This is my thread for updates and progress on my story for the EPIC contest.
This story serves as a prequel and setup for my upcoming story Scourge.
First Update: Sunday, June 17 plot synopsis, genre, setting, theme, main characters.
Title: The Last Chieftain
Setting: The mountains and borderlands along the Orcish homeland and the Imperial lands.
Main Characters: Orcs, Elves, Humans.
Nolazir: (You) An ordinary orc caught in the middle of troubling times, a cog in the machine. Who unknowingly may have a greater destiny at hand. His choices will affect the fate of the orcs and their homeland.
Valek: An elf allied with the orcs for a short time. While she has sympathies for the orcs, the best interests of the elvin nations and what she believes to be for the greater good comes before anything.
Nolazik: A orc-elvin halfbreed. Combining both the might of the orcs and intelligence of the elves, he takes his loyalties for the Empire above all else, raised to be a destructive killing machine. His overall hatred for the orc race fuels him, but a part of him wonders if there is anything out there for him other than the Empire.....
Lagrik: One of Nolazir's five children, he would grow up to become one of the most important figures in the years to come. He places his loyalty to the orc race and dedication to his father above all else. While his views are very shortsighted and he tends to be reckless, he shows great potential.
Arhkail: The Empire's last dragon rider. Disciplined, brave, and strong, his temperament and rage is fueled by the Empire to be used as a destructive force.
Emperor Machus III: The Empire's Emperor by the end of the first orc crusade. While he did not start the decades of grueling war, he intends to finish it and reign in a new era for the Empire.
Plot Synopsis: The land of the orcs, where one can be free from rule and the laws of others. While orcs were always a ferocious group, they enjoyed centuries of relative peace. The laws of the land dictated the rules of combat between orcs, and like most laws, were punishable by a painful death.
This would all change when the Empire set its sights on the lands of the orcs. A land rich in resources, potential soldiers, and new land to settle. After just settling a four year conflict with the elves, the Imperial legions would finally show up in force. You would be the one to unite the orcs and lead them to fight the Empire, using the legendary Stonehaven fortress as a staging point for the defense of orcish lands.
Your actions and decisions would come to decide the fate of the orcish people and the outcome of the decades of conflict.
You would become the last great chieftain to lead the orcs into a new age.
elvish, elvin, elves, mostly write it like that because according to microsoft word thats the proper word for plural word for elves or whatever.
Although now I'm seeing I didnt need to write it like that in some instances.
lol I tried that and microsoft told me I was a piece of shit and that it was elvin
Lol, guess I have some more editing to do.
P.s irc app got fucked again so don't worry, I didn't rage quit taking your advice or anything lol. Gonna make sure variables and such match.
In the old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, there was a race called the “Elvin.”
While they had similar facial features, they weren’t like the traditional elves (Those were still in this world though) and were about the size of a human child.
They also tended to be assholes and used their natural magic abilities to play pranks on people wandering in their territory (So more like pixies or sprites) and thought it was hilarious.
Of course sometimes they just chucked rocks at you from high trees if they didn't want to bother with subtlety.
Two loud voices shout just outside of your tent. Pushing the flaps aside you step out, and are not surprised to see that Rolomag and Grolik are arguing again. While Grolik was a problem for a while, he seemed to warm up after you unknowingly saved his cousins life a few months ago.
You watch as the two bicker like some old married couple.
"Grolik, you're a fool if you think we can push into Imperial territory," Rolomag shouts.
"My orcs haven't looted anything in weeks," Grolik says, "we're getting restless."
"See, I can agree on invading soldier camps," Rolomag says, "but actually going into their home villages and towns is asking for more than we can handle."
"It's only a matter of time before they start attacking ours," Grolik says, "once they realize we've been trading with the surrounding neutral villages, they'll start wiping them out. And there's innocent people in those villages too."
"Why do you care?" Rolomag says, "you're worried the Empire is going to steal your victims?"
"Of course I care, they're fellow orcs damn it! Besides, we only raid fellow bands of 'tribe less orcs', like ourselves."
"So you've never raided a village?"
"Well….maybe we've stolen crops and cattle here and there. But that's survival, and we usually don't murder anyone. Besides, we wouldn't want to bring the wrath of the council on us."
"But you have no problem stirring up the Empire?" Rolomag asks.
