Of Fractured Edges Afterword (+ Recording!)
The last of the first four afterwords/forewords—the one for Of Fractured Edges. This...this one might be the most intense of them, emotionally. Longest as well for sure. Most spoilerific too, so beware.
Anytime I try to explain how Of Fractured Edges means to me to anyone, mostly my internal wanderings, I come to this little anecdote. I don’t remember where I heard it or read it first, but to summarize:
When the Game of Thrones TV series was being made, the show runners were just hoping to reach the Red Wedding. They knew they had ‘done’ it when they had given that event of the novels justice in the cinematic form.
Of Fractured Edges is that for me. I know I said Harmonic Waves was like that, but Of Fractured Edges might be the greatest of those moments I needed to show. The one that had always been in some way.
Because this is to be read after the book is done, I will say it freely.
King’s Kharat name, the one he would never have uttered, the one that is spoken of in mystery but never in directness, is Malnoren. His Kharat name is Malnoren because he is Malnoren reincarnated. He is a shade of Malnoren. Malnoren as in the Fallen Angel Malnoren. The Fallen Angel who scourged a planet and was one of the three Great Fallen Angels who rebelled against Jihst.
That is what King Fla’neiel always knew but never shared. What he made sure no one else knew.
And what I alluded to throughout three books. I wanted this reveal, this mystery of his Kharat name and what could be so bad to be a long-running question in the background. King is already unique because he is the Last of Flana and a member of the Trinity and the One. Yet he seems so nonchalant about it at times, casual and skeptical. There’s something else lingering on his Neraq. Something else that is decidedly more.
That something else is that he is nothing but a shade of Malnoren. That maybe everything happened as Empirian retribution for Malnoren’s cruel acts. That he is destined for nothingness and everything in between is just an illusion.
That fatalistic perspective is what colors King’s actions. He is doomed and he dooms everyone around him. But maybe…maybe he can do something decent on occasion. Maybe he can rise above that and become his own being.
See, King was always going to have a point where he shattered and Malnoren came into power over him. King was always going to fight back and win.
The shape of this scattering was a revelation. As I said in my afterword for Threads that Bind the Tempest, that book did a great deal for laying the framework for future novels. In fact, its being was the platform for which Of Fractured Edges found its push. There was a jumping board in Threads that Bind the Tempest for Of Fractured Edges.
It was perfect. The tense air was transformed into anxious melancholy with hardly a nudge. I wanted people to feel unease in Threads that Bind the Tempest; In Of Fractured Edges, I wanted this sickly feeling of sadness and rejection to take over.
The pacing was critical. There are three threads in the book that intertwine to create the symphony of events.
King. Farrco, Cyclone, and Spellbinder. Hequera and the Wolfen.
How they relate to each other was constantly on my mind as I wrote it and edited Of Fractured Edges. Specifically, of the push and pull relationship of King and the trio’s threads. It starts with the trio. They think they take step forward, but King’s already another step ahead. They are following King.
But King’s also responding. The chapters lead into each other despite the distance. That is shown most clearly when Spellbinder is about to gasp out the name to herself, the answer to Cyclone’s charade, but the chapter cuts off.
It’s King who screams it out and reveals that truth. It was always his truth to tell and I made it happen. Prodded into verbalization by a critical Malnoren, Malnoren shouts out their same name. The lead up to that reveal was three books and a third or so in the making. I knew I was going there from the very first chapter. King Fla’neiel was always King Malnoren Fla’neiel.
The substance of that reveal was felt out. It was like it was put together miraculously by all the choices I had made. The resonation of Kharat and Vacore of Harmonic Waves coupled with the madness of the Diamondae Machine in Threads that Bind the Tempest.
Of course, How to Stop Wildfire contributed by giving us King in his depressed, fatalistic, yet hopeful state.
Harmonic Waves is clearly Cyclone’s book and Threads that Bind the Tempest is definitively Spellbinder’s, but the other two are not so clear. On one hand, King is the main perspective in How to Stop Wildfire. On the other hand, Farrco comes into being quite literally. He finds himself there. He is the one that truly sparks the Trinity and the One. But King’s the one driving it, plot wise.
