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My next villain from the Storm Series Trilogy is the Midnight Man. Now is Solomon Pace is a James Bond type of Villain, then the Midnight Man is the polar opposite he is the Villain nightmares are made of.
The Midnight Man
The following extract is taken from “Scions of the Storm” and shows the Midnight Man at his worst. Please note that in the extract the Midnight Man is going by the name Tom.
“…With his hands in his pockets, Tom wandered aimlessly among the trees until he heard a ‘meow’ coming from up ahead. Slowly and quietly, he made his way to the sound and spotted a small cat.
“Here, Puss-Puss,” Tom called, “here, Puss-Puss.”
The cat made its way to Tom and started to purr as he knelt down to scratch its ear. Tom laughed with pleasure as the cat rubbed itself against him and flung itself on its back.
“There you go, Puss-Puss,” said Tom as he rubbed the cat’s belly. The cat’s paws raked Tom’s hand. Tom snatched his hand away and looked down at the cat, his face suddenly cold. His hand was like a blur as he grabbed one of the cat’s legs and broke it.
The cat screamed in agony and tried to get away. Tom’s hand shot out again and he broke another leg. As he watched the cat and the great pain it was in, tears started to flow down his cheeks. He tenderly stroked its small face with a gentle finger. “Such pain,” he said quietly, his face a perfect picture of empathy.
Tom raised his head and saw two young children, a boy and a girl, coming towards him as they shouted out together, “Oscar! Oscar!”
Tom looked down at the pain-stricken cat. “Oscar?”
The cat gave a small and pitiful cry.
Standing, Tom brushed off his trousers and made his way towards the children with a playful smile. “Ah children; they will be much more fun that a cat,” he mused….”
So there you have it, villains love them or hate them you have to have them in a book, Otherwise who is going to make the hero look good?
Scions of the Storm
Warning: contains spoilers
I will confess now, I never thought I would write a second book. I thought I would write Echoes, it would sell five copies, and that would be that. Yes, I had left some plotlines open, just in case, and yes, I did know how they would end, but that was just in my head. I never thought I would write them down.
However, over the course of a month’s worth of bus journeys to and from work (each journey was about an hour), I started to piece together the plotlines for Scions and, with the growing need to write again (yes, I had caught the writing bug), I started to put pen to paper.
With Scions, I wanted to write a different kind of story. I wanted one that would be grander and bigger in scope. There are a lot more characters and locations, and you get the feeling of a bigger world and bigger politics.
Scions is all about the rise of the Midnight Man, the fulfilment of the Prophecy, and the discovery that there are two power forces hiding in the shadows, manipulating everything – those across the water and those across the sand.
With Nathanial being banished to the sidelines for most the book, I needed a new leading man – so step forward (ta-da!) Twever the Magnificent! And his invisible pet, Ardo! I am extremely proud of the Twever/Katrina storyline and, for me, personally, it is the best storyline I have written to date.
I would say that Scions is the darkest of the trilogy and has the most bittersweet storylines, including the breakdown of Karl and Kathleen’s marriage, which ultimately leads to both their deaths. As for the ending, well, it ties up everything, nicely.
It’s confession time, again! In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to write a trilogy, but I was unsure if I could do it. Also, quite a few copies of Echoes had been downloaded, and I did not want people to be disappointed or feel let down if I failed to provide a third book. That is why Scions ends the way it does. You can read Echoes and Scions, and feel a sense of completion. The foretold Prophesy has come true and almost everything is tied up, nicely…
… almost! I do love that word; it allows you to add something else, if need be, and in this case, it was the third and final book in the trilogy – ‘A Dark and Hungry Storm’.
The Character of Nathanial West
Warning: will contain major spoilers
Nathanial West appears in ‘Echoes of a Storm’, ‘Scions of the Storm’, two stories in ‘A Storm Filled Night’, two stories in Tales of Solomon Pace, & ‘My Name is’ (see notes) The following is a character summary of Nathanial West, using around 900 words.
The Early Years
Nathanial West was originally known by a different name which has been lost in history. He grew up in the Star Mountains and had a fairly normal life up to the age of ten, when he broke his leg. He was given special herbs to make him sleep and take away the pain. However, a witch called Jennifer, who had been spurned by Nathanial’s father, cancelled the effects of the painkilling and sleep-inducing aspects of the herbs, and, instead, replaced them with a paralysing effect. Young Nathanial spent two days locked in agony within his own body.
