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June 2014

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What can one say about a day that starts with stepping on broken glass? Luckily it was just a shard and easily removed, but there's a trail of bloody foot prints between my studio and the bathroom. Then I get a glorious nose-bleed, possibly from inhaling lead fumes while soldering stained glass (yes, I know they're dangerous; I do try to take precautions). Then I first step on my laptop, then drop it. No damage done, thank goodness.

But worst of all, I've got writer's block.

It's a chapter about Tori for the book after BiB. I can't seem to make up my mind what he does in this novel except for stew about Jame and help Marc with the window (more glass). His problem is that he's worried about Jame going to wicked Kothifir, so I guess I can try to show why he feels that's so dangerous, hence I have to look ahead to the novel after that, set in the Southern Wastes and partly in the past. Ah, the mysteries of fore(after?)-shadowing.

What do you think Tori might be doing over the months between Winter and Summer of Jame's year at the college? I'm open for ideas.

No word yet about the Big Idea column, by the way. I've sent a follow up ping as per John's instructions. It's kind of depressing to be (apparently) ignored. But then he may be preoccupied by Amazon's boycott of Tor/Macmillan authors. I dunno what that's all about, but it sounds nasty.


I haven't seen a lot about Tori dealing with the politicking that caused Jame to have such a shabby reception from the women, and does he know that Jame had been cursed? I am not sure if you covered any of this on the newest book since I haven't read it yet.

I had a similar day yesterday and now have to take one of my cats to the vet, they're probably going to amputate a couple of inches off his tail. :( :( :( Worse, I was the one to inflict the injury on him by accidentally catching his tail in the door while looking out for the UPS truck that had the part to repair my computer, which had crashed and couldn't be used until the part was replaced. And I had the devil's own time doing the replacment once the part did come.

The whole situation was easier to deal with after a good night's sleep. The cat had calmed enough for me to get a clear look at his injury and we made his vet appointment. My habit of closing the door gently saved the tail from being broken, so it's possible that the vet will be able to trim the hanging bit of skin he peeled off and it will heal over nicely, but I'm braced for the worst.

Still, better to lose a few inches of ornament than to lose a beloved cat to infection and gangrene.

Relax tonight, tomorrow will be better.
Best wishes for your cat!
We got good news. Vet says it will heal up on its own, it will just take a while. So my computer is no longer crashing, my cat gets to keep his tail and all is right with the world. :) Now if I could only get that code to work right.... :D
Do you have a plan for Tori getting more useful? Moping in denial will get old after a while. For years I've had fanfic ideas where Kirien locks the family into a room (with herself in it, for choice) and doesn't let them out[1] until they've at least communicated. How long can one go without asking one's twin why she's 10 years younger? Or rather, how long can one go and still be a sympathetic character without overtones of idiot plot?

Flip side... he's Highlord and Lord Knorth, shouldn't there be more for him to do than time to do it in? Lots of leadership and politics. Keeping it interesting might be another matter... but what's happening with the other lords, or with non-Kencyr polities? Is Karkinaroth still an ally post-Odalian? What maneuverings are going on? How will he feed his people (well, I guess that should have been answered in the rest of BiB?) Is anyone trying to kill or seduce him again?

[1] This assumes some tacit cooperation, at least from Jame; hard to keep those two someplace they'd really rather not be.
I’d think he’d like to find a magical down comforter that allows him to get restful sleep and retire to his quarters in Gothregor while there’s the slightest excuse that inclement weather can spare him the need to travel around the Riverland dealing with politics, but the job of Highlord will interfere with that. How much free time does a Highlord get after keeping a lid on all the incipient blood feuds?

Just kidding around...

“Tori, why is the death banner of Highlord Tornathron on top of your bed? Is it really respectful for it to be covered in cat hair?”
“Well, he was renowned for sleeping through the Great Fire of Tai-Abendra and the Battle of the Forgotten Hills...”
“I know that. Senatha instructors still talk about his ‘Earth Not Moving’ technique when people fail to get up in class after they’ve been thrown.”
“Well, having his banner on my bed is the only way I can get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.”
Damn, it sounds like you had a real run of bad luck today!

What do you think Tori might be doing over the months between Winter and Summer of Jame's year at the college?

