Fantastic Friday – Episode One

Fantastic Friday – Episode One

Hello and welcome to the first ever Fantastic Friday blogery! (I can make up words if I want, it’s called LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT and WORLD BUILDING!) I am your host, Tiff, the director of the Fantasy Track at the most awesome Convention on the Con Calendars!

I finally have a moment to catch my breath and reflect on the amazing weekend of programming that you helped us build this year and I am still in awe! Our track welcomed lots of folks to every panel slot we had, including a packed house on a Sunday panel. We will be rehashing panels in future posts and discussing directions for them to wander next year, so keep your eyes out for those in the coming weeks!

I wanted to use this first post to give a shout out to everyone who made our track room a great place to hang out this year! Starting with my irreplaceable assistant, Amy Tolley. She holds babies, finds food, reviews topics, moderates panels so I can find food, and counts heads so we can keep our documentation up to date and keep me sane all weekend! Thank you for all of your help, support, and never ending smiling face.

Thank you also to all of the authors who sat down behind the mics, some knowing what to expect from my panels and some wide-eyed and unsure of how serious I was about one question or another. I couldn’t have carried those conversations by myself and I greatly appreciate all of your expertise and opinions. Yes, I even mean you, David Coe. You’ll never be able to use your age as a bar to a panel… regardless of whether your books kill chihuahua’s or not!

Thank you to the guests who sat on panels, too! Whether you were lined up with our guest authors or just sitting next to me for an hour, I appreciate your knowledge and drive to discuss fandoms and universes with us.

And last, but definitely not least, thanks to everyone who came to hang out with us at one point or another this year! Without you, filling panels with authors and guests is pointless and your questions and insights keep the panels moving, which is a great help to the moderator!

We are already working on our goodies for next year and will be running ideas by you as the year progresses. I hope to see you participate in the discussions here as much, if not more, than in person! The clock has been reset, but the fun doesn’t have to stop!

Until next time!

~Tiff

Black Prism Read Along, Chapters 14-16

Black Prism Read Along, Chapters 14-16

Chapter 14 – Kip

Wow, this chapter was a doosie! We have Kip and Sanson, who were floating down the river and got to the bridge that crossed it to connect a small island full of animals to the mainland. There was a drafter there with his apprentice and, already, the building was on fire. The fire was driving the animals wild as they tried to escape from it, but the two men were blocking the other end of the bridge.

Rats jumped in the water, small enough not to be noticed by the two men on the bridge as Kip and Sanson swam for the fence blocking the water fall. I’m not sure why the Drafter started beating his apprentice and I read that part three times! I have a sneaky suspicion we need to know his name for later, since Weeks made a point of using it, repeatedly. Zymun.

Zymun said something to his master and the man stopped beating him, then drafted red and with a hand clap made animals on the other side of the bridge explode. Literally explode, as if they had bombs inside them. Zymun did the same thing, with the animals moving to the center of the crumbling bridge. Larger animals weren’t broken apart as much as scared into the water, swimming or thrashing wildly. Naturally, this brought the drafter’s attention to the two boys at the fence and Sanson urged Kip over the fence as the drafters threw more and more shots at them.

They escaped, skirting the waterfall. When Kip started looking through the sides of his eyes, Sanson asked what was wrong with his eyes, then blew it off as the pressure came at them to move again. They made their way to a neighbor’s farm, where they found the destruction of the farm and death of the family that lived there. The farmer’s boat was still tied up at the docks, though, so the boys hurried towards it. They were stopped by ominous voices saying that the soldiers’ orders had been to capture him, but now that he’d killed two of the King’s men, they were going to kill him, instead.

