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Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

4 months ago
My previous EPIC contest page was an epic FAIL.

Turns out my previous story had too much already written to qualify (it was by comparison to the whole story some 5-10%; I was told maybe a pilot page or so would have been okay, but not that much) . So it's on to plan B. I'll have the Update #1 written up by the deadline. The story I'm considering writing will necessitate me being really vague with this first update, unless I change my mind and do something else. Anyhow, here's my thread, with nothing in it yet.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

4 months ago
Looks pretty impressive so far.

Good luck!

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

4 months ago
Lol thanks. I just have to decide between two story ideas in three days. One I like better, but I don't quite know how I'm going to squeeze 60,000 words out of it. Plus it's one of those ideas that will require the reader to go down a long, winding path before finally coming to the reason it fits under the "EPIC" category (although by the end of the story, it will take the notions of "grandeur" and "heroism" to their maximum levels). So, considering how many words it has to be, I'd have a fine line to walk between filler and plot development.

The good news is it wouldn't be the same JRR Tolkien ripoff I'm sure everyone else is going to do.

The other idea is in fact a JRR Tokien ripoff. Well, three days to decide...

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

4 months ago
Post trying to fix my tag screw up. Please don't edit lock this.

Yeah fixed. Found out that < b > causes bold font. All I knew of was strong. So I had a < b > instead of < p > in there.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

4 months ago

Update #1

Right. So, I decided, for now, to go against the "go against the grain" idea and instead do another Tolkien ripoff, because there is no way I am going to get 60,000 words out of the other idea.

Plot synopsis:

A particularly narcissistic magician has unwittingly bitten off more than he can chew, and has been influenced by powers beyond his understanding. This power compels him to attempt to rewrite the original balance of the universe as it was intended by the gods, one piece at a time. He starts by throwing the world into chaos via indiscriminate war.

You play as a hapless child born a few years before the plan begins to come into fruition. Who that child is will be up to you to a certain extent, as this story will go kind of backwards: instead of starting at point A and branching into point X, Y, Z, (if all goes according to plan when writing this) you will choose who you will play as in the beginning, and live through this conflict from that character's perspective. Those characters you don't select may or may not cross paths with you, depending on which starting point you choose.

That said, each perspective will still have it's own branching pathways along the way to the final conflict (which may take different forms depending on who you are, what you've done, and where you are at that time).

Genre: Fantasy.

Theme: The old "born in Flea Bottom, but somehow rising to saving the world" cliché.

Setting: A medieval kingdom possibly on the brink of annihilation. There are rumors of an imminent invasion, one which may not merely be for conquest. Your particular starting location and setting depends on which of these characters you play as.

Main Characters: (names subject to change)

Jasper Tiller: Jas, son of a cooper, is an adventurous and optimistic boy. A trade war in the wine and ale industries has hurt local businesses, choking the market for the creation and repair of barrels and other accessories his father depended on for much of his earnings. His family has been pushed into poverty, and going to bed hungry is something he knows well. He tends to run amok with the other children in the poor quarter. Eventual calling/occupation/whatever: Thief, spy, other rogue-y stuff.

Sarah Baker: Daughter of, you guessed it, a BAKER... Just kidding. She's an orphan. She chose her own last name because she loves pastries and meat pies. She lives in an orphanage near Jasper. The two are friends. Eventual calling/occupation/whatever: Assassin, spy, more darker rogue-y stuff.

William Paige: A young man living in the keep of a Duke far to the north, near the boarders of the kingdom. His family works as tailors, doing everything from designing military uniforms to mending banners. Young Will, after seeing first hand the elegance and badassery of the military outfits, especially their sleek tabards over their armor, wants nothing more than to be a soldier. He's approaching the age where he'll be assigned a trade. He hopes that the captain of the guard will choose him when the yearly assignments are made. Eventual calling/occupation/whatever: Soldier, fighter, knight-y kind of thing.

Sophie Graves: She lives in the same keep as William. Her family works in the kitchens, but from a very young age she would shadow her older brother Stephan when he went on hunts. When he died, she took his bow, and with it his mantle as food provider for the family (obviously the kitchen workers get the vast majority of the Keep food from other places, but she always brings something to the table as well). She becomes an expert marksman, er markswoman, and is tired of the kitchen life. She wants to join the Duke's Company of archers. Of course, no woman has ever been permitted to join the military, but Sophie doens't give up so easily. Eventual calling/occupation/whatever: Soldier, fighter, knight-y kind of thing.

Val: Named after the star that was bight the day he was born, Valerian (also the name of a god), his family was killed at a very young age. The people in his village tried to take care of him as best as they could, but when crops began to fail and food shortages were approaching famine status in his area of the world, he was sent to try to join a monastery. This will probably be his last hope as a young boy to survive, but the odds are stacked against him: every day countless boys sit outside the gates hoping to be let in, but only a few are ever chosen. He is the youngest among them, and most of the other boys are only there in hopes of becoming a fighter, like the legendary monks of this temple. Val, however, is just looking for food and shelter. Eventual calling/occupation/whatever: Unbeknownst to him, he has been gifted with a talent for magic. This is your magician/sorcerer character.

Quinton Graham: Son of a cartwright, Quinton grew up a little bit wealthier than the other kids listed so far, but not by much. His family had enough money that he didn't go to bed hungry most nights, but living so frugally inspired dreams of eventual wealth. Quinton desires to some day live on Edmington Hill, the richest street in the city, and just under the prince's palace. That is where the wealthiest of the wealthy do their business, and he aims to one day be among them. Eventual calling/occupation/whatever: Entrepreneur, shady businessman, informant/spy.

Theowin: A young forest elf. He lives a peaceful life at one with nature. He has no ambition other than to do right by his own people. He, like most of his kin, is a preternaturally skilled woodsman, and has uncanny abilities humans would consider to be magical. He lives a couple days run from the royal elf city, deeper in the forest. Unfortunately, like the animals his culture respects, the incursion of humanity causes strife among his people, and he must journey to find answers, and help. Eventual calling/occupation/whatever: Stereotypical Elf with elfish abilities. Great with a bow. Wise, patient. Subtle magical abilities. Eventual emissary.

Ardriel: Another elf, but she lives in the royal elf city. In fact, she happens to be a princess, but due to certain magical gifts she possesses, she has renounced her claim to her father's throne. She trains with the elvish magic weavers, giving her a much deeper connection to nature magic than most of her people. Eventual calling/occupation/whatever: Elvish magician. Eventual emissary. Specializes in nature magic.

Once again, all of this is subject to change. This is a much more ambitious project for me than my other three published stories, or all the other ones I've been working on. So, options may be dropped. The goal is to write a good story-game, and hopefully one that has reply value (since each of these characters will experience the conflict from different perspectives, some of them very different). I'll write one character's perspective at a time, so that I get a completed story. If I have to remove options by the deadline, so be it. Maybe I'll put them back in later.

