Talk about a blast from the past. There’s a very specific character who’s been on my mind and others’ who recently began diving into Ladenflight. I’ve also been listening to Nightwish’s “Rest Calm” on repeat for hours. Other than the eargasm that comes over and over again – that song has many meanings for me. As a clairaudient who finds guidance most often in sound and music, if a song hooks me, then I know there’s multiple messages going on that are pulling at me.
Right. So the character that’s been on the fringe of my consciousness lately is Lance Tymera. The Lightning Lord, but that’s just his “cute” title. He has others.
This requires some background before I continue. The published Ladenflight is a huge simplification and adaptation of a 50 page play I spent two years composing in grades 7-8. Therapist and Andrei pointed out how strange and yet alluring Lance is in the short book, and I leaned back and smiled to myself. Finally, I thought, people who can appreciate why I claim that the Bridge Between the Sole Spheres is my most complex character. To this very day, even I as his creator can’t pin him down, because he’s a concept that resists nailing. Literally and metaphorically.
My peers who performed the script that was forced to be reduced to 30 pages (on the brink of adolescence, we had a life beyond drama class – including applications to secondary schools), I had to challenge them in many ways for them to get a sense of their characters, but allowing them freedom of interpretation was very important for me.
I still remember Agustin’s words to me when he chose the role of Lance. “I like this guy. He’s badass, but he’s in lots of pain. I can’t call him a hero, but I can’t call him a villain either. No matter how many times I practise his lines, he’s still a whole existence ahead of me.” I appreciated that so much that I retain a bit of Agustin in my visual conception of Lance. A tribute to the first person who attempted to piece together this elusive character, if you will.
Skylark wrote an interesting piece about Lance and Kikanah, who actually aren’t a canon couple. Yep, I said it, and I’m the authoress. In my fanfiction as Kan’ami, I gave into the demands to simplify the cast and the insistence that Lance and Kikanah have a romantic relationship. But that’s a slap in the face to the characters on my part. Anyway, I like Skylark’s piece because it hints at two themes that’s often missed – Kikanah’s inherent violence and Lance’s quest to grapple with the purpose of finding meaning.
I guess one could say that Lance is an existentialist? Even then, the way he interacts and works behind and in the scenery, the glimpses into a mind too powerful to be deemed safe, it’s hard for me to say that’s his label and we can go home now.
Oh right, the couple thing. Yes, he does kiss Kikanah at the end of this version of the canon. However, that action is plagued with ambiguity. There are many reasons, more realistic than romantic attraction, for that gesture. You could ask me, what then of the past life sequence?
The answer to that begins with a question from me: Are you absolutely sure that the past life sequence is legitimate? After all, Thomas tells Kikanah something extremely important for the reader’s understanding. “Beautiful at manipulation, isn’t he?”
Marie, who is Thomas’ twin sister but separated by divorce, voices another concern to tug at you. “Or we weren’t meant to see it…?”
There’s other evidence scattered throughout the text to show that the past life sequence could possibly be a sham. But, as usual, you don’t really know for sure.
This is Ladenflight. Very little in that story is exactly what it seems, because the one weaving the tale for the cast is someone who willingly deceives and can’t reconcile with his existence. The only one who is truly genuine is Kikanah Allari, rightfully the heroine. Yet she is the real murderess. She is the Dark Maiden, although the correct title would be Dark Virgin. I use “virgin” here in the older sense of the word, a woman who isn’t bound to a man, not a person who hasn’t engaged in sexual intercourse. Here is a girl who chooses to suppress the violence within to safeguard those she holds dear. She plays along, refusing to let go of her ideal of the inherent goodness of people. Her act of murdering Thomas is a turning point for her – she can no longer claim to be pure of heart, she gave into her monster. Now she’ll have to cope with direct evidence of her destructive power for the rest of her life and betrayal of her beloved ideals.
The title ladenflight has a double meaning. Only one is visibly explored in the published story, but earlier versions took on Lance’s view of it more. Kikanah refers to ladenflight as being burdened, and she wants flight to be free. Lance, however, sees the ability to fly, the nature of freedom, as the burden.
Lance is freedom in glory – glory is both cause for joy and sorrow.
