GURPS ArdaliansBackground: While the Stellar Alliance tries to maintain harmony with all intelligent species outside of Alliance space, even the most inclusive Alliance citizens have a hard time putting in a good word for the Ardalians. Even going beyond their offsetting appearance, the typical Ardalian comes across as blunt, uncaring, and cruel, seeing other intelligent species as merely tools. Possessing a resource illegal to distribute in Alliance space, and a need for intelligent species to manipulate their environment, the Ardies have reputation for being the most despicable sentient race yet encountered.GURPS Ardalians by Sir-Talen
Appearance and Biology: Evolved from shallows dwelling, plankton consuming invertebrates, adult Ardalians live in the shallows and coves of their worlds, a water planet with 85% oceanic coverage, the remaining 15% divided among scattered archipelagos. Their bodies are roughly saucer shaped, approximately one hundred and fifty yards in diameter, the skin undulating in surface
FYS: The RoofThe Ring’s base structure is about ten km thick, with fifty km high, one km thick walls to contain the local atmosphere, acting as a sort titanic, curving pan. With that depth there’s no need to actually roof in the structure.FYS: The Roof by Sir-Talen
The Groupmind, given its motto may as well be “Why take chances?” built one anyway
The primary structure of the Roof is a set of colossal arches, each a hundred meters thick and a thousand kilometers long, crossing from Wall to Wall, supported by equally thick cross beams built parallel every ten kilometers. As with every part of the Ring the scale is incredible, more so when taking into account there are no supporting columns to spoil the view, beyond the eight Grand Elevators that stand from the surface to the Roof, serving as equidistant central communication and logistics points, and providing transport from the Beanstalk transfer stations.
Each of the ten kilometer wide squares formed by the beams is filled in with a single diamond/Ri
FYS: The Quisling's Tale, Part SevenHer Steel Tyger Master stared at her across the chessboard, one eyebrow cocked in amusement. The battlefield was nearly his, her own queen captured, along with her knights, rooks, one bishop and nearly all of her pawns, without only a single knight and a pair of pawns missing from his own army. “Mate in one move,” he rumbled, his voice a purr of satisfaction.FYS: The Quisling's Tale, Part Seven by Sir-Talen
“Master, it occurs to this slave that trying to beat you at a game like chess puts her at a slight disadvantage,” she pointed out to him. “You have a computerized mind, after all.”
“You needn’t have played, if you didn’t wish,” he said to her.
“When the stakes were my freedom? What other choice did this slave have?”
“Not to play. Or demand a different game, one that you might win.”
She smiled. “What if losing is the best way to win the prize?”
* * *
So it turned out that Xavier was really into Scrabble, somehow find
I'm a 40 something amateur writer with a half dozen original stories and collections available at Amazon www.amazon.com/Royce-Day/e/B00… and Smashwords www.smashwords.com/profile/vie… and entirely too much fanfic based on Peta Hewitt's Terinu webcomic.
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Summary: Four years after the events of Penric’s Demon, Penric, Temple Sorcerer of the Bastard, has grown from a somewhat directionless youth to a dedicated servant of the White God. With aid of his demon, Desdemona, he’s advanced in his studies and has settled into a comfortable existence serving the Princess-Archdevine of Martensbridge. This grows slightly less comfortable when he’s assigned to aid Senior Locator Oswyl, agent of the Father of Winter, who is on the hunt for a man who is both a suspected murderer, and a shaman, dedicated to the old ways of magic that existed in the world before the Five Gods became ascendant.
Review: It’s a measure of Bujold’s considerable talent at writing characters that a story so dedicated to people listening to each other can still be compelling. Penric appears amiable, but he’s got a mind sharp as a tack. Oswyl starts as a somewhat harried investigator, but he takes pains to point out that he’s searching for a suspected murderer. He’s on the hunt, but not blind to the truth.
Meanwhile, Inglis, the suspect in question, is less a desperate murderer than just plain desperate, appalled at his own actions and searching for solution. He’s a shaman, but as much a scholar as Penric, previously using his abilities to try and rediscover ancient shamanistic methods of healing, in order to record and reproduce them (a lovely nod to scientific investigation, typical of Bujold even in her fantasy series)
When they all finally come together, the solution to the conundrum presented relies not on violence but on listening, something which Penric excels at, and on Inglis regaining his shaman’s balance.
Readers of the previous Penric novella might be disappointed that there isn’t more interaction between Pen and Des this time around, but on the other hand the narrative opens up to multiple viewpoints, allowing readers to get an “outside” view of Penric from Oswyl and Inglis, which I found more satisfying.
As always, Bujold delivers a lovely story with characters you’d like to spend an evening with. Here’s hoping this won’t be the last Pen and Des tale in the Five Gods universe.