Sunday, January 20, 2013

Prologue and etc.

Here we are again. I missed a whole week due to school beginning and moving. Little slacker I am! But I’m back on track this week. I’ve decided I prefer a version in which the men have killed the parents, wondering where the child is, child runs in, and the King arrives just in time to stop them from killing the boy. Writings for this week begin with the complete prologue, overhauled to fit my new plot notes and to fit better the short story/tone I am aiming for. On Friday I did something a little different. I had begun to write what I had called an 'abstract' back in 2009, before I even started writing the story, essentially an outline (more detailed than what I might normally construct). I did not get very far with that, and I decided to continue with it as I feel having a solid outline for this story will actually help. I don't usually work from an outline, but because I have the whole thing pretty well planned out in my head, I think it would be best if I am a template to refer to. It's almost like a short story version, but it's more the answer to the question 'What happens in the story?' Maura's backstory not included because reasons. WARNING: Contains spoilers ;) The last piece of writing is (most of...) Maura's backstory because I didn't put it in the 'abstract' and I'm not quite ready to get started on the full story yet. A bit of a factual telling, but gets the elements in the right spots.

JAN 17TH (okay I did slack off early in the week but I still wrote my quota! I'm trying, I swear.)

One clear summer day, a dozen men in glinting armour rode on horseback through a dense forest. They searched for a cottage buried deep within an ancient wood, a cottage that they had left in peace for seven years.

These were a dozen of the King's best men. All were equals in cunning, strength, and obedience, a trait that the King greatly valued. The better part of the day passed them by before they arrived at the cabin and dismounted from their horses. They had followed their orders from the King exactly, but somehow they had arrived early, and they grew anxious. [Oh poop why has the group gone before the King?]

"I think we best just go in there and get the job done with!" one of them hissed to the others.

"No," another responded sharply, "We have no orders from the King to do such a thing." He did not look at his comrade and instead stared at the cottage. His unease showed on his face and he did not want the others to notice. He did not notice that all the men now bore the same expression.

"Then why don’t we enter the cabin and gather them up?" another man suggested, "Have them ready for when he arrives, you know." A squeak in his voice betrayed the fear he tried to mask with his bold suggestions.

"Do you not realize what these people are capable of?" the first man nearly shouted. He was perhaps the most frightened of them all. Someone hushed him, cautioning against drawing unwanted attention.

"I hear they can melt insides from wherever they stand," whispered another man. A chorus of men chimed in now, expressing the variety of rumours each had encountered, until one man who had been listening patiently spoke up more strongly than the others.

 "They have fearsome powers, they can summon devils! A family that performs magic? They are capable of anything! We should be rid of them as soon as possible. What does the King know? You cannot take creatures like these. They will destroy you and the rest of the world before being taken alive." No one responded to the soldier's argument, but some nodded. "Let us enter this hut. We can assess for ourselves just what kind of situation the King is placing us in. We can protect ourselves. The King cannot deny us self-defence. Agreed?" [this needs to be a bit more cleverly put, more thought out, not so bluntly planned to kill. This man who rallies the other killed by the King later. OH THE KING BRIBED HIM TO RALLY THE OTHERS? hrrm. Need to work on King’s charrie a little more]

No one had to speak now. The men drew their swords as one and advanced. The man and woman inside the humble cabin had time only to rise from their suppers before they were slaughtered. For the King's soldiers never intended to assess the situation. Fear had overcome them long ago as they rode through the forest, the terrible kind of fear based in *****, the kind that drives the strongest men to the worst deeds. By the time they arrived in the clearing, their will was beyond their control. The man who rallied them only provided an excuse. For a few moments after the deaths, the men were calmed. But then someone asked - Where was the child? [this is a dangerous paragraph, don’t want to suggest that the family is responsible for their deaths by causing (unintentional) fear]

There was a frantic search of the cottage, but it ended in seconds. The little shack had no hiding place for a child. Once again, the men felt the fear growing inside them. Though fuelled now by a different reason, it was still nearly as potent as it had been when the wizard and witch still breathed. The men exited the building in a rush (some now wondering how a dead spirit of a magician may behave) [interesting concept, probably needs to be addressed – why wouldn’t they be afraid of the spirits of these magicians? Elaborate somehow.] and stood outside, no longer sure what to do. Then a boy emerged from amidst the trees. He glared the men.

“What were you doing in our house?” he shouted at them. The ferocity of his tone startled the men and the collectively stepped back, just as afraid of this child as they had been of his parents. Before they could gather their wits and slay the boy, he ran with uncanny speed into the cottage.

The boy emitted a howl, a cry of composed purely of pain and horror. Somehow this sad sound drew the men to attention.

