Magic in Terminus

I should have noted yesterday that the 700 mark cruised past 1000 Days somewhere in the Texas Panhandle between San Jon, NM and Amarillo, TX. The 70s era Chevy still mounted the original engine but donned a new paint job. And, while it took a bit to get up to speed, it eventually out paced us and shrunk over a hill-assisted horizon. Yes, West Texas has hills.

I haven’t given much thought to the magic of Terminus—nor the size. I think it’s time to get serious about that oversight.

What I know: magic helped to swap the indigenous people with folks from Earth [I need a story suitable reference for that], that there are still some magicians remaining in Terminus, and that the way the boats hover and fly may be some branch of that magic if not directly that magic. I feel as though magic should be diminished in this place. Maybe the only way to get big magic is to have lots of people gathered and focus their energies, or maybe the skip event used up loads of magic that can’t be gotten back or need to be refreshed over a long time.

Minimal Magic Requiring Groups – gives some built in restrictions on magic use so that you can’t just run out and conjure a unicorn if you need a ride to town. I like that collective magic imposes a need for charismatic leaders or despots able to gather folks into a crowd, or that a crowd needs to have it’s own collective purpose. This supports my thinking that Terminus needs to have factions and cultures and societies all at each other throats. Assuming I keep the practitioners at a low headcount or that I keep the full headcount in seperate factions conflict will arise in many forms. SOme groups will try to recruit members, some will try to enslave them, some will try to eradicate their foes, other will try to convert them. If any one group attempts to do magic more substantial than it’s numbers allow they’ll be punished with wearriness and become vulnerable.

Post-Skip Diminished Magic – would set a slow pace to the rise of powerful magicians in Terminus. It would help focus efforts on more mechanical endeavors because people wouldn’t be able to rely on their handy poof-unicorns to get them around. GAH, I JUST GOT SCREWED BY MY KEYBOARD LOCKING UP AND REPEATING A BACKSPACE KEY STRIKE. But I’ll press on instead of trying to recreate those thoughts. An entirely different tack might be that use of magic is highly sanctioned so that they might bring it back to full power, thus only a few special people in power are able to weild it and all others are punished. Somethign like this might take generations and by the time there was enough magic, the use of it would have changed significantly.

Conversion of Magic into Other Resources – I left the title vague, but I specifically am thinking magic might end up in these flight rods I’ve not put much thought into. Before the skip magic was more ethereal and available to all who desired it’s use; after the skip magic has been concentrated in the form of a mineral-like substance that can be forged into these flight rods. In a very tangible physical form, magic would be easy to fight over and hard to obtain without a foe knowing. Plus it would be easy to regulate and might even be easy to forget it was formerly magic. Depending on the circumstances of the conversion ‘miners’ might not even be aware the substance was converted magic—they might just think it was some artifact of the skip.

615 words on day 702

The Lull on Gondola 92

“What the hell?” you ask yourself. “Didn’t he say he was going to write up these plots of his?”

Yes, I did, and I have been. I did also say unless I didn’t. In yesterday’s and—you’ll soon learn—today’s I’ll be didn’ting. I’ve found tons of inspiration in Ian McQue’s illustrations and try to conjure something each time he gins (perhaps I should say ‘scotches’) up something new. He scotched something up yesterday and I want to followup today as well.

However, I don’t want to do the typical narrative I’d normally do. Back during NaNoWriMo 2009 when I made a half-hearted and ultimately failed attempt to participate in that event, I got to a point where I no longer wrote but instead wrote what I would write if I could write. At the time it felt like cheating. I neglected the material afterward thus retroactively making it cheating. Two days back I read something that placed that kind of effort in a different light. I no longer consider such meta-writing cheating as long as I come back to the meta and actually write the narrative.

What follows _could_ be cheating. But it might not be.

From yesterday…

http://mcqueconcept.blogspot.com/2011/02/gondola.html

Mr. Cameron—at least—knew enough to stay away from me. I doubt the other refugees, our accidental comrades, even noticed me on the bow [boat part I couldn’t find the name for]. And the six person crew of Gondola 92 were either too busy or too scared to warn me off to a safer spot. But Frakes noticed me right away, and once he was no longer busy he came to get me down.

Gulls shrieked and swooped and slid under me. They rose up from under the ship on swells of air I never felt on my face or in my hair. Occasionally one might churn it’s wings but only to gain better advantage on another or to make an abrupt turn. As long as I watched I never observed one to stroke it’s wings to fly. These white birds just glided.

Behind me, a woman we pulled from the caravan redescribed the events of the [some group] attack and the rescued rescue to Mr. Cameron. It was a tribute to his stoicism that she prattled on ignorant of his loss and oblivious to his pain. I wanted to push her off this boat and into the smoke and fog buoying below us, so I could hug him or hit him. I wanted to bring back Captain Munro too. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t his fault she died. I wanted to tell him it was me, but I wasn’t even able to convince myself of that; I think he may have been convincing himself it wasn’t me.

