Vir's Archive

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Grawfn Art Final

I'm deep in the armpit of editing, which means I missed my Thursday musing and my post today inst gong to to include a new proto-chapter.  Instead, I have to beg for forgiveness and try to bribe you all with the latest from Eric Quigley -- 


Keep in mind, Dwarves are a race that have been forced  into underground slavery for generations upon generations.  Long beards and hale complexions are straight out.  Dwarves of the Ecumene world are pasty with wispy hair (if they have hair at all).  Most a slight of frame -- and Grawfn tends towards very large and robust for a Dwarf.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Precipice Part 11: A Quiet Moment

A day later, Jarious sat at the kitchen table with Tangean.  They held hands across the table, both heads bowed.  Both Jarious and his mother prayed in low, rhythmic and reverent voices. 

“For Karshik we brought nothing, and we left with nothing.  His spirit was clean, as was his death.  From the General, we demanded obedience… From the Mystery, we demanded sight beyond… From the Martyr we demanded deathless honor…”

“Honor,” Tanjean repeated.

Jarious continued, “From the Tyrant?  We demanded nothing.”  He paused.  “The Four shall watch over us all, as we slip into the dark.” 

Tangean continued, “From the depth of shadow.  From the depth of spirit.  From The depth of the soul…

The spoke in unison, practiced words from years of recital. “For all these things, and more, we ask for the clean death.”  The both paused for a long second, then released hands and unbowed their heads.  Jarious sat back in his chair, his mother got up to tend to the boiling water on the beaten copper kettle.  Seeing his mother busy herself, Jarious stood up.  “Let me help you with that.”

“No you don’t, honey.  Sit down, its just tea and coffee.” 

A few moments later, Tangean was at the table again.  She sipped lukewarm water in a chipped wooden cup.  Jarious slowly rotated a stone cup with the tips of his fingers as he waited for the coffee to cool.  Tangean kept a small stash of coffee from the old country on hand for when Jarious visited.  Jarious didn’t want to drink the coffee for fear of allowing its earthy aroma to escape out the open windows.  So, he just played with the cup and listened to the bustle in the streets not far away.  People coming, people going, dogs barking, people arguing.  He chewed on his lip, out of simple conversation to while the time away with his mother.

His lower lip spasmed just enough to bite into his gum and draw a well-point of blood.  That did it.

“Mother?  I don’t want to do this anymore.  It’s too hard.”  Tangean finally looked up from the cup she cradled in both hands.  She made no indication she was going to speak, only that Jarious had her attention.

“Karsh.  Karsh was hard.  I shouldn’t have put the dagger into Arrious’ hands.  I just thought…” he trailed off, recounting the emotions he struggled with when he made the decision to execute Karsh.  “I just thought that Arrious needed to do something like this.  If I go, its him.  He will take over.  Torrain, Fovreh, Garwfn… they can’t do it.  They… they aren’t steady.  The unit needs a steady hand.”

Tangean went back to looking into the clouded water in her cup.  “Morrow?”

“Heh,” Jarious thought about all the times he wanted to defer to Morrow’s age and wisdom, and all the times Morrow flatly refused, implicitly and outright.  “No.  He is with us, but not one of us.  It’s a shame.  He is the steadiness the unit needs, but he feels no connection to the legacy.  He would never accept this…” he reached out and tapped the hilt of the Legacy sword he left on the counter a few feet away. 

“You know best.”  Tangean’s quiet voice wafted through the room like muted music.  Her white hair fell in front of her eyes and she absentmindedly brushed them away.  She smiled reassuringly at Jarious, the slight wrinkles on her gentle face became more pronounced. 

“I don’t know if I do, mother.  Was what I did with Arrious right?”

“You did what you had to do, honey.” 

“That’s not an answer.”

“It’s the best I have, Jarious.”  Silence filled the air for an uncomfortable amount of heartbeats.  “What else were you to do?”

“Walk away?  Do it myself?  Ask you to keep him alive and hope his Mongrel constitution could eventually defeat the poison?”

“You always do it yourself.”

“Yes,” he sighed.  “It has to be done right.”

“Which is why you lead.”

“I’m a sucker.”

“No, Jarious, you are not.” She emphasized each word as she drove her point home.  “You do what you do because you see the world around you.  You refuse to be swallowed up by small lives or the petty demands of cities like Junction.  You see that we humans live in the mud of the shadow of the Empire.  You… you fight for us and for what we could be.”

