A neat thing arrived in the mailbox this morning: The Writer’s Block Tarot! I’m not a Tarot person as such, but I liked the idea of a tool that helped me think about different aspects of my characters and story. Plus it just looked fun.
So to test it I got a-shuffling, then laid out a relationship spread for Livia and Aspasia, my two (romantic) leads for my adult fantasy The Cantia Covenant.
And I was pleasantly surprised. It didn’t bring out anything majorly new, but it did surprise me with how on-point it was, and what it got me thinking about.
Livia is the first of the POV characters introduced and the one most closely connected to the titular Covenant (a ruling group of mages): she is a direct descendent of its founder, Cantia, who in turn was the sister of the now-worshipped first mage.
Expected to join the Covenant, Livia is a privileged yet powerful technician whose rise is complicated by the arrival of Aspasia and Livia’s combat-related PTSD.
Past: Defender (Knight of Clocks)
Six months prior to the start of the novel, Livia nearly died saving her unit and the refugees they were protecting. It was powerful magic but she was discharged to physically and mentally recover (the latter being slow progress).
Present: Indoctrination (Three of Pens)
One of the big aspects of this mage society is their ritualised blood magic, and the pressure that society places on Livia who has a history of self-harm. She’s been raised to believe certain things about magic (that her magic is the norm, that non-Covenant is abnormal) which… isn’t good. Let’s put it that way.
Future: Training (Two of Pens)
At the end of the book ha you really thought I was going to spoil the ending of my book?
Where Livia is a privileged technician from an ancient magical bloodline, Aspasia is a refugee Hyperelytrian (a non-citizen from the region beyond the Convenant Provence of Elytria) with no magical ancestry but a natural, performative talent. She also does not practice blood magic.
Past: Conflict (Ace of Pens)
Aspasia’s life has been marked by conflict: defending against raiders as a child, surviving natural disasters, and now she is preparing to be an upsetter in a conflict between two Cantia factions.
Present: Mediator (Queen of Pages)
Aspasia has to deal with a bunch of stuff, ranging from Covenant in-fighting to having uprooted her family to come to the centre of Covenant rule. So in a society where progress is made through magic and family alliances, Aspasia has to use emotional intelligence to navigate it.
Honestly, this one I am figuring out still. I have some ideas but… spoilers 😛
Present Situation: Strength
Strength is what both need, strength is what they find in each other.
Outcome: Try/Fail Cycle
Apparently they have a lot of failures along the way. Sequels?
So that’s it. I’m going to keep playing with my new toy and I’ll get back to you on it. What do you think of it? If you had the chance to use something like this, would you use it?