Shine Cycle Outline: Second Arc, Part 1

On Mondays I write background essays on the Shine Cycle, my fantasy series in preparation, often character profiles. This is the third post of a series giving a general outline of the series; last week I described the first arc of the series.

The second arc is much more lengthy and complicated than the first, largely but not only because most of the interesting characters arrive all at once only a few years into it and take their lives in many different directions thereafter. I will omit most of those threads from this outline, because this is the frame on which those stories will hang, and many of them don’t come into the stories I primarily feel called to write. As with the first arc, the following is organized by the novels or sub-series I plan to write.

The Imperial War: After the events of Sunshine Civil War, at the end of the first arc, the hero of that war is elected king of the Sunshine Kingdom. That country and several others form an alliance against the Dragon Empire and build defenses—walls and a new innovation called a Castle Line—around it.

After almost a decade of peace, the Dragon Empire starts trying to stretch its influence again, and most of the free nations on the two continents place themselves under the leadership of the Sunshine Kingdom (as “first among equals” in a new federal government), forming the Shine and Wild Empire. The Dragon Empire objects to this and the alliances between the free nations that didn’t join the Empire, so war ensues. This is probably the last conflict with major actions involving Vaynaheim.

Banishment: Jon Royal, king of the Sunshine Kingdom, is (for reasons too complicated to explain here) banished for a time to another universe. “For a time” is a little over a year from the kingdom’s perspective, but decades from his. On his return he brings with him a large number of people. This will probably end up as a story or two, but I won’t write much about it.

The Barbaric Dragon: Shortly before his return, the government of the Wild Mushroom Kingdom, a small country near the Dragon Empire, decides to go against the will of its people, secede from the Empire, and ally with the Dragon Empire. As you might expect, war ensues, Many of the newly arrived Chosen acquit themselves well.

Space and Time: This is sort of a catch-all book (its “brief introduction” required two parts, so I’ll probably split it up later. One of its first events is an ecumenical council; most natives are Christians, as are most of the Chosen in various denominations, but this universe is beyond any existing ecclesiastical jurisdiction, so a council is called to discuss matters.

Later, the Ministry of Justice makes a comprehensive survey of the laws and legal system everywhere in the Empire from top to bottom in preparation for recommending reforms.

Part of the armistice ending the last war was an arms control treaty that also limited research into armaments, but the resources that would otherwise have gone into an arms race instead go to researching space and time. This ends as the Dragon Empire invades its neighbors, but it is quickly defeated. Gondolor, a brilliant student, defects to the Dragon Empire, where he eventually becomes its second-in-command. When he defects he forms a group of people, states, and organizations dedicated to what the free world knows as Evil; an organization to oppose him and an organization of states wishing to maintain at least nominal neutrality are formed in response (I later wrote more about these organizations. After his defection tensions increase.

A space station called Greyhawk is founded, thriving on trade as an independent city-state until the Dragon Empire funds pirates to interfere with its trade. The Shine and Wild Empire then annexes it. The book closes with an arms race between the Shine and Wild Empire and the Dragon Empire, culminating with the former’s invention of the Spider-Ship, a spaceship that travels along “webs” at incredibly high speeds.

That isn’t the end of the arc by any means, but this post is long enough already. The rest of the arc continues in three more posts.

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