Monday, January 02, 2012

Excerpt from Chameleon's Dish, my NaNoWriMo 2011 novel...

Tisira woke with a start, nearly falling from the branch before her claws dug into the gnarled bark.

A short, alarmed sound below her - 

She had fallen asleep, and slept, for the first time, in Lynxform.

It was dusk.

And there was a newling fawn, alone and staring up at her, but apparently too weak to run.  

The thoughts spun for a moment in the fiery echoes of her dreaming...was it dreaming, or did Father's soul truly Burn, this moment?  

The fawn settled back into its nest, bleating softly, but no doe came to defend it.

Suddenly, Tisira remembered the remains of the deer the bear had eaten, and thought there was a possibility that the fawn's mother had been among them.  
It was a late fawn, and would not be strong enough to survive a harsh winter even with a mother.  Without, there was no chance it would survive.  It would be the bear, or the cold, or starvation, or sickness - but the fawn would die.  

As if it had felt her thoughts, it stretched its slender neck forward, bleating for milk.  

She could drop from the branch and end its hunger and suffering.

There was regret - regret that the fawn had lost its mother.  But sima garo had provided, and her life would be fueled by its death.

She breathed as Father had shown her, slowly and steadily -  not at all the way he had been breathing, in her dreaming - allowing doubt, and fear and regret to leave her...

Then, emptied of emotion, she filled herself, as Mother did, with the details of the Hunt, the desire for the kill, becoming one with her prey, simply part of the balance of these strange new Huntlands. 

There was no thought, no decision.  Tisira dropped from the branch as sima garo provided, snapping the fawn's neck and ending its suffering in the same instant. 

She felt  the echoes of Father's soulfire, and was aware that the bear might be nearby - the wind did not carry its scent to her, but that meant little.  It would be hungry; the air spoke of a freeze tonight, and cold tomorrow.  Soon, the bear must sleep, and it would be looking, now, for as much food energy as it could find.

So she wasted no time, instead tearing into the fawn's belly to devour the liver and stomach in huge gulps, scarcely tasting it.  Then she cracked the breastbone, and, soaking her muzzle in rich blood, ate the lungs and heart.

All the time, she kept her eyes and ears moving, so that no larger predator would catch her unprepared.  She wanted to drag the fawn into the tree, where wolves, at least, could not reach.  But it was too heavy for her, so she would eat until she had had her fill or until she was chased from her prize...

She had just begun to gnaw away a leg when she saw the bear charging at her from the low plain that ended in her ridge.  4.91 tenbreath, and it would be upon her.  She could not defend her prize against such a large challenger, and so she must flee.  
But not without some reward for her effort.  Ripping through tender young muscles and sinew, she tore off thehind leg at the meaty haunch, and sprang into the tree, leaping into the highest branches, nearly dropping the leg.
She did not think the bear could push the tree down, if it chose to try, and it looked just slightly too large to climb.  Still, she kept herself tense and ready to spring away, if she needed to.

The bear reached the carcass, sniffed it, then rose on its hind legs to sniff at her, making a low, grunting noise.  She swiped at it, claws extended, and arched her back as her fur stood out, making her seem larger and more threatening.

The bear swiped experimentally, but could not reach her without leaving the fawn to do so.  It waited a moment, then let out a fierce roar, its breath ripe with the meat it had already consumed.  Then, it shook its shaggy head and dropped back to all fours to seize the fawn and drag it several lengths away, back up the ridge.  

It set to ripping and gorging on the carcass, back to Tisira, having apparently decided that she was not a threat.  

She took advantage of its preoccupation with feeding and leapt from the tree to the base of the ridge, still, somehow, holding to Lynxform, and managing too not to drop the haunch in the process.  

Once safely away from the bear - she had moved further from her den-place, so that the bear, if it followed. would not know the direction - she reclaimed her natural form, and tucked the leg into the bundled furs she carried, so that it would not drip.

