The Other Side of the Coin

The Other Side of the Coin

Way in the long ago, a friend and I discussed how interesting it would be to pluck Domerin out of the world he’s familiar with and plunk him in the middle of a new one where everyone he knew was an evil version of themselves. Basically the fantasy equivalent of the evil goatee universe for our characters. The earworm stuck around, wriggled its way deep into my brain and slowly took root.

I like to play around with my characters. I like to see how changing one or two events in their past will reshape them into entirely different people. But this was a different challenge. This Domerin had to be identical to the one I already knew, but he would be dealing with a fresh set of problems and challenges, with almost none of the support he has come to rely on. How would that affect him and what would he do? I had to know. And thus, the Evilverse was born.

The first challenge was how to get Domerin into the alternate reality. I could have skipped this step, since the story started just for fun, but I like to fill in the fiddly little blanks in my worlds, because I never know when I’m going to like something enough to make it canon. Fortunately, my Modern Fantasy setting provided an easy catalyst for this. Powerful mages in that world tend to set what they call a final strike. Killing an adept level mage usually triggers whatever spell they’ve concocted to trap their killer. It’s meant as a deterrent, to keep anyone from challenging their supremacy. But Domerin’s job in that world is to deal with just those sort of people; mages who have gone rogue and let their power get out of control or crossed the line into illegal activities. He is trained to deal with a mage’s final strike, and is usually partnered with an adept level mage to protect him during missions of this kind. But since the final strike can be anything, they’re often unpredictable and difficult to counter.

So not only did I give myself a doorway to another universe, I created its first plot arc. Because, of course, a man like Domerin isn’t going to lay down and accept his fate. He’s going to want to go home, back to everything he’s loved and built. So I couldn’t just transport him from one universe to another – I had to clone him. Domerin’s first challenge in this cruel alternate reality was realizing that he couldn’t go home because he had never left. The final strike split him in two, sending half of him through the torn veil between realities and leaving the other half behind. (In fact his other half wasn’t aware that anything had gone amiss.) So Domerin wasn’t just visiting this strange world where everyone he knew was some dark and twisted version of themselves, he was stuck trying to make a new life there. (Delicious, isn’t it?)

Of course, that explosive journey through the fabric of the universe caused other problems (which may be why there are so many different versions of Domerin); but that is another story to be told some other time.

My favorite element of the Evilverse is that there’s already a version of Domerin in residence when he arrives. A version of himself so twisted, it makes him sick to think they could possibly be the same person. This alternate version of Domerin is often referred to as The General, since he is a high-ranking officer in a tyrant’s army, with his sights set on claiming the throne for himself. This Domerin was raised on a steady diet of cruelty, combat and power play. He has nothing remotely resembling empathy and is willing to crush anyone who stands in the way of his goals. Ironically, his tactics and logic are nearly identical to the ‘real’ Domerin’s, but his personality is like a reflection in a black mirror.

Though the ‘true’ Domerin can’t go home, he also cannot abide living in a world where someone wearing his face constantly terrorizes the population and makes war on the innocent for his own personal benefit. Though he is one man, alone in a world of people gone mad, he vows to put a stop to The General‘s reign of terror, no matter what it takes.

My favorite scenes are the ones where both Domerins face off against each other. It’s interesting to see how differently they react in most situations, and to find that tiny sliver of them that remains identical. I like to imagine their war as a giant game of chess they unwittingly play against each other, each of them masters, but only one of them able to claim the battlefield at the last.

The Evilverse has also granted an opportunity to play with character relationships that ended up abandoned in Domerin’s original setting, since he decided to fall in love with completely the wrong person (or at least not the person I originally intended him to fall in love with).

So if it seems like Domerin is doing some strangely dark things on this blog, you can rest assured that it is the Evilverse (minus goatee) version wreaking havoc. Here’s a list of stories that have taken place in this setting so far (I’ll try to keep this up to date):

Obsession (featuring the evil version of Domerin)
My Life is Made Up of Seconds (featuring the original Domerin)
Very Few are Left (featuring the original Domerin)

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