AND Week’s ended the chapter there… AGAIN! I’m sitting in the hospital while I write this and I just freaked the nurse out by my blood pressure being up. Seriously, dude! I asked him to come back in a few minutes when I’ve got it under control and just blame that one on Brent Weeks. Sure, he looked at me funny, but I’ve learned that the General Doctor that’s overseeing my case is a fan of Brent Weeks, so I know he’ll understand. 😊

So, what I think:

  1. I think Kip just showed Sanson he could draft. I’m not sure what color his eyes turned while he was using his peripheral vision, but it was visible to Sanson. I think we’ll find out next time we get the two boys talking!
  2. I’m kind of annoyed that they’ve come all that way and have been captured so close to freedom! I’m sure that’s exactly how I’m supposed to feel, though. The optimist in me wants to find some way for the boys to escape before this idiot kills them. Maybe the King will learn that Kip is so much more than a drafter? Maybe Gavin and Karris will arrive and save the boys? Hmmm…

Chapter 15 – Gavin

Score another one for Tiff! WHOO HOO! GO ME! Karris saw the smoke as they were crashing the condor and Gavin flew (if you want to call it that) over the mountains towards Rekton. Karris saw the boys, Gavin noted one was a green drafter, and they bolted off to help.

As they drew closer, Gavin realized they weren’t going to make it time to save the boys.

CLIFF HANGER AGAIN.

Now, this chapter review was short because the chapter was short, but also because there was a lot of filler in here. Gavin is very worried about Karris reading that letter and he’s already planning on how to convince her it’s a lie. He calls Lina (Kip’s mother) a lying whore and is already dreading telling the kid that his mother lied to him. There is a lot of talk about the crashing of the condor, catching updrafts over land and comparing it to birds flying and Karris taking over the control of the tail so they didn’t crash immediately. It’s all very interesting, but if I were to tell you everything, it would be plagiarism… or, at the very least, break laws about copying stuff. If you’re an engineer, you’re going to love the part about the Condor over land! My husband is an airplane nut and I’m debating whether he’d enjoy it or just look at me like I’m batty. Hmmm…

Chapter 16 – Kip

Kip tried to fight back, to give Sanson time to get away. When he saw the Condor crash (no, he didn’t know what it was, but we do!), he used the distraction to get Sanson moving. The guards didn’t stay distracted for long, though, and one chased after Sanson while the other attacked Kip. Kip fought back, but as untrained as he was against a Red Drafter, he didn’t stand a chance. He was knocked to the ground by a “bomb” and held in place by red sludge the drafter had covered him with so he didn’t run away. He saw the other drafter stabbing the ground with a spear and relaxing. Kip believes Sanson is dead. Maybe it’s just denial, but… NOT SANSON!! ☹

Then, Kip noticed a blue dot on the drafter’s ear that moved making the red drafter roar. He was thrown backwards, away from Kip, being ripped in half as he flew. The sludge holding Kip disappeared and he stood up, looking down at the carnage that used to be the red drafter and was now just red jelly. He quickly looked away from that and into the forest to find who was responsible for his rescue.

Gavin

Gavin had dispatched the Mirrorman who was about to kill Kip and turned to check on Karris. Karris had already killed one Mirrorman and flung herself onto the horse of another, burying her knife in his face, and pulling them both off the horse again. Gavin watched as Kip disappeared, searching for his friend. Gavin says they were too late to save Sanson, too. Boo! So, Kip has no one, now?

Before he could do anything else, like tell Karris to get the heck out of there, King Garadul shows up and demands to know what’s happened. Of course, he recognizes Gavin, too.

Now, given that Garadul is anti-Prism and he’s out to destroy any city that doesn’t back him and, instead, backs the Prism, this will not go well. The King has a good portion of his army with him and, while Karris is pretty kick-ass, I’m not sure that she and Gavin can take on the King AND his army. If they do, what about Kip? They can’t leave him, now that he’s alone and they’ve saved him.

This is a fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into, Gavin!

The Black Prism Read Along- Chapter 13

The Black Prism Read Along- Chapter 13

Chapter 13

Gavin is escorting Karris to Tyrea in this chapter. Before I start discussing what happened, here, let me say that I am torn at whether or not I should like Gavin or not. Yeah, according to the back of the book and the amount of time dedicated to him, he’s the main character, but I’m a little back and forth about whether he’s actually a decent guy or not. Or, rather, I’m afraid to like him. Does that even make sense?

In this chapter, we get to see Gavin NOT being the Prism, which I think is stinking adorable. Maybe it’s the baby hormones? We get to see their relationship a bit better, see a bit of their history, and what really hit me about this chapter is seeing how Gavin really feels about Karris. Which makes me wonder why he broke it off with her to begin with.

