The Outline that Nearly Was

A few months ago I decided that I need to rehaul The Trials of Blood. I wasn't happy with it. Oh, I hated it. For sure. It had turned into a soon-to-be-ex-manuscript, where I loathed even looking at it, let alone sleeping in the same bed. Err, desk. I couldn't look at it and not get angry. I tried to turn it on it's head to make it pretty again. I had considered, "What if I write this as a modern day story? What if Malisyn, Allyn, Nox and company get re-written in modern times?" Huh. Well, I have about a 50/50 spread when it comes to Fantasy worlds versus Modern/Sci-Fi, so it made sense. I kinda tend to write both.

Now, Fantasy is my first true love--and I ultimately decided I would not do this, but for a while I was pretty excited. Yesterday I spent some time working on a new outline before finally realizing it just wouldn't work (it was the music that talked me out of it. I want to write music, like in the back of Mercedes Lackey books--her Heralds of Valdemar series--and it can't be dubstep or rock music! I didn't want to write that... so, no, back to my medieval times!)

Stock photography by ugurbektas on DeviantArt

I won't deny that I like the outline I made, I was genuinely excited about it for a few hours until I made up my mind. Since I'm still looking at ways to radically alter the beginning of the story, not all is lost. I don't know that I can salvage much from this besides the pacing and characters (it's just an outline, but my outlines are fairly detailed).

And now, without further delay, I give you... The Outline that Nearly Was:

Prologue

  • Malisyn and Allyn are woke suddenly from their beds; Matron Hawk is there, holding a candle. “It's time.” Outside, the smell of smoke and the sound of screaming. Malisyn and Allyn grab the backpacks at the end of their bed.

    • One of the two siblings will break away, they have to run back inside because they forgot their wooden carving (either the Horse for Allyn or the Dagger for Malisyn). They'll get disoriented in the smoke—a demon will slither out of the depths and try to attack them. Nox will intervene, saving them. (Is this Malisyn then?)

      • The children will be returned to Matron Hawk who is furious but more afraid, she'll hug them woodenly and ignore their questions. Captain Nox will accompany them along the road. The children will be huddled into a cart drawn by horses, along with two dozen other children. It's early morning and they're traveling across the Glass Plains towards the Blood Citadel.

      • Horses are flying by, Captain Nox promises to stay close. Another demon attacks from the morning fog—Nox chases after it, disappearing into the fog—the wagon stops. Everything is silent.

      • Allyn starts to panic from the darkness. He pulls out his backpack and finds his light-stone. He lights it, bringing attention to the wagon with the light. A demon answers the call. One of the wagon wheels is broken with a loud crack and the wagon crashes downwards, spilling the children screaming out on to the road.

      • Allyn has fallen, thankfully, onto his light-stone and diminished the light. Malisyn clutches his hand as tight as she can. The other children are crying silently, tears running down their faces and hands held over their mouths. Matron Hawk holds a young girl hard against her chest, soothing her hair, the other hand holds a knife.

      • A sound of footsteps in the distance—the children huddle around Matron Hawk—and instead of a demon, out steps a bloodied Nox. His horse is gone. His arm is bleeding (from blood magic, but we don't know that yet). A demon snarls in the distance. He holds a finger up to his mouth to indicate silence—and moves past the wagon, indicating for the children to follow on-foot.

        The Glass Plains; created for free with BRYCE 3D

  • They'll hurry through the darkness and the morning fog, careful to avoid the sharp Glass Plains but it's nearly impossible in the dark. One of the children will slip and fall—followed by the terrible sound of death. A demon will howl at the scent of blood. Matron Hawk will push them forward, now they're all running, blind through the night. In the distance—a torch, and then another, then a dozen blaze to life, burning away the fog. Guardians ride atop spectral Beasts, with Blood Mages and Transcenders on the ground with daggers and swords. They part to let Nox, Matron Hawk and the children pass. They close behind them—and the demons slam into them.

    • Through the fog, the winding stone steps of the Blood Citadel raise like teeth in the darkness. The Glass Plains jut into the mountain itself, and in the distance the siblings can hear the ocean crashing against the mountain. Torches line the path but they can only see a few feet ahead of them. They race up the steps, their legs and lungs burning with the effort. When they get higher up, they can look back across the Glass Plains—Tor'vic, the orphanage, their home—it's all on fire. Smoke rises into the morning sky. But beyond that—writhing in the darkness—demons. Countless, hungry, deadly demons released from the world of magic and intent on killing them all.

    • Malisyn and Allyn knew this day would come. They shivered in the darkness, holding each other's hand for comfort but the reality was so much more terrifying than the nightmare. They barely have time to catch their breath when they see Captain Nox running towards them from the bottom of the stairs. He'll cut his forearm and do some fancy Nox magic, sending fire hurling down the steps at the demons that are right on his heels.

