Category Archives: Recommendations

Three Quests

Originally published 2008. A silly little story based on An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom (the rough draft).

MeiLin Miranda writes an epic, complicated tale of love, honor, sensuality and history.

This is what she doesn’t write.

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away there was a handsome prince. His name was Temmin, and he was the third child of a wise old king. He loved his mother and his two older sisters very, very much.One day, on the advice of his dark, scary adviser the Teacher, the wise old king decided that each of his children must set out and seek their fortunes. First to seek her fortune was Sedra, who was very, very smart and very, very beautiful. Sedra set out to the far off kingdom of Sairland, where she had heard that women were strong and fierce and a little scary, just like her! While a woman might normally fear to travel alone, Sedra knew the secrets of Eddin and could change her shape. Sedra traveled by water in the form of a seal, wrapped in a sacred seal skin. Not too long after that, Sedra was surprised to find out that the men of Sairland were strong and fierce and a little scary, too, when a devious man named Brinnid stole her sealskin as she slept. She was forced to marry him! Despite all this, Brinnid was more confusing than intimidating, and in the end, they settled down and had lots and lots of babies and lived happily ever after. And that was the first quest.

Ellika was the next child to set out to seek her fortune. Rather than going far away into the wilds of the world, Ellika searched inside her own home for a fortune to find. She liked dancing and pretty things, so the first place she searched was her wardrobe. She was startled to find a door in the back of it that had never been there before. Excited and curious, Ellika dove right through the strange, magical portal, arriving in an underground kingdom where animals talked and trees walked and fauns and nymphs danced in forest glades. Kicking off her shoes, Ellika hastened to join them, laughing with delight at the wonderful, carefree world she had found. In later years, when it was discovered that she was a Daughter of Eve, not just a nymph, she was crowned Queen of Narnia. This was very interesting and involved a lot of talking to moles. And that was the second quest.

Temmin, the youngest son and youngest child of three, was practically destined for great and interesting things, so he set out on his quest with a light heart. His faithful vassal, Jenks, came along to keep him company and make sure he dressed properly for every occasion, and together they traveled by horse and conveyance all across the land. They sought after that most elusive of things, that Temmin felt was the most important thing a prince could find: true love. He searched in dance halls like his sister Ellika, and forested woods like his sister Sedra, but it didn’t quite work out. He eventually found himself in a temple, where he met two beautiful twins named Allis and Issak. They decided they liked his looks and that he would be their love slave. He smiled, and said, “As you wish.” He thought they were lovely, but unlike his sisters he didn’t settle down to live happily ever after. Instead, he settled down to have a tremendous amount of terrifyingly hot sex.

Meanwhile, back at the palace, Teacher frowned at the air and said sternly, “Stop that immediately. You are being altogether too silly.”

And that was the end of that.

Journal fiction.

I have an intense fondness for blogs that use the features of being a journaling system to create a journal. Here are some of the ones I’ve read – and yes, there are a lot of zombies here. Something about fictional blogs and my tastes seems to bring the zombie narratives out of the woodwork.

Starwalker: It’s a ship’s log by the ship. Spaceship. AI. There is nothing about any of these stories that is not awesome.

Apocalypse Blog: This one is complete. Zombies, like I said.

Dead Too, Rights: I already mentioned this one today, but I can do it again! The protagonist is a psycho. (But probably not a card-carrying psycho. Did you know that in some countries it’s legal to shoot people who are legally deemed psychopaths, but if they’re sociopaths you have to be a bit more careful about shooting them?)

Adrian’s Undead Diary: I’ve just started this, but so far I like it. Zombies. Swords.

I have an odd relationship to diary fiction in general at the moment, because some narratives are too close to what I’m writing. I’ve had to say ‘no, I can’t read that, I have to wait until after I finish writing Tapestry.’ Then, during my next project, I can cut out an entirely different section of narratives from my reading list, and finally read Memoirs of a Geisha.

Slavery, race, privilege.

I was reading Brandon Sanderson’s take on the Wheel of Time books just now, and also this zombie story: (which is fantastic, by the way). Somehow that led me back to thinking about Heiye, one of the quieter (who am I kidding, the quietest) main characters in Tapestry. He’s a slave. He’s 12-13 when the book starts, and I’m currently writing him 13-14 and hormonal. When the books start, he’s docile, facile. He figures out what people want and gives it to them. That doesn’t mean I’m writing a happy slavery story. He was/is a kid, and as he has entered early adolescence he’s starting to think about life outside of ‘this is just the way things are.’

Tangent time. I’m not entirely sure how to include appearance descriptions in the books. Roughly speaking, all the main character’s coloring is within the same general ballpark, but just as I can say ‘that fellow looks like he’s got French/English/Russian/Italian ancestors,’ so my characters can say ‘that is a nose from Xcountry, with Ycountry cheekbones.’ Heiye’s hair is a softer black, a bit more like coal dust, while she and Sev’s and the twins are all variations on raven-wing black hair, dark eyes, sortof something noses- well, there’s my problem.

At this point I lost my train of thought because my cats had a hissing, clawing fight at my feet.

Ah, yes. I blame their relative sameness on a small genetic pool – the number of high class military families simply isn’t that large. And the best match for a member of one of those families is a daughter from one of the other families. Sev and our lady are probably fourth or fifth cousins or something equally obscure. Can one be half-cousins? Dear old great-great-great-great grandfather so-and-so.