Stories on the edge of familiarity

Monthly Archives: May 2014

WWBTE: Damis/Inalik

I’m working on a crazy complex story whose working title is “The Women Who Brought the End” (thus, WWBTE). It has lots of characters. And I mean LOTS of characters. Here is one of them:

Damis Portrait (Colour)(small)

This character most often goes by Damis, although her birth name is Inalik. The pattern on her back and arm are a spell that keeps her in that form, rather than the beast form behind her, which is what she would naturally look like.

She likes to write —that quote is from something she wrote— but the spell also keeps her from being able to write the things that really matter to her. Sometimes, though, part of the spell wears off and things slip through, like that quote, and she has a spot under the floorboards in her room where she keeps all the scraps of paper with these slip-ups.

She was born on a world called Nunit, and that world is being colonized by the empire on a world called Ebiel. Part of that colonization is that children of the native beings of Nunit are being “adopted” by Ebi parents and then locked into that humanoid form through the use of the drawn spell. This strategy is still in its early stages, as the Ebiu haven’t figured out how to keep the spell from wearing off, but that doesn’t keep them from experimenting on kids like Damis, who’s lived on Ebiel now for about ten years.

Oh, and, when I said that she goes by the name of Damis, I mean that her adoptive Ebi parents gave her that name to replace her birth name of Inalik. She goes along with it not because she’s got some grand plan to rebel later, but because she thinks that what’s being done to her is right and good.

So you can read that quote in some context (aka, the first three paragraphs of the current draft of the story, which I will point out, in the interest of covering all my bases, are, along with everything on this site, copyrighted to me, Thea van Diepen, all rights reserved), here is the context:

In the beginning, I was formless, then the Creator spoke and gave me shape. I was told that, when I was born, my mother cried with joy to see me, and my family wept at their happiness that I had entered the world. And, at that time, my feet moved as I willed, my hands worked as I willed, and my lips spoke as I willed, but now my lips are sewn shut. My hands are chained, my feet leaden. Now I am tied, pressed, shrunk to a form I did not choose.

It is better this way, they tell me. The Creator gave me too much, including that which was unlawful to give. The gods afford me guidance, show me the path that I can walk. I will walk it, because they tell me it is better. I will walk it, even though my feet bleed in their casings. I will walk it, and I will keep myself pure.

But I will never be pure, for I am a shade, and I ape the ways of the goddu. The lines on my back and arms may keep me in the form they chose, but we all know the truth: I am not like them. I am not like them, and it scares me.

 

I will now leave it up to you to see what you can figure out about the story from this. Or, at the very least, to ask all kinds of questions. :)

Once the story reaches a point where I have a quote that exemplifies another character, I’ll do another post like this. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek!