Or this, which came up just the other day:Farrington chuckled from his seat beside the tent flap, his splayed posture telling Kaori he didn’t much care about anything she could say. “So, what is it then, this rebellion?” he asked as she passed, raising an eyebrow languidly. “Patricide?”
There are dozens more, little glimpses into my characters's lives in this bigger war: Farrington, the lazy author cousin who's just along for the ride to see who comes out on top; Scott, the quiet, sensitive second-in-command who memorizes poetry and always knows what to say; and Kaori, the proud commander of the army who tries so hard on the inside to be everything she must and appear cool and collected on the outside, who never lets on she has any weakness.
“What else have you memorized?” Kaori asked, curious.“Well, I’ve been memorizing poetry for as long as I can remember,” Scott replied, smiling faintly. “But when I was younger, I spent my time memorizing whatever I wanted to. Things that sounded eloquent, like Poe, or comical. The sea was wet as wet could be…” His smile faded, and he shrugged. “I wish now I would have spent my time memorizing things that matter, things that I could use, instead of wasting my time.”Kaori looked contemplative. “And do you have a favorite poem of those you have memorized?”His smile came back, faint and nostalgic, like he was remembering old friends. “The Highwayman was always one of my favorites,” he admitted, “but I love so many of them.”
So many things are going to be weaved into their story-- so many-- and I'm really thankful for the characters I do have. They're strong. It's just up to me to write them that way, which is a lot harder than it sounds sometimes.
When I read books about wars or battle, I end up getting inspired to write something about them. I just finished the Aeneid yesterday, and wrote these drabbles yesterday and today respectively. I hope you like them... sorry I can't provide a timeline or anything for you. ^_^ I just know they both happen, sometime.
I love these guys. ^_^
March 15, 2011
“I have a question,” Farrington announced, lifting his hand languidly. Scott looked up from his papers, but Kaori hardly offered a glance. Farrington continued on as though he had been invited to continue, his voice drawn out and lazy. “Why do you talk like that?”
Scott glanced at his commander, surprised, and Kaori paused for half a moment. She let out a little sigh and looked up. “Like . . .?” she replied, fixing him in her gaze with an annoyed and incredulous raise of the eyebrows.
“Like you do,” he said, his hand dropping back to dangle at the wrist. He doodled aimlessly with his left hand on his paper, a mess of swirls, as he spoke. “Say something.”
“Such as?” she asked, irritated at the interruption.
Farrington straightened and held up a hand. “That’s enough.” He leaned back in his chair and extended his legs, the chair creaking as he did so. “See? ‘Such as’. If I asked anybody else they would have said ‘like what’. You don’t talk like normal people.”
Her lips curled slightly into a cold, unamused smile. “Farrington, I am aware you haven’t been with the rebellion very long, but it’s quite obvious that none of us are normal here.”
He let out a little scoff. “Don’t need to tell me. But even the people around here don’t talk like you do, not all of them.”
“Which would make sense if you take into account the fact we’re not all the same person,” she replied icily, looking back down to her papers.
“So you just talk like that to be different.”
Her pen made a sharp click on the desk as she set it down sharply. Scott let out a breath of laughter, as if he was acquainted to the noise.
Kaori folded her hands on her desk and leaned forward, but just slightly. “There are very few facets of public idiocy I deplore more spiritedly then I do the individualistic idea that everyone should do what one wants to be perceived as different.” She spoke with a low intensity, bordering on vehemence. Offering a smile of cold disdain, she paused to control the intrinsic irritation in her voice.
“To answer your question, you will find that most of us here are very careful about our choice of words. Whereas not all of us speak as though we just walked out of a novel from a century ago, as you seem to be implying about the way I speak, none of us sling pointless words around. You’ll find it very hard to find someone who speaks as you do, if that’s what you’re attempting to ask.”
She looked back down at her papers, done with the conversation. “Is that all, or was there something else that you wanted to ask as well?”
Farrington smiled slightly, like he thought it was funny she had the upper hand. “No, that’s all. But do you mind if I write down what you say while you speak to my cousin? I’m learning about the last century right now, and I think your conversational habits could help me in my studies.” He readied his pen.
Kaori barely kept her voice civil as she fixed him with a look bordering on a glare. “If you want to know about a hundred years ago, I’m sure I can arrange one of our soldiers to escort you to a nursing facility somewhere to speak to the elderly. For some reason, I doubt that was your intention with that comment, so if you don’t mind, your silence would be much appreciated as your cousin and I get back to planning this war.”