Keeping carefully downwind of the bear, she trotted, shivering a little with the growing chill, looping around the space between the ridge and her den, finding three small and fast streams to  cross, and twice climbing a tree to leap into another before descending, all in an attempt to confuse the trail if the bear chose to look for her and the meat she carried. 

The effort it had required to hold Lyxform so long, to cover her trail, and the rich vitals she had eaten, brought about a sudden and irresistible fatigue.

But still, she felt the need of a fire, for protection and for warmth - and she must consume the meat on the fawn's leg, lest it bring the bear to her.

Yawning and shivering, she brought out the jar that held coals and ash from her home fire, and carefully built up a bed of tinder around it, then kindling. While she waited for the coals to ignite, she built a rough spit for the haunch, then saw to it that she had enough firewood to last through a twoday, because she might need this shelter again, or remain longer than she had intended.  

She was sleepy, and so couldn't fully trust her logic, but it seemed that, if there were people here, they would be likeliest to live near a larger body of water - at least, they would if this was Earth, for that was the pattern of human development.  If the flowing water she had heard was as large a body as it seemed, and if there were people here, and if this was Earth, then it was possible if not probable that she would find them by following the sounds to where the water was, and investigating there.

"There are too many variables to formulate a strong theory."  She could almost hear Father's voice, in her mind, puzzling over the problem with her.  "But, in pursuing your hypothesis, you will doubtless acquire further information that will refine or alter the parameters of your search."

"So, you're saying I should keep looking."  Sometimes, she thought Father forgot that she was not grown yet, and did not always understand his meanings from the words he chose.  Almost, it seemed that he was still on a starship, Mother said, and giving reports.

But Mother always said it with a smile and with deep fondness in her scent.  And Tisira loved that part of Father, and didn't mind, and, besides, he was always patient and willing to explain until she found understanding.

Now she heard him, in her mind.  "Yes, Tisira.  You must have more information, and perhaps it is better found where you are than where you have been."

Those words seemed to be spoken into her soul, and they made her feel warm and safe, with Father's devotion and his logic there, as they always were, as they always had been.  

But, as she stared into the growing blaze she was feeding, she was reminded of her dreams, and how Father had been, in them -  alight with a fire that was somehow like Huntlust, and yet not.  

He hadn't seemed surprised or frightened by his burning soul; it seemed, somehow, a part of him; a part she had not known was there, until now - 

Or had she?  She thought back, remembering her first, dimmest memories-  those from before she had been born, when she and Kirana, although they had not had names, then, had floated warm and safe, together....

Had there been that fire, then, just as she was becoming aware?  Was it not a thing that she, too, knew to the core of her, but had only forgotten, because it had ended, and, for so long, Father had simply been as she now expected him to be?

Mother had always called him 'fierce one'; and Father, although so very gentle and peaceful in a way no Tacivaarii had ever been, had never corrected her.  She knew, because no one on Vulcan made any kind of secret about it, that they had been a savage and warrior people, for far more millenia than they had been peaceful, and that logic was the answer to whatever had driven such passions.

But it was not logical that those passions would simply vanish, was it?  Nor that there would be such a focus on emotional control, if there were not emotions they thought they *must* control, lest they become impossible to control....

Or was it only a dream, born not of some actual fire within Father, but instead of her own worries?

But, just like Father's imagined words, she knew that, in this too, she didn't have enough information.  She would release her concerns, but also remain alert to what she felt from Father....

She realized that she had been staring into the fire long enough for her legs to begin to ache and prickle.  The spitted haunch sizzled, and she removed it from the fire, and then ducked outside -  it was full dark now, and clear, with something that looked very much like Earth's moon waning in the sky - to be certain that the smoke from her fire was filtering out through the small hole in the shallow cave's roof.

She scented the air cautiously -  it was blowing toward her from the direction of the ridge, now, and she could smell the bear, somewhere near the fawn.  She thought it might be asleep, or resting, but it showed no interest in coming closer to her.  

From farther away, she picked up a different scent - hard to identify for certain, but the spoor put one word into her mind, as though it were written in the fire of Father's soul - 


It was too late and she was far too tired to investigate now, but she determined that, as soon as she woke, she would go toward that scent, and she whether she were mistaken.  

