a Grimdark Fantasy by EndMaster

Commended by mizal on 7/27/2019 9:32:29 PM

Player Rating7.30/8

"#1 overall, #1 for 2011"
based on 8453 ratings since 09/28/2011
played 427,411 times (finished 13,166)

Story Difficulty8/8

"mosie through a minefield"

Play Length8/8

"Even light has to break at the rest stop"

Maturity Level7/8

"anything goes"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 18. If this were a movie, it would probably be R.




























The last hope for a dying empire

Additional notes:

This story can be very long assuming you're not dying. Years pass and your surroundings will most likely change. You may very well live a life time in the story.

As with any of my writings, the story comes before the game. However while there isn't a complex inventory and all of that, you can technically "win" by getting one of the epilogues.

There are 13 epilogues total.

There are also several points in the story where there are links that lead to more background information on various people, places, things and events. While not completely necessary to understanding the story, they do give you more insight into it.

Player Comments

(If you're worried about spoilers skip past paragraph eight)

There are many things that I could say about Eternal. I could praise the rich and believable characters, how each one brings something unique in their own way. Some of them are of course less fleshed out than others, but in most cases it's just because the main character doesn't care about them/talk to them enough.

I could also mention the awe-inspiring battle scenes, the kind that completely captivate you, not just with how they're written (although that helps a lot) but also because of the emotional stakes set into the fights. YOU are the character, and for all of their faults and blatant villainy, you still sympathies with them and support them in their struggles.

I might mention the sprawling and massive world building that EndMaster put so much time and effort into, how every area from the snowy wasteland of Rask to the tamed cities of The Felkan Kingdom, or Quala all feel distinct and memorable.

But mostly I want to focus on the story. Because Eternal has a very emotional and epic story involving empires, war, oppression, and death.

The first real decision in the game is a pretty important one, as each choice puts you on totally different paths with branching narratives.

While I acknowledge that the Struggle path is probably the most epic and amazing path out of the lot, the beg route holds a very special place in my heart.

Here's why: The fight with Captain Gruz is like an emotional punch in the gut, over the course of the last day you've seen two of your fellow soldiers (Who you see as brothers) die before your eyes in violent ways. When Gruz's betrayal is revealed you have no choice but to do battle in the second most amazing fight in the whole story. (Semra's fight right before you get the book in the Harbinger path is still the coolest thing) The descriptions are simple sound effects because that's all there needs to be, the emotional weight of the scene carries the whole fight

As a side note you're totally a bad guy in this story, just in varying degrees depending on which route you're on. if that isn't your thing don't read this story. If you are easily upset by things like throwing babies (There isn't much I swear) or borderline incestuous sex/fight scenes this isn't the story for you.

In the end this story will remain in my heart until the end of my life, truly making it--at least in my eyes--ETERNAL.
-- Realdeaal on 1/19/2019 11:09:29 PM with a score of 0
This is seriously some of the most enthralling writing I've ever read. After reading it for the umpteenth last night I came to the conclusion that this is my favorite book.
The straightforward, dark, humorous way Endmaster writes helps slower readers, who have trouble with more serious/boring/verbose reads, to enjoy an otherwise dense and in-depth world.

The savagery of a dark fantasy feudal empire is disturbing, but in no way off-putting. I think that the setting was greatly benefited by the way in which Endmaster weaves words. More purple writing could have alienated some more prudish readers (the ones that weren't already scared off anyway). The deserts of Nalin/Naleen, Delergian swamp/sea, and other-such geography was actually a nice touch. I enjoyed how varied and vast everything felt. Even without going down the True Eternal path the world is massive and wonderful (I can't believe I'm calling something Endmaster wrote 'wonderful') The cultures within the story were interesting enough that I was a little sad that we didn't have more backstory pages devoted to them. None of them are original (Do I detect Warhammer vibes?), but nevertheless they're written well.

The characters are where the real action's act. Most of them are really well written, with only a few exceptions. Mistress, Alison, Talia, and Brenda are stronger, cooler, independent-er female characters than COG could ever whip up (poetic irony?) and I LOVE it. Mistress's fucked up life were funny and tragic, and I'm not someone that empathizes for fictional characters. I found the way her life to play out in both True Eternal paths to be interesting, and even worthy of her own story. The fact that the Eternal gets a little... close with her mind was a cool way to show a little bit more about her character.
Alison was just phenomenal. The relationship she had with the MC (a violent, apathetic, brainwashed sociopath) was intriguing, and almost made me feel happy for the Eternal, until I remembered what kind of monster he was. I still love Eternal Bliss though. Talia was decent. I thought her struggle between her religious beliefs and her love were well done, and I liked that Dendren's religion was a constant source of trouble for Shadow Eternal and Talia. I used to consider Brenda as the weakest of the characters. Before I read certain parts of the soldier path I thought her existence was just a plot device to broach the topic of romance to the MC. I almost forgot about her in every play through until she takes a more active role. Now after re-reading through every path of the game for the twelfth time I think I finally have a opinion/understanding on her. She's so infatuated with her husband and the Empire. His passing and another inevitable event in the soldier path rips a hole in her soul that never heals. The Eternal can comfort and support her enough to keep her from throwing in the towel but nothing will ever fill that void. That's why I didn't relate to her. I mistook it for a failure of End's writing but she's suffering from depression that's way stronger than the writing implied. Dendrin is a great character, and for some reason I love Flog. Cyrus was good in the Shadow Master path.

