Back when I thought that being a fantasy author was a genuinely possible option for me to make a living I used to come up with various author bios that I could use when I put my books out - already well aware of the branding aspects and meta-textual possibilities in the practise. I even wrote one for the book I did finish, which was a bit pre-emptive, because it's not like I properly edited it or anything. The angle I was going to go for was to play up the fact that as a city kid I didn't really know very much about animals or horses or living in the land, but that I did know about loneliness and fear and willpower. As if that's what it takes.
Short Attention Span
‘If I didn’t have such a headache, this would be a truly glorious day,’ Gray whispered to his brother.
‘Shut up,’ Gret hissed. ‘We’re not out of the woods yet. This is serious business.’
‘I was just saying,’ Gray shot back, hefting his saddle onto his horse. ‘There’s nothing wrong with that.’
‘Well, just. Don’t.’ Gret said. ‘I can’t believe how much you had to drink last night.’
‘Why, shouldn’t I have done so? Not even at my own party?’
‘If you had slipped up you could have gotten the both of us killed. Did you want that at your own party?’
‘I know what I’m doing, Gret,’ Gray insisted. ‘Oh, hi there T’Dore. Are you ready to go?’
‘I have said my goodbyes.’ T’Dore said. ‘Now, we must do our duties to the best of our abilities. We must discover what is wrong with the land and we must make it right if we can.’
‘Well said,’ said Gray. ‘Let’s do what we have to do, and give no more thought to what might have been.’
The three finished saddling up and wheeled the horses, stamping and snorting in the dust, to face the distant hills. As they did so a small group of Dogstar tribesmen came to watch them leave. Amongst the silent farewell party was T’Dore’s sister, who looked at Gret with a mixture of longing and satisfaction. He gave her a heroic, caddish smile and then he spurred his horse away and didn’t look back.
Gray and T’Dore fell in behind him. It was a rousing sight, and one which brought a few tears to the eyes of the older Dogstar tribespeople watching – the three of them silhouetted in the sharp noon light and transformed into more than themselves, into symbols of the fleeting glory of youth and all of the possibility inherent in the beginnings of journeys.
Even journeys that one undertakes while in a life debt to another.
Especially journeys that one undertakes while bound in a life debt to another, for there is nothing more noble than a reason for being that is not your own.
It was a lovely day, too. The sun was high in the sky and evil seemed a very great distance away. There were no ominous formations of birds in the sky, watching their passing and no strange lack of wildlife to be noticed at all. ‘We don’t even know what we’re going to fight, do we?’ T’Dore asked eventually, after they had been riding for half an hour or so in companionable silence.
‘Let’s hope that we’re not going to find anything to fight at all,’ Gret said seriously. ‘There is still the chance that this was a natural occurrence, though one that was uncommon and much to be grieved.’
‘We shall see,’ said T’dore. ‘There have been bad omens upon the land in recent months, and strange news coming down from the north, where the tribes under the Fightstar dwell.’
‘News of what?’ asked Gray. ‘I thought that the Fightstar were your sworn enemies.’
T’Dore took some time to take in the plain before answering. ‘Enemies, yes,’ he said, ‘but sworn – no. We have fought, and bitterly at times. Many of my kin have died at their hands, and many of their kin at ours. But we are not so filled with hatred that we do not pass knowledge between us.’ His manner became as expansive as his gaze for a moment, as he said, ‘that is the way of the plains.’
And the plains were beautiful, imposing and harsh. And in the distance before them the foothills began to rear. And on the wind there came the faint and distant smell of burning.