She might be.  It smelled both like and unlike the people smells she knew so well -  but then, Vulcan and human and Tribed people all smelled different,and each person, too, had their own unique scent.  So did each planet, and even a starship had its own palette of scents, and each place on each planet, or each section of a starship, had its own flavor built from those scents.

But it felt like people, and she felt her heart beating quickly in her side.  People could get her home, or tell her where she was so that she could find home.  

And still, there was Mother's voice in her mind, saying, "There are more dangers in the Huntlands than you might know.  Always remember that there is more in reality than you may know, and remain alert, wary, and ready to spring, or flee, if need be."

And, as so often happened, she could hear Father echoing the sentiment, but in his own way, "No one can know all there is to know, Tisira. The wise know that they do not know, and hold themselves ready to learn more, or to act."

She was truly beginning to shiver, now.  A nightbird hooted softly, signaling the beginning of its night's hunting; the crisp and near-freezing air carried the sound, which was at once both haunting and beautiful.

She took a moment to stare at the skies, trying to fix the stars into her mind, so that she could keep them there as she fell asleep, or when she meditated, hoping that her family, or the Huntthread, might sense it, and know where to begin to look for her.  That was one more way in which she could open herself to sima garo.

"B-But it won't be serving s-sima garo to fr-freeze to death," she told herself, then jumped at how loud and clear her voice sounded in the still, chill night.  

Chuckling at her own nervousness, she went inside, to the warmth of her snapping fire, to the haunch, now nicely roasted, and to the warmth of her bed....

She slept restlessly, woken frequently by that shadow of remembered dream-fire, which twisted through the imaginings of what variety of people these might be -  if they did, indeed, exist, and weren't simply her own imagining...

Finally, she awoke, in the cold of predawn, and her mind would not settle.  She fed her fire, which was burning low, then went outside to relieve herself, and to stare again at the stars, trying to bring to mind the exact images of Earth's starcharts, to see if this sky matched...

Again, she attempted to sleep; again, she could not settle her mind.  No- she must know.  If there were people; and why she felt that Father was, somehow, in danger from this soulfire he did not fear.  If she would be able to take the bear, or if the bear would instead take her, perhaps while she slept.  

There was little point in laying here, wide awake. She didn't know how far she would need to travel to get to where the people were; and she didn't know, if she found them, if she would be able to seek their help at once. She had observed that many adults of many species treated children as lesser beings who must be controlled and constantly under adult eyes.  Who must - the word struck a warning chord within her - "obey".

She had never understood this.  Mother and Father treated her, and Kirana, and Seth, as people. "As we all are!" she muttered, as she decided to begin the hide leggings - the air did not feel as though it would warm much, today.  

It was not that her parents didn't know they were children; they were very aware.  They cared for her and her siblings; but they had never sought to control.  How she spent her time, how Kirana and Seth did, was not according to Father or Mother's choice; but according to their  own natures.

She tried to imagine either of her parents trying to limit her behavior if her life or someone's rights weren't at stake; or of them not knowing what her capabilities were. 

Or, as she had seen in both the Untribed and human worlds, not seeming to care what their children's preferences were, so long as they did as they were told to do.

It would be best, she decided, as she thought about how to turn the hide scraps into leggings, to move forward cautiously, watching the people to try to get a sense of them before announcing her presence and her lack of adult companionship -  or her need for help. 

 She decided that the tiny, sharp cloven fawn hoof would do to puncture the hides, and the thornless vine she'd collected yesterday would serve well to bind them, at least until she could collect and dry enough sinew to replace it.

She fitted the scraps together until she had a sense of how to piece them; then severed the hoof and used one of the rocks from her fire ring to drive the hoof into the hides, which she'd laid upon another, nearly flat rock she's chosen because it was a good work surface.  

She needed to set aside three small scraps that she destroyed in the process of learning the best approach for her punctures, and she thought she would have at least one bruise from where her hand had slipped.

