…and an unknown number left to go! Less than thirty, we are coming to the end of this book, finally. I have some thoughts for a second book, but… well, I’ll need to think about that. For one thing, Gan Zhu would almost be a side character for Book 2, rather than the supposed MC… Eh, never mind. ^^;
So, no new videos on The Evil Within this week, since I literally haven’t touched the project since Dark Souls Remastered came out. I’ll try to finish up sometime this week, and get the videos up. I’m not going to finish TEW, it just doesn’t grab my interest… but from the point of view of getting experience making videos it worked just fine, so I’ll chalk it up as a qualified win and move onto something that I do want to do.
Now, let’s talk about the Faded Ash clan.
When I created the characters of Black Robe and White Robe, I knew a lot about the role they served in the story. I knew that they had been assigned to serve Fan Bin at the behest of their true master; I knew that their ultimate goal was the destruction of North Pine City; and I knew that Fan Bin was cooperating completely willingly.
I did not know the name of their clan, or their actual names. I settled on “Faded Ash” literally when I wrote chapter 30. If you ask me whether the name was influenced by Dark Souls 3, I can only answer “Yes, about 120%.” But thematically, the name is apt…
As I’ve written Anubai, I’ve been a bit inconsistent about what qualifies as human (and therefore bound by Fate directly), what qualifies as a monster (and thus influenced indirectly but tightly by Fate), and what qualifies as a demon (an existence completely outside the framework of Fate). Gan Zhu and the Anubai are obviously demons; most everyone else in the story was human. There were originally going to be more intelligent monsters as well… but it seems most of them got consigned to the Underworks.
(You might be wondering, at this point, what category the Weaver fits into, or possibly Dolgo Mehek. Their cases are more complicated, so if I’m going to explain them, it will probably be in Book 2.)
Black Robe and White Robe were in a slightly different position. I had originally expected that their race and clan were actually a type of intelligent monstrous beast; but as I introduced more monsters and demons into the story, their status kept getting pushed closer to baseline humanity, and I eventually realized that my story would make more sense if they were more closely linked to Fate, and therefore human.
So, although their appearance hasn’t changed, the Faded Ash clan members are all human now. Specifically, they are a minority race with a distinctive appearance and deep racial prejudices. Additionally… well, I shouldn’t mention it here, I guess, but I may as well… Remember that North Pine and the other nearby cities used to be part of an empire 500 years ago? Well, the Faded Ash clan were the rulers of that empire; and naturally when an ethnic minority rules over a different ethnic majority, there are huge potential problems. So, the Faded Ash clan is looking both for revenge, and to reclaim some measure of the power that they had lost when their subjects overthrew them. More on that in the story to come. (If I can fit it in before the Worm reaches the surface, and renders the whole question moot.)
None of which addresses the problem which Dawn Dawgawser helpfully brought to my attention, which was that my depiction of Black Robe and White Robe were way too different from how I had portrayed them in the past. To be blunt, I made them too histrionic, when two secret agent types should at most become more intense. I don’t want to make excuses for the mistake, since it was a pretty obvious problem even as I wrote it. But for now, I’m going to handwave it as “They are so happy to be free of Fan Bin, they are overreacting quite a bit.”
And incidentally, they absolutely were afraid of Fan Bin, and are still nervous about what he might do next. I hope I at least got that across.
Anyway. I just wanted to say that, even if some of this seems to be out of nowhere, the major twists have been planned since the beginning, and only shifted when the larger narrative shifted as well. The next few chapters are going to be the fight for North Pine City, so I’m not sure how much more exposition will fit in before the end… Well. There’s still plenty of action to come, so thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on Friday for chapter 31! 😀
(P.S. Have any further questions? Feel free to ask in the comments. 😉 )