This is an idea a friend of mine originally came up with, but she decided not to use it, and since I helped her a fair bit with the development of it, she said I could use it. So I am. Here’s the bones of it.
Firstly, this is a steampunk novel. Now, the characters.
There’s a girl. She’s one of a small but not rare percentage of people in her world born with power over an element. Her element is fire. The fire only comes out when her emotions are running high; for her, this usually means when she’s upset. She weeps tears of fire, and an aura of intense heat surrounds her. Obviously, no one can approach her because of this, so she’s become withdrawn into herself. The people call her the ‘Cold-hearted maiden of fire’.
Her twin brother, conversely, has power over ice. Unlike his sister, he can use his powers at almost any time, though that may be just because he’s usually got some emotion or another running high enough to trigger them. His constant passions earned him a nickname, as well: The hot-headed ice warrior.
His power of ice enables him to do something no one else can: comfort his sister. When she weeps fire, he can hold her and let her fire wash over his ice and be cooled. Now, this isn’t easy for him to do. In point of fact, it’s very painful. But he does it anyway, out of love for his sister.
Their father was an inventor, with power over electricity. He was a very good man, and everyone in the town loved him. He improved life for them all, and helped anyone and everyone he could. One day, when the twins were about 15 or so, he took on an apprentice. A young man with power over water. Not ice, mind you. There was no conflict with the brother. When water became solid, he lost all control of it. He could, however, control steam, which made him invaluable to the twins’ father.
Now, just as the father and the apprentice were working on a huge project that would revolutionize industry, the apprentice started to fall in love with the daughter. His power of water let him counter her power of fire, but where the brother’s power let the fire cool on the ice, the apprentice’s power forcibly put it out. The brother takes pain on himself to be near and comfort his sister. The apprentice inflicts it.
Now, the father finds out about this and is angry, since the apprentice his hurting his daughter. He expels the apprentice from his shop and, a few weeks later, takes full credit for the invention, when he finishes it.
The apprentice is angry. He uses his power over water and some inventions he stole to create a massive tidal wave that would wipe out the small town. The father stops it with his lightning, using so much power that he burns himself out, dying to save the town.
Now, the apprentice is back, and with a much more sinister plan. This time his revenge is specific. Seduce or coerce the girl into being his. Kill the brother, slowly. Take control of the city and rule it, with the sister as his queen.
How far will he go? And how far will the brother have to go to stop him?