Plot for the first Book

posted Dec 27, 2010, 1:06 PM by Jeremy Poehnert   [ updated Dec 27, 2010, 1:48 PM ]
I haven't been writing down many creative ideas lately, but I have been thinking about it.  I have a sense for the what the plot of the first book might be, but the details are certainly still rough.

The story starts with Truman, the student historian, about to be expelled from the guild school for inappropriate work (his dissertation, a too frank history of Davis Trent).

But Truman's advisor has secretly provided a copy to Davis, in the belief that it is exactly the kind of take on history that Davis would like, which is absolutely true.

Davis is intrigued by the insight and writing/research skill displayed in the dissertation, and arranges for Truman to meet with his inner council for an interview.  This is followed up with a private interview with Davis.  These two scenes provide a chance to begin introducing some of the key characters.

This also introduces us to Truman's history; his grandfather was one of the great historians of the realm, until he decided his "official" histories, which were and are considered classic texts, are full of lies, and researches and writes his version of "a people's history," with a focus on the accomplishments of the non-human races.  He is forced to deny this scandalous history to avoid shaming his family/children (also historians), and most of the copies are destroyed.  He struggles with this decision for the rest of his life, and this conflict has deeply impacted Truman's beliefs.  It turns out that Davis has one of the few surviving copies of the grandfather's updated history, and has great respect for it.

Davis then hires Truman as his official historian, for a trial period.  This mean's Truman isn't officially expelled; the guild would never expel Davis' official historian.  So Truman's fate is on the line.  If he is permanently chosen by Trent he'll pass and become an official historian, if Davis let's him go, the guild will expel him.

Truman travels with a Goblin caravan from the capital city to Kyrene, Trent's family lands.  This introduces us to Goblin culture and some of the Goblin characters, including Asa and Falc.  Truman also meets a love interest, a young and saucy Goblin woman, and learns about Goblin customs.  This also parallels his grandfather's journey to discover "true" history.  When he decided to do real research, he traveled around the continent with one of the great Goblin trading caravans.  The Goblins actually tell stories about him to Truman.

The Goblins, especially Asa and Falc, also played a key role in Trent's life, and Trent traveled the continent on the caravans when he was young (maybe he got the idea from Truman's grandfathers book?), so Truman is able to put together more of a picture of Trent's early life.

We also start to learn about how the consequences of the great war have changed the continent and the Goblin Caravans.

Truman is then dropped off at Kyrene.  Where he learns more about Davis's ancestral family home, his upbringing and his parents.  He also meets Davis's very young wife, Amber, and learns about her struggles to take on the role of the Baroness of Kyrene.

Truman, Amber, Axe and a troop of guards then leave Kyrene to meet up with Trent and his group, who are travelling to DH Castle.

Then we switch perspectives.  Trent, Darlon and some of the others (originally I had Darlon as male, but now she's a she!), are at a scene of violence.  The Baroness, Truman and Axe have been kidnapped, and their guards killed.  Darlon (a skilled investigator) recreates the sequence of events, and it's clear it was done by someone who knew the area of Kyrene well, someone who is very professional and a skilled organizer.  It's clear to Trent that its his estranged sister, Elisabeth.

Truman, Amber and Axe (who is badly injured) are Elisabeth's prisoners.  This gives Truman a chance to meet Elisabeth, and learn about her and Trent's falling out, and their very different perspectives on family events.  We also get to see Amber stand up to Elisabeth, showing her strength.

Amber gets her hands on a weapon (or threatens to throw herself overboard if their at sea, I'm not sure), and intends to kill herself rather than be used against Trent.  But Elisabeth says that if Amber kills herself she'll have Axe and Truman painfully killed/tortured, and Elisabeth backs down.

Trent and Elisabeth meet to negotiate.  Elisabeth demands that in exchange for the hostages Trent give up the DH project (specifically she demands that he claim DH island as purely human territory, completely undoing all his efforts to guarantee that the great nations can co-exist in peace).  She's not sure he'll actually do it; he might choose to let her kill the hostages rather than give up his obsessive dream.  But then she still wins, because he'll be completely discredited for letting his wife be killed.  So the situation is win-win for her.

But he surprises her by offering an alternative deal, what he describes as "her dream."  In exchange for handing over the hostages he'll give up all rights to Kyrene, the beloved family lands, and hand it and the wealth and power it carries to her, something she would never have imagined as possible.

She agrees, Truman gets the hostages and she gets Kyrene.

That's the basically the end of the big action, setting the ground for the follow up stories.  Trent moves his people and his operations to DH Castle, and Elisabeth takes over Kyrene, setting up their perennial conflict.

The whole things also has a major impact on the relationships and individuals in Trent's inner circle.  Truman is hired as historian, and has a deeper understanding of the complexity and pain involved in what he's recording.  Amber has established herself as a strong and powerful character.  We understand how complex and strategic Trent is (and we get a sense that he and Amber's relationship will continue to develop).  Axe is upset by her failure Amber, and struggles with that.

End, story one.