Theme: In a world full twisted obligations, what matters the most?
Setting: The story takes place in the superpower continent of the world. The superpower remained united as its conquest waxed strong, but when there was no one left to conquer its inhabitants turned their eyes to the crown. To keep the nation from descending into all out civil war a contest was created. Each of the fifteen provinces of the kingdom could offer up a champion to compete in said contest, and the champion that won would win the right for their province to govern the nation for a time. It's worked for now, but it remains to be seen how truly effective it really was...
Plot Synopsis: Our protagonist is born into slavery, and after several years doing the hard work of his overbearing overseers, he sees an opportunity to rise above his lowly station. - The game will feature the protagonist and his chance to go from the bottom to the top. As I see it now this game will have three major parts:
1. The protagonist going from a slave to a champion of one of the fifteen provinces.
2. The beginning of the Champion's contest. (I'll think of a better name for it later)
3. The end of the Champion's contest.
Main Characters: The main protagonist as well as the other fourteen possible champions will factor in as characters. Obviously not all of them will be given the same focus as others, but those fifteen will be where most of the major characters will be drawn from. Aside from them, the head of each province that the protagonist can join will factor in as well. It's a large cast, but I'll enjoy juggling them all.
Those are the basics. I might provide more insight on other plot points as I write the story, but for now I'll leave it at that.
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS POST
Word Count: 8,556/100k goal
Page Count: 5/???
Variable Count: 3/???
Path Count: 0/4
Epilogue Count: 0/8 minimum
Well, this seems interesting. A few thoughts.
I don't like the title. It seems like one of those weird kid's titles where it's just alliteration and doesn't really tell me much or interest me.
While others have expressed issue with so many characters, I actually quite like the large cast idea. I think it'll definitely be a challenge, but I think at 15 factions. Giving everyone their own kind of fighting style and theme will definitely be interesting, and I actually really look forward to it.
Can I ask what they were?
I prefer that. I don't understand it, but I definitely prefer it.
Like Mizal said, this title has been better than my other titles, but if you want to try and suggest a better title, then I'm open to suggestions.
In fact, if anyone suggests to me an incredible title, AND I decide to go with it, then they can have ten of my points. assuming the mods don't mind transferring my points that is.
Um... something about vows, because that's your theme, and steel, because it has the whole fighting thing. Solid Steel and Broken Vows, maybe. Something like that.
Alright, here's my first attempt at a first page for this story. If it sucks, then don't be shy and tell me so.
“Almighty, hear my plea. Take my burdens from me and I will follow in thy way for-”
The crack of a whip sounds throughout the dusty air, and an exclamation of pain is heard throughout the mine. You don’t bat an eye. You don’t even look away from the rocky wall in front of you. Instead you raise your pickaxe above your head, and thrust it into the wall once more.
“Almighty, hear my plea,” the voice starts up once again, but with it comes the dreaded sound of the whip.
Out of the corner of your eye you see the slave to your left, a man nearly double your height, stop working and turn to the sound of the voice.
“Almighty-” he doesn’t get very far this time before the man feels the sting of the whip on his back. With this third interruption your focus is shattered, and you turn solemnly to the cause of it.
An older man with greying hair and wrinkles enough for five people lies on the rugged cave floor just a few measly feet away from you. Your overseer, a bald man by the name of Mordo, stands over the man’s bruised body with his whip at the ready and a sneer on his scarred face.
Not only you, but several others have stopped working in order to see what the commotion is about. Seeing that he has an audience now, Mordo grins and brings his whip down on the old man’s back. “What were you saying, slave?”
The old man brings his face off the ground to look at his fellow slaves, and eventually his eyes turn to you. It’s hard to see clearly with just torchlight guiding your gaze, but you think a smile graces his worn face.
“Almighty, hear my pl-” you guess Mordo was expecting the old man to give up, because he was a tad late to use his whip this time.
“Your God doesn’t care about scum like you,” Mordo spits out as he brings his whip down. “If he did, you wouldn’t be down here, now would you?” He brings his whip down again, as he continues berating the old man.
