When I was outlining my series The Maharajagar, it was clear from start on that the story would revolve around a group of five protagonists, since the series is grafted upon the Mahabharata, an Indian classic that narrates the story of the conflict between the five Pandava brothers and their paternal cousins, the Kauravas.
However, the concept for my book wasn’t to write a retelling of the Mahabharata, but to use its skeleton to recreate a story inspired by more recent historic events mixed with influences of contemporary novelists and scientific insights.
Since I wanted to introduce a more multicultural dimension to my novel, it became soon clear that I would have to replace the blood band that united the Pandava brothers with another kind of metaphysical link that would provide them with a common purpose. So I was looking for a theme that could bind an African, Caucasian, Indian, Chinese and Inuit man in a coherent group.
As such I was playing with the word quintet and all its possible variations till I remembered the Black Tower Saga by Stephen King, a series spanning eight novels who also interconnect with story points in his other works. In this series the main protagonists were united in what was called a Ka-tet, a group of people drawn together by ka for a purpose. The gunslinger Roland Deschain described a ka-tet as being “one from many.”
Since I didn’t want to be too obvious in gleaning inspiration from King’s masterpiece, I went digging into the metaphysics that support the world building of my own series and stumbled upon the Qi-principle.
In traditional Chinese culture, qi or ch’i is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living entity. Qi translates as “life force”, or “energy flow” and from there on it was just a little leap to the namesake of my variation of The Dark Tower’s Ka-tet: it’s a Qi’tet, although the inner dynamics between its members are substantially different of those regulating the behavior of King’s creation. Qi’tet had also a nice ring, since it sounded almost as a homonym for quintet.
The five main protagonist of the Maharajagar, albeit of different races, have one common trait; they’re chimeras, which is a biological term for organisms composed of cells of different zygotes. This can result in male and female organs, two blood types, or subtle variations in form. In humans it mostly occurs when an embryo cannibalizes its twin inside the womb, although it can also be acquired due through the infusion of allogeneic cells during a transplant or blood transfusion.
From this point on, the character building of my protagonists starts to deviate from the scientific path because I postulate in my novel that the metabolism of chimeras at a certain stage – I suggested puberty -, releases an enzyme that causes a change in the corpus callusum of their brain, thus expanding their mental processes and allowing them to manipulate the reality on a level that’s normally inaccessible for other humans.
When the story starts, each member of the Qi’tet have different latent capacities to manipulate a particular aspect of the reality, that for reasons of simplification are referred to as; Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Ether.
While Stephen King’s series was chiefly inspired by the poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” by Robert Browning, the world building of my novel has been taking more inspiration of the Lovecraftian universe, of which I hope to tell you more in my next post.
EXPLORATION OF THE LOVECRAFTIAN UNIVERSE By Nathan Rosario: http://nathanrosario.deviantart.com/gallery/
The third part of this series. The Forest, is at this moment going through the editorial process and will be released in March 2020. The other parts are available for free in Kindle (mobi) format for those among you who have a Kindl Unlimited subscription. The first part can be read as a stand alone and is available here.