“…and money.  I fight for money.  Don’t forget that.”

“Money has nothing to do with it, honey.”

“You don’t know me as well as you think, mother.”  There was no mirth in Jarious’ retort. 

“Arrious needs to adopt the old ways.  He needs to study the legacy of the unit if he is to lead.”  Jarious let his voice trail off, not really speaking to his mother.  Though no one listened to Jarious’ statement, he felt better by saying the words.  It was as if the universe was his witness and simply stating the need for Arrious to internalize some of Jarious’ values would make it true. 

Jarious had no illusions about the cruelty of fate and the universe.  Still, saying the words had been a relief and galvanized his plans for the future. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reflections on Pt 10

Part 10 really emphasized to me how much I need to work on improving the voices of my characters.  As you all have read this, you probably have seen that everyone, from Jarious to Morrow, from Fovreh to Torrain all sound awfully same-y.  That wasn't by design and is something I need to correct.  So, to help with this process, I developed a little cheat sheet.  Here it is:

Jarious:      Eloquent, thoughtful, perceptive.

Arrious:      A bit unsure, eloquent, likes to get into details.  Can be evasive.

Morrow:     Short sentences.  Very direct.

Torrain:      Combative.  Lots of sarcasm.   Curses.

Fovreh:      Long, flowery sentences. Big, descriptive words.

Grawfn:      Defensive and conciliatory. Occasional odd turns of phrase (dwarvish heritage)

So, using the above, I've been going back an editing older chapters, trying to make my characters stand out a bit more on the merits of their speech.  I expect from here on out you might notice a change in how the guys speak.


Thats it. Short reflection this week.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Precipice Part 10: Blades

CONTINUED from Part 8...

“Okay.  It’s settled.  We leave tomorrow.  Get yourselves straight by dawn tomorrow.” Jarious paused to give a break to his thought processes.  

“Onto other business.”  Jarious nodded to Arrious.  Arrious bent over, grabbed a sack, and put it on the table.  The heafty leather sack, largely empty, sagged in against itself like a rotten fruit rind. 

“Show them.” Jarious ordered Arrious.  Jarious reflected that his voice was deeper and more ominous than it had any right to be. 

Arrious put on a delicate leather glove, reached in, fished around, and produced the broken blade the mysterious woman gave to Torrain.

“Tell us about it.”  Jarious couldn’t help but smile at the sides of his mouth that all but broadcast his thoughts -- “just wait.”

Arrious cleared his throat.  “It’s most certainly Elvish, and an alloy.”  He held up the flat piece of metal about the size and general shape of a large butcher’s cutting knife.  Its edges were razor sharp and all angles, almost crystalline in their precision.  Even in the flat orange light of the inn, the Elvish metal gleamed aggressively, seemingly sucking in the lazy ambient light of the room like a whirlpool and then reflecting the stolen light as its own. 

Fovreh let loose a low, long whistle.  Grawfn stared.  Morrow even looked impressed. 

At the mention of the word ‘alloy’ Torrain rolled his eyes dramatically.  “I gave you ten minutes, Jarious.  This is the thanks I get?” 

“Just wait, Torrain, you’ll get something out of this.” Jarious held up his hand to stop Torrain from standing and leaving.  Torrain complied in a huff. 

Arrious looked over at Torrain, annoyed.  Jarious motioned for Arrious, who had been trained by their father at the boot of the family’s anvil for years, to continue.  “As I was saying, it’s a combination of iron and a number of other metals and reagents.  There’s not a lot of carbon, and that means its strong.  At a bare minimum it took a master blacksmith working on conjunction with an alchemist of some skill and a mage to build and temper this alloy.”  He looked over to his little brother.  “Father couldn’t have made this.  Not in a million years.  Not with all the help in Junction.  Steel is rough stuff to forge in the first place, but the amount of work that went into this metal is just… staggering.  This stuff here is stunningly good even by Elvish standards.” 

“What’s it worth?” Grawfn piped up.

“Finally, a gentleman besides me with a sense of value, expediency and worth.”  Fovreh said, exasperated.  He winked at the Dwarf in appreciation. 

