I’m taking a brief break from publishing episodes of The Magnificent Five. Over the next several weeks, you’ll see episodes from Man Raised by Spiders instead. Man Raised by Spiders is the coming-of-age story of Valentine Claudius Shelawn, who is the third member of The Magnificent Five, after Inglorion and Ajax. In these pages, he’s appeared as the escaped slave Charon.
I’m switching out stories temporarily for several reasons. First, Man Raised by Spiders narrates the Battle of Liamelia from Valentine’s perspective, and provides history about the Xialo Massacre that becomes critical in later episodes of The Magnificent Five. Publishing Valentine’s story over here provides the reader with background, and allows me to consolidate all the Shelawn family tales on a single blog.
The most important reason is a creative one, though. Much of The Magnificent Five is written and scheduled out, including a series of visions where Inglorion witnesses his own birth. While I was writing scenes involving Inglorion’s father Tereus, I became obsessed with the question of what actually happened during the months and weeks leading up to the Xialo Massacre. Inspiration struck, and as a result, I’m taking a break from Inglorion’s story to write an interlude tentatively titled The Last Days of General Field Marshal Tereus Shelawn. Once that’s complete, I’ll pick back up with polishing episodes of The Magnificent Five for publication.
The Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope said that the keenest joys and sorrows of his life were felt while writing; though he led a rich life off the page, he cared for his characters as much as he did for his own wife and children. The same is true for me. I feel intense affection for all the characters I’ve created, from Ajax to Xardic Ceralac, and each one of the Shelawns is a part of me: Inglorion, obviously, but also Valentine, Sieia, Marcus, Aramil, and even the ill-fated Tereus. If they give you even a small proportion of the pleasure they’ve given me, then I will have done my job as a writer.