"It was the same thing with them," Grolik says, "we stole crops and cattle when we needed. I thought if anything they would just bolster their defenses, not send a damn legion in here."
Grolik seems to realize he has stepped to close to Rolomag, and sighs as he takes a step back.
"Besides," he says, "they're not completely innocent. They've made dozens of trespasses in years past."
You stand and watch, a scowl on your face. They both are right to some certain degree. It seems that you can either escalate the conflict, or remain in this little stalemate.
You have also been made aware that the goblins living in the Southwest of Orcin, who have always been rivals with the lawless, have become bolder. After years of constant skirmishing with the lawless orc bands, the goblins have gotten more organized, made better equipment, and even have moved further into Orcin.
This is an issue for everyone, as the lawless orcish tribes and the goblins have usually kept too many dwarves, humans, and more adventurous ogres and other invasive creatures from coming too far in from there. While you are sure there are smaller pockets of goblins and other creatures in the orc lands, these goblins have only increased in number.
Now, with the lawless focused on the Mannate Empire, and the goblins moving away from the
Southwestern border, you've heard of dwarves making a steady advance into the lands. They mostly just mine for raw materials, the only military presence being small teams to protect the miners. You are aware that many of the dwarves have a partnership with the Empire, and at any moment they could push into the hills and plains and into the heart of Orcin.
Pasted a new, and better page above to replace the other one.
I am also now at about 20,000 words into my story! While this isn't an official update, I find the writing process to be going well so far. All the plot and world building hiccups I've run into seem to be cured with short walks and just letting the world and story naturally unfold.
Also, I am excited to see the updates and progress of the other contestants as time goes on.
Update #2: Late but here.
I am currently at around 26,000 words. One issue I have had with the writing process, is that despite my strong start, my writing has stagnated for the last week or two.
It also seems that getting through certain bits of the story has become a slog, and with all the time leaps I am worried there is too much exposition, or that I have gotten too used to it and have more than I should.
I have some pretty solid ideas for some character arcs and where the story should lead to. Also I posted some of my ideas for side plots/branches. So when I'm done with the main story, I'm gonna have to crack my fingers again and type those up real quick.
This is an excerpt from one of the travel portions of the story. It also serves as the future branching point for one of the side branches:
The last several weeks have yielded little results. After reaching the deserted camp of the goblins, you can only assume they had moved deeper into Orcin. At this point, you're wondering if going total war on them wouldn't be a bad idea.
While orcs do not always completely waste their enemies, conflict can get messy and shit happens. This might become one of those instances if the goblins keep pissing you off.
As you travel deeper into the hills, the light drizzle over head turns into a heavy pelting. At first you see one, then two dim fires in the distance. The fields and hills slowly turning to marsh, and then swamp, as the trees in the outskirts give heed to many mysteries and dangers.
Since the beginning, the orcs have always stayed well enough away from the swamps of their own homeland. Except for some light traveling on the outskirts, there has always been some common knowledge that something terrifying resides deep within. It would seem that perhaps, the goblins welcome the unknown fear the swamplands bring.
You look to your orcs, signaling them to travel through the swamps and towards what might be the goblin's camp. At first you just see some lamps tacked onto the trees, but soon you see the campfires ahead.
After some time, you finally reach the camp. It consists of wooden huts, bridges, and walkways to evade the murky waters. Several goblins sound a horn as they see you, all preparing to defend themselves. You raise your hands, signaling you are not a threat.
The goblins seem to be reluctant, until one comes forward.
"Hey, stop!" it cries, "I recognize you….aren't you the orc cheiftain?"
"Yes," you say, "where is your chief?"
The goblins all look at each other, seemingly whispering amongst themselves. You slowly reach down to your side, clutching your axe. After what seems like a long time, one of the goblins finally steps down and around to the closest walkway.
This one seems to be wearing some sort of fur shawl, a skulls or various animals and other races adorning his belt. What appears to be a large snake tooth hangs from a necklace on his neck. His black hair tied up into a messy knot which seems common for goblin shamans.
"Chief Gru'zikular is not taking guests right now," the goblin says as he starts to turn around.
"Yeah, well you're encroaching on our territory," you say, "I'm here to ask you to go back to where you came from."
The goblin turns, his yellow eyes appear to be gleaming. A sick smile spreads across his face.
You frown, knowing that something isn't right about this particular goblin. This one seems different from the rest.
"What? Go back to those hellholes you call caves?" he asks.
