Notes and Plans – The Solune Prince

The Solune Prince chapters I’ve completed are… kind of meh.

If I were to put myself in the shoes of a reader, I might think: This series is kind of boring. And it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. And if it is, it’s going there very slowly. There situations and characters seem a little lacking. Some of these chapters go nowhere, or add nothing to the story. And why did it take so long to get here?

These are pretty serious concerns, right? I mean, it’s been 20 chapters and not much has happened. If the average chapter is 1000 words (and it’s actually a little more), then that means I’m 20 000 words in and I’m still only at the beginning.

It’s overwhelming. I feel like I’ve sort of shotgun-vomited and pantsed myself into a narrative about nothing, filled with boring characters, and then insulted the reader by adding a “first draft disclaimer.” I mean, maybe I should actually put a little more effort into making my pieces of a high enough quality that I don’t feel the need for disclaimers.

I was at a point where I was almost ready to throw up my hands and drop the serial altogether.

That’s what I was thinking.

And then, on the way to the library, I listened to Falter.

See, that song was one of the biggest inspirational pieces for The Solune Prince, and hearing it again, I remembered a lot of what I was feeling back when I started. I decided to return to The Solune Prince project for sure after that, but with a different mentality.

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To practice, to learn, to improve.

This is a first draft, I’m sure there are a lot of people who write a first draft by the seat of their pants, read it over, and then think, “man this is awful.” And, that’s what I’m thinking. It’s pretty awful! But that’s okay, because it’s a first draft. A second draft can (and if it’s got glaring faults, should) be drastically different than the first.

I’m not going to go back and fix the first twenty (geez, twenty?) scenes until I’m done though. I’m not even going to try to fix every single problem I’ve had with those scenes going forward.

I’m just going to focus on one thing at a time, and this time, it’s planning. So, I’m going to do a lot more work planning the rest of the Solune Prince. You know, it was going somewhere, I just kept getting into tangents, and hopefully with a plan, I can avoid that.

In addition, outlining will allow me to know a little bit better where each scene is going, and what it’s trying to do. I may end up with less frequent, but higher quality scenes as a result of planning. Maybe I’ll even outline individual scenes, I don’t really know.

I actually drew out a basic outline before writing this. It looks like I’ve got seven acts to go. Seven acts to get my act together haha. I’ll work on the outline a bit more before posting another scene.

Daniel Triumph.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)

P.S.

On a side note, I really need to update my categories.

Evening Cake (The Solune Prince AII, Sx)

First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefore subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, repetitiveness, weak character voice and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain.

Evening Cake

Chloe and Elliott headed to the second floor.

Chloe said, “you don’t think that Lillith’s still in the dining room, do you?”

“Well,” Elliott replied, “I’m pretty sure that there was a dessert, so they might still be having that. I mean, Col told me that he’d made cake so…”

“That’s the kid missing his teeth?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you know all these people already?”

“Yeah well, the Prince, Riley, had me do this one job, but I’m also sort of his lackey, so it’s all good.”

“Work a lot?”

“Not that often, really. Although getting was a pretty big job, so. I mean, I generally don’t have to leave the city.”

“Right.”

Elliott continued, “but often, I’ll get a few days off, and then he’ll get a pile-up of stuff, and then I get to go help him.”

“Get to?”

“Well, he’s kind of funny, you know?”

Chloe nodded. He was, at the very least, extravagant. “So what about Lillith, and Col?”

“Oh, yeah, Lillith is letting me paint this place!”

“Paint? Are you the ones that painted the bricks red?”

“What? No! The bricks are red because they were mined in a high-iron environment.”

“Oh, the rust.” Chloe nodded.

“Exactly. Anyway, you remember when we got here, and Spider was on the walls? She was getting ready to spray, she just got her permits from the government.”

“So, you serve the prince, and you paint? You have two jobs?”

“No, no spray painting is a hobby. Although, it’s a bit of a pain with all the regulation, you know?”

