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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:01 pm 
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Good stuff so far. I like the glimpse into Sienna's past. Sad though it is, I love the description of her father leaving her with people he felt he could guilt into keeping her. And of course I really like the working relationship she has with Sage, basically a 'I know you're good, you know I'm good, let's do our own thing but do it together' kind of thing. I can dig it.

Your lyrical depiction of the Bonney centaur lad tossing off this mortal coil was nice. I strongly suspected that Tosser was not going to make it, and the whole this is all his fault, of course, but sad, nonetheless. I liked Lanta stepping in to shut Acey up, and then immediately regret it, fearing that she had killed them. Now granted, I'm not entirely sure if Acey being alive or dead ultimately matters much for them. Deucey's going to want them dead either way, and they'll hold back for a while (until they know he's dead) but who knows, she might demand to hear him or something.

One minor nitpick I need to mention, and we can debate this one as a group, but I sort of envisioned the epithet "Lost-Wage" for Sage as being from his bandit days. I always kind of imagined that it was his reason for becoming a bandit in the old days, perhaps a gambling addiction that he later kicked. So, in my mind anyway, I don't necessarily think Sienna would know it? But she might. If she and Sage had been ridding together for that long, maybe he's mentioned it once or twice. Who knows?

Thanks for posting!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:46 pm 
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@Raven -- thank you so much for reading, pardner. :hattip: I'm glad that people are still enjoying the story!

Good stuff so far. I like the glimpse into Sienna's past. Sad though it is, I love the description of her father leaving her with people he felt he could guilt into keeping her. And of course I really like the working relationship she has with Sage, basically a 'I know you're good, you know I'm good, let's do our own thing but do it together' kind of thing. I can dig it.

Yeah, this bit actually turned out better than I was afraid it would, I think? I made kind of a questionable narrative decision at the start of the story that I was going to introduce a whole raft of new characters, and basically tell nothing about them, beyond maybe a sort of bare minimum of description, and a few facts that come out in conversation. And this was less down to some grand master plan than it was to the fact that (a) I was still figuring out who these people were on the fly and (b) I figured that, in those first couple chapters which really take place over a matter of hours, and where everything is kind of going to hell, it didn't make a lot of sense to sort of pause the action and dwell on, say, who Sienna is, or how she met Scar, or why either of them are tolerating Tosser given that he's clearly a huge liability, or any of that. (Scar's extended meditation on the ridders, is, I guess, a kind of weird exception, and that probably grew more from a desperate desire to pad my word count that day than from intelligent thinking, which again is why it's a relief to have said "sod it" to the artificial daily quota.) Anyway, so, as we got to the start of the second day in the story, we still don't know much about several of the central characters, and so the idea which occurred to me was to now take a little time to explore more about the (non-Scar) characters as the POV lens gradually swings back to each one of them. And I guess we'll see if that works, or if it ends up feeling like a weird drag on the pacing. But I actually sort of like that we maybe have a sketch of them now, just based on their words and actions to this point, and now'll we'll kind of shade in some of the blanks, as opposed to just meeting them all in one go.

Anyway, yeah, Sienna's upbringing is interesting to me, and, like you said, this idea that she was almost a public baby, for lack of a better word. She had a family, but that's not who raised her. Which, in a way, gives her something in common with Scar which, frankly, I suspect that the two of them are vaguely aware of at an intuition level, but which I doubt they have or ever would discuss openly. Sienna just doesn't strike me as the type, and, of course, Scar has her own reasons to be guarded.

Also, I love that, in Sienna's sort of back-of-the-envelope assessment of Sage, his obvious skills as a ridder are counterbalanced by his "unsociable demeanor." But where other ridder captains maybe have their egos wounded by Sage's marksmanship and lack of interest in deference, Sienna isn't ego driven, and so she can appreciate Sage's good qualities while working around his rough edges. And so I do like this sort of live-and-let-live attitude they appear to have to each other, and I like how it seems to retroactively cast some light on their "argument" of the night before -- I don't think they're used to clashing much, because each knows how to avoid the other's sore spots, and so it rankles them both when Sienna is reduced to attempting to pull rank, and when Sage initially won't acknowledge it. They're not used to escalating with each other, I don't think.


Your lyrical depiction of the Bonney centaur lad tossing off this mortal coil was nice. I strongly suspected that Tosser was not going to make it, and the whole this is all his fault, of course, but sad, nonetheless.

Yeah, I don't think Tosser ever had a chance. Initially, I think I envisioned him lasting a little longer than he did, but, for whatever reason, in the moment, this just felt like the point when his time had come. And I think that Scar shows a real kind of grace in this scene, I hope. Because -- as she freely admits, both to herself, and to Lanta afterwards -- Tosser is not her friend. But there he is, dying, and she's the only person who can be there with him in that moment. And so she does for him what she can, even though she doesn't know what any of it means, and, in the end, she cries for him, because, even though he was young, and foolish, he had that same ineffable spark in him that everyone who lives and breathes does, and something has gone out of the world. He has probably signed her death warrant, and he is not her friend, but she still sheds a tear for him. That's not a sign that she's weak. That's a sign that she's strong.


I liked Lanta stepping in to shut Acey up, and then immediately regret it, fearing that she had killed them. Now granted, I'm not entirely sure if Acey being alive or dead ultimately matters much for them. Deucey's going to want them dead either way, and they'll hold back for a while (until they know he's dead) but who knows, she might demand to hear him or something.