After a moment it becomes too much for you and you turn away. There’s nothing you can do to help him anyway. You sigh as you bring your pickaxe over your head, but before you can bring it down you hear a shout a little farther along the cave.
“Luna! I struck luna!” A younger man you don’t recognize comes hobbling down the cave like tunnel to your right. The chains around his hands and legs clang together loudly as he makes his way. A long moment later he stands before Mordo and the bruised old man.
“Master,” he starts addressing Mordo, “do you have an extractor with you here? Ours was killed in…” the man pauses for a moment as if in thought, “...an unfortunate accident.”
Luna, in its untampered state was very volatile, and if it wasn’t extracted correctly, then it was prone to exploding. You immediately stop what you’re doing and walk over to the trio. Despite your young age, you have very steady hands making you a prime candidate for extracting luna. Mordo saw this and made you the official extractor of his division.
“That would be m-” you start to say, but before you can finish you feel the Mordo’s hand smack you across the face. You’re sent tumbling to the ground, but after a silent, solemn moment you stand back up.
Mordo glares at you, and you get his message. Don’t say anything. He eyes seemed to say, but he actually says something different. “What were you saying, boy?”
You look away from his hard glare and to the rocky ground beneath you. “Nothing master.”
“Are you sure?” Mordo pushes you, but you’ve learned your lesson.
Mordo nods, then turns back to the slave that struck luna. “Yes I do.” Mordo sends his foot flying into the ribs of the old man lying on the ground. “This one will do just fine. Get up slave.”
The old man on the ground struggles to stand up, but after a moment of trying at it he does. “Now go extract the luna,” Mordo commands the old man and points down the tunnel the eager slave came from.
The old man, despite resisting Mordo before, gives in now and stumbles after the other slave. You watch as he walks away, and you can’t help but feel a sense of dread as you watch him go. Though the torchlight doesn’t do much for you, you can still see his old, wrinkled hands shaking.
With this image in your mind, you make your decision. There was no way you were going to allow this man to mishandle some luna and collapse the mine. You turn to Mordo and whisper, “He’s going to blow us sky high, Master.”
None of the other slaves hear what you said, but they hear and see as Mordo sends another of his fists into your face. You’re sent flying back to the rough ground, but before you can get up Mordo crouches down and whispers to you, “Oh yeah? If you’re that sure, then you can go join him!”
He waits until you’ve stood back up, then sends his boot into your backside. You endure it, for you know Mordo. The sadistic freak enjoyed inflicting pain as much as possible. The more someone struggles, the more Mordo hurts them. It was why he was sending the old man down there in the first place. If he’s o intent on relying on the Almighty, then let the Almighty save him from the luna explosion, Mordo’s actions seemed to say.
You don’t know what you think about the Almighty, but you do know two things. One: That Mordo was a petty fool. Two: that you were not going allow yourself to be killed by such a fool.
With a sigh and a wince you head after the old man.
Thanks a ton for the feedback. I greatly appreciate it.
To answer your questions, and to clarify a few things:
1. Luna is a stone/ore used in the enchanting of and storage of magic. To prevent confusion on what exactly it is I've decided to change the name to lunar crystals.
2. Not exactly sure what you're asking here. I assume the question is more or less based upon the fact that the use of lunar crystals is entirely unknown at this point. While they do seem bad on the surface, they are the means in which the leaders of the technological world are attempting to bring the world into a new era. Essentially as a potential source of power. Mordo, and this question was brought up in the lair too, cares more about punishing the slave because of a sadistic need to hurt people. He placed his need to hurt the old man above the need for lunar crystals. It was already brought to my attention that "a sadistic need" isn't a very good reason at all for Mordo to send the old man in stead of you to extract the lunar crystals. As such, I will be changing it to a better reason, and giving Mordo more understandable motivation.
3. I think that we've disconnected here. Either I didn't write it very clearly, or you simply misread, but the man praying isn't the protagonist. The protagonist is the boy off to the side mining.
"The crack of a whip sounds throughout the dusty air, and an exclamation of pain is heard throughout the mine. You don’t bat an eye. You don’t even look away from the rocky wall in front of you. Instead you raise your pickaxe above your head, and thrust it into the wall once more.
