Shine Cycle Précis: Building Elvida

Building Elvida is the tentative title of the fourth planned novel in the “Alternate Universes” sub-series of the Shine Cycle. It will be set on Elvida, which will become the chief world of the Elven Council, before that world’s political unification. This post is a brief introduction to this planned work.

Building Elvida is set very early in Elvida’s history. While elves have lived there for centuries after their intial arrival, their place on the planet is still very precarious; the vast majority of elves on Elvida live in small villages that barely produce enough food to keep themselves alive and are frequently in danger of being wiped out, or nearly wiped out, by the fierce beasts that roam the surrounding forests and plains.

The Quester arrives on the planet in a forest somewhat near a village. He makes his way there, and begins to get to know the villagers and the situation. Not long after his arrival, however, groups of wild beasts begin wandering closer to the village than its inhabitants are comfortable with, and then openly attacking the village.

In the face of this sudden threat, the Quester lends his strength and martial skill to the village’s defense, and he and the villagers kill off the strongest and most dangerous animals that seemed to be leading the incursion and scatter the rest. They then put up (or repair and strengthen any existing) walls around the village, and he departs for the nearest neighboring village, which is nonetheless several days’ distance away.

In this village, and other villages he visits subsequently, he sees ubiquitous signs that they are nearly being overrun; he does what he can in each village, but as a lone knight finds that to be nowhere near what seems to be needed. After this realization crystalizes, he returns to the largest and most prominent village he has visited to consult with its leaders.

In several long conversations, he and these leaders develop the general outline of a plan to join many villages’ forces to hunt down the largest and most ferocious beasts, improve roads, build walls and other necessary buildings, clear more land for crops, and generally transform the land from wilderness to a civilized if yet sparsely-settled land. Then, once the plan’s basic shape has been set, he and a couple of the village leaders ride the circuit again to persuade the other villages to join the effort.

Once all, or at least enough, are agreed, the campaign begins. The Quester takes a prominent place in the hunting and fighting that is the first and most perilous part of the plan, but once the land is for the moment safe he steps back, and after a few more weeks sets off again for where he will next be needed.

The central characters will be, I expect, the Quester and the leaders of the various villages. Elves being elves, Scarlet might even be one of them, but I doubt it.

Do you have any thoughts about my plans for Building Elvida?


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