Jul 29 2015

WIP Update – 28 Jul 15

Yes, I missed a day, but then I came back to do a little work on Chapters 1 and 2 of EM. I’ll try to keep at it, but the lure of FE14 is strong indeed. Stay tuned.

Jul 27 2015

Character Spotlight: Sir Caligo

The origins of Sir Caligo are somewhat unusual. During my first playthrough of Ogre Battle 64, I didn’t know a thing about the Chaos Frame or how to act to set your alignment. (The fact that your Chaos Frame data is hidden from you until after the end of the game doesn’t help.) As a result, I simply stormed my way through the missions and was completely blindsided when everyone started turning on me in the end. The heroes from the original game fought me and the leader of the resistance who owed his position to my efforts denounced me. It was a complete and utter betrayal. Add that to the typical civilian grumbling you get in Japanese fiction and I became wrathful, wanting an add-on campaign where I would march my army from one corner of the land to the next and raze the villages of all those bloody ingrates. (I later learned that you have to march on villages with units of matching alignment to “liberate” rather than “conquer” territory and so my second run was a much happier one.) Anyway, I decided to use this scenario in one of my stories and so Sir Caligo was born.

Narkissos of Karas was a young soldier who served with distinction in the Herakles War, where a colony of the Herakles threatened to overrun Euros. Later, when King Euromakhos’ twin sons Castor and Pollux refused to rule jointly as per their father’s dying wishes, the Gemini War broke out. Narkissos served in the cause of King Pollux, who was favored by the aristocracy, and with his elite Companions at the core of his army, he handily crushed the plebian forces supporting King Castor. When his victory was complete, Narkissos found himself bitterly hated by the people and in a bid to appease them, King Pollux stripped Narkissos of his honors and exiled him while his Companions were thrown into prison.

Stewing in his anger in exile in the Eurean colony of Thessalonica (whose short-lived bid for independence was ended by none other than Narkissos himself, so there were no friends to be found in the city), he saw an opportunity when the Thessalonians suffered the predations of an ancient vampire they called the Miastor Prince. As you know from Caligo’s prologue, Narkissos challenged the Miastor Prince, was defeated and turned into a vampire himself. However, he succeeded in killing the Miastor Prince shortly after being turned and by drinking the ancient vampire’s heart’s blood, he received a power boost much greater than any newborn vampire, even one sired by an ancient, should have. With this new power, he was able to return to Euros, free his Companions and exact his revenge on the people who betrayed him.

While revenge sounds sweet, one of the themes I tend to reinforce in my story is that however cathartic revenge might be at first, it’s ultimately empty or at very least it takes more than it gives. When Narkissos’ campaign of revenge was over, the rich nation of Euros was in ruins, its people all dead or fled, and there were no plans to build anything in the wake of this destruction. His Companions stuck faithfully by his side, desiring a share in his immortality to take on the world, but Narkissos didn’t share that ambition and quickly came to realize the true nature of his curse. He refused to grant his loyal followers their wish and so they grew old and died, then the ruined Kingdom of Euros was visited by the Black Dragon Xargos and cursed to become the Darklands.

Lacking ambition, Narkissos’ talents could only be used in service of a superior and so he became Sir Caligo the Knight of Chaos. He served Xargos and then the Dark Elf king Zanil who followed him. Were it not for a vampire’s inability to cross open water (without some trickery as demonstrated by Dracula in Bram Stoker’s novel), the invasion of Notos would’ve likely gone quite differently, but being left in the Darklands, Caligo could do little as Zanil’s hubristic overreach led to his downfall and the collapse of the Chaos Dominion.

Caligo may well have spent the rest of eternity in hibernation were it not for the Dark Eternal raising him to serve the Monarch Lich. While there was some joy to be had in fighting once more, it was a fairly hollow thing conquering the various monsters and fell races of the Darklands. The prospect of fighting the Zephyrians stirred a little of the old passion, though, and while he found Duke Cronos to be a disappointing opponent, he was intrigued by Ionathas and started playing the game that ultimately ended in his self-engineered demise.

I definitely wanted to play up the parallels between Caligo and Ionathas. It wouldn’t have taken much of a push for Ionathas to go down the same path and there may well be an If Arc story in the future that explores that possibility. Anyway, even with Caligo seeking his own death, there’s no way an ordinary human could stand a chance against an ancient vampire of Caligo’s power, so I contrived the revival of Caligo’s Companions, their destruction at his hands and the Monarch Lich’s punishment for his disobedience. Being brought down to the level of a newborn vampire, Ionathas wasn’t quite so ridiculously outmatched but still didn’t stand much chance if Caligo wasn’t intent on dying by Ionathas’ hand. The one condition was that Ionathas could not surrender no matter how hopeless the fight seemed. Ionathas passed the test and so Caligo handed over Soul Drinker bring about his destruction.

