The World of His Fair Assassin
As I combed through history, looking for the perfect setting for this story, three things caught my attention and eventually solidified into the world of Grave Mercy. The first was a twelve year old duchess who inherited a kingdom, that inheritance hugely complicated by the fact that she had been promised in marriage to half a dozen princes and nobles.
Next was a mention of the Gallizenae, nine druidesses who lived on the Ile de Sein off the coast of Brittany and possessed mysterious powers.
While Googling for images of the Ile de Sein, I came across of photo of a small, medieval chapel standing next to one of the old, pagan standing stones that are so plentiful in Brittany. It was such a vivid illustration of one of the things that has always fascinated me—how the Catholic Church was so successful at absorbing bits and pieces of the older, ancient religions.
Then lastly, I read about the Passage de l’Enfer—a Breton folktale of fisherman who receive a knock on their door at midnight and were required row the souls of the dead across the ocean at night. Those three things soon became intertwined in my mind and the story idea began to take shape.