Bad guy is actually controlled by the Power he sacrificed his soul to, the same power that runs through Morrowin's genealogy. This Power has been planning this for ages. It's one of the ones that still has a small cult following, and a hidden place of power it can work through. Way back when, it awakened the Blood of Morrowin's ancestress (the Witch Queen Vayle). Because Vayle had been used and abused and betrayed (by her husband?), she desired power to avenge herself on everyone who had hurt her. Thinking it could use her, the Power awakened her Blood, hoping that she would give herself over to it and it would be able to claim her as a vessel.
Instead, she turned out to be strong and canny. She used the power to overthrow the king and usurp the throne, and indeed ruled with a bloody and iron fist for a short time, before the Church was able to bring her down. But she was too clever to give up her soul to the Power, which had hoped to direct its followers (who it kept secret from her) to ensnare her. When she was brought down, it left her lineage in disgrace, for now everyone knew that they were tainted, and with what was assumed to be a dark and evil Blood.
But the Witch Queen's short-lived rule did have an effect. The Witch Queen did not lose her soul, but she had used her power profligately enough to open herself to the Power's blandishments. It directed her to persecute its own followers, aiming her at a man of particular talents. She obeyed its impulses to break him, and, left with his life in ashes about him, this man decided to have his
revenge. He had no Blood, but in a rash act, he sold his soul to the same Power that had been tied to Vayle. He had not been a terrible man, but he was agonized, impulsive, and desperate. The Power did not give him what he had hoped for, but he was left a wizard...in service to the being that had had him destroyed.
This wizard watches Vayle's lineage to this day, as do others in the kingdom. They had been a great family, but, though they are still aristocracy, they have been cast down as far as possible, a bloodline in disgrace.
Though in service to this Power, the wizard has learned much over the years. He wants vengeance on Vayle's blood even now, but cannot harm the Power that holds his soul. He works in tandem with it, doing its bidding to bring it back into this world in hopes that the techniques he has discovered will allow him to avenge himself not only upon Vayle's family line, but also on the Power itself that broke him and now uses him for its own ends. The Power has used him through the centuries to tweak things, facilitating its eventual escape back into the lands of Men, preserving Vayle's bloodline until the right person comes along, infiltrating the Church... That person--Morrowin, whose Blood the Power again awakened for its own intentions--it intends to have the wizard twist to the breaking point, until Morrowin willingly surrenders and gives himself as a vessel for the Power.
So, near the opening of the story, a discussion with...duke's daughter or whatever--the smart girl--regarding Morrowin. She'll favor him, but be told that an alliance with his tainted house is out of the question. Also, possibly near the opening of the story, a flashback chapter with Vayle and evil wizard guy.
Morrowin's family knows about this taint, and lives with it, passing the knowledge down from parent to child. They're used to marrying low, but also used to marrying for love since it's generally the only way their family finds anyone willing to marry into them. Normally, familial descent follows the father, but in their family it follows whomever is related to them. A descendant of this line stays
in this line, and can never be apart from it, because the Blood follows. Anyway, they're used to living under this cloud and no one in the family has awakened to their Blood since Vayle, which was hundreds of years ago, so while they can't forget, in large part, among themselves at least, they don't worry about it much. The Church, however, watches them, and their family has very carefully remained practicing all these centuries. They're fairly pious.
Do they know who the Power is? Do they know whether it's evil? At the beginning, Morrowin has senses that his Blood is awakening. Then he uses it to save his baby sister...but he was going to play with her. Perhaps he knows better, and runs straight to the church, which is why he then has to flee. Perhaps by then he's already had an encounter with the duke's daughter, who...why would she help him, if she knows his Blood has awakened? Has memory faded?
Well...it's known that not everyone of the Blood is evil. It's known that a few even work for the Church (though they're almost never seen, to anyone's knowledge) (see post about Church and Blood
. Though a cloud still hangs over the family, as it does with any family known to be tainted, some who know them to be good people find it ridiculous to think that just because one ancestress was one of the worst people the realm ever produced, they should all automatically be like that. But they don't trust anyone else to trust that. So the duke's daughter decides that Morrowin is a good person, and helps him escape near the beginning, then...does she go with him? Does she love him, or is she actually heading somewhere and hides him in among her people till they can get where she's going...but by the time they get there, they've both gotten involved in what's happening with him. She becomes a target because the wizard figures Morrowin likes her, and hurting/threatening the people he loves will help to break him. (see post about his family
The Church protected Morrowin's family, taking Vayle's children under its roof and into hiding. And there was a witch-hunt in the early days. It was just like a real witch-hunt, with innocent people dying, so the Church finally put a stop to it. Or maybe the Crown did, because it didn't want people murdering each other.Not sure:
Other wizard guy.... What if I'm off-base? What if it's the evil wizard guy who ends up having the thing with Morrowin? Hurting him, twisting him, hating him, wanting vengeance...to admiring him. When he's supposed to offer up Morrowin to the Power, hoping he can summon the Power in and then destroy it and
Morrowin...maybe he decides he can't do it? Eh.
Could it be the priest instead? Comes in, sort of spying for the Church, increasingly aware of what the wizard wants to do to Morrowin and what he wants him to become...eventually having to decide whether Morrowin should be destroyed for the world's protection...
Other wizard: same agenda as evil wizard. Except...not enslaved to this Power. Clear-headed, calculating. Wants the Power to take Morrowin, then use the tool the evil wizard had to destroy the Power. Eventually, hanging with Morrowin changes perspective, and decides to find a way to keep it from killing Morrowin. Or maybe it never would kill Morrowin, but the evil wizard would never be able to actually use the thing. Maybe both wizards are after the thing, but this wizard wants it before evil wizard gets it, because he knows that if evil wizard gets it, it'll never be used and the Power will take over. Planned to let evil wizard have Morrowin...but by the end, decides to summon out his soul, hold it himself, and call the Power in to destroy it, then place Morrowin back. So it's in this wizard's interests to keep Morrowin alive, let him be harmed (but possibly not as much as villain wants) and get him to where he's bound to go. At least until this wizard decides to trust and work with Morrowin--and Morrowin trusts and works with him--at which point the hurting Morrowin can fall by the wayside.
Kind of anti-climactic though. Morrowin is main character, he should get to strike the blow, or at least help. Hmm.