So I've been sick for over a week with the flu (well most likely flu), but while I'm not 100%, I'm like 98%. So I finally have the time to talk about Phyrra and Cyrus some more! Hold on for a sec, I'm gonna see if I can unbury ALL my notes on the subject, such that I can knock a bunch out at once.
Lessee...mentioned the each opener as element...still need to write the songs...
...Spoiler stuff I deliberately avoided blogging about because they are actual big huge spoilers...
...Unrecorded distribution of CommCrystals and the acronym I forgot, will get to this later...
...Unrecorded fate of villains...
...Ooh, here's one, minor villains! Will get to it in a sec. (I'm still pulling up my notes.)
...The bunch of stuff I didn't blog about a little over a month ago including some Paladin stuff I never researched...
...An old note about needing to still "draw" the characters...
...Yeah that should be it.
Okay! So. Starting from there.
So I am making a new tag for Phyrra and Cyrus. Now, you have to understand. This will be the first entry with that tag, because heck no I'm not going to retroactively go through all of my past Phyrra and Cyrus entries and retroactively add tags, that goes against my policy. Just search for some of my other tags. You shouldn't miss anything with tags like dream, sleep, gender dysphoria, trans, story, and similar since I'm fairly certain every entry has at least one if not all of those tags. (You'll get entries aside from Phyrra and Cyrus using them, but oh well.)
And frankly. Given that I've developed the overarching story of 95% of Phyrra and Cyrus...honestly. The tag's probably a waste because I'm probably not going to be blogging about it that much anymore because most of it I've already blogged about. It's a finite story. It's not an endless story. What I mean by that is. Basically. Most of the work's already been done.
I've still got details here and there to fill out, and I can talk about individual episodes. I suppose if in the future I develop more in the terms of technology/economics/kingdoms/etc. in the worldbuilding department, I've got that, too. But magic has its system fairly well defined, enchantments are fairly well defined, the plot is fairly well defined, and the characters are fairly well defined.
But, you never know. So I'm going to add it anyway. As the saying goes, "better late than never". And, hey. If I ever do change my mind and violate my current principle of not editing past blog entries, then sure, when doing that editing I'll add in tags. (You'll know if I've violated my principles if this is not the first entry with the "phyrra and cyrus" tag.) So who knows. Maybe down the line, it'll become useful, relevant, pertinent.
Where I do a BUNCH of additional stuff.
Oh and there's always art I suppose. I'm going to be doing art for a long time assuming I do art at all that is. (You know how it goes. Also, my art book is missing still, so I don't have my high quality art paper, only printer paper. Shame, because I do know where my pencil is.)
So I guess the tag won't be entirely useless, it's just that it'd have been useful to have done...much, much earlier than now.
Like. As far as things go. This is like taking notes when you're 75% of the way through the production. It's useful because that's 25% of the production you've taken notes on rather than 0%, but in hindsight you always wish you had started it earlier.
I didn't have any way of knowing Phyrra and Cyrus would grow to be this big of a thing! It was just a dream I had originally. I mean. It was a good dream. And admittedly, the story is a little more straight-forward than I was anticipating. (I was originally envisioning a reasonably high number of gender issues to come up, but the more and more I worked on the project, the more and more I realized that for the most part...Phyrra and Cyrus wouldn't care and their friends/companions wouldn't care especially since magic exists in this world and souls swapped in bodies isn't something which is as important as I thought it'd be because to everyone...it's just no big deal.)
The project has evolved so much since then, become something which in some ways is a lot more interesting and yet in many ways is more standardized than I was expecting. (I really thought I'd be playing a lot more around with gender and the like, but again, as I got to know the characters and the setting, those things just...were things they shrugged off. For the most part--except in a few cases of justified drama which are justifiable because the characters have actual concerns that are relevant rather than ridiculous.)
So in my defense, I had no idea it was going to be tag-worthy. And as the project began to grow, I still had no clue it was going to be tag-worthy because many projects of mine grow that way but ultimately after being worked on to the point of maximum maturity simply get filed away. (This is how most ideas I don't blog about get lost forever: I build them up in my head, then when I don't see how they can go any further, don't put any additional thought in, ever.)
