Outline Sunday, August 15, 2010 10:03 PM
I. Story Arc #1 a. Prologue (~2k words) i. Isaiah's first attempt to capture or kill Samuel Adamar & Co. has failed. Samuel taunts Isaiah while the seraph's body and mind slowly rebuild after some sort of explosion. b. The Repository (~12k words) i. Pickett Knob returns to Vashirem to attend to some academic matters in between factfinding excursions. He conducts a lecture on Polarity Theory for the readers' benefit. ii. Pickett is confronted by Cynthia Adamar. At first he believes that she may be a spy for the cultists of the Apostate, but she relates a story of sibling loss very similar to his own, and he realizes that they share common goals. iii. Pickett investigates another suspicious individual on campus - a fellow professor named Titus. While snooping around in Titus' office, he discovers some ciphered correspondences. Pickett takes them back to his lab, but the cipher is quite complex. iv. Before Pickett can decide what to do about Titus, masked assailants break into his laboratory while he is conferring with Cynthia and Newell. A fight ensues, during which Newell is killed. Pickett causes a chain reaction on the lab floor which ignites the various stores of teslyn gas therein before jumping out of a window with Cynthia. The entire building explodes, killing the assailants. Pickett and Cynthia flee Vashirem unseen, and are (for the moment) presumed dead. c. Enter Haddon So-Jen (~6k words) i. Captain Haddon So-Jen is introduced as a highly successful leader of a mercenary company working contracts for the Azari Dominion. He and his company (the Unfettered Thousand) are currently operating on the Bhukata Frontier, a region at the very edge of Dominion territory that Chancellor Tichenor wishes to bring under his thumb. Haddon's Thousand fight a successful battle against the indigenous Bhukken, who have been pushed to outskirts of the region and are now trying to evict the Azari settlers by force. ii. Haddon returns to Choryl, the largest Azari settlement in Bhukata. He learns that an Imperial Legion has been deployed to Bhukata. Most of the mercenary contracts will be terminated, but the Unfettered Thousand are asked to stay and help police Choryl until the Bhukken are eradicated. Haddon agrees, but he is perplexed about the sudden involvement of Imperial soldiers, as the military arm of the Azari Dominion is currently stretched pretty thin. d. On the Run (~4k words) i. Charlotte, Samuel, and several other rebels are trying to stay ahead of the seraph Isaiah and his minions. They are currently hiding at a rebel safehouse in Touresh. Charlotte is traumatized by several things, and Samuel spends nearly as much time trying to get her out of her nearly catatonic state as he does keeping an eye on the fate strings of various members of his small party. Charlotte's mood worsens exponentially when she learns that her brother Pickett perished in a fire a week ago. ii. Pickett and Cynthia begin pooling their resources after they are well out of Vashirem, but they realize that they don't have much. Pickett was able to grab his knapsack before his lab was destroyed, which contains his notes, some cash, spare weaponry, the ciphered correspondences from Titus' office, and a few other odds and ends. It's not enough to go on, but Cynthia says she has some associates in Touresh who might be able to help them out. e. Touresh (~16k words) i. Pickett and Cynthia arrive in Touresh. Cynthia reveals something rather startling about herself - she is a high-ranking operative of an influential criminal organization based in the capital city of Edimas. Said organization has a small outfit in Touresh which she can contact for supplies, information, manpower, and fake identification/travel papers. ii. Samuel learns while reading Charlotte's fate string that Isaiah is heading for Touresh. He evacuates the safe house, sending its inhabitants in a dozen different directions. He knows which of those trails will be picked up by Isaiah, but he doesn't warn the unlucky group heading to Isha that they are all going to die at the seraph's hand. He believes that their sacrifice serves the greater good (that is, keeping Charlotte safe). iii. Charlotte & Co. leave Touresh, nearly crossing paths with Pickett and Cynthia as those two reach Cynthia's organization HQ in the city. They resupply and begin preparing some false identities. Pickett has to use an actual disguise since he is so well-known. While they are in town, Cynthia catches up on the national news. There is trouble on the Bhukata Frontier and an Imperial Legion has been deployed to bring peace. Senators from two districts are feuding over tariffs. A terrorist movement has sprung up in Edimas, and has already made an attempt on the Chancellor's life. Most importantly, Professor Pickett Knob and a fellow colleague died in an accidental fire while doing research at the Repository. iv. Pickett is still mourning Newell, and wondering if Tillie is okay. He wanders the streets of Touresh, trying out his new disguise. By chance, he spots Isaiah, and immediately recognizes him as a seraph. On a hunch, he tails Isaiah to the abandoned rebel safe house. He returns to Cynthia after observing Isaiah's activities. She wonders why an agent of Chancellor Tichenor is in a backwater town like Touresh. Pickett theorizes that Isaiah might be hunting cultists of the Apostate, as the Chancellor has made it clear he wishes to eradicate the cult's presence in the Dominion. Cynthia has members of her organization begin tailing the seraph. Meanwhile, Pickett begins trying to decipher Titus' correspondences. He doesn't get very far. f. Leads (~30k words) i. Under false identities, Pickett and Cynthia travel to [city] to investigate the disappearance of a Gifted child just days before. This is a large part of what Pickett did while 'researching' for the Repository, though he had to be very circumspect. ii. Isaiah reaches Isha on the trail of a group of rebels who were with Samuel Adamar. He captures a few of them and kills the rest. He begins interrogating the survivors. iii. Pickett quickly surmises that the Gifted child was kidnapped. There is a reluctant eyewitness who describes the event. Cynthia believes the child may have been snatched by a local crime syndicate. iv. With the help of some of Cynthia's associates, she and Pickett raid the criminal stronghold (a condemned asylum). They apprehend the ringleader and interrogate him. He reveals that the kidnapping job was an isolated contract, and tells them the whereabouts of his employer, who may still have the child. v. Pickett and Cynthia break into the home of a prominent noble. Another fight ensues.