“Yeah, I read a lot about regulation, back in my kingdom,” Chloe nodded.

“Really? What you studying to be a lawyer?”

“If working with the law is what you mean, then yes. Although, it is the task of the poets to be what you call, a lawyer.”

“Well,” Elliott nodded, “that’s good to know. Your skills might be useful here, if you ever get dinged with anything.”

Chloe nodded along with him, and they entered the dining room.

“Ah, returned for cake, I see?”

Lillith smiled at Chloe and Elliott from behind the table. There was a bread-like cake in the centre of the table.

Riley dismissively threw a cloth napkin at her, “and?”

Lillith paused, but finally regained her air of confidence and said, “and I apologize for insulting your heritage. You will have to excuse, I am very direct, despite my stature.”

Elliot sat down again.

Col entered with two more plates and quickly added, “I’m also really sorry! I already knew you were pleasant,” he wiped his forehead, “and that you hadn’t tried to eat any of us… oh…”

“Don’t fret.” Chloe sat down at her spot, “in retrospect, I shouldn’t have taken it all so personally. You’re right, the Condor are known for eating other races.”

Col served Chloe and Elliott cake, then sat down next to Lillith.

“Moving on,” Chloe said, “I’d like to ask if you have any letter writing tools. I would like to write to my dad. Ah, I mean the King.”

“Sure,” Lillith smiled, “family is important. Col, make sure there’s writing instruments in her room when she returns.”

“Wait,” Elliott said, “yo, what kind of cake is this, even? I don’t think I’ve had it before.”

“Oh? It’s just cocoa and sweets.” Col smiled as he exited.

“The guy didn’t even wait for a thanks.” Elliot shook his head and took another bite.

“He’s very grateful, Col.” Lillith said.

The supper finished when Riley stole the last piece of cake.

“Well, I can show you to your room.”

Lillith stood and began to lead Chloe out of the room.

“Oh, ah, bye.” Chloe waved to Elliott, who did his best to wave back before she was gone.

Lillith strode down the hall and fumbled in her robes.

“Al right, you have keys where you come from?” She handed Chloe a very simple key with two bits. “It’s for privacy more than security.”

“Ah,” Chloe looked at it, but instead of taking it she said, “well, actually, I tend to lose keys…”

Lillith shrugged and simply held it in her hands as they walked downstairs to the first floor.

“Well in that case, lock it from the inside for privacy, and if you ever lock yourself out, talk to me. Or Col.”

She turned to smile, and Chloe nervously returned the expression. They stopped at a door, and Lillith unlocked with the key.

The room was spacious, but not cavernous. The trim was gold in colour, and the ceiling was made of what looked to be a weaved copper alloy. It reflected the lamp light well and kept the room in ambient brightness. There was a bed, a desk, and a dresser. On the desk were Chloe’s lettering things, and beside it was a a small pile, a bag and a cloak.

When Chloe saw the heap, she asked, “Oh, how did you get my travelling gear?”

“Riley talked to an officer who was apparently out of the loop regarding you capture down at the station. Told the poor woman that these items were going to be picked up on his behalf by Col.”

“Wow.”

“Yes, the man is clever at times.”

Chloe turned around to face Lillith, “well, thank you.”

“Yes, goodnight.”

Chloe sat and began drafting her letter.

Daniel Triumph.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)

Want to continue the story? Check for newer chapters on the Table of Contents, or by following The Solune Prince category.

The Solune Prince (Act II, Scene ix)

First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefor subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain.

 

Reagant smiled at her. “It is not a game to me, but it is to Venus. All will bow to the will of Venus. I simply serve his will, noting more.”

From behind them, Elliott said, “So that’s what it is, huh?”

Reagant’s eyes moved, and Chloe’s head swivelled. She said, “what do you mean?”

