The book I am currently writing is set eight hundred years prior to the events in The Shard (my first fantasy novel). It begins with the event that destroys a peace that has been magically enforced upon the major civilized realm for more than five thousand years. This gives me the opportunity to explore some interesting ideas concerning this enforced peace.
The Peace Spire was a monument built to bring the races back together at the end of a terrible war. In this war, the races of elf and dwarf were tricked by an evil wizard (who nobody yet knew had gone bad) into going to war with each other. They went at each other with a vengeance until the evil wizard struck them with his armies of orcs, trolls, and goblins. The elves and dwarves belatedly realized they had been duped, but they put aside their enmity to join together to fight back, and eventually after years of bloody conflict they prevailed.
The council of wizards felt that something was needed to help heal the wounds of the war, so they helped the elves and dwarves construct an enormous spire, and on the top they placed a huge crystal that they imbued with powerful magic. The magic could look into the hearts of all living beings within its area of effect and see whether they were basically good or evil (since these are artificial constructs, it actually had a complex means of looking at various vices and emotions, such as empathy, jealousy, hatred, love, etc.). If one was good then at times of great need (when one's pulse raced, or as modern people would see it, when adrenaline was pumping) the person would gain courage and strength, while those with evil in their hearts would despair and feel weak.
So, what happens when the Peace Spire is destroyed? That's the big idea for this new book, and I am relishing the challenge. Can people conditioned to only peaceful thoughts and feelings defend themselves from evil? Naturally those on the fringes will gleefully take advantage of the situation. This is going on too long, so I'll reserve space to tell about the actual story line for the next post.