The only two characters I found to be "meh" were The Emperor and Decena. The Emperor could have used some more characterizing moments, since he has such a important part in the True Eternal path. Since he's the True Eternal's mentor and foster father, I think that it's an entirely reasonable criticism. Perhaps it's just a flaw in End's writing style but I found that a lot of the characters didn't have character moments beyond the bare bones. That's exactly the problem with Decena. First off, is that even her name? I struggle through scenes with her every time I read this. My suspicion is that by time End got to writing her he was starting to lose his motivation. Working too hard can be a detriment to the story and I think that the late stage Emperor path started to show signs. Around the 560's in the Republic path I started to catch this feeling again, but it wasn't as terrible without the cancer that is Decena.

Over all I think this is amazing for a hobbyist CYOA story. It has multiple disturbing genital warts, which I haven't showcased in full but I think that the overwhelming majority of the novel--and I'm not using the word lightly-- is highly entertaining. I can only hope to write this well eventually.
-- 3iguy on 7/30/2018 4:25:35 PM with a score of 0
... Yeah, this is going to be a long one. It took me months but I finally read through every single branch of every single path, got every single ending and then went back and re-read my favorite path again for good measure. To sum up... This game is fucking amaze-balls!!! ^_^

Endmaster is one of those rare and talented writers that can leave you feeling seriously emotionally moved by the end of the story. Reading the Eternal's life story from birth through to his last days genuinely makes me think about getting old and how difficult it must be to be nearing the end of your life and wondering if you could've done more with it... It's really bloody depressing. :p

Got to give Endmaster credit for his world-creating abilities aswell. I generally love High-Fantasy settings, but End always put an awesomely dark twist on his worlds. I think the story starts with a very strong beginning, having the protagonist being created and raised to become a ruthless killer utterly devoted to a corrupt government. It keeps the character treading a very thin line between villain and anti-hero, whilst still allowing the reader to sympathize with the character and even feel sorry for him. It's really interesting to see a character that can butcher an entire village of innocent men women and children without batting an eyelash, yet he has absolutely no malice or streak of cruelty in him, he just genuinely thinks he's doing what's necessary.

So... I guess now I'm just going to give a list of some of my top 3 favorite things in the story because... There's a lot of good stuff in the story!

Top three romantic interests:
3. Alison. (She's probably the nicest and most normal of all the Eternal's potential partners, and just a generally likeable character whilst still being fun and interesting.)
2. Brenda. (Of all the potential partners I think ending up with Brenda just feels most "right." Probably because she's another first gen Eternal and the protagonist grew up with her, which gives them a closeness that he doesn't have with any of the other potential partners.)
1. Decena. (... Kind of strange I picked her since I generally find mindless love to be quite annoying, but there's something about Decena that just makes me feel sorry for her. I felt she deserved a happy ending. ^_^)

Top three characters in general:
3. Lena (Quite similar to Decena, I just have a soft spot for unfortunate souls that the Eternal takes under his wing. In some respects I guess she was kind of a bitch, but then she sure has hell had enough reason to be, and while ultimately she never really gave up her quest for revenge, it was nice to see her channel it towards something meaningful, even if it didn't really work out in the end.)
2. Ulivik (What can I say? He's adorably annoying. Also I just generally enjoy watching the Eternal develop fatherly bonds with other characters. For some reason I always find the Eternal's life seems to have more meaning when he has a hand in raising or training one specific person that he cares about than the endings that involve the putting together or protecting of an entire nation.)
1. Captain Gruz (... He's just fucking awesome!) ^_^

Favorite endings (Without giving anything away):
3. Eternal Paragon
2. Eternal Survivor
1. Eternal Bane

... And yeah. This game is awesome... Read it ^_^
-- Briar_Rose on 1/29/2015 6:30:38 PM with a score of 0
I have never before read a piece of interactive fiction that has kept me this interested for this long. Beautifully written and composed. I will be recommending this story to all my friends.
-- RandomReader on 3/20/2021 7:50:50 PM with a score of 0
This story isn't the standard for Choose your own adventure-style stories. It's the standard novels try to aspire to and more often than not fail. Eternal is a series of Novels that were tied together with dead ends in the middle. I'm not promising this is going to be your preferred flavor of story, just that it's a good story. Give this a read and remember you're going to be stepping into one of the darker fantasy worlds out there. You're going to be playing a super-soldier that was built by the big bad empire in a dark and brutal world.
-- DerPrussen on 3/19/2021 10:34:09 PM with a score of 0
I loved it one of the best things I have ever read thank you
-- Zarlox on 3/15/2021 9:21:36 AM with a score of 0
My heart strings man...
This story line and lore is to die for. I was so heavily invested that I found myself tearing up on several occasions. The character development is some of the best even amongst the published novels I've read. I cannot wait to revisit this and try out more branches of the storyline, and hopefully one day I will see all 13 of the Epilogues. Thank you EndMaster for this amazing experience, you damn legend.
-- Padradical on 3/13/2021 12:25:27 AM with a score of 0
i love this IT's so fun
-- Abgeofriends on 2/27/2021 10:38:43 AM with a score of 0
Well done, and a ridiculous amount of work clearly went into this. Intriguing characters and a compelling, if sometimes quite complicated story.
-- Walt on 2/18/2021 2:06:51 PM with a score of 0
It's a crime I got to read this for free honestly
-- casey j olkowski on 2/2/2021 11:06:03 PM with a score of 0
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