Welcome, welcome our 50th follower, DouglasWTSmith!
I’ve just finished updating all published scenes to the latest version. There are quite a number of changes in dialogues, word usage and other minor details. Rest assure, these are only quality of life changes and there’s no need to re-read these scenes going forwards (albeit if anyone do go back and read them, I can guarantee a much smoother read).
There’s one other change I’ll need to mention before I stop being so meta again; the scene posts are now tagged with “Scene” tag, allowing readers to quickly separate these posts from the monthly “Commentary” posts.
Alright! Let’s get to the meat of this News from Ashlora issue: White Destiny, chapter 2.
THE PLOT THICKENS
There’s an unmistakable shift in narrative tone in chapter 2. It is darker and edgier than before. I expect no less from the backstory of the saddest being in Ashlora.
As stated in March’s commentary, the witch and the princess are the two antagonistic forces to overcome. They are explored in greater depth in this chapter. The witch receives more characterizations while the princess puts the “call to adventure” and her story arc to action.
Let’s talk about Eliot, the witch.
Eliot is an immortal. She is not bounded by the morality values of the mortal. Eighty years, a lifetime, to her, is a mere week plus Monday. Her backstory is plagued by “unwilling unions” and heart wrenching farewells (scene #5). There were, of course, lights of day in her dark background. But, given the context of telling a story that she would hate herself for, it is inevitable that the story the inventor got to hear was of grim, heretical and unsettling nature.
As for Lilia, the princess, the plot around her focuses on the classical idea of royal succession and the fight against determinism.
I can say, without being too spoilery, that her story is going to involve a lot of kinkiness, a lot of social class conflicts and a bit of gender discrimination. Leo, the inventor, is now signed up for a race to the princess’s heart, and what’s that other cold, hard and red thing around here? Right, the ruby throne.
The stakes for participation in this race have been made clear by the end of chapter 2 (scene #8). The inventor’s “insignificant” life is on the life. The rewards are the throne, the princess and her magical blood. Magical blood is a thing in Ashlora and if the price of the witch’s dead infants was of any indication, this will play a central role in both plot lines.
Where there are great rewards, there are even greater stakes. There’s a hint of a secession movement that keeps popping up here and there. There’s also this entire side plot involving the romance of Steve, the ironsmith and Katherine, the knight. And there’s still that dragon and the pet hydra he had at home.
I’m as clueless as any of you as to what will happen next. But, I can see delicious opportunities for a misunderstanding / love triangle plot just by the fact that the witch and the inventor are still living under the same roof, and the inventor has just gotten himself tangled in the princess’s love string.
WRITING TO THE STATISTICS
From the statistics I have on the scene containing the witch’s backstory, I can tell readers are not fond of dark humors. I’ll try to avoid going into details when it comes to this kind of things but I cannot promise there won’t be more disturbing revelations in the future. I’m writing about grey morality here and grey morality is disturbing by design.
I bring up the statistics. Since no one has ever commented on any of my posts, I can only guess the reader’s feedback from the percentage of the number of views and likes. As far as I can tell, people are okay with with some erotic elements (scene #7). I’ll keep them coming at the same level of attention until the stats indicate people want more or less of them.
This is pretty much what I’m doing with the little feedback you give me. I’ll tune my writing so that the desirable elements get more ink and the undesirable elements get skimmed down to Draft 1-tier one-line.
And that concludes this issue of News from Ashlora. Please drop some comments on what you like and dislike in my weekly releases. It’ll help, thanks.