First Assignment: Story Statement - “Velia Calder and the pirate crew of The Kueila will stop at nothing to save their captain from a deadly curse. By kidnapping prominent healer Sorin Esmond, they’ve bought her precious time---but their only hope is to locate The Salvus, a magical stone containing the power of a banished Goddess. Their best chance of finding it lives in their Etheri, a magic-wielding warrior named Elysia. But with Goddess Blood running through her veins, Elysia knows better than most that power comes with a price. When sinister forces above and below the water confront them, a sinister plot unravels that ties all of their destinies together in ways none of them ever imagined.” SECOND ASSIGNMENT: The Antagonist - In this first book in the series, there are two overarching antagonists:The Ethernalheart, the one of the last descendants of a type of magic commonly believed to not exist, and the presence of the Merfolk Council, who serve as a mysterious body of knowledge and deception. By the end of the book, we learn that the Merfolk Council from generations past is actually responsible for the genocide of magic The Eternalheart belongs to. Her part in this book is mostly behind-the-scenes, though she is the hand behind the war raging across the sea, and sets off every single plot point to fulfill her goal (ultimately revenge against the Council & grow her power, but the reader does not know this yet). Each of the main characters has an unknown connection to her: She cursed the amulet that sent the crew searching for The Salvus. She is Velia and her brother Draven’s lost mother, and manages to turn her son against his crew to assist her. She sets her cult to bring back Elysia, though her motivation for this is currently unknown. She is the reason the captain dies at Draven’s hand. Her further motivations & reactions are revealed in books 2 & 3, and I wasn’t sure whether or not to include most of them here! THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Breakout Title - The Tides of Fate. Other titles I originally considered for this book were: On Fate’s Tides and On Cursed Tides. FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Comparables - Fable by Adrienne Young: While my series is a little closer to New Adult/Fantasy in my opinion rather than young adult, my book also follows a similar premise of a found-family crew on a quest. Our books also feature complex female leads who create their own future and struggle with family dynamics. Adrienne and I also have a similar imagery-driven style to our writing. Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard: This book shares numerous themes with my own: A band of unlikely companions embark on a quest surrounding magic, a hidden lineage, and foe unlike any they’ve ever faced. The overarching plot is also far more complex than any of the characters predict, resulting in a war of epic proportions. I also really identify with Victoria’s personal reading choices. As she says in her Goodreads bio, “if people are dying, I'm buying.” FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Logline - On a journey to retrieve a stone imbued with a Goddess’ power and save their captain from a deadly curse, the eccentric and unusual crew of The Kueila discovers a sinister plot connected to a bloody secret that spans generations, and through each of their families. SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Other Matters of Conflict - The book is narrated by Velia, Sorin, and Elysia and told from an omniscient third person perspective. Velia: Internal Conflict - Stemmed from the disappearance of her parents and a childhood on the streets, Velia has a strong fear of abandonment. She also struggles with feelings of inadequacy. Both feelings present themselves in multiple facets of her life, such as believing she is unuseful to the crew because she isn’t a great fighter or believing her brother is far superior to her. When the ship is overrun with undead creatures, Velia argues that she can be useful without needing to fight. Her brother recognizes her noble intent, but insists she hide instead. His words consequently trigger her to hide her developing powers from him until it’s too late. Secondary Conflict - Inseparable since birth, Velia and her brother, Draven, slowly drift apart through the course of the book. As she grows closer to other members of the crew, her trust slowly begins to fade in him. Their trust deteriorates so significantly that when Draven betrays the crew, not only did Velia not see it coming, but she learns he kept the secrets of their mother and his plans from her under the delusion that she would be grateful. Velia abandons him instead. Sorin: Internal Conflict - Sorin travels the journey through frustration to fascination and confusion to fear at the hands of The Kueila’s crew. Though he finds each new life-altering fact fascinating, his lack of knowledge about the world beyond his small town frustrates him endlessly. As he develops relationships with the crew, he struggles when they inspire unique emotions in him. While around a fire on the ship one night, Sorin learns that his infatuation with Elysia comes from a genetic lure to her species; however, upon seeing clear love between two crewmates, Sorin fears that his definition of love isn’t what he believes it to be, and his feelings for Elysia may be something new entirely. Secondary Conflict - Sorin adapts to a new environment while being held captive by the crew. Each day comes with a new challenge to prove he’s more than just a kidnap-e, and a chance to develop a real relationship with various crew members. After their battle with the undead, Sorin assists the ship’s medic in healing the wounded. Each member he treats actually thanks him and compliments his quick thinking that night, prompting the beginnings of his found-family journey. Elysia: Internal Conflict - Elysia’s wracked with guilt when her captain is cursed, blaming herself for not trying harder to stop it. She also struggles with a sense of belonging. Despite the happy found-family she’s developed on The Kueila, the fear that lingers within other crew members triggers her to put up walls to keep herself from getting hurt. When Draven finally makes a move on her, she’s afraid of letting those walls fall and to return his feelings for fear of saddling him with a life on the run from her family, and the differences of their species. Secondary Conflict - Elysia deals with the crew’s fear of her by putting up internal walls, but Sorin has no intention of leaving them alone. He continuously pries for information about her heritage in life, sparking many arguments between the two. When Sorin finally sees her power in action, his unique lack of fear leads her to open up about her life to him in a way she’s never opened up to anyone before. FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Setting - In a fantasy