And by the time I realized it was something special to me in a way most projects aren't...well by then, I simply didn't even think about making a tag for it, I was just too in the moment I suppose, where I wanted to get the information out so that everyone could see it.
Now, I need that tag though, because I need to have Phyrra and Cyrus be seen and known. I realize this blog will contain major spoilers if I ever do get the project going, and that starting the project might actually end up exposing my blog to the world. A risk I'd be all too happy to take, especially since I'm not sharing anything I don't want kept from people.
Everything I share on here, essentially, has thus been stuff that people can know in advance and not have their enjoyment diminished--if anything, knowing the things I talk about here would help their enjoyment even more because they'd have foreknowledge of what the things in episodes are, loosely, meant to be doing. (For instance, introducing members of the Thaukama. It's no secret Cedrick joins them, and in fact it's meant from the very beginning for people to look at him and go, "Yeah he's joining them" so people knowing it in advance actually increases the humor behind interactions prior to joining.)
So on that note!
Let's get to the actual...well. Notes!
A month and a half ago, I wrote a blog on Bard but never got the chance to post it. It focused around his past. It's known from his introductory episode onward that Bard's father was a Spirit Demon--and that Bard has two forms: his human form (where Gunther King Slayer's demon magic doesn't work), and his Spirit Demon form.
What I didn't mention, but what I implied, was that his mother was not a Spirit Demon--and as is fairly common for giving childbirth to Spirit Demons when not being one, she died giving birth to him. So, Bard was raised by his father until Gunther King Slayer came into power...at which time, Bard's father killed himself before Gunther could take control of him, saving both the kingdom from him (Bard's father is implied to be an even larger genius than Bard, and he'd have been under the control of Gunther) and saving Bard from Gunther.
Something which worked for...oh, about four years or so until Bard reached puberty. He tried to hide, but got discovered fairly quickly and had been in Gunther's service since then unwillingly. Still, this left his heritage unknown to him. His mother, as far as everyone knew, looked human, and was known to not be a Spirit Demon and thus assumed to be human...but in truth, she, too, was a type of Demon.
Specifically, his mother was a Love Demon...AKA, a Succubus, which means Bard himself is a latent Incubus. His Incubus powers laid dormant (thus why he couldn't be controlled outside of his Spirit Demon form in spite of being a Love Demon; with the Love Demon powers dormant, it was as if he was human even though he isn't), and then only later does he discover his true nature by having a conversation with Will, who sees it and lets him know at an appropriate time.
Of course, discovering his powers doesn't awaken them; that happens in a part of the story I'll actually tell you about in a bit; I need to detail a few things like Inns/Taverns/AID Beacons/CommCrystals first so you can have better context for the plot point. Not quite done here, though. I wanted to talk more about Love Demons.
Love Demons have a skin-colored monkey-like tail: slightly thinner than a monkey's would be, but also slightly longer; they can control it like a third hand. (And, yes, being Love Demons, this manifests in pretty much exactly the manner you would imagine.) They can manifest claws, have fairly thin bodies, yet are very agile, with low-superhuman speed and highest-human levels of strength.
They're not nearly as strong and are just about as fast and not nearly as vicious as Spirit Demons (no fangs), and they aren't as tough as Spirit Demons, but they are very, very, very agile, nimble, and the like, able to jump much higher, faster, maneuver, and are all-around incredibly flexible. (Spirit Demons are, notably, quite agile and nimble, able to jump rather high, move fast, and the like, but there is a tradeoff. They're stronger and heavier which equates to more mass to move. Extra mass, extra bulk, extra oomph, but also extra weight to slug around.)
The two types of Demons are basically similar opposites, which work well in tandem. Even their powers work similarly. Love Demons drain love--and this can be any type of love. Familial, romantic, platonic, whatever. When draining, the more intense the emotion (the stronger the love), the more energy the Love Demon receives.
