Lady Inqu turned to regard Samuel once more. “You’ll have to soar to even challenge me.” Lady Inqu leaned forward on the railing, gripping it fiercely as she bellowed: “I am a goddess wrought from flame to rule this world!”
Samuel snorted at the display. He could recognize the jawline, even from that distance below her. He shook his head. “No, you’re what the goddess left behind.”
– The Book of Resurrection, Part II
A few days ago, I took a personal stab at sharing some music that aligns with the themes of my current project, The Book of Resurrection. Friend and fellow fantasy writer, geek, and all around awesome human Avery Ames (follow her on Twitter here) put an offer out to create a playlist based on characters’ romance in a story. Maybe I was feeling a little sadistic, so I threw her the curveball that is the odd triangle of Samuel, Quinn, and Lady Inqu. Boy oh boy did she deliver:
I’ve mentioned before that the story I’m working on begins with the “legendary hero” Samuel Frost coming back from the dead to try to save the world that his adversary seized control of after his death. It’s a world so polluted and ruined that humanity now lives among ten cities, each ruled over a different lord placed there by Samuel’s old enemy.
The first city Samuel reaches is ruled by the Lady Inqu. When leaving Heaven, Samuel’s true love and fellow hero from his first life, Quinn, warns him “don’t search me… because you’ll find me.” On his first day back to life, he comes within reach of the Lady Inqu and attacks her, removing her mask that no one has seen under before.
It turns out she’s a clone of Quinn. Lady Inqu does not know this, because in her mind she was born from the very event that killed Samuel and sent him and Quinn to heaven. She believes herself to be a divine being, born from flame to rule the city and the world.
Lady Inqu does not “feel” human emotion, she believes herself to be transcendent of such things. Samuel’s attack on her complicates this.
A seemingly ordinary human actually managed to make her feel something. She’s spent the seven years of her known existence in an unfeeling cocoon and has no idea what the feeling is. Only that it was a feeling at all makes this man a fascinating adversary to her. Because of this, she plays with Samuel, all but ruining his attempts at rebellion, but also pulling her punches just enough to see if pushing him closer to the brink might make him “fly” again, might make him come at her and make her feel again.
There’s a lot surrounding the rebellion- a city gang conspiracy, the intentional economic strain of the lower class, and human experimentation- but it’s all building to Samuel and Lady Inqu. Samuel is challenging an enemy with the face of the person he gave up an eternity in paradise with, even if Lady Inqu is worlds apart from the person Quinn is/was.
I’ve been listening to the playlist this whole time, and perhaps that’s why I’ve rambled so much. Avery really did a spectacular job capturing a feeling, a sense and theme of what I described to her. Blur by Tremble especially, it’s hauntingly perfect for Lady Inqu, but this has become my new writing playlist. I am so grateful to Avery, and I’ll recommend again that you follow her on Twitter if you’re at all into fantasy or just need some positivity in your feed.
I’ll close with a spoiler. Although Samuel could very well kill Lady Inqu at the end of Part II, turmoil in the city becomes the more pressing matter, and Samuel knows that the rebellion is as much about hearts and minds, a movement and a symbol as it is just about removing Inqu. He does eventually kill her, with all of the city watching, and when he does this is their last exchange.
Lady Inqu: I told you not to search for me.
Samuel: Because I’d find you…
Lady Inqu: No. You still haven’t.