Ooh. I have a bunch of ideas :D

He could be doing something relating to his duties as Lord Knorth or Highlord. A bit of politicking? Since it's been mentioned there there are constant blood feuds festering between the Houses, could we get a chance to observe Tori mediating in one? Or something to do with external politics - the Kencyrath and its official relations with the rest of Rathilien?

Or more about the collar, what was it called? The Kenthiar?

Or something about the Knorth - maybe about the Kendar that serve as mercenaries, going away or coming back to Gothregor, and his interactions with them? Or more about daily life in Gothregor in general. What do Kendar children do? where do they learn, play, grow up, and how much contact does Tori have with them?

Or, hey, whatever happened to those boys of different houses he used to take on for six months in the hopes of making them friends? Has he taken on a new batch since Donkerri died?
I'd like to see him learn a little about the Randir and why he has so few relatives. Really, he almost needs an entire book all to himself just to catch up to what Jame currently knows.

A wild, tempestuous affair with Kirien would be cool, too (because it's the last thing you'd expect from either of them).


Re: Argh

Note: The below comments are just some ponderings in response to your writer's block on Tori. Namely what to cover:


With only the first 3/4 of BiB read, it does seem that Tori is starting to grow but that he still needs to transform. It always seems like he gets under so much pressure that he will either crack or grow but he seems to dodge instead.


So far Tori’s power seems to be that he “endures” and blood binds. Is there any traits from the aspect of Torrigion? Does Marc’s work with the glass go drastically better with Tori? Do his bound people grow more crops?


On endurance, it seems like Tori is the immovable rock and maybe other people will start getting worn away by tossing themselves against him?


If Tori is moving down the path towards Torrigion, then are there others who also moved by “That which creates” that Tori could start getting exposed to? Maybe some younger highborn in Ardeth’s clan would feel drawn to Tori and could be introduced? Maybe this could also help bridge the gap to Adric.


Tori already personally binds more Kendar than anyone else, so that is also an implied power - but if he could accept his shanir nature could he hold more? How would the balance change if a large portion of the threshold dwellers were to bind to Tori?


I also wonder if the Tyr-ridan as a "process" is supposed to have a winnowing or purifying effect on the Kencyr as a people?
Jame cuts and exposes problems and impurities, that’s clear, but how does Kindrie and Tori work together?
Still it seems that Tori and Kindie will need to work together so getting them interacting again might be good?


Good luck getting past your block!


Re: Argh

I'd wondered if Aerulan was a creative sort. Certainly not destructive. I've also wondered how strongly she might manifest in Torisen's presence. Or whether Torisen + Book could resurrect someone. Not that he's cut out to deal with the Book yet. Would he even know Master Runes? Presumably not.

Re: Argh

Tori isn't going to resurrect anyone. That's Kindrie (who once nearly brought a sheepskin coat back to life).

And, personally, that is something I would like to see Kindrie do. Leading candidate for a resurrection? Ashe.

Re: Argh

*nearly* brought it back to life. At some point you cross over from healing to having to create a new body. :p Ashe on the other hand is fair game, unless you also need Jame to destroy shadows so she can be healed...
For the love of little green apples. You are bound and determined to check yourself off the planet early somehow, aren't you.


I don't know what Tori would be doing, but just like everyone else is saying hee, what does a highlord type do when not actually fighting wars? Adjudicate property disputes amongst noble families? Do the rounds of Obligatory Visits to people who want to sell him their daughters? Worry about what to do with his formerly useful strapping young fighters, like how to keep them fed and busy and not pissing off the locals too much? ...Catch up on some reading?

Gosh sake, don't ask me.

Yes, I imagine the Amazon bs is probably slowing things down. Hopefully not forever.


Tori's not so big adventures

What about setting up a mapping project for his lands? I imagine that with all the changing geography, Tori would want to have a definitive set of maps drawn up.

He would be relying on travelers to stop by and give him their first hand knowledge so there could be much too-and-froing of various characters. There would need to be artisan Kendar working for him so Tori could spend time learning his people and he could also keep an eye on Jame (from a distance) at the same time.

Also, drawing up maps seems akin to putting together stained glass windows - a bit like making puzzles whole again.

Sorry to hear about the blood spilling. Not an auspicious start to the week!

Like brother like sister...

