Posted by : Wendy B Sunday, 11 October 2015
This week, the daunting task of writing dialogue for not one or two, but a minimum of six characters. Fortunately, I had an idea for a scene that ended up being cut from the story it was meant for. I've expanded on it here. With A Patchwork Planet by Alice Tyler and the entirety of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber as examples, the assignment also asked us to let the main character slip back and forth between fantasy and reality through inner monologue and actual dialogue.
The discussion process was far better this time around as the Teacher's Assistants offered a full 15 different topics to comment on. Much easier to achieve my required comment count without feeling like I was forcing it. The evaluation process continues to be a surprising highlight. I did have one story that was difficult to address as it was written with English as obviously not the first language of the author. Meanwhile, another submission really impressed me in that it only had two main characters, but used the 'fantasy' of the inner monologue to bring in the four others.
The Emperor allowed his mages to ruminate over his announcement. Lord Jarett and Lady Olivenne remained silent at his right and left hand. No doubt they already knew of the Emperor's plans to attack the fire giants and ifrit at the Quarwaren Pass. If they had any reservations they would never raise them before the Council of High Magic. Whatever dark purpose the pair held, they were resolute when it came to supporting the Emperor's commands at this council table.
The Emperor's mood was subdued at the moment. Questioning him was high on the list of triggers that could set him off, but unlike Tisa, who had made herself as small as possible in her seat, the other High Mages were willing to risk his wrath.
"Fire giants and ifrit?" Meris Dak repeated. Her words were firm, but her fingers plucked at the chain around her neck. "That seems rather ambitious, Your Grace."
"Perhaps for you," Alif Persad snorted. He continued to drum his long fingers against the marble table.
Across from them, Tarian and Zelashi Ehl were exchanging whispers, then they turned as one to address the Emperor.
"Your Majesty, is Quarwaren not where the High Mage of Elements spends much of her time of late?" asked Tarian.
"Indeed, Your Grace," his sister agreed. "It would not surprise me if our esteemed Lady Senia is responsible for disturbing the monsters in the first place. Perhaps we should leave this matter for her to resolve."
Lord Jarett's thin lips drew back in a skeletal sneer.
Tarian shifted in his seat and his gaze dropped to his lap, but Zelashi's dark eyes stormed. "Of course. How dare we suggest that the precious Lady Senia could do wrong?" Her hand swept out to indicate the only empty seat at the council table. "She doesn't even need to attend the meetings."
"Mind your tongue," came the soft words of Lady Olivenne. Her voice was low, yet it felt as though it echoed off of the walls of the chamber, making its way beneath Tisa's skin. She shivered and made the mistake of looking up to find that Lady Olivenne's haunting gaze was upon her. The pale woman's dark lips edged into a tiny smile. How easy it was to get lost in the hypnotic sway of her necromancy...
Tisa blinked herself free and turned her head to see Zelashi pressed back against her seat with a white-knuckled hand gripping her brother's. His eyes were as wide as his sister's.
The Emperor lowered his bejeweled hand and Zelashi jerked forward, sucking in a shuddered breath. They all sat straight now with lips tightly pressed together a the Emperor's cool gaze settled briefly on each of them.
"I have presented you with an opportunity to test your might, my mages. You have all proven yourselves worthy of the titles I have bestowed upon you, but now you must show me—and each other—what you are capable of. More importantly, it will be a chance for you to truly see what it means to be attuned to High Magic and surrounded by others who share the same connection to the primal spirit of our world. You must all learn to work together." He paused to raise an eyebrow at Persad and Dak, who sheepishly glanced away from each other. "And to work with the High Mage of Elements. You all fear it, but some among you know the truth: Lady Senia is the greatest among you. The rest must still prove your worth to me."
He let his words settle over them, blanketed by the tense silence that followed. Tisa wondered why he had allowed any of them to live when he was more powerful than all of them combined. With Lady Olivenne and Lord Jarret at his side and Lady Senia in his thrall, what need did he have of the others?
Tisa kept her head bowed until she could take the pressure of the Emperor's stare no more. When she finally raised her eyes, she was unsurprised to find his boring into her own.
"Find her," he commanded.
Tisa shoved aside her anxiety and obeyed without hesitation. She was the High Mage of the Lines and the webs of magic that connected every living thing to the world spirit were her domain. This was why she held her place at the Council. Few mages could sense the power that lay beneath their feet, let alone use it to travel through space and time. She could give herself over to their power and did so now, plucking at the strands until she found one that led into Quarwaren. She pictured it in her mind as it snaked out, well beyond the confines of the meeting chamber. There was a lot of magic within Quarwaren, but Lady Senia's signature was unmistakable. There you are, Tisa thought, locking on to an insistent thrumming along a line that led straight to—
Tisa's eyes flew open. "Lady Senia is under attack!"