Yeah, that’s a slip-up on my part. If Catherine isn’t there, she’s slipped through the cracks and I need to fix that.
Because @CaballeroDeAndromeda would get a big head if I allowed that.
That’s meant to be a bit of a jarring scene, both in subject matter and the way it is handled then and there, as well as afterwards. That is one of the scenes I intend to modify, expand, and refer to again in the major update to FoHB.
The short version of an explanation would be that I wanted to show that Augustina was far from a frail maiden, had a very powerful and commanding presence, and that the MC was powerless before the will of the Queen. It’s also a scene where several major tropes are smashed all in one blow.
There are a lot of small things about the relationship between the first Earl and the Queen that bother me somewhat. The rape scene, while not going anywhere, does need more context and repercussions.
Thanks for the excellent write-up about your concerns, @IronRaptor. A couple of your concerns are lapses on my part, such as referring to poverty despite having a well-off family based on choices of the first game. That’ll be fixed up in the next demo update, and the position of the MC and the family as it is in Voice of God will be clarified a bit further.
As for the Latin, I will need to elaborate on that much better. You’re right. I’ll find a solution to that issue, although I feel that I have hashed over this particular complaint of using another language with both FoHB and Golden Eagle now.
Now for the general matter of switching it up from First of His Blood to Voice of God, changing themes, changing eras, changing the MC.
Lords of Aswick was never intended as a medieval generational story that would rehash the same kind of power politics, warfare, or circumstances throughout all titles. I said it early on with FoHB that my plan for the series was to explore certain times and explore very different circumstances and difficulties that the MC would have to tackle in turn. In fact, the MC’s twin brother’s story in this title is largely the story of the first Earl of Aswicdale, except pushed ahead a century and with a looming powerful family lineage standing behind him.
I’ll accept openly that some will have difficulty relating to an MC who is essentially a nun, a woman, someone who cannot inherit Aswick itself or bear children in order to continue the main family lineage. Just as I accepted that FoHB had those very same issues, except that then the issues were for those who could not relate to a male character. That is a matter of individual taste and is something I cannot have an impact on. Anyone who feels hesitant about my choice to tell a story, I would say go in with an open mind and try it out, but I don’t expect anyone to buy a story that simply isn’t for them.
I don’t have a marketing department pushing me in any which way. I write what I want to write and tell the stories I wish to tell. If it happens that people cannot accept a female lead or a female perspective, which I will do my utmost to present and do justice to, then I will take the economic hit down the line. I have no qualms with that whatsoever, as long as the audience that does read the book find that it satisfies what they seek in a title such as this and I feel like I have added to the IF and HG library in some positive and/or constructive manner.
Each title in this four-book series, to some degree, is about breaking the norm. That isn’t a core issue I want to tackle with each title, but I’m conscious that each title will bear that as a theme due to the nature of stories about a more or less “good” protagonist rising to power. In the first title the barrier was being of gentry, where the only way to rise to power was through warfare and patronage of powerful figures. Only on the crusade path was success down to personal merit, and even there you had your very own patron to keep you in position to earn that merit.
In this title there are even more walls. Obviously I have not established a strict patriarchal society, although I have seen many discussion on these forums claim that there is a medieval European style of patriarchal society in place. That is not entirely true, but at the same time that is not something I have explored… yet. The church is a major way for women to find places of power, especially on the mainland where traditions are slightly different, or the Holy Seat where traditions are a lot different from what you might see in Norwall. Very few probably went down the crusade path, so few likely know of a certain female Exarch who aided the MC in the Orient. I can see already that many are expecting a Sister’s life to be one of humility and little chance to progress further in life, that rebellion and escape from the clergy are necessary in order to get back to “society” and the clutches of power. There will be rebellion, there will be a reformist movement, there will be opportunity to sway the events one way or another and choose a path to become the Voice of God, whether that is as the head of an independent Church of Norwall, or by cajoling your way to the Holy Father’s seat. Those are the norms that need to be broken in this title. The piety bar will sway back and forth and determine how much of a brutal politician you are, or whether or not you truly believe yourself to be a prophet.
Future titles will also serve to break norms in the many ways, and will take the MC away from the comfort zone of Norwall. Seekers of Paradise will take place after a religious conflict in the vein of the English Civil War, but will take place in a New World where resources are few and each misstep may result in an unfortunate conflict with natives. Brow the Bear a Crown will consider the difficulties of a more modern war, and the very real difficulties of climbing to such a position where a mere nobleman without royal blood may become King.
Each title will be a very distinct story in a very distinct period of time. Some may find that jarring or disappointing, but I can do very little about that without compromising on the whole point of the series, which is to explore and experience intriguing events and time periods exactly where the action is thickest.