Possible Major Changes

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    More Tom early would help people stay interested, but doesn’t have to necessarily mean adding in Tom based filler. More arguing with Talarius would likely be amusing, if for no other reason that having Tizzy work him into conniptions, but isn’t all that important to the story itself. I was thinking that by cutting out some of the reaction scenes early on it would, by default, end up with more of the larger scenes coming earlier on.

    Those possible additions to the end were really just ideas for other places to end it so it has more of a draw for the next book. As is the big climax is effectively just Tom calling Lilith a whiny bitch and commandeering most of one of her smaller armies. No reaction from her is given, but we all know that it is probably going to be a exceptionally violent reaction, which isn’t much of a cliffhanger. Generally speaking it’s best to have the middle books in a series end with either a potential conclusion, in case you decide you don’t want to continue the series, or after a major conflict that leaves the state of affairs murky with high levels of tension for the people involved. That’s why I felt Tom and Rupert being outed to Jenn and apparently the Alfar would be a reasonable cut off. It would leave things tense and have the reader wanting to see how it plays out, also you could add in a reaction scene from Lilith finding out what Tom said about her before he effectively stole 900 demons from her command. Odds are he probably killed several people in the Courts with that move.


    The paragraph says:
    “[…] The only way to slow them (dragons) down is to cut off their heads and destroy their hearts. […]Now, once you do that to a dragon, it can’t regenerate its old body, so it just abandons it. It then has to form a new one from scratch[…]. We [regular demons] […] don’t stop regenerating after a certain point.[…]”

    In my opinion it clearly states that, regardless of the damage done, the body will always regenerate.


    Well, this is sort of shoved under the rug by me. I don’t ever explain my logic in the book, you have to guess it…my bad.

    There are two ways that demons travel between planes, gateways or a wizard/priest/shaman summoning.

    The summoning is when a wizard calls a demon, the demon fades out and then fades in on the wizard.

    This is also how a demon typically leaves, and does leave when they are killed.

    But, they always go back to where they last were. Where they were when they were summoning.

    Tom learned badly with the ring and Jehenna and then compounded it with Verigas. He focuses in on a summons upon him and then rips a whole in reality to where he wants to go (hence he walks through a gate rather than fades) instead of fading through.

    Keep in mind, in book 1 when he did the gates he only went back to his cave, it was the only place he “knew” and could visualize in the Abyss.
    The exception being when he dropped Talarius through. In that case they popped up somewhere random in the sky and had to make their way back to Tom’s cave.

    In book 2. Other than visiting Damien he never went through a gate to a different world and tried to come back after it closed.

    All but the trip to Damien, the gates he has opened in book 2 are to someplace someone is calling him. I.e. he’s honing in on a beacon. Those stones that the shamans have are meant to do exactly what tom is using them for, beacons for Orcus and to aid dreamwalkers and spirit walkers as beacon/end points.

    All those gates, Tom opened kept open and went back and forth between.

    I don’t discuss how he got back from visiting Damien and Vaselle…and that is technically a good point. How did he know to get back to Mount Doom?

    Off screen he did that by following his links to Mount Doom. He has massive linkage with Doom and could find it anywhere.


    you could have him try to learn more animagery while he is in the cave in an attempt to stop feeling overstuffed with mana. Another dragon maybe?


    Let’s pursue these ideas.

    I agree with the hook problem and that’s part of what the hold up was on finally finishing…trying to get a bigger hook.

    BTW on Talarius…my long term goal is to have him seriously conflicted about Good vs Evil.

    Reference now, discussions between Sentir Falon and Lilith and Talarius emotions upon talking to Tal Gor


    There is one point, and only one point where I mention antimus.

    While not well known, animus is or can be polarized. It balances between the positive and negative planes (wizards don’t know anything about this hence it’s not in the library) There is a huge theory that Lilith will maybe have a diatribe about at some point but.

    By and large none of the supernaturals actually believe in good and evil. It really is sort of like Tom tells Antefalken, at least as far as most gods and avatars believe.

    However, there both positive and negative forces in the multiverse. Call it order/chaos, yin/yang, creation/destruction whatever. And animus can be polarized.

