I have a YouTube channel, and for a time was creating a series of videos focused upon the creative process. The centre line of this series was to break down my own process through the writing of a book from concept through to launch.
The concept I had was for ‘Our Lot’, and ‘Our Light’, two stories retelling the First Crusade. Each book focuses upon one of the two prongs, the People’s Crusade of 1096, and the Prince’s Crusade of the following year. The Peasant’s story, and the Knight’s story.
The channel hasn’t gained any traction, and I’ve had a lot of other things drawing my attention, so though I am still intending to continue the videos, they’ll run as a tertiary priority for now. I genuinely like these stories though; I like delving into the culture and mentality and motivations of that time, drawing parallels with contemporary society. The books also actually won’t take all too much effort to complete, so I’m certainly keeping them active as WiP.
I'm thinking that once Vallecia Series One is complete I’ll move them forward.
COVER CONCEPT SKETCH
For hundreds of years since the fall of Jerusalem the infidel Mohammedans have choked the fair lands of Christendom from both sides. The coastal villages live in constant fear of the Devil’s slavers’ raids, and all have heard at length of the value of fair Christian women to his merchants.
French carpenter Balien has heard much of this threat, his wife and childhood love Sophia remaining ever foremost of his fears. But the Latin kingdoms have hardened in this time, have strengthened in this time, have grown rich in this time, and El Cid in Iberia has delivered Christendom’s first reply.
The estranged Greek Christians have called upon their Latin brothers for aid, the Pope has answered, and all eyes now shift to the east. God has laid his hand directly upon Balien for this journey, and he must simply do what he must.
Balien has never left the realm. He cannot read, and has no concept of the workings of these creatures God would now have him face. But while the infidels continue to march, his future, his love, remains in plight. So if it will take walking all the way straight into the Devil’s lands to keep her safe… then Deus Vult… he walks for Sophia.
“… I don’t want to do that, Guille. Men, if they’re armed, yes, but wom-”
“If not them, here, then they come for us. They’ve been coming for us, for our families for hundreds of years, and they will not stop. God has chosen us to stop them… So that is our lot.”
All of France rouses with the call of a single name; The Knights of the Lady Loss, the eight brothers of that eccentric mountain order, their strange armour and tactics scything through the sensational new sport of the joust.
With the Pope’s call for a Holy Journey, the Knights of Loss draw cheers from all they pass on the road to Constantinople. The Saracens bear no concept of the hammer now swinging for their heads.
From the night comes a traveler wearing a cross of blood. He enlists the brothers to assist in the escort of his charge, the Deaconess Sofiā of Jerusalem, from the Order of Nirvāna. But what is this intoxicating being, so freely trampling, even spitting upon the cross, who sheds her modesty for all and gifts herself happily for their indulgence?
Is such behaviour truly sin when encouraged by an apostle of Mary? She is flesh, she is warmth, she is love, she is blood, she is life. Who is this woman, this Light, drifting through this world of man, of death, of toil, suffering, cruelty, and destruction?
Inshallah… Deus Vult… Do these chastening texts truly speak the word of God? Or does the truth actually lie within a single simple phrase… Dīvus Sofīa.
COVER CONCEPT SKETCH
“Go, leave us, leave this pettiness and all trivialties in your wake. Seek your destinies, Second Sons of the Lady Loss, and slay all such dark creatures who tremble in your path.”
“The Devil stands ready… but not for you.”
With these works I’m attempting to apply a layer of hyper-reality, emulating the mystical nature of the naivety of the time.
Studying and following the real figures and actual events closely, I am actively exploring and experimenting with their psychological states and motivations, trying to discover and illustrate who both they were then, and who we are today.