon is a hotly contested item, mainly because it has such a high source of magical energy it is worth changing ones resonance to take command of it. It is also why, in this advanced magical age, almost every dragon is actually just a corpse or force shoved into an artifact (such as the Puzzle King's castle). There are very few "free ranged" dragons, as it were.
Of course, that leads into why Ruben is such a threat to Damagar. It changed slightly but it leads back to the "telepathy as the internet" basis. Ruben is, for a lack of a better word, a virus. (With hindsight, I think he's a personification of the GPL, but that's beside the point.) His mental framework means that he absorbs and integrates other psionic thoughts into his own. This is what happened to Lopidir.
For a purely telepathic creature, such as Damagar and Ruben's father, this means almost brain death. It only takes a moment for their minds to connection for Ruben to infect and tear apart the other mind. He isn't conscious of this ability, it is a flaw due to the natural evolution of vomen (which is an article in itself).
Damagar's inability to see Ruben is not invisibility, it's fear. It knows that it will be harmed by connecting to Ruben, which means it can't really think about it (much like how Kanéko saw Ruben in her mind when he was searching for her).
This does mean that Damagar has to work through agents to get rid of Ruben. Since Ruben has no conscious control over his ability, that means the only way to truly keep Damagar safe is kill Ruben.
Now, Kanéko wouldn't kill her new friend without major incentive. When Damagar was in Kanéko's head, he got enough to see her deep-seated desire to prove herself to her parents. It was also that obsession that gave the toad something to threaten Kanéko with: killing her parents. Also its copy of the memories were before Kanéko really connected with Ruben, so the relationship wasn't as tight when it made its plans (you know, plotting is really hard?).
That leads Kanéko into a difficult question: save her parents from a rampaging telepathic toad and kill her new friend; or risk losing her parents for Ruben.
The other part of this story is the theme for this week: this is a teenager. A sheltered teenager (seems to be a trend) that hasn't experienced being manipulated by any means, including fear. She is poorly prepared to handle Damagar's threat which means… she may make some painful decisions that an adult reader would want to slap her for.
Read Flight of the Scions 34: Distant Threats https://fedran.com/flight-of-the-scions/chapter-34/ (subscribers)
Hath No Fury
I really like female protagonists and point-of-view stories. I associate with them more, which is why I was always sad that Sand and Blood was my first novel. That meant when I saw the Hath No Fury kickstarter, I had to join in. I also decided to write and submit a story for their open call. I haven't had a lot of luck on these submissions, but I also wanted to write Chimípu's side of her later scene in Sand and Bone (which should be the next novel being serialized).
The final versions of my novels are available for a free download from my fantasy website, Fedran. If you like them, consider helping me by: commenting on social networks about my book, buying a print copy, or becoming a patron.