To the surprise of nobody, Syr’Nj is more productive in retirement-from-adventuring than any of her fellows. She was already a government figure, ambassador, and scientist when she was with the Peacemakers. Now she’s got new frontiers to explore and the luxury of not having to deal with all those distracting threats to her life. She has two or three centuries still ahead of her, but one gift that adventuring has given her is the inspiration to seize every day. I couldn’t even say what her greatest contributions will end up being, but I’m sure this painting (showing the very endpoint of her active adventuring days) will be one of a series.

I may have addressed this before, but the disparity in elf and human life cycles is a big source of anxiety in Tolkien-influenced fantasy. Arwen has to become “mortal” so she and Aragorn can OTP. That doesn’t seem worth angsting about, to me…every love story ends in death if you extrapolate it far enough. Everything is “only for now,” as Avenue Q puts it. Byron and Syr’Nj are likely to have a happy half-century or so. She may tell him in ten years, “I can’t imagine life without you,” but after he passes and she plants his willow, she will have the tools to find happiness without him, on her own or possibly with some other mature partner who knows what they’re getting into. It won’t be like the violent grief she experienced from losing him at Pardo’s village. It’ll be a sad passage, but one that leaves her stronger for the time well spent.

FB: Fields of study Syr’Nj has more time for now: “photonics,” botany, chemistry, economics, environmental science, innuendo, snarking the patriarchy.