Monday, July 23, 2012

New Beginning 963

In my grandmother's day, there had been no lack of Physicians, Menders, or Mender Physicians. The roads were good, the seas were safe, and the Physical Academies were open to any Imperial citizen.

In my father's day, the seas were not so safe. Enrollment dropped and schools closed as more and more women with the healing touch decided just plain Mending was good enough for them. I would have gone, I would have given anything to go, but my father forbade it with his dying breath.

"The Empire, she's turned her back on us," he moaned and, God forgive me, I hushed him with a nervous glance to the window.

My father laughed bitterly. "Who'll report me? Who will they report me to? There hasn't been a Legion ship through here in months. The Relayers know it, they're pulling their people from the Isles."

He laid his head back on the pillow with a weak cough and I brushed his white hair back. I could feel the pain in his limbs, the ache in his lungs that we both knew was beyond our skill to Mend.

"They've forgotten us, Acacia. We're on our own and we've grown so soft." His colors were roiling so heavily it frightened me. Thick red flecks of anger fought for dominance with a poisonous yellow cloud of fear around his head. I took his hand, willing strength into the few blue and violet tendrils remaining.

Suddenly his fingers clenched mine. "You take care of yourself."

His aura morphed into a chartreuse and puce checkerboard pattern, and I knew he was almost gone. A burst of lime green specks told me he had more to say. I leaned in close, lest I miss his dying words. He struggled to open his eyes and whispered, "I forbid you to enroll in the Physical Academy."

I thought, "Shit!" But then I realized that his halo cloud had turned the black of death, and thought, Screw him; it's my life, and med school's a great place to meet guys.

Opening: Sarah Hawthorne.....Continuation: Evil Editor


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:

With a final, moist gasp, my father's eyes closed and his body relaxed. But even now, at the moment of his passing, he had, just as in life, answered a question that had tormented me and burned at the forefront of my concerns. His life was not in vain. And with the funds that would pass to me from his estate, I could not only afford a new carpet, I knew what color it should be.


Evil Editor said...

Possibly the fact that there's no one around to report father's words is less relevant than the fact that he's on his deathbed.

There sure are a lot of common words deserving of capitalization in this world.

I assume "You take care of yourself," are not his last words, as you already declared he forbade Acacia to go to med school with his dying breath.

It's not that clear what the empire turning its back on them has to do with not wanting her to go to the academy. Is he afraid she'll be captured by pirates on the way there?

none said...

Like this one, Sarah. Very much.

Dave Fragments said...

This is like one of those overacted death scenes on TV and in the Movies.

It's fat and bulging with words and that makes it ponderous.

1) How about just "physicians and menders" as two classes of healers?
2) Since you say nothing about roads and everything about the seas being unsafe, drop roads.
3) Drop "more and more" and "just plain" and "with his dying breath."
4) replace "You take care of yourself" with the simple declarative "he died" ...
5) I presume that she's going to see lots of auras and funky colors around people. You've already established this as a death scene, so you can completely delete the paragraph starting with "he laid his head back..." That gives her father one large monologue to die with.

I think that would make it read better. Give it a try and see what happens.

Tk said...

EE's funny continuation notwithstanding, I did like the colours bit. It's interesting that she can both feel and see another's pain.

My problem: When you follow Menders with good roads, I got confused and thought they mended roads. Then the parallel structure made me think the Physicians keep the seas safe. I struggled to figure out that was not the point, the point was she wanted to go to the academies.

none said...

Even better, cut it to:

Dad said some things to me then died.

sarahhawthorne said...

Thanks all!

I was going for a Jane Austen/ Regency feel so I'm still trying to get that right balance of florid style and narrative clarity.

On rewrite, I'll aim for somewhere between where I am now and Buffy Squirrel's last suggestion. :-)

none said...

Tbh, i didn't think of Regency. It felt more like the departure of the Roman legions from Britain. But I like it anyway :).