Godsource is an alternate-history story set in medieval Europe. It takes place in a world where Jesus was never crucified, allowing Christendom to spread across the known Eurasian continent.
Originally titled "Godsourced," the story's first draft was instead set in modern times, with the characters and their roles remaining mostly consistent. Reworked into a historical, medieval setting granted further opportunities for world-building.
The initial draft was outlined between March and May, 2013, and a sample chapter titled, "All The Best Stories Start In The Big, Black Empty." This was rewritten in late 2014 with the title, "The Trouble Is." Rewritten the final time in February, 2016, with a new medieval setting, the title was change to its current Godsource, and its first chapter "Before God" was finished.
|Godsource, 2016 cover art.
Godsource takes place in an alternate-history medieval Europe roughly one thousand years after the death of Jesus Christ, who passed away at the age of 108. The Christian empire has taken up an endless campaign to conquer the known world, with the Ark of the Covenant at the head of its army. The Ark is the strongest conduit to God since Jesus' passing, channeling prayers for victory and paving a swath of destruction across Asia and Africa. Spun into tight balls of golden thread, the prayers are gathered and rendered by professionals called Vocalists, anointed specifically by the Vatican to speak for God, now that Christ has died.
Though they are capable of rendering simple wishes and prayers, Vocalists are primarily deployed as soldiers, collecting and channeling the faith of the armies spread across countless battlefields. Their strength is drawn from their proximity to the Ark itself. The chest is a mighty weapon.
While their enemies are primarily heathen, non-Christian humans, the Vocalists occasionally battle wandering angels, lost and untethered from Heaven. Angels remain a troubling mystery to mankind. No prayers to God have fully explained their purpose. Only women are capable of understanding and speaking the angels' language, and only men are capable of physically touching them. The angels' ability to speak only with women has aroused suspicion over the centuries that any angel discovered may be manipulative. They are considered harbingers of Lucifer. Women are vulnerable targets.
At the start of the story, the last campaign into Africa has concluded. With Europe, Asia, and Africa now under the Pope's rule from the seat in Rome, the main military forces are withdrawing. While pockets of pagan resistance maintain independent kingdoms in northern Britain and Scandinavia, it is widely believed that for the first time in recorded history, global peace is within reach.
Akhet is an anointed Vocalist and agent of the Vatican. He was named Geno in earlier versions of the story when it was in a more mordern setting. His name can be interpreted in an ancient Egyptian heiroglyph meaning "horizon." The word can also be translated as the the season of the flood.
Akhet fought in the vanguard in the African campaign and was the Ark of the Covenant's primary protector for the duration. He has developed a distaste for God and the part he has played in killing heathens and wandering angels during his battles. Like all Vocalists, Akhet has a class of students that follow and learn from him, assisting with rendering prayers. Unlike others, he keeps his class small, only two: a Page named Kaikesi, and a Fuser named Zachary. Running low on time to repay various debt collectors, Akhet returns to civilization with Kaikesi and Zachary to guard the Prince of Monaco from a potential angel attack during the royal wedding.
Kaikesi is Akhet's young Page. The character was named Colby in earlier versions of the story before being renamed for the mother of Ravana in the Hindu religion.
All Pages are women, and are assigned to a Vocalist to study angels, with the intent to keep the heavenly beings from becoming a malevolent influence on humanity. Kaikesi was specifically assigned to Akhet under orders from the Pope during the campaign into Africa, during which time the two became romantically involved. Proficient in the angel language, Kaikesi devotes most of her time to untraditional tasks for Pages, including prayer-reading and direct combat.
Zachary is Akhet's Fuser. Usually a job for several member's of a Vocalist's class, Zachary is total master of crafting tools and weaponry to track and capture angels. He is a wiry young man, both physically and in personality. He exhibits mild aptitude in speaking the angel language, a fact he keeps secret to everybody but Kaikesi and Akhet.
The Prince of Monaco summons several Vocalists fresh from the African campaign to meet prior to his wedding, after he learns that an angel has been harassing his fiance each night. He is a short-tempered individual with ties to the Vatican and a good deal of political clout, demonstrated in the gigantic floating cathedral built in Monaco's harbor.
Chemos is a wandering angel that has been haunting the future Princess of Monaco. Unlike most angels, who are non-hostile, Chemos is an active threat toward humans. He wears hand-crafted clothes made of stone, a sign of lost innocence. Once an angel has lost innocence, it is likely they have become agents of Lucifer. Chemos has harassed Akhet for a number of years during the African campaign. He made several attempts to steal the Ark in the past.
updated 2016 cover art.
Godsource's original concept was conceived while running software product support. I was answering roughly fifty help requests per day, either over the phone, or written, and the disconnect between myself and the people I needed to help was staggering. It's vain to equate that feeling to one between a god and a worshiper, but in my unending bombardment of pleas for help, the thought of God getting sick of answering prayers started to crystallize.
From there, the idea for the original "Godsourced" was created. In this version of the story, God has retired, and while he remains all-powerful, he has outsourced his prayer-processing to a third-party agency. The rest sprouted logically. It was set in modern times, because that was the environment I was sitting in, observing office politics. In the story, there were a lot of people working a lot of roles. Namely, there were Vocalists who spoke for God, took phone calls, paid house-visits to the people who prayed for things. At the time, I thought the bureaucracy was funny.
I wrote one short story to test the concept. It was boring.
One notable thing hung on, with the original Colby character asking: "are we doing magic?"
The thought that the people processing these requests not understanding what they were doing stuck with me.
I re-wrote it again, this time adding Zachary, the Fuser, who crafted the weird Ghostbusters-style gizmos, as well as the angel-threat. I thought it would be an interesting status quo to establish the men in a leadership role as the Vocalists, despite the fact that women are the only ones who can speak with angels. This draws obvious inspiration from religions throughout history and the casual sexism in any office environment.
Keeping it modern and presenting it as a workplace procedural felt hack; too much like an SNL sketch or a high-concept NBC show.
Its setting was flung into the past, specifically in an early medieval or Dark Age era. Rather than having crafting an explanation for how the Vocalists could operate from the shadows in modern times like the Men In Black, it made sense just to say that Christianity had become an ultra-powerful presence across the world. Thus, the setting was born.
The rest of the mythology endured few changes. Geno, Colby, and Zachary remained, the former renamed Akhet and Kaikesi in future revisions. There were already plans for rebel angels like Chemos and Lucifer to make appearances. They fit the new setting like a glove.
As the newest idea on Ghost Little, Godsource has undergone extensive world-building, however no master outline has been created to date.
There are plans for a visit to the Pope in Rome, as well as a potential travels to Antarctica, the ruins of Eden, and eventually to Heaven. Lucifer will play an extensive role as his usual anti-hero self.
Godsource uses the following colors: