My relationship with the world of fictional literature has been a rather strange one, to say the least. During my childhood and well into my high school years, I had little to no interest in fiction writing. Most of the fictional literature I encountered during this period was read to me, either by my mother (e.g., Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia) or one of my teachers (e.g., James and the Giant Peach, The Spiderwick Chronicles). I did read some fictional stories of my own accord. Two particular franchises I remember enjoying were the Magic Tree House series and the Bailey School Kids.
Overall, my reading time was mostly taken up by nonfiction titles that covered whatever topic my autistic brain was hyper focused on at the time (dinosaurs, the Titanic, cryptozoology, American history, etc.).
But then, as I’ve talked about elsewhere, Watership Down happened, and I decided I wanted to major in creative writing in college. Since then, much of my creative energy has been spent on creating my own fantasy universe. This story I am writing has been the culmination of all my childhood interests in myth, legend, the occult, and my later interests in religion, esoteric spiritualities, and the worldbuilding of speculative fiction titans like J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft. So let’s talk about it.
The Basic Premise
The Divine Conspiracy centers on a pair of fraternal twins, Ariel and Ronan Banks, who were born with unique magical powers. Ariel specializes in healing magic, conventional spell casting, spirit channeling, and practically every psychic ability you can think of (telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, empathic abilities, precognition, even teleportation). Ronan specializes in spirit conjuration, alchemical transmutation, mind control, invisibility, intangibility, and a temporary ability to copy others’ powers. They have also learned the same “bending” abilities practiced by the characters in one of their favorite TV shows, Avatar: The Last Airbender, although Ariel is better at water and air while Ronan is better at earth and fire.
They inherited these abilities from their mother, a succubus sent from Hell to help with a plot to assassinate the twins’ grandparents, Vincent and Frances, who worked for a secret society descended from the Knights Templar that investigates the supernatural and vanquishes malignant threats. Fortunately, she ended up falling in love with their son, Peter, instead. She renounced her ties to the Underworld, took the name Rhiannon, and became an agent with the Knights alongside Peter.
Sadly, Hell’s wrath caught up with her ten years later, and she was killed. The story proper begins two years afterward. As the twins struggle to cope with her loss, they too end up joining the Knights. As they learn more and more about their powers’ true nature, they also learn that they may be the key to redressing the imbalance of dark and light magic that has plagued their universe ever since Satan’s rebellion against God. But they also must avoid the temptations of the hellish forces of the Underworld, who want to turn them into soldiers of darkness and secure their supremacy over Heaven, Earth, and all of their inhabitants.
The conflict that Ariel and Ronan find themselves caught in the middle of is an ancient one spanning the breadth of Creation itself. Numerous godlike entities are in a pitched battle to win the right to do whatever they want with Creation. Some want to preserve the life that already exists there. Others want to enslave the lifeforms for their own ends. Still, others don’t know or don’t care about their existence and would gladly bowl them over to satisfy their own whims. It will become Ariel and Ronan’s job to eventually heal the divide between the factions so that humanity’s future can be a healthy and prosperous one.
In all, four magical factions are vying for control of the Divine Conspiracy universe. I ended up basing their characteristics on the four classical elements, which seemed appropriate considering the story is about ancient gods and demons awakening from their slumber in the present day to continue their destructive conflicts. All four factions have unique characteristics to their form of magic that symbolize their desires and personalities.
Representing the water element are the Lovecraftian Outer Gods and their children and grandchildren, the Archons (aka Great Old Ones).
I copied all of them directly from H.P. Lovecraft’s work (Azathoth, Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, etc.), which I can do since his works have long since entered the public domain. I chose water to represent them for two reasons. The first is that, much like water, Lovecraft’s gods had no definite shape and can endlessly shift between different forms. The second is that water is the element of change and adaptation, slowly sculpting the Earth’s surface over millennia until the landscape is unrecognizable. The eldritch gods behave in the same manner toward the universe, treating it as an artistic canvas to shape as they wish, no matter how many civilizations get wiped out in the process.
Representing the element of air is the other side of the coin; God and His angels.
Air is the element of freedom and imagination, certainly befitting a benevolent supreme deity who created the known universe and gave its inhabitants free will. The God of this universe is forever linked to the eldritch supreme deity Azathoth, His twin brother. This is not necessarily bad, as the tension between the two keeps the universe healthy and functional. Unfortunately, the balance between light and dark has skewed toward darkness almost since the beginning, thanks to a particular angel who became a megalomaniac.
That angel was, indeed, Lucifer, or Satan as he is now more commonly known, and he and the legions of Hell he commands are represented by the element of… well, guess.
Fire is the element of power and desire, fitting for a despotic fallen angel who wants to take over all of Creation and turn all mortal souls into his slaves. But not all demons share this goal. Indeed, as Ariel and Ronan will soon discover, there are some demons who would much rather leave Hell’s bounds and return to their Heavenly Father’s side.
Finally, there are the magical races of the Earth, which tend to be divided into two groups. First are the Half-Fallen Angels, made up of several legions who abandoned Satan’s army before they were sent to Hell and ended up settling on Earth instead. God granted them stewardship over the planet, and they would eventually evolve into the Watchers/Grigori, the pagan gods, and the fay (i.e., fairies, elves, dwarves, household spirits, etc.)
