First Test

Two Things:
The idea of “The Study” training room at Pantona, which I finally show here is one of my earliest ideas from this world.

And, Annalise kicking Tristan’s ass was originally written from her perspective but I thought it fit better here. Enjoy!

The Marina Chronicle

“Athena,” Tristan said, shaking me awake. “Athena,” I groaned and pulled the covers over my head. “Come on, we have work to do.”

“No,” I said, “we just rode for seven days straight, and we know the manor is safe and I’m very sleepy.” He laughed and tugged on my foot.

“Hey,” he said, “I’m sorry about last night.” I sat up and rubbed my eyes. “It’s not your fault.”

“No, it isn’t,” I said. “You were never involved in the resistance leadership because you never asked to be Tristan, I didn’t block you out and neither did Martin.” He nodded and sat down.

“I know that,” he said, “I just, it was always easy between you two and it isn’t between me and him all the time.” She smiled. “So you know that they moved Marina from the capital too?”

“I do know that,” I said. “Are you relieved?”…

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Viscount Aaron

Y’all I’m so excited to start Aaron and Athena’s love story.

And it mostly starts with her thinking he’s an arrogant moron.

The Marina Chronicle

From just about the moment he strode in, all confidence and that clear smile, I did not like Viscount Aaron of Pantona.

“Did my mother leave you two on your own?” He asked. “That isn’t like her.”

“She was checking on The Princess,” I said. “I’m sorry your Grace.”

“Aaron,” he said. I frowned. “I’m glad you’ve come, it’s gotten very dull around here.” I swallowed.

“We’re here to protect the Princess,” Tristan said, “not for a visit.”

“Oh and she’s in so much danger here,” The Viscount retorted. “I’m not trying to undermine your mission, Sir Tristan, but I have a feeling however long you’re staying will feel more like a visit.”

“I doubt that,” I said sharply. He looked at me and smiled curiously. “We’ll have to see what she knows. Surely she doesn’t expect to just stroll into Dovetail and sit on the throne?”

“She doesn’t stroll…

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Magical Movies Tour: The Little Mermaid

God, I love The Little Mermaid. I love it so much. I love the music and the story and the characters and the animation and every inch of every frame. I wish I could separate this love from any critical appraisal of it, but for all that it’s hard for me to do that, it’s also easy to say the The Little Mermaid is also an incredible film.

It’s a wonderful musical, with the gold standard of “I Want” songs and a handful of kick ass group numbers, and a lead who’s overflowing with agency and personality. (Spare me your “Ariel gives up her voice for a boy” takes. Love is not weakness, and questing for it in a fairy tale is not a failure of feminism) Even silent, Ariel exudes warmth, fun and delight. Her discovery of the human world, exploring the market with Eric, dancing with him, learning to drive a coach, is probably my favorite sequence in Disney Animation, or was before this project. (I’d say Wort and Merlin as fish and Lady and Tramp looking over the city have supplanted it.)

I count The Little Mermaid as one of the defining influences on my taste and writing, (the other two are Les Mis and Dawson’s Creek) which is why I named my sailor prince after Eric, have “scored” many love scenes to “Kiss The Girl,” (read any of my slow quiet lead ups to a kiss, it will usually fit the rhythm) and love few things more than a couple who rescues one another.

Watching it this time (Again, about a month into quarantine,) it felt like wrapping myself up in a warm blanket and being safe. It’s the best, I love it very much.

Next week is The Rescuers Down Under which I have only a few sketchy memories of, and am very much looking forward to watching again, since I loved the first movie so much.

Pantona

You want to know what’s the most fun about writing Athena, rather than Marina and Annalise?

She is much less in her head. This chapter is a perfect example of that.

The Marina Chronicle

I haven’t spent much time in the midlands before. but I can see why so many people are drawn to it. The fields are green, and the orchards are beautiful and people, with their pink skin and auburn hair are thrilled to come out and greet their Lady.

The hills are even nice. Not the mountains and foothills like home, here they roll and split the horizon, they’re small, and comfy and coming over one to see another farm or village feels like a thrill.

Tristan is unsettled. He has been since we started moving. I never would have thought that he’d be more attached to Dovetail than I am.

“There it is,” Countess Olivia smiled as we crested a hill. A small village, surrounded by farms, headed by a large, though not as large as I would have thought manor house. “That is Pantona.” I exhaled.

“It’s beautiful,” I…

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Countess Olivia

First of all, I promise Athena is on the road to “reformed mean girl” my absolute favorite favorite character trope in teen stuff. (Kelly Taylor, Brooke Davis, Veronica Lodge, *SWOON*) But the mean girl stuff is SO FUN TO WRITE.

Anyway, there’s some Olivia backstory that leaks out here. It’s been alluded to vaguely and gets spelled out a bit more here. (Albeit, second hand and extremely biased, because Athena will always take Martin’s side. In everything!)

The Marina Chronicle

“She gave you a handkerchief?” I said with a loud laugh as we rode out of the city. Tristan scowled at me. “You cannot be serious? Like in a fairy tale about knights and ladies?”

