Shine Cycle Précis: The Barbaric Dragon

The Barbaric Dragon is the planned seventh book in the “main line” of the Shine Cycle, following The Imperial War in chronology. Today’s post is a brief introduction to it.

This story begins with the end of the Banishment (whose beginning is mentioned at the end of The Imperial War), and with one of the most important events in that world’s history: the arrival of the Chosen from Earth in the capital. The implications—“ripple effects”—of this one event drive much of the rest of the history chronicled in this and the following stories.

The arrival of the Chosen is followed immediately, however, by the arrival of more news: the government of the Wild Mushroom Kingdom (one of the easternmost kingdoms of the Wild Continent, just southwest of the Wildshine Kingdom and south of Transylvania, as you can see on the map) has decided to secede from the Shine and Wild Empire. The treaty that established it explicitly permits secession, provided certain procedures are followed to prevent a tyrant government from using this to avoid the Empire’s legal hedges against tyranny. But, as it comes out, the Wild Mushroom Kingdom’s leaders have not followed these procedures (they are the very sort of situation those rules were intended to prevent).

At the moment I plan to write those two events—the arrival of the Chosen and the declared secession of the Wild Mushroom Kingdom—as newspaper columns, a sort of prologue, as they’re really more background for the story than part of it, and I think they would work better with that brief, deft approach than with a more expansive treatment.

Because the Chosen have now arrived, there are any number of “favorite” characters to choose to follow. I’ve made a few tentative choices (and I’ll link to their character profiles when I mention them below) for much of the story, but for the rest I haven’t even begun to decide yet, and the beginning and end should probably be told from the perspective of “natives.”

After the initial events, there’s a few scenes’ worth of their initial aftermath, and then a brief investigation into the facts of the secession case. The misconduct of the Wild Mushroom Kingdom’s leaders is quickly exposed, and indictments of them for treason are laid in the imperial capital. In response to this, first they and then (in reaction) the Imperial federal government declare martial law in the kingdom—and then the Dragon Empire inserts itself into the situation by declaring war on the Shine and Wild Empire.

(As in the last précis, the adjective “Imperial” and the phrase “the Empire” refer to the Shine and Wild Empire; I use “Dragon” to refer to the Dragon Empire.)

The expedition to put down the rebellion in the Wild Mushroom Kingdom suddenly becomes much more complicated after the arrival of the first Dragon Troops, but still doesn’t take very long. We see it, I think, from the perspective of Whitney, who earns her sergeant’s stripes in that battle, but then transfers to a message-carrying position.

As soon as the rebellion in the Wild Mushroom Kingdom is sufficiently quelled, the Imperial army pushes into the Dragon Empire. The battles are named after the kingdoms that will be formed (in the denouement) from the land on which they take place: what will become the Kingdom of Healing, Aquatia, and the Rivers Kingdom are liberated in short order.

At much the same time, or soon afterward, another Imperial army had a much more difficult time liberating what would become the Kingdom of Nature. After rolling through the southern part of that area, they ran into trouble at what is locally called “the Great River.” We see these events through the eyes of Cadwallader, who takes command and scrapes together the remnants of the army after all commissioned officers within earshot are killed. After gathering what forces he can, he counter-attacks and drives the far more numerous enemy army northeast—up against the Castle Line—and then accepts their surrender.

At that point the Dragon Empire begins to sue for peace, but this proves disingenuous as its army invades the nomadic country in the north and burns several camps. The resulting uprising, and the Dragon attacks in the confusion, give the defensive walls in the area some trouble, but the danger eventually passes, and the Dragon Empire is forced to make peace.

I also intend to include some of the stories going on at the same time as all of this back West in the less-affected areas of the Empire, of the Chosen beginning to make their way in this new world and Imperial society beginning to adjust to them …

Any questions or comments? What do you think?

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