Opinions needed! Which idea sounds more compelling?

Hello all!

Currently working out a character backstory and have two ideas about how to go about this, but I’m finding it hard to decide which would be more compelling. I decided more input on the matter would be most helpful!

Some context: Arion, who is a God betrays his mother, the goddess Lelouth. In the context of my actual story, this betrayal happened over one-thousand years ago. During the betrayal, there were some who stood by Lelouth and were punished.

My ideas: This person who stands by Lelouth is Bastian. Initially, Bastian was meant to be the first son of Lelouth, and brother to Arion. But I’ve been thinking that it may be more interesting to make Bastian Lelouth’s lover (but not Arion’s father).

This is an important detail because, after suffering for his crimes, Bastian escapes his punishment and searches for Lelouth, seeking to free her from her own punishment and somehow prove their innocence to the other Gods.

So, would it be more compelling, if Bastian’s goal was to free Lelouth from what’s basically eternal isolation (and torment) coming at it from a son saving his mother, or a lover trying to save his lover.

I ask, because romance (and romantic stories) are generally very well-liked in fantasy-esque stories (which mine is). Considering this is a gritty dark fantasy, having a bit of “true love” in the universe may be a breath of fresh air. This is also far more a stable in fantasy-esque stories then a son saving their mother.

However, I do like this idea as I don’t think this is often portrayed within the confines of fantasy stories. Besides that, wanting to save your mom from eternal torment is a very empathetic goal–none of us want our mom’s to suffer. His dynamic with Arion, being his older brother, may also be far more interesting then if he was simply Lelouth’s long-time lover. However, making her his lover might be more compelling in the long-run as there’s a very tragic aspect to this when it’s revealed that–once released–Lelouth has basically lost her mind and is in no position to continue such a romance. Knowing this, and caring for her this way might be more heartbreaking and heartwarming then if he were her son.

For more context: There is very little romance I plan to have in my story. Things may change as it develops, but a hint here or there may be beneficial to me in satisfying my audiences wants/desires.

  • Bastian’s Lelouths lover
  • Bastian’s Lelouth’s son

0 voters

Decided to make a poll for easier discussions, but opinions are always welcome!

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Bold of you to assume :joy: (jk jk)

At the end of the day, I suppose it depends on what kind of characters you want both Lelouth and Bastian to be.

If he is such a devoted son, but the other son betrayed his mother, it begs the question what kind of mother she was. What did she do to inspire unyielding devotion in Bastian, and such hatred in Arion? Kind of like Thor and Loki, I guess, where it turns out Odin wasn’t really the greatest guy (in your case, Lelouth maybe wasn’t the greatest mother), after all, but they both loved their mother. If you go on with this dynamic, you have the chance to build some morally grey characters along the way.

If Bastian is her lover, then it begs the question…what happened to Arion’s father? Did Lelouth cheat? Did Arion kill him? There is still the question to consider as to what exactly drove Arion to betray his mother. I’m just spitballing here, but in this scenario I could imagine Arion’s father being abusive to both of them and resenting his mother for not protecting him, then resenting her even more that she found happiness through Bastian and he’s still miserable.

As for the conclusion - why does Lelouth go mad and not Bastian? I hope it’s not just because she’s a woman. Does she have a lot more guilt to battle with than Bastian? If that’s the case, then the second scenario with Bastian as her lover might serve this purpose better. Because if it’s just a matter of being subjected to more torture, I don’t see why Bastian the brother wouldn’t be subjected to even more - preferential treatment between siblings can beed really strong resentment among said siblings.

So, in the end, it kind of depends what the overarching theme of your story is. Based on that, you can choose which dynamic serves your purposes better.

Thank you for your thoughtful reply and questions!

To hopefully clarify a little (as I didn’t want to get too lore-depth in the OG post): Arion’s betrayal of Lelouth wasn’t exactly personal. You see, several months before this Arion murdered the original “Father God”, basically the king of all the gods.

This sent the others into absolute chaos as they sought to blame someone for this horrific deed. Several groups split off and were at war with one another. During this time, Arion also corrupted the human realm. This was a severe issue as the gods rely on the humans to keep them alive, so long as their belief/worship in them remains strong, the gods remain alive.

You see, Arion had bee planning this for several hundred years, doing experiments, running tests, etc. So, he was assured that so long as he presented a cure (which he developed before introducing the corruption) they would still be alive, and he would be praised for discovering a cure. He planned to take the God Throne by killing the “Father God”, corrupting the humans, and then presenting everyone with a cure–earning him the place/respect he needed to ascend to such a high title.

