Yesterday was super stressful. I agreed to do something very anxiety-triggering for me in order to help out some of my previous coworkers and still friends: I went into the office of my previous workplace and did coaching for a once-a-year task I'd been responsible for. Yes, the same workplace that was about 50% responsible for why I can't 'work' right now. And... it sucked to go there, but it was great to help friends as them figuring it out without help would've taken way longer than the hour of coaching. (My sister offered to be my 'emergency' in case my ability to deal crashed and burned - and I didn't have to use the 'out' because the coaching session went so well.) Then I left as soon as the meeting was over. I am no longer obligated to that company.
Positives and learnings: I can again do some high anxiety, triggering tasks without a panic attack; the good people at that company are still awesome; not being 'owned' by a corporation that puts zero value on people as living beings is a huge relief in day-to-day existence; having a stress-relieving melt-down at home is pretty darn okay because my hubby and kids give some of the best hugs in the world.
Also, watching the claymation Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer before 10:00 am and having popcorn as breakfast with a happy 3-year-old this morning was a really good reset that this reality is the real one.
1. Ternick's National Army
Torin waved goodbye to his two young sons. Addint was fifteen and Enti just into his twelfth year. They lifted their hands in return, calling out to him that soon they would be sending home many letters full of heroic stories and great hordes of captured treasure.
Torin had never felt as proud as when he watched the Master lead his boys out of the poor village where they had grown. If all things went well, in four or five weeks they would soon be far below at the edge of the Plains, Trainees of Ternick’s National Army.
The student regiments trained hard. Every lesson was aimed at getting the very most out of every Trainee, and every Trainee was promoted to the next level of training only once the class's Master was convinced that the very most had been gotten. Trainees and Masters were always graduating at different times due to completing their training on an individual basis, new recruits were always being sought out to join the ranks. It was a massive, finely honed system that encouraged recruits to advance in the areas that they were the best at.
For some, the forever changing environment and constantly demanded high quality was too much. But as a rule, no Trainee in his first year could be removed from the system based solely on poor performance. It was in the second year that Trainees started to filter out.
In their fifth year at the compound, Addint made Master and began his first full step into his Armyman career by becoming a Facility Instructor, and Enti, much to the frustration of his superiors, remained a Trainee. Over the past five years, Commander Archer had had many private laughs over Trainee Torinson. As well as many moments of private admiration for how adept, responsive, and efficiently competent the young man could be whenever he felt necessity required it. Unfortunately for most of the Masters training him, his personal view of ‘necessity’ seemed to cause his best traits to shine when it would be the most inconvenient for him to possess them.
Commander Archer did sometimes feel sorry for the Masters most inconvenienced by Enti. More often than not, though, he agreed with the Trainee that such inconvenience was well past due. Time passed easily into the Torinson brothers’ sixth year at the compound. Then the rumors of war began
“Commander Archer, I fail to see your point.”
The Commander scowled at the image of the richly clad, older woman standing in the view cube on his desk. Her name was Luinda, and she was a Mage member of the Council. Archer had a complete mistrust of magic, so had had more than the normal number of foul run-ins with the Council in general, and Luinda in particular.
“What I mean, Madam,” he began through clenched teeth, “is that Arkin was known to have prepared for war in the past months, and that their entire army has now disappeared. As they were preparing along the northeast border of Ternick, and the mountains and this compound are the only things between your fine city of Tern and the border, I believe it would be best to have this compound equipped for something more than training when Arkin marches on the capital!” Archer slammed his fist onto the desktop beside the view cube, making it rattle.
Council Mage Luinda frowned out at him from the side facing him, her acute dislike of soldiers in general doubling in his particular direction. She sniffed haughtily at his outburst.
“The Council will consider your suggestion when we have time for such barbaric ideas. Currently, we are in a time of peace and your opinion is not relevant.”
Council Mage Luinda broke the connection just before Archer could again yell at her. He snarled and pounced to his feet, knocking over his chair, and shoved everything off his desk in one angry swipe. He felt a small satisfaction in watching the view cube bounce along the floor and into the wall as he envisioned a specific tiny Council Mage trapped inside it.
Knowing he didn't have much time because his gut told him so, he strode out of his office and down the hallway to the meal hall. It was dinner time, the Masters and Trainees would all be there. It was well past time to start planning for the nearing war that he now needed to prove was coming.
Why are Authors crazy? I can't answer that, but I can provide bits of my own thoughts so that you can piece together why I may be.