“Well, the whole deal with how this mess got started in the first place was that this guy, the police captain, went out to find the king… and instead he returned and is starting to take over.” Elliott nodded to himself, coming to a conclusion, “so this Venus guy’s behind it all, right? He’s your boss, and he wants the city?”

“The powerful seek power.” Reagant shrugged. “Anyway, like I said, I am off duty. I only stopped to say… hello.”

And with that he put his helmet on and drove away on his motorcycle. Chloe wondered what powered the wheels, as it clearly wasn’t his feet. There were no other vehicles like that around, that she knew of.

“Hey, are you okay? You just kind of left, you know?” Elliott asked her.

“Yeah, well, it’s just frustrating.”

They walked back into the building and found sat on the thick carpet, leaning on a wall.

“So is it true that you’re part beast?”

Chloe sighed, “sure. My mother was a Condor, okay? It’s very strange for me too, because they were hunting us, the Solune, in far more recent times than they were hunting the Lussa.”

“The angels will still get you if you leave the city, you know.”

“I didn’t know…” Chloe looked around, “but it’s just… they were the enemy, and my father ended up with one as a wife. It’s a very strange… juxtaposition for me. He didn’t know for the longest time, because they, ah well, we look so similar to others without our wings. It takes a lot of energy, to grow out your wings, but you can get rid of them quite quickly.”

“Well, I noticed you, like, grew them out back during that fight with the…”

“The Riley.”

“Yeah, the Riley. And now they’re gone?”

“Right, I released them shortly after I let Reagant take me in.”

“You let him capture you?”

“Yeah, I thought, ‘what could he do?’ And I was right, not much happened. He seems to just want me out of the picture.”

Elliott nodded, “I wonder why…”

“I think it’s Venus really. I have a feeling that he has some very specific goals, and he didn’t really account for my presence. As for why, I’m not sure. But, I feel like I’ve heard that name before, Venus. I feel like my dad may have mentioned him”

“Hmm.”

They sat in silence for a few moments.

“Wait, why not send a letter to your father? We have couriers, you know.”

“Oh, that’s a great idea!” Chloe jumped up.

Elliott followed, “it just came to me. If we want to know something from your father, why not just ask him, right?”

“Right!” She replied, and then, getting a little excited said, “thank you. You know, out of all the strange people down here, you are the easiest to talk to.”

“Really?” Elliott’s eyes darted around. He hoped that no one was coming down the stairs to see where they had gone. “What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. Everyone seems so quick to judge or label, but you don’t really assume.”

“Well, I like to see all sides of an argument before I choose which is better. And sometimes, both of them are, well…”

“A bit wrong?”

Elliott nodded, “yeah! Sometimes both are a bit wrong, and I can’t agree completely with either.”

Chloe took his hand and said, “Elliott, I think we’re going to get along just fine.”

Bashful, Elliott turned away. “So, what about that letter? We should ask Lillith to help. You know that Riley’s keeping you here, right?”

Chloe looked around, “well, it’s quite lavish, I can’t say I mind. I just have to figure out how to communicate effectively with Lillith.”

“I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”

“Yeah. Let’s go ask for some papers, then.”

Daniel Triumph.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)

Sorry it’s so late, my weekend was a bit of a mess. A very low point. I might have to slow down my schedule for quality reasons, but I’m not sure. For now, enjoy.

The Solune Prince (Act II, Scene viii)

First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefor subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain.

“The Lussa police seem to be taking over, and we are threatened. That’s why you’re here.”

“I though I was just here for appearance.” Chloe said.

Riley shook his head, “no, we need manpower too. We need to build an army that rivals the police force.”

“Do we have that?”

Lillith lanced a blackened piece of steak. She said, “no. Even if we broke our other allies out of the prison, we would be outnumbered.”

Chloe thought for a bit, picking through various items on her plate. She didn’t like any of it, but at least the salad was tolerable.

The servant boy with the missing teeth said, “oh, are you Solune?”

