First and foremost, it should be noted that I have not written the actual manuscript: this is purely the outline.
Second, the outline may evolve over time, what with suggestions and all. I give my thanks in advance.
Third, this is a work of fantasy, though it contains no trace of "magic" or other fantasy-associated traits. Because of this "limitation", I prefer to think of it as historical fantasy.
Here's the outline I have going so far. Please take notice that it is not in traditional outline format.
I will need to define some terms/groups, however:
The Pious is a religious organization, and is the current rulling power.
The Guild is a band of mercenaries that defected from The Pious (before the story started) and is the current counterbalance to The Pious.
Vorsci, a city I used in my previous draft, is a subterranean settlement that houses the lesser functions of The Pious, mainly the mission (though this was never established in my previous draft).
Ryvek, on the other hand, is a metropolis that houses the major functions of The Guild, such as the council, the guildmaster (as he is so inaptly called - The Guild falls under what modern day Council Marxism is), and, perhaps more importantly for the beginning, the artifact chamber.
Anyway, onto the outline. If there are any questions, I'll try to answer them. However, I'd mainly like some productive discussion in terms of outline creation.
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Start with ceremony to The Pious
Vows of commitment to the missions.
Allegiance to Lord.
Main Character – Jordan Revine
Initiated into The Pious.
He assigns himself to Rank 15 – Layman at the beginning, as does everyone.
He is not arrogant, as he was in take 1. Instead, he is dutiful.
Jordan is now sworn to uphold the Lord’s will.
Setting – Earth (European style), Middle Ages, middle of the night (prologue)
Unknown place (or so it will say in the prologue. Actually in Vorsci, a subterranean city)
Each person joins a faction when they are first able for duty (usually the age of 17, though tests can be administered to say otherwise). In general, the initiate will choose the same faction as their parents, but that is not always the case.
To join, the applicant must adhere to the strict guidelines set by the individual faction. In The Pious, these involve adhering to the wishes of the almighty. In The Guild, you swear your loyalty to The Guild as a whole. As a rule, any applicant that wishes to join a faction is sworn to it. In the event of exile, they are placed in the rival faction.
The Pious is the current ruling power, and The Guild is what acts as the counter-balance to The Pious’ reign. There is no electoral system between either party. The Guild currently takes form in the congressional body, whereas The Pious manifests in the executive roles (and vice versa should The Guild lead). The next rule is decided autocratically.
As per initiation, you must bring a gemstone exemplifying how you reflect on your past, and what you expect from your future. Jordan chooses a diamond, a symbol of rarity, devotion, and purity.
The Guild and The Pious, as the two primary factions, have fought since the very time society was established. Everything from war to debate has been covered by these two. The Pious is currently in a state of conflict with The Guild. Jordan is told that The Guild started the war, but this is untrue.
After the recitation of the oath, Jordan is asked by the accompanied headmaster to accompany him in his quarters. Jordan complies, and he is asked questions related to his willingness and determination. Jordan assumes he got them “correct” (but makes no mention), since he was asked to take part in a mission when they got to the headmaster’s quarters. He thanked the headmaster for the opportunity, and went in the designated location (Ryvek – home of the guild).
The assignment is simple, or so the headmaster believes; Jordan was to “recover” an artifact from The Guild, based in Ryvek. This is actually the spark of the war. However, Jordan accepted without falter, and carried out the mission without question (this “opportune mission” breaks a treaty between Ryvek and Vorsci, causing the war).
Start Chapter 1.
The artifact retrieved, Jordan makes his way back to The Pious, where he has relatively low praise. One in particular notices Jordan, and calls him over, asking that he follow him.
Once away from the subterranean city’s streets, he tells Jordan he is sparking a war of untold proportion, and that he should return the artifact immediately. He tells Jordan that he will become a prisoner of war, but that this is okay. He will be returned to safety after the returning of the artifact.
Jordan makes a swift rebuttal with the stranger, saying that the headmaster wanted him to “return” the artifact to The Pious. Jordan stays to listen to him though.
He tells Jordan to do what he wants, but that he will suffer repercussions regardless. Unmentioned: these include assassination attempts, and eventual trickery. This last mention is at the very end, where he is tricked by this character (the character assassinates the headmaster of The Pious, and this character takes his role) and thrown into the wasteland. The Guild has already burned down—by Jordan’s hand—and he attempts to initiate himself in The Guild by finding a gemstone once more. The Pious brands him a traitor, and this starts Book 2, or the end of the series – to be decided.