By the way, apparently < b > also causes bold font. Accidentally had that instead of < p >.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

4 months ago
Very nice. Certainly more impressive than that first attempt at an update... ;)

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

3 months ago

So I'm doing Update #2 early to get it out of the way so I don't forget.

Story progress so far is bad, at least in terms of writing. I'm still sorting out what the general plot will be, but the plan is still to present several very different perspectives to experience the main plot through.

The biggest problem, so far, has simply been a passion for telling the story. Yeah, that's a red flag, but right when this contest began I had started something else I was interested in (alluded to in the first post); unfortunately, it would be impossible to drag 60,000 words out of it.

To solve this dilemma, I decided to immerse myself in the world of the least familiar culture of my main characters, the elves (everyone understands humans, and at the moment they are boring to me. Should have done a fury story like Mizal). Exploring that culture got me interested again, and so I'll post the first page in Ardriel's version of the story: an elvish funeral (this is, of course, a very rough draft and will probably be edited to clean it up and resolve some possible grammar issues).

The king looked into the distance.

Soft rays of sunlight, given shape by the tiny particles of dust and pollen that danced within them, cast long shadows through the trees. Besides the rustling of leaves in the wind, the only sounds were the soft chanting of the magic weavers and a few in the crowd silently weeping. The king himself remained motionless and silent as his wife's body was lowered into the hole beneath the tree. To an outsider unfamiliar with the ways of the Ilowaen people, the Elves in the common tongue, it might appear that he felt no emotion. But the subtle clinch of a jaw here, the tiny twitch of an eye there, betrayed the depth of his grief.

And yet he would not weep, and so you would not. Your father, the king, had been dreading this day for 14 years; since the day you were born. Your mother began to die during your birth, but the magic weavers kept her confined in a time slowing circle of protection, allowing her to endure in hopes that a way to heal her would be found. To the the dismay of all, the Elder, your people's master of magic, had concluded a few years ago that no cure was possible, and finally your father was willing to lay his wife to rest.

You had never met the queen, not in person. But you did know her, for you spoke with her in your dreams. You discovered early that you had a talent for magic, or at least an ability to reach out to her, and perhaps your desire to feel the love of a mother subconsciously drove your spirit into her mind. How or why it happened you do not know, but for most of your life, while you were raised by your father during the day, during the night you were raised by your mother.

The sudden mournful call of a bird interrupts the relative silence, bringing you back to the present. You turn your gaze to the Elder as he starts to chant louder, and he and the other magic weavers begin the final rights of the ceremony, asking for the tree to join with your mother. The roots of the tree move, slowly at first, like slithering snakes, and then they hasten, quickly covering over your mother's body, wrapping around each limb, until finally her face is shrouded. She will become one with this tree, body and spirit, and the tree will stand for thousands of years; a testament to a long life lived well. But you will never hear her voice again.

The Elder says the ancient words, and then casts a handful of sanctified dirt onto the roots. The other magic weavers do the same, and then one by one each elf in attendance scatters soil upon the grave. You kneel next to the hole and add your own piece of earth, and then finally your father throws down his handful, covering the last visible part of the roots. Your vision becomes blurry with tears as you stand, looking down at the final resting place of a woman you've never met, but know better than anyone in your life. Knew better, rather, now that she is gone.

For a moment you remember the beautiful glade she had fashioned in her mind, a small pond in the middle, full of life: lily pads, flowers, frogs, and fireflies. Every night the two of you would spend hours there together, the bright sunlight of her mental construct warming your incorporeal body, while her loving smile would warm your heart, giving you confidence on days of doubt, and acceptance and understanding on days of sorrow.

Today was a day of sorrow, the worst of your life. All in attendance loved her, and many had quietly sobbed throughout the ceremony. But your father would not weep, and so neither would you. You are the princess and heir. You are the root of the tree of the Ilowaes, and you will remain strong for them. And for your father.

Unlike my previous stories, I don't know how many images I'll be using, if any. Too much to write, and I think working on description will be a good exercise. Still, if I finish it in time, I'll probably try to pretty it up. Anyhow, the above is just one perspective in this story. You can play as Ardriel, or, if I don't screw this up due to procrastination or writer's block, you can play from a completely different perspective in a completely different setting (a soldier, sorcerer, thief, assassin, or even a cutthroat businessman who ends up working for the crown potentially as a spy). Essentially, if all goes according to plan, this will really be several different CYOA's all colliding at a few climaxes.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

3 months ago

Wow. What you wrote is absolutely beautiful. It matches your visual aesthetic well. ;) 

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

3 months ago
Thank you. What a nice thing to say. Would have been nice to see you in the contest as well. But thanks for reading this page.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

3 months ago

It would have been fun to join, but I just didn't think I could write that many words in time. My strength has always been in my staying power rather than my speed per se. ;) Pretty sure I'll join the next one though (assuming that it's shorter).

Looking forward to your next update! :)

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

3 months ago
Just for the hell of it, here is another opening page for a different character. Or at least it's an idea I'm toying with (it may not stay, not sure yet). Obviously a rough draft. And as you will see by the end, the tone is completely different from the Elf Princess Ardriel's opening page.

To The Death

"Did you really think you could stop me, human?" says the necromancer, a sardonic smile on his face. You lie on your back, leaning on your elbows, a searing hole torn through your armor, the metal completely liquefied along the edges. The smell of your own flesh burning from your lower left rib cage seems surreal, but the sound of sizzling fat and the intense agony confirms your dire predicament. Slowly, nearly falling, you claw into the dirt and rise to your feet again.

Looking the vile sorcerer in the eye, you point your sword at his face, using every ounce of remaining strength to hold it steady. "I'll never let you destroy this village while I still draw breath, Malakai Eximonious." Your left arm hanging limply at your side, you prepare to dodge, knowing Malakai was only talking to stall, gathering energy for his next death magic attack. His eyes flinch for a split second, and the moment arrives. Knowing he'd already struck you on the left, you anticipate a beam to the right, and dive to your left to the ground.

You gasp in agony as you roll, the hard, unforgiving earth driving your armor into your wound, and you feel the heat of his death magic fly just over your right shoulder. After a moment to catch your breath, you stick the point of your sword into the ground and again stand up, using the weapon as a lever to rise. Swaying on your feet, knowing you'll never be able to get close enough to swing your sword at the necromancer, you take a deep breath and clear your mind. You only have one move left to play. Trying to catch him off guard, you suddenly throw your sword. Malakai's eyes widen, but you've caught him in the middle of a chant do draw more negative energy, and he is unable to dodge. The blade seems to move in slow motion, rotating with holy vengeance, and then it strikes deeply.

But to your horror, it misses his heart entirely, lodging itself into his left shoulder. The necromancer stumbles a moment, and then with an angry shout he blasts you directly in the chest with another beam of death energy. You fly backwards to the ground, in shocked agony. Your eyes closed, you hear Malakai's laughter as he walks up to your helpless, broken body.