So. Which one of them owns the first book?
Same question goes to Of Fractured Edges. King finds himself truly in the book but it’s also a major reality check for Farrco. The struggle for King’s being is seen mostly through Farrco. So there’s that contrast.
Which is dissected completely by Qua’wva in the sixth interlude—Green and Red.
I thought that the moment when King comes back or when the Fallen Angel Malnoren takes over him would be the most defining chapter of the book. It didn’t turn out to be, but that’s what I thought. That was what my mind was concerned over for years and years. King dealing with Malnoren and accepting it. My earliest thoughts had Cyclone pulling him out, but…it didn’t work with me.
I had a vision one day and the rest followed and worked.
I had this thought of King falling apart. Literally, his parts of being dissolving away. I wrote the chapter as if he were falling apart as Malnoren took over. That was the chapter that led into him meeting Qua’wva. Qua’wva with her red hair leading the way. I had just watched the movie Paprika again and the visuals inspired me to create that image.
Qua’wva wasn’t always there. It was just silence and him finding himself again from Cyclone or something. But that felt…void. Qua’wva started talking in that emptiness. She started telling King all about intent and meaning and the lack thereof. An attack against fatalism.
It was brilliant. And then it was there. The words she spoke just came one by one by one. It was like a revelation. Especially her last words about going back to Dialona. Her speeches and words to King are like my own. She became my pure voice for a moment or maybe the voice of some other me. Trying to bring King out and make the choice he was always going to make.
He chooses to keep existing. The cut to him fighting back was abrupt. Too abrupt.
It wasn’t like a breath of relief. It was like a shocking cut. I didn’t like it. That’s when I took the chapter of him falling apart and spun it on its head. I didn’t change much but I changed everything. Instead of King’s parts falling away, they were coming back together. He chose himself and he found himself part by part. I loved that scene of his being, being literally laid out and resonating back together. Existence. Mind. Body. Heart. And then—what was left?
He decides to own his name and goes to onward to seize it.
‘Interlude VI: Green and Red’ is the chapter that is the heart of Of Fractured Edges. It’s the one the makes my breath hitch when I think about it. It’s all so powerful to me.
That’s the entire book. Of Fractured Edges is…everything. It’s sacred to me. It was like for a moment the true power of my world or my passion spilled out into reality and became this eternal divine truth. I can’t explain it.
It feels holy. I had attained something great. Every piece was orchestrated, everything was calculated. When it was done, I felt such relief.
The same relief at the end of the book. They were together—that was what mattered. The set of four was complete and that was what mattered.
Of Fractured Edges is a brilliant conclusion to my first four book journey. I want to get close to that purity again. Different ways of getting closer because melancholy and the threat of it all ending are not always the way to get close to the essence of something. But for this saga, it took a divine shattering of King for it to happen. I was waiting for it for so long and the destination perhaps for a shard of a moment eclipsed the entire journey.
I’m going on and on again.
Parts of me are still living in those moments. I can say for certain now that instead of dwelling on the long ago past of original accomplishments with scrawled drafts of weird stories I dwell on these moments that I have penned with full focus and passion of my being. I did what I set out to do beyond all expectation. I haven’t failed myself of the past. I have become something more. I am the me now that will inspire and create for years on.
In other words, I made it.
2020 in Review
2020 was…well, it was quite something. But it really was a big year for the Spine of the Empire and my world. It felt like this was the year I just committed to…just going out there and doing things. Patreon was a big reason for this. A few of these accomplishments below were driven by having a Patreon page and communicating with you all. This post itself is because of that pressure to actually produce. And so this post is...
Commissioned Art of King Fla'neiel!
I went outside my comfort zone with this art commission! I wanted to try something a bit more cartoon-y compared to the other more moodier artwork I’ve had commissioned. And I really wanted to get King or one of the more armored/alien characters done. So I commissioned Malgamma for King Fla’neiel (after some back and forth of figuring that out, haha)! The Process It was pretty easy and straightforward, as I had a great deal of references for King in...