"Domestic Affairs": The Inside Track....

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The introduction of Char'lett Paracene (Tyk-Jyn Rayana) brings the entry of the last of the original characters from Hearthstone's first iteration so many years ago. Back then, her powers were different: They were not "Green Lantern" powers, but rather her gloves were simply energy-firing devices. On the sillier side, her ears enabled her to fly like Rayman. Which is embarrassing now, but at least it fit in nicely with her part-Elapine heritage in this iteration.

The story behind the Prycenes and the Bro'marg (p. 4) has already been decided, but I doubt I'll get to make a story out of it any time earlier than 5-6 years from now. Stay tuned.

If you're wondering what kind of music Pepper had on her machine (p. 6) -- think something by the Cranberries.

Felicity's guard, Thorn, isn't gone for good (p. 11). In fact, expect him to be around for a while...a real long while.

I'll cut off one possible speculation on the arena battle (p. 22): Char'lett did NOT throw the match because it was Brom who was her opponent....though her whole heart may not have been in it as it would have been for someone she didn't want to be married to. Not that she could have won anyway. But that issue may come up in a future story.

Lots of discussion on the thread linked above re the whole "setup" that got Brom and Char'lett engaged....here are a few points of note:

First, as one reader put it, very well: Raised in an agonistic culture, [Brom] would respect the process by which the plans were made, and be less likely to be offended by it, and/or rebel against it. To put it another way, he would defer to the authority of the Crown and take that as correct. He will probably have revealed to him also the reasons behind the decision, which will presumably be highly beneficial to his cultural group. Again, he will naturally place that higher than his own wishes or happiness.

Second, the honor-shame dynamic of Brom's culture means that refusing to accept the invitation to Char'lett's home would raise suspicions. At the time this part of the story was done, I read a book about a nomadic culture in modern Greece where it mentioned how a refusal to take up certain obligations started suspicions running. So, this matches a real-life scenario -- and Brom's best option in that social setting is to make the visits and act as though all is well until a solution is found.

Third, Kiing Filbert's decision to revert from the betrothal decree to the "win her in battle" format reflects an issue of honor: There would be more honor (for both Brom and Char'lett) to do the battle than to be ordered to get married. The monarch would think he was doing them a favor (and ordinarily, he would be). And as another reader suggested, you can also put the decision down to Filbert's flair for the dramatic...

Finally, there is no issue for Brom or Char'lett to get upset over being "set up." In an honor and shame society, people get used to being told only what others want you to know, and clever trickery is often perceived as honorable, sometimes even if you're the victim, especially if it is for a greater good. It's kind of like coming to admire the so and so who managed to hack into your security system. Honor comes just from the stellar performance. In Brom's case as well, though he hasn't said so yet (he will in ST #8), at any other time he would have been delighted by the turn of events. He knew of Char'lett by reputation though he had never met her personally and would have considered her something very much like what he wanted in a spouse. However, she would have been out of his reach ordinarily in terms of class and wealth. He's got some rank, but not that much. The only reason he's troubled at all right now is because he'll be letting Sheila down. Otherwise, he'd be in paradise right now.

That's all for now -- next read will be Range Patrol #8, which will have the first scene open for all readers -- and the rest will be subscriber-only.