Every morning on my way to work, I come up with concepts. Concepts for characters. Concepts for the story. Concepts in general. To come up with them, I get a short skit going that plays like a film in the mind’s eye. It could run a couple of days to a week, but is always good because something comes out of it that helps advance the plot of either character or story. This time, it’s a little of both.
The first concept is the way Black Wings present themselves as far as walking. I was trying to determine in book four No’va how they would look on first encounter. One would think this wouldn’t be new as I’ve already written about them in previous books. But recently I started to think about how they walk. Because Corrigan is a half-breed, his size allows him to walk upright like a human without difficulty (though he still looks awesome in that crouched position of “I’m about to pounce on you!”)
But full-sized Black Wings probably cannot due to the weight and size of their upper body muscles. Compared to humans, Black Wings are about three times larger, so their wings would undoubtedly stretch several meters in either direction. Their flight muscles would be very powerful (and to hold up those huge wings) so I can imagine their chest, shoulders and rib area with that body-builder appearance – bulging at every flex. Keeping this in mind, I can only assume that standing upright like a human would be very taxing on their hind legs. So for me, it seems fitting that their forearms be built for catching prey and climbing, while their back legs be good at landing and supporting them while in the trees.
I’ve even thought about the ears. In one concept painting, you could actually see Corrigan’s ears. Now that I’m rethinking it, it might be better if the ears couldn’t be seen at all – like birds, hidden under a layer of feathers. I had even thought about the way the top crest of feathers could be spread so that it acts like an ear to channel sounds to it.
In all, Black Wings are just scary in general. Even Corrigan can be menacing if need be 😉
The other idea I had was a tongue muzzle. Now, don’t go getting any crazy ideas with this. It’s more like a spell that you can’t see, so when it’s placed around someone’s head it simply vanishes. The person who’s wearing it knows it’s there, but no one else can see it. The Tongue Muzzle’s purpose is designed to help control the way someone speaks. It can be used to “program” what you want a person to say at certain times, or keep them quiet about certain, secret events. But you know what they say, controlling the tongue can often lead to controlling emotions.
The short “skit” I had come up with was something that might happen when I get around to writing book seven. In this future story, Wisdom has three children. Ashpin still lives with the family, adopted even, and given the Larson name. Shy is now Grand Master and has hired a group of humans from the city of Mayla (located on a parallel landmass called Astra) to act as a leading council for the citizens.
What happens is this: Wisdom is invited to Luxor to attend one of their meetings. He’s told that because Ashpin fits their wits and knowledge, that they want him on the council as well. But while distracted, one of them slips the Tongue Muzzle over his head and wa-la! Wisdom cannot take it off or even mention anything about it. He only knows he has to play by their rules until Ashpin discovers it during a scuffle on a test obstacle course in the center of some cave.