Where did the Okal Rel Universe begin? Here. In my early teens. With a passion for making up stories with my friends: first live, in what might be called LARPing today; and later with Barbies. (The Barbies on the far right are precursors of the Reetions.)
When I look for the beginning of the stories, there are too many plausible candidates. Ann of Rire isn’t any of them. But she does start the ten-novel saga, so it makes sense to begin “Reading Okal Rel” with Ann … being insensitive on a beach.
Part 1: The Courtesan Prince, opens with a sulky Ann of Rire stuck in a group home on the verdant, biologically prehistoric world of Mega. (Incidentally, Jeff Doten will be working with Reality Skimming Press starting in August 2014 on an anthology of stories set on Mega when the alpha colonists first arrived.)
I put Ann on a beach in this scene to send up the newbie-writer error of “being sensitive on a beach”. (See Writer’s Craft #29 Never Open with a ?) Ann is not a sensitive soul. Truth is, I wanted her to come across as a lovable but self-absorbed, courageous, sexy and impetuous brat with some growing to do.
Ann opens the saga. She also features in shorter pieces like the novella Mekan’stan and web story “Going Back Out” set in Amel’s “envoy period”. Ann is mentioned in other saga titles, like Part 4: Throne Price, and features in Part 5: Far Arena and Part 8: Gathering Storm where she nearly wrecks Amel’s bid to become a respectable Demish prince. She’s an important love interest for Amel, and has two children by him in the long run. But her sassy teenage character matures into a stubborn military defender of Reetion culture by Part 5: Far Arena, who puts her mission ahead of her boy toy.
And yeah, although she genuinely cares about Amel, she never quite takes him seriously as a Sevolite leader given how they start out in Part 1: The Courtesan Prince. A story I’ll continue in the next post …