Sometimes, as a writer, you come up with really great, wonderful, fun ideas that both you and your audience love. Sometimes you come up with ideas that you really love, but your audience isn't quite so crazy about. And sometimes you come up with ideas, worlds, characters, that annoy you... and that your audience just completely adores.
I can't really say I've come up with anything that people adore, but if there's one world that refuses to "lie down and die" for me, it's my stories of Trycanta. I didn't, in my own opinion, do that good a job on the first Trycanta novel (that would be Homecoming), but many of my readers were kind enough to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Of course, others have made it their special mission to tell me how awful it is, so YMMV.
In any case, I'm leading up to saying that I do have a Trycanta story for you on this Fiction Friday, and yes, it is a hint of things that happen after Homecoming. As for when, or even whether, I'll get to Snowball and the other books in the Tales of Anosir series... well, that depends on whether I ever really start writing again, for one thing. But that's a problem for another day. For today, please enjoy this little ficlet!
Lissa stepped through the door between the rough stone columns and looked about the great round room in surprise. When she had asked on her arrival in the small fishing village of Thyla about places of worship and had been directed simply to “the Temple”, she had assumed that the village’s inhabitants were very much devoted to one of the Anosiran pantheon, most likely the Sea Dancer or the Father of Waters. But the profusion of colors and symbols lining the walls made it clear that not a single god but all twelve were worshiped here.
“How do they keep it all straight?” she murmured aloud, taking a step towards the center of the room, where stood a small altar of white marble, as round as the temple itself. “I’d be so confused!”
“Are you looking for someone, mistress?” a voice echoed down from high above her. “Wait there, I’ll be right with you.”
Looking up towards the domed ceiling with its bright mosaic of the gods and goddesses at table, Lissa stared in astonishment. The girl who had called out, by the looks of her, was a few years Lissa’s junior, but she must wear her dark brown hair cut very short indeed, and she seemed to be dressed in nothing but strips of rose-pink cloth wrapped tightly around her torso. Stranger still, she was balancing easily on a ledge barely wide enough for her feet, which ran around the inside of the dome—
Lissa’s hands flew to her mouth in horror as the girl leapt casually off the ledge, one slender foot pushing her frail form into the air—
And broad wings unfolded from her back and stretched out to either side of her, letting her glide easily down to the floor. What she had taken for short hair, Lissa realized with the single corner of her mind not frozen by shock, was actually a cap of sleek brown scales, the same warm brown as the girl’s bright eyes, a pleasing contrast to the facial scales of soft sandy tan.
“You,” she got out as the girl landed neatly beside her. “You’re a...” Dragon dried up on her tongue as she remembered a sternly spoken warning that such a word might be considered an insult in a place like this.
“Mazi?” the girl supplied, bowing slightly, her wings cupping in to frame her small form. “I am, and my name is Rabi t’Ivala. I serve the Maid of the Dawn as her priestess in the mornings, and teach the children of Thyla their lessons in the afternoons, and when I am doing neither of those, I study the wonders of the world of Trycanta all around us.” One slender hand made a gesture of invitation towards Lissa.
“I’m just Lissa.” The young woman so named let her eyes explore the interior of the temple. “I’ve lived all my life in just one little section of the King’s city, and now that I’m of age and I have a bit of money of my own, I thought I’d travel and see how people live in other places.” She pressed a hand against her mouth, trying to suppress a rueful smile. “I didn’t exactly expect...”
“To find one of my people here, by the shores of the western sea?” Rabi finished, extending her left wing with a smile of her own. “True, the homes of most mazor in our land of Anosir are deep in the eastern forests, but the Forest Shade is the husband of the Sea Dancer, is he not? And the Windlady is her mother.” She blew across her palm, and delicate musical notes sounded across the room, product of the clear glass wind chimes which hung in any temple or shrine dedicated to that elder goddess. “Why should I not come here?”
“I suppose it makes more sense when you put it like that,” Lissa acknowledged, hiding her glee carefully at the back of her mind, behind the wall all human children learned to erect around their thoughts early in life.
Those for whom she had been sent to seek had nonhuman forms at their disposal, and would most likely be found among others like themselves.