So, you've made it this far, have you? It takes dedication to find this page hidden deep within the Tagonist Knights Website.
As a reward, I present to you five new ways to immerse yourself within this novel. Some of it is insightful, other aspects of it is meant to make you laugh and smile. Hopefully, by the time you're done, you'll be eager to explore the book if you haven't already, or take a moment to read through it once again knowing what you do now.
“The reason you are this way is because of her. I wanted a race of human born that reflected her kindness, love, compassion, everything that she shared with me. I wanted to be surrounded by those just like her.” - Gaia
Say Hello - The Cast of Garden of Gaia
“It feels like everyone else here fits in. From the elders to the architects, from the healers to the guardians, whatever role someone has in our society, they belong. Except me.”
“I’m sorry for what happened, and I feel sympathy for the suffering you endured. However, you have no right to be rude, condescending of my beliefs, or dismissive of my feelings.”
“It sounds to me that this visitor you’re talking about is a vampire.”
“The moment provided to you concerning me being abundantly polite in the matter has been exhausted. Now then, let me make it abundantly clear as to my intent. Go away.”
“I still feel a pain that I cannot let go. I think of the terrible things I am responsible for, the poison that the world I was forced to confront did to me.
“True strength is revealed when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.”
“We’re more plant than animal. We are kind of a hybrid between the two.” - Emeraial
“Ruby soon found a small home where three dragons lived. There was a daddy dragon, a mommy dragon, and a baby dragon… I’m sorry. How about this? Ruby soon found a small home where three dragons lived. There was a mommy dragon, a mother dragon, and a baby dragon…” – Emmanuelle
So many versions...
This novel went through multiple drafts that I probably lost track of just how many changes were made. The original draft was written several years before returning to the book. The original versus the final draft are so dramatically different, there is few similarities.
The original story had the vampire character "cured" of his vampirism by Gaia after she stole him from Lillith. He was leading a normal life as a human and that's when Lilith discovered his location, transported him to this hidden community and handed him off to one of her disciples that lives in this village.
The original community was a village of elves living up in the treetops of an ancient forest. They rarely if ever went down to ground level. There was a much larger cast, and the main protagonist was Marian. Her friend Emeral became one of two reactions to this mysterious being. The whole time it's not revealed that the community is elves and there is this mystery of "if they're not human, what are they?" Finally, its revealed, which in my mind, was anti-climactic so I shifted away from that original idea.
Originally the former vampire, now human, was tortured extensively by a member of their community. Part of a cult of evil elves that hated humans. They were bigots to an extreme and this son of one of the high-ranking members of this cult felt like they weren't going far enough. He eventually murders his father. Crazy, I know.
Eventually the human is discovered, and healing begins. Part of the story is about his road to recovery. There is a psychic connection made between the head of the healers, Paian and his assistant, his daughter, Marian. It is how she is first introduced to "the stranger" and her curiosity about him becomes another element to the story.
Plant Based Humans
Let me explain...
The cast of elves in the original draft included Maraian, her two parents who were also healers. Emerial who was a friend who thought humans were attractive compared to Marian who was mostly curious. There was their mutual friend, a guardian that was wanting to be with Marian but she wasn't interested in him. There was the elf who tortured the human, his father that he eventually murdered, his stepsister who was worried about her own life from her brother. There was a collection of "elders", two males and a female. One being Emerial's grandfather. On top of all of that, there was the three baby dragons that acted more like little kids with magical abilities that showed up near the end. It was an incredibly thick, semi-confusing storyline. At one point Lilith shows up at the outer border of this sanctuary with an army of demons, werewolves, vampires, all to attack this community to get back what was stolen from her. Gaia, who didn't appear until near the end, finally intervenes and with the help of the traveler and the two dragon parents, tells Lilith to leave. At the end, Marian and Emerial leave their homeland with the original vampire and original werewolf accompanying them on their journey. The End.
By the time I came back to this book, I had made a multitude of changes already in the series, including that there was two female dragon parents instead of a male/female. I wanted to make the dragon children more like babies, not grown up kids. I made attempts to salvage the story which was difficult with the second draft.
The biggest change was making the elves plant people. There is an extensive backstory behind that which I will get to, but making them a unique race of human born not found anywhere else in the world helped developed this new concept I was going to present.
In the novel, Tinker's Treasure, Lexia meets the future daughter of Dryad, who is a plant based individual. Her name is "Gaia". I didn't think anything of it at the time, and it wasn't until about the time of re-writing this book that I had reached a point in the Sunfire Chronicles that I knew Dryad would be temporarily taking over as a Tagonist Knight, traveling between different realities. It was a perfect set up to explain the origins of the idea of plant-based people that Gaia gets from meeting Dryad. Alternatively, Dryad remembers her friend that she makes in Gaia and uses that name for her future daughter. I knew that the Human Born series would be an origin story of sorts for the original Tagonist Knights revealed at the end.
Gaia was originally the little sister of the first vampire. He is corrupted by Lillith and becomes evil, eventually harming his sister. It was a plot I threw out in the second draft in that I was developing the gods with a lot more depth and fleshed out histories than originally.
I quickly cut out the parts involving the "evil" members of the society. They're gone in the second draft including the sadistic son, the stepsister, the murdered father, all of that is cut out. The one who tortured the vampire was Lilith herself and Gaia was reacting to the theft of the eggs by stealing him away from the vampire goddess. I tried to keep Marian's parents involved as well as the guardian friend in the second draft but already I felt like they should be cut.
