29 Nov 2018

The Elf's Prisoner - Commentary 5

Back to Wildwood, to catch up with Kazimier and Jyslyn, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 5.

One of the benefits of changing over to Nyssa and Leo in Chapters 3 and 4 is that I gave myself time to figure out just what the elven city looked like.  One goal I gave myself while writing the story, beyond just getting to 50 000 words despite having no idea what I was doing, was to make sure that different cultures had different architecture.  The Seven Domains are standard Medieval and Renaissance buildings, with castles, mottes and baileys, wood buildings with narrow, twisty streets, and all that good stuff found in fantasy RPGs.  For the Wildwood elves, I wanted something a different.  So, the city is built in the trees.  It's not all that original; Solace in the Dragonlance setting.  The idea is that the elves are so in tune with nature that they can grow their buildings instead of constructing them.

Of course, that is a lot to work out all at once when I'm building the world as I go.  I worked out the key areas that I'd need - the council chambers, the inn, the gates - and then hoped I didn't need to map the city out.  That's right, no map exists.  Why?  That would take time away from figuring out the plot of the story.  I was already using the BC coastline for the world to save time.  I'd steal an existing city if I needed it.

I also had a rough idea that the Wildwood elves were a matriarchy, though no idea of how it worked.  A Council of Elders felt like a good way to contrast the Seven Dominions hierarchical structure.  The problem with that is now I'd need to figure out who the Elders were, or at least the critical ones.  This is about where I started getting the idea that the dark elves and the Wildwood elves had parallel culture.  Why not, I figured, just happy to have something going.  And, yes, Matriarch Starpetal is related to Kazimier.  The Elders are the heads of the families in the city.

Captain Kaleena Sundew was originally just there to be a senior guard who watched over Jyslyn.  Her role expanded because Jyslyn needed someone to talk to and Kazi was busy.  That tends to happen in my writing.  The Devil You Know is a good example, with several characters, including Mara, intended for just one scene becoming important later.

Kazi's closing line sums up Jyslyn's motives.  She wants to atone for something she did.  Jyslyn is well aware of what she's facing.  Kazi is wise, and knows how people think.  He still gets called out by his great-aunt, though.  Matriarch Starpetal is well aware of who her great-nephew is.

Friday, a stir in the elven city, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 6
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, to be determined.

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