“A lot.”  Arrious considered the question, he obviously had not thought about it before.  His eyes slowly rolled upwards as he thought.  “To the right buyer?  We could all buy little villas on the far side of the Passage and retire fat and stupid.”

Fovreh looked around at the rest of the unit, smiling gratuitously like a child about to get a present.  

Arrious cut off Fovreh before he could get too excited, “’The right buyer’ would probably be an Elf.  There aren’t many in Junction, or anywhere in the human cities, that have the money or appreciation for what this represents.  Maybe in old Kandor, but not now.”

“Of course not,” Fovreh’s hope for an easy, cushy retirement was dashed like a floundering ship against seawall rocks.  He stopped smiling.   

“And, we are not selling it.  I made a promise.”  Torrain didn’t explain his abrupt change in attitude about the value of the metal shard any further. 

Jarious held up his index finger to make a point.  “If you really want for us to retire tomorrow, you could always sell Remembrance.”  Jarious knew that Fovreh valued his stolen Elvish longsword like a parent clung to the memory of a lost child.  Remembrance was superbly crafted, and the fact that he took it as he escaped was Fovreh’s lasting bit of defiance on his slave-master.  Fovreh had to invest a considerable amount of effort to defend the weapon from Elvish Thralls sent to retake it, and eventually, developed and cast the necessary wards to keep his former masters from being able to track the weapon’s location.  Jarious recalled a conversation with Fovreh in which the mage had underscored the need to get away from Remembrance should he die and the wards fail – his former masters would return quickly for their lost sword.  Like the shard Arrious held before them, Rememberance reflected different colors in different light. 

Fovreh smirked at Jarious, knowing that the commander wasn’t serious.  “Come and try to acscond with it,” he dared. 

Arrious was eager to continue and ignored the intensity in Fovreh’s eyes.  “That it’s a broken piece of a larger whole tells me that whatever broke this blade,” Arrious paused, “…and yes, it was a blade… but whatever broke it did so with a lot of purpose.  This wasn’t broken by accident.”

“Nice.  I want some of that.” Torrain slurred the last word for emphasis.

Jarious took over, “It’s coming your way, Torrain.  The shard was given to you.  So, you get the lion’s share.”

Arrious held the shard up not far from his face and traced a long outline with his finger on the metal.  “I can make this into the better part of a dagger with some work.  It would take some time, but it’s doable.  There isn’t enough to make a complete dagger out of it, but pretty close.  If you want, I can do it.”

“Yes.  Yes I want.”  Torrain smiled in genuine appreciation.

With Torrain in a good mood, Arrious pressed his advantage, “I’d like your permission to pull some of the metal off to work on a few other projects.”  He nodded to Jarious, “I could play with the point and edge of the unit’s Legacy Blade.”

Up until now, Jarious knew everything Arrious was going to say, but the last proposal was new and caught him off guard.  His mind raced as the unit looked at him waiting to continue the conversation.  “Um, no.  Not the Car’had’s Legacy Sword.  I want that to stay as it is, as it always has been.  It stands for something larger than us and is our link to the original Car’had and its commanders.  It marks us as something more than just mercenaries and bandits, and it needs to remain as it was when it was presented to the first Car’had commander took it into battle.  The spirits of our forebears would want it that way…”  Jarious noted Morrow’s eyeroll and decided to cut the history lesson short.

“Maybe Eartaker instead?”  Jarious got up and walked over to the barkeep, dropped a coin on the weathered wood of the bar, and waited for the attendant to fetch his sword from behind a shelf filled with cloudy bottles of unlabeled alcohol.  Jarious took Eartaker, still safely sheathed, back to the table. 

Standing in front of his chair, he drew the sword from the specially designed scabbard.  As the sword emerged from its protective scabbard like a snake slithering from its night-burrow, the blade made a light clanking metal-on-metal sound.  Jarious admired the length of the blade for a second while the rest of the group patiently waited.  Eartaker was a particularly heavy human-made broadsword with seven metal rings, each of a different metal, clinging to drilled holes on the backside of the blade.  The sharp edge of the blade was wicked, with the tip tapering into a hook-like irregularity fifteen centimeters from the end.  He put the sword on the table, expertly laying it down with minute adjustments to his wrist so the rings did not hit the blade and remained silent.

