I've been thinking a lot about what I'm doing with The Hand of Intrigue today. I haven't done much except read through and make notes on changes and things, but I'm getting the feeling I'll need to actually start rewriting the whole thing from the begining. I have too much going on--if I'm going to add all I want to--to just patch it all in. This isn't a video game and patching in won't improve anything this time around; I'll have to go in and do another full revision, and that's something I don't want to have to do.
On the other hand, I don't want to spend all my time rewriting it, but it looks like I'm going to have to do it that way. I've considered changing the first chapter substantially, perhaps making it two chapters to emphasize a possible change in events. I want to focus on Keiki's familiarity with the palace (his return home, however brief its duration) and perhaps introduce one of the twins earlier. This would enable me to explain a bit of Keiki's history, perhaps betray his true name, and the source of the name he's taken for his service to his Zhiraikaovei. Not only that, introducing one twin before I introduce Barukei and then the other twin will give me a chance to see both twins. They won't be "playing" themselves; Akotai will confront Barukei first, as Akiro. After Barukei and Keiki return to the celebration, Akiro will greet Barukei, as Akotai. I'll have to find some way to delinate the twins in my WIP, so at least I know what's going on and who's doing what and when.
I'll also have a better chance of showcasing Keiki's turmoil. He doesn't know whom he's supposed to serve, because even his Zhiraikaovei doesn't know. Only the Gods know, and they're hesitant to push themselves back into mortal society at this particular time. Things are uncertain among the mortals and the Gods don't want to misbalance things too drastically; there are too many people who would promptly drop what they're doing to focus on the Gods again, and that almost destroyed Imotina once. In fact, more than one group of disenfranchized citizens left Imotina long ago--two ended up in neighboring countries and one went overseas; almost all at the same time. It left the motherland underpopulated and almost caused the early Empire to fall. The Gods, already abandoned by most of their people, decided to retreat until a more appropriate time, when the people had more than just their relationship to the Gods to focus on. That time hasn't arrived--yet.
But having left the Zhiraikaovei--created them, in fact--for the people, so the Imotinans wouldn't be alone and to galvanize the intelligence, creativity, and senses of adventure and invention in the people, the Gods had not completely abandoned their people. They've become quite accustomed to subtle maneuvering through the personifications the people applied to the Zhiraikaovei. However, they're wary of using Zhiraikaovei DLachomaogu's Tanahu, Oshiri, and Sabi'Oji too much. Their priests are encouraging them to trust the Zhiraikaovei of Intrigue, and have well-chosen their "operative" in Keiki, to some extent, if only because of his blood ties to the throne and House Oyuchayei (if not the Family Name) and the laws that, though they prevent him from directly assuming the throne will allow him to do so if married.
So, Keiki doesn't want to marry Barukei. Too much of a risk, never mind the fact that if he thought about it he'd realize his accepting Barukei as his husband would put him under the direct regard of all of the Zhiraikaovei'ubu. Well, he won't have a chance if I can get to the third book in this series. He may not be sexually interested in women, but he's digging his own hole here, and he'd better be happy his society accepts whatever contracts and bonds a married couple makes with each other.
Ahem. I'm done grumbling. Besides, I get another novel out of this mess Keiki's causing, don't I? Another chance to twist him for making my job so difficult. heh heh
So, I intro "Akiro" (Akotai), compare Keiki's memories of the man before Keiki had gone on to become a Sabi'Oji and the man he's meeting at present, drag him through Barukei's refusals of service, then show him "Akotai" (Akiro), who is the man who actually Courted Barukei before the other twin ruined it all by throwing a fit and turning to a woman. While that's acceptable, it's generally not a nice thing to do when one's led one's lover to believe one's planning to marry said lover. This ruined Akotai's reputaion for quite some time, and only Akiro's devising of the plan to place an ineligible distant cousin (ineligible because her blood had not touched the Book of Blood as an infant) on the throne.
I wonder if I could inject some hints on the disintegration of the cohesiveness between the twins, as well. The real Akiro's regret for having lost Barukei and anger at his brother for causing it. The real Akotai's anger at being controlled politically by his wiser brother and restricted in his magical training--because he lacks the emotional and tempermental restraint necessary.
Speaking of restraint, I need to lengthen Barukei's eventual acceptance of Keiki, despite all of Keiki's efforts to be friendly. This is something I'm not good at, but it needs to be done, and I'm sure I'll figure out how to do it without dragging it out too much.