The Priest, The Prophetess, and the Queen of the Wasteland
by Cooper Young
First off, a happy Feast of Saint Valentine to all of you. Saints Cyril and Methodius, I’m sorry you guys kinda got shafted everywhere that doesn’t use your alphabet.
I’ve been swarmed with ideas lately, so many that I fear I may lose focus. Three days ago, I couldn’t take my mind off Edorathis, the poetic project I’m planning to begin once Descent is complete. I scribbled notes and stuffed them into the mass of paper already jammed in the back of my copy of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun so as not to lose the ideas, but I have sworn not to put more than three lines together down until the death of Riga Far-Fallen. Only then will it be time for the return of Nazarel of the Waste.
Today I had a similar problem with several scenes from the rest of the series which Descent begins, specifically a few from its direct sequel. I’m still trying to properly incorporate the concept of the Goddess-King, and I came to several realizations, ones which in turn led to several important decisions.
To begin with, I must bring the concept (I would say the character, but that really doesn’t make sense. Or does. But would be confusing.) into greater prominence in Descent. There is one appearance of the entity as itself, but I need just a little bit more. I certainly don’t want to add too much; it’s supposed to be simply hinted at. The first book is, after all, really more of a long foreshadowing of what will come after. I’d had the idea of throwing in a scribbled, half remembered note from the protagonist to other characters at the end, and I’m returning more and more to that. I’ve realized that the three most prominent characters of the series all have roles in relation to the Goddess-King; in the first book we meet the Prophetess- who first sees it and foretells its coming but only barely understands her visions- and in the second the Priest, the only one who can really process the concept of the deity and, to some extent, direct its force in a way that is at once both powerless and influential (think Moses). I’ve yet to think of a term for the third figure, a sort of long-suffering warrior tied to the Goddess-King which at certain points acts as…the Phylactery. There we go. Bam. I’ve always liked that word.
My second realization, of course, was that I have to finally hammer out this whole family situation. When it would be perfectly accurate for a character to say “My boyfriend (who once accidentally slept with his half-sister a couple of times)’s dad is my older twin half-brothers’ adopted half-brother, whose best friend is actually my long-lost gay dad and whose first wife was my adopted step-sister and also his adopted step-sister, but that’s ok cause he’s not actually even his real dad anyway, although his real dad did once ask out his step-mother and his mother was to married both his adopted dad and his uncle at the same time”, I really need to put my foot down with these people. Especially Halai. You can’t just adopt almost everyone and then sleep with the remainder, even if you are queen. You end up with children like poor Shotezjere, who at age nineteen barely even knows which direction on the family azalea is up.
Third, I have discovered room to, if I find it necessary (or fun), fully explain the depth of the severely messed-up early years of the children of Nekin. It’s really hardly any wonder they came so close to ending up as two oddly divergent halves of the same serial killer.