Standing over you, he says, "It's like I said, Sir William, no human can withstand my power, let alone a pathetically weak false knight like yourself." He laughs again and then kneels before you. "Your life isn't even worth the small remaining death energy needed to finish you," he says as he pulls out a dagger. "Say hello to your ancestors for me." He raises the dagger, then pauses. "Actually, Sir William, don't. I think I'll keep your soul as my play thing for all eternity." He brings the dagger down.

With the last vestige of endurance you have left, you raise your right hand and take the dagger in the forearm. Then, ignoring the agony on your left side, with your left hand you thrust your own dagger into the neck of the necromancer. Shocked eyes open wide as blood spurts from his mouth.

"What? How?" he says through gurgling breath. Then his eyes roll back in his head and he falls limply on top of you. His weight upon your open wounds causes spasms of pain, and you feel the last of your life force slipping away. Weakness overtakes you, and you know that death is near. But still you smile; your life is forfeit, but the village has been spared. You close your eyes and release your last breath, knowing that you died a hero...

Suddenly a bell rings and the world of imagination is shattered. Malakai jumps up and turns back to the keep. "Will! Damn it, I forgot the time! I'm going to get killed if I don't get these mushrooms to Edgar." You sit up, wiping the dirt from your tunic.

"Malakai Eximonious the Dread forgot to gather ingredients?" you ask with a mocking grin. "No wonder he's so easy to defeat." You laugh as he helps you to your feet.

Smirking at you, he answers, "Defeated for now, Will, but you forget, I'm a necromancer. My body will rise again, and I'll still destroy the village." In a mock spooky voice he adds, "And of course, you will rise as well, as my eternal thrall! Muahahahah!" You kick him toward his shin and he jumps away, laughing even louder.

"Come on, then, Malikai. Let's get these mushrooms to the kitchen." The two of you, best friends since childhood, hurriedly walk back to the keep, knowing a good meal awaits after another free afternoon of battle between between good and evil, the eternal war once again left unresolved. Perhaps your nemesis will one day be truly defeated. But not tonight, it seems.

For tonight, Malakai Eximonious the Dread has stew to make for the entire garrison, and Sir William the Brave has dozens of uniforms to mend.

If all goes according to plan, there will be 8 or 9 different characters to choose from. At this point Malakai is not one of them, but he may be. Another character in this same location is Sophie Graves, who works in the kitchen but is an expert archer.

The other characters span different locations. Jasper and Sadie (Sarah) are friends in the poor quarter of a big coastal city, Quinton lives in the same city but in a neighborhood that isn't as full of squalor, and Theowin and Ardriel both live in the Elf forest, although they are miles apart. Val lives in a small village far away from everyone else.

Anyway, my plan is for each and every one to have a very different perspective on the main plot events, and contribute in unique ways. We've got two months to do it, so we'll see how far I get. Hopefully I'll have enough quality plot lines to make the storygame worth playing more than once (from different character viewpoints).

If this particular start for William is too cheesy let me know, but the melodramatics is on purpose, for obvious reasons if you read the entire page. William lives on a keep, and while he has to work almost every day, he's still a boy that enjoys pretending, and dreams of being a knight one day.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

3 months ago

Fun battle. Very different flavor from the previous excerpt (which is impressive).

Might want to make the "reveal" (that it was a game) even a tad more obvious (i.e. when the bell rings - maybe use their normal names straight-off?) for dumb asses like myself who took a while to figure it out. :")

Keep up the good work bro!

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

3 months ago
Update 3: Early again because I'm bound to forget.

Story progress

I'm working more offsite this time, just in case the site shuts down again. But, while I have a good idea of the start and end, I'm still piecing together the plot points along the way. And this is doubly challenging for me because, as noted in Update 1, there are several different available starting points, each which will have very different circumstances that lead to the final act, and even how the final act progresses will be different for each. So, I'm trying to give solid purpose for each character throughout while making each character go down their own CYOA path, and also trying to a way to bring them all (or most of them) together to the same final conflict, either directly or tangentially (And of course, the roll each will play there will vary over several possibilities, some not even being in the same location).

So mapping that out has been the biggest challenge so far.

What I like about the story so far:

So far it's the elves. I like inventing this new culture that's a little bit alien. I like how forests are essentially grave yards, and that soul and body are joined to a particular tree, which creates quite the dilema for the elves in this story (of course I won't go into detail here). But, aside from the fact that my story is really a collection of different POV stories in the same overarching mega-story, it's definitely the elves that I'm enjoying writing about the most so far.

And since I'm on the subject, here's most of the second page of Ardriel's story (the Elf Princess), still awaiting careful editing, of course (there are going to be a few images scattered throughout the story, including on this page, but I'm not going to go full ridiculous like my other stories):

Memorial

  It has been a long standing custom among the Ilowaes to have a feast to honor the memory of the deceased. Among most elves, the custom is no longer practiced. Usually those grieving simply spend time in the forest until they find their peace with the world again. But for the queen, such a custom must be upheld, and so you have spent the last few hours at the table to your father's right, a canopy of thick leaves a hundred feet above blocking most of the sun, while hundreds of feet below sits the base of the giant tree that is the home of the royal family, its roots anchored deeply in the earth.

  The mood was somber through the afternoon and into the evening, but tradition demanded a mildly festive spirit, and so music was played and fond memories were exchanged. You, however, spent most the evening silent. While you knew your mother through your dreams, you were not able to enjoy any waking moments with her, and so this exchange of memories was not something you could be a part of.

  You glance at your father. Never the loquacious type, he had hardly uttered a word during the feast. You notice his plate has barely been touched, but his cup, filled many times with wine this evening, is empty. Upon his face you see the soft magical glow from the leaves encircling the high platform, a legacy of your people's connection to the earth- the Ilowaeth, in your language; for your people, the Iloweas, are believed to be directly descended from the earth itself, before it died and became the home to all life.

  Your father looks into the distance, remaining as still as the trees themselves, except when politely thanking each person who bows before him and offers condolences. But it is clear to you that the emotion is slowly overwhelming him. In fact, it feels overwhelming to you as well. You begin to think of your mother, and of your time spent with her in your dreams. Your eyes become unfocused as you stare at the table before you. After a long, numb moment, you remember...

"Ardriel, look my daughter! Look at the sun! Isn't it beautiful?"

  You turn from the stream that leads to the pond at the sound of your mother's voice and glance at the sunset. The red-orange glow along the horizon creates a tapestry of deep pastels fading from bright yellow to deep black-green. Frogs croak in a constant rhythm, creating an almost harmonic counter-beat to the breeze and rustling of leaves. You know the real world could never duplicate the beauty found in this dream space, a place only your mother and you have ever seen or will ever see.

  "It is, Mother," you answer. "I can hear the sun singing to me."

