But today I want instead to share a little bit about how this particular story was inspired. Specifically, I want to talk about how artwork from Magic the Gathering provided some of the key ideas that came together to form the basis for this tale. Back in May of 2012, the set Avacyn Restored was released to the public. Like most devoted players, I eagerly kept up with the spoilers as they were released, and even wrote an article about which cards in the new set would make an impact for Standard Pauper. The theme of a world of darkness being restored by angelic agents of light was a very compelling world idea to me, and as I browsed through the artwork, I found the inspiration to take the fragmented ideas I had been playing with and turn them into a full-fledged story concept. Let's take a look at four of these specific art pieces.
In this scene, a commander places a token of blessing and protection upon a solider as the sun begins to set. Imagine a world where the members of a holy Order were thrust into a world of darkness, through a ritual that took place as the sun was setting. These brave warriors would need the blessing of their holy god to protect them against the corrupting influences of the evil realm they were entered. Thus, each would receive the blessing from their commander or high priest. But where were they going, and why?
In this scene, angels descend from the heavens to come to the aid of humanity. Imagine a world that had been held captive to this ancient evil, who were then set free by a host of angelic warriors. Perhaps their aid had been obtained by a brave hero, who ventured into an ancient temple and evoked the name of some forgotten god. By entreating this god, these brave angelic warriors descended from heaven to stand with humanity to overcome this ancient evil empire. But if the evil empire was defeated, why did the struggle continue?
But in the end, the Order triumphs. They are able to undo the tragedy that forced their sacrifice, and in one heroic night, they defeat the evil empire once and for all. And in doing so, they restore these angelic warriors to life. As the sun rises, these beings rise back into the heavens, forevermore to protect humanity from the forces of darkness. Whenever evil is found, one has one to call upon their name, and once more light will triumph over darkness.
Obviously, these details alone are insufficient for an entire story, especially since this is little more than world-building and a very rough sketch of major events. Characters and plot would be needed to intersect these details and bring them to life. But the seeds of my story would never have come together in the way that they did without the fantastic artwork from Avacyn Restored.
Of course, inspiration can strike from a variety of different sources. But one of the things I love so much about Magic the Gathering is that underlying this great game, with all its rules and mechanics, is a succession of great fantasy tropes, plots, and characters, all of which can be a rich source of inspiration for a budding fantasy author such as myself. For others like myself who both enjoy this game and desire to write fantasy, I would encourage you to pay close attention to the artwork of Magic sets as they are released. Who knows? You might just find your inspiration for the next major fantasy novel!
So where do you find your inspiration, my readers? I'd love to hear more about what inspires you. Or, perhaps you can share your own thoughts about the artwork that stands behind Magic the Gathering. In any case, your comments are very much appreciated. Thanks for reading!