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Author Topic: PC412: For Honor, For Waste  (Read 3284 times)

Talia

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on: April 20, 2016, 01:12:02 PM
PodCastle 412: For Honor, For Waste

by Setsu Uzume

read by Nadia Niaz


A PodCastle original!

Rohnaq tried to rejoin her unit; but only shoved forward by inches, crushed by the crowd. They walked upward en masse, tier by tier, to the palace. One woman slipped a brown hand over her children’s shoulders to pull them out of Rohnaq’s way. Sweat-scent, sea salt, sour incense, and camphor dogged her all the way to the plaza. Wheat barons and merchant ship captains, cobblers, and beggars. All hoping to conclude old business and hear whether or not their prayers would be answered, and at what cost. Last cycle, Manaph ignored the new siege engine offered to her, and took the engineer’s life. Malajine’s army conquered three of their neighbors in exchange. Rohnaq had been proud of those campaigns, once. Now, they only reminded her of dear friends, lost in the name of service. Rohnaq didn’t dare to ask for a blessing.  

A city blessed, every cycle. One life destroyed, every cycle.


Rated PG-13.

Setsu Uzume spent her formative years in and out of dojos. She also trained in a monastery in rural China, studying Daoism and swordplay. She is a member of Codex and SFWA. While she has dabbled in many arts, only writing and martial arts seem to have stuck.

Nadia Niaz is a writer, academic, language nerd, creative writing teacher and third culture kid who now lives in Melbourne, Australia. She divides what little downtime she has between cooking, knitting, painting, dancing, powerlifting and, now, narrating stories for PodCastle.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 01:54:15 PM by Talia »



Frank Evans

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Reply #1 on: April 20, 2016, 05:05:57 PM
I really liked this story. I don't often read (or hear, I guess) many stories from the perspective of an older, female MC with a military background, so this was a treat. I thought the characters were well defined and the world they lived in caught my imagination from the start. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

As an aside, the author has an excerpt from an earlier draft of this story up on her website and it's interesting to see some of the differences between that draft and the final product.




Dwango

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Reply #2 on: April 26, 2016, 08:50:51 PM
This could easily be a science fiction story, as we don't know who the goddess really is.  She could just be an alien lifeform with advanced technology who is subjugating a less advanced lifeform.  That cave could be an entrance to a ship and it self destructed on her death.  There is only light detail on many items in the story, so it could go in any direction.

The three soldiers may have been sent on purpose by a crafty general to do exactly what they did.  The general may have despised the corruption in the system and set about training and tempering her armies so that the three soldiers to be the best rose to the top.  Then the general could have exploited the corruption to have these soldiers sent as a sacrifice, in the hopes they would do their job, which has been ingrained in them.  We don't know the general and only get to know her from the soldier point of view.  There is a lot of room left to the imagination.

The story was a fun listen as we don't know everything, but get enough details to make us want more.  I want more from this world, and I want to see if the goddess does come back in the future.  The next 43 years sure will be an interesting period.  Was the city set up on the goddess's power, or did her powers merely destroy what they could? Where is the general and did she survive?  There is a lot of meat to chew on.



aliceingoreland

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Reply #3 on: April 29, 2016, 09:01:27 PM
It is nice to have a story of warrior women, but to me, they did not act very much like women. If a line or two could have been placed in the story, I feel this would made the story more authentic and made deeper.



stan

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Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 04:32:44 AM
Not sure what the last comment meant by the characters not acting like women, but maybe we should move on....

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this story.  Great imagery.  Spare dialogue.  Didn't overdo descriptions.  As Dwango said, left lots to the imagination.

Looking forward to more from Setzu!



knigget

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Reply #5 on: May 03, 2016, 01:12:27 AM
I quite liked the story. The women in it certainly didn't act like girls; but as women who've gone places, kicked butts, and taken names, to me they were quite believable.

YMMV.

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What would have been written. 

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Unblinking

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Reply #6 on: May 03, 2016, 02:14:13 PM
I was pretty distracted by RL things when I listened to this story, so I think I missed a lot of details, but I really quite enjoyed what I heard and I think I need to listen again to pick up the rest.  Older women veterans are not often the perspective and I quite enjoyed rooting for them here.

The three soldiers may have been sent on purpose by a crafty general to do exactly what they did.  The general may have despised the corruption in the system and set about training and tempering her armies so that the three soldiers to be the best rose to the top.  Then the general could have exploited the corruption to have these soldiers sent as a sacrifice, in the hopes they would do their job, which has been ingrained in them.  We don't know the general and only get to know her from the soldier point of view.  There is a lot of room left to the imagination.

That was my interpretation.  It even goes with the spirit of the sacrifice in that those with grant talents were offered as sacrifice.  Offering one soldier wouldn't've made sense because they are soldiers, trained to work with others.  Put three together and they can make a fighting unit, and their talents were offered together, in this case their talent was kicking ass.

I like that this wasn't spelled out, but that there is plenty of information to form some differing conclusions.



Lionman

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Reply #7 on: May 09, 2016, 08:12:26 PM
I liked how this story was woven and played out.  While in the end, it really was more than one that was lost as a 'sacrifice' but only one warrior...one monster and one grandstand of (corrupt) observers.  I guess in the end, there were '3' sacrifices; just not the ones they thought would be killed.

Two thumbs up for this one! :-)

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Fenrix

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Reply #8 on: May 14, 2016, 04:13:31 AM
I like that we have two valid interpretations of the motivations. One where they were set up as sacrifices to clear the way for petty political reasons, and thus the world was torn down by humanity's petty ambition. The other where it was set up on purpose so the world could be torn down. Occam's razor points to the first, and I kinda like that one better, as it fits a nice Conan worldview. Gotta kill the elder god in order to be left alone and damn civilization and it's petty machinations.

"Someday, when all your civilization and science are likewise swept away, your kind will pray for a man with a sword."


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Devoted135

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Reply #9 on: May 17, 2016, 07:13:43 PM
I also like that there are multiple valid interpretations. It didn't occur to me while listening that the general could have been hoping for this outcome, but I like that idea. Even if the general's plan wasn't necessarily in the works for decades, it could have been a "seizing of the opportunity" without losing any appeal for me.

+1 for mature, kickbutt women with strong opinions and the ability to disagree with each other while still working as a team.