While I would have preferred to do this in the time frame I originally stated, at this point, I'm just grateful I can do it all. With only three weeks left until the release of Divine Agents Volume One, I'm feeling more than a little tense. The line problems really drove that to a level that I can only define as mind numbingly stressful.
Now, when I started looking at the whole of Divine Agents Volume One, trying to decide what to put out there as an excerpt, I had to really think about it for a while. Each of the ten stories in this book bring something that I think really helps to define what The Mythic Age is all about. Selecting only one was not easy.
The thing is, these stories, all of them, feature characters I care for deeply. They are special people to my mind, and live in my heart, the way good characters should. When I look at their story, I look at more than the story. I also think about who the characters are as people, and how they represent the larger world they live in. In the end, selecting the excerpt became more about deciding who I would share than about what.
The stories themselves are good, I think. Solid, well told tales. Picking in that fashion would have given me a enough of a hard time. Selecting based on the characters, however, now that was tough. Do I introduce the world of The Mythic Age to readers with a tale The Savage Saint and her endless war against evil, or with Rumilla Descartes and her unique way of doing things? Do I show readers the joy of Sully Sage and Bruce, the dragon that lives in his pocket, or the heroic journey and sacrifices of Anikka of Fox Clan?
What of Sir Gannon of Cree, or Siada, the barbarian Elf? What of Kisatori, and his painful journey? Or Thomas Giardi, and how he learned what it truly means to be called by the Gods to serve? How do I pick the one that stands out, shows readers why The Mythic Age is such a wondrous world, and allows them to lose themselves in its depths?
As I was pondering this, I happened to read an article about George R. R. Martin, a writer I have a great deal of respect for, and some advice he once gave about writing. His words, in the end, made my selection easy.
"Never hoard your silver bullet."
As soon as I read that, I knew what story to share, and which character needed to be the window into The Mythic Age. For those who know nothing of the world, this character needed to be the one to introduce them. While each of the characters in Divine Agents Volume One is dear to me, this one, special, amazing figure is the silver bullet.
Why, you ask? Because he is a Troll.
The Sentinel is not just a fine story, or a great character, but the perfect example of why The Mythic Age is a unique and amazing place. This character, this amazing soul I am blessed to know, is everything I love about this world. He inspires me, as a person, and I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to get to tell his tale.
For of all the characters of The Mythic Age, this is the one that I think deserves to be told the most.
Please take the time to meet a Troll you'll never forget, over at Scribd. The Sentinel is fantasy done my way, and a story that moves me deeply. I hope it will you as well.