Now that I have firmly established the growing rapport and conflicts between my gladiators, it is time to look a little more in depth at the developing relationships between the men. The six of them are going on a very long trip so naturally, as with any “enclosed” space (because you don’t need a cabin to experience cabin fever) there will be the all too familiar pattern of the foundation of alliances… and conflicts.
It is something not always dealt with in these sorts of stories of long journeys in places where there is no mass transit but in some cases it is vital to the plot. I’m not even sure if or how at this stage the relationships are going to be important at the end of the journey (i.e. once they reach Germania).
I said on the previous post The Fellowship of the Ring is a particularly good example of that sort of blossoming conflicts and alliances and that is the level of interaction I am looking for between the men. It’s something I have thought about a great deal considering I have written so little, so much so that I felt the need to draw a diagram to demonstrate it how they will interact, at least at the beginning. Stay focused because this is going to look complicated:
The black line is a neutral stance, a cordial or indifferent relationship
The pale blue line is a one way “liking”.You will notice that this line only applies to Valens. The boyish lovable rogue wants to be popular so will spend a lot of time sucking up to the others. Except that is, for Nero.
The red line is a mutual dislike
The green line is a good rapport, mutual respect and perhaps a growing friendship.
Three men do not not like him because of his foul temper and that feeling is mutual.
Methodius is indifferent to him because he is the older wise man who suspects that Nero has good reason to be the way he is. Seneca as the Emperor-appointed man in the group is focussed on getting the job done and will not care unless Nero damages the mission. However, he chose him so must know that Nero will most likely not jeopardise the mission.
Is a mixed bag. Of course he has his friend in Saturninus but he doesn’t trust easily and he and Methodius will be indifferent towards each other until the two can form some sort of rapport. Nero has already rubbed him up the wrong way and the two will clash again
The no-nonsense man has already had a run in with Nero over the way he insulted his friend. He thinks Valens is an attention seeker and as an older man, he already feels a mutual affinity with Methodius.
He remembers Valens from their time in the arena. Though he identifies that the boy is a bit on an attention whore he doesn’t find him unpleasant. He may even take him under his wing as a father figure at some point. He is indifferent to everyone else, believing that their best sides will shine in time and that their flaws are part and parcel of being human.
Nero doesn’t have time for a man he thinks is little more than an attention whore. The others do not trust him that much because they see that he sucks up to people rather a lot. They are happy to let Methodius guide him.
Sees himself as the leader of the mission whether the others do / will or not. They are indifferent to him and are slightly concerned about having a Praetorian in their ranks. He though, will take all of them in his stride. He knows more about each of them than they know about each other.
I think this exercise has really helped me understand the relationships as they will work in the early chapters. Have you ever tried anything like this? Did it work or was it scrapped a few chapters later?