Monday, March 11, 2013

Of Octras and Jake

I had a crisis at work two weeks ago, and while I was angry and hurt, there was something positive to come out of all of it. I was wasting so much time, I thought; I was letting her dominate me. So much stress led to so much slacking, and I truly was taking work home with me every day. Determined not to let this ruin my life, I set aside time immediately after work to write. And I've been writing every day since.

I would like to share some of that with you. 

Hopefully, this shouldn't need too much context... you can read under the tab Tsirash to find out who these people are, if you don't already know. This is shortly after Shenra and Jake are introduced, and they're at their atha (Ersjaran for house).

Octras wasn't sure how long he sat on the bed, leaning against the wall. He could feel the girls' voices on his back. Tsira's was a low hum and Shenra's had that boyish ring. What they were talking about, he could only assume, with the wall taking half the words and leaving only vowel sounds.
It reminded him of Tsira's reading lesson, how the vowels were also the senses. Her name had an ami and ah in it. With everything else that had happened, he hadn't dared ask for another lesson. And with her arm broken, she wouldn't be able to teach him anything, unless along with all her secrets she was also ambidextrous. He doubted it.
The voices stopped, breaking up his thoughts. But it didn't seem to be over. After a moment their sounds started again, mostly Tsira. He wished he could hear them, but they were probably conversing in Ersjaran, anyway. And there was another wish, to understand that stupid language. He'd known a few people who spoke it, and all he'd learned was yes and no, ta and ash, and a bunch of random, useless words. Things like yellow was karia and ten was onza.
Okai sju, Shenra,” he heard. Jake was home.
Octras expected a response from the other room, but Tsira and Shenra just kept talking.
There was a thump, and then footsteps coming toward him. The boy came in, his face lighting up at the sight of Octras. “What are you doing?”
“A whole lot of nothing.”
“Well, I know a game we can play,” Jake said, opening a drawer. “With these.” He held up a knitted bag.
“Not today, kit,” Octras said. “Maybe later.”
“All right. Are you bored? No? Then why are you sitting like that?”
He folded his arms. “Could you be quiet for a moment?”
“I can't. Londrea tells me so. She says I'm the tsie kio because I talk so much.”
“I see. Why do you call Shenra by your mother's name?”
“She hates it. Almost as much as I hate the obe in my name. If I do it enough she'll have to call me what I want. That'll show her.”
“And what if she calls you by your father's name?”
He puffed up his chest. “Then I still win.”
That was no surprise. If his father was a mercenary and he loved them, it made sense for Jake to want that title for himself.
“So you're from Calvador, Octras, sir? What's it like? Is it far away? What's your papa's name? Was he a mercenary, too? Is that normal for Calvador-orians?”
“Calvadians don't talk a tenth as much as you.”
“I told you. My sister said so.”
“I see.”
“But I shouldn't. I'm sorry. I know I'm being rude.”
Octras shrugged. “You know, there's a league here called the War Dancers. If you ever stop by there, I'm sure one of the readers would be happy to tell you whatever you want to know.”
Jake pressed his lips together, looking up at the window. “What league are you in?”
“I'm not.”
“But don't you have that black thing they wear?”
So the boy had seen it, too. “It's not mine.”
“Then whose is it?”
Octras took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “A friend's.” He pretended to yawn. “I think I need more rest. Yesterday was stressful. Would you mind closing the door on your way out?”
“But, but...” The boy's expression dimmed. “I can do that.”
He took his knitted bag with him when he left, leaving Octras alone with the hum of Tsira's voice.


  1. That's awesome how you're writing everyday now! I think it's really good to have a schedule like that. Not only is it a great break in the day, but it'll help make writing a habit to the point where you can write even when you're not that inspired to do so...

    Also, great snippet! I really liked Octras' disconnect when it comes to the language, and how pretty that language seems to be, too, even though not much of it is seen in the narrative. I also love how chatty Jake is, along with how aware of it he is--makes his character very endearing! :)

  2. There's actually quite a bit of untranslated dialogue throughout the book, though I try to make it clear through their actions or surrounding events what it represents.

    Jake changes the dynamic, as Tsira and Octras alone have a tense relationship. I want to show simultaneously how annoying and cute Jake is, so I'm glad you like him. He may or may not have roots in real people... ;)