1. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    How far would he go to keep his secret?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Stormsong07, Apr 8, 2017.

    OK.

    So here's the backstory.
    King J killed his aunt and uncle to become king, and blamed it on an assassin from the country they were at war with.
    Rosalie, my MC's mom, was on the verge of discovering this. King J arranged for her to be killed in a battle with the enemy (killed by his agent, made to look like she fell in battle).

    Kaelie, my MC, was raised ignorant of all of this. Didn't even know her mom was a warrior. Turns out, her father had been receiving mysterious threats for years- keep her away from the Wild Roses (the warrior unit her mom was in) or else. King J afraid that if Kaelie joins the Wild Roses, she will eventually follow the trail her mother was on and discover the assassination. (Rosalie kept her investigation secret from most of her fellow Roses, bc if she was wrong, it would seem treasonous, but if Kaelie joined them, she would inherit all her mother's old things, be more interested in everything her mother had been doing, and could eventually dig up the trail)

    Wild Roses come to Kaelie's town to recruit her. Kaelie receives a threat from a mysterious cloaked stranger- Stay away from the Wild Roses.

    Kaelie doesn't. Things escalate. More warnings ensue. Her father is killed in a mysterious explosion at the mill.

    With nothing left at home, Kaelie says "eff it" and travels with the Roses to their home base to join them. On the way, she is captured in the night when they stop to camp.

    SOOOO....at this point, how far do you think King J would go to keep her from the Roses?
    She's ambushed and knocked out to get her away from the campsite since she is travelling with 3 of these warrior-women. When she wakes up, tied to a tree, is she just threatened again? Or worse?
    I'm torn between another threat to scare her away (to include the hinting that she may be raped, since it IS set in a medieval-style world)
    But I can't help but think that if King J is really so desperate to keep her from learning his secret, by this point he'd just want to off her.
    He tried 'live and let live' if she just stayed away (his aunt was prego when he had her killed and it sickened him to the point where he couldn't bring himself to kill another child...but now Kaelie is 17 and no longer a child...)

    Kaelie will obviously be rescued by the warriors, but are her captors planning to kill her or just scare the crap out of her? And if it's "scare the crap out of her" then what should the threats be this time?
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    This. You're talking about a dude who killed family members to usurp the throne. That's a pretty definitive character trait. What's another body?

    I don't want to rush to judgment on something I haven't read, but this sounds preposterous on the surface. I suppose you could pull J's hesitation by making him some kind of dithering king, but you'd have really have to nail it to make me believe that. Again, he stole the throne. Not a girly magazine from a newsstand. You can definitely pull it off, but it sounds like an unnecessary impediment to the plot flow.

    In summation it is my humble opinion that she would be deader than fried chicken long before any of this became a problem :D
     
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  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Yeah, I'd assume she'd have been dead as soon as it even occurred to the king that she might be a problem.

    You might be able to fix this by giving him a compelling reason to need her kept alive--either a powerful force on her side, or some sort of "deadman's switch" that would be triggered by her death...
     
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  4. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    OK. Kind of the same conclusion I was coming to, @Homer Potvin. Then the only thing I need to iron out is why he didn't kill her when she was younger.
    My original idea "He tried 'live and let live' if she just stayed away (his aunt was prego when he had her killed and it sickened him to the point where he couldn't bring himself to kill another child...but now Kaelie is 17 and no longer a child..." is evidently not very believable, so....plan B....brainstorm some more lol.
     
  5. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    What if it wasn't the king who had an issue with killing a child, but one of his minions? I postulate Idea B: King told Minion to kill Kaelie when she was 2 (age when her mother died). Minion couldn't do it so lied to king and said it was done. Minion was the one giving all the warnings all along so Kaelie wouldn't pop up on King J's radar again. Thus making Minion the one who orchestrated the capture at the camp.
    Thoughts? (Too Lion King-y?)
     
  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I actually haven't seen Lion King, so... it sounds good to me!
     