Jame can't seem to go two days without interacting with the dead. Amongst the day-to-day routine, there could be others, like Willow, who are hanging around for love of their family. What kind of signs would a sensitive or observant person see?
Oh dear!
My husband always jokes (very seriously) that damage always comes in threes!
I hope the foot, nose & laptop are all doing much better now :-)

As for Tori. Please let him grow up a little.
He's starting to seem somewhat too passive and pathetic.
It doesn't help that Jame has come so far in the last two books that she now seems too powerful for Tori to "balance" properly.

EDIT: Perhaps Tori could ACTIVELY pursue research on how his bonds with his Kendar are formed - maybe with Kindrie's help. He doesn't seem to really know how they work. It would definitely broaden his horizons. And in the process he could get closer to, and more comfortable with Kindrie.

Edited at 2010-02-04 03:31 am (UTC)
Tori seems to react a lot, rather than be proactive about his own needs or desires. Probably because he's afraid of acting directly. But being reactive tends to flatten him out.

I am curious.... Why would Tori worry about Jame in "wicked Kothifir"? Hasn't she proven to him yet that she is quite competent in taking care of herself? And if his worry is not about her safety, what is it about? The fact that every other woman pales by comparison to her (she is a vivid personality, after all)?

When I get stuck on something it is usually about some point in the immediate scene where I am stuck. Some plot point or thematic point that I'm overlooking that will unlock it all. If you can't make up your mind about what he does, particularly in his attitude toward Jame, it sounds like you don't know for sure what he ultimately will do. Where is he going to land in the end? Understanding and accepting Jame and the demands of his people's god? Or is he going to resist and fight Jame all the way? Because it feels that you've reached a point in the over-all story that he has to choose one way or another, and the effect will be momentous to the whole.

That Jame! Always making turmoil. She's overturned the traditions of the Women's Quarters and the treatment of the High Lord's heir. Tori's tried to put her in a box and that hasn't worked.

Maybe he should learn how to dance... because that seems to be the only place/activity where Jame enters anything resembling order.


I trust you. I love your writing. You'll find your answers.

Just stop stepping on glass. And the breathing lead fumes. And dropping the laptop.
Ha Ha.
His cute little baby sister heading off on her own again.
Little does he know she'll probably end up terrorising that place...


In TRAR, Kindrie tells Jame that neither he nor Jame can help him come to grips with Ganth, and the door Jame locked in Tori's soulspace. He says he's been over and over it, and concluded that Tori has to do this for himself.


Then in BiB, Trishien is revealed as the woman who loved Ganth Way Back Then, and she somehow rescues Ganth, or maybe Tori, from being trapped inside Tori. It's a lovely, tender scene, and I was cheering for Trish all the way, but it also feels a little like Trish just did Tori's homework for him. He's been let off the hook. I don't think that's fair, and more importantly, it means that Tori still hasn't learned the thing he needs to learn so he can finally grow up. I think there's a few thousand words that can profitably be spent on this in the new book.

Apart from this, for the sheer comedy of it it would be fun if Tori/Ganth suddenly develops something of a awkward crush on Trish that Tori is completely nonplussed, or even flummoxed by. We know that it's Ganth inside Tori, and Trish wil certaly know it, but Tori doesn't know that yet. I think he'd be aware enough to avoid public emarrassment, but maybe this is what drives him finally confront his Ganth legacy. That might be easier to do if Ganth has something new to yell at Tori about - something that isn't rage.
Sorry; that was S1m0n, above. And the first sentence should be "..neither he nor Jame can help Tori come to grips.."
Sorry about your sucky day. If it's any consolation, mine was worse. :-)

I'm with those who would like to see Tori grow a little. I really *like* that character, I see all sorts of potential in him - and such an epic struggle within oneself should eventually lead to an epic enlightening some day. But his continual denial bit can get a little stale, and starts making me wonder how he could possibly gain that enlightenment. I'd love to see some of his potential bloom a bit.

