So this is the second in the upkeep portion and boy oh boy did I not think I would get through three chapters without mentioning blacksmithing once. Oh well, take things as they come I guess. While I do like to try and expose as much as I can through dialogue, I am finding it a bit harder than I first thought. Let’s go through some examples. I could mention in a conversation between two people “Wow, it’s quite warm out today” Mary said to the her sister Katherine. “Yeah, I don’t think it has been this hot since ten years ago at least, humid, too. God, I wish it would rain.” So from the outset we have established quite a few things. First, it passes the Bechtel test. I mostly put that in there because I felt like it. Also, the brief dialogue shows a couple interesting details. The pair involved are sisters, likely in the middle of either late spring or summer. The humidity is also shown to be high, this can give us an approximate setting, though nothing definite. If we go with assumptions, then it is likely that they are in a tropical or subtropical climate, though really anywhere but a desert could be relatively humid. In fact, the only place we can say for certain they are not is Antarctica, on account of it being hot, humid, and close to raining. While Antarctica is a frigid desert, it can be relatively warm and humid compared to previous scientific measurements. The breaking point is rain. While it can snow, it is too cold to rain. I digress. It is most likely that they are sitting on a porch somewhere in the southern united states during a summer heat wave, sipping sweet iced tea, lemonade, or perhaps a combination of the two. Maybe Coca-Cola if the author wants to include product placement. Let’s try another scenario. A chill ran down his spine as he breathed in the cold night air. Nearly opposite to the first scenario. Instead of two female characters, it is a singular male. Instead of warm and humid, it is cold. While it is left up to the reader to assume the time in the dialogue, it is more than likely that one would be led to believe that it is in fact day, due to the simple fact that Mary says “Today” to Katherine in the context of their current setting. This is contrasted with the outright statement of it being night in the narration during the second snip. So it is established that it is cold, it is night, and our single protagonist is male. Well, we assume that he is the protagonist, since that is typically the person who’s perspective is told in the story. It is also fairly safe to assume that he is on high alert. After all, cold is not what sends a chill down your spine, though it may put one in your bones. This is more likely to be farther from the equator, because of the cold. Generally, the tropics are quite warm, even in winter. Simply put, the closer you are to the equator, the warmer you will be. However, it is probably mid autumn or early spring in a more temperate climate, otherwise, imagery of frosty breath upon an exhale would have been evoked. Now back to the regularly scheduled griping about my own writing. There is a lot I would like to include in the story, but even if I had the discipline to write a chapter a day, I feel like I would not be able to put in writing everything that I want to. Hopefully, once I graduate college and have a steady job, I can revisit this story and maybe even finish writing it. That said, let’s examine the setting so far. It is mid summer, yet in some places it is still described as quite cool. There is rain, so humidity can also be factored in. Now let’s take a look at some of the symbols presented. First, let’s go with the reason the story kicks off. A strange ritual leaves a boy, just barely a man, pushed out of everything that he is familiar with in an era when time is judged by seasons, rather than calendar days, so it is assumed that this is done in a barbarian tribe before the invention or at least widespread use of the calendar. This gives a few areas, perhaps it is someplace that the Roman empire did not reach in it’s massive conquests. Maybe north of Hadrian’s wall in Scotland. The climate is pretty close to what you would expect for that area. However we also meet a Christian, probably catholic, bishop later on in the story, so we know that this has to take place after the rise of, and likely after the fall of, the Roman empire. This puts us in a confusing sort of area, though it is not impossible. Perhaps it is the dark ages in eastern Europe. Places like Poland, Belarus, or Ukraine would be a good fit, especially with Slavic sounding names like Grzegorz, Konrad, Vanya, and Jan. The next symbol is a bit more subtle, but still present. The knife that Grzegorz carries and the coat that his friend gave him. Here we have, quite literally, a cloak and dagger. This will set the mood for pretty much the rest of the story, however there will be a large, chaotic, battle at the end. Finally, the bandit on the road juxtaposed against the bishop and his church was one thing I liked writing quite a bit. While we have seen the last of neither, it was fun to have Grzegorz, who we know as our intrepid hero so far, go from falling into the hands of a robber, to being rescued by a man who literally tells him the biblical story of the good Samaritan to explain his actions.