Current Word Count: ~35,000
Listening To: The Mission from Final Fantasy VIII composed by Nobuo Uematsu
With this update, I would like to include a short bio of Tru, one the story's most important characters.
Tru Arneau was born in the month of Fthinoporo, 978AT, in Tubegan City, provincial capital of Tubegalia.
The second child of Dr.s Salum and Traute Arneau, Tru seemed fated from birth to live a life of privilege and sufficiency in which she would attend the best schools coin could pay for. But when she unexpectedly began experiencing debilitating migraine headaches at the age of six, her life changed forever.
Using all of their clout, her parents brought her to the keenest physicians in Tubegalia. They were crushed when no medical treatments cured her ailments. Finally, the parents were advised to seek council from the Magisterial Authority, as one of the prominent signs of an awakening Telepath was chronic headaches. The Authority sent High Magister Rudolph Licinius to investigate Tru's condition. Licinius was shocked at the magnitude of the child's nascent Gift. If her raw power was any indication of the dormant talent within her, she would undoubtedly be one of the greatest Telepaths in half a century.
The only way to alleviate Tru of her condition was to train her to control her Telepathy. Her parents hesitantly allowed her to return to the Citadel Academy with Licinius, where she would begin training to be a Magister of the Telepath School.
A stellar pupil, Tru excelled in her studies by leaps and bounds. She was at the top of her class each term of study. Her affinity for Telepathy skyrocketed her to public notice at the Academy, and instructors battled for the opportunity to personally train her when it came time for her to be assigned a Sensei at age twelve. Despite the bickering on the faculty, there was no contest: she asked Licinius to be her Sensei without considering any other options, and the latter unreservedly accepted.
If her renown as a Telepath was not enough, the Academy nearly exploded with a mixture of jealousy, awe and excitement when she started experiencing numbness of hands the same year as her pairing with Licinius. "The numbs," as they were colloquially called, were the initial sign of an awakening Empath. She was tested for her affinity with the Gift only days after her initial numbs, and it was soon revealed to the Academy that Tru had awakened as an Empath. Now she had ascended to the ranks of the true elite: she was one of the "Second-Blessed."
Tru was determined to maintain her academic standing and sloughed off all of the prestige and false humility thrown at her by her fellow pupils and instructors. She was never far from her Sensei and drank his wisdom as often as she could. Her devotion to excellence was seen as antisocial by some and arrogant by others, but she ignored the naysayers and trudged forward.
By the time she was sixteen, there was no doubt in the minds of her course instructors, the School heads or her Sensei that she was ready to begin the ordination trials--a full two years ahead of the norm. But in the Spring of 994, something happened that changed her life forever.
Adding anything else to the bio would be a big spoiler. So I will stop there.
Progress has been moving right along. I recently deviated from the second half of chapter five to write two chapter skeletons for events that will take place much later in the narrative. I then ended up writing the bulk of (what will likely be) a 7,000-word chapter that is tentatively titled Coming Home.
I have also spent a lot of time recently working on context-related issues, specifically visual ones. I finally got around to (mostly) completing the world map, a blip of which has been pasted above in Tru's bio. I am pleased with how the map turned out, considering that I made it on MS Paint.
I also spent a ludicrous amount of time on the Sims 2 Body Shop sculpting out the faces of the characters. You can see some of the fruit of my labor above in Tru's "photo." I am very pleased with how Tru turned out in particular. The images are exactly how I (and you should!) picture her.
The really tedious thing about creating the characters (I think I have done seven so far) was scrounging through various Sims 2 content websites looking for different kinds of skin, eyes, hair, facial hair and clothes in order to, as accurately as possible, create the characters. Obviously there are disconnects that have to be made: there are few "science fiction" clothes to download and Linus' hair is not perfect, but overall I am very pleased with progress on the character models at this point. It was a rewarding pursuit and it also helped give me some fresh eyes for when I return to chapter 5 proper.
Aside from that, I am still fighting my way through graduate school, and, by nothing short of divine grace, not doing so bad, to boot.
Thanks for reading!