I worked to hold onto this scene, even though almost every other scene in the chapter was taking more space than we’d planned (except for Byron’s scene, which I cut and merged with this one). It wasn’t essential to the later action and will only influence it a very little, but it would end up paying rich dividends down the road.

Syr’Nj speaks for me a bit here. I was getting a little fed up with the unaddressed contradictions in Fr’Nj and Scipio’s relationship. Like, I think Phil and I wanted to treat it as a casual fling at first, but Fr’Nj soon started saying and doing things that indicated she expected to be around for a while… and crossing national borders to move in with your boyfriend stretches the definition of “casual” pretty far, to say nothing of risking your life at his side. Sure, she was also there to be with her sister, learn about other cultures, and oppose the Savages who ravaged her homeland, but still.

That said, I wasn’t out to demonize Scipio, and I think he’s got a point (mostly unstated, as is his wont) that Fr’Nj and Syr’Nj have intruded on his privacy by discussing things meant for Fr’Nj’s ears only. But that’s also Syr’Nj’s point, in a way. Sooner than he’d like, Scipio’s going to have to decide between the reserve that’s defined him and the chance to be part of a family, which means greater support but also requires greater openness. We weren’t sure, at this juncture, which way he’d go.