Shine Cycle Précis: The Dragon Wars

The Dragon Wars (tentative title) is the planned second book (by internal chronology) in the Shine Cycle, following Vayna. Today’s post is a brief introduction to it.

The Dragon Wars covers a somewhat transitional and preparational period of the world’s history, between the first war (in which both sides used nature itself as their weapons) and the mortal era, when Tashere will have sunk so far that with a very little help men, elves, dwarves, and other mortal creatures will be able to stand against him. And so this story, in which Tashere is still (and again) potent but no longer flush with the power of creation, must connect the beginning (Vayna) with “the mortal era.” This period includes two major wars and a few periods of peace, and so perhaps could and should be split, but my current plan is to try to make one story of it.

Our principal characters are:

  • Tashere, the ruler of the Dragon Empire, who Fell at the beginning of Vayna and whose ambition and belligerence are the cause of the warfare that dominates this series.
  • Royal, the leader of the Vaynar and as such ruler of their home-in-the-world Vaynaheim.
  • Royal’s aide-de-camp, as yet unnamed, whose viewpoint I plan to follow for several sequences.
  • The (again as yet unnamed) commander of Vaynaheim’s defenses, who I also plan to make a viewpoint character, and
  • Royal’s son Lord and his wife Lady. Their births are noted at the beginning of the book, their wedding and divinely-directed travel to the land that will become the focus of later books forms the central interlude between the wars, and the birth of their son and their role in the establishment of that nation, the Sunshine Kingdom, are covered by the epilogue.

From the above you can get some sense of the shape of the book. Here’s a brief outline:

First, in the introduction, I note the birth of Lord and Lady, either describe or recap the formal establishment of the Dragon Empire as a country (depending on whether I included it in the end of Vayna, and show Tashere’s envoy declaring his “grievances” against the Vaynar and declaring war.

Second, Tashere’s armies (still largely Aynar, i.e. fallen-angel-analogues, at this point, but already including many mortals and life-imitating constructs) attack Vaynaheim, at first breaking themselves against its defenses, but then throwing down the weakest wall and advancing over the plain.

Third, the Vaynar counter by invading the Dragon Empire, with a fleet led by Royal that left in haste just as the Dragon army arrived. They arrive at the Dragon Empire, destroy its principal harbor, and march inland and lay siege to its capital, forcing Tashere to recall his troops and make peace.

Fourth, Vaynaheim’s defenses are rebuilt and improved in the beginning of the brief time of peace.

Fifth, in the interlude, Lord and Lady marry and move from Vaynaheim to the far side of the two continents, settling in the city of Capitol in what will become the Sunshine Kingdom.

Sixth, Tashere invades Vaynaheim again, this time without declaring war. His armies (more mortals and constructs than Aynar by now) futilely attack each of Vaynaheim’s walls in turn, then breach one, but this time they are met on the Vaynar Plain and repelled, and the breach is quickly repaired.

After this defeat, with much of his army having been driven nearly back to the Dragon Empire, Tashere directs them to invade the land to his north, which is populated by several nomadic nations. They capture and burn a native village, perhaps under false colors, and this provocation sends the nomad armies boiling over their borders into the nearby countries whose friendship the Vaynar is cultivating.

At the same time, the Dragon forces that remained closer to Vaynaheim lay siege around the country. They attempt an assault first against the capital, then against the same wall they breached earlier, and the wall gives way. They pass through and a battle ensues again on the plain, and this time the Vaynar are defeated and retreat to their capital, which is beseieged.

To lift the siege, the Vaynar again invade the Dragon Empire. Royal leads a sally that fights its way to the harbor, where they take ship to the continent. First they meet hastily with the countries surrounding the Dragon Empire and seal an alliance, the Dragonsbane Alliance. The allied fleet sails south and takes the large island outside the principal Dragon harbor after a brief siege. Tashere’s nearby garrison makes a brief sally, which is repulsed, and then the allies destroy all the Dragon Empire’s harbors. After a battle on the plain from the principal harbor to Tashere’s capital, they capture that city and force him again to make peace.

Last, in the epilogue, which will probably simply be some excerpts from letters or chronicles, I note the birth of Lord and Lady’s son and a few political items from the Sunshine Kingdom: its formation under a Charter which Lord grants them, an amendment to the Charter to give them a king, and the election of a good man to be the first king.

Any questions? Any suggestions? Any thoughts?

The next précis is of Anarchy.


3 thoughts on “Shine Cycle Précis: The Dragon Wars

  1. Jonathan, your choice of verbs, and verb forms, in the Precis gives me a sense of what to expect in the way of precision of language in the book, e.g., “boiling over their borders.” I like that. Preciseness of language for nouns, like “grievances”, promote the expectation that your world will feel like a real place because everything is more concrete. I’m surprised by names like Lady and Lord, and the Sunshine Kingdom; however, having read some of your work I expect to find out why you chose what appear to be names that are less unique than expected, because you always have reasons for your decisions.

    Perhaps you should be clearer in this on how what happens in The Dragon Wars advances the plot of the whole series. You do know, but perhaps should be clearer here as you’ll use this to work from.


  2. I’ve tried to be especially precise here because for a précis one good word is better than an equivalent three-word phrase. (When I had to write them as part of papers in my senior English class in high school, I think I was limited to one hundred fifty words to summarize the plot of the novel I was then to analyze.) These planned-novel-précis posts (like the character profiles I posted for a few months a year or so ago) are primarily to inform and delight the readers and to elicit feedback (with a secondary purpose of eventually forcing me to think the blank spots in my notes through); I’m so far putting them together from my existing outline, not making them up on the spot.

    The thing about the Shine Cycle is that, unlike our world, their “mythic past” is within living memory even by “the present day” a century or two after this. Because of that—and because of the constant threat of the Dragon Empire keeping “the free world” united or at least at peace—there have been almost no revolutions, wars of conquest back and forth, and so on that would cause country names to change, so the kingdoms’ names haven’t changed since their mythic origins. (The Sunshine Kingdom, for example, is so named because the gift its people asked for and were granted along with its charter is perpetual sunshine—never an overcast day, never any rain, only the slightest of clouds—and the country’s ecosystems and agriculture rely on plentiful dew.)

    The first couple of generations of Vaynar have only single names, and common ones at that. (I am not a philologist; if you like, you can assume that these are translated from some unpronounceable original. And they are, as everything, still tentative, as I reserve the right to have A Better Idea.) In later generations, some of them (Royal) become surnames.

    I thought I was fairly clear, if perhaps over-brief, as to the purpose of this planned volume in the context of the series: to bridge the gap between the “age of legends” (before there were mortal chroniclers around to write histories) and the “mortal era.”

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