Unlike with Continue Online – book two of Royal Scales took time for me to get into. The series wasn’t even named yet – and I had no clever titles. All I knew is that this story needed to pick up where the prior one left off.
Yet I couldn’t just start the next day. I paused, then started with something a bit more exciting and stretched my writing skills around the tail end of a sex scene. I’m still a bit iffy about alluding to characters getting it on (But let’s be honest, they’re not really alive if sex doesn’t pop into their minds at some point, right?). I tried anyway; and used that as a chance to paint the characters relationships a bit further along.
There were a lot of factors left from book one to consider. Candy, Evan, Kahina, dead Julianne, her brother and father. Other pack members in the area – all people established in the first book – and all these people could somehow play a role in the entire arc that book 2 would focus on.
That focus was the transformation from being a partial vampire to a complete one.
The idea of partial vampires had been touched on with book 1 – but I as a writer / world builder didn’t really have more than a vague idea of what the hell I meant. Instead, I edited book 1 some more and tried to make it work. Then I edited some more, and more, and more. That entire book took me about 6 months to write and feel vaguely comfortable with, but feedback was lacking.
During this timeframe I was still showing up once a month to a friend’s house, we sat down and worked on our main storyline (Which is not on this WordPress). We kept tossing ideas back and forth but my desire to write in the other world setting had stagnated, and Royal Scales was my own personal project. It was easier to be in control – but at the same time I had to work on far more details personally.
So I plotted out the ‘Sins of The People’ in preparation for this book, and ironed out what the hell I meant by partially and fully transformed vampires. That’s really what book 2 became about – exploring more of this world aspect – while moving Jay forward and completing Kahina’s task. I had to paint the ‘villains’ and other forces in the world while keeping a very narrow focus.
There were other challenges which bothered me. Kahina was / is an important person, but she’s barely in this book despite being such a huge factor. By in – I mean awake, interacting, and being a ‘person’. We see here at the start and get a feel for this very hot / cold person who values professional appearance over personal desire. She’s restrained when anyone else is present – extremely – but values strength and power – which Jay has. Plus she’s kind of addicted to his blood (Kind of? Hah! It’s like ambrosia to her)
There are other reasons for this. Part of it ties back to what Evan talks about near the end of book 1. Simply being around Jay (Or a creature like him) can warp people. Blood transforms and add twists. This is why Kahina’s shadow form is different than all the others. (I’ll do a brief blurb on them in a bit) – I honestly blame wolves and elves on older / deader people of Jay’s race. This is why Jay can command other races at times – shouting ‘stop’ or ‘sit’ to wolves and having them flinch of react. His’ of the same lineage as their original creators. It’s hardwired conditioning that’s been long dormant – it’s also why Evan in book one talks about how the link is formed and callings work. The perception of ownership is what causes this. While Jay’s race may not have outright magic – they can and do impact the world by simply existing. It’s dangerous; and valuable to people like The Order of Merlin.
Next; NightShades – these are actually separate creatures from vampire sin my world setting. NightShades are shadow creatures that live in darkness – and by bonding with vampires they’ve created something new. A vampire that exists in two worlds – and doesn’t die in sunlight – because their soul switches places come sunup. This allows me to keep them alive without going ‘lol, you died to a sunburn, pussy, you should have been the sparkling kind’ while giving a world reason. It’s also part of why vampires die during transition – they may not be able to bond with a shadow creature; and there might not be one who wants to bond with them. Or they may be killed in that other world in wars.
The pillars were…a weird idea. I’m almost sorry, but I enjoyed the imagery too much to let them go. So they were worked in; which patterns on each pillar standing for bloodlines vampires might have. Older vampires have larger pillars, younger ones have smaller. It’s almost like trees, or plants, that are born when a vampire is created. Their existence is sacred to the shade creatures; so Jay’s destruction of two pillars is outright taboo.
Also; hopefully at times the dream version of jay wandering around came off as his real self – the true large dragon creature that he is wandering around in the spirit world. He loves the flame and fiery sun; he loves the coolness of a dark cave and underground room. Ironic, it was a long dead dragon which bound together vampires and shades – which is why near the end a shade asks if their pact is over – and calls him the spawn of Jorr (The Norse World Serpent) – at least I think one does. That was the intent.
Anyway; the Order of Merlin is based on Arthurian legend. That Merlin, no mention of King Arthur – only Merlin. It’s part of the changed / buried history of the world. In essence Merlin bathed in the blood of a dragon and transformed into a powerful mage capable of commanding the elements and certain bloodlines. He used that ability and went on a war against ALL non-humans – which threatened the balance elves are trying to make. Eventually the man was put down and his followers went into hiding, taking a red crystal stone – the same one that was held in a box from book 1…and the Order of Merlin is trying to recreate a ‘Merlin’ powered person to continue their war….
Weird? It’s kind of vague in my head right now, but the elements are all there to eventually be tied together.
Shaggy, Ann, or her real name – Sandy – was a blast to write. I wanted a person who’s undercover – doing a rough job while trying to pretend to be someone else – stressed as hell when things turn south – and still slinging bullets without hesitation. There’s moments of badasery that she demonstrates which are awesome to me. We see the edge of a trainer professional making use of real guns to fight monsters. The kind of thing Jay thought he did, but he’s not a gun person – so someone had to be.
At the same time I was trying to write a person who was closely tied to Daniel – and there are constant connections being dropped between the two. Yes they’re engaged – but this is also the same person who was undercover in book 1. The ‘Ann Myers’ we see in book one, is the same ‘Shaggy’ we interact with in book 2 – in sum; she’s been undercover for a while. All of this is Daniel’s fault. All of it.
I loved her because she let me expand the world without turning another character preachy. One such method? ‘Everything for the Peace’ – the motto which Western Sector Agents live by. They do mean everything – themselves, their friends and family, other people – as long as the end result is the world continuing to live another day. This ties into the Sins of the People – where people like Jay can be killed to essentially undo history. Western Sector wants to avoid that. This means Daniel – whose family has been in this game for generations and generations – is a whole hearted believer in sacrificing everything to keep the world – this version of it – spinning.
We’ll see more of this as book three finishes wrapping up – and in book 4 as we explore Daniel and Jay’s actual relationship and their real past.
Now – and this is the part people probably didn’t like – I needed to demonstrate that regardless of Jay’s personal power and abilities, there’s still a shit ton stacked against him. It’s not a matter of standing up and going LOVE WILL FIND A WAY RARGLGLGLGLGLG /lasers fire – such nonsense only works in manga and poorly balanced settings.
Even if Jay had not made a deal with Candy – he would have still left Kahina. I attribute this to the same strategy birds use to lure predators away from their young. By making a big noisy nuance of themselves elsewhere their babies may live another day – and that’s what Jay’s doing and will continue to do. He’s luring people away because no amount of strength will let him defeat all those people against him.
Not when his price for using so much energy is sleep / weakness / defenseless moments.
Honestly, it might be better for the world if Jay just died. But that too would prove complicated, for reasons I’ve barely begun to extrapolate from book 1 – but let’s just say Arnold Regious died for a reason very closely related to what Jay is. If you don’t understand that, go reread above and stop glazing over!