  She laughs, a gentle, warm sound. Her voice radiating joyful curiosity, she asks, "What does it sing, my child." You turn to her. Her emerald eyes seem to reflect every movement of the scene around you; even the images of fireflies behind you pass over the soft glow of her irises. Low angled sunbeams partly shine through her soft white dress. The cloth itself, like her auburn hair, gently waves as if she were under water. Her feet gracefully float inches above the ground.

  You concentrate for a moment, closing your eyes and listening. It isn't really a sound, you realize; it's more like a warm, inaudible vibration. You meet her gaze again. "It is a mournful song, Mother, but with a trace of joy. Like an elder reflecting on a long life with happiness, yet sadness at moments forever lost to time."

  She tilts her head to the side, her brow creased, a look full of love and concern on her face, and underneath that a sense of resignation. She gently reaches toward you, tears welling up in her eyes...

  Suddenly the ringing of a fork on glass brings you back to the present. A single warm tear streams down your face, which you quickly wipe away. Your father stands, and the people scattered about the large wooden platform that serves as the royal court become silent. "My brothers and sisters, today we remember Ardriana, our queen, and my one true love. She was beautiful, kind, selfless, and wise. Among the Ilowaes, she was our beloved star. She lived in peace with Ilowaeth, and now she is one with it once again."

  All those present then repeat the phrase, "And now she is one." With this the ceremony is brought to a conclusion, and the name Ardriana will never be spoken aloud again, except in reference to the tree she has now become entwined with. Your father sets down his glass. You notice his hand shaking slightly, his breath faster than before, almost on the verge of panic. His eyes drop to the floor.

  In a much softer voice, almost a whisper, he says, "I would be alone for a while in our private chamber, where my wife's essence still lingers." He takes a deep, unsteady breath, and through a sad smile he says, "Do not be overcome with grief, my friends. Our queen is at peace. Rejoice at her life." With that, the king steps down from the dais upon which the large banquet table rests, and walks behind you. As he passes he gently squeezes your shoulder, and then disappears through some leaves, going to his private quarters.

  You realize he is at the end of his ability to maintain his composure; a requirement for a king. And a few minutes later you, too, feel the burden of grief beginning to overwhelm you. So you stand and bow, as tradition commands, for the rulers of the forest are always servants, and then you exit behind your father, down the long, shadowed tree-branch pathway upon the giant tree that you've spent most of your life.

What follows on this page is some thought leading up to the first choice in Ardriel's story, a seemingly minor one: follow your father to his chamber or not. It's not a hugely consequential choice, but it does affect whether or not some foreshadowing occurs. It also determines when a character is introduced. But much more important decisions for her come later. This is all just the beginning; these first two pages are about the funeral and post-funeral ceremony. This is a 60,000 word minimum contest, so no point in glossing over this sort of thing.

Anyway, there's Update 3, so I should be caught up. I may or may not post more snippets as I go. I've only touched on two characters. Maybe I'll add in Quinton Graham's introduction later (the eventual businessman turned spy), and maybe a couple more.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

3 months ago

Geeze, dude. You're a great writer!

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

3 months ago
Thanks again. You are too kind and very motivating, MoreCowbell. I wish you were in the contest so I could read your stuff and return the favor. But then, 60,000+ is a lot haha. Probably wouldn't have time. I've hit writer's block 50 times already so far so...

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

2 months ago

Please do not edit lock this post. I'll do it myself after I make sure the format is correct. Thank you.

Update #4

Story progress is not where most would want it to be, but for me when I finally have the entire plan etched out, the words are going to flow pretty well. Which brings me to the part that has been the most difficult: finding a way to weave all of the story together. I know there are moments I want in the story, but the difficulty has been deciding on how to get from point A to point C, point E to point L. How do I string it all together? And lastly, how do I fit enough choices into the story to make it interesting without sacrificing the story I'm trying to tell.

Well, that answers both portions of the update requirement, so just for the hell of it, here is another part of my story. This piece is not an introduction, unlike two of the first bits. Nor is it extremely early in the story. This is from Malakai's story, the character introduced above in the fight. I really want to finish his story, but as I said before, if I don't come to a satisfactory conclusion for each character, that character will be deleted from the final story.

I'm hoping Malakai makes it in the final version, because he becomes a Necromancer, which means he is the one character with the greatest chance to be a villain. Anyway, here is one particular scene for Malakai (of course, this is still awaiting final editing):

  Emptiness. Darkness. Cold.

  These have been your companions for as long as you can remember. No thought, no emotion. Only a vague sensation of an uncomfortable chill. You float, nothing but a point in space, waiting. You don't know what you're waiting for, but besides awareness of being cold, deaf and blind, the fact that you are waiting is all you know. Time passes, but you are unsure if it's been seconds or an eternity.

  You open your eyes, reflexively blinking as a fey blue-green light suddenly fills your vision. After a moment your eyes adjust, and the soft light becomes less jarring. You can see large white columns rising toward the dark sky, but they hold up no ceiling. An odd, flanging, metallic sound softly reverberates in all directions. Lying still, you take stock of your situation. The last thing you remember is an intense but dull pain, followed almost immediately by a strange coldness. You sit up and see that you are resting upon a stone altar of some sort; a flat sarcophagus, you realize. Glancing left and right, you notice similar stone structures as far as the eye can see; and upon almost all of them rest people.

  At first glance they appear to be sleeping, but then you notice that none of them are breathing. A little girl not ten feet away catches your eye. She's wearing a white dress and has a flower in her hair. Her skin is pale, and dark rings encircle her closed eyes. Her little chest doens't rise, and your stomach churns at the sight of this dead, innocent child. You walk over to her corpse and tenderly reach out, as if the dead could be comforted.

  Just as you touch her head you feel a strange shock, and the child suddenly opens her eyes. You jump backwards and fall to the ground, terrified. The child takes no breath, but she sits up and turns to you, a blank expression on her face. For a long moment the two of you lock eyes, and then she climbs down from the sarcophagus and begins walking to your right without saying a word to you. Your eyes follow her march and your jaw drops at what you see: in the far distance, countless lines of people walk toward a green light. In front of them lies an immense, dark abyss. But what you see beyond that gulf fills you with dread.

  Floating high above a massive structure topped with a stone throne is a woman. Her skin is pale as milk in some places, and black as rotted fruit in others. Her dress is long and white, and reflects the soft blue-green light in the sky. You've never seen her before, but you know exactly who she is. Every fiber in your being screams her name: Olum aya'el-Myrte, The Dark Lady, the Goddess of Death.

  You want to run. You want to run away as fast as you can, but your feet won't move. It's as if every measure of energy you spend to move away is met with equal and opposite resistance. After a long while of futility, you change your approach: instead of trying to move with as much speed and power as you can, you almost imperceptibly slide your foot behind you. Then you slide your other foot, and inch by inch you begin a slow, backwards walk, unable to turn around, unable to even avert your gaze from the terrifying figure in the distance.

