I really should have seen this coming. A week and a bit of logical, step-by-step world construction abruptly spiraled out of control, and lead to a week of hectic, chaotic, wonderful creative mess where a half dozen little fragments of idea took root and began to twine together to form something almost approaching a decent narrative.
There are still pieces missing. Huge pieces. Critical pieces. But where two weeks ago I had a premise and a religion, I’ve now got the basic outlines of a plot! It’s exciting, and a little bit scary, because while the original point of this NaNo was to start a completely new novel without baggage and preconceptions, I’ve still managed to form some biases about where I thought it was going to go. There are two more weeks to go, and it may all change again between now and November first.
But in the meanwhile, here’s what seems to be happening.
The main action begins when the primary antagonist, at least temporarily named Tharron, calls for the assassination of one Shadra Frey Madrine, a diplomat’s daughter who’s recently arrived in town. The assassins have certain requirements that have to be met in order for someone to be a legitimate target, and Miss Frey doesn’t qualify. Tharron doesn’t take refusal well, and ends up orchestrating the death of the assassin who refused him.
Our Main Character, Brenn, was her chief protege. On the one hand, the murder of his mentor is a personal blow. Arguably more importantly, the fact that a citizen was able to arrange the assassination of a high priest sort of speaks of high-level corruption within the priesthood. So he is going to have to find a way to avenge his master and figure out what’s going on behind the scenes. This will, of course, be complicated when Lord Tharron learns that he’s meddling, and adds “get rid of that pesky interfering young assassin” to his daily to-do list.
This raises two questions: Who is Tharron and what does he want (which is in and of itself two questions, but not if you don’t look closely enough) and, who is Shadra, and why did a nobleman from one country want her assassinated two days after she gets off of the boat? She seems sweet, innocent, she has no obvious dark past (which is part of why she wasn’t eligible for assassination in the first place).
I’ve always loved novels that tell more than one story, and I think I’ve just stumbled upon my deuteragonist. By the time she’s being hunted by an evil noble bastard, Shadra’s options are going to be a bit limited. I found I was more interested in what got her into this situation in the first place.
It turns out that Tharron’s financial empire is actually rooted in a stranglehold on the obsidian trade. Obsidian has intriguing properties and can be used as a focus for the magic practiced in another land. The power was generally considered not a great threat, in part because it’s only practiced several large bodies of water away, and in part because it only really works at dusk and dawn unless a caster has obsidian to focus through and most people don’t know about the obsidian loophole. So not only is Tharron smuggling precious materials, he’s helping a foreign invader set up a foothold.
And this is where the girl comes in at least on his side of the story.
Her home city is a major port, and while she’s off having an adventure she ends up down at the docs while Tharron is there negotiating something with his partners. She doesn’t know who he is or what he’s doing, but he sees her face and remembers it. When she flees the results of her own little adventure (her friend’s father is the harbormaster, and the casters from across the sea who have a rather vested interest in turning his town into a smuggling hub abducted him when an attempt to get him addicted to something to keep him pliable didn’t work out) she ends up waltzing right into his home town. What’s he to assume, other than that the gig is up?
I’ll have to work out the fine details on both Shadra’s quest to save her friend’s father (which I’m sure will involve capers and romance), and on Brenn’s revenge retaliation uncovering of conspiracy (which will probably be a little bit less caper-y and a bit more mass-murder). At some point, their stories will intertwine, and they’ll take down Lord Tharron and cripple the casters’ invasion strategy. Hopefully the next two weeks will include me figuring how!