"I don't care if you go into the caves or not," you say, "the dwarves are creeping into that area, as well as other things. You used to keep them away, and your presence would probably slowly force them to back off."
The goblin just stares at you.
"If you go back, it can be beneficial for all of us," you continue, "I can even get the tribeless orcs to leave you all alone. You can build proper houses such as the ones you have here."
"You see orc," the goblin says, "these swamps had always been the homes of the goblin people. We were never supposed to be cave dwellers as everyone seems to think."
The goblin raises his hand as the other goblins start to join in, they immediately go silent.
"I demand to see your leader," you say, "I will not listen to this foolishness."
The strange look on the goblin's face intensifies. His teeth showing as his sick smile widens.
"As you have asked, so shall it be," he says, "just East, further in, you can find our leader."
The goblin gestures, showing the way.
"I advise you though, green one," he says, "the Master's work is best not interfered with."
You furrow your brow, wondering at the meaning. You look at the whole group of goblins, who compared to this one seem like they are more even minded.
Also you seem pretty sure that this emissary for their chief may have been threatening you all. But he is just a goblin, you could crush him if needed.
"Tell me, who are you?" you ask.
"I am the Shaman, Rozibu," he says, "speaker for Gru'zikular and humble servant of the Master."
You squint at him. Perhaps it would be best to return, and have the tribeless bands inhabit the lands the goblins used to live in. It would accomplish a dual purpose; one that each group gets their own respective territory and stops fighting, and it is not like the goblins are using any land that you are not. Also, the tribeless orcs could probably keep the dwarves out.
You and the goblin stare each other down, the whole time you think about what you should do.
Nice word count and nice excerpt! There is something about your writing that always brings the word "thrilling" to my mind.
Update #3: Sunday June 15th (Getting it done early!)
My progress is still going really slow, since the last update I have only written about 2.5k words. Seems like it should be changing soon, as I may have gotten a second wind. I think I just need to get hyped up for the story again!
I'm actually going to start with what I like about the writing process so far. While it has been tough, I have thoroughly enjoyed coming up with and outlining the plot. I had this idea ruminating for about....almost a year now I believe, maybe even a little longer. There was a long period of time where I just completely ignored this story.
Then one day I got bored and wrote the Tumble series, then thought of Scourge, lastly I remembered this story and decided to add it in as the historical background. I have had a lot of fun coming up with characters, story ideas, and world events for this.
I think one of my favorite aspects of the story so far is the father-son dynamic between Nolazir and Lagrik. As Nolazir, the protagnist, has raised his son and they get pretty close over the years; and his bastard son Nolazik; who he has been seperated from for years until he learns of his existence.
I think this will be fun and challenging to develop, and I am hoping I can do this well. My main challenge is creating a well developed relationship between Nolazir and Lagrik, which comes from a place of love and understanding; and then creating one that can develop between Nolazir and Nolazik, which would start as being tense (on both their parts) as well as full of rage and spite (Nolazik). With both having a curiosity of whether they could bond and have a father-son relationship despite circumstances (Nolazir working to help the orcs, and Nolazik who was raised by the Empire).
This also pretty much can go for the rest of the characters; such as Grolik (morals and the circumstances you chose to keep or forget them in) and Valek (shaking off conviction or standing firmly for beliefs).
I guess some of these could be considered themes, which is good because I didn't have any before! This is probably a lot for an update but these are some of the things I like about my story. I just hope that I have the ability to execute it into a well thought out story that flows well.
Well, any thoughts or comments would be appreciated; as well as for the excerpt I am going to post below.
Update #3 Story Excerpt:
The large wooden gates of the village creak open, the surrounding orcs casting suspicious glances your way. A few even have their hands on some weapons nearby, and you do not blame them.
Riding in through the mist which veils dawns light, you appear almost as a specter of death. Lifting the hood, you give your brethren a weary nod.
A few of their eyes widen as they recognize you, some stand unsure of who you are, and some just shrug and go back to their business.
One orc approaches you.
"Who are you?"
"I am Nolazir, surrogate chief of the River Tribe in place of Chief Greusim."
The orcs eyes widen.
"It's been four years, and you have not found a replacement? Does he have any sons?"
"He does, but he is young and impatient. I will stand in until he has learned how to do his duty with patience and wisdom."
The orc scoffs at the unthinkable act of leaving a tribe largely chief less.