“We have to kill him now, before he uses his powers, while he’s with-”

“What’s going on here?” A voice not yet heard in the clearing interrupted the man’s frantic proclamation. King Xavier had arrived. He had quietly slipped into the clearing, accompanied by his aide Kellan. The men, terrified of the weeping child and their ADJECTIVE king, scrambled to put away their weapons and fall into formation. The killing of the sorcerers did not assuage their fear. As rational thought returned, the soldiers were realizing they would now have the fury of the King to deal with, and that fury was well-known by many of them to be something worthy of fear. All knew the King hard ordered the family to be taken alive, to be captured upon his arrival, but out of fear they slew the father and the mother and now could not account for the child. Not one dared to answer the King’s question. All in the clearing listened to boy’s wails. The King slipped from his horse and entered the cabin. The men followed him, for their training was perhaps the only thing stronger than their fear.

The scene inside the cabin was a brutal one. A little boy, demon summoner or none, weeping over the bloodied bodies of his dead parents. The King lingered over the corpses for a long agonizing moment, then turned to face his pain

“What...went on here?” He sounded calm for one whose men disobeyed a direct order, in a way not possible to undo. The man who rallied the soldiers recognized now was the time to speak, or they would find themselves in worse unimaginable situations.

“I assembled the men and we entered the home. We tried to apprehend them peacefully, but they resisted.” The soldier did not wish to elaborate.

“But the mess!” King Xavier scolded. He prodded the bodies with his toe. Blood trickled onto his polished leather boot.

“I...I apologize, sir.”

“And this he escaped your horrific slaughter I do not know nor care, but I am pleased to see he did.”

The child did not stir at the mention of himself. His crying had grown quieter. The King dismissed his soldiers and knelt beside the boy, placing a gentle hand on the child’s soldier.

 "And how are you, son?" The King's voice took on a quality none of his men would ever hear. He spoke softly, calmly, gently, creating a tone of comfort.

"Okay," answered the child. His voice betrayed no particular emotion, even though tears still flowed. There was a pause, and then the boy jumped away from the man. "Who are you? Why are there so many? Why are you here? Did you do this? Why? Why why why why why - " He screamed as he pelted the King’s armour with his tiny fists.

The King did not respond to the child’s outburst. He pulld a dart from his pocket and pricked the boy on the arm. The boy immediately fell to the ground in deep slumber. The King scooped up the boy. The fools outside may have slaughtered the Family, but the situation would still end in his favour. He exited the cabin and handed the boy to Kellan, who propped the child up on his horse. The King mounted his horse and commanded his men.

“We are done here. We return to the castle.”

[WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS SEGMENT:  Men arrive, debate, kill parents, boy runs in, everyone goes uh oh, king arrives, enters cabin, comforts boy, knocks him out when he gets ‘too anxious’.]

[MINOR ISSUES: So why was the family safe for so long? Not so long, really. Hiding in the woods for the last five years. King grows impatient. Ta./Unverified terms for the family: Magicians, demon-callers, wizard/witch. Baby Marcus reference?]


There are many strands to this story. The main strand, of which all others revolve around, is the love between Jason and Arissa. Jason is a descendant of the last family to have the powerful magic abilities. Arissa is the heir to the throne of Melanthaze.

The story is set in motion by the desires of King Xavier, Arissa’s father. His main (and secret) desire is to see the kingdom of Melanthaze stay the kingdom of Melanthaze. Although he keeps a noble façade (as though his intentions are all for the good of the people) his methods and true intentions are far less than noble.
Xavier wants to crush the magical family so they will never have a chance to take his power. This is why, when intelligence brings him news that the current descendants of the magical family (Marion and husband Draxxon, and sons Marcus and Jason) are living quietly in the woods, he and a team of knights goes to visit them. Although Xavier does wish for the family finally dead, he does not want to soil his name. He is secretly pleased, though, when his knights kills the parents out of superstition. He is able to blame the knights and make himself the hero by adopting the now only son, Jason.

Xavier now believes the last of the magical family has been wiped out, and thus the greatest threat to his rule has been removed. Xavier also believes if he raises Jason as his own, then the boy and potentially his magic will become a great asset to Xavier. And so, he raises Jason to be a fine warrior and appoints him the army’s rank of third-in-command, trainer of new recruits.

Jason believes his position in the royal house to be a fortunate one. He has no memories past the age of six. The truth was his family was slaughtered before his eyes when he was five and he spent a year in a magically induced coma to overcome the emotional stress. Jason believes Xavier took him in because of the kindness in the King’s heart and does his best to serve the man. Jason is a loyal and respected fighter. He gets along well with the recruits because of his age (his age and inexperience of major wars is the reason for his station, as well as why his assistant is older than him). Jason is now 26 years old.

