Jessa's story has been, at times, literally keeping me up at night.
It has bits in common with "My Empire for Ashes", in that it's basically a prequel novella (though it may well be novel-length by the time it's finished). It takes place about ten-twenty years after "My Empire for Ashes" (it spans about 10 years in the telling, unlike MEfA's few months), and Alexander, now the Telenias, does show up in it; this one covers the formation of the Kirayth, and he's among the first to sign up.
Otherwise, not so much, and where that shows most is in the characters. Alexander is a character with a very rigid moral code; it's no random choice on my part that he identifies most with his Victorian previous self. He is straightforward. He may not always feel he is worthy, but he strives to be his best self.
Jessa? She's messier. Not a Hot Mess, no, but she's more complex, more tangly.
Part of what I'm examining with her story is how people can be heroes on the societal level and still fuck up terribly on the interpersonal level.
It's not just her. Marcus fucks up. Fenris fucks up, though it takes him way longer to compromise himself, and it damn near breaks him to realize how he's allowed himself to lie to himself in order to do what he does. (Which is cryptic, yeah, but it all makes sense. For reals. I promise.)
But Jessa's the protagonist, and unlike Fenris, she's actively choosing to do things she knows are wrong. Not often. Really just the one thing. But she does it twice, to two different people.
And yet she is undeniably one of the Good Guys. The revolution in Shayara could not have taken place without her leadership. The Kirayth would not have been formed.
Then again, the Purges wouldn't have happened either.
Alexander, the Telenias - he always does what is right, and all of the wrongness in his story is done to him, not by him. Jessa does what is right for her city and her people and her daughter. But sometimes she falls into the trap of thinking that she deserves just a little more than she is meant to have, and to hell with the breaking of hearts, hers and others.( Collapse )
Anyway. She's not perfect; no one is. She fucks up. But overall, she is good and she does good, and it hurts when she fucks up. That is all, I suppose.
EDIT: And why the title of the post? Because she and Fenris are so absolutely lovers in a dangerous time, and the Oysterband cover of that song is #1 on her playlist.