Here is the start to the story Ivella, co-written by Revis and myself:
Ivella placed her hands in the warm soil and rejoiced in the abundance of nutrients that would help her crops grow strong and bountiful. Clumps of earth separated between her fingers to fall back to the ground, and she smiled as the heavy aroma of life reached her nose. There was much work to be done, but she believed in her land, in the traditions that had been passed down to her, and in her god.
Faith had always come easy to her, though. She’d been raised with large doses of realism in the hardships of being a farmer and even larger doses of worship of Hebon, the God of Plants and Earth. Ivella’s family never wavered in their trust of their god even when things stacked up to make it seem like they had been abandoned. They always carried on, with songs on their lips and the sun warming their backs, and got their hands back in the dirt to start over. Since it was all she had ever known, Ivella never had reason to question their way of life.
Even the Day of Chaos didn’t change that. The chaos beasts, twisted monstrosities of Accura’s imagination, crossed her family’s farm and destroyed everything in their path: crops, fences, the house, and her family. Ivella missed the massacre and carnage because she’d been on an errand to a neighboring farm that was spared. Some said it was luck, but Ivella felt it must have been divine intervention that had kept her alive when the rest of her family had perished. It was the only explanation.
When she returned home to the destruction, saw what was left, and then pieced together what had happened, Ivella went to work even as she shed her tears. Between sobs, she whispered prayers that her family would find peace on a wide open land with endless rows of golden crops ready for harvesting. Graves were dug in the family plot behind the house, and her mother, father, and younger brother were wrapped with care and placed gently into the earth they had all loved. Then Ivella sang prayers of praise to Hebon that she had been saved and she still had land to work as she cleared the rent and tattered crops to let the ground heal. She managed to salvage some here and there and set them aside to barter with neighbors for what she would need to continue on as she knew her family would want.
Over the days that followed, the fences were mended, and the buildings were patched up as best she could. She was a farmer, though, and would eventually need help from others to get them situated correctly before the winter storms sent temperatures plummeting. The crops she was sure Hebon had saved from the wrath of the beasts would be used in trade for those purposes. In every spare moment, when she wasn’t working, eating, or resting up to continue on with the hardships of putting the farm back together, she sent her prayers on with clear voice and a true heart.
And here are my own answers to the silly author interview questions I asked: