Shine Cycle Précis: Vayna

Vayna is the planned first book (by internal chronology) in the Shine Cycle. Today’s post is a brief introduction to it.

My current approach to this “beginning of the world” story, since I have not the gifts (as both Tolkien and Lewis had) to carry off doing it “straight”, is to make it explicitly a tale told by a busker—perhaps in verse, if my strength in the poetic arts improves by the time I get to that. If not, I hope to write engagingly enough that readers will soon forget that there was a framing story, but I do not intend to (like, I’m told, Eddison in The Worm Oroborous) myself forget that and omit an ending to the framing story.

I originally thought of writing this as a stage play, but there is much of the story that wouldn’t translate well to that medium, and I have a much shakier grasp of its conventions than of those of prose fantasy fiction.

There are several main sets of events that Vayna should encompass. First is the creation and shaping of the world. The creation itself falls definitely before our story begins, as does most of its deliberate shaping. But in a “beginning of the world” story, touching on this seems unavoidable. I don’t know how much of it I’ll portray, or how I’ll do so.

Second is the rebellion—Fall—of Tashere and his followers. The world has been being shaped, according to the Master’s commands, for the good of those who will later inhabit it. Tashere seizes an entire continent for his own, over which he wishes to be absolute ruler, answering to none. This comes out, and his rebellion becomes open revolt. I need to make Tashere and his choices here credible—but not too credible. My impression (since I haven’t read the work yet) is that Milton’s Paradise Lost makes Lucifer appear more attractive than it needed to.

Third is the curse on Tashere and his followers. The Master instructs Royal, the leader of the Vaynar, and Royal lays the curse upon Tashere. I’m not yet entirely sure how I want to handle this. But the theme here is that deliberate divergence from the godly path has lasting negative consequences—one side of justice.

Fourth is the War of the Rebellion. Tashere and his followers have set themselves against the source of their powers, and so no longer can draw upon his unlimited strength to replenish their own as they did in the shaping of the world, but they still have immense reserves beyond their innate capacity. And so, for people to live free in the world, Tashere and his followers must be contained and exhausted. Both Tashere and his followers and the Vaynar led by Royal use the very forces of nature as their weapons in this war, until at last Tashere’s power is spent. He is then contained, and the remainder of the curse invoked to hold him. This is a second aspect of justice.

Fifth is the establishment of each side as a long-lasting entity. While Tashere is contained, and now constrained in his abilities so that he almost might as well be mortal, his final defeat is far off yet. So his domain—still vast, but much smaller than he had originally intended—is formalized into the Dragon Empire, which the Vaynar allow in hopes that few of the colonists (whom I’ll get to in a moment) will enter it and thus fall into his power. The Vaynar themselves take the land at the edge of the world, around the gate from the world into the Master’s country, and establish themselves there.

And sixth, the colonization of the area of the world we are and have been concerned with by mortals begins. Many come from the east—this is the western edge of the world—and establish countries of their own formally under the Master’s dominion, which the Vaynar solemnize and bless. But only the beginning of this process falls under the scope of Vayna, because scarcely has it begun than Tashere’s native powers have returned and he becomes belligerent again—which is the subject for another tale.

Any questions? Any suggestions for how I should handle all this?


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