As evidenced by the fact that his section is the longest, Caligo is my favorite character in TTWC2. I may well explore his past in greater depth in as of yet undeveloped stories. Next time we’ll be looking into the tragic figure of King Orguz. Stay tuned.

Jul 27 2015

WIP Update – 26 Jul 15

I fell off the wagon hard last week. Blame FE14. I barely did anything else. I’m running all three campaigns simultaneously, so when I get stuck on one, I just go on to the other. It really makes it harder to put down. Anyway, because I refrain from video games on Sundays, I was able to get a little writing done and hopefully I can start balancing my activities a little more. I made some progress on Chapter 1 of EM. It’s mostly just narrative in the latter half I need to fill out and I’ll be done with it. I believe I’m up to Chapter 4 on JJ, so I need to get at least as far in EM before switching over. Stay tuned.

Jul 20 2015

WIP Update – 19 Jul 15

After another day of falling off the wagon as it were, I managed to make some progress on Rowland’s Chapter 4 of TTWC3. Now I’ll be setting it to the side for a bit while I move over to the Cross Arc and work on JJ and EM a bit. I should probably just choose one, but I haven’t decided yet. Stay tuned.

Jul 19 2015

WIP Update – 17 Jul 15

I missed a day because I got wrapped up in the peripheral materials, but I more than made up for it by wrapping up Rowland’s Chapter 3 and making some decent headway into his Chapter 4 as well. Now that I’ve gotten my copy of Fire Emblem if, I may have difficulty keeping up the same level of progress, but I’ll try to make a point to at least meet quota. Another couple days working in TTWC3 and I’ll move on. Stay tuned.

Jul 16 2015

WIP Update – 15 Jul 15

I did some more writing on Rowland’s Chapter 3 of TTWC3. Just about to the big showdown with Medusa. I’ve been brainstorming the fight choreography and I have to account for the full range of powers I’ve given her. You see, she doesn’t just have the Stone Gaze ability, but a number of other active and passive abilities that’ll have a bearing on the fight. Yes, I pretty well take an RPG approach to the magic system and such but keep it all under the hood. Though I have no narrative imperative to adhere so stringently to the system, it gives consistency to power levels and whatnot. I should probably do some commentary posts about how the system works. I’ve got quite a bit of documentation for it, so there’s plenty to talk about. Anyway, more writing to be done. Stay tuned.

Jul 15 2015

WIP Update – 14 Jul 15

I was making progress on Rowland’s Chapter 3 when I found a character in the character glossary that hadn’t actually been used yet. (Usually I add entries for incidental characters as they appear.) In finding a place for this stray character, I wound up working on Scipio’s Chapter 5 and pretty well finishing it. After feeling so stifled with TTWC2, I’m actually enjoying working on the story again. Perhaps I need to reformulate it and perhaps I just need to accept that TTWC2 is the weaker entry in the series. I may yet craft a variant trilogy that ditches the structural conceit I’m using now and tells a more linear narrative. That’ll be a project to consider after I’ve finished TTWC3. In the meantime, I’ve got a ways to go. Stay tuned.

Jul 14 2015

WIP Update – 13 Jul 15

I made some progress on Rowland’s Chapter 3 of TTWC3. Since I’ve started, I may just forge on ahead with TTWC3 this week and pick up JJ or EM next week. I doubt I’ll get Rowland’s section done before the week’s out, but it’s a decent goal to aim for. Stay tuned.

Jul 13 2015

WIP Update – 12 Jul 15

I did a little work on Rowland’s Chapter 5 and epilogue of TTWC3. I haven’t decided if I want to keep on working on TTWC3 or not. I’ve been talking about making progress on JJ and EM for weeks now and I should probably consider it. Stay tuned.

Jul 12 2015

WIP Update – 11 Jul 15

I’ve pretty well finished with Medusa’s Chapter 5, which effectively means that I’m done with TTWC2. Yay. That makes ten novels down. Not a bad bit of work. Perhaps if I can consistently meet quota, I can get my completion rate to something closer to a novel per year. That’d be nice. Anyway, now I can pick up work on TTWC3, but I also need to make some more progress on JJ and EM before their serialization starts in September. Fun, fun, fun. Stay tuned.