A Sense of Fatal Allegiance
is a bastard-ass long series of songfic crossovers which I started writing around Christmas of 2017, when I'd just gotten into Life Is Strange
and it had torn my heart out. Before The Storm's
second episode was almost pitch-perfect and spoke directly to elements of one's own life; its third was a total fucking trainwreck, and between that and Farewell
I went back and watched the Eurogamer playthrough of the original game, which I still haven't finished because it makes me bawl my bloody eyes out and I suck at the stealth bits.
Anyway, while I was processing all these feelings there was a chance moment at which Rachel talked about "watching the sun go down on Santa Monica Pier" and I went "hmm", because I've played Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines
a few times over the years and spent a lot of time in video game Santa Monica as a result. And I'd already statted up Rachel, Max and Chloe as Mage: the Awakening characters, I think because reducing them down to their archetypes helped me get a handle on why I was so affected by them.
And that remark caught me, and I had a couple of weeks off work, and the chapters just kept coming. Gradually, it turned into a low-key, medium-slow-burn story about masters and servants - or rather, domitors and regnants, or vampires and ghouls. A series of relationships, mostly F/F, which were characterised by a distinct inequality in power and the dubcon elements that come along with vampire blood addiction and various kinds of vampire mind-whammy.
The original story was called Prisoners Of Our Own Device
and I kept going with it until the day job put me on a retainer that was supposed to be for two months and turned into five. Strangely enough, cranking out six thousand words a week on three or four different topics left me disinclined to write more in my spare time. I'd also run into some problems with my planned direction for the material: it was going to be something a bit more rooted in the broader World of Darkness, and a bit more of a mirror of what happened in Life Is Strange's
first season, and it was going to put Rachel in the fridge, and - basically, it wasn't going to work.
The abortive attempts at making it work became Fall Guys Tumble On The Cutting-Room Floor
, because I don't exactly hate any of the material I wrote. It's all... reasonably well executed. Just poorly conceived.
After another month or so I started out again, leaving the cliffhanger ending of Prisoners
hanging and starting a new story of similar length - like episode two of a BBC serial or the second series of a traditional British Brevity telly show. Phony People, Come To Prey
weaves those relationships I'd made my priority into a different kind of story - a political thriller/police procedural/underworld drama kind of deal which is influenced by and influences the relationships but isn't directly instigated by them. It's also an attempt for me to feel my way through what the new tabletop edition of Vampire: the Masquerade
is trying to do, returning to this kind of intimate street-level storytelling that doesn't allow you to forget that your characters are vampires and do vampirism. They drink blood, they cultivate prey to get the kind of blood they want, and they're only not hungry when they kill.
The rest of the fic is roughly outlined, in that I know what the remaining works are going to be about and I've worked out which songs and lyrics are going to form the chapter structures.Now He Is The Prince of Darkness
will take us back to Arcadia Bay, to see what Max has been up to in this heavily divergent timeline, and to see how even a couple of Kindred can totally change the course of a small town's history. I don't mind saying that it'll explore some ships I sort of ship but didn't originally think I'd ever end up writing.Faces Come Out Of The Rain
will bring Max - and potentially a few other people - to LA and into the orbit of Chloe, Rachel and all the other nonsense. It will also see us getting to know a few of my Vampire
OCs, since people seem interested in them and their stories are compatible with VTMB's setting. I'm not ruling off a spinoff story (On Such A Winter's Day
) which will dig into their backstories a little more. It's not as if I have a two hundred year soap opera about these characters sketched out in my goddamn memory or anything.And The Rainbow Rises Here
- the thrilling conclusion - will introduce a genuine, dangerous, absolute antagonist, and force the characters to reconsider their divided loyalties and finally make a choice about where their allegiances lie. I'm half tempted to go all out and introduce Dontnod's spiritual successor to Bloodlines
(look, they can hide behind plausible deniability but we all know they went through Activision's bins and snapped up every bit of non-copyrightable terminology, theme and atmosphere for Vampyr
). It's that or another of my OCs and I'm genuinely not sure which is wankier.