Crucible of Shadows: an experiment in plotting
I had this idea of taking the plot of a story I know well (in this instance, I used Wikipedia for the plot summary) (don’t click on that link if you want to read my version first), changing all of the character and locations names, and seeing what it looked like then. I also flipped the gender of some characters and made a few other tweaks. The source is probably still recognizable, but I like how it turned out.
I don’t write with plot outlines, I’m a pantser, not a plotter, but I’m thinking of using the beginning of this as a story starter and the rest as inspiration if/when I get stuck with what I want to have happen next in the story.
A year after the Parliament of Shadows destroyed the sinister Welkin Corporation’s Empyrean Tower, the secret society has fled their subterranean headquarters in Brooklyn and spread out to hidden bases around the world. Prince Lightning leads a Parliament of Shadows division, including Lady Stormghost and Blue Kindred, at a base in the Arctic Circle. The Welkin Corporation, led by CEO Baxter Baron, continues to hunt for the Parliament of Shadows’ new bases by dispatching spy drones around the world.
While patrolling during a snowstorm, Blue Kindred is captured by a sasquatch. She manages to escape from its cave with her tesseract ring, but soon succumbs to the brutally cold temperatures. The spirit of her late mentor, Grayson Glass, appears and instructs her to go to the Louisiana bayous to train under his mentor, Chante the Wizard. Just as she loses consciousness, Blue Kindred is found by Lady Stormghost, who brings her back to base to recover.
Later, on patrol, Lady Stormghost and Bear discover a spy drone, which alerts the Welkin Corporation to the Parliament of Shadows’ location. The Corporation launches a large-scale attack, using robot troops to capture the Arctic base. Lady Stormghost and Prince Lightning escape in the cargo plane Cobweb with Butler and Bear, but the engine malfunctions. They crash and hide in the Canadian Rockies, where Lady Stormghost and Prince Lightning grow closer while repairing the plane. Baxter Baron hires mercenaries, including the notorious Bulldog Red, to assist in finding the Cobweb. Blue Kindred, meanwhile, escapes with Sneaky Pete in her light plane Shooting Star and flies to the Louisiana swamps. She meets a strange, short man who is revealed to be Chante the Wizard. After conferring with Grayson’s spirit, Chante reluctantly accepts Blue Kindred as his pupil.
After evading the Welkin Corporation and repairing the Cobweb, Lady Stormghost sets a course for Free City, a collection of ships and floating platforms in international waters off the western coast of Canada overseen by Lady Stormghost’s old friend, Candy Clarity. But shortly after they arrive, Candy leads the group into a trap and hands them over to Baxter Baron. Baron plans to use the group as bait to lure out Blue Kindred with the intent of capturing her alive and presenting her to his mysterious master, the Pale Man. During her intensive training in Louisiana, Blue Kindred sees a premonition of Lady Stormghost and Prince Lightning in pain and, against Chante’s wishes, leaves to save them.
Baron takes Prince Lightning and Bear into custody. He intends to hold Blue Kindred in suspended animation, and as a test freezes Lady Stormghost. He hands the frozen Lady Stormghost over to Bulldog Red, who intends to leave for Brooklyn to deliver her to her former employer, Boss Zversky. Candy, who was unwillingly forced into cooperating with the Welkin Corporation, initiates an escape and frees Prince Lightning and the others. They try to save Lady Stormghost but are unable to stop Bulldog Red from departing Free City with his bounty.
Blue Kindred arrives at Free City and falls into Baron’s trap. The two engage in a metapsychic duel that takes them across Free City to the central ship where, as her mentors warned, Blue Kindred proves to be no match for Baron, who telekinetically destroys Blue Kindred’s right hand, causing her to lose her tesseract ring. After Blue Kindred refuses to join Baron and the Pale Man, Baron reveals that he is Grayson Glass’ older brother and Grayson was not what he seemed. Horrified, Blue Kindred leaps over the side of the ship to escape. Floating in the sea and near death, she makes a desperate telepathic plea to Prince Lightning, who senses it and persuades Candy to rescue her before they leave. Sneaky Pete repairs the Cobweb‘s sabotaged engine, allowing them to escape the no-longer-free Free City, the Welkin Corporation, and a furious Baxter Baron.
Later aboard a Parliament cargo ship, Blue Kindred’s lost hand is replaced with a prosthetic hand composed of 5-dimensional crystal. Candy Clarity and Bear set off in the Cobweb to save Lady Stormghost. As the Cobweb flies off, Blue Kindred, Prince Lightning, Sneaky Pete, and Butler look on with both despair and hope.