The Story Page 1
Vashirem: city near Heartland, houses the Repository.
The Lecture: This thing needs to be broken up into more digestible parts, or it needs to be condensed.
Titus: He's an spy for the Chancellor. He is indeed monitoring Pickett's activities.
Masked Assailants: Cultists of the Apostate. They were actually trying to capture Pickett. The Cultists have the same immediate goal as the Chancellor: they want to kidnap Gifted children and indoctrinate them. Their motives for this won't become clear in this book, so I need to make sure that this loose end doesn't end up looking sloppy.
Bhukata Frontier: This novel's climax takes place here. Haddon will have a more dominant role in future story arcs, but I'm introducing him early on here so that I don't have to explain him to the readers while they are busy with the showdown between Isaiah, Pickett and Samuel.
Bhukken: These humans hail from lands closer to the Edge. I'm not sure what their story is yet.
Choryl: 'Capital' city of Bhukata.
Cynthia's Organization: Needs a name. Mainly involved in information brokering / espionage.
Nobleman needs a name.
employer, who may still have the child. v. Pickett and Cynthia break into the home of a prominent noble. Another fight ensues. Cynthia is wounded and the noble is killed, but the Gifted child is found unharmed. Pickett finds more ciphered correspondences. vi. While Cynthia recovers, Pickett gets back to work deciphering the dispatches to Titus and the nobleman. The latter gives him some of the missing pieces that he needs to crack the code. Revelations: the kidnappings are being sponsored by a high-ranking member of the Azari government (though the Chancellor is still no more than a suspect at this point). There are some leads in Titus' letters that could be followed, but of more immediate value, the nobleman was supposed to transport the Gifted child to a rendezvous in the Bhukata Frontier. vii. Pickett and Cynthia don't realize that their exploits in [city] were noted by an Imperial agent. They are also identified. This information quickly reaches Isaiah. g. Bhukata Frontier (~10k words) i. Pickett and Cynthia arrive in Choryl a day before the rendezvous. The war against the Bhukken is finally winding down with the Azari on the verge of victory. ii. By total chance, Pickett runs into Haddon So-Jen while they prepare for their next operation. Several of Pickett's commissions were on Haddon's behalf, and they are, if not close friends, happy acquaintances. At first, Pickett believes they may have to do something drastic to preserve their cover (and Cynthia seems quite willing to take matters into her own hands). Despite Haddon's current gig as head of police in Choryl, he doesn't seem particularly interested in taking them into custody. iii. Stuff happens. iv. Pickett and Cynthia head to the rendezvous. Isaiah is waiting for them. A short struggle ensues, but both of them are captured easily. v. Isaiah learned from the captured rebels how to quickly get a message to Samuel. h. Climax (~15k words) i. Samuel and Charlotte, who are hiding in [remote location], receive Isaiah's message. The seraph has their siblings and threatens to kill them both unless they turn themselves in. ii. They head to Choryl, although Samuel tries to convince Charlotte that he can take care of this on his own. iii. When they arrive, Charlotte has some sort of breakdown in the street and they are spotted by Haddon's men. Since they are fugitives, they are taken into custody immediately. Haddon meets them. Charlotte tries to use her Gift on him, but discovers that it doesn't work. Samuel foresees his own death at Isaiah's hands. iv. Haddon reveals his real motives to the pair. With several handpicked members of the Unfettered, they all head to the place where Isaiah is holding Pickett and Cynthia. v. Shit goes down. Samuel dies. Cynthia and Haddon are seriously wounded by Isaiah. Pickett tries to get Charlotte to save herself, but she confronts the seraph in a rage over Samuel. It turns out that her Gift for influencing the emotions of others is particularly effective against an empathic creature. She paralyzes the seraph with fear while Cynthia and Pickett dispatch him. i. Aftermath (~10k words) i. Charlotte gives Pickett and a grieving Cynthia the full story, as near as she knows it. She and several dozen Gifted were being held in an institute not too far away from Choryl. They were being brainwashed and trained to serve the Dominion, but more specifically the Chancellor. ii. Pickett, Haddon, Cynthia and Charlotte decide that they can't let the other Gifted be exploited. Haddon and Cynthia bring their organizations into the rebellion. Pickett knows how to find the Gifted, so he and Charlotte decide to begin seeking them out and safeguarding them before they can be found by the Chancellor's agents. iii. Setup for next book, which covers the rebellion against the Chancellor's oppressive regime.
The Story Page 2
Problem: No scenes with the Chancellor up to this point.
What do they do with the rescued child?
Need to strengthen Haddon's motives in an earlier section of the book to extrapolate on 'Stuff Happens'. Something is going on in the Frontier that is making him extremely suspicious of the Imperials.
I'll have to give them the tools to actually kill a seraph before this point.