Last night, I almost had the title to this WIP. It came and kicked me when I was getting ready for bed, then danced on the edge of my conciousness just as I was falling asleep. For a fleeting heartbeat, I had the words, not in order, that make up the title. I should be frustrated, I guess, but maybe I just haven't gotten to the point in the WIP where I have the title. Right now, it's working title is "The Messenger" which won't remain. It sounds like a religious story, and I wouldn't want to confuse anyone expecting a fantasy-fictional biblical story (but aren't some of them fantasy already? Not if you believe in them).
If I'm remembering right, I've gotten about 14,000 words on it now, and every single MC has managed to surprise me thus far. Adervalis is having an easier time accepting his daughter, now that he realizes that Velara was right about his people being snooty and prejudiced. Velara's shown me just how much her Healing can do--for herself and others; she's shaman, but largely untrained, and the earth likes to eavesdrop for her. LedÈa, the ruler of Onofar, has finally looked beyond the boredom she used as an excuse to begin her subjugation of the Sanuset and has now decided that a more subtle form of genocide (what she calls "civilizing the Sanuset"--rather akin to what was done to Native Americans) is a way of eradicating the thing that really bothers her: Gelee, a city on the northern edge of the Deeperat Rift, which has unobstructed trade with the Sanuset and levies taxes and tithes from Onofarian traders doing business with the Sanuset, who aren't subject to the same taxes and tithes. Then again, the Geleen government isn't interested in converting the Sanuset into settlers; it knows better. At the same time LedÈa's instigating this plot (and perpetuating beliefs that the Sanuset are all dirty mean wild men through her third-party alliances with four of the worst tribes in the Sanuset nation), she's befriending a Sanuset woman who was sent to her by one of her envoys, because she's lonely.
*sigh* Between Velara, who'll disembowel someone, then Heal him, just to make a point and LedÈa, who really doesn't seem to know what she wants, I'm discovering a rather complicated story under the plot. Do you think being disembowled by a woman, then Healed by her would change your opinion about what a woman is capable of, if you'd lived among people who felt women have a place, and that it's not in the practice-yard with a sword in her hand? I'm speaking of Rashir, here. His tribe is one of those allied with Onofarian "slavers," and they told him to seek another tribe or be exiled when he protested his sister's marriage to someone in Velara's former tribe. His aren't the worst, but they're a bare step above rogues; Velara's tribe takes great care to ensure their women are meek and obedient. Rashir won't abuse a "proper" woman, even though seeing all those women of Grass Mouse Tribe (which has taken him in) armed with nonmetal weapons (the taboo prevents women from handling any metal that can be used as a weapon) has made him a bit nervy. When they welcomed Velara, scarred by Outcasing and bearing a sword showed up, his poor male ego broke and he tried to attack her when she was entranced; I don't think he realized the reason why the shamans are sheltering her is because she's a shaman too, or he would have known better than to try and attack her. He now bears a lovely scar that slants up his torso from right hip to just under his left breast. I think he's wishing his sister had had some freedom to make her own decisions.
Of course, the whole of Grass Mouse Tribe has broken a taboo in allowing Velara to stay with them. She's a "ghost," Outcast. However, the fact that she's wearing some elven armor allows them to pretend she's not a fullblooded Sanuset at the same time, and it's well known that the more domineering men will scar half-breed Sanuset, even their own children. Not only that, the shamans Grass Mouse Tribe seem to enjoy leading their people to the edges of taboos. They've allowed their women nonmetal weapons; I have a feeling that means some of their women ride horses and that they allow all women to have a say in whom they marry.
Then, there's Demara. Velara's twin. She seems to have become a reluctant leader for the women of her tribe. They seem to believe that Demara will know more about what taboos they can bend just because her sister "came back from the dead" to warn them about the coming war. I don't think the men of Plains Bear Tribe realize that they've got a rather large population of saboteurs literally in their camp. The women outnumber the men almost three-to-one. And the men think they have control when they don't realize that by forcing all the "misbehaving" women to trek together only encourages the women's dissent.