Writing Excuses 10.8 writing prompt: Sketch out the events before and after your dead-drop scene from last week and three weeks ago.
What is in the packages?
Black powder mixed with something that will create lots of smoke. It’s an attack on the temple. When the packages are put into the flames (unopened, as is tradition), they will burn through and explode. As small as they are, it won’t actually cause much damage, but that’s not the point. Rather the point is to create confusion (especially with the smoke) so another agent can sneak into the temple and steal something.
Who sent the packages?
The packages at first appear to be from a rival temple of another sun god. The two sun gods have a long rivalry (as might be expected). Both have enough in the terms of miracles that it’s hard to prove that either is wrong, but which is the more important is up for grabs.
A further layer down though, the packages are actually from the Baron in charge of the city. He realizes that temple of Actris is growing too powerful, especially with the common people. He wants to play the two of them against one another without showing his own hands in things. Schemes within schemes, plots within plots.
What are they trying to steal?
The goal will be to steal the Staff of the Sun. It’s a relic from a Holy War that took place over five centuries ago during the current empire’s rise to power. The temple of Actris played a large part in that conflict and the Staff is supposed to have miraculous powers.
Why did they choose who they did to send the packages?
The choice of the noble was another level in the schemes on the part of the Baron. The noble gained his power from trading and is actually richer than the Baron himself (although not quite if you take into account the city’s funds as well). Trying to take out a potentially powerful rival is just icing on the cake so far as the Baron is concerned.
What will happen to the golem next?
The golem is the only one of the three that is actually brought in for questioning in regards to this story. He tries to buy a replacement head directly, but finds that he cannot get the funds. So he’s forced to return to the guild and ask for a replacement, something that no golem wants to do. They are already in the guild’s clutches just by the nature of their existence, but this will require additional sacrifices. In this case, someone saw him deliver one of the packages which caused the chaos at the temple. The guild will look into it.
(Side note: the golem could be the serving girl from the original Shadows and Steam with only minor changes.)
What will happen to the orphan next?
No one seems to know that the orphan was involved in the explosion at the temple of Actris. Instead though, he runs into trouble when he tries to sell the golem’s head that he picked up off the street. He doesn’t at first, since he just wants to keep the shiny, but eventually he has to. At that point, he tries to sell it to the wrong person (a minor functionary in the Golemancy Guild) who can identify what it was and that there’s both no way that the orphan should have it and–by city law–it already belongs to the guild anyways. All golems are guild property.
What will happen to the noble next?
The noble will figure out what is going on in term of the Baron trying to frame him. Initially at least though, he will not be able to figure out the other levels of the plan. Johanas (who is more than meets the eye) keeps subtly helping him behind the scenes for his own reasons, although the noble is oblivious to all of this. He does eventually manage to take power from the Baron, but only temporarily as the rivalry between the two temples of the sun gods erupts into an all out civil war.