Unpacking Caught Up

We just made the final turn, and things are about to get rather interesting. Let’s unpack.

Through Downtown

As I was writing the scene I found myself pondering from whence I drew the description of the population’s status. The more I wrote, the more I began to understand, it came from the Civil War.

I have neither love nor nostalgic longing for the Confederacy. It was a treasonous movement dedicated to keeping a race of people in slavery, and its memory has been used to promote White supremacy, so “happy thoughts” are not present when I consider it. But, at the same time, I read history. And when one reads history one can’t help but come into contact with primary sources — letters, books, and public comments made by people who were alive during the events being studied. In these papers one encounters people who are people of their time and do not possess historical hindsight. It doesn’t change an historical evaluation, but it does create some understanding of mind-set beyond easy accusation.

Several years ago, I came across an app which turned out to be a treasure-trove of primary source material. The Civil War Today followed the four year arc of the war, highlighting events on the days which corresponded in the present. Each day included journal entries for a number of historic personages. It was a fascinating journey, and still on sale in the app store today.

As the war came to and end, the journal entries for Confederate figures — civilian, governmental, and military — took on a much darker turn toward sorrow and despondency. It didn’t matter I was glad the enterprise in which they’d hoped failed, I could at least resonate with the sense of loss and sorrow. This is from whence the description of downtown Boarsblemish sprang. These people feel the coming of the end, understand they are powerless to stop it, and know next to nothing of what’s happening beyond the boundaries of the enclave into which they’ve been corralled. Cheering for the troops is a quaint sentiment of the past. For them, all that remains are the questions, “What will happen to us?” and “Will we eat today?”

As Will passed through the throng in Boarsblemish he saw something disheartening. For the people, the war is already over, all they want is to survive as long as they can.


Nobody is actually incorrect. Because the Silica Mountains form one of The Realm’s boundaries the blast from the Penny Ore will be reflected back into the city. Much of Boarsblemish’s northern portion will be obliterated.

Why Walk?

Why was it impractical for the company to take transports around the outskirts of the population center? It’s because movement into the different neighborhoods is being curtailed in preparation of a potential attack. The number of travel permits needed to get transports all the away around downtown made it impractical.

What can I say? Militaries love bureaucracy. Even with the fate of The Realm hanging in the balance, paperwork had to be done in triplicate.

Satire Passage

Why did having one’s eyes and ears covered minimize the power of the satire shield on the company? Because that’s how satire has its greatest impact on the world, of course!

The physical effects of passing through the shield are still manifested, but partial sensory depravation helps people to think about them less. This makes all the difference.

So why can’t the Horde do the same? It’s because the shield is deadly to them. So, were they to blindfold themselves and plug up their ears their suffering would be reduced, but the physical effects of passing through the shield would still be incurred.


The Horde has surrounded more of the city than anyone realizes 1. Three hours earlier the road upon which the company found itself was secure and in the hands of the Guards. They’ve been driven off. Will and friends are never going to meet their scouts, who viewed the company’s capture from afar and then reported back to command. The news did not help morale.

  1. Well, except for the Horde, of course. They know.