But now she knew how to strike the hoof, and how much of its point to allow to puncture the hide, and how far from the edge to strike.  From that point, the work  was simple, and she completed it before the sun rose redly into a sky that felt somehow heavy.

Next, she began to thread the vine through the holes, and, as she worked, she turned the seams inward, for added warmth.  She would wear them with the fur inside, and,if she could take a bear, she would brush the outside with fat, so that she could wear them even in the wet.

Once they were finished, she ate two handfuls of dried nuts and berries, and then drank from her drinking jar.  She decided that she would eat no more of the  provisions she'd brought until she had foraged for replacements -  something she would do as she moved toward where the scent of people had come from, toward the water she cold both hear and smell, today.....

She placed her coals, with more ashes, back into their lidded jar, and carefully extinguished her fire.  She slung three empty jars and one filled with water over her shoulder, strung on a length of the vine.  She had another length to use to make some snares, if she found any current runs. 

She put on her outer tunic, then the grass one, and, finally, she was ready to try her new leggings.  They fit a bit too loosely, but she solved that by cinching them tightly with an extra wrap of vine.  They would hold, for now, although she might need to tighten them from time to time....and, once she had found a way to make thicker winter clothing, they should fit snugly.

She blocked the entrance to her cave after being certain she had left no meat on the fawn's leg bone, and after having buried the bone itself a short distance from the cave.  

She took a moment to scent the air, which steamed as she breathed, even though the sun was well up, now.  Yes, she could smell them clearly - but the scents of cookfires and untreated waste and animal dung told her that she would not be likely to find communications devices among these people.  Perhaps, then, she had landed in a primitive zone - Earth had many, or so she seemed to remember Father saying - places where the people had decided to forgo technology and live as their ancestors had.  

There were a few such areas on Vulcan as well, but not many.  Most Vulcans followed a logical combination of technological and more nature-centered balance, using technology where it benefited most, but not wasting resources when a simpler approach would work as well or better.

Among the Tribed and Untribed on Aletris, there were no such places.  There was already a natural separation - the Huntlands were not a place for anything but the natural; although any Tribed could go to Osiiraan and stay as long as they wished, making use of the advancements that were becoming a part of everyday life, there.  And the Untribed had large tracts of land that were free for their own natural pursuits -  tamer ones than the Tribed tended to enjoy.

She moved cautiously, aware not only of the possibility that the bear might be about, and take notice of her once again; but also because where there was a settlement of people, there were very likely to be more outside the borders of that settlement, and instinct was warning her that it was unwise to allow herself to be seen before she understood the nature of these particular people, and whether they would help her without taking her freedom.

Along the way, she dug four types of edible root, gathered nuts, and set three snares where there was a tunneling path and fresh rabbit leavings.  She noted two groundbird nests, although one appeared to have been unused for some time.  Perhaps, though, she would have a fat bird for her supper, tonight, as well as more feathers, which she was using, padded between woven grass, to make herself an overtunic designed for warmth, as her Vulcan ones were not.  

She could see the river, glinting in occasional glimpses through the trees, and the sounds and smells of people and tame animals were pungent, now, catching in her throat after the clean smells of Vulcan, and the scents of the wilderness she had inhabited for the last week.

Tisira stopped, not wanting, illogical as it was after the week of uncertainty, to get closer to the settlement, yet.  It was loud, and it stank, even at this distance. The assault on her senses, she knew, could only get worse as she came closer to where the people lived.  

And, suddenly, she did not want to come any closer to such noisome, reeking creatures - because she could sense that they were a violent, thronging, ravenous lot....

"Prejudice is judgment without adequate facts, Tisira.  It is quite common in childhood, and in those who do not value rational thought. It may be wiser to consider IDIC and its meaning - infinite diversity in infinite combination.  Not all combinations will suit you, but all indeed have their place in reality, if they exist, and so, rationally, must be accepted."