“Almighty, hear my plea,” the voice starts up once again, but with it comes the dreaded sound of the whip."
Here I say 'you' did this or 'you' did that, but when it comes to the voice I say 'the voice' instead of 'your voice.' Hope that clears that up. As for why the old man would let himself get beat like that, well the protagonist is just as confused as you. He doesn't understand at all why someone would continue praying instead of just stopping to avoid the beating. Perhaps that'll be revealed in due time.
Random note 1: Yeah it is modern, and the feel of it is certainly off from the rest of the story. I'll change it.
Random note 2: Yes, this wasn't even looked over once by me. Certainly the roughest of rough drafts.
Random note 3: I haven't revealed how the protagonist gets chosen to be a champion yet, but for some reason everyone is already assuming that he'll be entering as a slave. What's to say that he won't just sneak in the the champion proving competition? a slave brand might, but who's to say he won't be able to remove it some way? In any case there are a multiplicity of ways for me to get him passed being a slave, and for no one to know about it.
Thanks again for the feedback!
Have been doing these via PM, but figured I'd take a crack at doing some in public. Will do some first pages (my style is very copy-edit-ish). BTW, great start to your story Ebon!
The crack of a whip sounds throughout the dusty air, and an exclamation of pain is heard throughout the mine. You don’t bat an eye. You don’t even look away from the rocky wall in front of you. Instead, you raise your pickaxe above your head, and thrust it into the wall against the stone [minimizing word repetition] once more.
“Almighty, hear my plea,” the voice starts up once again, but with it comes the dreaded sound of the whip.
Out of the corner of your eye you see the slave to your left, a man nearly double your height, stop working and turn to the sound of the voice. [these actions can be implied]
“Almighty-” the supplicant he [dangling modifier, sounded like you were referring to the tall slave at first] doesn’t get very far this time before he the man feels the sting of the whip on against his back. With this third interruption, your focus is shattered, and you turn solemnly towards the source to the cause of it. [don't like "it" as much]
An older A grey-haired man with greying hair and wrinkles enough for five people lies on the rugged cave floor just a few measly feet away from you [this sentence felt a bit wordy, so tried to tighten it]. Your overseer, a bald man by the name of Mordo, stands over the man’s bruised body with his whip at the ready, and a sneer on his scarred face.
Not only you, but several others have stopped working in order to watch the spectacle see what the commotion is about. [tightening it a bit] Seeing that he has an audience now, Mordo grins and brings his whip to bear once more down on the old man’s back. “What were you saying, slave?”
The old man brings his face off the ground to look at his fellow slaves. Eventually, his eyes turn to you. It’s hard to see clearly with just torchlight guiding your gaze, but you think a smile graces his worn face.
“Almighty, hear my pl-” you guess Mordo was expecting the old man to give up, because he was a tad late to use his whip this time.
“Your God doesn’t care about scum like you,” Mordo spits out as he cracks his whip brings his whip down.[trying to vary/alternate the phrasing] “If he did, you wouldn’t be down here, now would you?” He brings his whip down again, as he continues berating the old man.
After a moment, it becomes too much for you and you turn away. There’s nothing you can do to help him anyway. With a sigh, You sigh as you bring your pickaxe over your head, but before you can bring it down someone shouts from you hear a shout from a little [minimizing word repetition of “you” in this paragraph] farther along the cave.
I figured I'd go ahead and post the rest of the of the first part of the story. After this part is where the choices begin.
For awhile the familiar sound of chains scraping against stone is all you hear, but Veedan, the slave leading you and the old beggar, assures you that you aren’t far at all from his division’s mining spot. True to his word, the scraping sound of chains is joined by the repetitive sound of pickaxe on rock, and within minutes of hearing that you see its cause.
Several slaves, all with chains about their bodies and pickaxes in hand, face the sides of the tunnel. They’re very similar to your own division complete with the same hopeless, tired expression fixed upon their faces. Veedan leads you and your old companion past the other slaves until you come before his division master.
“Is this who Mordo sends to me? An old man and a child?” The overseer questions Veedan. A look of annoyance quickly comes over the overseer’s face.
Veedan bows his head to the ground. “Yes master Derric.” The eagerness in his voice quickly dissipates.
