Answering questions in the only socially acceptable form of schizophrenia
Today’s foray into the Character Lounge is brought to you by all the questions that have shocked, stunned, or angered the populace into not giving the author a clear answer:
Kate Kearney searched: How does religion factor into the world of the Sea Clans, if it does at all?
Brance: I… didn’t think we were allowed to talk about that.
Karleigh: And yet, the author allows us to wander in churches.
Terius: She played with the idea of churches being a safe, non-judgmental place for Jaera.
Jaera: And then she took that right back.
Zain: I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to talk about this…
Brance: Weird that this is one of the rules that all of us choose to follow.
Zain, Terius, Brance, and Jaera look at each other sideways, each starting to smile in a very dangerous way.
Me: [distracts them with a sudden storm at sea, with lightning, thunder, hail, flying fish, and frogs]
Me: [whispers] I’ve always thought of the Sea Clans as being largely monotheistic, with a strong side of agnosticism. I think most of them would agree that there is some higher power in the world, but some would argue about the intelligence or empathy of such a thing. It might be more accurate to say that they believe in powers greater than the human will which must be respected, but can’t agree whether to call it god, fate, or something else.
The churches are leftovers from a love affair I had in Greece touring old churches, which I can’t quite shake. The churches definitely house the names of the dead (grave sites are not widely used on the islands, as they have limited space), and the buildings definitely have caretakers. From there, I’ve often played with the idea of those caretakers being a kind of warrior priest, highly involved in the Clan’s defense and law enforcement policies. The implications of doing that have seemed rather bulky, and I’ve never sat down to sort it out.
Kate Kearney searched: Can people cook with keimon energy?
Toar: Sweet water, don’t do that.
Me: In a pinch, keimon do have the ability to heat food to the proper temperatures. It requires a keimon with beyond average control to maintain a steady temperature for the required amount of time, and a half hour of cooking like that would also do a fair bit to exhaust him. It would also flavor the food in interesting ways. In this case, interesting is not a good thing. But if – somehow – it was that or starving, you could do it…
Toar: Don’t do it.
Me: It would be much better, and much more plausible, to simply have the keimon ignite your fuel for you, and use a regular fire.
Neekers searched: How do the characters react to new characters? How do they welcome them to the Character Lounge?
Everyone starts looking around, a little stunned and growing steadily more suspicious.
Zain: There are… new people?
Brance: [snickers from the corner]
Seryn: [leans carefully against the door to the new barracks wing]
Tiernan: [continues drinking his coffee]
Me: For the most part, I attempt to sneak the new characters in without announcement. Most of the old characters will just accept that they’ve always been there, considering the number of rooms off the main lounge that could hide such personalities. It helps to keep the initiation pranks, bad advice, and rivalry to a minimum. We had a bad incident where someone [glares at Jennika] told an unsuspecting new recruit that the proper way to greet comrades in the lounge was to quack, jump up and down like an orangutan, and climb on top of them.
Jennika: [whistles happily, then grins and shrugs when she realizes everyone is looking at her] If such a person was so gullible as to believe me, they weren’t going to last long here anyway…
Zain: [looks sideways at Jaera] It’s you, isn’t it?
Jaera: [blinks at him] No.
Zain: You’re sure?
Zain: [shrugs as he looks away again] Okay…
Jaera: [glares at the back of his head] I can give you a hint.
Zain: [looks back, curious]
Jaera: Look in a mirror.
Zain: [eyes widen] What? No. [looks at me]
Me: [sighs, turning to Jaera] You couldn’t terrorize Brance?
Brance: [shouting from across the room] I’m good with my freshly-minted status!
Kate Kearney searched: Do any of your characters ever get mundanely sick?
Terius, Galen, and Kadelyn glare at me in silence.
Me: I have, on some occasions, attempted to convince certain characters that catching a cold might be a good idea. They blame it on a book I once read where all three of the heroes rode into the final battle with a strong case of the sniffles. Unless I can find a good reason in the plot to make them sneeze, they won’t allow it.
Kathryn searched: So, how does Damion feel about round tables?
Damion: I like them fine…
Damion: In fact, there’s a huge round table in one of the main halls. A friend of mine and I once stole it. It was very late at night. I don’t remember why we were still up, but we were playing cards. Our friends kept finding us and joining in until we had too many people to fit at the table. People kept saying they would leave and give up their spots, but we couldn’t cram everyone together with all the corners. We ended up on the floor for a few hands. Then my friend and I ran down to the hall – down five hallways and eight flights of stairs and twenty rooms – grabbed the table, and rolled it all the way back to the game.
Jaera: [hasn’t hardly taken a breath since he started talking]
Vardan: [leans toward me and whispers] I thought we’d agreed that he wasn’t supposed to be let loose in the lounge…
Me: I… I didn’t… let him out…
Kate Kearney searched: Do they all [Sea Clan members] pitch in to make food, or are there dedicated chefs?
Jaera: [chases me across the lounge] You better not make me cook!
Me: Not often! Just sometimes! It makes sense to have everyone take turns in places like the cargo haulers and the lower ships! The higher ranking ships get dedicated cooks because they can afford to carry personnel that don’t directly tend the ship.
Galen: Don’t let her skip talking about cooking on the island!
Me: [manages to glare at him as I try to escape] You either take your turn on the island, too, or suffer whatever food your housemates are willing to put on the table. Unless you have enough money to hire someone to cook for you.
Kate Kearney searched: Are there any ‘monsters’ in your world?
Me: [recites, like I’ve been forced to write it on a blackboard one hundred times] I am not allowed to write monsters. The last dragon did not work out well. The last gryphon was worse. The leviathan was unintentional comedic gold. I am not allowed to write monsters.
Vardan: But we’ve allowed her to consider things like giant, hyper-intelligent bears or whales large enough to swallow ships whole. Natural things, made unnatural in one to two specific areas.
Kate Kearney searched: What is Brance doing?
Kadelyn: [glances around herself sharply] When did we last see him?
Ineli: Ten minutes ago?
Kadelyn: That’s not good…
Jaera: He was just over there.
Kadelyn: He’s not now. Somebody find him!
Everyone spreads out to find the man.
Me:[sinks onto the couch, taking a deep breath]
Brance: [sticks his head out from under the couch and winks]
Me: [whispers] Thanks for the distraction.
Brance: It’s what I’m here for. [squeezes my ankle gently and disappears again]