He had said this the first time she traveled with him among humans, because she had found them odd in so many ways that she decided not to like any of them - except Kiral Leonard.  It had perplexed her greatly to think that she, and Kirana, and  Andrew, and even Father himself, carried the blood of these objectionable beings.  It was no wonder that Father had chosen instead to honor the Vulcan side of his heritage....

"But how do I accept what I do not like?"

"Acceptance does not equate to preference, Tidira.  It is possible to accept humans as they are without choosing to be among them.  Many Vulcans practice this, because humans tend to - unsettle them."

"Yes.  That is how I feel.  Unsettled - "

"Humans can present quite a substantial challenge to one's logic," Father had said, in that amused tone that said he was remembering many times when this had been so for him, all at once.  "And, perhaps, although certainly unsettling, there is value in that.  Sometimes, when one has been settled for too long, settlement becomes stagnation."

"So you are saying I should go out among these humans, Father?"

"I am not.  I am saying, Tisira, that you may find them worthy of study, and perhaps of companionship, as I have.  Consider that, if Sarek your grandfather had not done so, I would not have been born. And, without the help of a great many humans, I would not have lived to find your mother, and our family - would not exist. *You* would not."  He bent to stroke the backs of his fingers against her cheek -  like a whisper, or a breeze.  "If, as I have done, as Sarek has done, you choose to allow humans into your life, Tisira, you are quite likely to grow in ways you would not, else,  But only you can decide if that path is one your feet can tread."

Now, remembering Father's words, she reminded herself that he had been right, in that instance.  Once she had overcome her aversions to the chaotic differences of the humans, she had found many of them most likable. Their curiosity and determination reminded her of Vulcans, even if they were of a very different flavor; they complemented her own.  The flights of fancy they took - what Father referred to as "hunches" in a tone that said that, although he had much experience with this part of humanity, he had never fully understood or fully trusted it  - often led her down trails of thought she wouldn't have considered, herself.  

"Maybe if I watch them from a distance," she mused. The trees grew tall, near the river, and she could take Lynxform and climb to where she could not be spotted or reached.  

At such a height, she would not need to be too close to the people, but she could observe.  Enough, perhaps, to be certain beyond doubting that this was Earth, and where on Earth it was,  and whether it was safe to go as she was amongst these people.

And, while she was observing them, she could also observe the prey animals, the vegetation, and the surrounding area.

Once she had the idea, she wondered why it hadn't occurred to her sooner.  "Maybe only because I would not have been able to hold Lynxform so long, before this," she told herself, then remembered that it might not be wise to speak, here. 

She scouted the area for a likely tree.  She needed one with low, sturdy branches to leap into - she was not yet strong enough in her Huntskills to make a vertical climb.  And it needed to be tall enough to provide a good view.  And to be an evergreen, because the leaves were mostly gone on those that shed them, and she would need cover, lest these people thought her worthy of hunting.

She found a tree that looked like it would meet her needs, then spent a moment in review, to be sure she hadn't forgotten something important.   Then, she settled her breath, focused on her inner Huntress, Changed, and leapt to a low, wide branch.  

The tree smelled sweetly green, which was most welcome after the rising stench of the settlement.  Tisira leaned in close to the trunk and sniffed deeply, cleansing her nose and her mind of the worst of the people-stink.

But, as pleasant as it was to stay and simply breathe the life the tree exhaled, she knew that she would find no answers, here.  No, she must climb, and look, and see, and learn...

A startled squawk of protest, and something small and grey zipped into a hole not far from her ear.  She had been so distracted by the scent of the tree that she had missed the scent of rodent.

Reminding herself to attend to where she was and what she intended to do, Tisira left off her sniffing and tipped her head back to examine the branches above.  She spotted a clear route up several branches from where she now was, and made her way to the uppermost before stopping to study the ground below, the trees surrounding, and the most likely path to climb the next several branches.

At each assent, she made a study of the ground below, what she could see of the river and what seemed to be a walled settlement beyond, of the life in her tree and those around it, and the route up through the branches, taking note of any fallen or split branched that might pose some danger.

