Shine Cycle Précis: “Dracon Heights”

“Dracon Heights” is the next planned work in the “main line” of the Shine Cycle, following Castle Commander. Today’s post is a brief introduction to this planned story.

Unlike pretty much everything else in the main outline, my current plan is for “Dracon Heights” to be just a short story. I’ve had ideas that started as something suitable for that scope, but then grew to such scope that I’m not sure a single novel can do them justice … but I am grateful that this has not succumbed to the same fate.

The premise of “Dracon Heights” is fairly simple. It’s the story of the first attempt by one of the sides in the long struggle of the Shine Cycle to use trench warfare as a general tool in its arsenal (rather than merely in besieging strong fixed defensive positions)—and an exploration of why this was the only such attempt.

Here’s my tentative logline for this story:

In a fantastical world recently emerged from a quasi-medieval period, when a scholarly commander is confronted by trench warfare for the first time in his country’s history, he must devise a strategy so successful it will discourage the enemy from ever using them again.

The plot I’ve tentatively outlined is fairly simple: the leader of a division of the army of the Shine and Wild Empire finds a division of the army of the Dragon Empire entrenched in their path. While unwilling to get dragged into “trench warfare” as such (soldiers on both sides in trenches, willing to pay tremendous cost in lives for a few feet of ground), he tries several of the “standard” approaches to dislodge them, with little success. But then he tries new tactics that result in an overwhelming victory.

The main characters I’ll be following are the commander and his aide, and perhaps the enemy commander—it would make sense for the Dragon commander to be Gondolor, except that he might not be free at this point. (I’m not quite sure about that.) I haven’t thought about whether any of my “named characters” are suitable for the “lead roles” of this story yet.

Since at this point I’m not planning on “Dracon Heights” being more than a short story (though we’ll see, of course) I don’t have much more to say about it. Do you have any thoughts?


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