I play with weird ideas in my head and have been playing with this one for some time. The idea was how would an industrial steampunk type country deal with an elven sort of magic country. I have been running this idea in my head and started outlining the story well before the mermaid thing. So far things have been working fairly well. I have sent Chapter 1 to Baen’s fantasy contest and since a contest requirement is that the chapter not be published anyplace else and they might think that posting on the blog here is a kind of publishing I will not post Chapter 1 until the contest is over. Since my mother is begging me for the story, I’m going to post a prologue and synopsis of chapter 1 and then start with chapter 2. With that in mind, we start with the history of the Blasted Lands.
“Grandma Gwen, how did the Empire come to be? Why is where we live called the Blasted Lands?”
“That is part of the same story. Here is where it begins:
Long long ago a people called the elves. They were strong and through trade and strength they dominated all the lands around. They had the first mages, who performed wonderful and terrible feats of magic. It is said that they created the humans to work the fields, the dwarves to mine the ground, the orcs as an army, the fae as spies and messengers and the seafolk to guard the seas. In any case those peoples grew in the empire and the empire flourished. From time to time the peoples grew restive, but the Justiciars, with the commitment to fair justice for all maintained order and provided just and fair settlements. Elven artisans produced tool and devises that made things like slavery extinct and with the portals, allowed people to go long distances in the blink of an eye.”
“That sounds magical. But that isn’t now.”
“No. Like all things, the empire became old and greedy. Where before the empire had asked and traded, it now demanded the things that it wanted. The peoples depended less on the empire for their needs and more on each other. Finally, there was the mage wars.”
“How did they happen?”
“A thousand years ago there was a mage lady. She was the most beautiful elf and had elves up to the princes themselves attempting to arrange marriage. She spurned then all for a human man with whom she shared blood and had his children.”
“Like Aunt Nyla and Uncle Jacob?”
“Exactly like that, because the man was as capable in the arts of machinery, iron and steel as the mage was in her magic. It is said that their children made the empire shake during the mage wars.”
“How did the mage wars start?”
“There was an elven mage who had been rejected and jealous of the love that the pair had. He did the forbidden, raised an army of monsters by twisting mortals, gathered his friends and attacked the lady in her castle, not to far from here, actually.”
“Can we go and see the castle?”
“There is nothing left to see.”
“Did the lady die?”
“No, because her husband had discovered what the mage was doing and made preparation of his own. The battle was terrible and the lady lost most of her people and two of her sons in the battle. The lands were also drained of mana in a large area and indeed of all life, such was the devastation of the attack. Only the castle was left, along with some land that had been protected with the castle. The lady and her husband were sure that this had been only the first attack so they counter attacked across the sea, doing much of the same kinds of devastation because the mage used his people, draining them of life and sending inanimates and the undead against the orc, dwarf and human army of the husband. The husband’s prevailed, but the husband was killed attempting to rescue some of the mage’s people that the mage was going to turn into monsters. When the lady heard, she told her daughters to evacuate the area around the castle, drained all the mana and life, including her own and sent a massive magic attack at the mage. The mage was drained of his magic, but was able to portal to the empire. The sons pursued, but empire refused to give up the dark mage and in the end, the sons retreated to the little was left here in the blasted lands and with their sisters, tried to heal what they could and rebuild. They had families and children and their lives and faded and died after their lives of hard work.”
“What happened to the dark mage?”
“The empire forced him out after they discovered what the dark mage had done. But it was too late and the various kingdoms no longer paid homage to the empre and the empire shrank into itself. It is said that the dark mage, or his descendants are still plotting a revenge on the empire and the lady’s descendents here in the blasted lands.”
“Who are the lady’s descendants?”
“You are, all of you. If not in blood then in sprit. But that is a story for another day.”
Her is the synopsis of chapter one.
Chapter 1, synopsis.
Elven lady Gwaerengwen Yllanan is starting yet another day at the silk growing plantation when the traders arrive. There are discussions about the various goings on at the estate where we meet Gwaerengwen’s daughter Galassiel, her maid, Calladia, manager Tomas as well as others.
The scene switches to the city in the clouds where dressmaker, Balladrial, is dealing with his customer, the Justiciar Eithriel, when Inquisitor Delion, who is chasing heresy in toys. Balladrial calls Robin Goodfellow, a faery puck or messenger who delivers a packet to Calladia and some others.
We then board a large steam ship where the captain is worried about what is going to happen as boats are launched toward shore.
The next morning, the estate is waken by an invasion where it turns out that the captain is Gwaerengwen’s illegitmat half elven son, Radhron, who has come to take her out of empire. Dieran and Teiran stay behind and race to their elven father to give him the news that the estate is being raided. Esgalwathanar is entertaining Princess Lelayme and is not notified about the raid for several twentieths. He rushes to the estate, only to see it explode and burn in front of him. The ship deals with a dragon, who they rescue and departs.
The next morning, the lady is woken by the vibration on the ship and goes to see her son, who is discussing a spring propeller shaft with his engineer, Strom Ironshield. Radhron invites her to the funeral for the dead raiders and guards that were killed in the raid.
In his castle Esgalwathanar discovers that his revenue for the forseeable future will be dependent on things that might put him at odds with the inquisition and plots his next move.