  As you slowly retreat you notice others walking past you, seemingly unconcerned about who they are marching toward. An old man walks by, dressed in a white robe, the left side of his face covered in blood; a middle aged woman passes you next, her hands between her legs soaked in blood, but her face devoid of any expression. One by one they pass you, until you grab a teenage boy by the shoulder and turn him to you. He blinks rapidly as if just waking up.

  Not wanting to waste the opportunity, you desperately ask him, "Why are you marching toward her? How do we get out of here? We have to get out!" He struggles as you clutch his tunic tightly, obviously in discomfort.

  "What are you doing?" he asks. "Let me go!" It takes a monumental force of will, but you find the inner strength to release him. He shakes his head and then looks around. He meets your gaze, and slowly confusion turns to something else. His mouth begins to drop open in shock, and you realize he sees the reflection in your eyes. Her reflection. Slowly he turns around and looks at Olum aya'el-Myrte. The boy lets out a low pitch moan, slowly rising in pitch. After what seems several minutes, he goes quiets. You try to focus on the back of his head, but your eyes are inexorably drawn back to the Dark Lady.

  Suddenly the teenager lets out a high pitch wail; a scream that seems to have no end. He pulls on his own hair, then turns back toward you, his face completely pale. Still screaming, he runs to his left, crashing into the nearest stone altar, and then in a mad panic he sprints away, directly toward Olum aya'el-Myrte.

  Shocked to your core and filled with dread, you watch as the young man runs through the crowd to his own oblivion, or worse. After a few minutes he disappears from view. Your skin crawling, you renew your backwards walk, away from this vision of horror, each step taking every ounce of will power you possess. The further you get from Olum aya'el-Myrte, the easier the steps become, and slowly you accelerate to an almost normal walking speed, away from the Death Goddess. Still, you are unable to look away.

  What seems like hours pass, and then to your surprise you see the teenage boy again. Confusion overwhelms you as you find that he's still running toward the Goddess of Death, screaming as he was before, but somehow you've caught up with him. How can this be? You take careful note of your motion and confirm that you are still stepping backwards. But then you notice that the space between you and the abyss, and the goddess and her frightful visage hovering over it, seems to shrink in direct proportion to how fast you are moving.

  Terrified, you try slowing your retreat, but an irresistible suction force seems to mercilessly pull at you. You freeze, hoping the distance between you and Olum aya'el-Myrte will remain static, but to your horror the space around you collapses inward like a tunnel, and you find yourself racing toward the goddess, a terrifying tickling sensation coursing through your torso as if you are falling. Every second your speed increases, and then you find yourself flung over the abyss, the pillars and white floor left behind.

  You try to close your eyes, but what feels like invisible fingers holds them open. Your heart races, and the dead face of the goddess before you turns your way. Her face expands across the horizon, her pale, finely chiseled features blotting out even the strange green clouds behind her. You see your own reflection in her eyes, and feel your soul pouring into them, knowing that looking into that mirror will trap you there for all eternity. Suddenly she opens her mouth, and the deepest black you've ever seem races to engulf you.

  As your soul begins to be obliterated, a sound cuts through the air, and suddenly the goddess is the size of a human being, standing before you. What is the sound? Still unable to take your eyes off of Olum aya'el-Myrte, you strain to hear. It's a voice!

  "You know this one belongs to me, woman." You find you are able to move again. Still terrified beyond belief, you desperately seek out the voice that saved you. Turning to the sound, you are again stunned: a man hovers near the goddess. His robe is ancient and tattered; torn, brown cloth that might have once been an iridescent gold hangs in clusters around his frail body. An odor of dirt and decay radiates from him, but his face is what holds your attention.

  Taut, leathery skin clings to his cheek bones, and long, torn rags of flesh hang from his jowls. The rest of his face, from his eye sockets to his lips, teeth and chin, is entirely bone. You watch as he raises his arm, robe sleeve hanging like the skin on his face, a flesh-less, accusatory finger pointing at the Goddess of Death.

  "He is mine, Olum aya'el-Myrte, and I will have him," says the skeletal man.

  Suddenly the goddess turns her head to the creature and raises her hands. "The dead are mine alone, human. Death is my domain, and I reign sovereign over all within here." She looks to you for a moment. "This one will be devoured, like all the rest, and his life force will return to the nothingness from whence it came." Turning back to the skeletal figure, she says, "As will you, for in this realm I alone hold power."

  The skeletal man suddenly throws back his head in laughter. Through mocking howls, he shouts, "Your dominion is only over the dead, Olum aya'el-Myrte, and the living by virtue of their inevitable deaths." Staring silently at the goddess, any hint of mockery or mirth gone, he says, "But I am neither living nor dead. You have no power over me, Death Goddess." The goddess looks on in confusion for a moment, and then her icy glower returns.

  The skeletal man floats right up to her face. "He belongs to me, Olum aya'el-Myrte, and I am taking him. Now." He turns to you and reaches out his hand, and a terrible cold pain erupts through your heart. You are dragged through the air to the man, much like when you were pulled to the death goddess, and he digs his skeletal fingers into your flesh, holding you by the ribs. He looks back to Olum aya'el-Myrte. "I am taking him, and there is nothing you can do about it."

  "Take him, then," replies the death goddess. "But know that he will one day return to me." Then, looking the skeletal figure directly in the eyes, she says, "As will you."

  The man screams in anger and then digs his other hand into your abdomen. You begin to feel more agony than you imagined possible, and your vision is filled with oscillating white light punctuated by deep shadow, adding terrible vertigo to your physical pain. The world around you turns an empty grey, and you feel your self being stretched impossibly thin.

  An acidic burning sensation fills your chest, your body throbbing with agony. Instinct overtakes you, compelling you to do the one thing that can ease the pain: breathe. Suddenly the blue sky arches over you, and you heave deep, painful breathes, coughing out what feels like poison each time you exhale. Lying on your back, propped up by your elbows, your arms suddenly feel weak and you collapse fully to the dirt. Excruciatingly cold, you wrap your shaking arms around your body, trying to warm up a freeze that goes beyond the physical world.

  As your breathing finally begins to calm, you hear an echo in your mind: "Remember, you belong to me."

Well there you have it. A later piece of the story than before. The plan at this point is still to do POV characters with their own separate versions of the storygame to play, but if I have to I'll combine it into one story where you switch between characters.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

2 months ago
That's pretty much the right format. Thanks.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

2 months ago
Caught a typo. It won't be in the final story (seen... not seem).

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

2 months ago

Awesome variety. A different feeling/ambiance in every excerpt you've shared so far. Great job. :) 

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
Update #5

Just getting this update out of the way.