Yeah, Lanta finally shows some unexpected action here -- even though she's more surprised by it than anyone else, I think. I like both of Acey's interjections into the scene -- first, when he tells Scar not to pay attention to Tosser, and, second, when he just deadpans, "I ain't," at this emotional moment, as though he clearly expects that no one will punish him for it. And I don't think that Scar or Sienna would have -- they'd gag him, for sure, but not cold-cock him -- they know they need Acey alive (at least for now). But Lanta doesn't have maybe that same level of self-control, and so she reacts emotionally. (I'm also inordinately amused by the image of Acey sitting on his cot, and tossing the playing cards into his chamber pot. It reminds me of Deucey with her bullet trick. Also, given how much whining I'm sure Acey did before Lanta gave him the patience deck, I think it again shows us his sort of calibrated disregard for his captors -- he's constantly trying to see how much he can push them.)


One minor nitpick I need to mention, and we can debate this one as a group, but I sort of envisioned the epithet "Lost-Wage" for Sage as being from his bandit days. I always kind of imagined that it was his reason for becoming a bandit in the old days, perhaps a gambling addiction that he later kicked. So, in my mind anyway, I don't necessarily think Sienna would know it? But she might. If she and Sage had been ridding together for that long, maybe he's mentioned it once or twice. Who knows?

Ah, no, you know what? I didn't even think about that. I think you're probably right, and I'll just take that out in revisions.


* * *


Chapter 9

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"And remember, I'm pullin' for ya, 'cause we're all in this together." - Red Green


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:12 pm 
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Poor Lanta. I hope that, before all this is over, she gets her book from the Verkell long-distance Library. Hopefully they don't need to bury her with it (the overdue book fine will come to far more than six boks).

I really liked the moment when Scar starts to get hot at Deucey, and Sienna has to tell her to breathe. Good "Show don't tell" stuff there, and a telling moment for both characters.

It'll be interesting to see what comes of this forthcoming exchange, and what I imagine will be a standoff afterward. I am also starting to wonder where the remaining two ridders are, Sasha and the (I believe) thus far unnamed sixth ridder. I wonder what will end up happening with them.

Thanks for posting, Orcish! I am very much enjoying the story thus far.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:36 pm 
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I am also starting to wonder where the remaining two ridders are, Sasha and the (I believe) thus far unnamed sixth ridder. I wonder what will end up happening with them.

Full disclosure -- ridders five through six may not exist anymore. Back when I wrote the first chapter, I thought there would be more characters, but now I'm not so sure. So I guess I'm wondering what will end up happening with them, too! :sweat:


* * *


Anyway, I know it has been AGES, but I have not forgotten about this, and I *am* planning to pick this story back up in February!

In the meantime, here's a tiny little bit from the start of the next chapter, which picks up where we left off, with Deucey Wales calling the new sheriff out:

From Chapter 10 wrote:
Growing up on her aunt’s pricklemelon farm on the outskirts of Mainstrike, Atalanta Tenacre had only ever had two goals: to run her own post office, and to own ten books.

She had long harbored general ambitions along those lines, but these specific goals had come about at the prompting of an advertisement on the back page of a week-old paper. The advertisement – a full-page spread, which must have cost a small fortune to run – had been placed in the paper at the behest of one J. E. T. Prendegast, a self-described “Renaissance Fox” and “Professor of Success.” In it, Professor Prendegast advertised an upcoming lecture tour in support of his soon-to-be-published, best-selling book, which was titled – in bold, all-capital text – “ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS WITH THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING!!!” (Exclamations in the original.)

The key to achieving your dreams, Professor Prendegast proclaimed, was to follow his patented three-step process. The first step was to set goals. So, after a moment for introspection, Lanta had settled on two, which she had originally formulated as “work for the post office,” and “own my own books.” However, upon reading further, she found that proper goals were “specific and achievable,” in the Professor’s words, and so she had quantified her life’s mission more precisely as “run my own post office,” and “own ten books.”

The number ten she had chosen more-or-less arbitrarily, on the grounds that it seemed both specific and achievable.

Step two, the advertisement said, was to write your goals down, which Lanta had dutifully done.

Step three, the ad said, could only be found either by purchasing “ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS” – available by subscription, the ad said, with a voucher which could be clipped from the paper and returned via post, along with ten boks, fifteen bits, and a self-addressed, stamped-envelope – or by attending one of Professor Prendegast’s forthcoming lectures – an appearance schedule of cities, dates, and entrance fees was helpfully provided – or – most efficaciously – by both.

Since Lanta did not have ten-boks-fifteen, nor was Professor Prendegast coming to Mainstrike, Lanta never did learn the third step. But she nevertheless kept the advertisement, with its twin admonitions to “run my own post office” and “own ten books” written in pencil in the margins.

Lanta had achieved one of those two goals, she thought to herself, as she stepped out of the door of her combination post office/sheriff’s station onto the dirt of Unincorporated Postal Town 31’s only street, feeling the weight of the former sheriff’s revolver dangling lethally from her belt.

Her second goal, Lanta reckoned, as she stared nervously up into the outlaw Deucey Wales’s ochre-painted face, she was now unlikely to meet. Lanta owned only two books – a nog-eared copy of “Folk Songs of the New Waste,” which she’d gotten from the lost luggage counter at the Verkell Central Station, after it had gone unclaimed for the requisite sixty days, and a little green book titled “A Practical Guide to Baloth Husbandry,” which she’d bought cheap at a second-hand sale. And while she had read both of those books cover-to-cover, and even built a small shelf to store them and eight others above her bed in the little room she kept out back, it now seemed unlikely to Lanta that she would be able to purchase books three through ten in the remaining time she had to live.

Which, Lanta feared, would be short.

_________________
"And remember, I'm pullin' for ya, 'cause we're all in this together." - Red Green


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:56 pm 
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