Chloe swallowed, “yeah.”

“You might want this than.”

He took one of the numerous silver bottles from his tray.

“It’s sauce.”

Chloe made a face, but didn’t take the bottle. Col took her expression entirely wrong, and dumped the pale blue liquid on her steak.

“Seriously?”

“What? Try it.”

Chloe took a chunk of the meat and ate it. The sauce made it very bitter.

“This is perfect!” She said.

“Resourceful, that Col.” Riley said.

Elliott nodded along. His mouth was full of the last of his food. Chloe wondered how he had finished it so fast.

Elliott asked, “wait, why did the sauce make you like it all of a sudden?”

“Women like sauce.” Col said.

Chloe gave him an angry look, then turned to Elliot and said, “dumb answers aside, it’s because this makes it bitter. The Solune diet has become very bitter over the centuries, similar to how N’Tarial food is very spicy.”

“Why bitter though? Isn’t bitter a bad taste? Like from what I know, bitter foods are usually more alkaline, and the body doesn’t like too much alkaline food.”

“Right, but you are what you eat, and when you’re something else’s food…”

Lillith said, “Oh, yes, I heard about this, didn’t the Lussa and the Solune once used to be the same group of people?”

“Right,” Chloe said, “four thousand years ago, about half of the Solune decided that they were not happy in their place at the middle of the food chain, and they left. They went to find a safer realm.”

“That’s smart.” Elliot nodded.

Riley said, “some might call it cowardly. The Lussa take pride in the fact that we stayed and fought our way to the top all those years ago.”

“Okay… great. Whatever. I just want to know who it was that was at the top.”

Chloe smiled, “The Condor race.”

“Wait, the winged beasts? The angels?”

“They are called the Condor.”

“What do you mean?” Elliott asked her.

“Yes, I am quite interested in how you obtained this alternate name. We just call them angels, or beasts.” Riley added.

“Beast?” Chloe looked.

“Boys, boys, have you not bothered to look into your guest’s heritage?” Lillith laughed, “I can see it every time she opens her mouth. This girl is, at least in part, a Condor herself.”

Chloe instinctively covered her mouth, “what?”

“Yeah, what?” Elliot said.

“How interesting.”

“It is. Our ancient enemy has returned, in some capacity, to our aid.”

“Enemy…”

“A Condor? Don’t they like to eat Lussa?” Col looked at Chloe, allowing fear to become apparent in his eyes.

Chloe stood. “Well, I’ve had quite enough. You can all insult me on your own.”

Chloe strode out of the dining room and into the hall. She took off her shoes, plain grey zip-up loafers, and threw them at the wall as she walked.

 

She went down the stairs, walked along the grand entrance’s gold and glass floors, and exited the building. She wasn’t quite as angry as she let on, but surely she needed to catch her breath.

Night was coming, and the streets were filled with people. The roads were not cobble like her hometown, they were wide, weaved of thick iron wire, supported at intervals with long rods. The iron was mostly red, even rotted through in some places.

Most of the people here wore shoes, something that seemed unusual to her. In the Solune Kingdom, the ground was clean and safe. You could walk the roads barefoot and most people did. Chloe saw a lot of ragged folk hanging about in alleys. She wondered if they might be homeless. They did not have shoes. Did the rust harm them? Or did they walk on the sand that was everywhere the metal pavement wasn’t?

A man, dressed in shining black leather and riding a motorcycle, rolled up to the out-of-place skyscraper. He stopped and took his helmet off. It was Reagant.

“You left.” He said.

Chloe looked at him, as if he had no right in the universe to speak to her.

“Well, I will have to try harder next time.”

“It is interesting that you would hold a royal guest within a district. It’s almost as if you want to take me prisoner.” Chloe stated.

Reagant straightened his hair. He said, “well, it would greatly strengthen our position.”

“What is your goal?”

“My goal?” Reagant wiped his pale face, “I simply serve the will of Venus.”

