As I look to wrap up the story of Children of Dust, I’m already thinking of my second draft, and the changes I’d like to make to the story, namely giving a little more spotlight to the villains. Much of the tale is told from the perspective of the main character, Saramas, and while his introspective, philosophical nature allows me, the writer to explore topics such as death, life, faith and the meanings people attach to these things, I won’t deny that some of my favourite writing happens when I write the interludes to this tale, which focuses instead on the Trinity – the villains who set the tale in motion.
Perhaps it’s because I step away from the first-person narrative to tell their side of things in third-person narration – and that mode seems more familiar and comfortable to me – but I also realized, after a while, that the three villains represented different stages of my life: Mithia Ang, the Mage, Samriev Gyre Valterra, the Warrior, and Tyrren Myrgos, the Thief.
In-universe (and very briefly), the Trinity is composed of three undead who decide to do away with the established order of cyclic destruction that occurs in Nostrand every five centuries and steal an artefact that ensures the continued survival of Nostrand’s status quo. To them, a final end is preferable to aeons of constant fear.
Mithia Ang, the Mage, obsessed with intellectualism, seeking mysteries and hoping to find the truth, only to be paralyzed by those truths, surrendering to a hatred of the self and of the souls of others, represents the very real thread of self-loathing and contempt for humanity that I had in my early to mid-twenties. She’s a misanthrope, but she’s not wholly defined by that. She has hope for a better world… but she is also very much aware that the people around her can never live up to those hopes – the perhaps unrealistically high standards of ideals that she would hold everyone to.
Good and evil is quantifiable to her and is thus very prone to believing that the ends could very well justify the means. She tries to reduce everything to simple equations, weighing ‘what’s good’ against ‘what’s best’, and will often not care about the steps along the way, so long as it achieves her results. She is driven to succeed and is ambitious enough to try anything, perhaps to her own detriment. She overestimates her abilities… but not entirely without merit. She’s extremely good at what she does, and she knows it.
Ultimately, her obsession with knowledge will lead her to find all the answers she ever wanted… and it will crush her.
Writing the Mage of the Trinity was perhaps a form of catharsis for me. Mithia Ang is everything I think I used to be, taken to its logical conclusion, and I think the despair she feels at the end still strikes a chord with me. Of course, the overarching theme of the Trinity is that of despair – a wish to do away with the established order of Nostrand.
But that despair takes different forms for each of them.
The Mage’s despair arises purely from her fear that nothing will ever live up to the truths she had found in her search for knowledge and power, and that people will always prove to be disappointing in their aspirations and their deeds.
It is this fear that drives her to seek the truth of the human heart and faith, and, perhaps blinded by her own prejudices – or awakened to the truth of the universe – she seeks the best reflection of man’s heart and their place in the cosmos, wondering if she might find the truest expression of power and become more powerful as the Mage.
Her final location is in the chasm of the void, and here she confronts her hunter, Saramas.
It is her departure to the Abyss that breaks the Trinity and forces Tyrren to reshape his goal for the Trinity.
In the end, though, I think she had more autonomy than the rest of the Trinity. Despite Tyrren’s initiative and Samriev’s defiance (to be discussed later), she was the only one of the three to truly face her fate with a clear head and heart.
Looking at the story as it is now – about three chapters from being done, I really want to go back and flesh out a little more of what she felt and why.
I can’t wait to do this second draft.