So, my questions at the end of this chapter are:

  1. Why did Gavin break off the betrothal with Karris?
  2. How is it possible to draft two colors together at the same time and do the properties of the colors cancel each other out? (ie, if you draft red and blue… what happens?)

Alright, let’s take a walk through this chapter and try to piece some answers together.

First, let’s look at the relationship between Karris and Gavin. Before this chapter starts, we know that they were betrothed but broke it off, and that they’re still on pretty good terms with each other. We know this because Karris plays pranks on him and he notices every move she makes when she’s in a room with him. He’s also VERY concerned about her reading that note from the White before he can get to her because he isn’t looking forward to her finding out about his son. This tells me that they both still care for each other, in one way or another. Are they just burying their feelings or have they actually changed?

Well, through their little adventure across the water, Gavin is continually trying to impress her. He’s drafting colors quickly and then modifies his scull (small luxin boat?) with his own adjustments to make it less taxing and more efficient. When she asks if she can try, he lets her and then goes a step further to share something he hasn’t perfected with her. He creates the condor so they can glide through the air and even admits that he’s not good at landing, yet. Instead of just doing what he’d promised he’d do, he’s spent this entire trip, albeit a short trip, trying to make her smile and laugh.

That’s not all, either. He relishes each laugh he gets, marvels at the smell of her hair and the sight of a single dimple in her cheek. He enjoys the feel of her pressed against his back and wishes she’d let herself relax enough to snuggle into him. Then, the feel of her hand squeezing a tempo into his so they can row at the same speed makes him remember the night they met. He admits that all it took was one dance to make him fall in love with her, even though he was under strict orders to be nice and that’s all. Based on the plan his father laid out and the fact that she was betrothed to Gavin and not Dazen (his brother has a name and it only took ten chapters to learn it!) as his father had arranged, tells me that he defied his father’s wishes in order to get her. Then he worries about her finding out about his son, because it meant he’d lied to her when he said there was no other woman when he broke up with her and that there hadn’t been while they were betrothed. The war, obviously, had happened after the betrothal, and his son had been sired after the battle in Tyrea.  He even mentions (to himself) that this was while they were betrothed. To be fair, when he’d received the letter about Kip, he hadn’t believed it because he didn’t remember sleeping with anyone after that battle. So, either Kip isn’t his or he was… drunk? Who knows? He seems to have accepted it at this point, either way.

Oh, and he knows she won’t forgive him when she finds out and he laments that, thinking he was going to miss her with a note of sadness.

So, why did he break it off with her? We still don’t know.

The second question… let’s talk about drafting two different colors for a moment. Given that polychromes are rare (he mentions fighting over them and that there are only two other people in the Chromeria who would be able to do what he did with the reeds), I’m going to assume that drafting multiple colors TOGETHER, not merely at the same time, is something that others probably know, but the people who can do it are a bit too important to waste time doing it on a personal water craft? Gavin is doing it, but then, the White fussed at him about his traveling without protection, so he probably has time where no one is watching to indulge in one of his seven feats.

So, his reeds, which he created out of Blue and Green luxin for strength and flexibility, with red here and there for pinpointed strength to keep them from shattering. Three colors drafted and the by-product used to create hollow oars that he could shoot magic through to propel the craft faster. It didn’t mention how the luxin was put together to make the reeds, though. I like to think I’m overthinking this and that it’s more simple than I’m giving it credit for. Occam’s razor and all leads me to want to just shrug it off. Either it’s easier than I’m making it out to be or I missed something. We know that’s not impossible (blue drafting a few chapters ago, remember?).

So, we’re left knowing it’s possible, but not how or why. We’re also left knowing that, even though Gavin’s done it, being only one of the three people in the Chromeria who would be capable of creating the reeds to begin with means they probably haven’t explored this use for them. After all, the others probably never leave the Chromeria and Gavin SHOULDN’T be leaving it.

Basically, NO ANSWERS. It’s ok, though, because we get a healthy serving of understanding the very human Prism who is very much still carrying a torch for his former betrothed.