“Serve the what?”

“It is good to know that you don’t stay put. Next time, we will make sure you are adequately accommodated.”

Chloe strode up to the man, “was that a threat?”

“I am off duty. To be honest, I don’t care much for Venus’s current tactics of deceit and social downfall, but that’s how he is playing the game this time.”

“So this is a game to you? All this, alienating the royal class and intimidating the populous. It’s no big deal.”

Chloe ceremoniously spat on his shoe, and then realized he was barefoot.

Reagant smiled at her. “It is not a game to me, but it is to Venus. All will bow to the will of Venus. I simply serve his will, noting more.”

Daniel Triumph.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)

The Solune Prince (Act II, Scene vii)

First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefor subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain. Please be tolerant.

Lillith sat on the ground and called the Servant of Duels, the spirit that sanctioned fights. With their protection, both parties would be safe from large injuries and also from death.

When she was done, Lillith stood and drew her sword. It was a long blade with a single edge and a slight curve, a fencing sabre. Chloe took the King’s sword from her hip.

“Let us fight!”

Chloe raised the King’s sword above her head, letting the tip fall at a forty-five. Her father had only ever taught her how to fight with a double sword, her mother an extra sword. The King’s sword, paradoxically, was a single sword, and she didn’t know how to use it at all.

Lillith and Chloe circled, each hoping the other would strike first, and create a line.

Chloe knew about lines, it was one of the basics of swordfighting. There were lines of attack, and lines of defence, and one could become another very easily. Chloe was creating a line of defence from her hand to her waist with the King’s sword, and with a simple movement, a rotation of the elbow or shoulder, she could move that line to intercept an attack coming from either side.

Lillith too knew about lines, but not by name. She knew them from experience. She decided to test Chloe’s defence and strike first. She attacked low, aiming for a knee. Chloe’s weapon was high, so she simply stepped back instead of blocking, then realized her mistake. All the openings created by Lillith’s attack were closed before Chloe could get close enough to hit them. She decided to strike anyway, and Lillith pulled her sword up to block. Chloe decided to feint, and instead of striking from above, she curved her sword down and hit from the side. Lillith simply moved her wrist and the swords clashed.

But Lillith maintained the hold, pushing her sword into Chloe’s. A lot of information can be gained from binding blades with an opponent, and that’s why it was generally avoided. She read Chloe’s pressures. Even though she was in no danger in this position, even though she should have exited the bind long ago, Chloe kept her sword pressed against Lillith’s. She was afraid. Lillith could tell that Chloe had become rigid, while Lillith herself was still light. And, thanks to this, Chloe’s reaction would be delayed quite a bit.

Lillith exited the bind, and Chloe’s weapon fell. Lillith lunged forward and swept across Chloe’s opposite, hitting her in the waist.

“Good.” Lillith said, standing straight.

The duel was over.

“What do you mean, good? That was awful!” Chloe rubbed her wound as the Servant of Duels’ powers began to work at it, closing it up.

“At least you recognize it. You’re using the wrong sword, I think.”

“How did you know?” By now she was healed, as if she had never been hit.

“You fight with a lot of deliberation, your movements are firm. You have an arming sword… even with a shield, the way you move would cause issues later on.”

Chloe’s face turned to worry, “well, what do I do?”

“You need a different weapon.”

“Like?”

Lillith smiled at her, “you’re a big girl, I think you need a weapon to match, don’t you?”

Chloe pretended she wasn’t insulted, “like?”

“I’m thinking either a two-handed sword, or a hybrid. Why don’t we experiment. Riley, hand me the sword with the two-part hilt.” She pointed, and Riley obliged.

Elliott went to the wall across from the duelling ring and sat down, leaning against it.

As Riley surveyed the wall lined with swords, Lillith approached her new student.

“Was that a good warm up? You seem more loose. Actually you’re muscles seem bigger, what’s with that?”

