Words achieved today: 3045 (letting myself get away with less because it’s a teaching day, but maybe I’ll get in a few more tonight)
Current Hearts of Tabat wordcount: 87687
Total word count for the week: 13067
Total word count for this retreat: 13067
Worked on Hearts of Tabat, Exiles of Tabat, short story (“You Remind Me of Summer”)
Time spent on SFWA email, discussion boards, other stuff: 30 minutes, plus whatever I do tonight
Other stuff: Taught the first section of “Writing Your Way Into Your Novel”, prepped for Sunday’s class
From Hearts of Tabat:
Adelina paused by Serafinaâ€™s desk. She studied the secretary, who looked up. She wore her usual plainly cut clothes, one of the signs of a worshipper of the Moon Temples. That was, as far as Adelina could, Serafinaâ€™s only similarity with Eloquence, but most of what Adelina had ever known of the temples previously had been via the instruction or example of her secretary.
She asked now, â€œSerafina, how does the Temple handle marriages?â€
â€œThe priests arrange them, when people are ready,â€ Serafina said.
â€œHow does the priest know when they are ready?â€
â€œThey come and ask the priest to find them someone, and they prove in conversation that they are ready to be with someone in that way, and to begin to raise a family.â€
â€œIs that the point of the alliance, the family?â€ Adelina said, intrigued. â€œAre there Triad marriages, as there are among the merchants?â€
She felt foolish as Serafina eyed her. I am treating her as though she were some sort of menagerie creature, she thought, and that is unkind. Shame twitched at her even harder when Serafina patiently said, â€œNo, our marriages are not about economic alliances in the way that merchant marriages are. Such alliances would be reckoned a little sinful because they are apart from the norm, truth be told.â€
â€œWhat is their purpose then?â€
â€œTo create children, who will spread the faith.â€
â€œShould the faith not spread it, if it is good enough?â€ Adelina asked, fascinated, and realized her misstep when she saw Serafinaâ€™s frown. â€œI beg your pardon,â€ she said quickly. â€œIt is only thatâ€¦â€
â€œIt is only that the Moon Temples are not much regarded among the merchants and the nobles because it is a religion of the poor,â€ Serafina said frankly. â€œTo speak of things that are not reckoned in profit or loss is thought a little shameful among the merchants, and the nobles do not like talk of doing good for its own sake.â€
That startled a laugh out of Adelina, who had never heard her clerk be so cynical. â€œWhat has flushed all this truth from you, then?â€
â€œYou should not pay attention to Eloquence Seaborn,â€ Serafina said severely. â€œIt is not a match the Temples would approve of, and he is a fine young man, with a good future in them ahead of him.â€
â€œIs he to become a priest?â€
Serafina shook her head, then nodded. â€œA laymanâ€™s priest, someone who does not live in the Temples and do as the Priests do, but lives among other people and acts as a go between and an example. That is a special role, and it is the one that has been prepared for Eloquence.â€
It occurred to Adelina that the Temples were a relatively small gathering and so Serafina had known Eloquence and his family all her life. She said, â€œI am thinking of taking an apprentice, one of Eloquenceâ€™s sisters.â€
â€œThat,â€ Serafina said slowly, â€œcould be a good or bad notion, depending on which you mean to do so with.â€
â€œThe youngest one. Perseverance.â€
â€œAh.â€ Serafinaâ€™s frown cleared a little. â€œShe gets picked on by the rest of them, I think. To be out from under all of that would be a good thing for her, let her shine a little and come into her own. But I thought she was apprenticed to the tanner?â€
â€œShe is, but she says she hates it. I found her crying over it.â€
Serafina pursed her lips. â€œIt is not for the child to determine her own apprenticeship. That is for her elders to do, with the Templesâ€™ advice, in order to place her where she will be best prepared for life.â€
â€œBut at the time she was apprenticed to the tanner, this opportunity was not available to her for the Temples or her elders to know about,â€ Adelina pointed out.
â€œThat is true.â€ Serafina wavered. â€œYou should consult her brother,â€ she said finally.
â€œI will,â€ Adelina said. She did not mention her earlier conversation with Perseverance or the fact that she had already promised the girl an apprenticeship. There was no need for Serafina to know the exact timeline.