This is a summary of my nanowrimo novel so far, the first half I wrote in 2007 & 2008. You’re not technically supposed to continue with old projects, but I treat it as a sequel and don’t include or edit anything I’ve written before in this year’s work, so my conscience is clear enough!
Hargyun, a once-celebrated arena fighter, now scrapes a miserable existence as a guard, following the inexplicable conquering of his home city of Eslos by the Oltuxca. Inexplicable because Eslos sits on an unrivalled power source, known as the lodestone. The power of the lodestone, strictly controlled by the Five Universities, allows the inhabitants to operate all manner of fabulous and dangerous devices. The only constraint is that its influence extends for just three miles, confining the Elsoi’s power to their city and immediate environs.
The mystery of how the protected city fell is answered when Hargyun reconnects with his one time lover, Asollu, daughter of one of the chancellors and a student herself in the arcane technology of the lodestone. Having discovered that the Chancellors agreed a secret and potentially earth-shattering deal with the Oltuxcans she tries to enlist Hargyun’s help to stop it.
Unable to make a difference however, the two lovers and Hargyun’s cousin, Uba, flee the city, moments before the plan is put into effect. Using an explosive powder the war-like Oltuxcans have developed, the Chancellors crack the lodestone into thousands of pieces, thereby hoping to extend its reach and make themselves masters of the known world.
Hundreds of miles away, in a remote island chain known as The Turtles, a once great and feared leader waits out his exile. Ten years before, Koben was instrumental in saving his country, Alzremi, from its perennial war-like neighbour, Oltuxca. Once peace was assured, he was ousted by rivals jealous of his power and wary of his hard-line stance towards the then-defeated Oltuxca. Koben was discredited, accused of theft and war crimes and the lie was put about that he had been executed.
A great threat is now on the horizon as fantastical and unsettling tales come out of the south, of flying war chariots and devices that spit coloured fire. And rumours an army is on the move; an army that has its sights set on Alzremi. Alzremi’s consul-general realises that only a man like Koben – ruthless, creative and utterly single-minded – will have a chance of meeting this threat. That leader is Koret, Koben’s former protegé and the man instrumental in his exile.
A young sea captain, Falrim, is despatched to retrieve Koben from his exile. When Koben predictably refuses to help, Falrim informs him that Koret holds his daughter, Laryn, hostage. Koben agrees to accompany him, but shortly after arriving in Alzremi their party is attacked and he escapes. Enlisting the help of old friends, Koben tries to find his daughter and find out who his new enemies are. It soon becomes clear that the fate of him and his daughter are inextricably tied up in the wider conflict about to consume the continent.
Meanwhile, Koben’s daughter Laryn is fighting her own battle, trying to survive on the margins of society any way she can, legal or otherwise. She is in debt to a violent loan shark and on the run from the both the authorities who need her as a pawn to control Koben and other, more mysterious agencies. Desperate to get out of Alzremi City, she identifies a small group of wealthy Esloi refugees and offers to help them, intending to rob them and flee as soon as the opportunity presents itself. But the group she attaches herself to are Hargyun, Asollu and Uba, and they won’t be so easily used.
It is also becoming clear that as well as unshackling the power of the lodestone, something altogether more sinister and unthafomable has been unleashed. An evil force that threatens to destroy humanity itself.