"What is it that you seek?"
"I want to speak with your chief," you say.
The orc shrugs and gives you directions to the chief's hut. That was a bit easier than you thought.
As you ride forward, the large hut comes into view. You are impressed to see that it actually has two stories to it. Most orcs chose to build one floor but with a wider house, although you are aware the council has at least three floors.
Pushing this useless information out of your mind, you hop off your horse. Your legs are stiff from the long ride, and you take a moment to stretch them.
Muffled yelling comes out from within the doors of the chief's hut. Splinters of wood fly as the door bursts open. A hapless orc youth falls out and tumbles down the stairs.
A large, broad orc steps out. His dark mane falling past his shoulders, two sharp teeth protrude from his bottom lip. His right eye looks like it is perpetually swollen halfway shut, a series of scars emanating from the side of his eye and going all the way to his ear. On his head rests a helmet with two bullhorns attached to it.
His tribal necklaces jingle as he bounds down the steps, his boot landing in the young orcs face.
"Fool, how could you be so incomprenent?" he says, not realizing he butchered the word.
The youth prepares to defend himself, but the chief is too fast. He twists the orcs arm and lands several fists into his ribs. As he continues to beat the orc, you wonder if he will kill him.
While you have the strong urge to step in, you also don't want to get into another tribe's affairs. They could easily kill you for interfering, although it wouldn't be the first time you have pissed off an orc chief.
You walk forward, prepared for anything. The orc chief snorts as he stops wailing on the orc young for a moment.
"Who the hell are you?" he asks.
"Nolazir of the River Tribe," you say, "I'm here to see the chief."
"I am Chief Gro'tesk," he snorts again, "Nolazir huh? I've heard of you, getting soft for an orc, are ya?"
Your eyes narrow, some think you've gone soft, and others think it's just your age.
"I'm not sure what you're talking about," you say.
"Pshhah, you let those under you argue and disagree with you all day long," he says, "the right way is to beat them into submission."
"Why don't you just leave him alone, he is already defeated."
The chief laughs and throws the young one to the ground, he cannot be any older than fifteen. Gro'tesk lands a couple swift kicks to his ribs.
"You done beating him yet?" you ask.
Gro'tesk's eyes narrow, he straightens up and stares at you.
"No," he says, "and I don't think you'll do anything about it either"
"Oh yeah, and why is that?"
"Because you need me, and my allies," he says, "you want us to help you fight the humans?"
"Well, I'm not gonna help you!" he snarls, "you're nothing but a weakling!"
Taking a deep breath, and tilting your chin down slightly you frown.
"So are we going to do this the hard way?"
The chief grins and cracks his knuckles. You slowly roll your neck and stretch your arms back.
"I have two conditions," you say, "if I win you join me, along with your allies. And you stop beating the kid."
"If I win…..you screw off!" Gro'tesk screams.
By now, a large group of orcs has gathered around. All of them cheering on Gro'tesk as he removes his tribal necklaces. They make a circle around you as you prepare to fight…
Your scenes are always fun, action-packed, and full of tension. Looking forward to reading it. Keep up the great work!
My story progress has been slow since the last update, mostly life stuff getting in the way and loads of stress.
So far the most difficult thing about the story so far has been just cranking out the required words. I started strong but seemed to have fallen back into my old ways of writing. Im hoping to increase my word output in the coming weeks. My plan is to write all the big exciting parts and scenes and then just connect them later. While I have the story outlined, I am finding it very difficult to decide how long the gap between important scenes should be, as well as adding in character development. The plan is, like everything else, to just work through it and deal with it straight on and get the results needed.
And as always here is another segment of my story!
Days later, your troops stand at attention. Their mail armor and weapons gleaming in the sunlight. The red tendrils of the rising sun casting themselves over the sky, piercing the clouds like slender fingers eager to reach into what lays beyond. The wind's breath carries the fresh morning air through the field, passing through each warrior; the wind carrying the breath they might otherwise hold in anticipation of what lays ahead.
The orcs stand before you, ready to move forth at the sight of the Mannate Empire. The reserves wait in the rocky hills behind you. While not appearing so, many orcs are nervous as any would be before a large battle. But with hope in their minds and courage in their hearts they stand by you.