By 'drain', notably, I don't mean 'destroy'/remove/diminish/etc. In fact, it's quite the opposite. To compensate for the loss of energy (the person drained actually loses energy to give it to the Love Demon), Love Demons deliver an equal boost to the pleasure center of their target's brain.
That leads to exactly what you'd imagine.
Only a little love = barely any energy drained from the Love Demon's target + the Love Demon's target receives very little pleasure.
Lots of love = lots of energy drained from the Love Demon's target + the Love Demon's target receives a lot of pleasure--to the point where, if the love between the Love Demon and the target (the love is always measured as the amount between the Love Demon and their target, not their target and some third party) is strong enough...it is absolutely an experience which is better than sex.
And again, this works on any type of love. So in a group of true companions (the Thaukama), Bard can get supercharged by touching all of the Thaukama. And by 'supercharged', I mean, me talking about what Love Demons can do above? That's them at their normal level. The more of a 'surplus' they get, the more they get boosts to everything from regeneration (this is a biggie) to toughness to speed to the point where Bard supercharged can singlehandedly take on a whole squad of superpowered spirits and win.
I suppose now I get to talk about a little bit of the extras in the world.
CommCrystals (short for Communication Crystals) are exactly what you would imagine them to be: they are blue crystals, attached to something meant to fit in the user's hand. They are, in essence, a magical SmartPhone: their primary function is to communicate over long distances. They can pick up distress beacons (more on those in a bit) and project onto a screen details. Furthermore, when at either a leyline or plugged into a specialized device, they can act as a facechat between both sides, so in that sense they act as communication.
The way these crystals work, is that they transmit the data to the nearest leyline, which sends it to the target location. Given this premise, yes, there are dead zones too far away from a leyline or Nexus Tower to get a signal through other than picking up distress beacons. They're not suited for sending data over distance other than voice or with the appropriate (expensive) attachment video, but they can receive most data.
Leylines are not a hard concept to understand. They are basically a natural flow of what can be considered a 'magical hotspot', which flow around the entire planet. Think of them as basically akin to tectonic plates, geothermal energy, or something of that sort. The shift of magical energy across the world, naturally occurring. Like an ocean current, actually, just everywhere, underneath the ground.
They cannot be destroyed, damaged, or tapped into. They cannot be traveled, either. However, while nothing material can travel on leylines, immaterial in the form of data can be transmitted through them, allowing for long-distance communication to be established. Think of leylines, then, as essentially naturally-occurring cable internet/phone/TV, mostly phone but who knows someday maybe encompassing the others. (Just, that tech hasn't yet been invented.)
A Nexus Tower, is then, thus, something which can be thought of as a cell phone/radio tower: boosting the signal artificially. A sort-of artificial leyline, except it's not so much an artificial leyline as much as it is a signal boost to help connect CommCrystals to leylines from a much greater distance by acting as a link between the two.
Phyrra and Cyrus still has the flavor of a high fantasy setting, pre-industrial-age in that there are not multiple-shot guns invented yet and people do all the adventuring you would expect traveling largely on foot or on beasts of burden with intercontinental travel being done in wooden boats on the water, but it has many of the more "modern" aesthetics and cultural values of our world in terms of daily living.
Many people are farmers living a more agricultural lifestyle, but in spite of that, they live rather comfortably with rather advanced technology at their disposal--this is to be expected, because with magic at your disposal, technology advances in unpredictable-to-us ways and some ideas get invented much sooner when the magic of the world allows for those ideas to be viable and natural much sooner.
A cousin to the CommCrystal technology is beacon technology. Beacons come in three types; all of them function in the same way aside from minor differences.
SID/CURS/AID beacons are all distress signals, for ships/cities/individuals, respectively. SID beacons, short for 'Ship In Distress' beacons, send a huge red pillar into the sky, a continuous beam of pure red light, directly shining down on their location. This beacon transmits up to 50 miles away to every SID/CURS/AID beacon in addition to all CommCrystals. Each SID beacon has a unique ID, so that when it is activated people know exactly what ship it is; they are also programmable such that the exact nature of their problem can be described and given.
