Continuing my coverage of my planned “Alternate Universes” sub-series, which I began last month with the story set in the country I call Transylvania, Sunshine by Twilight is another set in the same world as the main series, this time in the Twilight Kingdom. This post is a brief introduction to this planned work.
(As with Feuding’s End, the title Sunshine by Twilight is a highly tentative title.)
Unlike Transylvania, the Twilight Kingdom is already a unified polity, and is not facing direct attacks or in danger of overt enemy raids. On the other hand, with the stable political situation there is greater opportunity for corruption, and worse, to grow unchecked.
At the time the story begins, there are rumors that the Twilight Kingdom’s Mages‘ Guild, which ought to be the least corrupt organization in the land, is mired in corruption and has even descended to Black Arts. And into this turmoil rides the Quester.
Unlike some of these stories, he does not immediately see an obvious course of action to address an obvious problem. He spends some time visiting various parts of the capital, and the countryside, to learn “the lay of the land” and begin to gain an understanding of his task here.
Once he grasps the widespread suspicion of corruption in the Mages’ Guild, after a little more cursory inquiries to uncover any other relevant rumors, he asks the country’s leaders for authority to investigate inside the Guild, and begins a more focused search. This quickly confirms the rumors, but only after careful and detailed investigation does he uncover the particular individuals responsible, and he has to dig yet further to find enough evidence to publicly prove their guilt.
Some of the corrupt, or worse, mages are mere journeymen or universally unpopular, and so can be left to the courts or the Guild’s internal justice, but many are powerful mages, politically connected, or both, so the Quester invokes the commonly-accepted practice of trial by contest and challenges and defeats the offenders.
Once the individuals who were personally responsible are gone, he turns to the deeper problem, the systemic flaws that allowed corrupt individuals and evil sorcerers to rise high in the Mages’ Guild. Seizing the moment lent him by his personal victories over the former leaders, he lays down firm regulations to require, and allow almost anyone to verify, the honesty of the Guild’s leadership.
The central characters of Sunshine by Twilight include the Quester, the current (corrupt) and future leaders of the Mages’ Guild, and the political leaders of the Twilight Kingdom.
Do you have any thoughts about my plans for Sunshine by Twilight?