Discover more from The Cascadia Chronicles
The Opening Scroll
200 years after the disappearance of humanity, a new society flourishes in the ruins.
You and the reader are arriving in Cascadia fairly fresh, and it’s often vital for fantasy novels set the stage without overwhelming readers with too much lore up front. Often, this is done with a map. I plan to have one of those, but I'd also like to establish background with an opening scroll, which will likely appear as some sort of prologue before launching into Chapter 1.
Two hundred years have passed since the disappearance of humanity and the dawn of inter-mammalian communication. The cities and towns of the Pacific Northwest are now resettled by the Cascadian Alliance, a multi-species coalition formed to protect the mutual flourishing of all mammal life. Outside of the brief and bloody Avian Wars, a prosperous peace endures.
But a new conflict is arising. As predators in the wilderness regions yearn for a revival of the Old Way—when the strong ate the weak—prey animals flee for Alliance territories in droves. As Old Way antagonism builds, a long peace leaves the settled regions vulnerable to threat.
In the midst of this tumult, four companions travel by paw from the coastal mountains to Bridge City with vital information for the Council of Mammals.
That’s how we’re kicking off around here. What I like is how this summarizes a lot of time succinctly and establishes the fundamental factions and society while hinting at deeper mysteries.
Like everything with this project, this opening scrolls is in flux. The trick in fantasy series is balancing world-building and exposition with action and dialogue and character development. (We’ll get into characters—the four companions—soon.)
For now, what works for you? Is anything confusing or tedious? Is this so obviously ripped off from Star Wars that you’re waiting for a Star Destroyer to drift by overhead? Are any of the pronouns particularly interesting? (For instance, Lana believes Bridge City is major selling point and I should hit that more.)