Although progress has been slow, I continue to work out the plot for Cedar’s story. I have the overall concept worked out and a good chunk of the story planned. Finding time to write the words is now my biggest hurdle. On the technical side, creating scenes and characters is complex and time-consuming. But truth be told …I’ve come to love working with the tools. I won’t divulge how much of my money the Daz store has managed to collect. On the bright side, I now own enough content to create pretty much anything that comes to mind.
I don’t have another post ready yet, so I’ll just post some filler content. As the cast of characters in Hinterlands Cedar grows, I figured a quick review may be helpful (both for me and for the readers). Enjoy!
Cedar: This story’s protagonist. She lives in a village comprised almost entirely of women. Men are unwelcome as residents and are considered to be subordinate and inferior. Their settlement has been called “The Village of Sensitives” by local nomads, referencing the empathic trait many women living in the village have developed. Cedar’s empathic trait seems more focused than the norm, and she relies on this trait during most interactions with others. While out “on patrol”, Cedar becomes lost inside a dangerous wilderness locals call The Graves. Her time alone in The Graves is spent pondering how her childhood memories have become occluded. She comes to a somber conclusion that she may be an unwitting prisoner at the village.
The Follower: Some manner of animal, possibly a giant predator, possessing self-awareness, intelligence, and an empathic trait that far surpasses the ability found in humans. The Follower kept a running pace with the armored vehicle at cruising speed (20-30 mph) for an extended duration. It somehow endowed Cedar with a homing instinct, guiding her to the old-world ruins where she took shelter within The Graves. The Follower became angry, waking Cedar from sleep, then sent her on a panicked bid to flee a perceived enemy. Japhia can sense the Follower’s empathic projections.
The Wounded Stranger: Cedar first encounters this unusual man in the moments following his battle against a giant predator. She had intended to take him back to the village in her armored vehicle, but instead, become lost in the darkness and ended up deep inside a dangerous wilderness locals call The Graves. Cedar is separated from the stranger after he uses his powerful armor and weapons to distract a nest of giant predators while Cedar escapes to safety.
Rihas: Unofficial leader of the nomadic tribe living nearby Cedar’s village. He is the eldest “scout” and a mentor/teacher to the younger scouts. In the story’s current timeline, the tribe has set up camp in a nearby old-world ruin within the Hinterlands. In today’s terms, it would have been some kind of suburban office complex. Around the age of twelve, Rihas was given to the village as a bond mate for two similarly-aged young women born to the tribe. Rihas possess an empathic trait rarely seen in males. Although it is underdeveloped, Rihas relies heavily on this skill in daily life. He has also learned how to mask his emotions from other empaths.
Kyria and Sarai: Rihas’ bond-mates. Both were slain twelve cycles (years) ago during a surprise attack by a tribe of outcasts and criminals. Kyria was vocal, direct, and strong in both mind and body. She and Rihas often clashed before their bonding ritual. And oddly, the altercations somehow brought them closer together. Kyria birthed two daughters and a son from Rihas. Sarai was artistic, creative, and much less assertive than Kyria. Hers was also a softer and more feminine brand of beauty compared to Kyria. Before her death, Saria had become renowned for her skill and ability to create beautifully complex patterns on the loom. Saria birthed two sons from Rihas. As a point of lore, Sarai was pregnant with a sixth child when she was slain. Rihas’ Sons: Rihas fathered three (presently unnamed) sons with Kyria and Saria. they are his second (Saria), third (Kyria), and fourth (Saria) children approximately aged 17, 15, and 14. The middle boy, Kyria’s only son, was given as part of a reproductive union brokered during a conclave between Rihas’ tribe and another visiting group of nomads. Rihass’ two sons from Saria remain in the tribe and are among Rihas’ most promising future scouts.
Imnah: Rihas and Kyria’s first child and also the oldest among the children born from Rihas. She bears a striking resemblance to her mother, both physically and in her mannerisms. Rihas discovers that Imnah has been mating with Nadab, one of his best scouts. She intends to select Nadab as her bond mate during the upcoming Rite of Fertility.
Japhia: The youngest among Rihas’s children and daughter of Kyria. At twelve-years-old Japhia is still very much the “baby” of the family and seems to be terribly spoiled by Rihas (whom she calls Papa) and her older brothers. Nonetheless, she is a kind, cheerful, and obedient child. Japhia has begun to exhibit a strong empathic trait, which was likely inherited from Rihas and Rihas’s mother.
Nadab: A young man who celebrated the Rite of Fertility during the previous cycle without choosing a bond mate. It is suspected that he and Imnah will select each other as bond mates when she celebrates her upcoming ceremony. Rihas considers Nadab to be an excellent scout.
The Outsider: Presumably the “Wounded Stranger”. Found by scouts in The Graves while combating an entire nest of giant predators, alone. He was clad in an impenetrable white shell (armor) and wielded dangerous, powerful weapons capable of slaying monstrous predators. Although victorious, he was brought, near death, to Rihas’ village where he struggles to remain alive. Rihas ordered Imnah and Nadab to guard the outsider while women from the Village of Sensitives are present in the camp. Rihas believes the visiting women and the presence of the outsider are somehow connected.
Mehetabel: Leader of the Village of Sensitives and organizer of the excursion formed to seek help from the local nomads with finding Cedar. While Mehetabel appears to be in her later adult years, she is still strong and fit. Based upon Rihas’ initial reaction, it can be assumed that blonde hair is either uncommon or nonexistent among the nomadic races. Rihas finds her attractive and notes quietly to himself how she would have been “stunning” in her youth. Mehetabel immediately stirs dissension upon arriving in the nomad’s camp, demanding that the women stop working and instigating an argument with Rihas. She gives Rihas a dire warning about a vast and powerful village that might invade the Hinterlands if Cedar remains lost.
Tamah: A healer living in the Village of Sensitives and part of the excursion sent out to find Cedar. Tamah has grown restless and seeks to experience life outside of the confines of her village. She acts as a diplomat and steps in to salvage their bid to obtain help from the nomads. Due to her quick thinking and calming demeanor, Rihas agrees to help.