“There is room for more rings.  You could work up another.  It’s light, so it wouldn’t throw off the balance by much but I would appreciate the symbolism of having some eleven metal on Eartaker.”  He pointed to a flat space near the center of the blade.  The blade’s metal reflected in the room’s light, revealing small veins of color displayed the rare star-metal it was made from and the occasional trough or dent belied the untold number of fights the sword had participated in.  Jarious smiled at seeing Eartaker in its fullness.  Battered, beaten, reforged, and resilient – Jarious liked to think Eartaker was the embodiment of his warrior spirit. 
Arrious considered it for a long few seconds, then looked over to Torrain.  Torrain rolled his eyes and shrugged.  “Why not?”

Jarious was relieved.  His primary sword, ‘Eartaker’ was a ringed-broadsword – a very distinctly human design.  It used heavy metal rings built into the non-bladed part of the sword to create extra weight and a number of unique trajectories to the arc due to the shifting of the rings when in motion.  Jarious was trained to utilize the rings to keep his opponent’s off guard – and when Eartaker reached flesh, the momentum behind the blade was usually devastating. 

“Great,” Arrious responded more to the shard of metal than o his compatriots.  “Also, with some of the leftovers I plan to tip a number of our arrows.  It won’t take much of the metal, and could add some durability and penetrating power to the heads.  You okay with that, Torrain?”

Torrain sighed and rhythmically tapped the side of the table.  “You are the only one that uses a bow regularly, Arrious.  Don’t pretend that last bit is for the unit.”

“Fair enough, but I will make the arrows available to the unit.  I’m the only one that uses a bow regularly, but we all do at times.”

“Fine, Arrious, fine.  You are the best shot anyway.  Take the arrows.  Do whatever you want as long as I get my elf-killer dagger.”

“I can do that.”  Arrious paused and took a long, drawn-out, intake of breath.  “Of course, to do all of this, I will need a couple of days.  The alloy is hard and will take some time to work with.  I’ve checked, Cothod has a large order and needs father’s anvil for some time.  He is willing to delay the work, but I need to give him an honorarium to make up for the loss.  He feels like he owes our family so he will make sure I have the time, but I think it would be appropriate to cover some of his lost costs, don’t you think Jarious?”

Jarious sat in his chair and brought up his hands to message his temples.  From the moment Arrious took out the Elven alloy, he was in control of the conversation.  Now, Arrious had spent the last few minutes making the case for an argument Jarious didn’t even know he was having.  Torrain and Arrious were on board for the delay, and when they agreed on something it was usually tough to persuade the rest of the unit short of a direct order.

Jarious seriously considered issuing an order to take to the road tomorrow as he originally planned, but then he would have to deal with a surly Torrain and a sulking Arrious.  With no real timeline or deadline, Jarious didn’t see the value in pushing the unit.

“Okay Arrious, you win.  Four days enough?”


“Okay, men, I will give you an extra five days to relax.  I’ll open up the common coins to make sure you all have some money to spend.  Get this done, Arrious.  We leave in five, done or no.” Jarious glared at Arrious.

“And the honorarium for Cothod?  I wouldn’t want to do this on anything but the family’s anvil and tools.” 

“Yes.  Fine.  You will have it.  Cothod is a good man.  He deserves it.  You, on the other hand, are a manipulative scoundrel.”  Arrious wasn’t paying attention to Jarious and was instead focused on the alloy, scouring the metal and anticipating the work for the next four days. 

Arrious realized that Jarious was done chiding him.  “Love you, brother.”

“Get out of here.”  Jarious motioned to the rest of the wolflings, “The rest of you too.  Don’t get too drunk or into too much trouble.  We got Thralls to kill and Elvish goods to commandeer.” 

Each member of the unit got up and left the room, some going up stairs for privacy, others out into the street in search of something interesting.  Only Morrow hung back. 

“Where did that shard of Elvish metal come from, Jarious?”  Morrow asked in his cavernous voice. 

Jarious let out a slow sigh and motioned for Morrow to sit back down.  They both promptly retook their seats.  “That’s a good question.  It’s a source of concern…”  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reflections on Part 9: Trust, Ego, and Exposition

I Will Trust My Reader. 

Something I still am struggling with is exposition.  Robert Jordan did it poorly -- there would be entire chapters of books dedicated to telling the reader about the world, rather than showing them how that world functioned and the implications of the setting.  I don't want to do it - but the siren song is so damned powerful.

