My favourite dialogue from Render (A Story of Aligare)Posted: August 27, 2013
I always forget how effort-intensive it is to copy-edit a book. Whew. I’m still working on this pass of Render, and hoping to smooth out all the typos and phrasing tweaks by the end of the week. But at least rereading my own work is letting me enjoy the little moments again.
In the drafting process, I wrote a lot of odd conversations between Rue and Felixi. Their gradual, uneasy friendship meant that they didn’t always get straight to the point when they talked. They’d go on tangents sometimes, or tell jokes that fell flat. Bridging the gap between them took some awkwardness and vulnerability from both parties.
Some of these scenes made it into the final Render story. My favourite is what I think of as The Weird Egg Conversation.
But still examining his cuticles, Felixi spoke, clear and even as lake water:
“I made plans before I was born. I decided I was going to run the moment I was free of my eggshell. I didn’t know where to. Likely because I had no idea what a place was, other than the singular place inside my egg. Which was too cramped and dark to be doing any running.”
Rue watched the droop of his eyelids, and sensed the angle of his feathers in the air; she expected a grin and saw no trace of one.
“You … didn’t want to fly?” she asked.
“Not at all. I couldn’t even imagine such a thing.”
It could well be the truth. Every flighted creature in the land learned its legs before its wings, as far as Rue was aware.
“That’s curious,” she said. “Aemetkind don’t think much of anything before we’re born. Not even for a few days afterward. I imagine because there’s no air inside the womb — we don’t have a membrane to hold one of those bubbles of air, like the ones in the end of an egg? It takes a certain quantity of air to wake a child up.”
“Is that so?”
Keep talking, her innards knew. Felixi’s tail drifted nearer to the ground, and nearer, like he might sit and the stories might go on. What a gift pressed into Rue’s hands, these nettles to be held carefully.
“I think so,” she said. “The earliest thing I remember is someone saying that I looked plenty alert for a two-day-old child. Those were the words he said: plenty alert. It turned out to be my father saying so… And ferrin must be the same way. A ferrin friend of ours said his first memory is of opening his eyes, and that takes at least three days.”
“Hmf. Quite a lot of difference, but we’re all full of life, aren’t we.”
It was true. Rue hummed.
Dancing his gaze around — anywhere but on Rue and whatever it was she embodied — Felixi took a hitching breath. He said, “If it’s such a frightfully large deal, I’ll take your bargain.[“]
I don’t know, I just like the stranger-than-fiction feel of this scene. Pre-natal consciousness in the various Aligare peoplekinds? Heh, wow. It’s one of those bizarre things you bring up with someone, then you both chuckle because how the heck did you get on this subject? But here you are talking about it. That’s the kind of unexpected honesty that sways Felixi’s opinion of Rue. Render wouldn’t be the story it is without stuff like The Weird Egg Conversation.
◦ Felixi of Velgarro: outcast in a friendly world (heidicvlach.com)
◦ The role of emotion in Aligare magic (heidicvlach.com)
◦ Forgetting about plumbing: why the worldbuilding details matter (heidicvlach.com)