I was asked by Beth Barany if I had kick-butt heroines in Mind Over Psyche, so I thought I'd share a little about Tasmae, who is the heroine of the trilogy. Tasmae is immensely powerful, physically and psychically. She's also way out of her element, half trained in her true Talent and saddled with the responsibility of protecting her entire planet--from another planet. I don't mean the people; I mean the planet. How does one woman stop another world from crashing into hers? Ah, spoilers! Read the trilogy, lol. I can tell you she can't do it alone--Deryl, also known as the Ydrel, is going to work with her. In the meantime, she's also been trained as a warrior, and she's really good at that and a bit vicious, as you can see in this scene.
Tasmae left Joshua and Deryl brooding over the last of their meals. Leinad would not have approved, but he did not know Deryl like she did. She trusted Deryl, as the Miscria had always trusted the Ydrel. Still, it bothered her that Deryl refused to answer her questions until he’d taken care of his friend. In truth, he seemed as confused about his arrival as they were. Perhaps Leinad was right that the answers could only be found in the Remembrance.
She reached out with her senses, determined where Salgoud and Leinad stood conversing, and headed in that direction. The earthquake had stilled under her care, and she thought she had a few days’ respite. If Deryl could advise Salgoud directly on the strategies she had tried to adapt, she could take time to experience the Remembrance. Not that she had a choice, but she would do it on her terms.
She found them, as expected, leaning against a wall in the outer courtyard where many of the warriors busied themselves with sword practice. Salgoud’s eyes were on his troops, taking in flaws of step or swing, noting improvements, but even so, he kept his attention on what Leinad was telling him—about the Ydrel and probably her, no doubt. She did not interrupt. She would know what she needed to know soon enough.
Leinad pinned her with his stare. She felt his urgency, the call of the Remembrance—
And I shall, she agreed. But that is not my only duty now, and I cannot allow it to monopolize me. She shared with him a hint of the obligations pulling on her: the preparations for war, the increased needs of Kanaan, neither of which she could tend to while under the influence of the Remembrance. Add the sudden, mysterious arrival of the Ydrel—
That is why the Remembrance Calls! he protested.
Salgoud, whom they’d included in their conversation, added that Ocapo and his everyn, Spot, understood their roles well enough that they could do without her for much of the training. For whatever reason, the Ydrel is here. Let him teach us directly, Salgoud added.
She projected warmth—how often they thought alike. She told Leinad that she would take time to make the arrangements with Deryl, and then—if Kanaan were still—she would give herself to the memories of Gardianju. She felt his sullen assent, turned to go.
Salgoud pushed her into the middle of a sparring circle. She managed to duck and roll to avoid getting smacked by a practice blade. She came up in a crouch, her short sword out of the scabbard she wore and a dagger from her hairpiece in her other hand. The two sparring warriors hesitated only a moment before turning on her. She ducked below the swing of one, scored on the side of the other, barreled between them, and spun toward Leinad and Salgoud. She swung her sword toward the unarmed Leinad, forcing Salgoud to defend him, while with her other hand, she jabbed her dagger toward the warrior’s gut. He anticipated the move, blocked it, and the two stood, weapons locked, until neither could stand it and both broke into snickers.
Leinad, still flat against the wall, gave them the full brunt of his displeasure.
You know what happens when you bring a Remembrance into a ‘war’ zone; besides, we need to work on your reflexes, she chided lightly as she backed more carefully away from her general and left the practice grounds.
The Ydrel and his friend had had enough privacy, she’d decided. It was time they spoke with her.
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