In this second version, the vampire was found in the village, was cared for by village healers, and carefully guarded by the guardians/police force of this community. Marian was still a main character, Emerial was actually close to being cut since here role diminished at this point. Vaialen and Baiablio weren't even a concept at this point. Oh, and I deleted the scenes involving the three elders to cut down on material.
I started to introduce the dragons in the second draft. The opening scene was originally revealed in chapter five or six, well into the depths of the story before they're even introduced. Also, there was a series of scenes in the second draft involving Marian entering the mind of the vampire, helping him heal psychologically. It was bizarre concept, and it led to these three personalities. One when he was human, before he met Lilith. The second being his blind loyal self that gets a hint at in the final draft but quickly moves beyond that. And the third being his post rebellion against Lillith. He has to reconcile all three versions of himself to discover the truth of who he is. Gaia communicates with him in several scenes as a voice, sometimes making appearances off screen, never seen. It's how she becomes more involved then in the previous draft but it didn't feel like enough.
Draft three changed everything and was a major step towards teh final version. It's at this point that I had the idea of making Maraian as Gaia in disguise. This whole time she's the goddess. I had to be careful of her wording of things so that she doesn't lie, but carefully never includes herself as a part of the community or being like the others. That left me making Emeraial the central protagonist since she was a much more intereresting character versus the previous version of Maraian. It was also during this version of thes tory that I introduced Vaialen and Baiablio. In the second draft, both were also gods in disguise. I also cut out Mariana's parents for obvious reasons and the guardian friend gets a cameo, but is otherwise cut from the story.
The biggest change was moving the dragon scenes to the first of each chapter and adding a lot more of them into the narrative. I loved writing about them and wanted more scenes involving them.
The final draft made some minor changes that affected the story. First off, Vaialen was no longer "the traveler" and was his own character. I liked that, because too many people turning out to be gods felt silly. Certain scenes involving him were changed, new ones like the rejuvenation scene with Emeraial was added. His romantic interest on Maraian was eliminated, turning these feelings towards Emeraial in that he was no longer a god who knew who Maraian was. Lyuben made an appearance in the third draft, shortly before the kids ran off and so his involvement in finding the third child had to be fixed. The story of the three dragons was originally told by Kaida to her daughter on the tree branch but was changed for Emmanuelle to tell the story. Vaialen was cut out of the final scene involving the dragons and the vampire. No longer a god, he no longer served a role in that scene. There was this whole preparing for war scene that I reached, the vampire discussing strategy with the dragons to confront Lilith, is where I gave up on the third draft. I didn't like that at all, and so took a new approach when I went back through making the changes I did.
The final draft came into existence with the changes I mentioned earlier. The final chapter took a few attempts at. At one point Emeraial visits Vaialen to say goodbye. The final scenes with Maraian were not finalized until a last-minute change hinting at the existence of the Tagonist Knights. I was so nervous about going forward with that concept and naming them. I knew that this was an origin story for the knights as well as Mythos, Knight of Fables being Emerald. It was hinted at in the previous novel that this was true. Also, I had a flashback scene involving Gaia talking to Dryad during her time as a knight. That cross over between series was thrilling concept for me, but it never felt right. However, showing that Gaia was coping with depression and how she recovered I felt was a good addition to add depth to who she was as individaul and to explain her motives.
“I am the reason why the vampire nation exists. I was the first of my kind.” - Gilgamesh
Easter Eggs and Inspiration
The name Kaida is primarily a female name of Japanese origin that means Little Dragon.
Emmanuelle, Kaida, and Emerald first appeared in the novel: Emerald Intrigue.
On page 7, Vaialen lists gods from Greek, Norse, and Egyptian mythology, two of each in that order.
Did you know?
Originally the vampire was named Hyperion. The final scene in the book involving him inspired me to change his name.
All within the community have "aia" in their name in honor of the "aia" in the name Gaia.
Baiablio gets his name from the word "bibliophile", a person who collects or has a great love of books.
He and She
The community doesn't use the terms "man and woman" since they aren't human, thus the use of "male and female".
The first paragraph on page 57 makes a reference to Star Trek: The Borg, "Resistance is futile."
On page 63, David is a vampire hunter from the novel: Blood Oath.
On page 171, Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective with Doctor Watson as his assistant, created by Arthur Conan Doyle
Lord Ruthven is a fictional character first appearing in John William Polidori's "The Vampyre" (1819), he was one of the first vampires in English literature.
Hope is a pinpoint...
The first paragraph on page 196 is a quote reference to a statement made in the novel: Tapestry of the Second Born.
Daiartel originally played a much larger role before major re-writes. I kept him in as a small one scene cameo.
On page 286, the name refers to Majel Barrett who was the voice of the computer on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
I chose pewter on page 286 because I have a pewter statue collection.
On page 287, "Compliance" is often said by the ship's A.I. in the movie: Flight of the Navigator."
Pages 292-293, Kaida is telling the story of the novel: Mystical Alliance.
Gaia speaks of meeting Dryad, who is from the Sunfire Chronicles during the time that she took the place of Paradox.
And now... My Favorite.
The ending of the novel hints at the fact that the Human Born series is the origin story of the Tagonist Knights. The five gods are representative of the five genres that become each of the knights. Gaia points out that Emerald will grow up to become Mythos, Knight of Fables and Folklore. Originally, I was hesitant to mention the Tagonist Knights but the whole series is gearing up towards something big and I wanted it to be the launching point of the Tagonist Knights as a whole which will lead to a five-book series featuring the knights as they search for the storyteller. So, this was an incredible moment for me.
“To be clear, we could incinerate you, leaving you nothing more than ash and dust before you were even within arm’s reach of our children. All of your power, your strengths, speed, ability to heal, it means nothing to us.” - Kaida