In that time, though, a lot of things have changed. For ex,
-the original idea was about a hero who'd won lots of battles having a stand-in to do his public appearances for him, since those were occasions when he would be an easy target for assassins. Possibly also the real hero was ugly/disfigured/had some other reason for not wanting people to see his face. So originally my main character was the brains/charisma to the real "hero"'s brawn. But over time I started thinking, y'know, stories are always about the brains (maybe because we writers tend to be a little brainy ourselves). And besides, it didn't make much sense that they'd be able to pull off a deception like that. So I switched it around so that my stand-in was standing-in in battle, where he could wear a helmet to hide his face, and the real "hero" handled the strategizing and public stuff.
-the original idea was set in a quasi-medieval world. The landscape was kind of desert-y, but otherwise, everything was pretty standard European middle ages. Thinking about it years later, when I finally got around to making a real outline for it, I recalled how sick I was of fantasies always being medieval European. And hey, I already had a desert. So I did some reading and my world transformed into a quasi ancient Mesopotamia/Sumeria/Egypt/Mediterranian.
-the original storyline (what little I had of one) was much more light-hearted, with a lot more focus on romance. This may be why I never got very far with that storyline. Harassing, torturing, and killing characters has turned out to be the best possible thing for the plot of this book. :P
One of the few things that's stayed the same are the names of those two main characters. They have always been Jarad and Sesili, albeit previously spelled differently. And my magic system for this world has always worked the same way (the way people get magic power, and how animals who've been exposed to magic change, both play a major role in my short story "Tongue-Tied", which is set in the same world. If anyone here remembers that--I think a few of you read it but that was a while ago). And, strangely enough, the ending has always been pretty much the same. I had this very clear image in my head of the final scene. The things they talk about may end up being different, the props have shifted with the change in cultures, but in essence they'll be doing exactly the same thing as they were four and a half years ago. Kind of funny, isn't it, that I knew where they were going all that time ago, and I've only just figured out how the hell they get there?