Story progress: The story's gone a little off kilter in terms of plot. I guess I should have been a bit more detailed in my original outline; most notably, the final results of the end and which character will become a main character in another story I had already began to write before this one is changing. For the latter, it's down to two; one possibility is that I will leave it open to both of them, depending on how you finish the story, but this will have to be referenced in the other story, so I will have to make a choice between two ideas I like equally. Additionally, there are a few different directions I can still go overall that I'm not entirely sure of. Lastly, I'm not going to publish anything I don' think is at least as good as my other stuff, so some characters run the risk of getting axed (Sophie is the most likely casualty, although others could fall, too; I'm just not finding a way to give her much of a unique story). And if I think the story sucks when it's done, I'll spare the judges the pain of reading it and just accept shame and rape in shame prison.

Motivation: Reading fantasy novels and watching that new Matt Groening show "Disenchanted."

One more free page, this one about midway through William's story:

  Things were not going well.

  The original plan was for each segment of the line to hold for three days, and then retreat to the next prepared defensive position, two units merging with each organized retreat. The two would then defend that position for three days, or until the invaders pulled back and gained reinforcements (which would inevitably happen as the defensive circle shrunk), and then the Kingdom forces would continue to converge in this manner until the Prince's city was in sight.

  But somewhere along the way the enemy made an unexpected move. Rather than collapse the perimeter symmetrically as they had since the beginning of this phase of the defense, a large section of unaccounted-for enemy forces attacked from the Ilowaen Forests to the East, with a great deal of invaders breaking through the Northeastern flank.

  Intelligence was conflicting; some reports said the elves had repelled the Northern host, but you weren't even sure elves existed, and you certainly weren't going to assume there was an unexpected ally to the east. Another explanation included a steady, stealthy incursion of troops into the woods, waiting for just the moment when the defenses left the edge of the trees. But that seemed unlikely, given that the enemy would have had to billet thousands of undetected men within the Kingdom's defense perimeter. Lastly, some generals communicated that the enemy may have had a sudden change in objective, that the Kingdom wasn't originally the primary target until now.

  You weren't sure what to believe, and in truth, you didn't really care which possibility was true. All that mattered was that you had to hold this position for another night and day before an orderly retreat under the cover of darkness, and your eastern flank was on the verge of being overrun. If the Eastern front of the enemy didn't withdraw soon, reinforcement from that flank wouldn't materialize during the retreat, and the entire defensive structure risked collapse.

  Straight ahead about 3o yards to the Northwest, the heaviest combat in your local position had been going on since dawn. The line had been moving back and forth all day, and each time the enemy breached the breastworks and trench, you and your platoon would fill in the gaps until the running reinforcements could relieve you. You had command, but the enemy was simply too large for you to remain far behind the lines like a proper field commander, forcing you to make many decisions based on poor sight lines of the battle. The sun was beginning to set, and you were hoping for an early respite.

  During the last twenty minutes, a lull in the combat nearby had allowed you to catch your breath, and despite your instincts protesting against it, you rested on your knees, using your sword and shield to support you, trying to process all the information you had been given in the last hour.

  Suddenly a shrill voice from behind you draws you back to the moment and you stand. A boy is running up to you, carrying a skin of water and parcel of some sort. "Captain, General Mathers sends word that the 43rd Division will be unable to aid the Northeastern flank." The boy, hands on his knees, takes a deep breath and continues. "They were attacked from behind by an auxiliary force of mercenaries, and while disposing of them another unit from the north arrived, this one bringing more than men."

  Troubled by this new development, you watch as the boy takes a drink from the skin and then hands it to you, his breath still coming out in ragged pants. He can't be older than 1o or 11. Sparing a quick glance to your left to make sure the line is holding steadily, you ask, "What do you mean by 'more than men,' son?" Turning back to the melee, you take a deep drink and await the answer. In the distance some twenty more enemy soldiers approach.

  "Ogres, Captain," says the child. "General Mathers says at least ten accompany another squadron of enemy soldiers, and that they'll have to make their retreat this evening. They were nearly routed when I first ran, Captain. He begs you consider sending the running reinforcements here to the East to help along the Ilowaen Forest, and begin your retreat one night early to meet him at the next defensive position."

  You feel your spirits sink at that. Ogres? Rumors were already circulating among the commanders nearest your position about reanimated dead soldiers attacking on some portions of the Eastern perimeter, and what little you knew of the overall defense plan and intelligence suggested a powerful magic user may be behind the attack. But ogres? Twelve feet tall and nearly half as wide, alone they were terrible foes. If the enemy has somehow convinced them to join them in numbers against the Kingdom, things are far dire than you had previously believed.

  A familiar sounding cry to your left signaled a breach along the line, and you raise your shield and sword. Keeping your eye on the line, you ask, "Boy, what's your name?" You watch as one of your men gets run through with a spear, and then two enemy soldiers spot you and begin to approach at a fast walk.

  From behind you the boy says, "Oliver, if it please you, sir." Not taking your eyes off the two approaching men, you loosen your shield buckle and let it slide down.

  "Grab the shield, Oliver, and run back twenty paces. Keep the shield up in case that one throws his spear at you. If I fall, strap it to your back and run as fast as you can to my second in command, Lieutenant Marks, and inform him that he has command. Deliver him the message from General Mathers and then retreat to the next position." You look back and see the boy frozen, staring at the shield. "Oliver!" you yell. "Do you hear me, boy?" Shaken back to awareness, the boy nods. "Then go, Oliver, now!" He picks up the shield and begins to run back. Knowing the boy is temporarily safe, you turn in time to see the two soldiers reach just outside of your attack range, their pace more deliberate now.

  The two fan out as they approach, flanking either side of you, and in the distance you see a third approaching. The one on your left holds a spear, the other two short swords and shields. The flanking soldiers exchange glances, and then the one to your right screams and charges. Anticipating the charge is really a feint to draw your attention away from the spear wielder, you immediately turn to your left, swinging your sword down. As you expected, the other man planned to stab you from behind, and your sword deflects his spear to the ground.

  Stomping hard on the blade, you pin it to the ground with your foot and sword, simultaneously drawing your dagger from your belt with your left hand. In a single, swift motion, you fling the blade underhanded at the spear wielding man, and the dagger strikes him directly in his unprotected face. You turn back just in time to deflect the sword strike from the other man with your own sword, and then kick his shield savagely to gain distance. As he stumbles, you turn back to the other man and finish him with a stroke to the neck from your sword.

  Pulling out your dagger just in time, you use it to parry an overhead swing, pushing it to your right, then you step around the man and stab your sword into his right side, just underneath his armpit. You quickly slash him in the throat with your dagger and he falls, hot blood soaking your forearm. You pivot to face the final enemy, but before you can react, a savage strike lands on your unprotected upper left arm, exactly where a hole in your mail armor had been made earlier in the day.

