So, it's out. Well, sort of. Everything I've written once these two characters are together is being taken out and put aside. There's been a critical timeline issue that I was stuck on and couldn't find a solution to resolve. But the solution has been there all along.
These events will still take place. They just need to take place in the second half of the book, not the first half.
And so, in pondering what will happen to them in the first half I realized I could no longer ignore a key element:
There will be a naval battle, a couple of them actually, that are pivotal moments in the whole story and I've never been inclined to show them. The way this story has developed I know now that I can't ignore them any longer.
So, now I have to start researching early (and I do mean early) naval conflicts for inspiration. So far, I've come across the Battle of Salamis as an inspirational starting point.
In this world I've created these will be, after all, probably the first actual naval battles in history.
While the research will be fun, it will, unfortunately push back my timeline for the overall book. But getting it right is more important than getting it done quick.