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Companions and Temple Builders

I was having a really fascinating discussion on email with a reader about the difference between the Companions in the Numinous World and the Lodge in Lost Things. What's the difference between a Companion and the Builders of the Temple?

Let's start with this -- the Companions must change the world. Because of their past actions and oaths, their present actions carry additional weight. Choosing to do nothing, choosing not to take actions that steer the course of history, is also a decision. It's a decision to inaction, a decision to abandon their responsibility. Which is Elza's question in her second book, The Emperor's Companion. She can decide to have a private, quiet life -- but doing so is taking herself out of play, saying that she refuses to fulfill her responsibilities and abrogates her moral choices for what happens in the world. Whether by action or inaction, the Companions choices are critical.

It's like being a Board Member of an organization. When you become a Board Member, you are responsible for what the organization does. Period. You are responsible for labor practices, for compensation, for sexual harassment, and of course for how the organization fulfills or doesn't fulfill its mission. You are responsible because you are in charge. Even if you don't engage in bad labor practices or sexual harassment yourself, you are responsible for the policies that the organization follows and for hiring and supervising the people who are directly responsible. If you allow things to happen through neglect, you are still both morally and legally responsible. The Companions are Board Members of the world. Their choices and actions are important, and there is no out.

But! The reason the Companions have this role is because they chose it! Not because they're special, not because they're better or sparkly, but because in the past they chose it, just as Board Members stand for election or appointment. Elza is in this hot seat because Lydias chose it, consciously and willingly. Lydias decided that he wanted the responsibility, for better or worse, and he deliberately and purposefully made his oaths.

The Builders of the Temple are like Lydias. The Lodge in Lost Things have chosen to make the world their responsibility. They could walk away. Mitch could give up. Lewis could decide it's too weird. Jerry could give in to despair. Alma could decide she wants to concentrate on her business and be Henry. They have the option, like Lydias did. Lydias could just do his job and then retire. But instead he takes oaths. And that's what the Lodge is doing. They're willingly putting themselves in the line of fire. They're choosing to accept responsibility.

And of course that will have consequences. Where are they now? None of them are still living in the same bodies in 2012. They'd be well over a century old. I don't actually have any idea where they are, but I do know this -- they carry the bonds and responsibilities they chose, their bonds to one another and their responsibility for the world.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2012 12:56 pm (UTC)
So would it be fair to say that by committing to the Lodge, the characters in Lost Things will be Companions in their later lives? Or is this a different order of magnitude of long term commitment?

And are you toying with the idea of eventually revisiting Lewis, Alma, and the others in a book set in contemporary times or even something set in the future?
Sep. 30th, 2012 01:11 pm (UTC)
I don't think they'll necessarily be Companions, because they haven't taken exactly the same oaths, but their oaths to be guardians of the world will still be in force, as will their promises and ties to one another.

We haven't really talked about their future lives. However, I'm working on a book with Amy Griswold, tentatively titled Blood and Shadows, that's set in New York in 1980 with an entirely different set of characters on the trail of a demon-possessed serial killer, and it's the same style of magic, the same "rules" if you will. We decided that this was the same world as Lost Things, and when we did it became obvious that there was a family tie. Two of the original five are still alive in 1980, and I think one of them may make an appearance.

This is all very much in the works, but one of the killer's would-be victims is a seventeen year old Goth girl, all black leather and rhinestones and spiked hair, the kind of kid who gets into trouble and whose pronouncements that she's psychic usually seems silly. Only Jennifer actually is, and there's a reason Diana might take a special interest in her, a reason she doesn't even know! But Diana knows, and Diana remembers. And fortunately so does her great aunt in Colorado....
Oct. 2nd, 2012 02:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks to your question, Melissa and I just talked about this! A few thoughts:

Jerry was born in the mid-70s in Egypt, a Sufi. He's one of those young modern men with Twitter accounts who created Arab Spring, and yes, it's still illegal to be gay.

Alma graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2009. She's wants to be an astronaut. She's watching Curiosity with bated breath, planning the right moves to go to Mars.

Mitch was born in 1986. He's currently a Second Pilot for Polskie Linie Lotniczie. He lives downstairs from a friend of mine in her apartment building near WAW. He'd speak to her in the elevator but he's too shy. Otherwise he'd tell her that he likes anime too.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )