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.
“You’re a step or two short of being completely deranged and insane, which makes you worth my time.” – Greven
Say Hello - The Cast of Blood Oath
“You are abominations, a blight upon this world that myself and others like me will purge with the righteousness bestowed upon us.”
“This fictitious narrative of yours has come to an end, leadership unshackled by the fantasy of a divine will must take your place.”
“Once the hunters are gone, all staff members will be eliminated. He sees this city and its population as a cesspool, a pit of sewage that he wants nothing to do with.”
“Just think about it, I get a pet and a boyfriend, two for one.”
“I hate working with werewolves.”
“Such sweet words to describe the murderers that we’ve become.”
“God is not responsible for the suffering of this world, but he is a guiding light to provide aid to resolve the evils that cause such pain.”
“The greatest challenge we all face is to find our place within the world and what we shall do with our limited time upon it.”
“There is an explanation behind everything, just give a scientific mind time to find the answers.”
“I now possess the strengths of my greatest enemy and none of their weaknesses.”
“Murberec will be most displeased with what you’ve done.”
“I hope that you suffer every lingering moment as you desperately try to breathe. All that will remain is death, those last moments of pure terror knowing that you are helpless, just as I was as a baby in my crib.”
“Right, sure, put your faith in something that won’t tell you where he is, what he is, and essentially keep you in the dark concerning everything about what he is doing. Throw in the fact that he uses dead bodies as puppets, and he just screams trustworthy gentleman that you should blindly agree to everything that he says.” – Abigail
“Curiosity killed the cat, you know.” - Murberec
“Satisfaction brought it back.” – Samantha
“No, my dear, a necromancer or an individual with my scientific understanding of how the brain functions brought the feline back to life. Satisfaction had nothing to do with it.”- Murberec
I came up with the idea of what eventually developed into the Human Born series back in college. I wanted to toss in everything I loved from books. Sword and sorcery fantasy? I knew I wanted fantasy creatures and magic, so elves, dwarves, gnomes, goblins, everything in this world I was building. What else? Scifi? I wanted advanced technology, androids, cyborgs, everything cool about future tech here on Earth. What could I add after all that? Horror! Vampires, werewolves, let's go all out. Lastly, I love history, love learning about it, and became a little obsessed with Greek Mythology and ancient Greece. It's why Alexander Elrod from Tapestry of the Second Born was named after Alexander the Great.
That's how it all started. I remember the first opening line in the original book in the series was, "Twinkie?" A group of thieves are far underground in an abandoned part of the city and Max finds it and offers it to Jenna. Oh? That doesn't have anything to do with Blood Oath? You guessed it. Emerald Intrigue was meant to be the first novel in the series. It didn't work out that way.
The initial concept was that events in one book would branch off into other stories. Halfway through one novel, someone would leave to another part of the world and another book would pick up their narrative. Sometimes stories would be occurring parallel to one another. It was a chaotic concept that never panned out, thankfully.
How did Blood Oath become the first? It happens to be the first novel in the series I finally completed.
Began With a Twinkie Joke
Brain In a Jar
This novel has gone through many changes and variations since its origins. The opening scene used to be David addressing a group of only twelve hunters, a recreation of a symbolic Jesus and the twelve Disciples in his mind. The original title was "Acolytes".
Coming back to the book years after writing the original, I tried to salvage the original storyline. Eventually, I had to admit defeat and essentially start all over. Originally there was a triad of Sarah, a psychic, which gets mentioned as homage to her character. She works with a male elf, who is hinted at being royalty, and an ogre berserker named Bartholomew. Since I don't like repeating names and Bart was used in Tapestry of the Second Born, I changed the name when I paid homage to him during a scene where an ogre berserker is mentioned. He dies early on in the novel, dying the way it is mentioned in the final version. Sarah goes on to betray the hunters, getting killed, and her corpse attacking them at the end. It was weird...
The male elf I changed from a royal prince turned hunter to a female assassin with serious personal issues with humanity as a whole, named Abigail. It was then I had this idea of a brain in a jar, a Dr. Frankenstein style character using zombies to add more horror element to the book since I felt it was lacking in that area. A female assistant, capping off this replacement to the previously mentioned trio. Obviously, a great choice, in that Murberec has gone on to be a major component of the series.
The Lost Triad
I attempted to keep all four triads in the original draft. My first major re-write of the story attempted to keep them but as one was altered dramatically, another was eliminated completely. There was a trio including Theseus, a minotaur. Jack, a dwarf who would later be revealed to be Rock's younger brother. Rock's true name being Peter. Lastly there was Carrie, an android killing machine, part of a group of assassins created by some deranged evil robotics expert. Eventually the story became clear there was too much going on and they just didn't fit. I have them in mind for future novels as a possibility, though.
Originally Karma and Kira exited the story about half-way through the novel after the attack at the newly formed vampiric safehouse. The left John to join the remaining group but in the final major re-write, I was loving their interaction with him, so I kept them. Also, with Theseus, Carrie, and Jack out of the story, I needed individuals to fill in the blanks. Originally it was the missing triad that attacked the warehouse after the gun shipment exchange.
Ritter, originally named Alex but changed since, Alexander was a big character in Tapestry... He was in the scene with the newly transformed vampires safehouse. It proved to be too much and was part of a list of deleted scenes to streamline the narrative. Also, Terran spent more time on the field, helping with magical druid stuff rather than playing a pacifist role. His original name was Logan, changed because of the lead character in Eye of the Beholder. I try not to repeat character names.
