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Putting Together A Project Team 1
This follows on from Cheering News and was written to kelkyag's prompt "Where is Erima supposed to build a temple?" It's come in at 910 words and seems to contain a lot of geography.

The Yarn Wall defended the highlands from the demon-controlled lowlands, a vast bulwark blocking the broad pass that had once carried the commercial lifeblood of the continent. It was anchored at either end by the black stone fortresses of Treblesse and Fire Bright. The fortifications at Inyarn held the centre of the line where once an overnight stop on the highway had stood. The highway still ran north and south, to and from the wall, and was used by both the demon-controlled armies to the south and the unconquered humans to the north.

Fire Bright sat on the western end of the fortified line, snuggling up to Pollcar, the first of the mountains whose precipitous southern faces made the pass the only way north. The height of that ridge kept winged enemies at bay and out of the fertile Poll River Valley on the other side. After you passed the peaks of Pollcar and Mundberg going south, the valley’s western wall of mountains joined with its eastern one and the two ridges marched south together: Thunderhead and Meckeljoy; Stonedrop and Naerie; Stormsplitter and Stargrazer before the wall of mountains turned west toward the Massif; the Seven Sisters leading off into the chain of mountains with forgotten names that ended, finally, in the peaks of Stugert, Abrack and Limmermeet at the Massif’s edge.

On the lower southern slopes of Stormsplitter and Stargrazer there was a shelf. The demon hosts hadn’t made use of it as a staging area into the highlands because it was still more than 300 long feet up a sheer cliff above their territory. The humans knew about it because it was exactly the sort of place that stray sheep or goats would wind up, after passing through some of the most difficult country they could find. The terrain was complicated by a sheer-sided fissure that dropped all the way to the level of the lowlands and ate into the space above.

Erima reread the letter from Argenthan, General of the South, and smiled. “I must write back to your Commander,” she said to courier, “and thank him for his greetings. Is he always so enthusiastic about flanking positions and siege machines?”

The man smiled back faintly. “Not when they’re being used against him, my lady.” His stance may have wavered slightly.

“For hearth’s sake, where are my manners? Hang up your cloak over there and sit down.” Erima gestured from a row of wall-mounted hooks to a table with chairs drawn up to it. “Have you eaten since dawn?” When the man nodded she asked, “When?”

“At dawn, my lady. Nothing since. I was on my way here,” he pointed out.

“Then we need to get a solid meal into you,” said the First Born practically. “If you’re going back with my reply tomorrow, then it will have to be on a different horse.”

“As you say, my lady,” the man nodded in agreement, “but I thought to have your reply back to my lord General today.”

“I agree that would be ideal,” Erima replied, “but I’m expecting my father’s choice of architect this afternoon, and after I speak to him I may need to ask for the General’s help and advice. Overall we save time if you stay here until then.”

“As you say, my lady,” the man nodded again.

“So, we feed you then introduce you to a warm bath and a bed. You should feel much better in the morning.” Erima walked to the door and called for someone.

While they were waiting for that someone to come in reply to Erima’s summons, they began to hear the sounds of a disturbance. There was a lot of shouting, swearing in multiple voices, and then, “No! No! No! This is a temple! I don’t do temples! You said I had a client!” At that point a scrimmage of four men came into view at the doorway and the shouter was revealed to be a darkhaired man with a straggly beard that matched his hair and a black patch over one eye. He and his captors were wearing normal clothes for unarmoured men in the uplands: closed-in leather boots laced up to and around the ankles; soft, ankle length trousers of woollen cloth; a linen or woollen shirt under a vest and a coat; the vest sleeveless and made of wool, linen or silk to allow movement but provide extra warmth to the torso; and the coat of wool, summer weight at this season. The man with the eyepatch wore perceptibly duller, cheaper, and more worn versions than the other three.

“Alvithis Mordvill?” Erima’s voice was pleasantly light. “I’m sorry, but you’re here because you do ‘do temples’ as you put it. To be precise, you tell other people how to break into them. My father’s looking to build a temple and he wants to put your delightfully wriggly mind, his words I must point out, to work. Not that he has any treasure to protect,” she added.

The eye patched man stopped struggling, “If your old man has a job for me, kid, he can come and see me himself. I don’t deal with intermediaries.”

“You misunderstand,” Erima’s voice remained pleasant. “My father isn’t to be the temple’s patron; he will be the enthroned god. I am his First Born, this will be his first temple and he wants you to design it.” Her mouth twitched. “There may be some access issues to be resolved….”

This is now followed by Putting Together A Project Team 2.

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O_o Now I'm even more curious about Erima's father. Is he a god the humans had even known about before?

And ... this temple is going to be a loooong way effectively into demon-held territory from the current human lines, secured by geography and able to fling things down on the demon forces from the heights? I may need to scribble a map.

Does Alvithis actually design architecture at all, normally, or just figure out how to defeat it?

Also, thank you and thank you! I did not mean to comandeer the lion's share of your effort on your prompt call, just to offer options ...

I'm not sure but he's been very quiet lurking on the fringes.

Yes, effectively. They will need archers, and ballistae, and trebuchet, and possibly currently undefined stuff.

He's been able to get work defeating rather than designing but that doesn't mean that he doesn't design.

You did not commandeer the prompt call - I'm now on my second pass through the list. That 6,000 plus word story is getting so close to the end, but I have to make myself write it.

If it's such a trying story to write, is it worth doing at this point, or might letting it sit in the drawer for a while make it easier to write -- or to let go?

It's a longish one for me which I always find a bit difficult in that I wonder if the idea is any good and I get distracted by the 'new shinies' while I'm covering the points a to b in what I'm writing.

Also falling asleep more than I think I used to, more games than I used to play. Trade off should be some short stories in my head that come off this that I want to write.

I need to be more organised or something.

This is not a problem I have with Nai - whether because it's episodic, although I worry that episodes might be disappointing; or because it's a journey for me too; or because I write it to coffee and marvellous munchies....

Unfortunately retiring to write, travel, quilt, and take character related courses full time is about a decade off unless I can win the lottery. :)

Sounds like a lovely prospective retirement. :) And sleep is *important*. (So are shiny things ... moderation there is challenging for me.)

Is there a reason that writing Nai's story comes with coffee and treats, and others don't?

I go out specially on the weekend to a coffee shop to write Nai. Everything else happens either at home when I have time or on the train while I still have laptop battery.:-)

<nod> Sometimes working on the train is great, sometimes it's all distractions and lack of focus.

Portable treats for the train! :)

there need to be fewer treats overall to help get my size down to manage a few things....

*More treats!* *Sigh disappointedly*

Not all treats are unhealthy! (I am a fan of fresh pineapple, for instance ...)
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Makes me think of the Pharaohs. :)

Her Uncle has statues of himself behind his altars but I don't know if her father will.

I like her! I like that her time as a drudge shows in the way she treats other people.

Is her father a new god -- in whatever way new gods come into existence -- or is he one who just hasn't made a significant appearance in the world? Either way, he's decidedly in existence, and with rather a lot more evidence of existence than most human inventions of new gods in a pantheon.

I'm kind of curious, though, what he's the god *of*, if that makes any sense in this world.

He just hasn't made a significant appearance up until now.

He's currently somewhat vaguely in the military portfolio, because that's what his brothers 'do'.

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