The play had him always accompanied with a tumbler of tea. He drinks tea frequently with the claim that it calms him. He lives on the edge, always poised for every opportunity and every danger. Can’t relax. Can’t shut his continuously calculating, ever analytical mind off. In other words, he self-medicates to retain the illusion of presence. Therapist brought up a point that I hadn’t thought of in relation to this story: Children with attention deficit disorders are commonly prescribed stimulants. That’s something I’d have to think over. I do agree that Lance is perpetually in a state of anxiety, but I haven’t delved deeply enough into the real world issue to state an opinion.
His name is symbolic. Lance Tymera. A lance is “a long weapon for thrusting, having a wooden shaft and a pointed steel head, formerly used by a horseman in charging” (Keinnayi’s dictionary). Tymera is a combination of two words: Time and chim(a)era. Chimera has four definitions according to Kei, but two stand out for Lance. The first being a monster made up of features from multiple animals, the other as “a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.”
Thunder comes after the lightning, hence Thomas’ pursuit of Lance throughout history. Thomas is the closest character to Lance, the one who is nearest to understanding the Weapon of Time. Even so, Lance is always steps ahead of Thomas, yet the Thunder elemental doesn’t give up. Although the two clash and compete, they’re able to appreciate each other on a meaningful level. In a sense, Thomas gives reason for Lance to exist, even if to play their cat and mouse game – and one never is completely sure who is cat or mouse. As for Thomas, if he’s just bored or genuinely concerned, I’ll let you ponder. There may be another explanation. Yes, Sabrina, keep dreaming of the Tea Bath joke. ;)
As for Lance and Kikanah, obviously they have a relationship, but it’s not explicitly of a romantic nature. Just because he’s male and she’s female, and they complement in some ways, doesn’t automatically equal to an end game as a couple. Perhaps it’s easier to think of them as reluctant assassins who got paired and they resent this. Not partners, companions, comrades, or true allies. Lance is always mindful of the fact that she can destroy him, in fact, she already initiated his slow and painful spiritual death until she managed retract her influence. While she does try to appeal to him, it’s more of a maternal act. There is a pause where she may have considered him as a romantic partner, but when confronted with his power of manipulation, she squashes that thought if she even could be said to be have been thinking that way.
Ladenflight was a lot darker before publication. People questioned how and why a 12-year-old girl would conceive such a psychologically violent narrative, so I was forced to tone things down. I still hint here and there, though, like Thomas’ threat to rape Kikanah. I’m chuckling a bit to myself. If teachers and peers thought Ladenflight was cruel, it’s a good thing I destroyed the twelve books of Dre’mael. Those I started to record as soon as I could hold a writing utensil, not counting the actual overlay adventures before and during my early years.
Yeah, I wasn’t the picture of society’s dream of children. Innocence, sparkles, openness, wonder, full faith, etc., etc. Ha. I find it disrespectful when adults speak of children this way. Sure, you could try to throw the research at me of cognitive development, stage theories, and language development. All that falls at my feet when I compare standardized quantitative research to my experiences.
Don’t forget that the poetic observation of mathematics as the language of nature is weighted with meaning. Psycholinguistics is one way to explore such a thought.
Just because a child wasn’t able to communicate their perception of their experience in a sensical way for adult comprehension, doesn’t mean that they lacked any understanding.
I am a nonverbal speaker who verbally listens. Communication is actually difficult for me, and writing is somewhat easier than speaking. The simplest way to catch the discrepancy that I hide well enough to fool people is when I’m in a situation where I’m to respond – but haven’t had a chance to mentally prepare a script or plot the flow of conversation to consider all the outcomes and consequences. Even in conversation, unless I’m caught off guard, I’m analyzing to choose a response. What I say isn’t something I might actually endorse, because I say the thing as a point to consider.
So what does that tangent have to do with Ladenflight?
That story is a mind game, essentially, but simple in appearance enough that it seems like a quick candy shot that melts in your mouth while you browse for more fulfilling treats and food. I used to bemoan the loss of complexity when I had to tame and condense my original visions, but sometimes I hear hints of wonder from readers, and it’s consistently Lance Tymera who piques their curiosity to begin their journey down the garden path.
The garden path is a metaphor used in psycholinguistics research, though I’d be curious if it’s used elsewhere. That story is similar to this idea.
Here are the lyrics to Nightwish’s “Rest Calm.” As a clairaudient, I find the soundscape to be of more importance than merely reading lyrics … but that’s your decision. I only extend an invitation.