So, I am trying to pull out a list of Rownt words before I work on the sequel to Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts. I reach the point where Liam turns over a Ginal coin, and I remember the backstory I had come up with for that little gesture. I really like my backstories, although I rarely write them down. I think the success of a story set in an exotic location, science fiction or not, depends on having a backstory. Nothing can feel random, and if the writer doesn’t know how the world functions, the reader is going to pick up on that randomness.
However, if every bit of backstory lands in the book, it is booooring. People want a story, not an anthropological description of why someone turns over a coin when they finish a trade or what that coin means. And actually, in the original book, Liam got it wrong. He thought it meant trading ended. It actually means that the trade ended well.
Back to my point…. I was pulling out these phrases and I hit that Ginal coin, which should have been a two line entry in this “glossary” of Rownt I’m creating. Instead, I kept wanting to return to Ginal, to tell his story. Considering his story is pure science fiction with no romance at all, I tried to ignore the muse. After all, I’m supposed to be working on Liam and Ondry. But no…. the damn thing insisted. It demanded. It practically reached out from the computer and grabbed me by the throat. That’s actually what the first book did too.
Anyway, here is “A Good Trade,” a short story from the Rownt universe featuring a traditional hero from Rownt history and a man trying to be a good father to one headstrong girl.
Ginal crouched at the top of the escarpment, watching the Rownt of Lartal move about their lives. From this height, he couldn’t tell the difference between these individuals and those who made similar preparations for war in his own Pratoalta. As a trader, he visited both towns. Women, even grandmothers, from both places had claimed his sperm, and he suspected that more than one egg laid in Lartal came from his genes.
And yet these people and his would soon go to war. Hand against hand, spear against spear and ordinance against ordinance.
“We should move the merchandise,” Ang said quietly. The girl was growing into a woman, and Ginal had no doubt she had large eyes and itching fingers when it came to their latest trade. The oils and spice would be worth much. However, the success of the trade was ash in Ginal’s mouth. He stared down at this town that would soon be enemy to him, and he could find joy in nothing, not even from the growing evidence that his daughter had her own schemes to steal some of these profits. His girl was growing up and if she had a less capable guardian, she would have stolen them blind by now. Pride grew in his stomach at the sight of her capable plots and machinations. One day she would be a trader to respect. Unfortunately that day was decades if not centuries away, and history conspired against him and his offspring.
removed due to the general assholiness of some people.