Also wrapped up in this chapter is a few pieces of information that may have slipped through your attention.

  1. Gavin’s father was the Prism.
  2. Gavin is older than his brother, Dazen and destined to be the next Prism.
  3. Dazin was supposed to be married to Karris so that Gavin’s marriage could better bring prestige to the family and yet the marriage with her would solidify the bonds between the two families.

No real cliffhangers for this chapter for a change. The next one is about Kip, so we’re not going to get any further with this storyline for a moment. It does make me wonder how Karris is going to respond when she gets to Tyrea and sees the town destroyed and the people murdered, though. Will she assume that the kid is dead and go home? Hmmm…

The Black Prism Read Along: Chapters 10-12

The Black Prism Read Along: Chapters 10-12

You read that right! We’re getting THREE chapters this time and, guess what? THEY’RE ALL ABOUT KIP!

Chapter 10

Alright, Kip made it to the Orange Grove and collapsed and we have him waking up, here. A little time has passed, but no one has come after him. From on top of the ruin of a statue, he watches the town burning and the lancers of the King’s army swoop in to kill anyone trying to leave the burning village. There’s no sign of his mother or Master Danavis, and he just watches them cut down people while he tries to put together a plan. He wanted to get into the town, but couldn’t find a way to get in without dying in the process. Has Sanson made it?

Before he can get too far with his plan, however, he hears voices of people looking for the “drafter,” so he’s got to get out of there. He creeps down to the river, because the people hunting him have dogs. He hopes the water will help them lose his scent. He loops around and doubles back, catching up with the soldiers who go off the other direction.

Then he finds a cave where heat and light are filtering through and goes to investigate.

Chapter 11

As he gets into the cave, he sees two people Sanson (YAY!) and his mother. Both are covered with blood and his mother’s head has been bashed in. If this is how she always treats him, I really don’t feel too bad for her, by the way. She explains that Sanson’s family refused to believe that the King was going to destroy the village until he’d started slaughtering people. Sanson couldn’t get anyone to listen, so he left them, found Kip’s mother, and got them out of the village before the perimeter was set. Obviously, not soon enough to keep severe damage from befalling Kip’s mother, though.

In the middle of all of her bad mouthing Kip, she gives him a dagger in a wooden box and begs him to promise to kill “him.” Kip does promise to avenge her and allows himself a moment of grief when she passes away. He believes the “him” she is talking about is the King, but I wonder if it’s not his father she wants dead? She used the word “Avenge” but, from her point of view, Gavin leaving her in Tyrea with his son while he went to the Chromeria to be the Prism could be a betrayal, too.

Kip knows he and Sanson have to get out of there and get to the Chromeria for training, so he doesn’t spend a lot of time in the cave once she’s dead. At least, he does. Sanson’s wounds are minor, so they’re ok there. Kip is still fine, not even a bruised shin. He has lost the purse that Master Danavis had given him before he left for the bridge, though.

Chapter 12

This chapter is all about their plan of escape. The boys decide to float down the river, past the village and get free that way. This would mean they have to cross by the lines and bridges, so they’ll have to pretend to be dead. This gets difficult a few times, as Kip gets flipped over once and has an urge to help Isa as they float past her and the bridge again. There’s a guard waiting for someone to do that, though, so they keep floating by, fighting the urge to cry.

I like this quote in particular here, “No decision was a decision.” As it is, Weeks, as it is.

They float near an island, where all of the animals have fled the fires and death of the village. There’s a drafter there, Red, apparently, and what appears to be his apprentice. They are watching the animals, and the drafter gives the apprentice a chance to try a draft that he’d just done, thrown a lasso of flame around the end of the drawbridge. The apprentice overdoes it and his rope becomes more of a whip.This startles the draft horse on the drawbridge and the horse and a few other animals fall off the bridge into the river. Kip and Sanson pulled up on the ledge to keep the other two from seeing them and seeing the draft horse in the water, a strong swimmer, unlike the other animals that had fallen in, and with the drafter yelling at the apprentice, Kip dashes off for the drawbridge.

