And happy Sunday to you, friends!
I woke up this morning to Charming bringing me French press coffee in my favorite unicorn cup. Sitting at my counter, the bright morning sunlight pouring through the sliding glass doors, today just feels like magic.
What a beautiful word that is…. magic. It’s tied to dreams and spirits of adventure; things that spark excitement amidst the mundane.
Lately, I’ve spent more time in the realm of fantasy than the real world as I chisel at the climatic scenes in my next novel, Chivalry’s Code. Yet there’s much to be said about the realm of imagination. Sometimes fiction isn’t so far from the truth.
Throughout the writing of Chivalry’s Code, I’ve struggled with Jaycent/Jaspur’s evolution. “How is he going to find himself?” I wondered, for the rogue had seen so much darkness that the hopeful hero he once was now felt like a false illusion. Chivalry had been used against him by his enemy, who exploited his loyalty and honor and made it his weakness. It made a mockery of everything Jaspur believed in, shaking his moral foundation and with it… his sense of purpose.
Jaspur can’t unsee what he saw. He cannot simply forget the lives that were lost because he stayed true to a code that failed him, thus failing his people. The weight of his guilt pressed his heart into a stone made of anger and despair. What would it take to crack it?
What could he believe in again?
Ah, but isn’t that a fine question? I think more of us can relate to Jaspur’s struggle than not. Part of life, part of growth, is climbing back to our feet when the world throws us down. We learn in life that no matter how hard we try, we cannot win every battle. But losing doesn’t negate what we stood for or make it wrong. Nor does failure mean we’ve lost the game.
Lately, I’ve been playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, and a dialogue between two characters (an elven apostate named Solas and a dwarven rogue named Varric) seemed to resonate with Jaspur’s struggle:
- Varric: What is it with you, Chuckles? Why do you care so much about the dwarves?
- Solas: Once, in the Fade, I saw a man who lived alone on an island. Most of his tribe had fallen to beasts or disease. His wife had died in childbirth. He was the only one left. He could have struck out on his own to find a new land, new people. But he stayed. He spent every day catching fish in a little boat, every night drinking fermented fruit juice and watching the stars.
- Varric: I can think of worse lives.
- Solas: How can you be happy surrendering, knowing it will all end with you?
- Varric: I suppose it depends on the quality of the fermented fruit juice.
- Solas: So it seems.
- Varric: What’s with you and the doom stuff? Are you always this cheery or is the hole in the sky getting to you?
- Solas: I’ve no idea what you mean.
- Varric: All the “fallen empire” crap you go on about. What’s so great about empires anyway?
- Varric: So we lost the Deep Roads, and Orzammar’s too proud to ask for help. So what? We’re not Orzammar and we’re not our empire.
- Varric: There are tens of thousands of us living up here in the sunlight now, and it’s not that bad.
- Varric: Life goes on. It’s just different than it used to be.
- Solas: And you have no concept of what that difference cost you.
- Varric: Oh I know what it didn’t cost me. I’m still here, even after all those thaigs fell.
- Solas: You truly are content to sit in the sun, never wondering what you could’ve been, never fighting back?
- Varric: Ha, you’ve got it all wrong, Chuckles. This is fighting back.
- Solas: How does passively accepting your fate constitute a fight?
- Varric: In that story of yours–the fisherman watching the stars, dying alone–you thought he gave up right?
- Solas: Yes.
- Varric: But we went on living. he lost everyone, but he still got up every morning. He made a life, even if it was alone.
- Varric: That’s the world. Everything you build, it tears down. Everything you’ve got, it takes–and it’s gone forever.
- Varric: The only choices you get are to lie down and die or keep going. He kept going. That’s as close to beating the world as anyone gets.
- Solas: Well said. Perhaps I was mistaken.
With that said, I’d like to end this post with you and your thoughts. Who do you agree with most? Solas? Or Varric?