the-emerald-jungle

separation

(photo credit Outlander Starz)

In Voyager, we get some insights into the depth of Jamie’s suffering during his separation from Claire. There are sections in The Scottish Prisoner, however, where his pain is palpable. Thoughts of Claire were his constant companions. Even in the midst of his heartache, somehow his love for her sustained him. 

Had it really happened, that memory? Or was it only his desire that now and then brought her so vividly to life, in snatched moments that left him desperate with longing but strangely comforted, as though she had in fact touched him briefly?
—Jamie in The Scottish Prisoner, Chapter 7

One more step, and then he heard a final murmur, a whisper so strangled that only the acuteness of his attention brought him the words.

“Christ, Sassenach. I need ye.”

He would in that moment have sold his soul to be able to offer comfort. But there was no comfort he could give, and he made his way silently down the stairs, missing the last step in the dark and coming down hard.
—Lord John Gray & Jamie in The Scottish Prisoner, Chapter 13

It was near twilight, but the place glowed like a king’s treasure, reds and pinks and whites and yellows glimmering in an emerald jungle in the dusk, and the air flooded in upon him, moist and caressing, filled with the scents of flowers and leaves, herbs and vegetables. For an instant, he smelled his wife’s hair among them and gulped air as though he’d been shot in the lung.
—Jamie in The Scottish Prisoner, Chapter 14

“I was going to recommend that you find a good girl and marry her, but I saw how it is with you; your wife’s still with you.” He spoke in an entirely matter-of-fact tone of voice.

“It wouldn’t be fair on a young woman, were you to marry while that’s the case.
—Father Michael in The Scottish Prisoner, Chapter 19

Olfactory Memory

Grey pushed open the door of the glasshouse and beckoned [Jamie] inside. It was near twilight, but the place glowed like a king’s treasure, reds and pinks and whites and yellows glimmering in an emerald jungle in the dusk, and the air flooded in upon him, moist and caressing, filled with the scents of flowers and leaves, herbs and vegetables. For an instant, he smelled his wife’s hair among them and gulped air as though he’d been shot in the lung.

- The Scottish Prisoner

While I was at my mom’s house over the weekend my brother and I had a series of long, rambly conversations about Tortall, and one of the things I came away with is that I really want a series rewrite of Trickster that writes out Aly and tells the entire story from Dove’s perspective. The first book could focus on Dove moving to Tenair and negotiating her relationships with Winna and Mequin and Sarai but also having her eyes opened a bit to the realities of her country. Because she was just a kid when they moved, really, albeit an extremely perceptive kid, and I don’t know quite how much social consciousness she’d developed yet. But on Tenair it’s hard to avoid. On Tenair there is no barrier between her family and the locals, not really, and Dove’s the kid of person who listens. So Dove hears about how the local Raka live. She sees the tensions between the Raka and the Luarin in the villages and on the estate. And she sees how they all watch Sarai, silently, constantly, expectantly.

She watches, and she listens, and she talks it over with her father – not all of it, not the stuff about Sarai, but the racial politics. And he looks at her and sighs, because she’s twelve and he loves her and she shouldn’t have to think about these things, but he talks with her about it, because she’s half Raka and will inherit this world his ancestors built and deserves to know about it. And Mequen’s a moderate, a believer, someone who puts all of his faith in his friends and truly, genuinely believes that the current system can be fixed. He knows more than he lets on about the prophecy and about his family – he and Sarguani talked about it once, just once, in hushed voices, when they found out that her first child would be a daughter – but he desperately wants to believe – needs to believe – that there is a peaceful way.

But then Bronau attacks, and Mequen is killed by a man he considered nearly a brother, and Dove realizes that they cannot count on the system to protect them. She already knows that the crown actively despises the Raka; now she realizes that the crown cares only slightly more for the Luarin, for the nobility, for its own blood relations. She goes to find Ulasim the very next day.

The second book can stay basically the same. The Balitang family goes back to Rajmuat. Dove, a member of the Raka conspiracy in her own right by now, a young lady rather than a child, takes on a more active role against Ulasim’s wishes. She has the blood as much as her sister, and she will not be part of any regime that doesn’t talk to the people. Ulasim, who sees in her the same fire as he sees in Sarai, as he saw in Sarugani, backs down.

And so things escalate. Navigating the regent’s court, from Dove’s perspective, would be heartbreaking and fascinating and infuriating. Gone is the detached observational tone we get from Aly. Instead we watch as Dove swallows the insults and the condescension. We watch as Dove’s little brother befriends the young king, as Dove herself makes conversation with Taybur and slowly, unwillingly, comes to the heartwrenching realization that both boys are in terrible danger and that there is only so much she can do to protect them. Her influence only goes so far, and she knows enough of the rebellion, of its scope and its stakes, to know how much she would be asking of them if she asked for mercy. 

