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The Chaos: A summary

If you ever happen to mention to someone that you're writing a book, it's only natural for them to ask what it's about. I completely understand, of course, but I gotta say... I bloody hate that question. Because it's hard to sum it up succinctly, without making it sound a great deal less complicated than it actually is. I can just say "It's a fantasy story about this guy who's starting a rebellion." But that's just not sufficient, y'know? I feel like to properly explain it would take longer than anyone necessarily wants to listen, and probably longer than they actually have the free time to listen, especially if we're at work or something. Hell, I might not even be able to remember everything about the book, at one time. There's alot going on, in there. Still, I often find myself imagining myself explaining it (oh, I have countless types of imaginary conversations in my head, on various subjects; it's so much easier than talking to people in reality). So really, it's not that I hate the question, per se, but rather I hate not having the time to really explain it. So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna summarize it right here, and in the future, if anyone asks what my book is about, I'll direct them to this page.

Ahem. It is set on a planet called the Land, which God created in what is, on Earth, known as the year 1997 (the year I started writing the book; though I believe I started at the end of the year and the planet was created on January 1.) I've never actually been entirely certain whether I want to say it was created in 1997 or 1998. It doesn't really matter. Either way, the book is set in what is, on the Land, known as the year 912. Which puts it around 2909, Earth time. I've already said more than is really necessary about the timing, but I could very well go into greater detail about certain things, like the calendar of the Land and all that... but I won't, as much as it pains me.

It's necessary to give a bit of backstory, however. Religion was first conceived in the year 100, but it wasn't until 404 that it actually became organized, in the form of the Order. Now, by the year 890, there were like 19 villages scattered across the Land, or as much of it as had yet been explored at all. Each village was essentially autonymous, but the Order wanted the world to be more... orderly. So, a Plan was conceived, and refined over the next 7 years, to bring order to the world by establishing a world government (which would also be called the Order, even though technically separate from the religion; so the two would unofficially be referred to as the First Order and the Second Order). The actual implementation of the Plan began in 897, and was intended to take another 7 years to complete. Lots of changes came to the Land over those years, but it wasn't until about 901 that anyone not involved in the Plan began to become at all aware of what was really going on. In 902, the Protestant Movement was formed to oppose the (First) Order in its Plan. At first this was mostly just a second religion (even though they technically worshipped the same God), though as more was learned of the Order's Plan, which involved eventually going to war (they'd always known something like the Protestant Movement would happen, and the Plan accounted for it)... the Movement itself also geared up for war, while others (not necessarily religious figures, but still Protestants) began spreading the truth to people around the world, though not everyone believed it... and by the time everyone did realize there was some truth to it, the Order had maneuvered itself in such a way that most people believed what they were doing was for the best (even if they didn't know about the Plan, they believed in its results). And so, the Second Order was established in 904.

However, the last major battle of the war was in 903, on the estate of Adam of Triscot. His 13-year-old son, Darius, was in Tanq visiting his uncle at the time. Darius had often argued with his father, who was against the Order, while Darius was in favor of it. Even then, the boy's ideas were beginning to be changed by various things, most notably speeches he heard by a popular adventurer named Vallus, who spoke out against the Order. But Darius remained uncertain how he felt, until he heard about the final battle, in which his entire clan, aside from himself and his uncle, were killed. After that, he became an adventurer himself, and travelled the world. But in the back of his mind, he always hoped to some day start a rebellion. The one thing he knew is that he didn't want to have a plan, like the Order had. And without a plan... nothing really came of his idea.

Until one day in 912, when he happened to meet a retired adventurer named Tom (this is the point at which the book actually begins). They struck up a conversation, which unexpectedly led to Darius finally starting his rebellion, which he decided to call "the Chaos." Joining Darius and Tom was a street rat named Tiejo, and a band of minstrels and adventurers called the Band, which included Alecstar, Ginger, Cameron, Emma, and Tino. Each of them had their own reasons to dislike the Order... Meanwhile, a little known fact was that one part of the Plan had involved the Order encouraging small-time street gangs to organize their criminal activities. Two major intervillage gangs rose up, called LandOrder and InterGang. They were basically pawns, who the Order was setting up to convince the public that it was necessary to create a united invervillage police force (called InterVil). This was one of the greatest steps leading to the eventual establishment of a world government. Now, these two gangs have a major rivalry with each other, but there's a balance of power that prevents them from engaging in all out gang warfare. However, a coincidental series of events leads to LandOrder aligning itself, in a vague way, with the Chaos. At the same time, the don of one of InterGang's branches begins plotting a coup within her own gang, or rather, she plans to start her own gang, the Illuminati, taking as many of InterGang's people with her as she can. While all this is going on, throwing the balance of power out of whack, there's also the question of a group called the Syndicate, which was initially not much more than a sort of neighborhood watch, growing in power itself, in various villages, and possibly starting its own alliance with InterVil (the police force, not to be confused with InterGang). It's also an election year, and all these various situations could end up having an impact on whether the reigning king, Demos, gets reelected or not.

