491. Menhir Beginnings

What you are going to see in the next few months in Serial is Marquart’s story. It bears the title Banner of the Hawk because the hawk is Marquart’s kladak (personal symbol), but you won’t see him or his banner until the third week.

As I have told too many times, I had an epiphany in 1972, a vision of a young boy in a castle, looking out at a frozen landscape, trapped in other peoples expectations. His father has recently been killed and he is being raised now by relatives who assume that he will grow up to avenge his father and retake his lands.

The boy, Tidac, has other ideas. His memory of his father is of a violent and overbearing presence who drove him to silence. Tidac is relieved that he is gone, and has no desire to spend his youth preparing to avenge him.

Marquart is that father.

I know that doesn’t sound like anyone you want to spend time with, but trust me, Marquart evolved far beyond that original impulse between then and now.

What I will present in Serial is approximately the first quarter of the first novel of a two novel series. I still plan to find a real home for it, so that is all I am willing to commit to a blog. I call it the menhir series or just menhir, but that is not a good name for public use. It implies that there are any number of books, but there are only — and will be only — two. I have told the complete story and there will be no further sequels. There are other novels set in the same world, however.

The story begins with the coming of two Gods from another world. That was covered Monday and Tuesday. Eighty years later, one of the original pair of Gods is about to die at the hands of his son, whom he has seriously mishandled. This sets up a problem concerning Marquart, his brother, his father, and his son, all of whom are still off stage (and Tidac isn’t even born yet). Starting today, that problem gets handled — very  badly — by the remaining goddess and her offspring.

If this seems like a lot of backstory, bear in mind that it is setting up two long novels, not just this excerpt. Also, I refer you to E. E. Smith’s Triplanetary which has the longest backstory in the history of backstories. Comparatively, this is nothing,. I will admit that the way in which the essential background to the world we are going to inhabit is laid out through action, dialog, and foreshadowing, took me forty years to get just right.

Marquart’s story is a tragedy in the Shakespearean sense. That is a type comparison, not a comparison of quality. Marquart is a strong man faced with a situation he does not understand. His enemies are invisible to him. He is beset by personality traits he does not understand, stemming from events that occurred before his birth. He never stops fighting, yet in the end, he becomes his own worst enemy. Even though it is eventually necessary for me to wean the readers’ affection from Marquart and transfer them to his son, I think you will still be sorry to see Marquart go.

At least, if I have done my job correctly, you will be.


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