The God of Slaves

Wings he had and wings they took; stripped of all memory and power. “Forever shall you wander the wasteland,” they said, “and seed your sedition amongst honest man.”

But death bore down upon its own swift wings and stone by stone, their empire crumbled.

– From the fall of the Talsakkan Empire


So I’ve just finished my story.

As in, I’ve actually written the whole thing. Done. Complete.


I know I’ve got a loooong way to go before it’s *actually* complete and not full of glaring errors and downright embarrassingly purple prose, but it feels so good to have actually written a whole full, length novel.

Not since I sat down and conceptualized this novel two years ago have I ever finished it through to the end. Over that time the whole piece has undergone a massive evolution in terms of narrative, plot and characters, but I never lost site of the overall story I wanted to tell. 

I just simply refined it. 

Picking the seems: the themes behind King of Sparrows

Self-determination and the question of destiny.

He chooses to be, as do we all, long before any of your meaningless freedoms are presented.

 -Dragon age 2

Thus spoke the Arishok on the subject of existence, though it perhaps seems contradictory. Nobody “chooses to live” after all, for we have no way of experience life without living. Perhaps what it actually infers is that existing without a purpose is not existence.

Fantasy is rife with the cliched peasant child embroiled in a conflict that will inevitably result in his coronation, becoming the stalwart hero of the land/heir to the throne/fulfiller of the prophecy (delete where appropriate), and yet it baffles me that the theme of self-determination is tackled so rarely. What if the prophecy remained unfulfilled, or the hero did nothing at all and the land went to pot? For all we know the hero is actually defeating the evil-du-jour out of a sense of obligation, rather than a desire.  To what extent is the future theirs to control? Does he have any say in what is essentially a pre-determined destiny? Is his choice merely an illusion, is it really freedom?

Writing in itself is a wonderful way of describing a predefined destiny. As a planner, I already know the whole that my characters will face. They may choose to wander from the path, as we all do in life, and yet they will always arrive at the inevitable.

Did you lead, or were you simply led?

The theme of self-determination and the question of destiny in King of Sparrows is embodied by this phrase. The main character, Dakka Bel, is given many choices, both tactically and morally, but he is seemingly dragged through much of the story by others, and at times, an unseen hand. As a slum-dweller, an Outcast, his role in life is to live behind a gigantic brick wall, built by those that sit on his shoulders. He is seen as a slave, one who has allowed himself to be subjugated, rather than a victim of social struggle. It is his desire to break away from his origins that encompasses all that he is and all that he does, but to what inevitably?

We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us.

-Andrew Ryan, Bioshock

The Song of the King of Sparrows

Down on his luck there lives a bird,
Behind a cage built high,
And only a glimpse of heaven sees,
A sparrow flying through the sky.

“Oh, Brother mine,” calls he to caged,
“I fly, whilst you cannot,
You have not wings with which to spread,
Damnation you begot.”

For his call, forever more,
Shall touch the heavens high,
King of Sparrows, is it he?
For only he is free.

“Oh, sibling mine,” returns the bird,
Our days are numbered nigh,
For shallow graves, we all shall fill,
Never knowing why.”

“And so you live,” answers he,
Not knowing how to be.
For those that value liberty,
Are those that shall be free.”

For his call, forever more,
Shall touch the heavens high,
King of Sparrows, it is he,
only truly free.