More on the secret occult society novel that wasn’t and “Nightfell”

Sometimes it is fun to go back over my old notes for stories that either fell apart or I did worldbuilding for, but never took anywhere. Believe me, I have more than a few…

So, why mention these two?

Well, the first is the one I mentioned yesterday in my post about alchemy. My memory wasn’t quite as sharp as I thought about this one and they were less alchemists (although one of the characters was an alchemist) and more of an secret cabal doing many of the things that I recalled correctly: hunting down wayward nasties that are killing unsavory but human characters, dealing with curses, stopping eldritch things from crossing over from a conjunction of planes or via thin places, mystical stuff that might be magick, and all that jazz.

I found my notes, although I didn’t find my story start (suddenly suspect it is on the ReMarkable, an e-paper notebook I picked up back when it was mostly one of a kind), but I found all my world-building notes and the outline of two plotlines, and the portion of a third background story to weave into the larger story in an online tool I used to use until it became untenable to do so, as the limitation grew too strict for the free version and the paid version too expensive. Anyway, I tracked that down because I’d saved a backup of the Gingko App on my Google Drive and logged in to see it was still present in the original hierarchal “card” format. I liked the tool because you could “branch off” the tree for plot ideas, character development, research, misc notes, etc., and it is searchable (I wish I could find an online equivalent that wasn’t so much like wikipedia — I just want to make hierarchal-structured notes, not worry about making links — the closest is Zenkit, and that is still too fussy, in my opinion, for notetaking).

One of the more interesting things I had forgotten was the iteration of the name of the novel. In case you were wondering, “Arcanum Fabulis Factionis Sulphur” was Latin for “secret stories of the brimstone cabal”, which was the subtitle (with some liberties on the Latin). Other ideas that I’d probably lean more towards today are: “Sylloge Factionis Sulphur Historia”/”sylloge/collection of the Cabal Brimstone’s history” or “Arcanorum Factionis Sulphur”/”Arcane Record of the Brimstone Cabal”.

What’s the obsession with brimstone? As a cleansing/fumigation chemical. The Cabal envisioned themselves and the world’s janitors, clearing out impure and unpure elements that threatened mankind and the ones to purge intellectual darkness.

And I’d forgotten that I’d planned on have an antagonistic counter occult organization with a different agenda. Of course you need something like that in one of these types of tales, duh. They were “Coterie Crux Ansata”, kind of a precursor to a nazi-like group. A “crux ansata” is the Latin name for the ankh, and they are obsessed with the superman and everlasting life.

All fun to rediscover.

Looking at my old GingkoApp archive, I also saw another story outline that I’d completely forgotten about aside from the name, “Nightfell”. This was a story with more of the feel of the Hyperion Cantos (although I had yet to read that story when I started outlining this one). A little SciFi with a heavy dose of colonialism and “magic” (akin to the magic in Dune rather the the fireball-tossing stuff of high magic tales).

The main characters are bounty hunters on a planet left ruined by human colonialism. As my notecard reads:

Scathach and Brand are gloamstriders, mercenaries in a ruined, polluted world. The largely abandoned city-sprawls are now home to maddened beasts and malicious beings, products of weakened Engigang, the Narrows (or Narrow Ways), caused by the broken Galdorsang. The Galdorsang was a last-ditch effort to save an over-populated, polluted world but, instead of cleaning up the world, it unleashed further corruption bound behind doors meant to be closed forever by the Kyne.

With the addition of eldritch horrors to the already troubled planet, the remaining population fled for other planets — those that could afford it. Those who could not and did not wish to succumb to servitude to leave their home stayed behind. Eventually, even the transport carriers saw no profit in visiting the homeworld and ceased offering transport to the colonies.

Small pockets of humanity have eked out an existence behind barriers and via trade routes between enclaves, and the gloamstriders leveraged what they could of the ancient Galdorsang’s powers to provide the protection needed by merchants and travelers by tattooing their bodies with the song runes. Some of their work involved dark things as well, and they essentially became mercenaries for hire.

old notes

The Kyne are the fey-like shamanic nomads who are the original inhabitants who are more than a little annoyed they have been left with a mess to clean up. Why “gloamstriders”? I liked the sound of glyph-tattooed mercenaries for hire who lived neither “in the light” or “in the dark” because of the roles of the glyphs/rune as being non-dualistic. It is the name that the Kyne gave to them.

I won’t bother you with the rest, as the plot is far from sensible, written in half-pidgin that I might have understood at the time, but I assure you will require some deciphering if I want to use it. Plus, that was from “V.3”, and I’d have to go through the other versions to untangle what the whole plot was.

Still — seems promising… I should do that instead of writing lengthy posts about how something is “intriguing” and “seems promising”, but I haven’t.

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