Whenever I write another short story (or novella or novel) set in my beloved t'DoL's 'world,' I receive blessings. Not only do I free up brain-space for future progress (very much appreciated), but each completed story teaches me more, and sometimes also sows the seeds for future stories as well. So while 2014 was a really rotten year for total words written (due to not working on writing any novels, just lots of editing), it was fantastic because I got seven short stories written--the only other time I hit that number was ten years prior in 2004.
I am so grateful for what I've learned through my writing this year! Here is some of it, in order of when the stories were written.
I've been wanting to know what happened when the Shado came to a Council meeting for years, so writing this story was illuminating, as well as very fun. I'm so used to the most important issues/testimonies/requests coming up last...but not when the Shado is involved! I had far too much fun with young Hu-Hov's pov being an excuse to dole out random historical tidbits, like the apparent contradiction in the clothing of the mage-allies between Hope's Passage and Geren's day. Also a treat to point out things Geren failed to notice with both traditional Council declarations and the Shado's 'unlight.' And while neither Geren nor t'DoL pay attention to what the Shado smells like...the hyarmi certainly do! I have no doubt that Hu-Hov, Hened, and Hileko would agree that the Shado smells even worse than humans, haha.
To Serve Unseen
This story was a lot of work. Plenty of reading about various spices and produce to try to get a feel for what Kirih would interact with. Even more thinking about all sorts of things that didn't end up making a direct appearance in the text, due to the youth of Kirih and her brother: what was really going on with Kirih's family (Bivordian spies in the Dominion), why High Priestess Ilka had a female sacrifice that summer (her intended target died in the attack), and how t'DoL combated the avalanche (why so few in that buried village died). No chance to explain any of it in the story, but very handy to know it all for the future...
You Find What You Look For
I am very grateful to finally get this written, even if Heruvael behaved worse than I hoped. Ever since I wrote the latter part of Hope's Passage back in 2006, with Hu-Harek's swift departure after the Council meeting, I've had speculations (some of them rather crazy) as to how she was doing it. With this story, I finally got to SEE what she was up to. Not only is my curiosity finally satisfied, but it's in good time too, since she uses the same method of transport in 'Embers Fade to Ash,' and also at the end of the first Triune novel (though I have no doubt she has yet more tricks hidden in her pelt).
This is easy--writing this forced me to make maps of Eskaldaen, otherwise I might have procrastinated forever. It was good to explore the setting through a hyarmi perspective, as well as spend time with Hilome. All of which will be invaluable for writing the first Triune novel, as well as any back-story bits for Tarish.
I am so blessed to have gotten to write this, period. Any time one of the six spirits of creation makes an appearance in my writing is a very special event to me. It was great to get to describe what it's like to be a hyarmi border-watcher, though the story is begging for some sort of follow-up: either the rescue that made Harai famous when he was a teen, or another tale of what the border-watchers are capable of. Because I still haven't gotten to show through story why bandits don't last long in hyarmi country. But what I'm really grateful for with writing this story is that it helped me finally figure out the odd relations between the hyarmi guardian spirit and t'DoL. It's something I've wondered about, particularly since describing that spirit's run-in with the Shado in 'TFE.' Now I finally get it, which will help with future stories.
Happy Birthday, Defender!
This one was a lot of fun, but what I've been pondering after writing it was about who is NOT in the story: Hileko and Heruvael. I'm sure Hu-Hov was delighted to tell Hileko some year about what goes on in the Caverns, after being amazed to learn that he doesn't observe t'DoL's birthday at all--and had no clue when it even falls. The reason for that is because Heruvael and t'DoL are both long-lived mage-seers, so 'birthdays' are far too frequent to bother with--rather like observing getting a month older for an adult, or a week for a child. Years go by so quickly. That doesn't mean they ignore it completely, oh no! What writing this story revealed to me is the crazy things Heruvael and t'DoL get up to when their friend hits a CENTURY mark. Heruvael is 77.5 years older, so that gives them both ample time to scheme up ways to embarrass each other over reaching another century. Plot-bunnies abound...
Embers Fade to Ash
I am so glad I finally wrote this story! It's been over 13 years since I wrote the ballad about Saenna and The Changer, so it feels good to have it done at last. It also left me wondering why on earth I waited over 20 years before experiencing my first Changer/Hu-Harek interaction. (Then I remember that I'm t'DoL's biographer, not Hu-Harek's, and there's no way I could do them both justice without having the lifespan of Methuselah.) It was great learning and needed practice as well, writing in a time before t'DoL's inventions (particularly scrying-shields and flexible shields) have been made, but also utilizing The Changer's own inventions. I must keep all that in the forefront of my mind as I embark on the Triune novels. Now I just need to pursue the implications in regards to the level of training Hu-Harek's truth-hunters possess. And I forgot! Writing this story showed me why The Changer was avoiding Triune/Landfall when the Triune novels start, which was a 'feeling' I was getting, but now I know the 'why.' Very glad I wrote this one!
Thank you God, SO MUCH, for every single story You have given me!