Unlike the first season’s finale, this one does not include as many answers to long-running mysteries, or revelations about Blood Magic, although I am hoping to work some answers to world history questions into the second part. It is what it is: a dynamic story with a little more plot than character. Not that there isn’t plenty of emotion and character development contained in this episode, especially with how this first part ends. Since I do have two parts to work with, I also took the time to do a little more development of side characters and plots than I otherwise would. Oh, and I apparently have a bad habit of leaving characters stuck on islands in dire straits at the end of books. Sorry about that.
Last year around this time, I was having doubts about whether I should do a second season of Blood Magic, much less a third. The response to the first season had been lackluster to say the least, many of the episodes had been a struggle to write, and there was a significant opportunity cost to continuing to work on something that seemed to be a dud, instead of turning my focus to something that might be better received, like Fo’Fonas. This year, I am pleased to say that I did not have any hesitations or reservations about continuing with the third (and final) season of Blood Magic.
I’d been looking forward to writing this episode for a long time. I’d dropped hints about the dragons in Lufilna before, most significantly in All Cooped Up and No Place to Go, and Rest for the Weary, but I had never come out and said “yes, there are dragons in this world, and here is what they’re like.” This episode was my opportunity to show off my dragons, and introduce them to the people of Merolate. It’s ironic, therefore, that as I was finishing the episode I found myself concerned that it was too boring.
series, which rest, in my mind at least, mostly on the shoulders of Kiluron and Doil, with the Blood Magic itself, and the interactions of the characters and plots with it, playing a strong supporting role. This episode was the perfect opportunity to return, as it were, to the roots of Blood Magic. I think you'll find it a better reading experience as a result.
how much I struggled with the writing, and why that was. I won’t rehash those difficulties here, but the result was that I was put far behind on my writing for this episode, barely even starting it before the month began. Plus, part two proved to have its own difficulties, some related to the troubles with the first part, and some entirely original, which led me to even write August’s episode out of order (which you will read about when episode twenty goes live next month). The short version of this post: Contaminant would really benefit from my new staging revisions methodology.
Granted that it is less "exciting" than some of the other episodes, and that it is arguably telling of a rather minor incident in the affairs of Merolate and even of the characters, I really like this episode because it seems to embody in many ways my goals for the Blood Magic series, and what are some of its strengths. The whole of episode five turns on the relationship between Kiluron and Doil, and the geopolitical implications of Blood Magic in Lufilna, which I think are arguably the two strongest pillars of the series (though you as readers are more than welcome to disagree, and I would be very interested to know what you consider the series' strengths and weaknesses).
This episode is nothing more nor less than what it seems: a stand-alone story about a "fallen star." While it allowed me the opportunity to explore the culture of the nomadic tribes in the "Unclaimed Territories," and flesh out some of their own perceptions of themselves, and their interactions with the "civilized" nations of Lufilna, it really wasn't supposed to have a lot of character development, nor huge impact on future episodes. All of which means that while the start was a little slow to write, it ended up going pretty quickly, and after the first two thousand words were written, I finished the rest of the episode in just a few days. Which is good, because I fully anticipate the next episode, In Contempt, being quite a challenge to write.
I've been wanting to write this episode, or something like this episode, for quite a long time. The idea is best summarized as Star Trek's Prime Directive, from the perspective of the "primitive" civilization, and it's an idea that I've really wanted to find a way to explore in a story. So I put it into a plot in my initial outlining of the Blood Magic second season, and have been looking forward to the chance to write it ever since. That's probably why it ended up being so difficult to write.
As I was writing the first two episodes of Blood Magic's second season, and working on revisions for the first season's episodes, I realized that I didn't have an adequate vision of how Merolate's government was actually structured. I knew the broad outlines - the Prime is in charge, he or she has an advisor, the Sub-Prime is the successor, the provinces are run by Governors who are subject to the Prime - but that's not really a full government.
I hope that you've been following along with Blood Magic this year, because it's already been pretty exciting. I'm very pleased with how the revised editions of the first season episodes are coming together (revised versions of the first two episodes of season one should now be live here on the site), and the first two episodes of the second season have been pretty strong, as well. At least, I think so, which is mostly based on how the writing process went for them. Usually, that's a decent guide.