    There is animus that everyone talks about but there is also antimus. Think antimatter and matter.

    Point is…Aodh, Sentir Fallon and Lilith used Antimus in creating the dagger that killed Orcus. The dagger literally eats animus. Tom knows this emotionally, if not technically, that’s why he is sure Orcus is dead. Permanently.

    Lilith knows this, Sentir Fallon doesn’t get it.

    The problem is, the presence of Excrathadorus Mortis within the Church of Tiernon (and the Rod) has had a corrupting influence. Talarius has been carrying it for several years and was being influenced. It’s not possession, it’s subtle, understated, but corrupting.

    Now that Excrathadorus Mortis is destroyed. Talarius is now free of its influence. Influence he didn’t realize he was under.



    Excellent ideas! I will play with them this weekend and try to issue some alternate ending options.

    But…this is that INFINITE WORLDS OF MAYBE stuff that I have warned about. OK, it’s not too huge a shift…but I am thinking I might downplay the Tizzy Arg-nargoloth scene


    Don’t be too hard on yourself; your writing is amazing. I mean, “Dropped the ball” just seems a bit harsh. I was reading a beta copy after all.

    I actually liked that Vaselle overwhelmed Tom; I was merely grousing about not hearing much from Vaselle AFTER that.

    And yes. I can see how interstellar spacecraft would be a bit of a stretch – especially when there are already so many other settings and characters to keep up with.

    But, if you’re planning a spin-off (just throwing in my opinion early), definitely include gate tech and the Alcubierre drive. The Klingon tie-in is good. And while any reference to the Stargate franchise is especially appreciated, I am much more inclined to suggest a gate system like the one in the book Runner by William C. Dietz – if you are going to include star gates of any kind. The blending of tech like we’ve seen at Mount Doom is particularly intriguing. I’m liking that characteristic of your work so far.

    But I digress. I’ll definitely check out the third beta copy. For how much longer will comments be useful?


    I know, right? Though I’ll admit that I was a little slower on the uptake with the SGU hydrogen Collection. BTW, the same writers are now making Dark Matter which seems to have some pretty fresh plot stuff as far as SF is concerned.

    I like the inclusion of SF, but I’d hate to see the series’s direction get befuddled with technobabble. Gates are super-awesome, of course, but there’s only so much room in a book. I’d say it’d be best to stick with the interstellar spaceships since we already know of at least one character who has been on one. Personally, I’d prefer the SF-heavy scenes to focus on how Tom knows more about technology than is normal in the Abyss. This would make him stand out since he’s supposed to be really old. Where would he have learned about the technology? Would characters assume it’s just part of his mysterious past, or would they start to question his age?

    I can counter-argue myself in that gates could be rather easy to write into the plot – they just use the same basic concepts as the boom tubes (I like that you specified that they actually go BOOM – unlike certain other “boom tubes” in pop culture). You already pointed out that different worlds have different level of magic permeation. Perhaps travelers can use gates to travel between magic-rich worlds and use spacecraft to get to ones that don’t have enough magic to support the boom tubes.


    I’m really liking the end of the Second Book now. I’m dying to see the interaction with Ruiden, Talarius, Tom, and the upcoming battle (curse you, cliff-hanger!). Of course, I want to hear more about Vaselle in the third book. Why did he become a Warlock? I wonder when Jenn will find out about Tom – that would be quite the spectacle. But, I suspect you’ve been sitting on that reveal for good reason 😉

    I think the immortal/invincible nature of demons gives them a unique perspective – I don’t want to see that diluted (personally). That seems to be seeping in with the D’Orcs and Mount Doom. I really enjoyed reading through places in Book 1 where Tom was clearly over-powerful for the situation. He’s basically a super-hero with really, really bad press. Based on how you’ve written Lenemare in Book 2, I might be interested in seeing how an interaction between those two would play out. Especially if they just run into each other in Astlan.

    Clearly, Tizzy is holding out on us – as much as I want to see the character interactions above, the real intellectual mystery lies with Tizzy. What does his ‘book’ do? How close are the Astlanians from opening it? What is the reference to mythology if there is one? How old is Tizzy? Is Tizzy really just an old demon? Or is there something more to him than meets the eye?