realm currently wracked by war, power lies with who controls the most magic. Overlying World Setting Details: A Council of Nine Goddesses created and watches over the mortal world, agreeing to never interfere in their affairs. Favoring their Merfolk creations, four members of The Council chose to give four types of magic, one for each of them; they also blessed each of the royal lines with a child of their own, born with the blood of a Goddess running through their veins. Over time, these magic users, collectively known as The Etheri, bred with their human counterparts. Today, Etheri of Merfolk descent avoid human conflict and rarely appear above the surface. The remaining Human Etheri are prized by royalty and the rich alike, often for personal gain or breeding. With magic-laced bloodlines fading as the human generations pass, The Merfolk Council agrees to allow humans to hire highly-trained Etheri on a contract basis under a strict set of conditions. Rule #1: No involvement in their wars. While their Etheri creations thrived, the remaining members of the Council punished the four Goddesses for their gifts. They stripped each of their power, placing them within four stones across the planet. It is one of these stones the crew of The Kueila pursues to a remote island in the south, buried within a cave miles below the surface. A fifth stone, The Salvus, contains the power of a Goddess known simply as “The Unknown Goddess.” Her power, however, was of Life and Death, making her stone the only form of magical healing in existence. The other four Goddesses, those who never interacted with mortals, are worshipped by many uninformed human factions. More about The Unknown Goddess is learned in subsequent books. The Magic System: Depending on the bloodline, an Etheri may control anywhere between one and four types of magic stores. The Etheri are then grouped into subcategories, depending on their most powerful store of magic. Allura: Specialize in enchantment magic. They are often employed as negotiators or sell enchanted objects for a high price. Meutorra: Specialize in transmutation magic. They are often employed in the beauty industry for body alterations, though those with more power can shift themselves enough to fit through extremely tight spaces. Evocati: Specialize in elemental evocation magic. They often control the weather for expensive merchant ships to reach their destinations safely. They are considered the most violent fighters in times of war. Essos: Specialize in abjuration defense and protection magic. They create protection wards for expensive merchandise and shields around properties. A Note on the Merfolk: While only mentioned in this first installment, this is the world where Elysia comes from and becomes more relevant within the second and third book. The Merfolk are separated into four separate Orders. Each is ruled by a Queen descended from a Goddess’ bloodline. The Order of the Agate rules the warm, central waters spanning from Droque’s coast to Madrudel. The Order of the White Wind rules in the colder northern territory known as The Ice Fields. The Order of the Briar lives within the lakes and rivers on the main continentes. Lastly, The Order of the Depths rules within deeper waters. The Court is made up of each Order’s Queen and their heir when they come of age. Plot Setting: On their journey to save their captain, The Kueila travels across war-ravaged waters. Two large Kingdoms fight for power: The Maudredel Kingdom in the east, and the country of Droque in the west. The crew’s journey takes them to Maudredel’s port town of Kipswell, a small town south of the main continent. The town is ruled by a Merchant Council that controls the majority of the town’s wealth. Kipswell also contains one of Maudredel’s training grounds and sends off dozens of soldiers to the warfronts every week. After kidnapping Sorin from Kipswell, they sail north to a dirty, ash-smelling pirate town, Valrood. Valrood is a useful place for pirates to trade and buy supplies. Valrood also contains a small Merfolk Post on the eastern shore, where humans can purchase a contract with a Mere-Etheri. This is where the captain, Rhea, first signed the contract that brought Elysia about The Kueila three years prior. It is also where Elysia reunites surreptitiously with a mermaid friend to gain information on the location of The Salvus. The riddle Dara gives them takes the crew towards the western continents. Along the way, a significant portion of the plot takes place on The Kueila itself. A three-masted Frigate, The Kueila houses 30-some pirates on its three decks. Elysia first introduces the ship setting on her walk to the helm, informing Rhea of Sorin’s agreement to help them. In subsequent scenes, we see the captain’s lavish quarters, littered with treasure. We follow Elysia and Sorin around the deck as she casts a spell. We steal a kiss with Elysia and Draven in the crow’s nest. We run through the lower deck with Velia as she uses her power to subdue undead creatures. Resting in the shadow of an enormous mountain, the mining town of Soldeo introduces The Cult of the Spiritborn. After being ransacked by undead a week prior, the town is full of wreckage and fearful citizens. The Cult kidnaps Elysia, Velia, and Sorin and holds them captive in the mountain. The path through the mountain showcases Droque’s side of the war. Tunnels are lined with weapons ready to be shipped out to the front. The three messily escape the cult, returning us to The Kueila and the last leg of our journey. The temple of the Unknown Goddess sits at the northern edge of Droque. It’s a tall, obelisk-like structure with a submerged entrance. When Elysia and Sorin enter, they see ancient writing on the walls that only the Goddess Blessed can read. During the guardian’s test, Sorin and Elysia flash through locations of their past. Sorin’s test takes place at his family’s mansion in Kipswell. Elysia’s travels through the first real look at the Merfolk world. The palace of Ice where her family lives. An above water colosseum where the strongest Etheri battled to prove their worthiness to take contracts and defend their home. A beach where she trained, and accidentally killed, her father. The guardian leaves the two in a small cave with no walls where The Salvus rests on a golden pedestal. Taking the stone results in an opening appearing in the cave wall, revealing them on a tiny isle just off from the temple where The Kueila floats offshore. The final scenes take place on The Kueila’s main deck, the isle beach, and a town in the neutral country of Bacan. After the tragedy unfolds on the ship, the remaining crew members manage to make it to shore on the isle as The Kueila sails away. Across the bay, on Droque’s northern shore, they manage to pay for passage to Sorin’s hometown of Kipswell. Not much is seen of Bacan as they board another ship towards Kipswell. Map attached!