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The Ailos and "Sunny" story - okay, now where?

 June, 28 2011

In 2009, I wrote "Beyond the Pale," about two teenaged recruits who abandoned Pelargir. One was from Harad, one from Lebennin. In 2011, for B2MEM, I tried expanding their sto


In 2009, I wrote "Beyond the Pale," about two teenaged recruits who abandoned Pelargir. One was from Harad, one from Lebennin. In 2011, for B2MEM, I tried expanding their story. Still trying to figure out how to do so successfully. Wanna help?

I am so happy you'll get to work on them again. Re-reading the series, I find them (and their whole situation) even more fascinating than before. In light of what they have faced, it is impossible for me to look at them and not see-- and, I will say, admire-- their redeeming qualities despite their treason. The conflict you have set up (both internal and external) is extremely compelling and makes for a very thought-provoking read.

All that is to say, I love their story! I wish I could hold them and tell them it will be all right, that they were caught in something too big for them to handle (how many of our youth now are!) and their sin is really not of their own making. But, then again, it is. And, as the woman (is she really Jhanar's sister?) says at the end: men sometimes must be Men. And, on the heels of that thought, I have to wonder if their journey together has not made them Men already. Like I said, fascinating stuff!

What was more difficult for me to follow were the nuances of haradric ritual, but I wonder if you did that on purpose to better convey Ailos' perplexity and yet his humanity, even though there is so much that he does not understand about his friend. From Sunny's perspective, it becomes a bit more confusing, but nothing that cannot be surmised after a careful read. (At first, I was a little confused by Sunny's not speaking. I assumed it must be a question of honor, i.e. he is a deserter and has no honor, should not speak... Something along those lines. I wonder if I came close to the mark there? It would be entirely too interesting to get more details about the rituals if you turn it into a longer story, but I think you did a remarkable job given the constraints of the form.

I confess that I am geographically-challenged (in real life as well as virtually) so I cannot offer any useful commentary regarding that, but I will get back to the story when I have more time and try to better follow the journey. I was so interested in the emotions that did not think to follow the locations.

What are your thoughts about the ending now? The final Drabble is wonderful, but I wonder if they get their epiphany, and how they react to it. I like them so much that I think they are kind of heroes already-- I mean, who goes back to help an enemy the way Ailos did? Who has the courage to follow the way he has been taught even though it brands him an outcast for all to see who can, like Sunny did? I do wonder what happens then. Where they can go, physically, depends on the punishments that either nation give to deserters, and if they are ready to face them or not. As much as I love them, I wonder if the ending will be satisfying yet not happy. (Or, they can run into a merciful man like Aragorn who will find a way to make things right while still dealing punishment, as is the case with Beregond).

Also, I wonder how that beautiful play of getting inside both their heads would translate into a longer work. I think the dual point of view really enhances the emotion and, bit by bit, reveals the full story to the reader, which always makes things so much more interesting and fulfilling! That may be lost if you are forced to stick to just one point of view throughout, especially because they are both so interesting (there's that word again) and conflicted individually. We get such a heightened sense of what the stakes are, what the demons they face are, through seeing their reactions to the other's actions from inside their heads, if that makes sense. They just complement each other so well, one being the "heart" and providing insight regarding what makes people human (of more visceral emotions), whereas the other is more the "mind" for whom honor (and all its social nuances) is of paramount importance, and who finds refuge through ritual and religion. It is awesome to see this in action!

Forgive me for rambling at length. I am delighted that we'll get to see more, whenever you are able to get to it. Good luck with all your projects and work!


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