Brainstorming a Fantasy Idea

21 Jun

I’ve got this idea running through my head, but I can’t clarify it enough to turn it into a plot. Anyone want to join me in a brainstorming session?

The basic idea is that our world was effectively destroyed by the arrival of the Gods, who were really Lovecraft-style monsters; inexplicable alien horrors whose sheer presence buggered up the physical laws of our reality. Technology didn’t work, magic seemed to work…and everything was messed up. Eventually, the New Gods (really Gods reshaped by becoming addicted to human worship, which bent them into what humans wanted them to be) drove their ‘parents’ away from Earth – their rule lasting for just over a thousand years. The New Gods ruled for a period of time, but eventually had to withdraw from Earth for some reason…leaving mankind on its own.

Technology has been shattered, learning from the previous age of mankind is gone…and there’s a semi-magic field surrounding the planet. Too much magic can produce shambling creatures known only as Horrors, some of which were once human; however, human sorcerers can direct magic to some extent. It requires a careful mind, a great deal of dedication and the ability to craft equations in your mind. So while sorcerers are incredibly powerful – their magic affects reality itself, allowing them to break the laws of science at will – they’re also fairly rare. Sorcerers are actually split into two groups; First Rank and Second Rank. First Rank know what they’re doing; Second Rank are really memorising spells and aren’t capable of devising new or better ones.

By the time of the story, there’s a single expanding Empire led by the Imperator, a mysterious monarch – the Imperator – who has unified much of the known world under his banner and intends to take it all. His empire is expanding towards a weak kingdom called Athena (for the moment) where the King is a weak man, held in check by his Barons. Realising that conquest is inevitable, he offers his daughter Wish to the Imperator as a bride, with the Kingdom as her dowry. The Imperator won’t have to fight to take Athena and the Barons won’t dare to rebel against his daughter – and heir’s – husband. Somewhat to his surprise, the offer is accepted. The daughter isn’t too happy about it – and the Barons – are furious – but off she goes anyway.

At the same time, a house belonging to a powerful First Rank sorcerer is burgled by a female cat burglar – I’m calling her Cat for now – who has been touched by the Horrors, giving her a faint sensitivity to magic. Unluckily for her, she’s caught by the sorcerer, who tells her that the only way to earn her freedom is to travel to the Imperator’s city and steal something from one of his vaults. If she refuses, she will spend the rest of her life as a statue or something even more unpleasant. Reluctantly, she accepts. The sorcerer tells her that she will recognise the thing when she sees it.

Reaching the Imperator’s city, Wish is stunned by how large it is – and how many people worship a single god. The wedding ceremony is a puzzle; her husband seems to hide behind black armour and never shows himself, even to her. There certainly isn’t any wedding night. Her husband doesn’t even seem to have any interest in her at all…or in any of the other women who infest his court. And everyone is scared of the black-robed priests who flock around her husband and watch her behind their dark masks. She isn’t actually treated badly, but nothing seems to make sense.

Cat too reaches the city and discovers that there is a criminal underclass – and a growing rebellion. There are factions in the city that don’t like having to worship the Imperator’s one god, including one that claims to be able to help her get employment at the palace. Taking up a job as a lady’s maid, Cat finds herself working directly for Wish – who guesses that Cat is from her home. Becoming friends, of sorts, Cat promises to help her try to understand what’s going on – and also to use her friendship to get into the Imperator’s vaults.

Catching her husband at a bad moment, Wish discovers what’s under the mask – her husband is a madman, pretty much a Horror. His babbling is a connection to the God he worships, a God that has great plans for the Imperator and his bride. Driven on by the God, the Imperator rapes her and leaves her to crawl back to her chambers alone. Days later, the doctors tell her that she’s pregnant.

With a little help from Wish, Cat breaks into the vault and discovers what the sorcerer was so keen for her to steal. The Imperator’s God gave him a book of commands, basically a cheat-sheet for magic for him and his priests. One ritual allows a worshipper to become linked to the god in exchange for his sanity. But there’s worse. The child of such a man could become a proper host for the God, allowing it to return to the mortal plain. And the rest of the rituals suggest just what sort of god it would be.

Cat takes the book to Wish and convinces her to join her in escaping before it is too late. The girls run, only to be chased by the priests who are aided by some of the Horrors. Leaving the city, they flee back towards Athena, only to be captured by one of the rogue Barons, who is delighted to have the King’s daughter in his grasp. Wish’s worsening pregnancy – inhumanly fast – doesn’t faze him, because he doesn’t realise that she’s barely a week pregnant. His gloating is interrupted by the arrival of one of the Imperator’s armies, which attacks his castle and nearly captures Wish. They are saved by the Baron’s son who helps them to escape while his father dies at the hands of the black-robed priests.

They meet up with the sorcerer who sent Cat to the Imperator’s city, who takes the book and warns them that they may have to kill Wish’s child as soon as it emerges from her womb. Wish flatly refuses and demands to know of a better way. The sorcerer points out that the Imperator’s forces won’t be stopped even if all the Barons cooperate with Wish’s father. They’d devastate the Kingdom if she failed to surrender herself, but if she does surrender a dark god will be unleashed upon the world. Meeting up with Wish’s father, he agrees that they cannot kill the child. It may be the only heir to the throne they will ever have.

Reluctantly, the sorcerer admits that there might be another possibility. The Imperator is the link to the dark god – kill the Imperator and the child will be free of its influence, able to grow up into a normal healthy child. While the Kingdom’s army prepares to make its final stand against the Imperator’s forces, Cat risks her life to bring down the Imperator – killing him. As his armies retreat in chaos, Wish gives birth to a normal child – with glowing white eyes.

In the aftermath, the Sorcerer notes that the magic is slowly fading and soon enough, it won’t even be enough to allow the gods their limited power to intervene on Earth. But the Gods won’t take that lying down…

(Part of the concept here is that the gods started life as alien entities that fed on the energy released by prayers and devotion. The high they got from it was additive, the more so as they adjusted themselves to fit the preconceptions of the humans worshipping them, using some of the power to work miracles to keep the fires of belief high. But the level of worship/magic they need to remain alive AND sucking in their drug is fading, threatening their entire existence.)

4 Responses to “Brainstorming a Fantasy Idea”

  1. The Deposed King June 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    well it sounds a littler darker than I’m used to. That said there is definitely a nitch for this. It sounds well thought out. Has a number of twists and turns and a couple interesting perspective characters.

    As far as the magic field and magic sucking supernat entities…. It sounds like the gods are either symptoms of the magic field or else, parasites who follow it around but really honestly have little enough to do with it. Nor in this premise do they seem to understand it.

    A little mysterious.

    could be interesting.

    The Deposed King

    • chrishanger June 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Parasites, I was thinking – although in some ways they are warped by the worship. Someone like Loki (classed as the trickster god) would be shaped into the role as part of his addiction. Some of them know this – others don’t really care. Chris

  2. The Deposed King June 23, 2012 at 3:29 am #

    Yeah it would be the ultimate in survival strategies for the gods. Do they become warped so much they can’t imagine leave the world when the magic goes and thus die out. Conversely, by getting more and more worship they are able to spawn more of their kind. So the odds of getting close to the locals are forced to go up. While others are aloof and only interact as much as they can safely do so.

    Which also means those that get too close on one world, if they are able to move to the next are probably pretty wierd to the natives. Too weird to successfully compete.

    A little darwinism natural selection and comparison of viability strategies. Gods in a petri dish stuff.

    The Deposed King

    • chrishanger June 23, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      Which might explain the Old Gods who tore up Earth when they first arrived. Chris

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