  The pain is shocking, but you manage to hold on to your dagger. The enemy steps back, and the two of you square off. He slowly swings his sword in an arcing figure-eight, and then leaps forward, attacking you on your left side, trying to gain an advantage from your wound. Knowing your left arm may be too damaged to go where you want it to, you jump back and parry with your sword instead, taking the defensive. You try to raise your left arm back up to use the dagger as a fighter would with a rapier, to parry attacks and thrust with your sword, but the pain nearly makes you feint. You let your left arm hang low, but hold onto the dagger so your opponent is forced to assume it is still a viable threat.

  The man attacks again, and you are again forced to step back. Suddenly your foot lands upon one the men you just killed and you slip to the floor. The man comes in for the kill, but a blow from behind causes him to turn back: the boy named Oliver struck him with the shield. Wasting no time, you quickly leap to your knees and lunge at the man's groin with your sword. In defense he swings down at you, but you are able to raise your dagger arm high enough to take the blow with the flat of the blade, holding it reversed so your forearm supports it. You drive the sword in deeper, and the man's own sword falls from his hands. Standing, your sword still deep with him, you cut his throat with your dagger.

  As the man falls to the ground, you look at Oliver. "I would chastise you for not following orders, Oliver, but you saved my life. Thank you." The boy, still in shock, doesn't seem to hear you. His chest heaves rapidly, and he sways before you. You slip your dagger back in your belt and place your hand on the boy's shoulder. Kneeling, you say, "Oliver, look at me. You're okay. You're a hero, son, and I need you to carry my message." The boy seems to perk up at that and meets your eyes. You hold his gaze for a moment, then you squeeze his shoulder and stand.

  Gazing back toward the breastworks, you see that all the other breaches were closed without need of the running reserves. Another lull gives you a moment to make your decision about what to do about the news Oliver has given you. The Eastern flank needs help, and your running reserves could make the difference between immediate retreat or another day of resistance. You could send them and attempt to hold your position with what you have for the next night and day. Alternatively, you could leave them here to hold while the bulk of your forces retreats to the next position early, meeting General Mathers at the next defensive position. Or, you can do as Mathers requests and send the reserves to the Ilowaen Forest and begin your retreat tonight.

  Ultimately, the integrity of the defensive perimeter is what matters most, and even though General Mathers was forced to retreat early, from what you hear, the East still holds by a thread. The running reserves could harry the group that overran Mathers' platoon on the way, and then they could merge with the Eastern defense. They need help, and without your running reserves, their segment could fall. Mathers' position has already retreated, and if the East falls as well, two collapsing portions of the circle could quickly turn into three or four or more. You and many others are wounded and tired, but the perimeter must be held to delay the enemies as long as possible as they march toward the Prince's city.

  Feeling far too tired to think straight, and completely overwhelmed with responsibility you know you aren't qualified for, you carefully weigh your choices.

Choose to send the reserves East and try to hold your position for the next night and day as the defensive plan demands

Leave the reserves to try to defend your position for one more day and retreat with the bulk of the forces to meet with Mathers immediately

Do as Mathers requested, and send the reserves East and retreat tonight

I won't go full spoiler, but one of these options will cause your role to change from commander orchestrating a planned slow retreat to an isolated soldier surrounded by enemies.

Anyway, that's the second to last update. As I said before, I'm open to the possibility of being shamed if I can't get the entire story to work together cohesively in a way that I like, but what I have written I like so far. So we'll see. A month to go...

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
Hadn't seen anything from you in a bit, I was wondering how this was coming along.

Those first five paragraphs were heavy on summarization but I guess reading the page out of context could be the issue there. Once the boy showed up and the active/live scene started I got a lot more into it, there's some good writing here and it sounds like you're including some pretty dramatic branching.

Considering the number of people who have given up or restarted completely in the last couple weeks you may have a decent chance with this.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago

Thanks for the read and critique. I'm kind of writing all over the place, writing moments and then filling them in. So, I'm thinking I can make this less "summarizing" by putting some of the info in a previous page so it isn't just thrown at the reader. The original plan was for the defense plan to be given in a secret note and then for some exposition here to explain what it was, but I'm thinking an extra page will make it more readable.

By the way I was not aware so many quit/restarted. But I think there's still a chance I'll get shamed because I'm not going to publish this unless I'm satisfied with it. Anyway, back to writing.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago

Great work. It's impressive that you are going for such different feels/almost different genres in each of the excerpts you've put up. I'm thinking your story will end up having an unusually wide range of experiences based on who we follow.

I know this one is an early draft, but somehow the battle and the fight seemed too ponderous/too much description. Probably needs some tightening up before you are through. The addition and befriending of the boy was a nice touch.

Also, just wanted to run by you an idea: Can publish/avoid shame, give us all a few weeks to give you feedback, then unpublish/re-write the sucker and republish once you've incorporated our feedback. I for one would be happy to re-review the updated/republished work. If we make a tradition of it, would be a great way for all of us to steadily improve our gems. ;-)

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
Last update

Story progress: William's story will definitely be completed (assuming no shame-inducing events conspire against me). The others are further away, and as I said from the beginning, if I'm not satisfied with them, they won't be published (although eventually all will be added in a republish).

Editing plans: Read what I wrote several times and try to find typos and inconsistencies? That's really all I got for that. If things go smoothly enough, I might have instances where you can jump from one perspective to another, assuming both POVs involved are complete and certain events transpire.

One final excerpt. This is near chronologically to the previous one (somewhere in the mid-point conflict of the story), and it is again part of William's point of view. It's not particularly interesting, but I'm only posting from the pages that have an image (there won't be that many pictures compared to pages; these excerpts contain a good deal of them).

What Needs to Be Done

  Looking at the picturesque town before you from atop your horse, with the soft glowing light of the setting sun wrapping around the barns and watch towers, for the first time in a long while you don't feel your normal duty driven urgency to follow orders. Destroying something so beautiful seems offensive and vile to you, no matter the reason. But you also know what is coming to your Prince's city, and that it is probably less than a day away from your current location.

  You pause a moment to relish the view, enjoying the warm breeze on your face, and look to the road. The last of the wagons are finally moving, and some small children run in circles around them as if their families hadn't been forced to pack up in a single day and start over somewhere far away. You smile; it's just another adventure to them. You recall your own childhood adventures, with your best friend Malakai, and very quickly your wistful mood fades. You're not sure how you feel about him, with the way things ended in Whitehaven. But you realize there's no point in dwelling on that. Besides, for all you know, he might be dead, anyway. The more pressing matter right now, however, is that if these people aren't far away by nightfall, they'll be as good as dead themselves.

  With nothing to be gained by waiting any longer, you give the order. You nod your head to a soldier standing a few feet away, and he raises a red flag. Instantly the quiet town becomes a spectacle of frenzied madness. Soldiers run through the fields carrying barrels of pitch and torches, and within minutes half of the buildings in the town are aflame. Livestock not already on the road with the fleeing civilians or commandeered by the army are scattered, and every piece of grain that isn't burned is stomped into the ground and soaked by pitch or water.

