In my to do list for developing the milieu my story is set in I had this as one item: Come up with some type of fantastical creature that is associated with the throne. Well, if you’ve read the post, Hel’s Journey 03, you’ll know I settled on the gryphon (or griffin, if you prefer). What I then realised was that I had to develop the story of how the gryphon came to be associated with the throne.
I’m throwing up this post now because my work in developing the milieu for the story has borne sweet fruit indeed—another story. However, more importantly for my story about Heloise, something that will impact on it has also flourished. I had mentioned a legend in the previous post, well, that legend I wrote needs a bit of tweaking, but I want to keep it essentially the same. The reason is that that legend differs slightly from what originally happened (as I’ve just worked out) and what will happen when the legend is invoked. It’s a nice little organic difference between legend and fact. It’s something I would never have thought of doing, and I’m certain it will make the milieu and story seem more grounded and substantial.
Another complication from developing the story of how the Gryphon Throne came into existence is that I’ve now got more family trees to create, six at least. The reason is that as I was outlining the events that created the Gryphon Throne, I’ve ended up with a situation that cries out for an entanglement with Heloise’s story. Essentially, there are two brothers, call them Bill and Ben, entitled to the throne and the king decrees that the brother who weds and has a child first will be crowned king after him. Both brothers marry on the same day and six months later Bill’s wife becomes pregnant. Three months later, Ben’s wife also becomes pregnant. Bill’s wife and child die during childbirth leaving Ben to ascend the throne when his child is born. When that does happen, assassins try to kill Bill and he flees the kingdom. Bill finds out that his wife was poisoned and so a struggle for the throne begins—and Bill gets a gryphon.
By the end of this story, I’ll have Ben’s child dangling off a branch of the royal family tree and it occurred to me that this is another entanglement I can add to Heloise’s story. The real complication is, who is Ben’s wife? She is the daughter of . . . well, I just leave that there, but that’s the reason for more family trees. Of course I could just kill the child off, or banish it to a tower, but I like the added complication this will bring to the story. And real and strongly grounded intrigue between dynasties and royal houses is always present in struggles for thrones, isn’t it? Again, something that will add weight to the milieu and characters I will be creating.
Yes, all of this is just so I can create my characters. I admit some ideas will impact on plot, but it’s mainly about developing the characters, because in the end, character drives plot. And I guess I can now run a line through one of the items on my milieu to do list—hooray!
And, add another one: Create a lot of family trees—damn! Coming up with all those names is going to be an interesting conundrum to solve.