Whenever the Maelstrom enters the picture, think of it as a major problem needing solved. Because if you’ve read the first book, you know how often that happened.
As a result, his presence in the second book is not merely a sign of the advancement of the story. It is also a sign of some issues coming to the fore. One concern could be the relationship of our newlyweds:
“I was so upset with your actions that I was preparing to return home.” She looks down. “I was prepared to divest the House of Maxia from the House of Tyberius…”Princess Rebecca
With challenges like this presenting themselves, and with all that is presented as paramount to occur in the story, the Maelstrom is at the center of resolving these problems. When I developed the concept of the Maelstrom, I was initially thinking this one would cause problems, by their insistence of certain actions being taken. Thus the name.
However, I think that as I’ve read the passages, the Maelstrom appears in, it would seem they are more a tempering force than the source of the tempest.
With that perspective, I altered my view of their presence. I might have thought they were going to need to be a more assertive presence in the story, based on what I had actually based this character on.
In a previous blog, I had mentioned I was also developing a graphic novel while developing this novel. And some characters made the jump, in a way. The image I’ve been featuring this month is actually the character from the graphic novel the Maelstrom is loosely based on, though in the graphic novel I don’t think the character had a name (Or I forgot it). The personality was supposed to be similar, and even the background. But, ultimately, the Maelstrom is radically different.
Whereas the character in the graphic novel could most certainly influence the physical world, this character cannot, except under very specific and limited circumstances. Their efforts are contingent on the parties who’ve agreed to the mediation accepting the direction provided. An important word is central to this agreement: Trust.
If there is no trust, the agreement will fail, and so does their peace. I can point to a number of ways that show that this trust is present throughout this agreement (even up to the period of time the book covers), but it’s worth noting that there’s no reason to think everyone was in love with the direction provided by the Maelstrom:
“This is work of that stupid Maelstrom! If he had not put that stupid curse on our people, I would not have to care —”???
The Maelstrom likely can realize when is the best time to ask for participation, and when it is best to let a matter rest. As can be imagined, there may be a number of injustices the Maelstrom could witness over the course of their assignment, and as even the history Richard has shared shown, they did not intervene in every single problem.
While to some parties this could be a reason for all the problems in the present, it could also be seen that it could be the reason that there aren’t more. When it comes to looking at past choices, it is easy to look at a given situation and wonder ‘if a different action was taken, could a given problem be avoided?’ The answer is… Maybe. Even knowing the answer may not change the decision made, since you may still feel that this was the only viable choice. Knowing that buying a new car could’ve prevented a serious maintenance issue had today is meaningless if you couldn’t afford a new car when you made your purchase.
For the Maelstrom, some of the decisions could be viewed from this perspective. Intervening in another problem, though sparing some pain there, could prevent them from accomplishing their mission of ensuring the overall peace. Being everywhere could possibly make them less effective.
There is possibly another reason why they don’t intervene everywhere, but at this point in the series, even for me, that’s speculation, since I haven’t nailed down some of their final roles. I have in mind who and what they are, how they do what they do, and even why this is even a thing.
But, I would also mention that I can also see the benefit of their limitations, in a sense, since it will focus on developing a relationship with the parties they mediate for. If you knew you could just step in a fix a problem, without help or permission from anyone, some likely would. But, if you had to explain how to fix the problem, it will take a different approach than the first, and likely more struggles to ensure success.
Next week, we’ll focus on what the Maelstrom can’t do for their charges.
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