A Surprise Saturday Short

I had intended to focus on reading today, but life threw me a curve ball this morning and I’ve spent a lot of time today processing it. In discussing that with my friend and fellow writer Aaron Ramos, I happened upon the idea for a new story in Chronicles of Ytria.

One of the details I invented as part of writing my last Ytria story was the source of the plague that strikes Wellesper in One’s Own Medicine and which has just struck Aemis in The Small Things. That source location is the Kingdom of Pannouk, which lies on a peninsula south of the Kingdom of Potro (the setting of The Roots and the Spiderweb).

This new story is set in Pannouk, and the main character is an interesting one. He has trained and worked most of his life as a scrivener, but when the plague hits, the king orders him and other palace actuaries out to replace the farmers who have died, since growing food seems momentarily more important than the smooth functioning of the royal bureaucracy. Our protagonist’s name is Sigg, and he has a wife, Ele, and a daughter, Pnia, who have been living with him on the farm for almost two years.

The dramatic tension lies in the fact that Pannouk is beginning to recover from the plague. The number of new cases per day is dropping, and people like Sigg are being asked to come back into the city and resume their previous functions. Sigg doesn’t want to. Not because of any particular love of farm life, but out of a desire to protect the health of his family members.

The story does not yet have a title, but I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with one after the story is complete. Within the collection, I am placing it immediately before The Small Things.

I also notice that the word count for this collection is climbing higher, perhaps a bit higher than I expected. As I’d prefer not to top 70,000 words, I am probably going to end up calling it at nine stories instead of ten, but I’m going to leave the tenth slot alone for now. For all I know, this new story could end up short.

Chronicles of Ytria today stands at 51,300 words:

  1. We Were Here First (2,600 words)
  2. One's Own Medicine (7,000 words)
  3. Ergo Sum (8,600 words)
  4. A Just War (7,200 words)
  5. Habitat (8,700 words)
  6. The Roots and the Spiderweb (7,500 words)
  7. [Potential Story] (0 words)
  8. [Potential Story] (0 words)
  9. Untitled (>1,500 words)
  10. The Small Things (8,200 words)