CURS beacons, short for City Under siege; Request Saving, is basically a souped-up SID beacon, working literally the same way. It sends a gigantic golden pillar into the sky (bigger than the red pillar of a SID beacon), transmitting up to 100 miles away to every SID/CURS/AID beacon and CommCrystal, with the unique ID of that city, and the ability to program it with the exact information.
AID beacons, short for 'Adventure In Distress' beacons, are basically toned-down SID beacons, sending a small blue pillar into the sky, transmitting up to 25 miles away to every SID, AID, and CommCrystal; they are unique to the individual and can be programmed to contain information. They are quite expensive, but considered an excellent adventuring tool.
Mostly because an AID being activated is, in spite of the name, most likely a merchant requesting an adventurer for assistance. In other words, AID beacons are used quite a bit to not only give quests, but receive quests. CommCrystals have similar capacities, but are a little less versatile in that regard.
Clara, as inheritance from her parents, received one, but didn't have it on her when she got with the Thaukama. (Nor did she have her CommCrystal, given to her as part of her apprenticeship.) Phyrra and Cyrus from their parents have a CommCrystal. Ace as a birthday present got a CommCrystal from his father. Cedrick has a CommCrystal as well.
Will and Lilian, both being rich, have an AID beacon.
This gives the Thaukama three of each; Alena has one of each as well, bringing it up to five (as Clara retrieves hers) of each by the end of the series.
Another adventurer-centric worldbuilding bit I did was about where adventurers stay.
Adventurers, generally, when traveling, stick to the roads, unless they have reason to go off of one. (This being a world which is fairly civilized, most spots aside from adventuring hotspots have roads. Adventuring hotspots being places where adventurers go to do adventuring, out in the wilderness to dungeon crawl, lair raid, and so on and so forth. The world is reasonably well-mapped-out, so they can travel on the road until they get fairly close to the location they want to check out which is off the road.)
As such, there are plenty of different types of lodging.
Obviously, adventurers can if properly equipped set up camp anywhere, but sometimes, this can be less convenient than they would prefer. As a result, especially at crossroads (locations where there's multiple roads intersecting), there are "crossroad camps".
A crossroad camp is a little bit like a freeway's rest stops meet a national park's camping lots: some supplies are given, while others the adventurers have to bring with them. They contain fire pits, restrooms, and cleared land to set up tents, along with loading space to store goods and poles to help stable beasts of burden; many have wells for water as well. But the adventurers still have to pack their own lodging, from sleeping bags, tents, food, and the like. They're entirely free, though.
An Inn is basically like a motel: it is like a crossroad camp and found in many of the same types of locations (along the road, in places people will stop), but there's a tradeoff: you have to pay. You sleep in a real bed, you can get multiple types of food and drink, and you get the benefits of a tavern, but in general, most inns require payment; they don't accept tabs (because you're not likely to come back) and only a few will let you pay in alternative methods. They take actual currency to use.
(I'm ticked because I just lost about half an hour's worth of work on my blog because my FREAKIN' COMPUTER DOESN'T WANT TO SHUT UP ABOUT RESTARTING BUT I AM USING IT NOW AND IT ISN'T GIVING ME OPTIONS TO NOT RESTART AND IT TRIED TO RESTART BUT FAILED YET IT STILL CRASHED MY BROWSER THUS LOST MY WORK.)
A tavern is basically like an inn, only it is in a town: it provides lodging and so on (various foods and drinks), and it is the adventurer's best friend. It is the main location (aside from the town square where bulletins are posted and occasionally a town hall or in some larger cities guilds) where adventurers can find work. It's the place where gossip spreads, tales are shared, and people can talk about adventures past and about dreams future, and be given tips and crowd sourcing and the like.
People talk, people chat, people make friends, people form adventuring parties, and the like. Taverns also offer lodging usually for free, albeit always expecting a form of payback. Adventurers can open up a tab, or pay off by doing chores or by running errands or by going on quests for the tavern. Beyond that, adventurers hang out at taverns to pick up patrons: people who need the help of adventurers to do tasks like be bodyguards.
