The Silent and Brave begins with the divinators Riika and Heli in the tombs of Birrigat, the ward of time. The tombs are occupied by the Blue Hands. The Blue Hands have always had a partnership with the Teilarata. They do not speak, but spend their lives studying the passage time through the timepiece of Flave. They are called “linearists” because they believe in the linear passage of time. Even though the timepiece allows them to travel to different times to observe, they know they cannot change time, because it has already happened.
Riika and Heli are brothers. They not linearists. They are not limited by silence. They were brought to Birrigat by the linearists because they have the power to walk across the roads. By using their divinators’ tools, they, especially Riika, can choose a safe footpath across the roads that would swallow any other human being. The timepiece of Flave. the sacred relic of Birrigat, lies beyond a road, so for the linearists to reach the timepiece Riika and Heli have to guide them to it. This is similar to the parable of Jesus walking on water.
Heli especially chafes at the restrictive and isolated life the two brothers lead in the tombs. Chapter one begins with the brothers in their cavern in the tombs, which are the living quarters for the linearists, hewn from a giant granite cliff in their center. Heli and Riika are not bound to any responsibilities in the tombs except to help the linearists when they need it, so Heli often convinces Riika to leave Birrigat by crossing another road beyond its northern wall. From there they are able to travel into Arden Forest and to an abandoned town of the pallbearers called Torijk. Many buildings in Torijk were build on wooden and stone foundations instead of concrete, and so they survived the Day of Transition when the roads swalllowed everything. Heli and Riika are especially interested in a sporting goods store in Torijk, and their exploration of it has important consequences for both of them.
Riika is extremely nearsighted. He also suffers from trigeminal neuralgia, stabbing pains on the left side of his face above his mandible that are usually triggered by touching the skin. These cause him to live in fear of his face being touched. Only Heli is gentle enough to shave his beard on that side of his face without setting off an episode of the “tic doloureux”.
In beginning this second novel of The Peaceful, Brave, and Just quartet, I am taking a few risks. One is the addition of more new characters who may add confusion to the already massive amount of information I need my readers to process. I am confident that the characters, especially Riika and Heli, are interesting enough to make it worthwhile, and that the return of our favorites in chapter two and beyond will make it even better. My second concern that my use of a modern implement, specifically, the rifle that Riika finds in Torijk, will be gimmicky, but it plays an integral part in the plot. The inspiration came from Roger Zelazny’s “Nine Princes in Amber”, which is a great sci-fi series if you’ve never read it.