    I’m asking myself all of these questions now, so the ending has improved a lot. Woot!


    The name of the book is about where people think it is going, not necessarily where it is going.

    So major story points that we can guess based on book 2:

    1) Doom will expand its reach to the other worlds via Shamans; people will freak. Particularly Aodh and the elves. Gastrope’ and Jenn will be stuck in the middle.
    2) The Inferno shows up in the Abyss and starts randomly shooting at demons and gets into lots of trouble while trying to find Tom and Talarius in an Infinite Sized plane.
    3) The archdemons will try to pulverize Freehold and seize the book.
    4) Lillith will get even more paranoid and probably do something rash.
    5) Sammael will get involved
    6) Hilda will charm her way deeper into a hole she doesn’t know she is falling down. Particularly once…well…I can’t say…and that might be book 4. Probably will be.
    7) Hilda and Trisfelt will enjoy several nice dinners and more tasty wine.
    8) Vaselle will probably get in over his head and need to call on Tom (or his powers) to kick some butt.
    9) Rupert and Fer-Rog will cause more headaches for Tom
    10) The Nyjyr Ennead will start trying to persuade Tom to help them take out Tiernon
    11) The Djinn?
    12) Randolf and Lenamare will try to bind and enslave Exador.
    13) The Baron of Chaos whose knights were wiped out is probably going to want some answers from Lillith.

    Just idle thoughts, no promises. OK, I can promise #7.


    Yeah, I have to read that part of book 1 again. But yes, you can kill a demon permanently in the abyss, you just have to do more damage or so much damage that they can’t regenerate from it.

    The point of the discussion was that dragons didn’t regenerate as fast, but they could would reappear somewhere else and regenerate slowly. Whereas demons you had to really go after, but you could eventually kill them or chop them into so many pieces they couldn’t regenerate.

    What is not clear to Tom for example: Is beheading a demon enough to kill it permanently in the Abyss? Which part would regenerate? This will start worrying him.

    On the other planes if things get too much to regenerate, demons fade back to the abyss. But in the abyss there is no where to fade to.

    So presumably you could do enough damage that there wasn’t enough left for the demon to regenerate from.

    Now, that being said, they are MUCH hard to kill in the Abyss than in other planes, but you can kill them. On other planes you would have to do a special ritualistic slaying or use something like the dagger or a C.O.D. (presumably) to kill the demon. But in the Abyss, sufficient damage alone can do it.

    A nuke like Lenamare’s on Astlan would send the demon to the Abyss. the same nuke in the abyss would permanently kill the demon.

    Probably should flesh this out better.


    I think that would help, although that is just me, I dont mind conversation character development.

    Things I can think of other than dialog to add for Tom could be: More stops on Tizzy’s tour. Some conflict with Antefalken, with Lilith demanding he bring Tom to the courts (they go but something happens to change their minds and avoid her?). Other demons finding Toms first cave, before they go on the tour.

    Escalating problems faster might be an issue with the timeline, as that could shorten the Tom sections when the recommendations seem to be to include more of him. Then there is the issue of too much happening at once, since this book takes place in roughly a week. Maybe insert new issues/conflicts in Toms area.


    Lets put ideas that would require overhauling a lot of book two here.


    But why can he create a gate to a certain point in the abyss without a focus point, but not one to Astlan. What is different?


    The planet rotates and orbits Fierd and tilts….the plane either doesn’t or is synched with abyss.

    Actually it isn’t necessarily a problem for most people (that can do it). It only is for Tom because the only way he’s ever done it was by following a link. I.e. he needs practice

    The archdemons pop in and out from wherever they want to.

    In many ways it’s much like teleportation, you really have to know where you want to go.


    Why is it a problem to open a gate to the planes of Man/Orc/whatever without anyone to link to?
    In book 1, when Tom intercepted the summoning of the priest, he knew he would end up in Astlan, so finding the plane isn’t the issue. And then it shouldn’t be difficult to wander the plane in that ghostform and create a gate.

    The Bess thing is a little bit odd, not necessarily wrong, but odd. First she runs around in her ‘official’ goddess form. Why would she take the risk to be linked to her true self?

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