The plan changed when Lelouth became suspicious of his behaviors (along with Bastian), and Arion knew she (Lelouth being the Goddess of Honesty) would expose him to the others. So, he changed things around to look like Lelouth was the one who murdered the “Father God” and corrupted the world.

His betrayal was never intentional from the beginning, but when it came down to him or her, he chose for her to take the fall. He presented the “evidence” to the others who needed it, and Lelouth (along with those loyal to her) were given punishment.

This is to basically explain why the betrayal happens. It’s not out of hatred.

Bastian’s own issues with Arion, I always felt, was between them. Bastian was the “God of Protection” why Arion was “God of Small Truths” (or something to that effect), and Arion often felt overshadowed by his older brother–who appeared far more noble, eloquent, and charismatic than he. He was basically intensely jealous of him and his accomplishments.

If Bastian were Lelouth’s lover, jealousy would still be the underlying reason for not liking him. In this case, Arion would be her only child (which is what he wanted), but her attention would be devoted to another. On top of this Bastian’s already cemented respect amongst the gods, and general disposition would’ve been cause for jealousy as well.

Either way: Doesn’t like him. Jealous. Different beliefs, they can never see eye-to-eye.

Arion has no father (another reason to be jealous of Bastain). Arion’s origin is very akin to Thumbalina, in which he spawned from his mother’s rose garden. She basically wished she had another child, and there he was born.

Bastian, born around 800 years before Arion, was originally a demigod (half human half god), after he proved himself as a mortal man, he ascended to godhood. His father is long dead.

As interesting as this could be, and I appreciate the suggestion, there are already characters within the story (who take far more precedence than these characters, who for the most part, are minor) that have backgrounds like this. Furthermore, although I don’t want my gods/goddesses to be entirely perfect, I wanted them to be more fantastical/otherworldly. Giving them such a human problem would detract from that. Not only this, but Gods/Goddesses are not allowed to enact physical violence nor intense mental strain on one another. They can make mean jabs, but if anyone became outright abusive people would intervene. I’m unsure if this scenario could even take place in their realm.

It’s not because she’s a woman, lol, but it’s good of you to point out as I can see how this can come off.

It basically narrows down to the fact that their punishments were not the same. Bastian was given a lesser punishment to Lelouth because she was considered the brains of the operation. Yes, Bastian aided, but overall they blame her for each of the deeds–so her punishment is far more severe.

Lelouth lived in isolation for 1000 years, her soul split into four parts, and body left a husk underneath earth’s crust. Her conscious lived in this void-state of reality where only her own thoughts could be kept for company. Isolation can drive anyone to madness. There is purpose behind it, though. You see, the “cure” to the corruption mortals face is in the god’s blood. After she was placed there, her blood was connected to the core of the earth, which produced deposits of it around the world–making it accessible to humans. This was thought a fitting punishment because they believed Lelouth corrupted the world, and so with her own blood, she will restore it. Her soul was split so she wouldn’t be able to fight back, but also because her soul’s connection to the ley-lines would help in strengthening her blood and connection to the mortal world. (pretty complicated, ik, lol, this isn’t all revealed at once I promise).

To be completely transparent, though: Lelouth is mad, yes, but she is not victimized nor villainized due to this. It’s more that she is very socially declined, distressed, and has a hard time communicating. She is not completely rendered crippled by this, though she does need time to sort of “reconnect”. I mean, her souls been split four different ways afterall.

Bastian, as sort of a mockery, is positioned as the gatekeeper of hell. He is chained to this massive doorway, with this special type of metal that cannot be broken. This chain extends to only earth’s circumference, so he’s not actually able to leave the realm. He is also transformed into this hideous beast-like creature (think sort of Cerberus), endlessly mocked, and has his entire identity as “God of Protection” erased and besmirched. Instead, his name evokes dread and fear. He is chained there, and forced to do this work, until he eventually escapes.

Why I’m sure Arion would’ve liked to have seen Bastian suffer more than his mother, who he didn’t actually mean to hurt, the decision (at the time he was not the leader of the gods) was not up to him. It was a unified decision that found Lelouth far more guilty than Bastian, sort of like a legal proceeding.

Hm, I suppose if he were her lover, Lelouth would probably have more guilt with him being involved then she would if he were her son. This would probably be because, if he were her lover, she would have chosen for him to be in her life–essentially leading him to be betrayed. If he were her son, she would have more blame towards Arion than actual guilt.

But yes, I hope I cleared some things up!!

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Okay, that’s a bit clearer now, and from what I understand, a sibling relationship between Bastian and Arion doesn’t seem to have much relevance. In a way, since you say you don’t want to give your deities human problems, neither does the lover scenario, but I guess it makes more sense in the context. Blame the feelings on whatever’s left of Bastian’s humanity lol