Darius and his group at first have no plan, other than to head to Near Port to rescue Tiejo's old master, who he says is held prisoner by the Order, though he won't tell them his master's name (which will eventually turn out to be a major surprise). Along the way they meet various people, gaining new enemies and new allies. Events move far faster than Darius ever could have imagined, and he's not entirely comfortable with everything, especially being allied with LandOrder, not wanting to associate with criminals, especially considering the irony of gangsters' involvement in the establishment of the Second Order, years ago. But he has little choice, because now both InterVil and InterGang are against the Chaos, so they need all the allies they can get.

Eventually, Darius receives a major surprise which I don't want to spoil, but it will be incredibly important both to his plans of rebellion (and he does eventually realize he needs to do some planning), as well as on a deeply personal level. Meanwhile, throughout the book we learn more about Darius, who suffers from something like Asperger's Syndrome, though at this point in the Land's history, the condition hasn't been diagnosed. He experiences a great deal of social anxiety and bouts of depression, and there's much about himself that he hates, so of course he has terrible doubt as to whether he's in any position to be leading a rebellion. His personality is largely based on my own, so it's not just a straightforward (albeit complex) fantasy story, it's also the story of a troubled character coming to terms with... well, his whole self image, his place in the world, all of that. I hope that people reading the book will get to understand me better, through Darius, but also I hope that it will help them understand all people with such a condition. And perhaps even show such people that they themselves can accomplish great things, in spite of their self doubt.

It's not just about Darius, though. There'll also be plenty to learn about his new friends, who each have significant backstories, and important parts to play in building the future of the Land. And along the way, we get to learn alot more about the history and nature of the Land, which is a complicated world filled with all sorts of familiar aspects of countless types of fantasy stories, though I hope that it's just off-kilter enough to seem a bit original and amusing, as well as interesting. Some people may see it as unoriginal because of all the things it incorporates, but we all know there's nothing truly new under the sun... so, whatever. I think it's all weird enough to seem sort of new, even while reminding people of other things (and there are lots of cultural references, some which will be obvious to the reader, but not the characters, and some which will be known to the characters simply because they know Earth exists and Landians have always been fascinated by Earth, even though Earth people don't know of the Land's existence). I intend to write a prequel that details the history of the Land from Day One to at least the time the Second Order was established, so I don't want to reveal too much of that at this point... but I will say that it is accepted lore among Landians that God created the first two people, Connor and Brigid, and He told them to pick a name for their world. They chose "Earth," but when He said that name was taken, they decided on "the Land" instead, since it meant the same thing. This is why people have always been so interested in Earth, over the ensuing centuries. But the reason they know so much about it is because there are people called spirit-talkers, who can talk to spirits, and those spirits can provide them with information from countless other worlds.

The book contains alot of religious ideas, many which may be seen as sacrilege by some Christians, particularly the intermingling of religion and magic, as well as science. There is also the fact that magic-users on the Land (called Sorreters) used genetic manipulation, at one point in the past, to create a sentient race of elves. And later, to create merfolk. And there are various other mythical creatures which possess at least some degree of intelligence, but all intelligence was derived from human genetic stock, originally.

Yep, I've said way too much already, and I've barely scratched the surface. As I said, after the Chaos there will be a prequel (called "the Order"), and after that a sequel ("the Balance"), which will end up introducing many more ideas, and newly created mythical creatures, along with the further adventures of Darius and company. And in the distant future, after the original trilogy, there may be any number of other books and/or short stories set on the Land, both in its past and future. My plans beyond the trilogy are vague, but I very definitely do have a good number of ideas....

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