For a few years I have been working on and off on a collections of diesel-fantasy tales called Rimland Tales. They are gritty pseudo-contemporary stories with machines and men, but without elves and evil overlords. Currently I have two completed short-stories about the place called The Rimlands and since 2014 I have been struggling with a concluding novella called Dusk and Dawn.
During the past weekend, when my family was celebrating the Midsummer festival (Sweden’s second biggest holiday after Christmas) in our traditional way with some old friends at their summer house in a silent pine forest, I doodled for a while in my little black notebook, trying to get the novella’s denouement into working order — there, voilà, the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fell into place. Now I have three chapters to write, and then the protagonists have reached their goal.
Here is a brief introduction to the arid and wild Rimlands, setting the mood for the collection:
I will always associate Ariana with the smell of dust, dry as cinder. It is a land of few colours: brown soil, grey rock and green vegetation characterize the hills and valleys. What do the inhabitants really subsist on in this arid home of death? It took some time before I realized what the farmers cultivated and what their herds grazed. We will usually not eat what they grow, but they are able to eke out a meagre existence here.
The sole relief for my eyes was the blue sky, a brilliant shade that I had never seen back home. Occasionally puffy clouds would drift across it, adding white to the limited palette. The sunlight is so sharp that the human eye cannot determine its colour; just dazzling, be it white, yellow, or pale orange. It is only at the brief sunrises and sunsets that you are able to look in its direction and then the disc is orange, casting pink and purple hues across the sky.
What do we do here, aliens in an unearthly land, hated by some, distrusted by most and appreciated by too few? Ariana had for decades been a place shunned by the powers-that-be, the home of fierce natives and devoid of anything that would attract the attention of outsiders. However, the game of the thrones is played according to rules that often are hard to comprehend for common men.