Unlike episode four, which when I went to do revisions I liked almost nothing about, there were a lot of things that I liked about Far From Home as I did my customary re-read in preparation to do my revisions. I thought the original did a good job of capturing Kiluron’s attitude, and the interactions with the foreign visitors was better than I expected to find it. I also liked the conflict I had set up, though I realized that I would need to build it out in a little more detail for the revisions, and that I needed to either change, or do without, the contrived fight scene with Vere. Maybe that’s why I found it oddly difficult to work on the revisions for this episode.
Almost, I decided to add viewpoints for the islanders during my revisions, which would put it more in line with how I’ve formatted many of the Blood Magic episodes, but I’m glad that I decided against that; I don’t want these episodes to be too formulaic, and the emphasis of this episode really isn’t supposed to be on the strangers so much as it is supposed to be on the politics of Blood Magic and the Blood Decrees. I cleaned up some continuity in that respect, dropped some useful hints for things that happen in later episodes, and thanks to the additional world-building that I’ve done since I first wrote this story, I was able to convey what I think is a much clearer picture of what the Blood Decrees are and why they exist (or at least that there are semi-good reasons that Merolate has such restrictive laws around Blood Magic and its practitioners, and for Wezzix in particular to want them implemented firmly).
There isn’t much more to discuss about the revisions for this episode, so I’ll keep this brief. Almost all of the work I did ultimately was clean-up work: changing a sentence structure here, switching one word for another there, that sort of thing. While necessary, and hopefully leading to a better story, it doesn’t really provide exciting content for a blog post. So instead of continuing to ramble, I’ll simply bid you go read the revised, re-released edition of Far From Home.
“Do you really think anyone is sailing in this weather?” Feber, one of the watchmen, asked his companion. “They’d founder on the ice long before they got to our bay.”
His companion, Jolk, blew a steaming cloud of breath into the air, and winced when he had to take in another one. At least Vere had put them on quarter shifts, so that they wouldn’t be out on the docks for too long without a chance to warm themselves before burning braziers. “I sure wouldn’t want to be sailing in this. I had a winter sailing once. Thought I was never going to make it back. You wouldn’t think it, but a bit of ice breaks off from these larger sheets can do a whole lot of damage to a ship’s hull.”
“You mean like that ship?” Feber asked, pointing sharply out to sea.
Jolk followed the outstretched arm, and cursed. “How the blood are they doing that?”
Just becoming visible in the dazzling sunlight reflecting off of everyone snow and ice encrusted surface, a narrow ship was approaching the edge of the ice that now rimmed Merolate’s bay. A single, tall mast towered into the brilliant sky, gray sails hanging limp from it, and there was no sign of oars, but the ship was moving fast enough to leave a significant, foamy wake behind, back out towards the open ocean. As the prow of the ship reached the ice, a distant crunching noise filtered towards the two watchmen, who watched in shock as the ship slowly pulled itself out of the water and onto the ice, and continued moving, gliding as if on skates across the ice towards the docks, its hull bare and dark, balancing on a double keel. Bits of ice and snow skittered to either side as if seeking to flee the approaching vessel as it came slowly onward, apparently dwarfing the other vessels still tied up at the docks, though in truth it was likely smaller.
Jolk yanked on Feber’s arm. “Don’t just stand there gawking! Go alert the dock master. We’ve got a ship inbound!”
Training broke though the shock of watching a ship apparently skid across ice, and muscle memory guided Feber to begin the docking procedures, more sailors rushing out to assist with the preparations for the incoming ship, although their work was punctuated by long, uncertain stares at the incoming vessel. It was flying a flag, but it was not a banner with which any of them were familiar. Whoever sailed that vessel, they weren’t from Lufilna.
Still moving under no visible form of propulsion, the unknown ship came up alongside the prepared dock, swinging about and coming to a stop with hardly a shudder, just bumping against Merolate’s docks. A ladder was lowered from the ship’s deck, spiked feet crunching through the layer of snow and ice on the dock to thud into the wood below, and a moment later a figure appeared at the top, nothing but a vaguely human dark smudge against the pale sky. The figure began to descend the ladder, and two others followed. Reaching the dock, the leader stepped off the ladder and turned around to face the sailors and city watchmen who had gathered.
He was dressed in thick furs, with a helmet decorated by massive antlers, though they were broader than any antlers of a creature that would roam Merolate’s forests, and his beard was thick and blond. A black-shafted weapon hung at his belt: one side was a broad-bladed axe, the other a sort of pick. The man lowered a fur-lined hood with fur-lined gloved hands, and looked around with eyes as pale as the sky, set in skin that looked almost grey. Not the grey of someone who hadn’t seen the sun, but truly, deeply grey, even beneath the surface of the skin, where it was visible through his thick facial hair.
“I am Captain Lorick’qu, of iceship Rofthox.” His language was broken, and his pronunciation was terrible, but he was at least speaking a recognizable tongue. “If you no mind my asking, where am we?”
Click here to read the rest of Blood Magic S1:E5: Far From Home (Revised Edition)
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