Derric scoffs before addressing the old man, “The crystals are down there,” Derric points past himself to a dim blue light in the distance. “We’ll stay here while you do the extracting, and try not to kill yourself. I don’t want to clean blood of the walls again.” He hands the old man a chisel and a hammer, then throws a cloth rag at you. With that, Derric turns back to his work which mostly consists of yelling at slaves to do their work better.
You glance at the old man, and for a second you see a smile stretch across his face, but that disappears when he catches you looking at him. The pair of you walk away from Derric and Veedan, and as soon as you’re out of earshot, your work begins.
“Mister,” you start, and you even put a little bit of cheerfulness in your voice before continuing, “have you ever seen a lunar crystal before?”
He doesn’t respond or even look at you, so you decide to keep speaking. “I have, I’ve even been allowed to hold one! They’re really warm, and one time this person that it was too warm so he to passed it back and forth between his hands, and then...well, we don’t talk about him anymore.” You continue regaling the old man with stories of people being blown up from accidentally dropping the lunar crystals, but it more or less doesn’t have an effect on him. Although you do see that his hands are still shaking quite a considerable amount.
You’re in the middle of a particularly gruesome story about someone who thought it’d be a good idea to use a crystal as a means to force his way out of the cave, when the old man interrupts you.
“One time I saw a kid burst into flames. He was a curious kid, smart even, and he was very talkative. He would talk constantly, until eventually he talked so much that his brain couldn’t keep up with him.”
The old man stops the story there, but you find yourself morbidly interested in what happens next so you push him to continue.
He stops walking, crouches, and turns to look you in the eyes. “His brain was moving too fast, so fast, in fact that the it was too much for his brain to keep up with. Then,” The old man snaps once for emphasis, “his head burst into flames.”
You don’t believe him. Not in the slightest amount, yet there was something strangely eerie about his story. You decide that your mission was successful, and that the man was suitably scared. For that reason, and only that reason, you decide to stop talking.
Before long, you and the old man stand before the lunar crystal. It’s glossy azure surface peers out of the left side of the tunnel wall, and its blue light shines brightly before you. A small smile reaches your face. This was the highlight of your time here. Extracting lunar crystals was what made a child like you important here, and it was what saved you from the weekly whippings.
You reach for the hammer and chisel, but the old man pulls them out of your reach.
“Hey! Give me those!” you shout at him.
The old man shakes his head back and forth. “I’m sorry kid. I can’t allow someone so young bear the burden of something so dangerous. Especially after you told me all of those horrible stories. I can’t imagine how scared you must be right now.”
“No,” you start to protest, but the old man just keeps on talking.
“Don’t you worry. I’ll get this rock out safely, and well both survive this,” he finishes before immediately setting to work.
You want to reach out and jerk him back, or take the tools from him, but not only is he bigger than you, he’s already begun striking the hammer against the rock beside the crystal. If you tried to interfere with him now, then you could very well wind up hitting the crystal and killing yourself anyway.
You take a step-back and resign yourself to just watching. Every time the hammer strikes the chisel you half expect to be blown up, but nothing happens, so you begin to relax. The old man’s hands don't seem any more steady now then they did earlier, but you don’t say or do anything in response to that. This was more-or-less the easy part. Anyone could chisel stone. It was handling it with care that many people would overlook, and it was because of this fact that you decide to pull the crystal away before the old man has a chance to touch it.
After several tension filled minutes, the old man has finally chiseled enough of the rock to finally pull the crystal free.
This is where you decide to make your move.
You lunge forward to grab the crystal, but before you can get close the old man throws his fist back and into your face. This sends your body directly to the ground where your head cracks against the cold, stone floor.
Excellent page so far. I'm assuming the old guy is going to use the crystal to blow up his captors, and either die or escape in the process.
I find this to be a nice, tension filled page sprinkled with some humor and a little bit of mystery.
Good job Sir Ebon.
Edit: Now Im thinking the old guy isnt going to blow anything up, but needs the stone to use his magical powers to escape and kill his captors (this seemed very apparent after scrolling down and reading about the explanation for magic)
Is this battle royale?
Yet everyone LOVED Black Panther, because apparently even when they get super tech powered by alien magic stones, black people are still fucking idiots.
There was a pseudo-science plant that was basically magic, but it was supposed to be scientific and technically anyone could've eaten it.
Physical sure, but it should be more than that. Also, they compete on behalf of their house/benefactor, so technically they don’t become the ruler if they win.
Glory, prestige, gold, etc. I could probably go on.
"I thought being king meant being able to do whatever you wanted." - Robert Baratheon
For those who are interested I'll be having my story on sneak peek from this point onward. Read it if you like, and if you do take the time to do so, then I would definitely appreciate feedback on it.
Also, I think I've finally managed to find a good basis for my magic system that is also unique. Specifically, the magic of this world comes from and is largely provided by the moon. Thus moonlight helps to power magical items, and to give wizards power. Because of this wizards tend to be stronger at night and specifically stronger the more the moon is out. They're almost like werewolves in that sense. Stronger with a full moon out. Consequently, this means that the best time to attack wizards in the Tournament of champions is during the new moon.
Feedback on this system of magic would also be appreciated. If there are any glaring flaws, then please point them out.
Side note: This is also the reason that the crystals are called lunar crystals. They are capable of holding magical energy that the moon gives off.
The idea is kind of like solar power, but for people. Those who are born with the ability to wield magic (a very small amount of people) would absorb moonlight at night which would refill their magic energy. That energy, assuming no magic was cast that day, would easily last the whole day, and likely more than that. Each magic user would have their own magical capacity (how much magic they'd be able to hold before running out) and depending on who we're talking about, it could take several night to fill someone up.
there's a lot I'll be able to do with this, and I'm quite excited to see if I can pull it off.
Yeah, that’s the catch. Then again, most people don’t have the slightest bit of magic, so they don’t really worry about it.
Just a brief thing, but what's the connection with the crystals to the moon itself? Like, maybe it'd be cool if instead of crystals themselves, they used actual moon rock, knocked off in meteors or whatever, or from when the moon actually formed, to hold the magic.
That’s essentially what they are. Moon rocks that were put under a severe amount of pressure for a long time become crystalline.
Sunday, July 1: Update #2 on story progress and any issues in the writing process:
I've got approximately 7k words at te time of this update. It isn't near as much as I hoped to have by the time of this update, but it could certainly be worse. Aside from my need to write more, there is one other issue in the writing process. Namely, I'll outline a scene, maybe even attach variables and consequences to choices, but I end up not using a lot of it. Maybe it's just with this story, but pretty much every scene I try to outline ends up not being used. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it annoys me a tad when I think of the time i could've saved by just not outlining a particular scene.
Other than that, (and me just needing to write more in general) there aren't really any issues.
As for the exact plot progression...the excerpt below is from my most recent page where the protagonist is just barely being introduced to the possible idea of being a champion. I still have a few thousand words to go before he even starts competing to be champion, or anything of that sort.
Put another way, I can't even get to the main battle royale part of the story until he becomes champion, and he still has to age close to another decade before that happens. So, I've got myself ten years I need to fill in with exposition, characterization, and skill building before I can even get to the really fun part.
Well, I hope that's good enough for Bucky's update. With any further ado, here's the short excerpt.
Side note: All pages from here on out will not be in sequential order, and may or may not have anything to do with the previous pages.
“Wait until he wakes up. We can ask him then.”
“And you think he’ll tell the truth? Come now Edric. If he really was a former slave, then do you really think he’d tell you? That’s a fool’s thought. I say we take him in now. Maybe the Watch has something in their recor-”
“Are you mad, woman? I know I’m not the only one that saw what the kid could do. This kid is a gift from the Almighty himself. Why else do you think he washed up on the bank we just happened to be walking by? And in the middle of the night no less. Oh, and let’s not forget the dilemma we’re in right now. I’m telling you right now. This kid is the answer to all of our probl-”
“Shush now, he’s waking up.”
You open your eyes to see two faces hovering over you. One belongs to a middle aged woman. Chestnut brown hair is put up in a bun on her head, but a few strands hang loosely past her oval shaped face. A stern look sits upon her face, and her eyes mirror this sentiment which sends a single chill down your spine. She was the one that suggested taking you to the watch.