Your horse shuffles, it's ears pricking up. Surely, the song of the Empire trickles from the forest, quiet at first. But as the first humans emerge, their chainmail covered in hauberks showing crests of their nobles; the standard bearers proudly emerge, their counterparts blaring their trumpets and horns at the arrival of your foes. How kind of them to announce themselves, yet so arrogant.
The columns of Mannate warriors spill forth, they move simultaneously, they do not waver or break form. Their perfect union a direct affront to the free and natural order that was intended for all.
The human soldiers stand at attention, all saluting as their officers move up and down the columns. Some appear to inspect their warriors, some seem to be doing a lot of shouting. Others stand calmly in front of their columns.
One knight, which you recognize as such by the helm he wears, rides out in front of the column. He waves a white flag ahead above him.
"I think they wish to speak," Hidius says.
You squint at the human riding forth, as if you could not have him crushed. His hands held up and flag waving as a sign of peace.
Spurring the horse beneath you to meet this human, you keep your hand by your sword.
Stopping several feet away from the Imperial, you both meet in the field between your armies.
"Hail Orc," the knight says.
You grunt in response.
"General Levalier has sent me to parley," he says, "will you speak?"
"Who may I ask do you speak for?"
"So you are this rabbles leader?" he says.
Peering through the slits in the knights helmet, his eyes light up in understanding. His other hand, which lays free of the flag, twitches slightly by his sword. Your hand already rests near yours.
You peer into the eyes of the knight, your eyes narrowing as you do so. The soldier looks back, and both of you sit there in silence.
His hand slowly moves away from his sword as he shifts to hold the flag with both hands.
"I have been sent to ask you to disperse your forces."
"Brute, won't you listen to reas-"
"I say, while I would not expect a beast of your nature to understand politics. At least hear the message my General has for yourself."
"The only thing you need to do is go home," you say, "you could save many of your soldiers lives today."
The knight huffs in exasperation and turns his horse around. He gallops back, moving around the side of the columns.
Grunting, you trot back to your spot among your comrades. You don't trust that they will just up and leave after these years of skirmishes and preparation. It seems that battle was fated to happen this day, it will progress no matter what words are spoken.
Been enjoying your excerpts. Keep up the good work, bro!
I apologize for posting the update so late, these last couple of weeks have been crazy! I'm at 55,534 words, although I'm not even close to finishing my story. I believe another 30k words or so would do the trick, and I'm not sure if that includes the side branches. So I am sorry to say it but, I may very well be pulling the story down after the judging, and working on it some more. Not sure how I'll end it for now if I can't get the real ending in, sure I'll figure it out somehow.
Edit: I seem to have forgotten the whole motivation piece. Well, after taking a nice trip home, for whatever reason all my motivation had been sapped upon returning to college. I briefly mentioned this in the Discord, and got a second wind I suppose. And have added a couple more thousand words to the count. I do believe that I'll be able to stay motivated and write as much as I can of the story.
As always, another excerpt....
You raise your eyebrow as you stand in front of the group of orcs. Leading them is Rolzagir, who gives a slight cocky smirk when he sees you.
"You see, Nolazir," he says, "I've brought an army of my own."
Some of the orcs behind him look confused, clearly unaware that he is joking.
"Looks like I'll have to pack up and go home then," you say.
Rolazgir slips to your side as the rest of the orcs make their way into camp.
"Not exactly the most experienced groups I could round up," he says, "but with some training, I think they could do just fine."
As you watch the orcs, you realize that many of them are pretty young. Rolzagir points out some of the orcs from your tribe, and some from all the others.
"The little tribe on the mountain must be struggling," he says.
"Why is that?"
"Well, we only have four newcomers from there," Rolzagir gestures to four young orcs ahead of you.
One of the orcs turns to you, his assorted leather and mail armor clinking. Although he is young, his hair is already starting to take the form of a widow's peak, and his unusually green eyes burn with an intensity not seen in many orcs. He just lets his long raven black hair flow free.
This young orc crosses his arms and scowls at you and Rolzagir.
"Who the hell are you?"
You wrinkle your nose, and Rolzagir's mouth pops open a bit. He may be standoffish to you at times, but he at least shows respect.
"This is the great chief, Nolzair you're talking to boy," he says, "I would show a little bit more respect."
The young orc scoffs, and almost turns away.
"You'd better shape up before I visit your little mountain tribe and show them how worthless you fools are."
The young orc glares at Rolzagir and is about to say something when you step forward.
"Alright, relax now," you say, "now I'm interested in who you are. So tell me, who are you?"