Chloe shrugged, “The Solune store part of their biomass as aura in case of large outbursts of laszor plasma is needed. It’s a survival thing.”

Lillith nodded, feigning understanding, and walked up to Chloe, “right. Whatever.”

She grabbed Chloe’s biceps and said, “you have a lot of fat here.”

Chloe wasn’t going to take this any more, she said, “what is your problem?”

Lillith raised an eyebrow, “no, that’s a good thing. You know it’s easier for the body to convert fat into muscle than to build muscle fibre straight out, right?”

“Of course…” she murmured in reply.

“Well, I’m just saying we have a lot to work with here.”

Lillith then unceremoniously lifted Chloe’s shirt to examine her midriff. Elliott wolf whistled, and Chloe blushed. She would have gotten offended if she had known the whistle was culturally offensive, but the Solune don’t generally whistle.

“You’re pudgy.” Lillith laughed.

“I swear to Däwngale, when I get that sword I’m going to cut your tongue out.”

“Good, we can see if you fight better or worse when you’re angry. Just saying, most people fight worse.” Lillith winked.

“Is this the one?” Riley had snuck up behind Chloe and was dangling a sword by its pommel.

“Yes dear. Take it!” Lillith motioned to Chloe with her eyes, “I’ll redo the ritual.”

As the two set up, Riley sat down next Elliott.

“Where’s Dool then?” He asked.

Elliott’s face contorted, “I… actually have no idea. We encountered-” he was not going to use the word savages, “resistance on the way here. He got to the Underside waaay before me. I don’t really know where he could be.”

Riley’s expression fell, “That means that he was incarcerated.”

“Are you sure?!”

“Yes. They’ve been arresting my followers one by one. In fact, it’s only you, Gerome, and Avvarice left at this point.”

Elliott’s eyes widened.

Riley reached into his purse and pulled out a few rectangular sheets of stiff cotton. This was Lussa currency. It didn’t hold intrinsic value like Solune coins, instead it held a promise of value from the monarch.

“I don’t know for how much longer this will be worth anything, but here is your payment.”

“This is… this is almost three times my regular pay.” Elliott began counting again.

“Yes… bonus for bringing us a new ray of hope in the form of,” Riley gestured exuberantly, “an angel from above!”

Chloe, who was in the middle of defending herself, glanced at him and flushed, but then quickly returned to her duel.

“And the rest is Dool’s half. He can’t use it in prison.” Riley shrugged.

“Damn.” Elliott frowned.

Chloe hit Lillith in the top of her skull, and the older woman was momentarily dazed. She took her revenge with great haste, however, and dispatched Chloe by grabbing the weapon with her off hand, and thrusting her own sword into Chloe’s abdomen. It plunged deep into her fats, aura, and muscle, but stopped before it hit any organs.

“Ah, foiled by Duels,” Lillith said. “That would have gone right into your secondary heart.”

They finished their duel, and Lillith announced, “well, you show promise. I didn’t let you hit me, and if you hadn’t been so stupid, letting me grab your weapon like that, you might have been able to land a second hit.”

“Okay.”

“We’ll continue tomorrow with the two-hander, although I think the hybrid suits you quite well. No reason not to experiment though!”

Lillith lead the group to a large wooden table in a lavish dining room. Both sides were lined with red felt chairs, the table empty save for utensils.

Chloe noticed that there were no chairs at either heads of the table. She sat down at the nearest spot, and Lillith sat across from her. Elliot went beside, and Riley across from him.

Lillith looked around, a little lost, seeming suddenly very young because of it. “Uhh…”

There was a loud thump, and then the sharp sound of glass hitting stone tile.

Someone from the next room shouted, “it’s fine! Fine!”

A young man, no more than seventeen or eighteen years of age, came in with a handful of tall, thin glasses, and a bottle of wine.

“See? It didn’t break!” He smiled, revealing four gaps where his canines should have been.

Daniel Triumph.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)