Building a World: Welcome to Palarna

Updated: Nov 10

For the past two months, Hazel Dains and Tamara Linse have been building their own medieval fantasy world LIVE over the 1000 Lives Lived Podcast.

It has been an insanely fun process for both writers. But even more exciting, is seeing the plotline coming to life! The authors have been using Jessica Brody's Save the Cat Outline tool for novels. In the first episode of plot building, they made it to Midpoint, but...

Three magical beats were skipped.

So, we are going to review the missing pieces here in this post.


Summarizing the Plot

But before we get started, here is a little recap of the plot so far:

The planet of Palarna is split into four territories each ruled by different species of elves. A young girl of the tree elves, Kaina, is mourning the recent death of her mother and deeply desires to spend the rest of her days a sacred tender of the garden of her people, the forest where the dead are nurtured. But her race is slowly dying out and she must fulfill her duty to her people.

She is brought before the council as part of the betrothal ritual, and to her surprise, a young man comes forward who would like to stake his claim. She is ready to do her duty by her people when suddenly her body begins to glow dark blue- the colour of the gods. The earth shakes and a branch from the Great tree in the middle of the square, breaks and is carried off, down the road to the sacred cave of the gods.

The seer Syra comes forward and interprets this strange sign. She says that it has been dictated by the gods that Kaina would go on the betrothal quest instead of her mate. Her father only allows this under one condition, that another member of the community goes with his daughter. Every male who goes to the cave is under oath never to speak of it or reveal the location of the cave. He fears the voyage will be too much for his daughter who has already been through so much. A young man, Rustus, comes forward and volunteers to be her bodyguard.

It is decided. They start their trek down the cave road, and not far down the path, there at a T, sits a strange old woman, who looks as if she had been waiting for them.


The Missing Pieces

The Setup

Kaina finishes her conversation with her father (the opening scene in the novel) and is approached by her friend Rustus. They had been friends ever since childhood but recently she had stopped talking to him- and everyone for that matter- as she was trying to grapple with the death of her mother. He understands but is still hurt. The conversation is slow and awkward, but well-meaning. Some relief of tension happens when Rustus notices a boy their age lurking in the shadows as if he is trying to get a glance at her. They know him, but he doesn't approach. They both think it is strange, but Kaina doesn't really care either.

Shortly after she goes home to her father and he is there to tell her that he spoke with the King and he is not allowing anyone of eligible marrying age to resist their responsibility to repopulate the village. It is said in a very matter-of-fact and awkward way. He looks sorry but is firm. She starts to cry and runs out of the house. She walks around the village at night and has flashbacks of her mother and a conversation with her. It is clear that she really misses her.

The Catalyst

The next day, Kaina is brought before the council and the entire town in front of the central tree (find another name) and the betrothal ceremony starts. The boy who comes forward is the same boy who had been lurking in the shadows the other day. She is disappointed but also realizes that she would have been anyway since she didn't want to marry anyone. The ceremony is about to conclude with the boy being congratulated and the announcement that he will now start his journey to the Sacred Cave when Kaina's body starts to glow the colour of the gods. Everyone stop and waits. The seer's eyes then glow the same colour and she proclaims a prophecy over Kaina and the entire village. (we are not going to reveal the prophecy at this time). There is no getting out of it, Kaina is going on the quest instead.

The Debate

She packs her bag and her betrothed comes in. This is the first conversation she has had with him. She is reluctant to get married and reluctant to go on this quest. But he is reasonable and gracious, he understands that if the Creator says she must then she must. He insists that Rustus go with her as protection. Rustus likes the idea and they head off.

That's all folks.

If you want to know what happens next be sure to catch our second plot episode set to air on October 21, 2022.

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