With this chapter, Phil and I changed up our method a bit: this one and Chapter 23 were planned to be entirely drafted by me with Phil’s restrained edits, and for Chapters 22 and 24, it was vice versa. It was an attempt to resolve the difficulties we were having with each other creatively… not sure if it ultimately made them worse, rechanneled them, or didn’t make much of a difference, but it sure didn’t fix ’em for more than a couple of months or so. (Chapter 23 therefore ended up being less “me” than planned, but we’ll get there when we get there.)

Still, we were optimistic about the new approach at this point. I definitely had fun with the story, and Phil mostly swallowed his biggest objection. He wanted to show the Savasi as we’d foreshadowed them from the beginning, a group of warriors driven entirely by outrage and force. But I didn’t feel like a punching contest with a previously unseen group of opponents would be all that exciting as the basis for half a chapter, so I pushed hard to add the cave-in angle you see here, with the placement of Byron’s ax giving you a pretty good idea why you should care about this. I think this was one time our pushing and pulling led to a more nuanced final product.