This chapter has two different plots which are not coordinated with each other much, so finding a theme that would encompass them both meant comparing and contrasting after we’d finished outlining, instead of deciding on a theme first and then building the plots around it. Should we compare Bandit’s eagerness to prove her worth as leader with Syr’Nj’s determination to prove science could cure Byron? Maybe contrast Byron’s guilt over the blood on his hands with the joy the story’s villains take in destruction?

Phil and I settled on this: both plots involved summoning otherworldly monsters from the murky depths. It was too early to give the berserker spirit a face, so Gralor here stands in for himself literally and for the berserker metaphorically. And maybe there’s one more monster of the depths worth including in this roundup, but we’ll see him on page one.