Minotaur Vampire Hunter
In the original draft, Toliver openly rebels against Azul. It becomes a war for control over the area. The scene in the warehouse is a meeting with an arms dealer that is selling Toliver's people weapons after he told Azul's people that the deal was happening. It becomes a war between the two factions with the hunters caught in between. The mercenaries representing a fourth group make their first appearance. Who hired them? Toliver's sister.
Originally, the woman who had her arm cut off was Toliver's sister. She hires the mercenary army to not only take out Azul but her brother. She is successful in doing so and is rewarded at the end of the novel with a position on the council in taking Azul's place in having been responsible for killing him by Silvermane who makes his first appearance at the end of the book.
The book was complicated enough as it was, so I took out this plot completely. Much of the sister's scenes and involvement was shifted over to Cerise, introduced to essentially take the sister's place. The mercenaries were then hired by Murberec to create chaos and to further whittle down Azul's forces without concern for any hunters caught up as collateral damage.
Murberec's safehouse was originally the base of operations for Toliver. With him faking at least being loyal to Azul, but wanting to keep scenes, I shifted ownership. All of this done so in the second draft.
The conclusion of the original draft was this massive attack, using a small army of soldiers by Azul. Toliver arrives attacking them once they've secured the building. Azul arrives on the roof, slowly working his way down. Meanwhile, in the chaos, Toliver's sister sends in her army of mercenaries to push their way inside. David and Azul have this magical battle, at one point both turning into dragons (not making this up), and eventually David kills Azul but only at the cost of his own life.
In the second draft, the hunters base of operations is attacked, Toliver reveals he's turned traitor, half of the invading army turns on itself. Chaos. I didn't finish the story because I hated it at that point. There was no good closure to that storyline.
In the third draft, the board room meeting changed everything. I added it to add to the organization of the company with its head leadership. Azul wanting to lock down one sector at a time creating a ticking time clock against the hunters. It shifted the entire story to focus on him. That is why the final confrontation happening at his base of operations. The only scene to remain relatively intact was the fight between Toliver and Ritter.
The goddess didn't make an appearance in the series until the fourth book. The cure also being a vaccine was a new element introduced late. So many changes were made that would forever alter the future of the series, Murberec being the biggest element. He would become one of many threads connecting the series as a whole.
“True faith is revealed when all reason to continue to be devoted to such a cause has vanished.” – Ritter
Easter Eggs and Inspiration
Karma and Kira, a warrior and a mage set of twins, was inspired by Raistlin and Caramon from the Dragonlance series.
The idea of teams of three comes from the Endworld book series, where their home is defended by triads of warriors.
Brain in a Jar
Murberec is the word Cerebrum spelled backwards. It is a reference to the human brain, which is what he is.
I got the idea for vampirism being a virus that mutated its victims from the movie: Blade.
Andrea mentions psychic vampires, which appear in the novel: Silhouette of the Moon.
Ritter being bred for a certain blood type was inspired by the TV series: The Strain.
Cerise, Carmine, and Scarlett are all named after shades of the color red, referring to blood.
One page 42, asset 1932 refers to the year that the movie “White Zombie” was released, the first ever zombie movie.
Samantha is referred to as asset 1797, which is the year that Mary Shelley, the author of the Frankenstein novel, was born.
Asset 1931 refers to the release of the movie, Frankenstein. In the movie, there is an assistant not found in the novel.
In the original Frankenstein movie, the assistant is not named "Igor". His name is Fritz.
I chose for John to have played the violin before, because its my favorite instrument.
On page 67, a goblin named Nick is mentioned. He becomes a main protagonist in the sequel to this novel: Arcane Inheritance.
David using figurines to represent people was inspired by Zeus from the movie: Clash of the Titans.
Goblins Die Hard
The pair of goblins that use a missile launcher to destroy the hover jets was inspired by a scene from the movie: Die Hard.
On page 125, a mage named Clive is mentioned. He becomes a protagonist in the novel: Arcane Inheritance.
Never Too Old
Rock says, "I'm getting too old for this..." It refers to a line from the movie: Lethal Weapon.
On page 139, a necromancer, Revadac, is mentioned. He appears in Arcane Inheritance.
Rock mocks Samantha with, "Yes, Master..." A reference to "Igor" telling Dr. Frankenstein that in response to demands.
FE-310 is a reference to the movie Robocop, two legged machines called ED-209.
Rough Place to Live
"Mid-western city" refers to Detroit, Michigan. Where Robocop took place.
On page 164, Sector 1979 is the location of Ritter’s mech suit. The first appearance of Gundam, a robotic mech suit, was in 1979.
Man or Wolf?
On page 64, a werewolf is reported to be in Sector 1941. The movie “The Wolf Man” came out in that year.
Two of a Kind
On page 64, Karma and Kira are in sector 1988. The movie “Twins” was first released in that year.
On page 170, Abigail threatens her father with the same torture listed at the end of the movie: Princess Bride.
The Paladins of Helsing refers to Abraham Van Helsing, the vampire hunter from Bram Stoker's novel: Dracula.
Quincey is a vampire hunter from the novel, Dracula. He dies, but the surviving couple, Harker, names their child after him.
The vampires name Ritter's mother, Lucy, which was Mina's friend in the novel: Dracula.
The true name of Ritter's Mother refers to Wilhelmina "Mina" Harker from Dracula.
A Noble Name
Victor Pendragon gets his name from King Arthur who had his knights of the Round Table.
And now... My Favorite.
The Human Born series is the origins story of the Tagonist Knights. A connection between the five "gods" and the first of the knights begins with the final confrontation with the vampire nation. One even remains a knight from the beginning as the origins of Mythos is within the pages the novels within this series.
“My war upon the vampire nation has only begun.” - David