Yep, you read that right: NaNo 2018 will be my THIRD kick at the “WDF” can.
I started the project during NaNo 2011, based (if I recall correctly) on a single potent mental image which came to me out of the blue a couple of months before NaNo that year. I’m a comic book colourist by trade, and what I saw in my mind’s eye was a splash page in the style of Charlie Adlerd’s “X-Files” work, painted all in muddy greys: a nightmarish figure, half-woman and half-crow, rising into the night out of a grove of November trees. The shot was taken from around chest level of the figures on the ground: a man and a woman, each carrying a slightly futuristic handgun. They were watching the crow-woman rise with anger, but without fear, while the policemen around them looked utterly terrified.
I knew that at their feet (out of the shot) lay the remains of a grisly human sacrificial victim, his heart torn out by the crow-woman’s beak. And that was the moment when “WDF” was born, although it took me a while to figure out who everybody in the shot actually was.
The woman turned out to be Tatiana Kavelin, a Manifester/Special Ops Agent with the Department of Paranormal Investigations (DPNI), Chicago Office, Wiccan Division. The man was Jeremy Anderson, a Manifester/Special Ops Agent with the DPNI, Chicago Office, Christian Division. The crow-woman was… well, I want to avoid spoilers, so let’s just say that she’s also a Manifester but definitely NOT dedicated to serving the public good.
What is a Manifester? Briefly stated, a Manifester is a human being who manifests supernatural abilities in line with their religious or spiritual beliefs. The earliest recorded tale of a Manifester dates back to the Babylonian Empire — a story not known (or at least not spoken of) among non-Manifester historians — when Hammurabi decreed that the strong should not overwhelm the weak, and established the Children of Marduk to protect those without special spiritual gifts. The Children of Marduk were tasked with hunting down and destroying any other Manifester who did not swear to nurture the rest of humankind. After the collapse of Babylon, and through all the millennia that followed, the Children of Marduk carried out their mission in secret, although the names and structures of their organizations changed to suit the times. And the predatory Gifted, who were persecuted by them, lived even deeper in the shadows, vowing that one day they would rule the world as was (to them) their birthright by virtue of their Powers.
Agent Kavelin and Agent Anderson, who must work together by order of their superiors but who loathe each other across the divide of their very different religions, find themselves the only ones guarding the safety of the vast majority of humankind — who have no idea that the DPNI exists, or that the Gifted are striving to bring about Armageddon. Thus the central question of the novel: Can they overcome their mutual antipathy in time to avert the end of civilization as they know it?
More about “WDF” in tomorrow’s post. For now, here are my “face claim” pictures for the two main characters.
Nick Tag as Jeremy Anderson:
And Idina Menzel as Tatiana Kavelin: