Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Character Interviews » Vadar at 16, near the beginning of the story

   
Author Topic: Vadar at 16, near the beginning of the story
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don’t really understand why you want to talk to me. I’m nobody—just an apprentice in the Smith’s Guild. Yes, I suppose it’s unusual that I’m a Dardani tribesman, not a Caerean. But there’s no great mystery there. My mother was originally from Caere and my uncle, Lanark, is a master smith. He sponsored me into the guild. When I complete my apprenticeship, I’m going home to the plains. I’ll be the first blacksmith among the Dardani. You see, the Dardani only know how to work copper and bronze. We have to trade with the Caereans for all of our iron and steel tools and weapons. Until I finish my apprenticeship, anyway.

What’s the best thing that has happened in my life so far? That’s easy. Being accepted into the Smith’s Guild. I really love working with iron and steel. It’s like it’s in my blood. It’s almost like the metal talks to me or, well, sings to me. Sometimes, I sing along.

The worst thing that’s happened to me? That’s easy, too. Last spring, my best friend was killed in a flash flood. I was almost killed, too. But my brother, Fenar, managed to pull me out. I had a broken arm and a couple of broken ribs, but I survived. I still can’t believe Torkaz is dead. We’d been friends since, well, since I can remember. He was always there, almost like my other half. We got into all kinds of trouble together—and mostly managed to get ourselves back out again. Until last spring, anyway.

My parents—my real parents—think Torkaz’ father blames me for his death. They think Maktaz will try to get revenge because his son died. That doesn’t make any sense to me. I tried to save Torkaz. I really did. But they brought me here so that Maktaz couldn’t try to hurt me. You see, Maktaz is the tribe’s shaman and he’s responsible for the manhood tests. My parents think he’d try to use that to get even. So they brought me here to go through the manhood test in Caere, instead.

And do you know what the priests here did? They made me wade across the ocean to a barren little islet for my manhood test. I had to walk into the waves. When most nights I still dream about that wave of water crashing down on me and sweeping Torkaz away to his death. That’s just . . . well, I guess you can’t call it cruel, because they didn’t know about the flash flood. They said my test was to face my fears. I don’t know. Maybe some fears are just too big to face—at least too big to face alone. That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It took me two tries. I . . . I just couldn’t do it the first time. I had to wait on the beach all day until the tide went out again. Then I had to spend the night on that rock, because it got dark and I couldn’t tell if the tide was still out or not. Maktaz couldn’t have done anything worse to me.

You know, a couple of strange things happened to me on that islet. Late at night, it got really quiet, just the rhythmic slap of the waves on the rocks. And, after the moon set, the only thing I could see was the starlight on the waves. I don’t know how to explain it. I got really calm. I was thinking about my family. I could almost see them. And then, suddenly, in my mind I saw this girl and . . . and it seemed like she spoke to me. She asked who I was and she told me who she was. Thekila. That’s the name she gave. She had red hair, bright red hair. I’ve never seen anyone with red hair like that. And beautiful green eyes. Ever since then, sometimes I see her in my mind for a moment or two, usually when I’m working at the forge and singing along with the iron or steel. I know she’s just a fantasy, of course.

What was the other strange thing? Well, I guess it’s related to that weird calm I felt out there. But, in some ways, I haven’t felt really quite the same since I came back from that islet. I can’t put my finger on it, but something has changed. Inside me. I just don’t know what. Lanark says it’s just becoming a man. I don’t know. I think it’s more than that.

How do I feel, being alone here in the city? Well, I’m not really alone. I’m staying with my aunt and uncle—Lanark and Castalia. But if you want to know how I feel. Mostly I’m confused and . . . angry.

What am I angry about? After the manhood test, Lanark told me something. He told me Danar isn’t really my father. Mother was already pregnant when she went out on the plains to live with Danar. This other man, Veleus, claims he’s my real father. Danar is my father, whatever they say. He raised me. He stood for me when I got my Clan tattoos. I don’t even know this Veleus. And I certainly don’t consider him my father, no matter what he says. Even if I do look like him much more than I ever looked like Danar. Lanark says he seduced my mother and that he was already married, to boot. That’s just . . . dishonorable. Veleus excuses it by saying he was trapped in a loveless marriage. But that’s what it is—an excuse. No Dardani would do something like that. If you have a mate, you are faithful to her. If you don’t get along any more, you separate and find another mate. But you don’t sleep with two women at the same time—not ever.