The other face is significantly more friendly. A man, looking to be around the same age as the woman, wears a cheerful, even hopeful, smile atop his face. His eyes, however, don’t mirror what is on his face. They tell a story of sadness and sorrow, and give him the overall feeling of a bitter-sweet disposition.
“Hey there kid,” the man starts...
Cool update. It's fascinating to read about the writing process of an author as talented as you are. :-)
I wonder... Perhaps if you write the fun/epic battle sections first, it can then inform/guide the development phase of your story (and lead to less blind alleys)?
Update #3 Sunday, July 15: Update #3 on story progress and what you like most about your story so far
From last update to now, I've made nearly nothing for progress. Certainly nothing substantial. While I do partially put the blame on the vacation I took (turns out it's very difficult, at least for me, to write while in a vehicle) ,a lot of it has been pure procrastination. I vow to change this, and will begin to put my utmost into not failing at this contest. That being said, I have, at the very least, been thinking about my story, so I have more ideas for what I could accomplish, characters I could add, etc.
Specifically, the thing I like the most has been the planning for the characters, as well as any character development they may have. I've really enjoyed writing the character interactions and can only hope you lot enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.
All in all, nothing much to report, but my determination to write this EPIC has not left me. Next update there will be more to report.
EDIT: After I updated this I decided to write for a little bit. Managed to get 1.2k written, so there's at least something that I've added recently.
Sunday, August 5: Update #4 on story progress and what part of the story has been most difficult to tackle
Well, this wouldn't be a contest if I didn't change my idea at least once. Now don't get me wrong. This idea is an idea that I am absolutely enthralled with. I really enjoy the characters, setting, plot, etc. I'm not switching because I'm bored, but rather because (since the last update) I've written enough to know that this story will definitely hit 100k minimum in order for me to be satisfied with it. I'm not others who can just live with taking their half-baked stories down after the judging either, so either I'll hit that and finish it, or I'll have to write a new story of smaller scale.
For the actual update;The most difficult has been making sure to make the beginning not feel rushed. I made the mistake of making TLR seem really rushed, and I don't want that to happen with this one. Or, well, didn't.
Now for the hard part. I have no real idea what I'll be writing instead of my original story idea. I suppose I could stick with my first idea and just write and write until I drop, but that is really risky. I can't say honestly if I'll be able to do that. On the other hand, I hae a whole world of ideas that I could try and base this new story off of, but none of them interest me near as much as they would need to in order for me to write 60k about them.
In any case, I have less than two months left, and 60k words to write before the deadline. Wish me lu-
People at their core don't really want original idea, they want the tried and true.
So just do something safe like writing some half assed knock off of Seven Samurai and make the main protagonist a female dwarf with a steampunk mech defending a planet from spacefaring Arabian werebears.
I’m still only at 2k, or somewhere around there. I’ve got most things planned out. I just need to do it.
In any case, I’ll probably read Watership Down real quick and maybe that’ll give me some inspiration.
Update 5: I’m right around the word count Mizal is at, so I’m at least keeping pace with her. “Oddly” enough I’ve managed to stay more motivated since I’ve stayed away from the discord. Turns out you lot are, if nothing else, distracting. So long as I can keep my writing pace going, then I should have a story to turn in.
As for what story I’m writing, I guess you all will see when I turn it in ^_^
The day I decided to leave was the first day I broke the cycle, and “coincidentally” I was on discord a lot that day. The day after that I was just ridiculously busy, but after that I managed to get back on track.
Although, the amount of times I’ve gone to click the discord app from muscle memory is appalling.
Progress has slowed. Only halfway. Motivation dries up like water in the desert, and I’m losing hope. Yet, I refuse to fail again...
In all seriousness though I’ve got a helluva lot to do if I’m going to submit, let alone win. Editing will likely be limited to the bare minimum, as the bulk of my time will be spent catching up. Wish I had more to say, but that’s it.
Ascendant part one here I come.
Due to things, mostly laziness though, I will not be able to complete my entry.
We're not mad, just disappointed.