This scene is what I’ve come to call The Lull in the plot narrative I’ve been cleaving to for comfort lately. A time to think, a time to reconsider, and a time to decide to go tot he next level…or not.

Prior to illustration Partly, Munro, and Mr. Cameron were involved in some sort of attack from the [the guild?]. During the attack and subsequent flight Partly’s fear and anger increase until she’s unable to contain her rage and she erupts with power (yeah, I don’t know when/how/why she got powers either, but she seems to in this version). The result of that blast is that Captain Munro is killed saving Mr. Cameron [the guild?] is mainly thwarted and the two that live get mixed up with some Lander caravan they were trying to rescue or help out in some way.

Yesterday I didn’t have a reason for that Lander involvement, but now it suddenly strikes me that these Landers had the [McGuffin] and the crew of the Marcail were bargaining with them to get it or were trying to find them and only did so just as [the guild] attacked. In any case, it seems appropriate for the [McGuffin] to have gotten lost or to have been picked up by [the guild]. So no Munro and no [McGuffin], and Partly is probably responsible for both.

Anyhow, the Military who also wants Partly but has thus far been a bit more polite in their pursuit of her and truly doesn’t have nefarious plans (just conflicting ones) rescues the rescuers. [The guild] are run off or scattered or at least escape the military intact. Partly, Mr. Cameron, and the surviving Landers from the caravan mingle on the deck of Gondola 92. A garrulous Lander woman from the caravan buttonholes Mr. Cameron, and, ignorant of the facts and his grief, precedes to recount the marvelous and frightening events which just transpired. Partly wants to go to Mr. Cameron and help him in some way but she’s afraid of what to say and there’s that chatty woman.

Lt. Frakes, whom we’ve met earlier but I don’t know how or why, goes to Partly to talk and to get her off the bow [thing I still can’t find a name for. Would it kill you nautical bastards to provide a freaking picture with your voluminous glossaries!!!]. Where she’s perched like a gargoyle or a figurehead happens to be dangerous itself, slightly distracting to the boat’s pilot, and because of it’s lever-arm distance from the boiler could easily jostle her off into the clouds even if Partly were being careful not to fall off on her own. Frakes does the scared-dog conversation to coax Partly to safety. He lets her think she’s decided to come down.

That conversation likely has overtones of suicide and grief. I’ll probably have to do at least a couple of the stages of death related grief. Once off, I think Frakes will do tough-love to get her to chat with Mr. Cameron. Of course that means that somehow Frake needs n to know stuff I hadn’t planned for him to know. (Maybe there’s some pre-Partly relationship between he and Munro (and Mr. Cameron)).

So eventually Partly and Mr. Cameron talk. It seems likely that Mr. Cameron will entreat Partly to keep fighting ‘because that’s what Munro would want.’ She’ll be ready to decide to become The Martyr, but won’t decide such till after facing Tsien.

How much more will we need to engage the rest of the crew of Gondola 92? Probably some since I imagine there will be a few members introduced in the prior rescue scene.

I’ll need to sort out Frakes’ agenda. I think he’ll be more aligned to Engineer Coffee’s faction than to the straight Tsien line. Which would be great if I knew what those were. Whatever they are to them, to Partly they are nearly identical, so convincing her to side with Frakes or with Tsien will be a true struggle for Frakes.

1132 words on day 685

The Rescued Rescue

http://mcqueconcept.blogspot.com/2011/02/gondola.html

Mr. Cameron—at least—knew enough to stay away from me. I doubt the other refugees, our accidental comrades, even noticed me on the bow [boat part I couldn’t find the name for]. And the six person crew of Gondola 92 were either too busy or too scared to warn me off to a safer spot. But Frakes noticed me right away, and once he was no longer busy he came to get me down.

Gulls shrieked and swooped and slid under me. They rose up from under the ship on swells of air I never felt on my face or in my hair. Occasionally one might churn it’s wings but only to gain better advantage on another or to make an abrupt turn. As long as I watched I never observed one to stroke it’s wings to fly. These white birds just glided.

Behind me, a woman we pulled from the caravan redescribed the events of the [some group] attack and the rescued rescue to Mr. Cameron. It was a tribute to his stoicism that she prattled on ignorant of his loss and oblivious to his pain. I wanted to push her off this boat and into the smoke and fog buoying below us, so I could hug him or hit him. I wanted to bring back Captain Munro too. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t his fault she died. I wanted to tell him it was me, but I wasn’t even able to convince myself of that; I think he may have been convincing himself it wasn’t me.

I’m strangling this one a bit too much tonight. I’ll come back to it in the morning.

268 words on day 684