Sarai, proud, headstrong, passionate, chafing desperately under the expectations placed upon her by everyone, takes her life into her own hands and flees. Dove reads her farewell letter and sees in the eyes of every Raka in that room that, in their minds, all is ruined. She lifts her head and sticks out her chin and, the moment they return to Rajmuat, reminds them that Sarai was not Sarugani’s only daughter. They argue – she is too young, she is too serious, she does not know what a burden she will be taking up – but she stands her ground and, in the end, whether because they believe in her or because they have run out of options, the leaders of the rebellion accept her as their future queen.

The regents – guided by Kyprioth, who cares nothing for individual lives, who plays a game of chess on a cosmic scale and sees his chosen as pawns and barely notices anyone else – give the order to create a storm. The king’s ship is dashed to pieces by the waves. Dove watches Winna, watches Taybur, watches the Raka leaders, and does not know how to feel. She goes to the rebellion’s leaders later, after she has put Winna to bed, and looks at them, her face still wet with tears, her gown a mess from the long wait in the storm, and says that she will not start her reign with the blood of children. She cannot – will not – ask for a bloodless revolution. Her people have gone through too much and the Luarin hold their power too jealously. But this, the murder of children for no crime other than the blood flowing through their veins, cannot be a precedent, cannot be a roadmap for things to come. Someone says something about the God, and Dove glances up towards the ceiling and says, to both the Raka and to Kyprioth, that if the God has a problem with that he can deal with her directly.

(He does. He comes to see her that night, in all his glory, comes to meet the girl who will free him from his shackles. He takes her on a tour of the Isles, soars across emerald jungles and sparkling seas, and tells her that soon it will all be hers. She shakes her head and says that, no, soon it will be theirs, and he looks at her like he’s never seen her before before sweeping her up into a hug.)

Dove dances through the minefield that is the royal court, learns from Ulasim how to rule and from the regents how not to, studies history and economy and geography, talks to shopkeepers and sailors and beggars. She watches as the crown soldiers trample the poor, notes how they mow down Raka and Luarin alike, and weaves this into her conversations. With growing rapidity, Rajmuat comes to a boiling point.

And then it happens. The riot spreads and becomes open revolt. Dove flies a kudarung over the city and when she lands the rebellion leaders welcome her as their Queen. She watches, safely in the skies, watches as her people fight and bleed, ostensibly for her but truly for themselves, for their own freedom and dignity, for their children and grandchildren. Even as she lands before the Grey Palace, before Taybur opens its doors and offers it to her without a fight, Dove swears that she will not let her people down.

Ruins

I am a ruin
something that was build and forgotten oh so long ago.
something that now dwells amidst the ancient vines whom slowly make me fade to green and hide me from this world,
like a dying emerald in a jungle made of glass.
I am what remains of a home,
with doors long gone, with windows long broken
and the wind
and the rain
and all the dust wipe through me.
I am every rotten brick,
every stone beneath my feet;
a painting of a tulip withering in the winter sun.
I am every artless picture frame that will be tomorrows kindling.
And so, alas, burn me away, for I, too, want to be the ashes that wipe through the broken hearts.

2

It was near twilight, but the place glowed like a king’s treasure, reds and pinks and whites and yellows glimmering in an emerald jungle in the dusk, and the air flooded in upon him, moist and caressing, filled with the scents of flowers and leaves, herbs and vegetables. For an instant, he smelled his wife’s hair among them and gulped air as though he’d been shot in the lung.

10

I just REALLY love Runes as a gene. it is so wonderful versatile and as long as the primary and secondary aren’t too busy it adds such a wonderful bit if patterning. it can be so subtle or so striking and i just really really love it. here’s some of my favorite rune dragons 

(genes/colors in captions)

In her lungs, lie a forest.

A growling emerald Jungle echoing cries,
       creating a
seed of creatures burrowing in the roots and caves of her brain
a colossal of hissing and spitting of secrets from
a garden she locked away
a garden that grows vines twisting and snaking sly lies
around their places
in her caves
only to be heard as a shredded fraying
broken paper crane,
silently tearing itself to shreds in her emerald jungle
shielded by a ribcage
discovered too late.

But from a broken ribcage,
a garden grows.
And she waters the earth beneath her feet with her tears
and tries to keep her paper boats afloat
because they are leaking out all the sunlight
from the bullet holes in the wood that made up her bones
and she never managed to mend them.

                 Until now.

FROM A BROKEN RIBCAGE, A GARDEN GROWS || c.t. ©️