All Is Not As It Appears

by V Rose Dahrke

To put if frankly, I’ve had a bitch of a day.

It turns out that the small argument between my Buick and a snow bank was not so small; what I thought was a slightly skewed alignment turned out to be twelve hundred dollars worth of damage.  Even stranger was getting a letter from my former bank informing me that I owed them a twenty dollar payment…for a credit line on an account I closed in December.  Third, and certainly not least, as I write this, my pizza is half an hour late.

While the first and third situations were lamentable, surely, there was a certain surreality to my conversation with the bank’s call center, a moment of wondering Did I dream it all?  Is this the turn in the film where I’ve gone mad or jumped dimensions or been set up by conspirators? I had several long minutes while on hold where I was forced to fear that I was helpless.

That, the helplessness of unreality, has given me something; it is, I think, the thematic link I’ve been missing in the scene which has given me so much trouble.  I find my protagonist- the unabashedly violent, pointlessly dramatic, and possibly insane Riga Far-fallen- matching wits with an enemy king, Fairsthag.  I know how the scene ends (and before you ask, I’ll inject a sing-song “that would be telling” into the conversation), and I know what I want to happen between now and then, but as far as motivations go I’ve been at a loss.  Something, something that he says, causes her to snap.  Theirs is a not-at-all-subtle power struggle and she ultimately has a piece of information which can destroy him.  However, she knows that if she uses it incorrectly or at the wrong moment it could be rendered useless, and if she uses it correctly it will probably result in her death.  She does, of course, blurt it out, but in a fit  rage, a final act of defiance to which she has been irrevocably driven.

But why?  What does he say to warrant it?

I have to change it up, change the rules engagement on her.  He has to say something which totally upends the game they’ve been playing all along and makes her realize that she has absolutely no other way of winning.

He has to stop playing.

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