But my parents—Danar and Lucina—they should have told me. I had a right to know. I shouldn’t have had to find out from Lanark. And I should have been prepared, too. Because this Veleus is not like the other Caereans. He’s Fasallon. The Fasallon are strange. Lanark says they’re descended from the Sea Gods and that they have uncanny abilities. And the Fasallon don’t like to have anyone with Fasallon blood outside their control. I have to keep from drawing any more attention to myself until I finish my apprenticeship. Then I can return to the plains. I’m a Dardani. I was raised to live free on the wide plains, under the open sky. I can’t live in a cage, under someone else’s control. I can’t.

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited December 14, 2008).]


Posts: 4108 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JudyMac
Member
Member # 8354

 - posted      Profile for JudyMac   Email JudyMac         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In Scotland if you see a red haired woman when working at the forge it is considered a lucky sign, and believed to be the Goddess Bridget, lady of smithcraft. Does your lady talk to you?

What does she say?

Does your singing influence your work at all, for instance are your forged items considered to bring luck to the owner, or are they just a tad sharper than normal?

How will you use your skill to benefit your tribe?

When you finish your apprenticeship and become a journeyman, are you going to return to the same tribe, or seek a new one near a good supply of iron ore?

What are you planning as your final apprentice piece?

Do you wear a leather apron at the forge?

Do you do fine work (chainmail) as well as large pieces (swords)?



Posts: 31 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In Scotland if you see a red haired woman when working at the forge it is considered a lucky sign, and believed to be the Goddess Bridget, lady of smithcraft. Does your lady talk to you?

That’s interesting. Where’s Scotland? I’ve never heard of a city by that name. Here, Tabeus is considered the patron of the smith’s guild.

Sometimes I think she says something. Sometimes I try to answer. But it never lasts long enough to really be called a conversation.

What does she say?

Often it’s something like “You again!”

Does your singing influence your work at all, for instance are your forged items considered to bring luck to the owner, or are they just a tad sharper than normal?

Well, I don’t know. I’m very good at what I do, for an apprentice. So they tell me. Sometimes, it seems like I can see what the metal needs to become what I’m making. Exactly where to strike with the hammer, for example.

How will you use your skill to benefit your tribe?

The Dardani have only been able to work copper and bronze. I’ll be the first one to be able to work iron and steel. I can make all the repairs. We won’t have to bring them all the way across the plains to Caere and trade cattle and hides for the repairs. And we’ll be able to trade for iron and steel so I can make what we need—knives, spear and arrow points, some tools.

When you finish your apprenticeship and become a journeyman, are you going to return to the same tribe, or seek a new one near a good supply of iron ore?

What other tribe would I join? The thieving Themyri? The Modgud? I’m Dardani. I bear the Clan mark of the Lion Clan. There’s nothing else I want to be.

What are you planning as your final apprentice piece?

Hmm, that’s a year away, still. I haven’t thought much about it. But I have seen some interesting open work done by the older apprentices and the journeymen. That looks challenging.
Do you wear a leather apron at the forge?

Doesn’t everyone?

Do you do fine work (chainmail) as well as large pieces (swords)?

Chainmail? Never heard of it. What’s that like? I like working on knives and spear points. I wouldn’t mind learning to make swords. But the master swordsmith doesn’t work with apprentices.


Posts: 4108 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Cestus says that he read somewhere that Scotland is a country. But I don't understand what that means. I've heard the people here in Caere use that term for the farmland outside the city walls. But you seem to mean something different.

I've always been curious about things I don't understand. That's why I asked Cestus.

Cestus? He's my half-brother. He's teaching me to read and write and do computations.

Meredith here:

Actually, this is a stretch. Cestus wouldn't know anything about Scotland, either. But he is better educated than Vadar.

In this world, there are nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes and city-states. The cities are joined in a sort of loose confederation which may not hold much longer, altough trade ties will still connect them. But there is nothing like a nation.

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited December 14, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited December 14, 2008).]


Posts: 4108 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
shimiqua
Member
Member # 7760

 - posted      Profile for shimiqua   Email shimiqua         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Vadar,

Hi. How are you?

Do you like Cestus? My brother is funny, but sometimes I don't like him, especially when he is teasing my sister Joi.

I'm learning to read too. I't is harder now that my sister is gone, mother goes too fast.

How old are you? How long have you been prentising? What does it mean to have the manhood test? I bet I could pass it, whatever it is.

Thekila sounds nice, but aren't you too old for invisible friends? I am and I'm five.

