One of the things that’s been most helpful in crafting the stories to go alongside breathing life into Arkhona’s background has been a massive timeline that Ivan Mulkeen’s created to set out the history from pre-Crusade days to the age of the Imperium. There’s a huge amount of information on that and the sellotaped together strips of paper are always to hand in the folder I carry with me at all times when I’m out working.
I’d looked at this when I first got it and marked up scores of places that naturally suggested story hooks and I’ve been slowly working my way through them, jumping from ancient days to modern days, from faction to faction in order to keep a variety of stories feeding into the mix.
With a contemporary Space Marines story already released, I went back to the earliest days of the Kharon system (where Eternal Crusade is set…) and wrote an eldar story set shortly after the Fall, where the eldar have been left psychically reeling by the demise of their empire and the virtual extinction of their species. We get to see two characters who will play no part in the game itself (or will they…) but what they see and say, and what they set in motion form the cornerstone of much of the eldar way of life in the future. For example, there’s no Eldar Path yet, no Spirit Stones and only a vague appreciation of the danger their souls are in from She Who Thirsts. I like to balance the stories I’m doing, not only in who appears in them and what they’re about, but also in the nature of the stories. Where the opening Space Marine story was an all-out action-fest, this one was much more measured, more-dialogue heavy and weighty in terms of what the themes it encompassed.
Not only that, it’s now part of the art competition, where fans of Eternal Crusade are being asked to produced a piece of artwork based on a scene within the story. And as soon as there’s a result, I’ll be sure to put up an entry here.