Friday, 25 November 2011

A Scribbly bit of Harts Change

I'm wading through the book with a machete and in the middle of rewriting this encounter with Evelyn and Toryan.

Concerning the setting:
The fortress port of Daggers Rest has been taken by <Classified At This Time> and at the Beggar Kings command the warsongs ring through the country!  
Evelyn, Toryan and Leonia accompany the army of Prince Nichus south to join with his father and lay siege to the place.

Concerning People:
Leonia: a mysterious woman of power.  She has plans of her own that involve Evelyn and Ambia but is content to take the long view, for now.  You will never see her without her flock of priests [and as this is skirting close to classified information we'll leave it at that]
Evelyn Oneeye: The main character and a Tinker of the king.  She's been tasked with protecting the prince who makes her job difficult by laughing at the idea since he's surrounded by an army.
Toryan: An Ambian.  Technically he's Evelyn's prisoner but since he deserted his men to be with her it's a bit of a grey area.
Horrible: he's too small to be a pony and tables don't bark so he must be a dog.

Concerning the notes:
The words in a hue of blue, 
are notes from I to me (and now to you).

That which is writ in red,
are scribblings from inside my head.
If reading them becomes a chore,
they can safely be ignored.

[nw: So what might happen I think is that they sleep together platonicly which is fine because every one else is doing it regardless of sex. It is one of the best ways to keep warm out in the open and perhaps there is a bit of sex going on as well but I wont' get into that unless it becomes narrativly important.
Now as I have said before if they merely sleep together and infact have Horrible there as a canine honor guard then it will be fine and they'll laugh about it in the morning.
The next step up from that is that if they sleep together and in the darkness of the night something happens sexually between them. That's when the morning breakfast would be slightly awkward.

Whether or not they make the beasts with two backs is irrelevant. The thing to remember of course is that while sexual tension draws an audience in After the actual sex it tends to slow everything down. The classic example is the television show, the adventures of Lois and Clark which was a hit show until Superman and Lois Lane got married and then nobody gave a damn.
What then is the point of this scene?
It would be easy to say that there is no point to it but that would also be nothing more than sloppy writing and if there were no point to the scene then why bother having it in the first place?

The point of the scene is not to just get Evelyn and Toryan humping like bunnies which realisticly is not going happen. The point of the scene is that Evelyn has been sleeping with Horrible every night since the change. She has needed something in her life that makes no demands upon her, in effect he is a teddy bear that makes her feel safe.
Now feeling safe is the interesting part of that sentence because as strange as it may seem she is beginning to feel safe with Toryan and it might be that she has caught herself casting a lingering gaze on his well formed shoulders from time to time but thought nothing of it.

Note: She hasn't had any “relations” since Tobias died and that was 5 years ago. So there is opportunity for her to feel great shame and guilt over these thoughts she is having about Toryan which is understandable although according to the character analysis she is well past the period of feeling any guilt over this]

The scene starts with Evelyn drying her clothing out by the fire. Because she came in and found her things lying around the place. Which is the aftermath of Horribles rooting round in her pack. The small cover is protected from the weather and takes advantage of a natural depression to provide a little extra space that others might not have.

Horrible appears, still dragging her pack and looking very pleased with himself.
“Don't you come round here looking for love you monster” she scolds him 
Horrible pays little attention to this and shakes himself dry before lying down by the fire and refusing to move.

Toryan appears with clay wrapped hedgehogs grabbed some after Horrible came looking for her and wandered through Leonias group of priests.
[nw: Do you even get hedgehog in winter?  research this.  Maybe a pair of Leonias herbal soup things instead]

Evelyn moves over and invites him inside the cover “It should be fine if you don't mind the smell of wet thief” she scratches Horrible with a delicate hoof
“I'm sure you don't smell that bad” Toryan enters and rakes the small balls into the coals “these are going to take a while”

At her request, and purely because he is closer. Toryan checks on the other side of the fire and the drying clothing which he pronounces as coming along nicely.
He takes off his bandanna which is the only visible piece of his uniform that he has left and puts it next to her clothes to dry it out as well and runs his hands through his damp hair wincing at damp knots.

Evelyn starts to offer and then catches herself hesitating because this was a thing of love that she had done for Tobias and her son but then she resolves herself and says that she doesn't have a currycomb with her but she can do something about his hair.
He stands close as she combs the worst of the knots out of his hair, which, like hers reaches down to his waist and is home to several errant twigs and dead leaves.
“When you've the time you should mix three duck eggs and some oakweed and rub that into his hair. Leave it to dry and wash it out in hot seawater. Do that regularly and you'll have the women falling at your feet. She assures him
“I usually don't have time to make myself pretty” Toryan remarked dryly as he caught at her long hair that had fallen down his shoulders. “Is that what you do with yours?”
“If I can” she assures him

[nw: the duck egg and oakweed thing is an old practical joke. It does nothing for the hair except coat it in raw egg which turns into a sticky egg mixture in the hot water. Evelyn told him about it because she has a strange sense of humour this is revealed when they are in Daggers Rest with the Prince]

While she does his hair They talk about things
“Tell me about Ambia”
“Well you know all about my country. Stay here any longer and you'll lose your accent. But if this whole thing was reversed and we had invaded your people what would we be seeing?”
“The inside of a prison cell most likely” he said with a smile
“That's boring, I've seen enough prison cells to last a lifetime”
“It would depend on where you landed. In the north of our country there is a waterfall with water so pure that it washes even the blackest of slates clean. There is an ancient law that no matter the crime if a person washes themselves in the waters they can not be held to account”
“Sounds like a good deal”
“It's almost impossible to get to for all but the most detirmined but they are the ones that need it the most. But if you landed in the south you might see the famous hill”
“What's famous about it?” her arm rested familiarly on his shoulder, lifting the long hair so she could get to the deep clumping of dirt and hair.
“It's famous because if you go up to the top and come down again then for the rest of your life you can say that you've been to the top of the famous hill” 
[nw: I've pinched this from somewhere I know but it's vague enough to keep I think]
She paused in her work to laugh “No really”
“Really. This is a true thing! Ambia has many things of beauty”
”I might have to visit it one day”
“Then Ambia would have another thing of beauty”
“How kind of you to say” he winced visibly as she worked her way through a dense knot.
“You'd have to learn our language” he continued smoothly “shouting loudly at people won't work”
“Shouting at people is the ancient right of the Tinkers” Evelyn stated with confidence “but in case it doesn't work you might want to give me a lesson or two”
“In Ambian? You are a beautiful woman” he added in his native tongue
“What did that mean?”
“I said that it might be arranged” he returned smoothly “you'd have to get used to people calling you Vrykrol”
“Vyrokol” Evelyn mused “it's certainly different”
“It gets better. Your pet monster here would be properly called Vykrovolkia”
“Now that is a mouthful”
“It's only the roughest of translations. Your tongue is short and to the point but Ambian flows and our names are given in sections”
“Vyrokol” Evelyn repeated “then your name is not properly Toryan?”
“It's as much of my name as I was given. In Ambia we have three names that are given to us. The first is by our fathers, and is usually an animal the second is by our mothers.
The third we choose ourselves except those of us that serve the crown.”
“You only have the one name though”
“My mother died in silence” he bowed his head softly “I learnt long ago that she had planned to give me the name of heart which would have gone hand in glove with my fathers choice of Deer”
“Toryan Deerhart? It would have been strangely appropriate”
He nodded “But my father gambled our names away before he sold us to the service, so here I am a captain with only one name”
[nw: work on this or take it out. It's crap]

A heavy silence ruled the tent
“Our rule also is that a father must choose the name of the child” she volunteered at last “ If he doesn't give the baby a name then it is said that the child must have been a bastard. But they never said that where I could hear them”
“You have a child?”
“When we danced together I remembered him, and his father”
Toryan nodded “It is always this way. Young or old. Rich or poor. For those of us that have known loves touch the dance brings everything back”
“May I ask who you danced for?”
“Back when I was younger there was a woman that I loved and I honestly thought that she loved me in return. I gave her my heart and she gave it back cooked with garlic”
“All lovers are fools” Evelyn said philosophically “and all fools are lovers”

The silences grow longer but somehow more is said in them that whatever they actually talk about, they move closer for no apparent reason that any of them could explain if they were asked.

The tension ebbs away as the hedgehogs are examined and pronounced to be done. The hedgehog meat isn't the nicest that she's ever had but it is hot and does fill the gap. Toryan tells her that “It's an old army recipe which means that it can be quick, edible or cooked and you can only ever pick two”
Horrible is sitting up during the meal and drooling at the smell of food because if there is one thing that is better than food it is more food. “This doesn't mean I forgive you” Evelyn said as Horrible sniffed doubtfully at the offered hedgehog.
“Making him eat this is punishment enough” Toryan offered “they say it's an acquired taste but I've never met anyone that actually liked the spiky little things”

Evelyns brushing continues and she asks some questions along the lines of what he's going to do with it braiding or just a quick ponytail.
He tells her that he was just going to cut it short because of army regulations.

[Note from then:Need a bit somewhere that explains the Ambian army is based on Napoleonic lines.
Note from now: Or rather it used to be.  But that particular aspect of Ambia has since been gotten rid of and replaced with <Classified at this time>  anyway this maybe possibly isn't going to come into play until Harts War, The third book]
“Lovely long hair like this and you'll just chop it off? I can see we'll have to take steps to keep you here”

She tells him that would be a terrible thing to happen he asks her why and she stops combing his hair to part her own and show him a delicate blade which has been braided into the hanging strap of her eye patch and hidden in her thick hair. It isn't going to be effective as a killing blade but it would certainly do for sawing through something.
“I got the idea when I was your prisoner. Once the blade in my cloak was discovered I had nothing left. So I thought about where I could hide something that would help me”

“You're a woman of many talents. In Ambia we would call you a Moonshine Maiden” Toryan says approvingly, as she finishes making him look presentable and he destroys her work by pushing his fringe out of his eyes.
Tobias used to do that as well” she says fondly and then reflexifly leans forwards to kiss him tenderly.

She steps back quickly when she realises exactly what she has done “I'm sorry she says casting her eyes this way and that looking for an escape “I'm sorry, I don't know why I did that”
“Evelyn. Toryan begins but she cuts him off quickly
“Don't please, I want, I need ” she stops talking and dashes outside into the darkness without another word.

[nw: Good so far. But she needs to go back to the cover. Humping bunny sex in her current state isn't a good idea. What I'm trying to convey is that she is feeling guilty about betraying her love with Tobias. Which she has kept alive all these years with the argument that her love for Tobias was perfect and nothing is going to change that so what is the point in trying?


  1. Girls eat stuff like this up. This would be great for female readers.

  2. Are you sure? I thought that it might need more sparkly vampires.