This is the latest installment of a series of posts describing the broad outline of the Shine Cycle, my fantasy series-in-preparation and how the various books I plan to write fit into it. Last time I concluded the second arc; today I’ll summarize the third and last arc. This arc is at present much less cohesive or complete; while previous arcs tended to have one narrative generally following another, with any intervening periods being uneventful peace, here these stories are separated by as-of-yet-unexplained gaps, and the world’s history extends beyond the last of these … I just haven’t conceived of those stories yet.
Stone of Power: First, the backstory. Just before the third arc dawns, the heroine of its first book, Alex Royal, is born. Jon Royal, king of Sunshine Kingdom, is killed in battle by Tashere, ruler of the Dragon Empire, whom he exiles from all universes indefinitely. (As Jon is a Vayna, death is not necessarily permanent.) Gondolor, Tashere’s protége, assumes rule of the Dragon Empire and uses the fading remains of Tashere’s power to create objects—mostly weapons but most notably a seeing-stone, like those around which most long-distance communications in the Empire and its allies have been built—which can master others of their kind, and which cannot easily be destroyed. Imperial armies invade the Dragon Empire and challenge Gondolor; they destroy several of the Master Weapons and seize the Stone of Power, but Jon’s queen, Primrose, falls in the battle, and the Stone cannot yet be destroyed—the conditions are not yet right—and so is instead hidden. Because the world is simply not safe until the Stone is destroyed, the two continents are mostly evacuated and then interdicted. For the next decade and a half, the area gradually comes to a new equilibrium, waiting for those conditions to develop—except the Dragon Empire, which under Gondolor is recovering its strength.
The story: Now that she has grown up, Alex sets out from her home to seek honor and adventure. When she reaches the old capital of the Empire, with various companions she has accumulated in her journeys, the task falls to her to bear the Stone to its destruction, which has become possible. But with most of the free nations weakened by years of peace and the Dragon Empire again strong, her companions must hold back their enemy’s armies and draw his attention enough for her to take the Stone to its end.
Once the Stone has been destroyed, the interdict is lifted and all is restored.
The Adventure of the Suspended Rose: A famous detective is brought from Earth to solve, and if possible prevent, a string of murders that would baffle any lesser sleuth.
“The Adventure of the Royal Wedding”: (I posted a version of this in six parts on this blog over a year ago, and am currently revising it it.) In the confusion of a royal wedding, the detective is hired to investigate the disappearance of some classified documents from the Ministry of Intelligence … but the case becomes something else entirely.
Desperate Times: The detective must unmask several spies to prevent the Parliament from declaring war before the Empire is ready. And his new, competent, assistant has been called to other duties.
An Internal Conflict: “Everything had gone to pieces”—and, Persephone Royal now realized, it could all be traced to her inaction. Given another chance, the “second time around” her path through the Academy and beyond will be quite different.
A Calculated Wager: With the King called away to distant provinces, his designated regent, Argentmentes, the Minister of Justice, must guide the Empire through the first years of a war. Contemporaneous with the end of An Internal Conflict.
“A Backwater Rebellion”, etc.: (I posted a draft of the first part of this in several parts on this blog early last year; I don’t yet have a title for this narrative as a whole.) A new knight and her squire respond to a call for help from an isolated universe, only to find themselves up against an army—and suitable help can’t arrive until the next battle is over.
And that’s the end of the outline so far. After reading it (the introduction; the first arc; the first, second, third, and fourth parts of the second arc; and this the third arc), what do you think? And what parts look most interesting to you?