Arissa is the kingdom’s prized secret jewel. Her existence is well-known, but she is rarely seen outside the castle (seven occasions by her 23 birthday. This is because of her father’s over protectiveness (he cares deeply for her; tells her everything but keeps her out of the public eye). She appears melancholic and quiet to all who know her, but she dreams of a life where she can be free from the restraints of her father. Arissa is now 23 years old.

The point at which Jason and Arissa meet is where our story begins.

Jason has just finished wrapping up a training exercise with twenty recruits he handpicked for the King’s personal army. It is unknown why the king has asked for recruits for the (insert clichéd title), but Jason is more than happy to personally train them. He is in a hallway talking with one of the last students to leave, Edmund. They chitchat, eventually Edmund works up the courage to ask about Jason’s past. Jason gladly and casually shares it with him and asks the same of Edmund. Before Edmund can reply, a pageboy tells Jason the king wishes to see him. Jason departs with encouraging for the aspiring warrior. He passes Kellan in the hall and exchanges a few tense words with him.

The King and Jason discuss various things: how the training his going, what he was discussing with Edmund, the King’s pride in Jason. The clock strikes midnight and the King proclaims at the time; he wished to speak with his daughter (hint at ‘of things important’). He sends Jason to fetch Arissa because of the late hour.
Jason walks to the princess’s room, nervous. He has never seen the princess before at such close quarters, despite his 20 years at the castle. There are guards outside her doors, Jason dismisses them for a little while because he’s taking the princess to the king. Jason discovers the princess in the midst of her plans to escape. At first he is stunned, both by her beauty and by her actions. She doesn’t react for a few seconds either, but then she quickly begins to smooth talk him, plays the victim (she tells him of her dreams of a free life), gets him to hide her eye colour with his magic (he doesn’t really understand) and kisses him. Ultimately she persuades him to let her escape (she’s spent the past year loosening bricks in her wall).

He lets her go and stares after her, daydreams, then ‘wakes up and goes oh crap’. He raises the alert in a panic, before fully thinking, and stumbles through his explanation of what happened. He attempts to send the search in the wrong direction. He is asked to retire to his room after giving his explanation of the events. He contemplates what this means.

After hours of investigation (ie. it’s now early morning), a pageboy arrives at Jason’s room. The boy seems apologetic and delivers a scroll to Jason. It is an official request to meet with the king. Jason has only ever received one of these twice, both times relating to his military position, and again contemplates what it is for. When he arrives at the King’s office, the King and Jason’s assistant are there. They (mainly Kellan) inform Jason that he must step down from his post. Jason is shocked, he barely tries to protest. He politely excuses himself and leaves to walk through the city for some air.

Jason visits a part of the city he has never seen before, the equivalent of modern-day slums. It is his first time seeing the city through the eyes of the people, not the eyes of the royalty. He sees children playing in the dirt with sticks, starving families, etc. This causes a bit of a culture shock for him and he scolds himself for not knowing the citizens better. Unexpectedly, he stumbles upon his aunt and uncle; they are giving bread to a group of small children.

He was talking with them, about their lives. He is met with some suspicion and hostility, but they answer his questions. Eventually Jason and his uncle shake hands, and that is when his aunt notices the birthmark. They welcome him into their simple home and explain everything: his past, their family, as well as Maura and how she has gone to join the Freemen. They had introduced the idea to her, hoping she would take to it and go to a safer life; they are thankful she did. They urge Jason to take the same course of action to protect himself. He believes them because of his mark. [This is the weakest link in the story but it will serve for now.]
Jason spends nearly a year traversing the wild, battling through winter’s trials abd encounters with monsters, Xavier’s soldiers, and those who call themselves true Freelanders (as they live outside both the kingdom and the rebel’s compounds). At last he crosses the great dessert and joins the rebels. After meeting with the leaders (Odin holding the most persuasion), Jason swears a blood oath binding him to the rebels, preventing him from betraying them under any circumstances. Meant to be an oath of honour, Jason’s power amplifies the oath and binds him physically to it. Odin takes Jason to Freelander’s mess hall and there he finds Princess Ariana serving meals.

He recognizes her immediately – despite a dramatic change in her appearance, he would never forget her face. She introduces herself as Ciara while she fills his bowl but he quickly recognizes she has no recollection of him, or does not recognize him. He, too, had been transformed by his trials. He remains quiet about her identity, not wishing to cause her stress or difficulty. They exchange friendly conversation and he finds his love for her once again.