She turned back to her map and started touching points with her thin fingers, immediately engrossed. Scott grinned and shrugged at his cousin before returning to the map, and Farrington, passing time, slouched down to doodle more swirls.
March 16, 2011
“ . . . which means that attack is most likely from this point, and here, if they don’t hear of our plans to rout them beyond this ridge . . .” Scott was bent over the map, following the commander’s logic as he repeated the plans back to her.
Suddenly the table rocked as she stood abruptly. He looked up at her, surprised, and she smiled down at him, close-lipped and tight. “I’m feeling distracted this morning. Would you like to go for a walk?”
Understanding flashed across Scott’s brown eyes as he stood. He motioned to the entrance to the tent, where the early morning sun was shining in. “After you.”
Kaori strode out into the light, the air still cool and moist from the night. The sunlight seemed harsh compared to inside the shelter of the tent, but she said nothing as she glanced up to the pale blue sky. Scott followed her.
The soldier guarding the commander’s tent started to put down his little flute and stand, but Kaori smiled down at him. “Please, you needn’t follow us. We’re only taking a small walk, and we’ll be back shortly.”
The guard seemed hesitant—apprehension marked his blue eyes—but he responded with a careful “All right” and sank back down to the ground. He played a short string of notes as they started off, and Kaori smiled absently at the melody.
They made their way quietly through the maze of tents. Sounds of the soldiers rising mumbled through the ranks as they walked, but Kaori and Scott didn’t speak. Her yellow eyes watched the sky, appreciation in her pensive gaze, while by her side her assistant watched the ground beneath his feet.
“Let’s get out of these tents, shall we?” Kaori decided, marking the quickest way out of the grounds. “It may not be easier to think out in the open, but it is less distracting.”
They crossed the distance quickly and left the tents behind. Kaori relaxed as though a weight had been relieved from her shoulders as they walked in the dry grass and weeds of the field, but she didn’t say anything yet. Scott didn’t ask her to, watching his feet, and both enjoyed the silence.
“I apologize for that back there,” Kaori said at last. “I needed to get out of that tent for a moment.” A slight sigh escaped her lips. She pursed them for a moment to gather her thoughts. “I wanted to speak to you because I hope you know I see you as a very strong man and I value your opinion.”
Scott smiled slightly and dipped his head. “I’m not sure that I can live up to your expectations, but please, go on.”
“I am certain that you can,” she said. Her tone was straightforward and complimentary. “I seem to have a problem I haven’t come up against before.”
She paused, and even though Scott could have finished her thought, he remained respectfully silent. “I’ve never had problems getting along with people. I’d like to think I can be accommodating when I need to be, and others are just generally amiable, even if I believe differently than they do. But if there is one person that I absolutely cannot tolerate the presence of, it is your cousin.” She sighed again, irritably. “I can’t endure his mannerisms, his speech, the way he looks at anything—it’s preposterous. Never before has anyone irritated me so roundly, in that every single action, thought or word exasperates me beyond belief. But what bothers me even more than he is the fact that I genuinely cannot stand another person. Several times already I’ve had to bite my tongue sharply so that I don’t lash out against him with vehemence, and several times already I’ve failed. I don’t like to think that’s like me at all—hating another human being should be so contrary to my nature, and when I see that it’s not, I want to do anything I can to change that. And just then he appears, and everything I’ve just resolved goes up in angry flames.”
Scott let out a little huff of laughter. “Farrington’s not an easy one to get along with, that’s for sure.” He shook his head. “I wish I could tell you it gets easier to love him, but that would be a lie, I think. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me from his throat is thinking about who he is. He’s just a confused writer who doesn’t know who he is, what he’s doing here or what he believes. He doesn’t have much to stand on, so he tries to compensate in other ways.”
“Putting it that way only makes me want to demand why he doesn’t look for answers to his questions instead of pretending that all of this is just a game.” Kaori smiled, saturnine.
Scott nodded. “And that may be what you would do, or what I would, but he’s not like us. Since we can’t solve his problems with the flick of a wrist or make him easy to get along with, there’s not much we can do but put up with him until he figures it out.”
Kaori barely kept herself from sighing again. “You’re right,” she agreed, looking out across the field. A breath of wind dusted across the plain, and the grass bent at its touch. A single cloud was visible on the horizon, distant and solitary. Both of them knew the landscape would soon be torn and marred from war machines, the air rank with the scent of blood. “Relationships are an entirely different battlefield, are they not?” she asked, an ironic smile quirking her lips.
Scott let out a little laugh. “You can say that again.”