The smell was getting stronger as she climbed -  the smell of a river teeming with life, and of farm animals, and carrion, and fetid waste of the kind only created by humanoid creatures....

She had never smelt anything like it, and she thought she might be ill because of it.  Her breakfast rose in her throat, and her eyes stung, and her stomach twisted in protest.  

When she needed to, she stopped, and huddled close to the tree, and breathed in its life, until she could go on again.

It wasn't logical, she realized, that this was a primitive settlement, on the Earth she knew.  No Earth settlement, however primitive, would overlook the health and well-being of its people.  There were too many ways to manage waste, from too many worlds, that would fit easily with a more natural living.  

The Pridekeep was, by the agreement of all who chose to live there, kept completely natural.  In the Pridekeep, today, things were as they had always been, as she hoped they would always be, there.  And there was never any such smell, nor the pall of an emotional sickness so deep and wide that she could feel it from here, more sickening even than the smell.....

Tisira didn't need to climb any higher to know that this was a place where the strong ruled over the weak for no other reason that they were the stronger, and that there would be wars and fighting and cruelty, in a place such as this.  She had read about such places, in books Father had left in the basket above her cupboard...

Father.  Her cupboard.  The familiar basket of books, always full, always containing both old favorites and new promises, always ready for her.  And Father to read with her, to allow her to snuggle into his lap, to allow her any flight of fantasy she wished, however illogical, during those reading times.

Father, who had said, often and incredibly, "Hold to your imagination, Tisira, and yet, let it fly free.  It will lead you to worlds that are yours, alone; it will sustain you if you are alone and lonely.  It will make you far wiser and richer in soul than logic alone ever could.  It is your birthright.  And, if, one day, we are apart, and you wish we were not, you have only to imagine me, and you will have the comfort of my memory, if you cannot have my presence."

Her eyes were stinging more painfully now, but it was with the tears she could not cry, in Lynxform.

Instead, she did as father had suggested, and held him in her imagination, as though he was right here beside her (although that was illogical; she had never seen him climb remotely as high as this), 


Eden "Kymele" Mabee said...

One of these days we'll need to get together for coffee/tea and discuss this. It is very good, a few mistakes that really caught me such as changing the name of Seth to Andrew, as well ST-ism isssues that may or may not matter, as well as the fact that a lot of this countryside that she's in would be being farmed well before she could get a decent view of the walled city... Still a LOT of promise. >HUGS<

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

Kymele -

Virtual coffee or tea would work, too!

I see what you are saying about Seth and Andrew, and, after rereading this excerpt, I can see where the confusion is.

Earlier in the novel, it's made clear that Seth is Spock and Jeniah's 8 week old son. Andrew in McCoy and Rachyl's son, who is the same age as the twins.

The point was that even a young baby is not being controlled in this family, that not only his parents but his sisters see him as wholly a person, already....

AS regards the farming - she smells the farm animals, but I really hadn't thought about any details to the lay of the land that weren't necessary for the plot (you know how I am about setting.....there's barely even a line sketch until well after I understand the action).

I plan on doing only cursory research for this draft, but plan to delve more deeply before I begin draft 2......

The ST universe has become huge and convoluted - and, in more that one place, completely paradoxical. I'm not sure at all that anyone could avoid stomping on a few "facts" here or there...

I don't believe this would ever be other than fanfic. I don't want to give up my vision for this - these characters and their stories are real and meaningful to me.....

But I welcome you or anyone else pointing out bits that bug you, Star Trek canon-wise. It is good for me to know where I am contradicting things created by others.....

I am really enjoying finally exploring what happens after the bonding issues are finally resolved, and they become parents, and how things shift between the featured characters with the passage of time and living of life.

Thanks for taking the time to read and reply - love you,Sys! =)

Eden "Kymele" Mabee said...

Ah, *laughs* I get it.

The Seth/Andrew thing, makes sense, and would work if this wasn't in the middle of a story...

