The Meek Valley Incident: Part 21
Whining and rants are easier to write than complaints. To whine or rant is easy, there's no solutions involved and the writer of them can be as acidic or pretentious as they want. Complaints, on the other hand, have to be clear on what the problem is in certain terms – preferably with references – and have the desired solutions and/or outcomes presented. As an example:
In order to effectively whine, the writer just has to say "omg I hate my job ffs it's awful :("
But for a complaint, the writer needs to put in the labor so it's an effective statement like "this Person's behavior and comments during X meeting with XX client on <date>, where this is what Person did and said, is unacceptable to me for Y reasons (including YY reason as stated to me by XX client after X meeting). Further training for Person after <reprimand> regarding X situation can be provided by ABC company to ensure X doesn't occur again. Currently, XX client is pursuing <consequence>, so I recommend acting quickly so Person doesn't do more damage."
There's a big difference. And complaints are exhausting to do properly.
On an completely unrelated* note, thank Universe our time dealing with this Quarter of trying out virtual school is almost over. (*completely related, this experiment was Not Good)
21. General Discontent
Jin did what Tor expected and punched Tor hard in the stomach for the mocking disrespect. Tor was still coughing and trying to remember how to breathe when he was pulled vertical by his hair. The scout who’d pulled him upright let go quickly so that she could take up the ongoing salute. The general glared back and forth along the entire line of scouts.
“Where are the others?” the general asked quietly. He stopped his assessment of the entire line and stared at Jin. “You said there were three,” he reminded the scout commander.
Tor grinned widely and chuckled as he felt Jin stiffen beside him. As he’d hoped, the anger and confusion from first luring them into the path of the river, and then the rush to get out of the pit, had distracted the rest of the scouts from remembering he hadn’t initially been alone.
“We don’t have them,” Jin haltingly admitted. The general stared hard at the scout commander for a moment, and then frowned further.
“That’s of less concern,” the general stated, shifting his frown to Tor. Tor stared back at his uncle. He was expecting, at the least, that he would be gutted now. “Put him in chains and bring him.” The general surprised everyone with the clipped command and then rode away.
“Huh.” Tor stared after his uncle, shocked that he was still breathing. A few of the scouts in the immediate area hissed and mumbled insults about nepotism, but Jin ordered them silent and sent the closest ones to get the ordered chains.
“Looks like you have until the storm clears before you’re executed publicly,” Jin muttered.
“Wouldn’t want anyone at the back of the ranks to miss it, I suppose,” Tor agreed. He looked over his shoulder at the nearby trees when Jin’s grip on his arm loosened, then shook his head to the negative before grinning at his friend. “I’m tired, I’m cold, and I’m hungry,” Tor whispered with a shrug.
“You don’t have to –”
“Yes. I do,” Tor interrupted. “Tam’s life depends on me staying right here.” Jin sighed and his grip tightened again.
“I found the surviving transport guards and asked some questions.” Jin kept his voice low. “You know you handed her over to a pirate?”
“That explains why he could swim so well,” Tor replied, matching his friend’s serious tone.
Jin scoffed. “He’ll probably sell her to the next –”
“No he won’t,” Tor assured his ex-commander and closest friend since childhood.
“You can’t really believe she’s safe with him,” Jin argued.
Tor smiled, the past few weeks running through his mind in a flash. “You weren’t with him on the road,” Tor whispered, echoing what Tam said when their nameless companion had refused to go in the cabin and thereby saved them from being killed in their sleep, plus any other number of things to protect and help them all get this far. “You can always go after them if you’re that concerned about her.”
“And leave you here to speak on your own behalf and get killed?” Jin sighed heavily and shook his head to the negative.
“I think that’s inevitable at this point.”
“Only if I let you do any talking,” Jin said. They waited together in the snow for the chains and shackles to arrive.
Justin grinned at the result of John’s ingenuity. The storm winds had gotten them far below the snow line before night had fully descended on the valley. They stopped when one of the skis tore off from underneath, lucky that the seasonal coldness provided a temporarily unoccupied barn for shelter while the worst of the storm blew over. The supplies John pulled together from the useful things he’d found scattered in and around the barn had borne a thing which Justin considered a beauty. The best part was that John’s idea had only taken a day to build and they were ready to go while there were still good winds which – down here – carried only heavy rain.
“You’ve both got chalk for brains if you think I’m getting on that.” Tam eyed the innovation critically.
“Structurally, it’s stronger than the sled.” Justin shook the frame and smiled wider. Technically it was the sled, but stripped down to the frame, reinforced, and set on wheeled axles. The platform where they could sit or stand was made of a few solid planks, the rest was open frame and netted storage holes.
“The only thing that might be faster on land is an engine train,” John added.
“But only if we don’t have a good wind,” Justin noted as he started tossing their packs and newly stolen spare parts and tools into the storage nets.
“No,” Tam stated, crossing her arms at her chest. “I am not getting on that thing.”
“We’ve only got one day’s lead once the snow clears on the mountain,” Justin reminded her. “And that’s assuming none of the scouts have come further down the slope during the bad weather.”
“It’s raining,” she argued.
“I could use a shower,” Justin replied, tying the nets closed.
“You could use three,” John muttered at Justin as he started removing the impromptu blockade they’d made in front of the barn’s door. Justin picked up the pull lines and was pleasantly surprised at how easily the contraption started rolling along behind him.
“Which is still one less than you need,” Justin countered, making John nod in agreement.
“I could also use a bath. With heated water.” John paused, fantasizing for a moment.
“I don’t see why we can’t just keep jogging like we were doing before,” Tam insisted, not wavering from the original topic of conversation. Justin sighed and paused in front of her.
“Please don’t make me tie you to the mast like some Leshnatti Cautionary Tale’s abducted child,” he stated quietly.
“I’ll gut you if you try,” she countered.
“My agreement was to get you safely out of Opat, and ensure you remain safe,” he reminded her.
“Only if I show you the way,” she argued.
“I have roads for direction, towns for supplies, and a boat that sails on land. Once the rain stops I’ll have stars,” he said. “I can easily find the coast as long as I’m not captured.”
She sighed and her hard façade slipped a fraction. Her glance shifted around his arm and settled on the window that faced back up the mountain.
“I just …” her voice trailed off. The first gust of wind from the open door puffed up the dust inside the barn.
“He’s not coming. We have to go,” Justin stated quietly. Tam turned her eyes up to search his face, and then nodded and looked away. She climbed onto the platform and clicked the tie ratchets to hold herself in place.
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A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!