Plumbing the Inner Darkness in…The Chains of Capitulation

 

When I first set out to write the Journey through the Land of Shades series, I envisioned that the novel would unfurl over the course of three volumes. That was still my intention when I began writing what I foresaw as the final volume of the series…A Fallible Goddess and the Enduring Sorrow. Intentions are a strange commodity…malleable and fluid, they seem to constantly change to match the reality of the moment. As I delved deeper into this complex and evolving tale, I realized that it would be impossible to encompass the full scope of the remaining segment of this story in one novel without eviscerating the critical aspects of the story I wished to tell. Thus, The Chains of Capitulation was born…and the trilogy has now grown into what will be a four volume set.

In part, the reason for this sudden change of intention was my realization that the primary protagonist of the series was not an easy character to encapsulate…to define in a neat package that could be contained within one final volume. If I had to define myself as a writer…to pigeon hole myself in a specific niche other than being an intuitive writer (which is an oddity in and of itself)…I would describe myself as a writer who enjoys exploring the grey spaces. The grey spaces are those areas of moral ambiguity that exist between the rigid boundaries of virtue and self-interest. They provide such an inexhaustible wealth of material from which a writer can draw inspiration and I have gone to this particular well repeatedly over the course of the seven novels I’ve written thus far. Islena Doraux, the series’ protagonist is the quintessential embodiment of the grey character. She is a discordant contradiction of opposing internal forces, who is a well-spring for precisely the kind of exploration I so enjoy. Islena represents the sternest challenge that I have ever faced in crafting a viable fictional character from the complex clay that I have elected to use as a foundation. In this third novel, we see both an evolution and devolution of Islena Doraux, as she begins to discern the true formative core of her existence…seeing that she is more the embodiment of an idea…a perspective…than an actual living being. This is also true of both Myrhia and Artumas…the two other sides of the equilateral triangle that represents eternal conflict, but with Islena Doraux, the story finds its true essence and ultimate resolution. The extended retail teaser rather succinctly describes the arc of this tale and I’ll let it speak for all that the reader can expect to encounter in The Chains of Capitulation.

‘I will forewarn you, when the last of these shadows has been swept away to reveal the brutal reality of your existence, all that awaits you is the embrace of bitter despair. Do you have the courage to confront your true identity without the protective mantle of delusion or bias, Daughter?’ Myrhia to Islena Doraux. After surviving the harrowing trek through the Land of Shades and locating the legendary king, Islena’s burgeoning hope is crushed by the truth of her own insurmountable inner darkness.

Against immense odds, Islena survives personal abjection and the horrors of the Upper Lands and miraculously defeats the Morticant Hybrid that has usurped control of her traveling companion’s body. After tenaciously overcoming every obstacle while crossing the Land of Shades and reaching the Great Western Ocean, she finally locates the legendary king Artumas. Islena is suffused by the hope that he will help her locate the two remaining Proclamations…the tangible manifestations of power necessary to vanquish the Myrhia, the Mother of Iniquity.

During the course of her grueling journey, Islena experiences the nascent stirrings of memories from a thousand past lives…the resonating echoes that have forged the shape and direction of history in a thousand different worlds. No longer nebulous fragments, these past incarnations speak to her of the pivotal roles they have played in the epic struggles and grand dramas…the critical and often tragic junctures that defined their worlds. Through these revelations, Islena Doraux comes to grasp that she is the culmination of this recurring persona…a mortal vessel that plays host to an immortal spirit, whose death will inevitably lead to her rebirth…just as nightfall inexorably yields to dawn. To her horror, she learns that each rebirth heralds the onset of a new chapter of bloody conflict, suffering human misery.

While trying to solve the puzzle of this seemingly pointless unending cycle of tragedy, Islena is plunges through the seemingly innumerable layers of past existence in an effort to discover her genesis…and the perplexing purpose she was intended to serve.

Above the cloth of the world, the eternal triangle of conflict spins…a recurring cycle of misery and incessant struggle of which she is the pivotal element…tearing asunder the illusions that have characterized her life. As she embarks on the next leg of her epic journey, the final layer of Islena’s sequestered identity is stripped away by an epiphany that will reveal the irreducible core of blackness that resides in the fabric of her nature. In the moment of terrible insight…Islena Doraux comes to divine that it is she who poses the greatest threat to everything she strives to protect. To avert this calamity, she is left with no recourse but to willingly accept the chains of capitulation that her avowed enemy has held out for her to embrace.

Now that Islena has willingly embraced these dark chains…there remains but one tale to spin in her saga. As the title would imply…A Fallible Goddess and the Enduring Sorrow will not necessarily see the conclusion of this fantasy epic to the brightest of resolutions…but it is perhaps the only ending Islena’s story could possibly have.

Between the release of Chains and that last chapter, there will come The Converging: An immortal Heart Asunder…which will represent my final foray into the horror genre. When the last sentence of Islena’s tale is committed to paper…on Final chapter in the Journey cycle will remain. I envision Wake of the ShadowCaster to be a long…truly epic volume that will see a definitive end to the stories of every character who helped weave the tapestry of the Journey saga. Beyond that….well, let the future unfurl as it would.

 

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