A quick note: I made a rash promise that there would be an appendix following this afterword, and I have labored ever since to make it. It was to be a cast of characters.
I failed to anticipate how badly distracted I would be while going through the last nearly 1.2 million words to create it, by constantly stopping to make notes about things I need to revise in the publication version.
(Speaking of which, you can get a preview of the publication version by signing at Patreon.com/fushigi for a mere $1 / month, because I’m posting chapters as I write / revise them. I’ve also taken to posting my advance chapters (up to 10 chapters beyond the free chapters) there.)
So anyway, about that appendix. I will post it, and insert it between this afterword and the next chapter, when I’m done. So far, I’ve only made it about 50 percent through the text. I will mention it in the author notes when this happens. In the meantime, the next item to post will be the first chapter of Volume 12.
If you are a free chapters reader popping in to read this when you haven’t unlocked the preceding chapters yet, maybe go away and come back once you read the last ten chapters. There’s a whiff of a minor spoiler ahead.
Thus ends the longest volume in this series.
Okay, technically it isn’t. At 140K words, Volume 7 is currently longer, because it came out way too long and is in sore need of much editing (including the probable removal of a few chapters.) This volume is only just shy of 130K and this is probably as short as I will get it.
Also, I should probably admit, I am looking at my notes for Volume 12 and wondering how I am going to fit it all in. I don’t want to break it into two volumes. Well, I’ll have a better idea once I start writing. It could well end up a single 150-160K volume, or maybe I can condense this better than I have done so far.
I never even thought I would be talking about Volume 11 back when I was first writing. Even after I rewrote my plan (during Volume 3) and introduced a few more characters and a longer story arc.
For one example, remember Trisiagga? She originally served the role that Shindzha now has, until I realized that my world building would not allow for someone who wasn’t part human to become a Servant. (Otherwise, back in the day, the Elders could have just hunted down all the demons and converted them to save their souls, and no more war. It’s one of those little gotchas like wondering why the Eagles couldn’t have just flown the ring to Mount Doom and dropped it in, or carried Frodo to do it.)
Hence, Trisiagga met her end (although I regret not keeping her around longer, to be frank) and Shindzha was born, along with the entire hellspawn race.
A lot less momentous, but I added Morrígan too. Or perhaps I should say, I turned Morrígan into Rhea and created a new Morrígan. She was originally a minor goddess serving as the Fairy Queen. But it didn’t make sense in the cosmology, I decided, and it also created some plot holes similar to the one I mentioned above.
Yeah, I’ve had a few changes. In Volume 3 I was thinking 7 volumes. What a laugh.
So here we are. Hopefully, one volume to go.
I’m not going to compromise on the story, so if it turns out that I need two shorter volumes to make 13 in all, I’ll do it. But I’m not losing hope just yet.
Your author, Eric Fretheim, online as Fushigi on this site and on Discord, and as /u/ericthefred on reddit, has a plan! I profoundly stink at following it, but I’ll continue doing my best.
Spirit Core Tiana, (‘Sen’) and Huade Tiana are still with us. Or are they?
Well, sort of yeah, because everyone has gone through growth. Lhan/Hiléa is nothing like the timid character she was, Fan Li has grown much more reserved, almost as if she wants to retire and leave things to the youngsters, Sirth… hasn’t shown up much. We’ll talk about that in the next few chapters. There’s a reason.
As for me, Real Life continues to hate me. The computer I tried so hard to repair and prop up after less than two years of service wound up giving me slightly more than two years in the end, after failing with the exact same screen problem, as well as some weird power issues. My work made things harder because we have a VP somewhere up the later who, like Elon Musk, hates not being surrounded by his loyal little peasants in the office, so he started making everyone below him commute in to work, even though my job has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else in my office (the other members of my team are spread across other states and we work online no matter where we are) and we’ve mostly been a better functioning organization with everyone working from home. This isn’t corporate policy, but unfortunately corporate policy is to leave it up to each VP.
Thanks to my health, the added commute has taken a toll on me as well. But I continue to write!
See you in the next volume!