There are no spoilers here for “They Came By Night”
I like battle scenes and the icor tale series is going to have a lot of them, but there is one that everything is leading towards. I am not going to reveal who the sides are, and whether our current protagonists live long enough to make it there, but this is what I have in mind.
The reader will know the capabilities of the various units, and I know there will be many types of units with unique capabilities. There will be an attachment of crimson wizards, blue wizards (to be renamed), a band of invulnerable warriors, there will be multiple heroes who die and multiple villains who die. The reader will know who has what artifacts and what powers they have. There will be no unknown magic, or ability. The winner will have to outwit the loser.
My pet peeves in fantasy are the unknown abilities that surface in the hero just in the nick of time.
Inspiration: I love wargaming, and one of my greatest games was an epic scale campaign that was months in the making. After all my efforts and careful exploration and buildup I was losing. I was losing on every front, in thousands of simultaneous battles across the world. My resources were dwindling. So I took a moment and realized I was only fighting tactically and not strategically. So I implemented a strategy. I ordered most of my armies to retreat and group together in the best defended areas. I lost a fifth of my territory. I did not do battle unless I could win. I ceded and retreated and built my strength. Then I marshalled a few full strength armies and put all my resources into key battles. The tide turned very quickly and I began to advance and retake my territory. Only taking the best resources so I did not have to defend lesser cities. This experience made me want to write a great retreat story: a Dunkirk style rout/retreat in a fantasy realm.
One thing I hate in books and movies is the hero fighting against all odds and winning because every arrow/blaster misses, or after a week of sword training with some grandmaster he is suddenly able to defeat a hundred opponents who have dedicated their lives to their craft. That’s the kind of fantasy I don’t like. The hero must build their strength and use their minds to win rather than just be lucky. I will never bail my hero out with a 1 in a million stroke of luck.
If you are fighting a powerful wizard who can sling a fireball the size of a house, you’d better not just hope he misses you. It would be better to hide and, from your hiding place, take careful aim with your bow while he is eating his supper.