It keeps changing, over and over...
And still the new world order morphs faster than I can write! Floods devastate the Australian east coast forcing thousands into homelessness and debt, Russians invade Ukraine forcing millions into homelessness, the cost of living escalates as quickly as the price of petrol and the greed of real estate people, forcing people on low incomes closer to the poverty line, two elections loom – one at State, the other Federal, and both will determine the directions of economics, climate change and how protected the rich remain, a new strain of Covid emerges in the communities and my school starts struggling under the impact of absent teachers and students forced into recovery isolation, and this week I’m a daily RAT test participant to show up for work.
On the flipside, the Adelaide Feast, Fringe, Festival and WOMAD events have run their courses, we helped a good friend celebrate marriage to his beautiful partner, my daughters on the east coast are at least safe from the floods (although one was directly affected), and my Year 12 English students have finished their second assessment task. My stepdaughter is reading The Last Wizard for the first time and says she can’t put it down. That kind of compliment always feels good.
I started one new young adult project last week and wrote 1500 words in three sittings, but I put it on ‘pause’ to think through where it will go and my central character’s ‘fate’. The piece has an early twist in the opening chapter that I’m trying to carefully craft. I’ll reveal more on that project’s crafting as it emerges.
I also returned to the fourth book in The Last Wizard series, Harmi’s Song, and that has reached 2000 words. The aim today is to finish the opening chapter and start the second, giving the project impetus.
The challenge with Harmi’s Song is in developing a character who has immense power but whose head is filled with the voices of multiple past generations of dragons, each generation with conflicting views about the place of dragons in the world and their relationship with humans. The story will evolve around Harmi’s loyalty to the three humans who protected her and her legacy, especially Tam with whom she shares an immutable and direct bond, and darker forces driving her to exact revenge on the purveyors of a cruel past.
All four The Last Wizard novels open from the perspective of a character who is not the story’s protagonist. Tamesan’s Song opens with the Harbin dragonwarrior sentry Chasse’s Song with Chasse’s father, and Jaysin’s Song with the Machutzkan watchtower sentry. For the sake of interest, here’s the opening to Harmi’s Song (as yet unedited and without indents):
“Immersed in the tang of ocean, salt and fish, Ajin alighted from the skiff onto the rickety jetty, and surveyed the village bearing the name Apakin Sha. Bemused by the ramshackle collection of wood, stone and thatch buildings, he wondered if his decision to sail so far north into the icy reaches was necessary or wise.
‘Your bag and caruta,’ a rustic sea voice growled beside him. A bow-shouldered, red bearded man with a thick dark grey tunic and brown leggings held a red leather bag and a stringed instrument.
‘Thank you,’ Ajin replied, taking the bag and caruta from the sailor. The man raised his hand, palm expectant. Ajin lowered his bag and fished inside his baggy pants to extract a silver coin, which he placed in the grubby palm, but the sailor’s expression remained unsatisfied as he closed his fist and turned to climb into the skiff. ‘You’re welcome,’ Ajin muttered to the sailor’s back, and he bent to collect his bag.
The ship’s captain assured him before the journey that if he wanted to disappear from the world there was no better place to do so than Apakin Sha. ‘Arsehole of the world,’ the captain told him. ‘Sealers, whalers, prospectors, people like you, and a bunch of old people with nowhere to go and no means to get there.’
‘Why do you sail there?’ Ajin asked, eyebrow raised.
‘Sealers and whalers and prospectors got to ship out their skins and ore and ship in their supplies,’ the captain explained with a broad grin. ‘Profitable for them, very profitable for me.’
‘And you’re sure the Empire doesn’t reach that far north?’ Ajin asked.
‘I doubt the Karudar Marfek has even heard of Apakin Sha,’ the captain replied. ‘Traders along the west coast take in the skins and ore I ship south and make their profits and pay their taxes, and I’m certain they also take the credit for the supply. Apakin Sha doesn’t exist.’
Ajin traversed the jetty, cautiously testing planks that looked suspiciously loose or rotten, and stepped onto the pebbly beach. Several fishermen were repairing nets and boats, and a trader hefted furs onto a trolley from his wagon, but nobody greeted Ajin as he strode up the street, although he noticed surreptitious glances in his direction from men and women when he passed, and two children ran inside a hut as he approached. Spotting the sign for the inn, he veered toward it and stopped outside to look back along the street to the bay. Two ships lay at anchor, the three-masted Ice Maiden on which he arrived, and a smaller two-masted vessel, probably a whaling ship. Grey clouds veiled the sky. He gazed up at the cloud enshrouded mountains towering above the village and an icy breeze touched his cheeks and nose. This will be an interesting place, he mused. A shadow moved through the clouds, vanishing as he witnessed the anomaly, and he squinted, blinked and stared, disbelieving what he thought he saw.
‘Can I help?’ a woman asked.
Ajin lowered his gaze. Plump-faced, hair wrapped in a dark blue shawl, features weathered by life, gap-toothed, with a plain, unwelcoming expression, the woman stared, awaiting his answer. ‘Need a room,’ he said.
‘For how long?’ the woman asked.
‘I don’t know,’ Ajin replied. ‘I can pay. I can also provide entertainment.’ He lifted his caruta.
‘You’ll need food as well, I gather,’ the woman said. Ajin nodded. ‘Follow me,’ she ordered.
As he entered the low-ceilinged inn, Ajin shook his head, his thoughts troubled by the fleeting vision in the clouds. He could play and sing all the popular ballads, but he also knew many of the old ones, and he knew what a dragon was.”
So, that’s a taste of the new project. Next entry, I’ll have more to discuss.
Writing is my passion. Ideas, opinions, beliefs, experiences expressed through language - through words and images - pervade and create my life. Writing is my voice, my soul, my self. My dream is one day writing will sustain my life...