Monday, July 18, 2016

The Stone That Sings, Chapter 18

Network, Cipher, and Light

As I approach the end of the novel, my drafts get draftier, and I find myself having to fix a lot more, which only shows what a mad rush it was to get to the end of the story.
This chapter was a challenge because it wasn't about major plot points, but more about putting things in motion, developing relationships, and solving the little mysteries to get to the big ones. I guess in story terms it is the minor victory before things go completely awry.

But it is not, as one writer lamented about those chapters which contain neither the highest highs nor the lowest lows, filler. Things have to happen. Juliette has to heal and show how the trauma of the sehlat affected her. The mysterious network in the monastery needs to be decrypted. The holo-projector needs to be fixed so that House Sri can make its move. They are akin to the moves before series in and out of check, inevitably leading to mate. Intriguing, but not as high energy as the endgame.

This chapter did have hidden treasures. I discovered  the Vulcans Juliette was marooned with were Syrannites -- not exactly the Luddites of the Vulcan people, but definitely a conscience to the point of being a scold. I liked this, and I decided it needs to be introduced in earlier chapters. To them, this modern world, with its replicators and holo-entertainment, threatens to pull even Vulcan away from the way of the Kolinahr, and the only way back to logic is across the Plain of Blood.

Of course, to a logical Vulcan, there is nothing mystical about the Plain of Blood, and might even smack of idolatry. The real journey, they would say, has nothing to do with walking under the blistering desert sun to achieve enlightenment and is more about the mental journey. Which is many non-Vulcans, half-heartedly trying to achieve some form of the Way, may come to the conclusion that place does not matter, and may start of Risa.

The chapter also presented the opportunity to show how much Danek cares for Juliette, and how much the relationship between Danek and T'Mar is developing, which pleases and worries Juliette no end. It is an abrupt shift from a people who are anything but abrupt. Juliette blames herself but isn't sure there's anything to blame. We shall see.

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