Months pass. Jason finds his cousin Maura and they train together. Maura and Odin bond as daughter and father and gradually she learns of Odin’s past, of his wife and her namesake Maurasensiave. Jason and Ciara, too, bond gradually. Gossip occasionally reaches the camp of the kingdom’s missing princess, but is considered of no concern for the Freelanders. Eventually, however, a group of the King’s own knights comes to the Freelanders to question them. King Xavier has transformed the disappearance of his daughter and his adopted son by Xavier proclaims that the Princess, his daughter, has been kidnapped by a rogue knight. He sends out searches and offers rewards, shaves his beard and refuses to let it grow back until she is rescued. Xavier seizes upon this opportunity to rile the Freelanders with seemingly-legitimate cause, arguing that they harbour the kidnapper and the Princess. The King’s knights harass the Freelanders, until during one ‘inspection’ Jason is discovered. He is accused not of being a demon-caller, as he once was so many years ago, but of the kidnapper of the princess. The King immediately declares war upon the Freelanders, for they are hiding a fugitive of the Kingdom, a fugitive who has no less kidnapped and murdered (as the King argues) Princess Ariana.

Frantic preparations for combat are made. The Freelanders trained in self-defence, but naively never anticipated a full declaration of war. [Here again is a weak link, why do they not cast out Jason?] One the eve of battle Jason and Ciara spend the night together. Recognizing that this may very well be the last they see of each other, Ciara reveals her pregnancy. Jason, immdiatley concerned of what the child may be capable of, admits his powers. She becomes angry at him for hiding something of such immense significance. He in turn becomes angry and in his anger invokes the night she fled, revealing that he knows who she truly is. Their fighting escalates, each blaming the other for the war that lies hours ahead. He storms out of her tent.
As soon as Jason leaves, Ciara regrets her actions, realizing that she still does love him and that he may die before the next sunset. She rides after the troops. [Timing is a little weak here also…] Jason is greatly distracted as he leads a battalion, he stubbornly remains angry even though he realizes the truths in both of their words and feels resentful.

The battle rages.

The princess reaches the hills and looks upon the battle, recognizing she can go no further and that her thoughts of catching him were thoughts of stupidity. She falls to the ground and weeps. From the earth beneath her rise Haunters, spirits of the dead not seen in the Kingdom since the last Great Wars. Such spirits are summoned by freshly spilled blood in immense quantities. They feed upon those touched by the blood. [Why do they appear where they do? Site of an ancient battle, graveyard, perhaps. ] They are cold as Hell and it is this coldness that takes the life of the Princess where she lays. She laments for her life cut off, her kingdom, and her unborn child as she freezes.

In the battle Jason and Maura fight side by side. It is impossible to determine which side has the advantage, but then the Haunters arrive and enemies become allied against the dread spirits. Maura dies trying to protect Jason. Jason becomes distraught, his cousin cared as much as he did [what am I talking about??] and now she is dead. Jason, in his confused, furious state, makes the decision to release his power. He only wants the fighting to end. [This made more sense in my head…needs to be much stronger.] He erupts in an outburst of energy that overwhelms even the Haunters. The battlefield becomes silent as all living things within a mile die. [SOME NICE CONCLUSION ABOUT XAVIER BEING RESENTFUL AND SOME RESOLUTION PASSED, HOW THE KINGDOM IS TODAY.]


There was to be a parade that day in honour of the first child of King Xavier and Queen Natalia. The babe would be presented to the people as was ancient custom - the baby could only be proclaimed heir to the thrown after the people witnessed and accepted the baby's existence. The streets of the city would be filled with all its citizens, creating a joyous tension. The parade was intended as a cause for celebration, but there was always a concern  of [trouble] when these events took place. Odin, not one for even the small crowds of the market, had decided he would stay in that day and was trying to persuade his wife Maurie to do the same. She was one of the city's quiet activists, but on this day, one of the rare occasions upon which the King and Queen could be seen together and by many, she had less-than-quiet plans [main idea: everyone is out, she wants to be heard and taken notice of]. 
Odin argued against those plans (pleading that the celebration of a healthy child is no place for political protest, even though he knew she would counter his argument, if she so wished, with a monologue about the struggles children in the rest of the Kingdom face), but he was weak-willed when matters turned to his wife's activism. She nodded politely as he voiced his concerns, tying her hair up to look as decently presentable as a peasant woman could, then she bade him good-bye and walked into the crowd. [hm, just recalled, they've been trying for a child but no luck - he suspects he is to blame. other note: most call her Mo, he calls her Maurie]
Odin would not see his wife again. In the streets Maura secured a spot line near the parade and began speaking loudly to anyone who would listen. As the King and the Queen approached, she grew more bold in her protests and began shouting, keeping a watchful eye on the King to see if he would take note. He did notice her, Maura knew that as they locked eyes and the proud look on his face vanished for half a moment, but something else immediately stole his attention.

Man, Maura's story is really weak right now but I think I will be able to develop something better. It has all the 'elements' I need but it is implausible and lame and paints Maura in a very bad light, not making her out to be the great heroine I want her to be. I'll have to work on that, along with the few other weak links in the story. That is what I'm good at, though, I think, and with a little effort I should be able to uncover what really happens!

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