Exposition presented by an omniscient narrator is easy. Its lazy.  Its even a bit egotistical.  Ugh.  But it is so damn useful.  By using an omniscient narrator I can tell the reader exactly what to think about the world, its history, and how the setting works.  That's really attractive, because I like to think the Ecumene World is sorta kickass and I just want to share that stuff with y'all.

But I am not in this to do the easy thing.  I look to Steven Brust a lot as the person I want to emulate.  Each book in the Vlad Taltos series does something new and (usually) successful.  He changes tones.  He changes POVs.  He changes styles.  He frames his stories, and then jumps around in the protagonist's timeline.  Its really impressive, and when it works -- it really works.  It challenges the reader just enough to make the book an experience as much as entertainment.  Even when it doesn't work, its a fun experiment.  Brust challenges himself.  He doesn't take the easy way out.

One consistent point with Brust is that he doesn't just spoon feed Draegera tot he reader.  he doles it out here and there, giving the reader what they need, but focusing on the characters and the action.  His Taltos books are exemplars of creative, entertaining and efficient writing.

I want that.  

That's what I want.  Precipice is about challenging myself - to see where I will succeed and fail.  And so, no omniscient exposition.  I'm at a point now in the book where there is a lot about the world and how the wolflings interact with it that has a significant impact on the plot.  At the end of Part 1 and into Part 2 the reader should see the world itself take on more of a personality.

Say it with me, "trust your reader."  Exhale.

That's tough.  It shouldn't be, but damn... it is.  I need to give the reader just enough info on the world to keep the story moving.  I don't want to bog things down with long discussions of how the gods work, I want to show the reader how the gods work.  I don't want Jarious to talk at length about the metaphysics of the world (not to mention that isn't something he would do), I want him to meet the gods.  I want that conversation to be a give-and-take that gently guides the reader to revelations.

Thinking about it, I have the same problem at work when I am writing analysis.  Ugh.  Bad habits bleed over.


I will trust my reader.  

This is becoming a mantra, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Missing week

I'll be on vacation touring Sri Lanka for a number of days, so don't expect an update until later next week.

Until then, here is some developmental art (credit to Eric Quigley)...

Orc Attack

Monday, March 3, 2014

Precipice Part 9: Plans Within Plans

A day later Jarious sat with the rest of his company around one of the worn and beaten tables that sat in the common room of the inn.  The men were still touchy regarding Karsh, which reinforced to Jarious how critical it was to have them focus on something, anything, else.  Morrow, dressed in his rustic clothing as always, sat to his right.  Around the table from there was Fovreh, Torrain, Grawfn, and Arrious.  There were no smiles, this was all about business.

“Alright men,” Jarious stood up and unfolded a map that looked like its creases were seconds away from tearing apart like flaky bread.  He stood while the others sat, both hands flat on the map.  “This is Thra Nar, city of ghosts.  I’ve been thinking about it, there is no good reason for any Elvish house to set up shop there.  It’s desolate, remote, and for the sharp-ears, its bad news.”

Fovreh spoke up as if on cue.  “Thra Nar was the sister city of Trustill Bay.  Nar produced the goods, the Bay transported them to the city-states of the old Empire.”  Fovreh turned to Grawfn, “Humans are raised on stories about the destruction of Thra Nar.  That it was a city of hubris.  The Elves were supposedly messing with magical arts they weren’t even ready for, and that it was some kind of arcane mishap went horribly, horribly wrong…”

“*Poof* Bye, bye city.”  Torrain made little mock-explosions with his fingers.

Fovreh continued, “Since its destruction, it’s been a magical null zone.  A dead land, where both arcane and spirit magics simply don’t work.  Elves love their magic.  It’s part of what they define themselves by.  So, a place where hundreds of their own died coupled with a place that rejects their magic?  That’s not a place they willingly go.”

“Right, so if Vilandallaril wants to go there, then so do we.”  Jarious looked at his men, each one was looking at him, a clear indication that he had their attention as much as their willingness.

“The problem, as I see it, isn’t so much getting into Thra Nar, it’s what to look for on the way.  I’d like to go in with an idea of what to expect and what to look for.  The best way to get that information would be to ambush a caravan, not unlike what we did a few weeks back.  We should set up shop, wait for a juicy target to come by, and do what we do.  We won’t be on our way to Junction or any human settlement for some time, so looting will have to focus on the essentials and the small, valuable stuff.  

