Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 4: Remnants Of The Marble City

When Drake awoke all signs of the attack had disappeared, although he could have sworn that the wardrobe stood in a different place last night. Glenn was already up and about, once again sitting in a chair by the wall and staring at him.

Is something wrong?”

What happened tonight?”

What do you mean? I walked around the city for a while and got lost in the process. When I finally found my way back I...went to sleep, I suppose. I might have visited the pub beforehand though. That would explain the blackout and why my head is pounding.”

You went to sleep?” asked his father incredulously.

Yes? Is something wrong with that?”

I...guess not,” he sighed and picked up a piece of parchment. “Anyway, we've got our audience. The king expects us at 3 P.M. so don't be late! The castle should be hard to miss, seeing as it's the only building that isn't ugly.”

Just wait a moment, I'll come—” Glenn stormed out of the room before Drake could finish the sentence.

Did I do something wrong?

No, you didn't. It's all my fault!”

Wait...can we talk through telepathy too?

Yes. It's one of the few skills that doesn't require us to...drink blood. With enough training we could even control the actions of others, but we don't want that, do we?”

No...I suppose we don't...

You suppose?”

Well, it could be useful under certain circumstances...

Don't be stupid! You have to hold on to the remnants of your humanity instead of giving in to the beast!”

Why are so you mad?

It doesn't matter! Just meet me at the castle in a few hours! Oh, but visit the armor shop beforehand and get yourself a new set. Keep the leather armor though. I doubt anything in Pagan could match it's enchantment, at least anything you could actually afford.”

Silence returned and Drake went to the bathroom to freshen up. He would never choose to live in Pagan instead of Arlin but they had a nifty system in place where you only needed to turn a few knobs to get all the water you needed. You could even heat it up on the way! Drake assumed it to be some kind of magic whereas it was actually an invention created by the dwarves during the Golden Age. They never managed to distribute the system to any human settlements though as the war broke out soon after. It wasn't until hundreds of years later that an expedition led by the Adventurers Guild stumbled upon the plans in an abandoned dwarven outpost. That's one of the reasons they could afford to built such extraordinary guild halls all over the globe.

Drake noticed his blood-shot eyes in the mirror as he dried his face but assumed it to be nothing more than a side effect of his transformation. He was actually more surprised that he had a reflection to begin with but seeing as nearly everything he knew about vampires seemed to be wrong it shouldn't have been much of a surprise. If Modera could have listened in she would have ridiculed him for assuming that an inanimate object would care if he was dead or alive. Isn't there something like a vampire's handbook? Certainly couldn't hurt. With that in mind he left the room.

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 4: Remnants Of The Marble City

The moment I died the world changed: All colors faded away, time slowed down to a crawl and Modera's laughter, as well as every other sound, was replaced by an eerie silence. Not an absolute silence though as I could hear something resembling rolling thunder in the distance, which made me feel uneasy for no discernible reason. It's hard to describe but something began to well up in the deepest recesses of my mind. It can't be! Why am I able to hear it already? But the moment realization dawned upon me pain seared through my soul and erased everything. Still, I felt compelled to investigate and stood up, leaving my body behind. I didn't seem to care though, as if I had already accepted my fate and was ready to move on. Maybe it was the only chance I had before Modera corrupted my soul and brought me back to life.

That is correct. Modera is too busy celebrating her victory, which gives you more than enough time to choose if you want to live on as a vampire or if you want to die,” responded a muffled voice to my thoughts, which should have been weird but something inside me knew that I wasn't alone anymore. I turned around and my expectations were met when I saw a black-robed figure bearing a scythe. “I'll never understand why mortals need to be afraid of death even after their demise. Wouldn't you prefer something that calms your soul before you move on?”

I've never actually thought of that.”

It's always the same, no matter who I ask,” he sighed, “But you might be the only person who should actually be afraid of me!”

I don't understand...”

Of course you don't and maybe you'll never remember, but I don't have to forgive you for your choice! Just don't screw up this time!” his voice was but a mere echo at this point as his form flickered out of existence.

What about my choice?!”

I don't care about your choice!”

Alone again and it seems that time had moved on while I wasn't looking. Modera was kneeling in front of my body now, certainly getting ready to transform me into a creature of darkness. Incapable of stopping her I went towards the balcony to bask in the light of the sun one last time. I failed to do so though as the beautiful ball of fire had been replaced by an ominous storm cloud in the distance. It should have been too far away to make out any details but I swear that I saw something resembling a face in its center. At that exact moment something began to pull at my soul.

Let me end your suffering!” demanded a familiar voice but before I could put my finger on it I was sucked back into my body.

Unimaginable pain began to course through my mind and body!

We were marching through the frozen wastelands of the north after having claimed victory at last! After centuries of war we would finally be at peace.

Modera's blood began to flow through my veins and my body felt like it was on fire as it tried to fight back in vain.

Night had already fallen and our party was about to call it a day when darkness descended upon our camp! I've never felt so much power before.

My whole body convulsed painfully as dozens of arteries exploded and mended themselves at the same time!

The corpses of our most magnificent warriors littered the ground, painting the snow red while he continued to rip them apart! Their dying screams echoed across the clearing and I ended up with blood all over my clothes without being able to save even a single one of them!

Something was eating itself through my brain and I screamed and screamed and screamed while the headache got so horrendous that I thought my skull would explode!

Only the two us were left alive when a sphere of pure energy erased every trace of the massacre! When I awoke I was all alone...

The pain subsided when my heart began to beat again, pumping the tainted blood through my veins.

My eyes have been opened! He will come and save us! Bring salvation and rejuvenation! He will! He must! He has to! Destroy him! You don't have a choice! It is your destiny!