The orc points his thumb to himself.
"My name is Droza, and these are my brothers, Galagar and Kalig."
The other two orcs nod, you can see that Galagar is slightly younger than Droza. Unlike his brother, he does not have any sign of a widow's peak. He seems to prefer keeping his hair tied back. His eyes are a deep brown, and show a calmness, much greater than his brother. One slightly chipped tooth protrudes from his lower lip.
Galagar smiles, very warmly.
"Name's Galagar, nice to meet ya."
You nod at the orc, before turning to the next one. This one seems to be the youngest of the bunch, the armor he clearly stole from someone looking very loose.
"Uh, I'm Kalig," he says with a goofy smirk, "the brains of this group."
Kalig's hair only forms a very slight widows peak, and flows free just like Droza's. His eyes are a mix of green and brown, and show a youthful determination. Two teeth protrude from his lower lip, each in good condition. His eyebrows arch a little bit, unlike the other two, whose eyebrows seem kind of flat.
"And how old are you, Kalig?"
Droza seems annoyed and steps in to answer.
"He is fifteen," he says, "no reason he can't stick around."
As you shift your gaze, you can almost see Kalig break. Rolzagir's face lights up for a moment.
"Oh right, you’re the runt we found tailing us," he says, "this one is barely fourteen years old. A bit too young to be joining a war party."
"We caught him not too long ago," Droza says, "and since we were almost here, didn't want to send him back."
You chuckle at this.
"You seem determined, kid," you say, "don't go and get yourself killed out there now. A lot of orcs do."
You notice the fourth orc, standing off to the side. You furrow your brow for a moment, the young orc looks familiar for some reason.
He is shorter than the rest, but much broader. His black hair runs wildly from his head. Around his eyes are two dark spots, although in his eyes you can see great potential. He has two, small teeth jutting out from his lower lip. His chin is pointed, and his jaw strong. It works well with his somewhat hawk like nose, making him look like a fearsome foe.
"My name is Grolikar," he says in a serious tone, "while I'm not from the mountain tribe, I may as well be."
"Where are you from, then?" you ask.
"I guess I'm just a child of orcin," he says, "born from the waters and raised by the kindness of others."
"Hmm, how poetic," Rolzagir says with a slight sneer. The young orc just ignores him.
"I suppose while I'm training orcs," he says, "I mind as well add you fools to the mix."
Droza just turns and walks away, while Galagar seems happy with this, and Kalig perhaps too excited. Grolikar just nods and wanders over to the camp with the rest of the orcs.
You bid these new orcs farewell for now, and go with Rolzagir to organize the orcish army once again.
It will be going back up when it is truly finished. I didn't spend all this time writing for nothing!
At 56.5k words and nowhere near done with the story itself, I'm actually not sure what I am gonna do from here. Probably very similar to what I put in my last update. College semester just started up again and I've been working a lot, so my time for writing has been pathetic.
Guess I'll just write as much as I can and see what happens.
Just finished it and sent you notes. You are close! Just slap on an epic final battle, enter the contest, and then re-write/finish the sucker for real later. Great job!
Thanks guys! This means a lot, I'll be sure to finish it even if it isn't quite finished!
Thanks for all the help with editing and spellchecking Lki! I appreciate it!
My pleasure and any time. Good luck in the contest!
Update #6: Pretty much finished!
At 60,007 words I am pretty much finished, just gonna slap an epic false ending on it now!
My plans for editing are shortening some parts of the story, then finish writing the true endings I have in mind and tossing the place holder ending. Then it's on to writing the side branches and throwing all of those in.
Probably going to make a few major changes throughout, or create an index so that way you don't necessarily have to read through things you have already read when the finished product comes out. Not sure, it's a work in progress.
This contest has been great from start to finish, even though it's been filled with challenges, but it's been a great learning experience in following through!
As the man's second, perhaps I can provide some insight: So far, his story is very similar to the Lone Wolf series/The Lost Realm/Silver Horn, which is to say, short branches that either lead to death or back to the main story... He does; however, have some built-in options for longer branches (which I hope he will add in the next edition).
Yeah, I have a bunch of choices, but they mainly converge back into the main story. I am going to finish writing the false ending, then go back in and add the rest of the story as well as the real epilogue.
Then I am going to write and add in all the side branches.
Essentially its not just completely linear, the choices are just smaller scale.