~Caleb(age five)


Posts: 1201 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi. How are you?
Hi, Caleb. I’m fine, thanks. Just a little confused. They’ve changed my name to Vatar. Too many people said my name reminded them of a big guy with a breathing problem and a black cape.
Do you like Cestus? My brother is funny, but sometimes I don't like him, especially when he is teasing my sister Joi.
I like Cestus very much. He’s my older brother, too. Well, half-brother. We have the same father. I’ve never seen him tease anyone.
I'm learning to read too. I't is harder now that my sister is gone, mother goes too fast.
Learning to read can be hard, can’t it? Fortunately, Cestus is a very good teacher.
How old are you? How long have you been prentising? What does it mean to have the manhood test? I bet I could pass it, whatever it is.
I’m 16, now. I’ve been an apprentice for almost a year.
I’m a little confused by your question. Everyone I know has to go through a manhood test at some point. Well, except the girls, of course. Among my people, the Dardani, the boys go through a manhood test in their sixteenth summer. After you pass the test, you are considered a man. It’s a “rite of passage”. That’s what Cestus calls it. The Dardani manhood test is a group effort, though. All the boys go out to accomplish the same thing together. Something like riding green horses, usually. Here in Caere, you have to accomplish your test alone. That’s not something the Dardani are used to. We’re always surrounded by Clan brothers and sisters. When you’re a Dardani, you’re never alone, really. Things are different here in Caere.

Thekila sounds nice, but aren't you too old for invisible friends? I am and I'm five.
I don’t know whether Thekila is nice or not. Well, I guess she is, since she’s my fantasy. She’s not an invisible friend, exactly, Caleb. She’s just someone I day dream about. You’ll understand when you’re a little older.
Nice to meet you.


Posts: 4108 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Vatar at 22, at the beginning of the second book:

My name has been changed to Vatar. Some people thought it sounded like a big guy with breathing problems and a black cape. Oh well.

Apparently, I was pretty boring at sixteen. I guess that’s not surprising. I hadn’t done much, yet, back then. Now? I’ve been more places and seen more things than most. I’ve been to places you’ve never even heard of. I’ve been clear across the Great Forest and across the mountains beyond. What do you want to know about me?

Why did I cross the Great Forest? Well, that’s a long story. I don’t think we need to go into all of that. I'm told there's a whole book about it. Let’s just say, I didn’t do it because I wanted to. I didn’t have much choice. It was just something I had to do.

It wasn’t a pleasant or a safe journey. I was pretty badly injured along the way. But the good thing about it is that I found her. That red-haired woman I used to see in my mind. I found her. She was there, in that Valley on the other side of the mountains all the time. And she agreed to come back with me as my life mate. That’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. Well, that and my children. I can’t pick between the two.

Yes, I’m a master smith, now, with my own master’s mark. I chose a charging lion—the symbol of the Lion Clan. I can’t live without working with iron and steel. Well, I can. But I don’t want to. It’s in my blood. Didn’t they tell you? I’m descended from Tabeus, the first smith. So I came back to Caere become a master smith. My knives are in high demand. The best to be had in the city. Why are mine the best? Well, can you keep a secret? Iron and steel sort of sing to me. I can see what the metal needs—where to strike, when to temper. It’s a very old Talent. Tabeus had it. And, sometimes, I can sing power into the blades. But only if I’m really angry. You’re right; it comes from my Fasallon heritage. Seems I do have Talents after all. And that’s not the only one. But don’t tell the Fasallon. They might not take it well.

What other Talents? All of them, actually. Every one. There’s not much any one of the pure-blood Fasallon can do that I can’t. But we don’t want them to know that. It might make them nervous. Except Father, of course. He knows. And a very few others.

Father, I mean Veleus? He’s been really good to me. I guess I’ve grown to like him and respect him, in some ways. And, well, I understand things a little better, now. Things aren’t always as simple as they seemed back when I was sixteen, when I first found out about him. I’ve had a failed marriage myself. I didn’t cheat on Avaza, of course. But I also didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to leave her. Alright, technically, she left me. But only because she beat me to it. I was only going to stay with her until after the twins were born.

Yes, I’m a father, now, too. I have twins, a girl and a boy. That’s the worst thing about coming back to Caere, having to be away from them. I miss them so much. But I’m not sure that they’d be safe here in Caere. They have Fasallon blood, too, you know. And my son can already hear me if I speak to his mind. And he’s only three!

More children? Hush! Don’t let Thekila hear you! Don’t you know women die in childbirth? I couldn’t possibly risk Thekila like that. I couldn’t lose her. I couldn’t stand it.


Posts: 4108 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2