At this point, I started needing a rough idea of geography. I have nations, so I need to know where they are relative to each other. They don’t have to border each other. There’s space, room to expand, and dangers between nations. I wound up using lower British Columbia as a guide. Most European-style fantasy tends to have mountains to the east, because that’s where they are relative to the writers, at least in English language fantasy. Moving the mountains west does change things up a little. It also means weather patterns will change. It’s a little dryer on the eastern side of the Rockies; the higher altitudes as clouds rise up cool things down, causing precipitation on the western side. It’s a place to start, to be filled in later. Remember, this was all being pantsed during NaNo 2015 with nothing planned beyond the main characters, and even they changed as the writing progressed.
With the new location, I needed a new country name. The Seven Dominions just popped into my head, though inspired by “Dominion of Canada” and the various dominions in Traveller’s Third Imperium. But that’s just the start. How does this nation work? No idea. I didn’t get into the details; there wasn’t the time to figure them out. At that point, I just worked out the nobility, figured a count would be the level to want assistance, and went from there. If it was one of the seven domains, the King’s Army would’ve been sent out. At the county level, one of the King’s Own knights gets to find out what’s going on.
Dame Nyssa is the cast’s elder spokesperson. She has the experience dealing with difficult people, like, say, Count Varin. Her role is mentor. Originally, I did have a target on her. The mentor always dies so that the lead character can make the jump from student to master. Except, I didn’t want that for her, mainly because it’s too obvious. I should just paint her armour red if I wanted that. I have other plans, though. Her squire, Leomund, is the kid of the cast. He’s not completely naïve, but he wasn’t expecting to be assigned to someone like Nyssa. Leo is one to follow protocol; Nyssa uses protocol to her benefit. Leo still has the impetuousness of youth; Nyssa observes first, then acts. However, Nyssa isn’t a taskmaster. She has Leo’s best interests in mind.
I got the name Nyssa from Doctor Who, specifically, Nyssa of Traken as played by Sarah Sutton. Leomund comes from the mage in D&D originally played by Len Lakofka and responsible for such spells as Leomund’s tiny hut and the column of the same name in Dragon. That set the tone for names from the Seven Domains. Even Count Tathan’s name comes from older English. Varin is more or less random, but from there, I have a River Varin and the city of Varinford, where there’s a way to cross the Varin. Not great in originality, but similar exists in the real world.
Yes, there are dwarves in the world. Not original, either, but I needed something here. The dwarves have their on kingdom, known on the surface as the Realm Under the Mountain. The dwarves don’t bother with anything more than just the Realm, but the surface world needs to differentiate the nations somehow. With a name like that, of course the dwarves live underground un the mountains. It’s a detail that was created spur of the moment, though not without reason. The reason being, dwarves are known for mining. Beyond that, I have nothing on their culture at this point of the writing. I do know that the story is going to the Realm Under the Mountain, though. What happens there, well, that’s too far away to worry about.
The plot concept should now be out there. The Cleaven Eye tribe was set upon the elves of the Sylvan Forest. The Seven Dominions is being set against the Realm Under the Mountain. Someone is sowing chaos. Which means I have an antagonist somewhere. I don’t yet have a motive, just the scheme, but it’s a start. Again, I was pantsing this after a last minute decision. I don’t know why the chaos is being sown. I don’t know who is behind the scheme. I just kept writing, hoping that it’d make sense later.
Friday, a stir in the elven city, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 5
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, remaking the MST3K classic, Space Mutiny.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.