Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30th

Torii is really kicking my butt right now.

When I started the story, I didn't know how I'd manage to write the parts where her actual memories come back. It turns out I can do it, but it's by sheer force of will and it requires major revisions along the way.

Every time I go to write, I want to write in a way that is running away from the story. In fact, that's how I had to first write it. I wrote a mere paragraph that described in very general terms what was happening, as if the characters weren't living the story.

I wrote: "For the next two days, Gilly was irritable and exhausted. She wouldn't sleep...." etc, etc.

A day later, I took the paragraph and stretched it out into two pages that showed what that looked and felt like. Now I'm through that scene, but there are several more to come and they are going to be coming faster and faster, until her memories reach her. They are already on the Indian subcontinent.

In the meantime, I'm getting more and more detailed about the second half of the story. The landscape of the Touzainanboku Mountains is growing more and more clear, with its cities, villages and roadways.

At some point, I will have to go back and rewrite a great deal of the first part of the story, to reflect my growing knowledge of the setting.

I am getting so excited about writing that part of the story. It's going to be fun. Aiko, the daughter of the O-minami daitoku, Yuudai, is going to be attending the same boarding school as Gilly. They are the same age, so they will be in the same class. Sometimes Gilly will spend her vacations with Aiko, at the O-minami shrine.

I'm pretty sure that I'm going to make the Abbey and the boarding school completely English, though the nuns and students will all have Japanese names, and customs. I like it, it feels whimsical to me. It will have English gardens, drawing rooms and Gothic arches, that sort of thing.

Gilly will stay with Tenshio's parents on the weekends. Their house will be just at the edge of terraced rice patties with the paths that wind along the high banks to the near by village. Tenshio's father is the retired village school teacher with a passion for Shogi, the Japanese version of Chess.

The village will have seasonal festivals that the school children will attend. Gilly will eventually take up archery, maybe or tennis. She will be given a bike for a birthday present one year, and ride that back and forth between the school and her home on the weekends.

Tenshio will walk down from the shrine once or twice a month and meet Gilly at the school, and walk with her to his family's house. He will still be the one that comes to consult with the Abbess over her progress in school, and will attend any school performances she may be a part of, or any sport meets.

This will be after her first year there, when he'll have to come more often, to convince her that he hasn't abandoned her there. (Despite this, I think she'll try running away in her first week.)

Tenshio will set all of this up, after thinking it through very carefully, once he learns that Gilly will not be passing back through to her home in the Ochuusin. He will continue as her guardian, but he will decide against having her live at the shrine with him. It's too isolated and lonely, even with a governess.

When she graduates, instead of a large extended family, she'll have Tenshio's mother and father, Lord Fushi, Lord T'ien-lung, Pidguyok and Captain Kaito all show up in the audience of the large hall of the Abbey. Actually, Lord T'ien-lung won't fit in the hall, come to think of it. He'll have to wait outside, his long body coiled in the courtyard.

That will be a very fun scene to write. I mean, what girl wouldn't want a dragon, a Fu dog, a talking husky and the guardian of the west wind all showing up for her graduation? I'm telling you what, I would love it. Clearly.

At some point, she must return to the Kagamihara. I can't decide if she gets sent there as part of an expedition, or if she gets taken. I think she has to get taken.

Here's why: (The rest of this blog is nothing but plot elements. And I haven't put it all together myself, yet.)

Tenshio's master, the former O-nishi daitoku, was killed by a corrupt deamon named Katashi, who has a stronghold somewhere on the continents of  the Kagamihara. That's why Tenshio has his position at his relatively young age, after only eighty or so years of apprenticeship.

When Katashi makes a second attempt at the shrine, Tenshio drives him off. To escape Tenshio, Katashi throws himself into the Ochuusin, right next to Gilly's apple orchard. In the ensuring struggle, Gilly gets cut by Katashi's blade, which is really bladed light; deamons fight with chi that they manipulate by force of will.

Because Katashi is corrupt, so is his blade. Left untended, Gilly would have died from the wound. This is why Tenshio carries her into the spirit realm in the first place, planning to return her as soon as he cleaned the wound. This is also why Katashi escapes; Tenshio lets him go in order to tend to the child.

(This whole fight scene is the prologue of the story, by the way, and it's great, if I do say so myself.)

So anyway, Katashi decides he can't overthrow the wind shrines. He decides to turn his attention in another direction entirely; toward the underworld. It's rumored that there's a gate to the underworld in the Kagamihara, but its buried so deeply that no one will ever feel it or find it, unless they're called to pass through.

But Katashi knows that there are strong spiritual links between the spirit realm and the Ochuusin. In the Ochuusin, the underworld gate will cast a spiritual shadow, an aura. Once he finds the shadow, he'll mark the location, pass through the spirit realm, and beginning calling the gate open.

Conveniently, this will take as much time as it will take Gilly to grow up. (Ah, the neatness of story telling time lines!) In fact, around the time she's sixteen or seventeen, Katashi, having found the shadow of the underworld gate in the Mariana Trench, will pass through and begin preparations to call it forth.

This will upset the balance of the Kagamihara, which will in turn upset the daitoku mina. They won't be able to pinpoint just what's happening or where, because the effects will be diffused by the ocean waters. Besides, Katashi is subtle.

But strange, ominous things will be happening. One of them will be Katashi drawing all the Inga, the dark shadows, to him, to use their energy. This way he'll learn about Gilly; from her own Inga. That Inga will be nursing a grudge against Tenshio, for temporarily destroying him.

He will have called the gate to just under the bottom of the ocean where the tectonic plates overlap, in the Mariana Deep, only to discover that he needs a final and powerful sacrifice to burst the gate open- he'll need a living human sacrifice.


He attemps to pass through to the Ochuusin, but he won't be able to. He'll have poured so much of his own energy into the opening of the gate that he'll be tied to the spirit realm. This leaves him no option but to take the one living human in the entire spirit realm.


So, sometime after she graduates, Gilly will be taken by force into the Kagamihara.

I have no idea what that's going to look like; it's too far ahead in the story. There are several questions I don't yet know how to answer, such as:

Will they pass very quickly over the Kagamihara, or will it be a long, arduous journey like the first time?

If she's taken to the Mariana Deep, how will he keep her alive long enough to sacrifice her? She'll drown long before she gets deep enough for the water pressure to crush her. Sorcery? (Ah, the convenience of magic in a fantasy novel!) Will her piece of chi keep her alive?

Maybe the ocean itself will keep her alive, having some deep seated sense of what is happening, and some prescience about what will happen and wanting to destroy the deamon who is polluting its waters.

Mmm. I like that. I'm probably going to go with that.

How far behind them will Tenshio be? If Tenshio can't swim, (and he can't) how does he go after her? Or does he? Does she rise to the surface on her own? Maybe a large whale swallows her, like Jonah, and carries her to the surface, to spit her out.

Yes, actually, that's cool. The ocean spirit could take the form of a large whale, capturing her and bringing her back to the surface. Then Tenshio can either be waiting there, or find her there, depending on how quickly he comes.

Or, or...! The ocean spirit could take the form of a serpent- you know, the classic sea dragon. Lord T'ien-lung's watery counterpart. Mmm. Symmetry... so irresistible.

I don't know. But when I get closer, I'll know.

The whole thing is somewhat in flux, actually. I can't tell what will be the very end, but I think part of the end will be her spirit releasing the chi. I have in mind certain things that could trigger this release, but I haven't decided yet.

Then the very end could be her traveling to the Ochuusin to see her parents, either in their actual dreams, or in waking life. I don't know.