“I’ve been studying the map and doing some thinking.  We know there is one route from the old Dwarf city of Su Tavish…”

Torrain started to stare up at the ceiling.

“Dammit, Torrain.  Focus.  Give me ten more minutes and you can go run in whatever hole you find most appealing today.  Ten.  Minutes.”

Torrain smiled like he was in on some secret joke.  “Sure thing.  Just tell Fovreh to stop using big words.  You started to lose me then.”

“Fovreh, use simple words for our simple comrade.”

“Sure.”  Neither Fovreh or Jarious but any weight behind their words.

“As I was saying,” Jarious continued, “We know of one route, but I think there is another.  Vilandallaril is based, like most of the high Houses, in the Imperial city of Tai Droon Nar.  I think it’s a safe bet that Vilandallaril is going to operate a number of caravans from the Imperial city to… whatever they are doing.  This is likely a big investment, and they would need to send some of their best Thralls and slaves… especially in a magical void.  So, caravans from Tai Droon to Thra make a lot of sense.”

Arrious interjected, “They could even have them follow the normal trade routes around the Thra Nar wasteland and only make the turn into the city when no one else was looking.”  Arrious suddenly choked on his words, conscious that he was the center of the conversation, “I mean, if they are trying to hide what they are doing.”

“I think it’s a good bet that whatever they are doing is something they would hide from the rest of the Empire.”  Jarious nodded at his older brother in approval.  “So, two options.  We go for the closer, sure thing of Su Tavish, or the longer, potentially more disruptive option out of Tai Droon Nar.” 

“Three minutes left, boss.”  Torrain yawned. 

Jarious looked at Grawfn.  “Since you are the shortest, you get the first vote.”

“Aw, c’mon,” the Dwarf groaned.  “I always vote first.”

“You are always the shortest,” Fovreh flashed a wicked smile and a wink at Grawfn. 

In truth, Jarious preferred that Grawfn be the first in most votes.  Grawfn had his prejudices, especially when it came to his people, but his biases were better hidden than the rest of the unit.  His vote set a neutral tone to the vote.  Even with only five other wolflings voting, there were myriad calculations and hedged-decisions made in the few seconds between each ‘yay’ or ‘nay.’  The interplay was fast and too subtle for Jarious to manipulate, so he liked to stack the deck, as it were, by starting off with a neutral vote.  Torrain and Fovreh, with their ambitions and emotions clearly displayed, were usually the last to vote. 

Grawfn glanced around the table, not unsure of himself, but trying to get a feel if he would be the odd one out with his vote.  “Imperial city.  That’s my vote.  If the Elves are doing something big, then there should be a caravan from the Imperial city.  If not, that still tells us something, no?”

Jarious wanted Arrious to vote before both Fovreh and Torrain voted, so he moved the vote in order to Grawfn’s right.  Often, he would be the first to vote, but in this case he didn’t want to appear to be overly influencing the decision.  This needed to look like the group’s decision, not his.  This way, Arrious’ vote came between Torrain and Fovreh and ensured there would be a counterbalance to their influence on Grawfn and Morrow. 

“Torrain?’ Jarrious inquired.

“Su Tavish is my vote.  Closer and a sure thing.  Simple as that.”


His brother hesitated, clearly undecided.  The fact that Torrain and Grawfn split their vote, didn’t help.
“Imperial city.” 

“Why?”  Jarious asked.

“Why not?” Arrious quipped back, clearly uninterested in giving a reason. 

Jarious skipped himself and turned to Morrow, the member that was the most difficult to predict.  Morrow spoke up, “I’m with Grawfn.  If we hit them, we hit them where it would hurt most.  If there is no Vilandallaril caravan, then we can double back and hit the Su Tavish route.”


“Tai Droon Nar route.  Better chance to take out a Thrall or four.  We may get a shot at an Elf.”

“…and liberate our peoples,” Jarious completed the vote.  The result wasn’t in question once Arrious voted, though he still needed to go through the motions. 

“Okay.  It’s settled.  We leave tomorrow.  Get yourselves straight by dawn tomorrow.  Onto other business.”  Jarious nodded to Arrious.  Arrious bent over, grabbed a sack, and put it on the table...