The second is the elemental spirits formed out of the magical energies already present in the Earth when it was created. These include undines (spirits of water, also known as nymphs), gnomes (spirits of the earth), sylphs (spirits of air), and dragons (spirits of fire) (Giants, while also spirits of the Earth, tend to be classified apart from elemental spirits due to their immense magical powers). Together they represent earth, the element of substance and strength. They are steadfast protectors of the Earth and all its inhabitants, human and otherwise, facing the future and their adversaries with ironclad resolve.
The interesting thing about Ariel and Ronan’s magic, though, is that their’s doesn’t neatly match up with any of the other four’s characteristics. Indeed, many of Peter’s fellow Templar Knights theorize that their magic may be a completely new strain analogous to the elusive fifth classical element, aether. Also known as spirit or quintessence, this element was what the alchemists and occultists of old believed made up Heaven itself. In the Divine Conspiracy universe, aether is also what makes up the energy that manifests in the physical universe whenever magic is used. It is the element that all the others came from, the great unifier if you will, which befits Ariel and Ronan’s ultimate goal.
A Brief Summary of Each Character
Before I proceed, let me issue a disclaimer. None of the images in this section that I will be using to represent my characters have been in any way commissioned by me. In fact, some are characters from previously established intellectual properties. I have used them here to represent best how the characters look in my head. I will be giving credit to the artists and links to their pages whenever possible. So with that, let me tell you a little something about the Divine Conspiracy’s main cast.
Ariel Aisling Banks is twelve years old and the youngest of the Banks family (Ronan beat her by about five minutes). She is a timid and reserved girl, with barely any friends outside Ricky Sandoval (more on him later). This is mainly because she falls on the autism spectrum. But what she lacks in social skills, she makes up for in artistic creativity. She thinks she may have mild hypergraphia, certainly not to a pathological extent, but enough that she has had a compulsion to write as much as she can about her day in her diaries since about the age of five. She also is a very adept artist, usually painting images she sees in her often vivid dreams. Unfortunately, these images have taken a much darker, borderline apocalyptic turn ever since her mother’s death.
Ronan Diarmuid Banks is pretty much the opposite of his sister in every way. Whereas Ariel is meek and reserved, Ronan is often brash and impatient. This may be thanks to bullies being a lifelong problem for both of them, making Ronan feel like he needed to become a hard-ass to protect his little sister. This might also be because of his boatload of mental disorders, including dyslexia, AD/HD, and bipolar disorder. He also has artistic urges like his sister, although he is much more into music and is already a whiz at guitar. He’s also been growing his hair out for the last five years to emulate his heavy metal idols, much to his grandfather’s annoyance.
Ricardo “Ricky” Sandoval is Ariel and Ronan’s best friend, having known them since kindergarten. He, like Ronan, is also a warrior against the local school bullies. Unlike his half-demon friend’s brawny intimidation tactics, he’s more of a prankster, using cunning and trickery to get back at his foes. He is also a musician, although he prefers the bass guitar, and has a lovely singing voice. While he seems human at first glance, Ariel and Ronan quickly learn early in the story that he is actually an elf and is the adopted son of the king and queen of the Seelie Court of fairies.
Peter Vincent Banks is a former heavy metal guitarist who joined his parent’s secret society alongside Rhiannon after the twins’ birth. He became something of a renaissance man during the following decade. He and Rhiannon continued touring with the band while simultaneously doing their duty as parents and keeping up their job as secret agents. Peter also wrote several books on paranormal skepticism, doing his part to deprive the demonic forces of their favorite food: human fear. However, after Rhiannon’s death, he left the band and became more focused on his secret agent work. He has had battles with depression and substance abuse in the past, which he has found harder to deal with after losing Rhiannon.
Of course, there are a lot more characters present in the work. There’s Peter’s parents, Vincent (a paraplegic Vietnam vet who runs a horse farm with his wife) and Frances (who daylights as a psychotherapist). There’s Walton Abernathy, the deputy director of the modern-day Knights Templar, who is personal friends with the Banks family. There’s also Cillian and Deirdre Beckett, Ricky’s parents, better known in the fairy world that they rule over as Finvarra and Oonagh (or Oberon and Titania if you’re into Shakespeare). And there’s also Ariel and Ronan’s familiar spirits, respectively, a Maine Coon named Jem and a border collie named Scout. However, I feel that this post has gone on long enough, so I think I’ll move on to the concluding section.
Plans for the Story’s Future
My biggest desire is to make The Divine Conspiracy into an animated TV series, eventually, but that pipe dream is definitely a long way down the line. For now, I plan to post what writings I have finished on the story (as well as my other fiction writing) on DeviantArt. I’ve decided that I want to start my account sometime after I come back from my annual family camping trip at the end of next week (as well as a Twitter account to maybe increase this site’s exposure). I know a vacation may sound like a bad idea given that the coronavirus is still on the loose, but who knows? My corner of the state hasn’t had a lot of cases so far. I’m safe, right? Right?! Either way, my parents wouldn’t listen to me if I tried to convince them otherwise, so fuck it, I guess.
Sorry, tangent. Anyway, I hope to hear your feedback on what I have on this tale of mine so far. I’m really looking forward to this project’s future. Stay safe out there, my friends!