  7. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Boom. Done. (not sure about the "orchestrating the capture" part, but the rest is perfect)
     
  8. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    There could be some juicy reluctant-ally/blackmail potential later on, too! Your MC could force the minion to do what she wanted because otherwise she'd expose herself (and therefore his deception) to the evil king. And since the minion wasn't pure evil to begin with (wouldn't kill a baby) you could have a intriguingly ambiguous character. I love moral ambiguity!
     
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  9. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    Ooh, I like that idea.

    Thanks @BayView , @Homer Potvin for helping me brainstorm!

    Also, BayView....how have you not seen Lion King? Lol.
     
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  10. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    Sounds like you have an undiscovered plot element. King J, as Homer pointed out, should have killed your MC. Something or someone that King J at least respects, or may be afraid of, does not want your MC dead. Yet, this same force does not mind King J murdering all of these other people. Another villain perhaps?
    Godspeed!
     
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  11. Red Herring

    Red Herring Member

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    You could make it work, you'd have to give a powerfully emotional reason why he'd go against the logic behind his previous actions. To me, the important question is not how far he would go (that's more plot specific), it's why would he go that far (that's more character specific). It seems to me that you know how far you want the king to go, but not why he would go that far. Why would he kill his family but risk his fate to a little girl? Maybe he's a person who absolutely abhors violence unless needed. Maybe he killed his uncle and aunt because he felt they were cruel rulers, and thus King J felt his actions were noble. Maybe he didn't kill the girl because she was an innocent bystander, that he felt the sins of her mother should not be her own. Maybe he felt so strongly about not killing an innocent person who isn't involved in their culpable circle that he felt it was worth the risk based on his principles. There are many ways you could go, you could brainstorm many ideas. You know the character so you probably can get a good grasp on the reasons behind his actions. You can have your characters do things that seem contradictory on the surface, but if you dig deep to the why behind them, then you can make those contradictory things work.

    I like your minion idea, as well. It solves the plot problem in a different way. Having the minion could certainly be very dramatic if you gave him/her a personal relationship to the main character either before and/or after her mother's death. Also another thing you could do, unless you don't want to, is maybe combine the father and the minion character; maybe he secretly adopted her after he killed her mother. Would make for more conflict and raise the stakes in her finding out the truth.
     
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  12. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    None of this rings true.

    King J killed family to claim the throne, had Rosalie killed to keep it hushed up, tried to have Kaelie killed, but Minion wimped out? Pull the other one. The only reason Minion would wimp out (is his fear of King J greater than his moral compass? You bet!) is because he's got some reason why he wants Kaelie alive; and I'm not seeing one. He might disobey the king because it gives him some sort of leg up to take the throne in turn, but how would Kaelie's being alive do that?

    Perhaps Kaelie has a claim to the throne that could be argued to be better than King J's own? (The princes in the tower, anyone?) Perhaps Minion intends to marry her and rule through her? So Minion is prepared to kill Rosalie, and then raise Kaelie as his impressionable ward who adores him and will be happy to marry him when she comes of age - or even younger; this is mediaeval, after all.

    What sticks out against all this is "Her father is killed in a mysterious explosion at the mill."

    1/ Watermill or windmill? What kind of explosion is either of those at risk of?
    2/ How would a miller father a child with some kind of claim on the throne?
     
  13. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    All flour mills are at serious risk of a dust explosion... any organic stuff in dust form is much more combustible than in bulk - so give it a dusty floury atmosphere, one spark from the stones and bang ... it usually goes in a chain reaction so a small explosion throws more dust into the air, that ignites and soon until 3 or 4 steps on theres is a cataclysimic boom and the mill goes up in a fireball ( Part of my day job involves running a working watermill as a visitor attraction so we worry about these things)

     
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  14. Joe King

    Joe King Member

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    Perhaps Kaelie is King J's daughter..?
     
  15. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    How many people know about the assassination?
    If it is just the king and the minion, then kill the minion.
    The king will not be doing any talking, and the minion
    will be too dead to be interrogated. There wouldn't be
    a trail left at all. So in the even the minion failed to
    kill the child, she would be too young to remember any way.

