Strange Wordings

Thoughts on fantasy, science fiction and genre writing in general . . . stuff that's strange.

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Location: Fredericksburg, Virginia

These Blogs are largely about the process of coercing words out of my head (at times I convince myself that I am a novelist). Thoughts about current reading and/or fantasy literature and writing in general may disgorge at random.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Quite out of nowhere

into my mind this morning popped a full-fledged idea for a story, rather like the Birth of Athena in reverse. Ouch. Novella length, I think, the story is essentially a murder mystery in a steam-punk, Mieville-esque fantasy setting. It begins with the somewhat mysterious death of the autocratic leader of a nation, a relatively minor nation. A dagger to the chest, it seems, and no longer does the autocrat's heart beat. Hmm, strangely though, it is the autocrat's own dagger and he is the only one with access to the death chamber--all locked tight from the inside--and there is no sign of entry. Oh, and there's also the phalanx of guards that were on duty. You see, because there are seven nations in this world, and this is the fifth leader of such nations to die in the past few weeks. Strange. And though each death was apparently a suicide, (and each also had no direct heir) it cannot be a coincidence, right? Ergo the guards after the first four mysterious deaths. Yet, despite the guard and the triple locked doors, warded with magic, the autocrat lies cold.

This dude, you see, or dame whatever, was the autocrat's chief of security and naturally takes on the blame for the death. He or she is forced out by longtime rivals taking advantage of the crisis, a few of the autocrat's nieces and nephews begin an espionage-and-assassination war for the succession. In the midst of chaos the dude, or dame, starts to poke around a bit, investigating the first five deaths.

The investigation leads to, well, really what is now a fairy tale about an ancient evil creature, I think probably a lich, that tried to take over the world, etc. At that point the various peoples of the world banded together to defeat the lich, and there were seven leaders of these peoples that finally threw down the walls of the black fortress and killed the lich. That is how the seven nations were founded according to this fairy tale.

Well, unknwon to anyone, the lich was defeated but not destroyed. Just as the seven burst into its inner sanctum it cast a spell, splitting its spirit into seven parts, sending one into each of the seven leaders. The spirit then passed down through the ages, through the bloodlines of the rulers of the seven nations until a time when each bloodline would finally come to an end. Then each of the spirits would overcome its host, cause the host to commit suicide. Upon the death of the last of the seven the pieces of the lich's spirit would reuinte and be reborn to once agina imperil the world. Muhahaha!

Well, so anyhow our hero, or heroine, chases this knowledge down as the leader of the sixth nation kills herself. He, or she, then must somehow get to the seventh leader, themost powerful and reclusive person on the face of the world, and somehow convince that person of what is really going on. Ha ha! But he, or she, fails the seventh leader dies by its own hand (maybe even by accident, oh the irony) and the lich is reborn.

Now our hero/ine must confront the lich, a powerful creature of ancient evil and malice, that sort of thing. And yes, the lich is defeated. Huzzah! But ... umm ... how dow we know that the lich didn't pull the same bullshit and now its spirit lives on in the bloodline of our hero/ine?

I envision a sort of Conan-Doyle meets Verne meet Mieville flavor. Oh and there's no humans at all. Each of the seven nations is a different version of an animal-human amalgamation. Zebra centaurs, pan-like goat men, gorilla men, hyena-dog men, crocodile men, a cross between an elephant and a rhinoceros (no human element) and lion men. Except the lich, and his long dead minions, were men. Cool, neh?

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