13 Dec 2018

The Elf's Prisoner - Commentary 7

Jyslyn's execution, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 7.

I did play up the execution in my promotions.  The spoiler of the chapter was Wren's appearance.  While I keep mentioning I wrote The Elf's Prisoner by the seat of my pants during NaNo 2015, Wren's appearance and backstory was a known plot point for several years.  I had worked out exactly what happened in Wren's home village and what Jyslyn's part in the slaughter was.  The goal, though, was to show the events from both of their viewpoints, so what I knew had to be filtered.  For Wren, Jyslyn was her saviour, the one who kept her alive.  Yeah, Wren had problems after as a result, but she was in the equivalent of her young teens if she were human.  Jyslyn, though, saw Wren and realized that she just could not go through with killing her.  Instead, Jyslyn faked Wren's death the best she could.  Jyslyn would've been mid-teens if she was human.

So why is Wren still young while Jyslyn is definitely an adult?  This goes back to Jyslyn's early days as an AD&D character.  Drow elves aged faster than surface elves, so even if Jyslyn and Wren were the same age, Jyslyn would be in a different age category.  The idea carried through to The Elf's Prisoner.  Jyslyn and Kazimier are about the same age; she'll age faster than him.  Wren is still young enough to have a childhood name, which is my explanation on why she doesn't have a modified Polish name; she hasn't chosen it yet.  Yeah, that was a retcon, but it fits.  And since Wren wasn't able to speak in the years/decades since the slaughter, no one could get a name from her.

The insight on elven politics wasn't intentional.  It just happened.  The matriarchs all have their own agendas.  Matriarch Moonflower is the head of the more conservative branch on the council.  She's very much into "do what I say."  Matriarch Starpetal isn't so much liberal as shit disturber; she likes winding up the more serious types, like Moonflower.  Matriarch Oakfeather is the nominal head of the council; she had the fewest objections from all the factions on the council.  She gets to deal with the headaches.  After the trial, she's planning on finding a tun of wine and get blitzed for a decade or two.

Another note on elven names here.  For given names, I went with Polish names, then making minor changes to them.  For family names, though, I went with a nature theme.  I didn't want to even think about translating them to "elven".  I'm writing in English.  The characters' dialogue is being translated to English.  The family names are being translated to English for now.  If this were to be published, I may go through and translate the family names to Polish, just to maintain some consistency.  For now, the idea is to give a bit more background to elven culture without doing too much work.  Again, the necessity of pantsing.

With the truth of what happened out, the Matriarchs are in a tough position.  Jyslyn didn't kill anyone, but she didn't stop the killing, either.  Yet, she did prevent one death.  Kazimier to the writer's rescue!  It's the best solution for the story.  Is it the best in-universe?  The comment section below is waiting for your thoughts.

Friday, Kazimier gets his worst patient ever, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 8.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, remaking Mystery Science .Theatre 3000: The Gauntlet.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, The Bond Project continues with Moonraker.

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