Said patrons are the people often paying off an adventurer's tab. Basically, the system works because the tavern gets their money...eventually. Once the right kind of work shows up, essentially. Of course, taverns can lose money. Not all adventurers are honorable. (Though in a world with rapid long-distance communication, word spreads like wildfire so that type of adventurer who doesn't pay back their tab is not the type to last long before karma catches up to them.)
Not all adventurers make it big; they might get down out of their luck and take more than they can give back. Not all adventurers even live; adventuring is still a dangerous line of work because the world is filled with dangers, so many will die without having paid their debt back.
And taverns don't expect to have the dead pay them back. They accept the loss, take the hit, from those that do perish or become downtrodden, because overall, they still manage to get by. Business is good enough where they manage to keep going. Taverns aren't greedy; they are usually run by families, who make ends meet and don't need anything more than that.
So basically, while they can sometimes operate at a loss, they end up eventually making enough money where they can stay afloat. Adventurers are, after all. Quite happy to have these services, and thus all too willing to pay them back and then some, often. And wealthy patrons are quite willing to pay the tabs for adventurers they hire.
Which brings me (again, since I typed up everything twice and I still think I'm missing things and not explaining them as well as I did the first time) to a part in Phyrra and Cyrus called 'The Divide'. Which ties all of these things I've been talking about together.
At a crossroads, the Thaukama stay at the Inn and get to hear a lot of the local gossip. By this point, they are starting to deal with the third season's big bad, Archer Cross Hill, and there are two roads to travel on. Both roads end up converging again at a city later. (Let's call this City D.)
The Thaukama decides to split up--this is not done because of a separation in the group, tension, or whatnot, with them having disagreements or anything of the sort. Quite the opposite, their decision to split up is one based around trust, companionship, and friendship, with the promise and resolve to meet up again with everyone having done what they needed to do.
Will heads one way, knowing his family has influence over there and would be happy to have him run some errands. (Not to mention, he'd have resources there to help his friends forward on their journey, dealing with Archer Cross Hill.) Bard accompanies him because of gossip about someone being able to help him awaken his true nature there. Clara accompanies them because of rumors of her master in the major city on that pathway. (Let's call this City B.)
Cedrick accompanies the group to be a team leader looking out for them, and because he has one of the Thaukama's CommCrystals. (Will takes his AID beacon as well.) Myra accompanies the group to be a team mom and as part of Cyrus's strategy: if Myra's group needs help but can't use the beacon/crystal, then Myra can instantly transport herself over to Cyrus to get aid. Inversely, if Cyrus needs aid, he can instantly call Myra to his side.
The other group heads the other way. The path they go on eventually has a crossroad to it as well--Phyrra and Gora set up camp at the Camp Crossroad, with a CommCrystal to be a "base camp"/"relay point" for the others, as they would be the only ones in range of all groups. A hub, of sorts, for them to communicate messages to one another.
Lilian and Hera leave to a city (with Lilian taking an AID beacon), for a bit of a personal visit, but also to get in contact with some people to see if they know anything about the villain they at this point know as Archer Cross. (Let's call this City C.) Meanwhile, Cyrus, Ace, and Kaze (with Ace taking the third CommCrystal) go to the major city on the pathway they'll need to travel on to meet back up with the others. (Let's call this City A.)
They do this in part because of scouting, in part because of gathering supplies, in part to look for adventure, and in part to gather information of their own. Basically, all of the Thaukama at this point are doing their own thing, in four different groups, but all of them are trying to accomplish the same thing: stop Archer Cross and meet back up at City D together when everything is taken care of.
Unsurprisingly, this is the time period where I can take the most amount of time to do some individual character building, to show characters more or less developing on their own.
I kinda lost my momentum there what with the whole restart lose my blog thing, so I guess I'll continue this another time. I've still got minor villains and chronology of the series to talk about.