The last two or three days of writing have all been about finishing Chapter 2. There wasn’t anything I really wanted to post, because I was jumping all over the place, tightening dialog and messing around with character moods. Also just having fun. But now that I’m done, here’s a short selection of excerpts:
“I hear whispers even at my level of the Order,” Timur said, frowning. “Tyrenis may have spoken for you and ensured your safety here, but there are many who question what place a beast creature could possibly have amongst the sages.”
And there was the heart of it, Jhyipp realized with a bitter twist in her heart. Tyrenis had passed on to her his grand mission to save the world, saddled her with a child who believed she was from Origin, and then had taken off for the borders with no indication of when, if ever, he would return. She was supposed to bring positive change to Illeadd in his absence, and yet she was seen as an outsider to these people. Her very appearance was a reminder that she was from another race, a race which was thought to be inferior. The sages hadn’t brought freedom to the beast creatures because of some illumination of the common person. It had gone against their code to enslave any intelligent being, and when they took power here, they enforced that rule on the citizenry. It had not been easily accepted, and even the sages themselves had wondered whether the fight was worth pursuing. For years, in fact, the debate had raged as to whether the beast creatures were even sentient. Jhyipp hadn’t been born in time to witness these debates, and yet some days she felt that they were still going on, inside the minds of all the sages who looked on her with either suspicion or, almost worse, pity. Only Tyrenis both trusted and respected her, and now he had left her here alone.
And so, dammit, she would have to improvise the best she could.
“Of course you are right,” Jhyipp said, sounding concerned, sounding defeated. “It would be disastrous for me to be seen as protecting a woman from Origin, regardless of whether I believe her story or not.”
“We have a saying of the desert,” the Doctor said slowly, as if thinking on each word. “You can feel the warmth of fire, but you should not try to hold it. This is fire you play with.”
“I hope so,” Jhyipp said, and looked towards the door to the Healer’s Hall. Behind that simple oak door was a bed on which a young girl sat, unaware that her fate was being decided by two strangers from a land as foreign to her as hers was to them.
“We need a fire now,” Jhyipp said. “I’m just afraid this will turn out to be another false light.”
That night, the healer Timur was involved in an unfortunate incident. Witnesses testified that the healer had gotten into an argument over a woman, with a well-known Mercenary, James Frizer, at a local tavern. According to testimony, the two exchanged “malicious words” before Timur snatched Frizer’s dagger and wounded him on the head. In the ensuing struggle, as stated in the coroner’s report, Timur was stabbed above the right eye, killing him instantly.
Some arguments held that Frizer had simply walked into the tavern and murdered the healer, in cold blood. The jury, however, concluded that Frizer acted in self-defense, Jhyipp put her signature on the official decision, and within a month Frizer was pardoned and the case utterly forgotten.