AND THE CHAPTER ENDS!! The next chapter is about Gavin again!

So, now I’m yelling at the book. Is Kip going after the horse? Is Kip going to do something else insane? I’m hoping Sanson followed, at the very least!

Man, I got spoiled with three straight chapters, even if they were short.

The Black Prism Read Along: Chapters 8-9

The Black Prism Read Along: Chapters 8-9

Chapter 8

KIP again! I feel a bit like a yo-yo, here!

So, Isa and Ram are dead, Sanson and Kip are not. Sanson bolts off and runs towards the village. Kip distracts the soliders from Sanson by running the other way. Of course they see him and give chase, at least, two mounted soldiers do. They are lower ranking than some others Kip has seen, he can tell by the armor and probably their age. That’s when this really gets interesting.

I have to admit I’ve been waiting for Kip to draft something for 7 chapters now. He’s the son of the Prism, for crying out loud. Apparently, Danavis has been trying to get him to draft something for a while, or, at the very least has been training his eyes to see the differences in the colors that HE’S drafted. Kip trips over a log and falls. (Put in a pin in the tears for a minute, I’ll be back to that.) In fear of his life, with these two idiots baring down on him with their sickle-like swords (I’m probably going to have to remember the name for that, aren’t I?), he drafts Green. Not a bad idea, since he seems to be surrounded by it. Now, this is the cool part, the GRASS elongates and shapes into spikes embedded in the ground, entrenching Kip behind them. Naturally, these two don’t have time to slow down and run their horses right into the spikes, impaling and killing them. The force bucks them off and onto the next rows of spikes, impaling and killing them, too! Sure, one gets a lucky yell about a “GREEN DRAFTER” out before he dies, but since no one else is around and Kip doesn’t stick around after the grass disappears , leaving corpses full of green dusted holes behind him as he bolts off towards the orange grove.

I mean… sure I was expecting him to draft something. I was even expecting a weapon, like a magical sword or a shield of of light! But… the GRASS? Hippies, unite! Greenpeace, here’s your out! Where are the ENTS?

And let’s just go back to Kip, who just tripped over the log for a moment. This is a sixteen year old kid, who just watched people he didn’t know die, ran all the way back to the village where he told someone else, who’s going to work on the townspeople, and handed him a bag of coins to get out of town and go save his friends… which he failed to do because they’re stubborn teenagers! He then watched a girl he had a crush on get shot down like a dog in the stream and Ram, who he looked up to… *sighs* Now, he’s praying he made enough noise to cover Sanson’s running off, and beating himself up for tripping over a branch he didn’t see and crazy pain in his shin. Even if there wasn’t something funky about that wound (??? MAYBE???) and he just got a bruise out of it (I’ve done that, Big Bada Bruise!), the kid has been through hell for the last few hours. Bad timing, sure, I get that. Don’t have time to give in, sure, sure. But for all the things he’s been through in his life, this mess was never a part of it! I’m proud of him for standing up and for him finding enough pride not to die like that (a Green can appreciate the sentiment!) and for finding the strength to do something he’s never done before (isn’t that usually how that works?) and get out of the situation! GO KIP!

Chapter 9

And now we’re bouncing back to Gavin again. He jumped off a building and ran down to the docks to meet Karris before she got on the boat or had a change to read the note the White had given her. (Yeah, hang on, I’ll get back to that in a second). Here’s a tidbit about this magic system that Gavin thinks about as he’s falling from the top of the Chromeria. This magic has a by-product: Luxin. Magic is summoned and when it burns, it creates luxin, which can then be used to make other things like armor or weapons.

Now, in the last chapter when Kip did his Green grass trick, the only mention of a by product was the green dust in the bloody holes on the corpses. So, then. Does it take a certain level of skill or maybe a level of blowing stuff up to make luxin in a solid shape? Is the dust left by the grass trick about to be collected and smelted into luxin?

Now back to Gavin and Karris. It’s obvious he still cares for her. There’s nothing (that I remember, at least) that says the Prism can’t marry. They were betrothed before. She obviously likes him and doesn’t hold the broken betrothal against him. So, what gives?

