Most of the action in Quest of the Brokenhearted takes place in the city of Lacarsis, which has been a slight mystery in the Windemere books. It’s been mentioned a handful of times in other books, but only as a place of monsters and evil. This story is where readers get to see what’s actually inside. To be honest, the journey from single word to in-depth city is rather simple.
At the beginning, I was heavily influenced by ‘Castlevania’ and was playing ‘Symphony of the Night’ almost religiously. I still do since my Super NES died long ago and I can’t play ‘Super Castlevania’ anymore. Honestly, this video game series has been a favorite of mine since childhood, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I did a book that acts like an homage to the concept. I think I mentioned in another post that Kira’s whip-like weapon made her the perfect choice for this, but now I’m getting off topic. I changed it from a castle to a large city, but the whole monster thing came from this. A difference I was determined to do was that the city moves around the continent, so people can wake up one day and find it sitting a few miles away from their home. Not sure why, but I always found this part fairly amusing.
I don’t remember the earlier names beyond calling it ‘The City of Evil’, which was a placeholder. Thankfully, I figured something out in a way that probably would have had me put in a straight-jacket if done in public. With an image in my head, I just began blabbing the phrase ‘Welcome to’ and inserted whatever odd name turned up. Took a few days of randomly doing this until I blurted out Lacarsis and it stuck. At least, it did for about three years before I wondered if I was having trouble because of the name and tossed it away for a few months. Nothing else turned up, but I didn’t feel rushed because I didn’t have a story yet. Once Quest of the Brokenhearted came up, I went back to the old name again.
One of the hardest things in explaining Lacarsis is that exploring it is a big part of the overall adventure. At least on a physical level because Kira’s battles span the entire region. Something that always remained the same throughout the incarnations is that it is vast and filled with monsters. The creatures aren’t seen from outside and a few times I considered having them venture out to cause havoc, which draws people to investigate. I changed it to retain the mystery, so that when Kira steps inside, she is met with this giant realm that the outside world never understood. This mystery really grew on me because it meant I could do more than have the hero go through rooms. Now, there was more variety in settings and the overall landscape grew to something unique in Windemere.
I never really came up with a reason for Lacarsis existing that survived the various incarnations. At one point, it was where all monsters were born, but that didn’t make much sense. Baby monsters wouldn’t be found outside of the city and it meant that everything would have to be around this area instead of across the globe. The answer could have been making all of the inhabitants unique, but then I wouldn’t be able to flush out a few species that I had my eye on. Eventually, I left the reason Lacarsis is there as a mystery that I’m not sure I every truly answer. To be honest, I’m not even clear that it’s necessary since the other cities don’t require such an explanation. Someone/thing wanted to build a city for monsters and that’s what happened.
A question I do keep asking myself here is if Lacarsis will appear in other stories. That’s as long as it isn’t destroyed by Kira, but there could always be a new version. Monsters will always need a place to live and evil will always band together. The future of Lacarsis could very well go beyond this adventure to give other heroes a chance to see what’s inside. After all, this is a rather fluid place at times and there’s no telling what it will turn into when it’s pitted against a different person. I say this because one aspect that I began realizing as I edited was that Lacarsis kind of mirrors and accommodates the hero who challenges it. In a way, Kira gets something she wanted from the competition within the City of Evil and that’s a place where she’s accepted. So, maybe another hero will meet something else that fills a void. Makes one wonder how much of what you see in Quest of the Brokenhearted is even real or part of Kira’s subconscious influence. Just another mystery in this city that I hope will continue to grow.