The ST-ism thing isn't an issue because you are using them (this IS a fanfic after all). No, the big thing is (at least for me personally) is the way that a lot of stories that revolve around Star Trek seem to put the Vulcan way of life up as some kind of ideal. (Yes, I know that for you there are good reasons for that view.) But from things I've read in the ST-multiverse, seldom are other races elevated to the standards of the Vulcans. With Tisira being something of three(four) races, I would expect her to elevate those she was born to somewhat more than those she doesn't. But I'm not "seeing" that (granted, maybe it's there and I'm just not seeing it).

As for setting goes, I do know that, which is why I chose to mention it, because it will be elemental to the story when you get to reworking that part. The way England is/was set up around the city of London, there were a lot of very close little villages (these eventually became glommed and became part of the present day city), but surrounding these villages were huge plowed fields (livestock actually stayed closer to the actual clusters of homes, which were often together for defensibility). So Tisira would have a lot of open space, with occasional ditches and hedgerows (which aren't THAT tall really) to hide in.

Also the part where she starts comparing the night sky... The steady spreading of the universe has been altering the shape of the star patterns and constellations on our world (the way we see the classic "Greek" constellations in the sky here and now is notably different than the Greeks saw them 3000 years ago)--if you are sending Tisira back in time from a "world that is well over a few thousand years in time, she may NOT recognize the night sky as Earth's.

Yeah, I know, TMI... I did really like the piece, and I wasn't bothered by the learning processes (or her[your] philosophy coming through). Actually, that made her more interesting to me, since I don't see the world (or relationships often) quite the same way. I was simply pointing out stuff that I noticed. Use, discard, edit, mangle, spread on toast with Nutella (especially with Nutella) as you see fit.

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

If I had read that with a cuppa coffee in hand, I could have pretended you were right here sharing your observations. =)

Oh, wait, happy joy - the coffee man cometh!

I think what you're saying is that you would maybe expect Tisira to place higher value on being Tribed, or one-fourth Vulcan, or human, or Tacivaarii?

She doesn't. Her father has been an Ambassador for nearly as long as she's been alive, and her grandfather centuries longer than that. She believes, to the extent she is able, in IDIC. She's traveled to and lived on several worlds. She has family and friends of several species and cultures.

She finds these things - to coin a word - fascinating. She's a lot like both of her parents, but without the types of indoctrination they both experienced.

It's good to know more about London as it was....I did some cursory research, but couldn't find specifics about the lay of the land. Are there shallow caves, like I have here? Don't know yet. I figured I can adapt most of these aspects, in subsequent drafts. I know that she will exist at first on the fringes of society, and interact with various natives in various ways - bartering, robbing, buying, selling, and assorted trickery, perhaps, and that she will end up at the Globe. So long as those things can happen, timing and distances and scenery details can be adapted.....oh, she arrives in mid-to-late fall, and the story doesn't resolve until the end of June.

Overwintering might be a bit easier, if there are farmlands....but I imagine there were also woodlots and common forest lands (I know the commoners could hunt on common land, but not the King's forests....). More rodents will be out and about in barnyards, after all....

I was thinking about the sky, and the changes. She doesn't recognize it, for a few reasons. She doesn't know she's traveled through time, only that she is clearly not on Vulcan, asleep in a cabinet, in the summer, at the Science Academy....and she hasn't studied lots of starcharts.

The sky is one of the things that help her to realize that she has traveled through time as well as space, and she tries to use the sky, later, to help her family to find her.

I cannot imagine, given how different their cultures are, and their children's diverse genetic makeup, that Spock and Jeniah would attempt to dictate their children's actions. They don't LOOK especially Vulcan, and the twins are clearly Trueborn, and eagerly learn Huntskills as they are ready.

I'm giving them the type of relationship I wish I had had with my own parents - she's connected enough to both that she can easily imagine what they might say in many situations. That gives her advantages, and comfort.

It's also what we are striving for, here, and it's really quite fun to slip inan unschooling philosophy without ever calling it that.....

We have a fresh jar of Nutella and a loaf of Heidelberg I want toast, dammit! =D