Later on, Nathanial was picked to become a ‘Chosen’; this meant that an Air Spirit would possess his body, turning him into an unstoppable warrior. However, there was a heavy price to pay, as the Chosen would die when the Air Spirit left his body. By sheer force of will, Nathanial kept the Air Spirit inside him and, hence, survived where all others had failed. For this, he was exiled from his tribe.
The Exiled years
Very little is known about Nathanial West during these years, only that he changed his name to Nathanial West during this time and that he fought with a mercenary band for a few years.
When Nathanial reached Zarekland, he was a much-changed man – a battle-hardened veteran with cold hard eyes and a death-wish approach to battle. He quickly rose to the rank of Captain and took charge of the 3rd Lowland Infantry – a regiment known for its lack of discipline as much as its fighting ability. They fought many campaigns, but it was the Battle of Bridgehead where they and their Captain earned their deadly reputation.
The Bodyguard years
At the Battle of the Swallow Hills, whilst defending a gorge, Nathanial was mortally wounded and whisked away by Solomon Pace. The 3rd Lowland Infantry, along with the church soldiers, successfully held the gorge, but were decimated in the process. Barely eighty of them survived the battle.
Nathanial returned six weeks later, fully fit, and took up the post of Bodyguard for Queen Alexandra. They quickly became lovers. The affair was brief, but fruitful, as they became parents to Princess Kathleen. The King, though, thought Kathleen to be his own.
Within Nathanial, the Air Spirit had gone insane and, although it granted him great powers as a warrior, it constantly tried to chip away at his sanity. After the Battle of the Gorge, Solomon Pace places an Earth Spirit within Nathanial, which caused him to become a Dev’ver, or werewolf, at will. The Earth Spirits name is Red Claw. From then on, Nathanial fought a constant battle between himself, the beast, and the evil one.
The Peaceful years
For two years, Nathanial finds peace with a woman called Elizabeth; whom he marries. However, that peace was ripped apart when he had to make a choice between saving his daughter, the Princess Kathleen, or his beloved wife. Nathanial chose to protect his daughter.
The Return of the Warrior
With the death of his wife, Nathanial returns to his old self and dedicates his life to protecting his daughter. (See Echoes of a Storm for full details)
Scions of the Storm
At the end of Echoes of a Storm, Solomon Pace had successfully destroyed most of the royal family and exiled Nathanial into the wilderness, leaving only Kathleen and her new husband as his puppet rulers.
At the start of Scions of the Storm, Nathanial is losing the battle of wills with the insane Air Spirit, who is now known as the Midnight Man.
Knowing there is a prophecy that a young woman called Jane Hughes will kill the Midnight Man, Nathanial deliberately hides himself away in the woods until Jane becomes strong enough to kill him and, hence, the Midnight Man.
The Rise of the Midnight Man
Nathanial eventually loses the fight and the Midnight Man comes to the fore. Now loose, the Midnight Man begins a subtle campaign of pure evil, spreading his hate of life across the entire continent.
The Fall of the Midnight Man
In the grand finale of Scions, a battle takes place in a huge underground cavern. During this battle Jane Hughes is on her knees before the Midnight Man, utterly defeated and about to die, when, through the strength of his will, Nathanial manages to overcome the Midnight Man. He tells Jane that he can only hold back the Midnight Man for a short time, but that should be time enough to allow Red Claw (his werewolf) to come to the fore. Nathanial tells Jane to persuade Red Claw to die by attacking alone the enemy ranks
The Death of Nathanial West
Whilst Nathanial’s struggle for control with the Midnight Man. Jane persuades Red Claw that to save everyone the Midnight Man must die. Red Claw’ howls out a challenge and charge into the ranks of the enemy, only to be cut down in a flurry of claws and teeth, hence, killing himself, the Midnight Man, and Nathanial West.
Notes – ‘My Name is’ was only released for 4 months in 2013. I am planning to add it to a collection of short stories sometime in the future.
‘Scions of the Storm’ is the second instalment in the ‘Storm Series’ trilogy, and covers the next sixteen years of this epic tale.
It concludes the tale of Nathanial and his daughter, details the rise of the ‘Midnight Man’ and for the first time reveals hints about the two deadly, but hidden, forces that are using the Twin Kingdoms as a pawn in their eons old game of domination.
As ‘Scions of the Storm’ draws to an end, it prepares the reader for the final episode of this dark bittersweet trilogy and sets the ground work for the final story ‘A Dark and Hungry Storm.’