“Don’t make fun of her,” he said. “Ma-Lady Marina care about me, about us, and our mission.” I sighed and rolled my eyes.

“She’s in love with you,” I said. He frowned.

“Don’t tease, it’s cruel,” he whispered.

“I’m not the one being cruel in this situation, Tristan,” I said softly. He frowned. “If you don’t have feelings for her, it’s wrong, cruel to use your word. She’s young and silly and she might be our queen one day.”

“It isn’t like that,” he said, “between us. You don’t know her, you’ve never bothered to try.” He had me there. “And maybe I do I have feelings for her.”

“If you say so,” I said…

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Training

Athena has no patience for creepy weirdos.

I am very much enjoying writing her. (And even though in the author’s note I pointed out Kara Thrace as her “guide” rewatching the Arrowverse and having Sara Lance around has been helping a lot too)

The Marina Chronicle

Just because we’re supposed to be leaving in a day doesn’t mean that I can rest. First of all it would give us away, and also, leaving Dovetail always makes me antsy. It has every since our parents died.

I’m out in the training yard, kicking the ass of some new recruit from the coast. He can’t keep up with me, and Tristan is looking on from the other side of the training field. He’ll say that me wiping the floor with this boy is bad for morale.

As the boy lands on on his back, he finally squeaks,

“I yield, Lady Athena,” I smile and help him up.

“You did well, Everett,” I said, “you’ve improved.” He frowned. “I’m serious, I didn’t expect the blow on the left side and the staff clearly suits you better than a sword. Keep working. You may even beat me one day.”

“I…

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Early Rising

I am so excited for this new chapter, y’all.

It’s time for Athena. She’s a whole lot of fun.

The Marina Chronicle

“Good morning, beautiful,” I groaned and pulled the covers over my head. “Athena, love, the sun’s coming up.” I groaned and stretched rolling over. Carlton DuJarms smiled at me. “You look like an angel.” I grinned and pulled him close and kissed him.

“But you know I’m not,” I whispered. He laughed.

“Gods, I’m going to miss Dovetail,” he moaned as I straddled him.

“Oh, do you not think that you’ll have nights like last night back in Dorin?” I whispered in his ear before nipping it. I like Carlton, he’s dumb as a rock but he knows his way around a bed. He’s decent with a sword too.

“Unlikely,” he said, “I don’t think many of the debutantes are interested in our activities.” I laughed and stood up, looking for my underdress. “You could come back with me.”

“Ha,” I snorted, “no I can’t.” I only half belong to…

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Heartbroken

We reach the end with Annalise.

Or the end of what I know. Next week we pick up with Athena.

YAY!

The Marina Chronicle

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Marina rush through undressing me so quickly before. I have a feeling that I am about to be 30 gold pieces richer. I wish I could laugh, or tease her about it, but she’s vibrating at such a high frequency, and all I can think about is that Tristan is going away.

It’s been less than a year and the idea of life without him feels unbearable. I try sleeping, it doesn’t happen, so I do something I haven’t done since I was very small. I go to the basin that’s been set up in my bedrooom. I swept the small amount of water out, and grabbed the vial of sea water from the North Sea that Duchess Norvine gave me.

I’ve never done anything this selfish with magic before. Anselm would have been furious, and it feels somehow, dark, and wrong. I swallow…

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Hello, Goodbye

Just one more week of Annalise, before we switch to Athena.

I swear I’m getting somehwere, but for the moment, well, that somewhere is inside of Athena’s head.

The Marina Chronicle

I was dressed for dinner and on my way down to the ball for Marina’s winter festival when I saw Tristan. I walked over to him and swallowed.

“You’re going?” I whispered.

“Yes,” he said softly, I took his hands. “Soon, at least, I knew we’d discussed it, but everyone is back now, and,” he sighed, “I don’t know exactly when, it depends on my grandfather.’ I nodded and hugged him tightly.

“I know why you have to go,” I whispered, “but I wish I could change it.”

“Lisette,” he said softly. “Don’t tempt me.” I looked up at him. “Of course you can’t help it.”

“Hello you two,” Athena said, “Tristan, The General wants to speak to you, something he wants done when you go up North.” He nodded and we let go. “You know he’s going tonight?”

“Yes,” I whispered, “I mean, I gathered. What do you need?”…

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Anselm Is Here

Time to get The Queen back on track!

The Marina Chronicle

I must be spending too much time with Marina since I woke up this morning and headed straight for the library. I keep thinking about what Harran said, about the Westrans and the balance of the Triad.

I never thought of the three of them that way, I’d always thought of it as war, Cornan and Rana against Amina. Maybe I was looking for kindness where there was none for Caleb’s sake. He was buried now which gave me hope that Amina no longer held him, but still.

“Well, this is certainly a sight I never thought I’d see,” I looked up and exhaled, thrilled to see Mastero Anselm. I leapt out of my chair and embraced him, in a way I hadn’t since I was very small. “Relax yourself, Majesty,” he said and I broke away. He knelt them. “In the name of the gods, I pledge myself to…

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