This time, he’s blaming his brother for the broken betrothal and says that one of his 7 great deeds before he’s dead is to tell Karris the truth about all of it. A truth that might ruin everything. The truth about what he did and why he did it.

OK, let me just have this for a second… what if everyone thought he killed his brother? And the fact that he didn’t is one of the things he’s hiding? I don’t understand why his brother is still alive, anyway, unless Gavin needs him to siphon magic off of, but beyond that. Is that what would ruin everything? It’s somewhat clear that Gavin is the only one who knows what’s down there. Someone has to know there’s something down there, because it’s gotten out a few times and people have died. So, did he have to break the betrothal with Karris to become the Prism and keep watch over his brother’s prison?

Bleh, more questions than answers, there.

The chapter ends with Gavin volunteering to take Karris to Tyrea on his way to Ru, which is a good distance away. I think there’s an ulterior motive here and he’s not actually after the Blue wight he says he’s after in Ru. He doesn’t want Karris to find out about his son before he does. He’s just using his flirting and Karris’ affection and disdain for sailing, to kill two birds with one stone.

Hmm…

Lightbringer Read-along: Chapters 6-

Lightbringer Read-along: Chapters 6-

Chapter 5-

I get the feeling I’m going to say this a lot, but,

WITH KIP!

He’s made it to the bridge (remember he was going there to warn his friends before the army got there and either killed them or took them as slaves). Naturally, his friends don’t believe him. Ram, the oldest, tries to get the others to leave he and Isa alone to say “goodbye” properly and Kip can’t seem to impress upon them how dead serious he is.

Interestingly, the bridge, called Green Bridge, is a leftover luxin bridge from that war 16 years ago. What ho, what is this? Allow me to paraphrase, but RIGHT THERE Weeks verifies my twisted machinations for that war so long ago. Tales say that GAVIN GUILE led his army through there on his way to crush his evil brother Dazen Guile (we know the name of the prisoner, now!). Excuse me while I pause and gloat inwardly! Yeah, yeah, he wasn’t exactly hiding that possibility but I NAILED IT! Mwahahahahahcoughcoughcough. OK, onward. Gavin drafted that bridge “By himsef. In seconds.” OK, ok, I’m impressed. Might’ve taken a pair of matched Aes Sedai at least a day to do that. I’m guessing it’s green because that’s what color he drafted when he made the bridge. Is there a particular reason why he used green and not another color?

He finally convinces them to move and it’s too late. Isa gets spooked and bolts off and someone orders her death. Blue bolts from an archer take her down and Zip is dumbfounded (cut him some slack, he’s young and that’s probably the first friend he’s ever seen die). He and the other two boys are hiding from the army.

The soldiers mention that this is their hometown, to which the solider giving orders, then ordered the town burned and “Kill them all.”

Umm… wow. Talk about merciless! Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the need to not allow sentiment affect the message he’s supposed to make by destroying this town. Morale is going to take a hit, though…

Chapter 7

Now back to Gavin with the home front…

I have to admit, I love the interaction between The White and Gavin. The relationship between them feels both respectful and filled with humor, but not completely relaxed. She kind of reminds me of Sophia from the Golden Girls.

Equal parts approachable and fear inducing!

You’re never going to get that out of your head now. You’re welcome.

Now, she doesn’t deny reading his mail. Doesn’t deny sending Kariss (Gavin’s BETROTHED?? I didn’t expect that one. OK.) to checking on Gavin’s son while investigating King Garudul and is giving Gavin the opportunity to bail himself out of trouble because Kariss hasn’t read the note the White gave her before she sent her off to Tyrea.

And a distraction thrown in: an “unusually strong blue wight” moving towards the Blood Forest (Blues are logical. I feel like I’m going to need that, later).

Then she reminds him he’s promised to teach a class of super-violets and he’s not terribly excited about it. So, he bails on it to catch Karris before she leaves.

I don’t know about you, but I’m dizzy!

The next chapter is bouncing back to Kip, so we’ll save him for another entry. I’m going to have to double these up every week to keep from going bananas in the middle, though!

UNTIL THEN!!!

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