There are two fields of play when it comes to designing a world like this – at least, there are in my head, for all that’s worth (I’ve just finished The Queen’s Gambit, it’s quite the show. Apologies if that bleeds through into this).
The first is the macro level, the wide open battlefield where the author is a general, organising character soldiers by the species, the location, the narrative arc, then sending them off to war against each other and against the enemy: Broken Continuity.
The second is the micro level, where instead the author is the voice inside one soldier’s head, their conscience and their instinct in the battles they face. Here the enemy is still Broken Continuity, but the hungry maws of Personal Conflict and Motivation appear too, demanding to be sated.
Personally, I am much more at home with the macro level. I feel a certain comfort in the distance it affords, not needing to worry so much about individual moments of dialogue or action in the pursuit of far larger goals, far wider scopes. However, I recognise how important both of them are in their own way, serving different purposes that ultimately come together for the eventual win.
All this is to say, the delay in writing this week’s (hah) post has come from a rare flood of both micro and macro inspiration. On the macro level: the planet’s name has been changed, for one, and the Fey are the first race to have their species profile written up, for another.
The reasoning behind the planet name change is big spoiler territory for story that I want to introduce later on in the theoretical ‘timeline’ of official publications, but the change itself is fine to share: ‘Covenant’ (from ‘Nephilon’). Changes to everything on the website will be coming as soon as possible.
The Fey’s backstory has been interesting, and a really fun one to write. They are a race I am designing to ostensibly be Epoch’s Elves, physically lithe and slight whilst magic(k)ally incredibly powerful. They are a very new race to the surface of Covenant, but on account of being woken from stasis in huge tombs, they are also implied to be one of the oldest as a species. Their profile, too, will be coming soon, although exactly where I put it is still being decided.
On the micro level, then: Milo is coming along really nicely. I’ve started writing a piece where Milo is the central character but not the narrator of the story; the Narrator is instead lending us his eyes, ears and thoughts and we see Milo through his perspective instead. I’m really enjoying the characterisation of her in that way, it opens up a lot of possibilities for unreliable or otherwise biased perspectives to influence her overall persona in the reader’s eyes. Take a look:
“He brokered a deal with me, did this traveller,” she continued, quite in her own time. “A pact of mutual benefit, to see me through my mission and I through his. Of course, such a thing isn’t much help to my mission, but to hear his story I agreed nonetheless.” This mission was well known to us, infamous as it was for its impossibility. Another pause filled the air, hanging for just long enough that I suspected she had drifted into a daydream. My hand was halfway from my side to nudge her back to our world when she suddenly started up again, this time seemingly for good. (as, perhaps, one would rev an old engine a few times before it stutters to life.)
“He called himself a Tome-Keeper, although at first glance I had taken him for not much more than a fellow traveller along the road. He dressed in a robe long enough to obscure his form and a hood pulled so low that I could only make out his mouth and jaw. He had a walking staff in one hand and this Tome of his he held in the other, tucked under his armpit and wrapped in a leather case.” The Old Timer was staring still at that same middle distance, at which The Magi was noticeably unnerved, shifting under the absent gaze. She herself wore only base layers of clothing as she told the story that night – shirt, trousers, boots – as did we all in the heat of the crowds that thronged beyond our booth. Armour of leather, steel and composite alloy lay strewn and piled about the place, while swords, staves and firearms were kept close to hand. The Druid even had his twisted wooden staff between his legs, leaning it against the tall backing of the booth’s seating. It was for the chance of these very stories that we claimed the cubby so often and we all sat in the places silently agreed upon as our own, despite the lack of adequate space and comfort.
Finally, I will be uploading the older journal entries from the earliest days of Epoch eventually, I’ve just been struggling to figure out how best to structure them and present them – without giving away any plot points or confuse things that have since changed, that is.
Thank you so much for reading, here’s hoping I can be more prompt on Monday.