Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Lore the Emmisary

Just for fun, and to keep this blog going, here's part of the opening scene from the Mâvarin prequel (working titles Prince of Mâvarin or To Rule Mâvarin), which I probably won't get around to writing until next year or later. The character Lore in this snippet will eventually Darsuma's mother, a major villain in Mages of Mâvarin. - KFB

The voyage from Sûtelmar to Linmar took three days. Lore and Jere spent most of it on the aft deck, looking back toward Mâton (not that they could see it, after the first morning) and practicing spells.

“I feel like a hostage,” Lore complained the second afternoon, as she and her sister worked on the final definitions for their illusory dragon. Six feet long, the creature of air and colored light looked almost exactly like the illustration of Londer’s mythical predatory reptile, except that it was three-dimensional and in motion; but they were having trouble adding the right sounds and smells, not to mention the flaming breath. “Look at this thing,” Lore continued. “By the time we’re finished, it will be as good as any illusion Sunestri or Jonono, or even Master Calavica could produce. We should be home getting Robed and Named. Instead we’re going into exile among Mâvarinû singers and sheep ranchers. It’s just not fair. We deserve better, both by birth and by what we’ve accomplished.“

“You’re not a hostage; you’re an emissary, and so am I,” Jere said reasonably. A year younger than Lore and less talented magically, Jere had a tendency to adapt to circumstances rather than try to reshape them, as Lore did. Lore never knew whether to be admiring or infuriated by her sister’s cheerful acceptance of whatever came her way. Usually, Lore was both. “This is an honor, not a punishment,” Jere said.

“I doubt that very much,” Lore said. “If we’re emissaries, then why are we being sent to Odamas instead of Thâlemar? Mâvarin isn’t ruled by the selmûnen. It’s ruled by the Selevars, and the rest of the Twelve Families.”

“The selmûnen have blood ties to the Twelve Families, and political power of their own,” Jere pointed out. “If we can win them over, Mâton will have powerful allies.”

“Then we should just mindpush the selmûnen and be done with it,” Lore said. “Why waste time pretending friendship toward normals?”

“It’s not supposed to be a pretense,” Jere scolded. “Father wants Mâton and Mâvarin to be true friends, as they were at the founding. He specifically said no mindpushing. He wants allies, not slaves.”

“I think that’s incredibly soft-hearted of him, not to mention weak-minded. They’re only normals.”

“They’re not all normals. I hear they have nearly as many magicians as there are on Mâton. And that’s not counting the selmûnen, who have their own system of magic.”

“It’s not much of a system,” Lore scoffed. “Master Calavica says it’s all healing and protective spells, nothing interesting or useful.”

“You wouldn’t say that if you were sick or injured,” Jere said. She looked over at the dragon, lying neglected and half-forgotten as the sisters argued. “Look at that,” Jere said. “We’re been talking for so long that our dragon’s gone to sleep.”

“That means our third set of definitions is working,” Lore said.

“The dragon was only supposed to go to sleep if we stopped paying attention to the spell—which we did,” Jere said. “So, are we going to keep arguing, or and we going to finish the fourth set of definitions?”

Lore laughed. “Let’s get back to the magic. It’s the only thing that makes this trip bearable for me. We’re never going to agree about the Mâvarinû, anyway.”

“Fine. How about this for a flame?” The dragon opened its emerald eyes, and spat a nine inch plume of yellow fire.

Lore nodded. “Not bad. Let’s see if we can improve on it, though. I want a good three foot flame at least, by the time we’re finished.”

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