    Unless the assassin was hired by the Wild Roses, then there
    would be no need to have to scare off Kaelie either.

    Don't over complicate it.
    A big scary guy breaks in and kills mommy.
    What evidence is there left behind, unless
    he left a 'Regards from King J' letter pinned
    to a table.

    It is Medieval times, they don't really have the means
    to do a modern investigation into the murder, so it
    would be as if some random homeless guy went berserk
    and did it. Or maybe an unfriendly soldier from a neighboring
    kingdom.
     
  16. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    Kaelie and her father moved away from the Wild Roses after Rosalie's death, to a small town, where her father set himself up as the miller. (flour) Minion (lets give him his name: Alistair Vastel) is a merchant in the town who is deeply in debt. King J finds out about this and promises to take care of his debt if he kills Kaelie. Minion Vastel does not know WHY King J wants Kaelie killed. At the time of Rosalie's death, Minion Vastel also had a small child. He tells the king he will do it to get his family out of debt, but when the time comes, he can't bring himself to do it. He's not a killer, he's a father. So he hides this from the king, and instead, just tries to scare Kaelie off.

    Flour mill, powered by water. As @big soft moose pointed out, flour mills are in danger of exploding. This one just happened to be helped along by Minion Vastel. He didn't realize the miller was inside. (again, he's not a killer by nature).
    Kaelie does NOT have a claim to the throne. There will be another character who has one instead.


    Minion Vastel did not have anything to do with Rosalie's death. In the heat of battle against the Drorm, the demon-like enemies of the kingdom, King J arranged for someone ON HER SIDE to kill her and make it look like she was killed by the enemy.
    With regard to the assassination of the prior king and queen:
    1. The monarchy is assisted by a council of nobles
    2. One of the councilors suspected J was up to something, but had no proof. So he was working with Rosalie to try to figure out what J was planning, bc Rosalie was captain of the Wild Roses and he thought she could investigate quietly, since she was always at the castle for war meetings and such.
    3. The queen was heavily pregnant when she was killed. The councilor arrived on scene quickly enough that he had a healer save the baby and smuggle him away to be raised in hiding, again, bc he feared J had a hand in the assassination and knew the baby was in danger. So there is the "better claim to the throne' storyline that will come to light later.
    4. I am still working on the motivation behind the assassination. I'm trying to think of a reason why J thought he could rule better than his (rather benevolent and beloved) aunt and uncle. Something more than NEED MORE POWER, RARGH.


    I hope this clears some stuff up. I really appreciate all you guys chiming in! Love all the ideas, makes me really evaluate my plot and look at it from other perspectives.
     
  17. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    More questions raised by this...
    1/ Why on earth would the king rely on a merchant with no prior connection to him to carry out a politically sensitive assassination? He's a merchant, not one of the Noblesse d'epee, not even the Noblesse de robe. He's not trained to arms or anything like. The king would only employ somebody he could trust, not try to gain leverage over somebody entirely new.

    2/ I stand corrected. But I do wonder how you could DELIBERATELY create an explosion in a flour mill?

    3/ So what happened to the councillor? Is he still investigating, ten/twenty years later? Or did he think, sod it, I'll just go into a quiet retirement? Or did the king have him killed too?

    4/ So we have a Lambert Simnel scenario; you don't ACTUALLY need a real smuggled baby, some nobles will always rally behind a figurehead whom they believe they can manipulate if it gives them a chance at power.

    However, a royal birth was very much a scene where THE REALM needed to know that the child really was the child of the queen (You can never be sure who the father was; viz Joffrey Baratheon) so would have been quite a public matter. I'm sceptical that, if the queen was assassinated, your tame councillor could arrive on the scene quickly enough, and summon a healer quickly enough. (Within 15 minutes, the baby will be completely dead. A baby or fetus in utero could survive only a very few minutes after the mother's heart stopped beating. A baby in utero depends solely on the mother's heart and respiration to oxygenate its own blood. Check out https://www.quora.com/How-long-do-doctors-have-to-remove-a-baby-from-a-mother-who-has-died for a good answer in MODERN-DAY medicine) Bear in mind that the healer would have to perform a caesarean section within that time (brain damage would probably ensue as you get close to the time limit - which you could use if you WANT this child to be a puppet of some other character). Plus, how premature was that baby? If she's close to term, King Terry's agents will know, and will ensure that the baby dies too. If she's not close to term, the baby's too premature for mediaeval medicine to save (Check out https://www.babycenter.com/0_whats-the-outlook-for-premature-babies-born-before-28-31-33_10300031.bc?page=2 . for information on how poorly premature babies do NOWADAYS - then factor in that supplemental oxygen and tube or intravenous feeding weren't options before the 20th century)

    5/ What greater motivation than NEED MORE POWER, RARGH do you need? What "greater motivation" did William the Conqueror have in 1066? (OK, I'll answer that one; he wanted to bring the Western Orthodox church of Anglo-Saxon England to obedience to the Catholic Pope of Rome, in order that he [William] could get his hitherto papally forbidden marriage recognised by the Pope. But papal recognition of his marriage would greatly increase the stability of his rule, by removing that argument from anything that domestic rivals could say; thus increasing his power.) But the vast majority of claimants to the throne during the wars of the roses weren't really interested in anything other than their own power, and increasing it.
     
  18. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    1. OK, I admit, my merchant scenario is weak and needs work. I have no answers for you yet. Will brainstorm.
    2. I have done my research here. Flour explodes when separated and exposed to oxygen, provided there's a spark or ignition point. So in my story, the minion sneaks into the mill, slits open several bags of flour, tosses them around the bottom floor of the mill, so there's a big cloud of particles in the air. Then he makes a trail of black powder out of the mill so he can light it from a safe distance. BOOM. The miller was upstairs so the assailant didn't realize he was there.
    3. The councilor pretty much retired/went into hiding with the baby. He'll come back into play later. He's assumed dead/infirm, as he was rather old.
    4. Good point, if the smuggled baby scenario proves to have too many holes, I will keep this in mind. However, this is a magical fantasy world with magical healers- so...rescuing the baby isn't as far-fetched as it might be otherwise. I appreciate the info you provided, though, and I will keep it in mind.
    5. Also a good point. Might save me a lot of agonizing down the line, lol.

    Thanks for the feedback!!!
     
  19. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    1/ & 2/ I'm still not totally convinced of this explosion...the 1878 explosion was devastating, but just how much dust would there have been in a mediaeval mill? Flour tossed around isn't really a very dusty atmosphere...the danger is the smaller particles that are created during the milling process. That's where modern machinery can process far more grain per hour, and create far more dust per hour, than mediaeval times; bear in mind, too, that dust will be dispersed by the wind - the more dust per hour, the less opportunity for the wind to disperse it, the concentration builds up to critical levels. And where would a common merchant gain access to black powder? It would as like as not be a state secret - militarily high-tech!
    3/ Councillors didn't generally go into retirement; look at what happened to Thomas Moore when he tried to retire; and to Cardinal Wolsey, who was worked until he was back-stabbed by his enemies. (This last is why, in the mediaeval world, everybody was grasping for power - because if you didn't seize it, somebody else would, and you'd likely end up being the victim of some new broom activity.)
     
  20. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    1. "Paul Steinlage, mill manager for a Gold Medal Flour Factory, says taking precautions against the danger is absolutely essential, because the lives of workers are at stake. “Flour dust that is suspended in air is more explosive than coal dust,” he states."

    Pulled from this article http://scribol.com/science/chemistry/the-tremendously-explosive-power-of-flour/

    3. He pled old age/infirmity and got his heir to take over. You do realize I'm pulling from the medieval world for inspiration, not necessarily for hard-and-fast rules, right? Mine is a fantasy story set in a different world. Though I do appreciate the facts you mention, as they help with my research.
     
  21. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    I couldn't find any incident predating 1878 either.
     

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