Your scenes where Tori is an effective leader are so appealing - blowing his way into the women's quarters, facing down the council - I would love to see more of the ~Highlord~.
Maybe he'd be worrying about some fallout from the expedition Ti Tastaigon (sorry, can't remember how to spell it and don't have the book handy) sent out in book 1? Surely they've unearthed and unleashed some major problem by now - isn't that what archaeologists do, after all? ;)

Writer's block

I wonder if you can play with your own experience and move the dreamscape/thought structures out of the head and allow Tori to work with body-thought, body memory. You've already started that with the bound in blood thing. In setting up the context of working on the broken stained glass window with Marc and angsting about Jamie, you've already set it up nicely. Tori's exhausted and sleep deprived. What happens when he engages the reflection/refraction of the tiny glass shards that formerly represented the archetypal gods? Tiny pieces of reflection/refration are hardest to defend against What happens when he inevitably gets a reflecting/refracting splinter in his hand? Something about the scars like the leads between the colored glass? Tori could experience WORLDS of perception and reflection and alternatives -- until committment happens and the work is done. While he does that, you can be free to write whatever comes up and edit later. Also, if he does this, then Jamie's natural chaos will be more linear than Tori's linear conscious shattering.

And with the glass this morning, you'll have an awareness of the focusing power and "time out"

Strength to your sword arm. Flow to your words.


What does a Feudal Lord do....

From (

The feudal lord spent most of his time and thought on his estates and land, their productivity, and day-to-day running and security. In this context, the castle was the guardian of a lord’s land against all comers, as well as the visible sign of his power.

While in residence at his castle, a feudal liege lord had to wear many “hats”. He was the protector of his vassals and tenants. He acted as arbiter of any disputes that might arise. He was the judge where matters of law were concerned, the legal guardian of underage heirs to tenants’ landholdings and he even played matchaker, choosing a new husband for a widow.

More specialized business in the Great Hall involved meetings between the lord of the castle and his senior officials - the constable who was in charge of security, the marshal who was overseer of the stable grooms or huntsmen, the chamberlain whose duties included caring for the household valuables and the seneschal or bailiff who took care of the castle accounts and kept meticulous records of the food, timber and other produce his lands had recently yielded.



I think at some point (not necessarily in the book at hand) Tori is going to have to deal with the darkling crawler he unwittingly blood-bound in Dark of the Moon. Possibly with a white knife - unless having a darkling critter bound to him is going to be key at some later time.

I also agree we need to see more of Tori caring for his kendar, and they for him. We know that Rowan, Burr and others are loyal, and also like Tori for himself. It would nice to see that be a support to him as much as it has been a liability (Mullen, etc.).

Maybe Tori is shown where Aerulan's price can be put to use for the good of his kendar? Spring is planting season. That can work well for subtly laying the ground for his growing into his role as a Creator, and as the incarnation of Torrigon.

As far as the Council goes, Tori will eventually have a role to play in Randiroc's re-establishment and Kenan's removal, but I feel this will likely take place a bit later in the series. Laying some groundwork now might be to the good.


Belated Re: Argh

Burton from Montreal

A little late with comment. But slightly off topic. Maybe we should get some glimpse into Tori's attempt to outfitted a wardrobe for Jame's Kothifir exclusion as befitting her status as commander to be of the Southern Host and the High Lord's sister. Can just see Jame being fitted for her first formal gown. Maybe Tori can find someone tough enough to be Jame's de-facto steward since Marc relinquished the role to be the sole Ksndar glass maker.


I'd like to see more information on the Tapestries and the reciting of everyone in them!

Amy Lee


What Tori does


I am a fan of this series of books and hope to see many more.

I like the description posted by the other anon in "What does a Feudal Lord do...." You can have Tori doing his duties and slowly going stir crazy. Clashes with other lords as he continues to assert the Highlords authority over their affairs.

Hey... can Jame have memory flashbacks about Kothifir that are Tori's

Re: What Tori does

Good idea, re: the memory flash backs!

Lead and Tori

Umm, take care of yourself Pat. You don't have Shanir healing powers. And lead is Bad Stuff(tm). I've done a lot of electronics and a bit of stained glass (straight canes, lead canes and foils) and never gotten to that point. If you're inhaling enough to get nosebleeds you need

1) A soldering fume trap
2) Better ventilation
3) A respirator

If you notice memory loss or nausea please PLEASE see a doctor right away. Or sprinkle EDTA on your cornflakes. If you get lead poisoning you can't keep writing, and all of us will be very sad.

Argh. Forgot the "Tori" part of the last comment

How long can he keep dithering? Tori could be a really interesting character. But all he does is wander around and get paralyzed by his issues. Issues? Full paid-up subscriptions is more like it. It's getting old.