  Sixty paces away you see a civilian arguing with soldiers on the road next to a wagon, the horses already cut free and nowhere to be seen. You tell your corporal to oversee the destruction of the town and then kick your horse into a trot. As you approach, you notice the axle of the wagon is broken. Stopping just before the wagon, you dismount and hand the reigns to a nearby soldier. Walking toward the angry, short man, you sigh and say, "What seems to be the problem, sir? You were supposed to be on your way to Gainesburg an hour ago."

  The man blinks at you in bewilderment for a moment, then his face turns to rage. "What's the problem, are you blind, man? My entire life is in this wagon, and these ruffians expect me to leave it behind. They released my horses and now expect me to walk away with nothing! That's 'what seems to be the problem,' you bastard!" He gestures toward the grounded wagon. "And exactly who the hell are you, anyway, and more importantly, what are you going to do about this?"

  Biting back your anger, you walk up to the man. "Who I am is Captain William Paige, and what I'm going to do about this is burn your wagon to the ground." The veins on the man's neck start to pop out, but just before he screams you grab him by the collar and pull him close. "As for you, man, in about two hours roughly five thousand murderous mother killers and baby rapers are going to be running through this town, and they'll kill you and take everything you own." His rage quickly changes to fear, although you suspect he's more afraid of you than what you're telling him. Regaining your composure, you let the man go.

  "Look," you say in a calmer voice. "I would like to tell you that everything's going to be okay, but the reality is that it isn't. They are going to roll over this town like locusts through wheat." You let out a sigh, temporarily betraying your own frustration at the situation. "Either way it's going to be ashes." You gesture across the horizon. "All of it." Glancing up at the slowly departing wagon train, your own frustration at what must be done threatens to overwhelm you.

  Looking back at the man, your anger rising again, you bite off every word, nearly shouting through him. "One way or another, this town is going to be ashes, because I'll be damned and spend an eternity in Olum aya'el-Myrte's Hall before I let those bastards have a single resource from this land, be it yours or anyone else's." The man stands completely silent, his shoulders slumped, as if what you're telling him is finally sinking in. "Now, sir, I suggest you grab whatever you can and be on your way, because I can't guarantee that we'll be able to hold them long enough for you to escape to the next fortification at Gainesburg."

  He looks up at you, tears in his eyes. "I'll be ruined, you know. This is all I have. It's all I have." You feel pity for the man, but there is no time to fix a broken axle. You motion for the soldier nearby to grab your horse. Placing a hand on the man's shoulder, you take the reigns and hold them out to him. He looks up at you in confusion for a moment, then realizes what you are doing and grabs them.

  "You have a family, I presume?"

  He nods. "Yes, a wife and two children. They've been on the road for two days. They left when you lot arrived, and should be waiting for me in Gainesburg."

  "Then load what you can onto this horse," you say. "It won't be much more than you can carry with your hands, but you'll be able to make good time and you won't have to worry about being overtaken if we're overrun." The man looks longingly at his wagon, then he thanks you and begins to quickly load up the horse. Soon, he is on his way, trying to catch up with the rest of the wagon train.

  "That was a fine gesture, Captain," says the soldier next to you. "I doubt he'll remember you to his family, but he'll make it to them because of you." You nod, and the man salutes and then rides away. The other soldiers set the wagon to fire, and you stare at the hellish image before you. Defend, retreat, and burn. That's all you've been doing for weeks, and it's starting to take a toll. Fortunately, after Gainesburg there are few towns for the next couple of weeks near the major roads, and you'll be able to temporarily forget about the lives that are being ruined by this invasion.

  By now nearly everything is burning, but you order the men to stay just in case some of the fires begin to wane. After the town is scorched, the men will set the fields and grass aflame, and then finally the march toward Gainesburg will begin. Hopefully by then the civilians will be well on their way to safety. You only hope the message you sent three days ago has reached the viscount who holds power there, and that he understands the gravity of the situation. The orders given to you require secrecy until the last possible moment for each location, and more than once during this delayed retreat you've faced resistance from the low ranking nobles in charge, either in letting the refugees pass or in handing over command to you and your men. Even with a hand written note sealed by the Prince himself, there were a few who fought tooth and nail, until the sight of your battle tested men convinced them to yield.

  You sigh. There is no point in worrying about it until your men arrived at Gainesburg. You need to get this done so your men can effectively build a defensive barricade along the road several miles away, and set a large perimeter to bottleneck them directly into it so as to bleed them before making another controlled retreat. You wipe dirt and sweat from your brow, smiling despite the stress of the day. For you know that as tired and worn as your own men are, at least you have food. When the enemy arrives, they'll be forced to scour the woods for miles to find sustenance.

  As you watch the inferno, a squire arrives with another horse for you. After signaling to the rear guard to set the last area on fire, you mount up and begin the ride to the next point of defense.

So that is my last update. If I only finish William's POV, that that is what will be initially published. It should still easily fit the criteria for qualification in terms of word count. Regardless, eventually I'll publish all the POVs I want (although it's looking like Sophie's is gone. It's just not interesting to me).

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
Damn I was hoping this was a surrender. I had an appropriate Simpson's clip ready to link and everything.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
It sounded like it, sort of. When I read the bit about William's story being complete, but nothing else, it sort of sounded like there was a single path written that was 60,000 words, but without any options. But maybe not, I'm easily confused.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
Each POV will have branching paths. But only one is near completion. Taken together, there will be as many possible paths as any CYOS here, but a single one will still have at least more branching than my previous three stories.

But for William at least the major branching won't occur till midway through. You're going to become a soldier one way or another, and then what happens from there can go several ways. Some of the earlier choices will have affects at the end (but some of this is contingent on how much of the other POVs I get done), but the major branches occur more midpoint and on.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
Glad to hear it!

I know the feeling of that deadline and trying to get everything you want in one story. That's why my current longest story, Spy Mission, took almost a year to finally put together.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
*effects... lol

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
Huzzah, at least one person will not fail in epic fashion.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago

Great writing. I like how you accurately track (and show) the fluctuating emotions in both characters. Really nice. Congrats on being able to finish the contest and good luck in it!

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
Not sure why (probably the formatting) but every post after this one has people's names and post tile highlighted in white... I'm using the Dark Theme on the extension. It's probaby not a big issue.

Anyway I really enjoyed reading what you have so far, Flux! Can't wait to see the finished product.

Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page

one month ago
White? That's interesting. It souldn't be my story formatting, but if it is, all the images I'm using are actually squares with transparent background. And for the rest, I've deleted all my formatting except the paragraph tags and the tab tag. But yeah, that's odd.

Anyway, the first publication is unlikely to be the true finished product, because the final story is really going to be somewhere between five and seven individual stories. Assuming I even get that (still a chance I get shamed... we'll see. It depends on how obsessed I get with football and video games over the next weekend).