    • He'll yell at them to run, and they won't hesitate, Matron Hawk already lifting her skirts and running as fast as her bony legs will take her, a child in each hand. Malisyn and Allyn will stare in fear for a moment longer, catching a glimpse of the demon, at the death of their world.

    • They'll run to the point of exhaustion, to the wide, tall doors of the Citadel, propped open for the last of them. Tall, impossibly white stone doors greet them, carved with images the siblings have never seen before. The Blood Citadel was only something they ever dreamed of, really. They reach out to touch the surface of the door, curiosity temporarily overwhelming their fear. The guards at the doors push them through with a sad, knowing smile.

    • Matron Hawk waits inside the Citadel with less than a dozen children. Tears stain her cheeks and her mouth is hard. Her left arm is bleeding (from blood magic or demon, who can say), she's bit her lip so hard it's bleeding. One ashen-faced girl clings to her free hand. Her other hand is balled into a fist, holding something that's already gone. Malisyn and Allyn join the group of shaken children—and are joined by more Blood Mages and Transcenders. They're rushed past tall windows, down carpeted floors, past paintings and fire places and book shelves and vases—all the things that Malisyn and Allyn have never seen before, or had the luxury of feeling in their orphanage. They want so badly to stop and look, but then a scream in the distance or an explosion reminds them of their reality. Everything becomes a blur. They pass through a doorway and then they're rushing down a set of dark stone stairs.

      • They hear the doors slam shut behind them. Captain Nox is with them, the last Transcender to accompany them. Now it's just Matron Hawk, the remaining children and Nox. They walk down the stairs, behind a roaring waterfall that, thankfully, drowns out the sounds of the demons spilling into the Citadel behind them. The floor is slick from the water and they are forced to slow down. Matron Hawk refuses to lose another child. Down one floor, and strange men and women with pale eyes draw heavy swords. Nox issues them orders, and they follow behind him, down the stairs.

        • At the bottom of the stairs is a BloodGate. Tall, impossibly black stone, like the night sky itself set into stone. Captain Nox pushes through the group and brings his dagger to his wrist—cutting it, spilling blood onto the gate. Inside, the stars begin to move, and his blood runs along tiny channels as the BloodGate is activated. The door upstairs smashes open and demons spill over, knocking Librarians through the waterfall to their deaths. The children scream. A dark red and purple mist swirls inside the BloodGate. Matron Hawk begins pushing children through, single file.

        • Malisyn and Allyn walk together. They refuse to go single-file.

          • A demon races down the stairs. Captain Nox pushes Matron Hawk through, leaving Malisyn and Ally standing before the BloodGate itself.

          • Nox yells at the children to go through the gate. They've lost so many already, they don't want to lose this brave Captain, too. They say, in true children-justice, “We won't go without you!”

          • We'll have a wonderful demon battle between Nox and this demon—some flashy blood magic, but not too long. Once the demon is dead, he'll race up the stairs of the gate and push both of the children in.

          • Just as they make it through the gate, just as it explodes, destroying the demons and everyone else behind them. Their world goes black.

Thoughts: The Glass Plains could have been created from this exact explosion (like it did in the

beginning of their world. I could save the Glass Plains for the modern version... marking where the Citadel was, and what happened when they left...

Chapter One

  • Malisyn awakes in a bed. She's afraid, perhaps it really was all a dream—Allyn sleeps in a bed next to hers. It's dark, her eyes need some time to adjust to the dark. She strains her ears, listening for screams or the snarls of demons. She does hear noises; shrill sounds, voices—even laughter. Maybe it was a dream, and the Matron had just moved her and her brother in their sleep to another wing of the orphanage. It wouldn't be the first time she'd had a vivid dream--

    • A knock sounds at the door. Malisyn sits up in bed and pulls her blankets over her. They're soft and warm, not scratchy like she was used to. Light fills the room. Not candle light, not yellow like tallow or wax, but bright from somewhere at the top of the room. Her eyes squint. The walls are white. Her bed isn't the same. The blankets are too soft. She pushes herself back against the bed and throws the blankets over her head. She closes her eyes.

      • Malisyn,” a voice calls. It's her brother. She stays beneath the blankets, shivering. “Mal, they told us this would happen. You can't hide there forever.”

      • Watch me!” Malisyn rolled over and put her face against the wall. She knew the wall was still white. And cold. And not wood planked or full of splinters or spiders. She felt the weight of her brother as he sat down on the end of her bed. She heard something strain beneath her. The blankets really were the softest she'd ever felt.

        • So it wasn't a dream?” She asked quietly.

        • No, it wasn't. It was an awful night. And now we're here, and we're safe.” He pulled up the side of her blanket. “And it's really strange.” Malisyn opens one eye. “How strange?”

        • If you two are finished,” Matron Hawk's voice sounded from the doorway. “Breakfast is ready.” Her face looked pale, her mouth was tense. Her hooked nose even more dramatic in the strange light.