The Savior! The Promised One! He who will vanquish the darkness! All meaningless if you fai—arghhh!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sorry Julia, there's no new chapter here :D

Anyway, I remembered a situation from my first game tonight which really didn't make much sense and came out of nowhere. I retconned certain aspects of the world in the third game, not really thinking about how it would affect this specific situation as I had mostly forgotten about it, but strangely enough it makes total sense now.

Don't be afraid of retconning your story

Many people would assume that retcons are inherently bad and that an author should plan his story from start to finish to avoid using them, but it really depends on how the retcon fits into the overall picture. In my example it adds another layer to it without directly contradiction the events of the game. That's not to say that there aren't issues with it but that's to be expected for something that I made up as went along. I'm still surprised how well it all fit together in the end.

So let me use another example: Metal Gear Solid, one of my favorite game franchises.
The antagonist in the first games is Big Boss, leader of Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land, and he threatens the world with his nuclear equipped Metal Gears. So he's evil, right? Just look at him!

Many years later Hideo Kojima released Metal Gear Solid 3, starring Naked Snake aka Big Boss! That game's ending as well as the subsequent games in the Big Boss Saga shed light on why he "turned evil" without directly contradiction previous events. It doesn't excuse how he tried to accomplish his goals but it still made sense. That's what I'd call a good retcon.

Of course there are also bad retcons of varying degrees. One of the worst ones would be to bring a character back from the dead even though he quite obviously died. You need to come up with a really good explanation to turn this into a good retcon.

Let me use Metal Gear Solid 1 to demonstrate a bad one:

In this game Solid Snake claims that Big Boss told him that he was his father during their final encounter in Zanzibar Land, but I've played Metal Gear 2 and he says no such thing, nor does he ever imply anything like that. It's not too bad of a retcon but still contradicts established events and this wouldn't be the last time Hideo Kojima changed the series' history. I still like it though and look forward to the next game, which might finally show us the moment Big Boss "turns evil".

Don't be afraid to retcon your story, but make sure to add another layer to it instead of directly contradiction prior events. Of course you can have a few bad retcons here and there but be wary not to turn your story into a total mess that makes absolutely no sense!

Friday, January 24, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.

Chapter 3: Modera

I've been pacing back and forth atop this hill for hours now, waiting for the moment when Emily would finally arrive. We've been friends for many years now but all of that might change today.

Worst case scenario: We'd never talk to each other again even though she lives right around the corner. That wouldn't be much of a problem if we lived in a big city like Pagan but it's simply impossible not to run into each other when you reside in a village with less than 100 inhabitants. Emily might not hate me for what I'm about to do but what if she's unable to reciprocate my feelings? Would be kinda awkward to spend time with each other when she knows that I want more from her than she wants from me.

Perhaps I'm just worrying too much. I'm certain that she has feelings for me; however, that could be nothing but wishful thinking...sure, she said some very suggestive things recently but perhaps she was just fooling around...

Goddammit, stop worrying! Just wait for her to arrive and tell her everything!” I screamed at myself, frustrated by the entire situation.

Tell me what?”

The sweet voice of my childhood friend stopped me dead in my tracks. My heart was throbbing when I thought of the possibility that she might have been concealing her presence the entire time, eavesdropping on all of my trial runs where I tried to confess my feelings to a tree. I should have seen her coming up the path, shouldn't I? It's right next to me so there's no way I could have missed her! Or was I simply too distracted?

Drake? Is something wrong?”

Emily was standing directly behind me now, her warmth spreading all across my body, even though she wasn't touching me at all. I gulped nervously, clenched my fists so hard that my knuckles turned white and tried to gather all of my courage before I finally turned around to face her.

Her crimson hair was blowing in the wind and a radiant smile played on her lips, as if she knew what I was going to ask and had already made up her mind.

No fair!” I must have sounded like a little child complaining to his mother.

I have no idea what you're talking about.” but her devious grin belied her words.

I raised my right hand hesitantly and her green eyes followed it's movement curiously. Emily was surely wondering if I was going to stick to the original plan or simply make up something on the spot. My trembling hand hesitated mere inches from her cheek and didn't budge for what felt like an eternity; however, Emily was grinning from ear to ear now and forced me to continue by leaning her head to the side, gently resting her cheek in the palm of my hand.

My mind must have been playing tricks on me because her skin felt strangely...wet? I was about to unburden myself when my voice failed me. Not because I couldn't take the final, something was forcing itself down my throat! I didn't understand what was happening! My hands shot towards my mouth and I managed to get a hold of something slimy, which seemed to have the same consistency as Emily's skin!

What is going on?!” I uttered, or at least tried to.

Emily just looked at me, still grinning from ear to ear as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.

I managed to get rid of whatever was trying to invade my body but even though I felt something moving in the palms of my hands I couldn't actually see anything. When I looked up once more Emily had been replaced by a strange person in gray robes.

Wake up!” 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I might have been able to post another chapter of Mortaevum but I wasted a whole day working on the design of my blogs and yesterday I recovered a partial timeline of my universe that I created when Mortaevum was nothing but an rpg-maker series. Then I thought that I could try to update and translate it...which got somewhat excessive...

The timeline doesn't show every single event in the universe as I tried to keep it mostly spoiler-free, but it's suitable enough. However, no one apart from me or people who've played the games will really understand what some of the events written on it mean. But still, it might be of interest to some readers so here it is.

The timeline got "a bit big" so posting it as a mere picture is kinda pointless. Picasa didn't even want to upload it. 

So here's the timeline

And here's a preview

Vampire Chronicles rpg-maker