View Full Version : Historiae/The Records
04-15-2009, 01:37 AM
Hisoriae/The Records is a writing project that I started around December of last year. It started when I came up with a 5 Man Band on a thread at Giant in the Playground, and for the heck of it I made a 5 person party using characters from the famous Japanese Visual Novel, Fate/Stay Night (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fate/stay_night). After thinking about the idea having such a five person group travel around Europe, slaying dragons and evil wizards and what not, I started wondering what sort of things a fantasy medieval Europe setting would need for all of this to work. So, I created a thread asking for advice on how to make such a world, and from there I started a novel (then scrapped in in favor of a short story), and already it has expanded into something a bit larger.
The project is still ongoing, of course; in fact, it's barely started. I've decided to post it while it's still young, however, so that I can pick up advice about various things as I write, rather than write a bunch of stuff, finish it, and then be told that everything I've done was worthless trash. (That, and I'm probably an attention monger.)
This project is also the first time I've ever really tried writing seriously, outside of academic essays and the occasional bit of fanfiction from my younger and more foolish days. I'm still too young to call it my "life's work", but Historiae/The Records has taken up more of my creative energies than any one thing ever has in my entire life. It will up to you, the readers, to judge if it's any good or not (and if it is not, it will be up to you, the readers, to tell me precisely why it's horrible).
The primary works of this project will be one novel, which has yet to be written. At the moment, I'm working on various smaller works to both organize my thoughts on the setting and its peoples, metaphysics (an important thing in Historiae), politics, and how all of it interact, and to learn the finer points of writing, such as characterization, pacing, and controlling the flow of exposition. Said smaller works will include a collection of short stories designed to give a narrative view on certain characters, locations, and concepts; a collection of pseudo-academic papers designed to explain complex ideas and metaphysics that I cannot do within a story without ruining it with exposition; a collection of "side-stories" designed to give alternate perspectives on events already covered in the short stories and/or allow me to experiment with less conventional writing styles; and "supplementary" material accompanying each and every chapter of the smaller works in order to explain my thought processes and what I want and plan to do with various characters, magics, and other elements of the setting.
In order to better organize these scattered works, I will be using this thread as my "base of operations" of sorts on this forum. Aside from this thread, I won't be making any other ones about Historiae (I've already made 2). The second post of this thread will be the "chapter of the day", mostly because fanfiction.net, where I usually post the stuff, has terrible formatting: no footnotes, no extra spacing...:smallannoyed:
As a caveat, I should tell you that, ultimately, Historiae is a derivative work, a piece of fanfiction. It is the application of Fate/STay Night characters and elements to a medieval fantasy setting, and an experiment to see how those characters and elements interact. Caveat Lector.
Historiae/Foundational Memories (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4901084/1/Historiae_Foundational_Memories)
"To know the history of a man is to understand that man."
A collection of short stories, written to familiarize the world of Historiae from a narrative point of view.
Updated: 3/3/09. On hold due to research.
"Ignorance is the greatest obstacle to understanding."
A collection of essays and papers, written to explain the more complex elements of the setting (metaphysics, politics, etc) from an academic point of view.
Updated: 4/15/09. On hold due to research.
Historiae/Silent Voices (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5001809/1/Historiae_Silent_Voices)
"We weep at the cry of the hawk, but not at the blood of a fish. Blessed are those with voice."*
A collection of (very) short stories and other experimental works, written to show events from different perspectives and to let the voiceless speak.
*: Quote from Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
04-15-2009, 01:47 AM
“He who professes the Sodalitas as mere tyrants
He who professes the Sodalitas as mere scholars
He who professes the Sodalitas as mere regulators
May his lying tongue be cut out”
Anonymous, written ca. 11th century
A Beginner's Handbook to the Association of Magi
by T. Y. Lee
In modern popular culture, the Mage's Association is a subject of much speculation and, at times, much fantasy, appearing in popular works such as The Lord of the Magi and The Edge of Delusion. Much of this appears to originate from the Association's mystique, which in turn came from its sudden and mysterious disappearance in 1517, leaving behind ruins where there were magnificent buildings only days before.
I admit that I was also drawn into the subject matter when I first read The Lord of the Magi as a high school student. Like many young adults who are first fascinated by something, I was entranced by the idea, a romanticized vision, of what I wanted to study and immerse myself into, and for several years I held delusions that I knew all there was to know about the history and socio-politics of the Association. After I entered college and took courses under esteemed professors such as Peter Edwards, however, I came to acknowledge that what I truly knew was little, and that the rest of what I thought I knew was either amusingly misinformed or utterly wrong.
Once I became less ignorant of subject, I began to wonder what I, as a young high-schooler with his eyes glued to a copy of LotM, would have been like had I known the truth behind the fiction that I was reading. I realized that, on top of my being an impatient youth, I had little access to sources that were both informative yet easy to read, comprehensive yet simple to understand. I believe that there will be less misinformation and a better understanding of the complex socio-political institute that was the Association if such sources become available, and so I write this
This essay will not cover any medieval thaumaturgy (that is, the system of magic that was the most popular brand of magic in Europe), or any sort of metaphysics, as they are topics for another time. It will only cover the history of the Association, some important terminology, and its socio-economic and political situation throughout history...
Latin name/English name (alternate name): Description
Sodalitaris Magorum/Association of Magi (Mage's Association or simply Association): the sovereign institution of thaumaturgy practitioners based in Rome, disappeared in 1517 due to unknown circumstances. Often used interchangeably with the term “Rome” as a political power. Ruled by an oligarchy that held absolute power. The term Sodalitaris Magorum appeared in writing ca. 580 CE.
Senatus/Council of Lords: the oligarchic ruling body of the Association, with total control over all aspects of the Association/Rome. Made up of thirty members, or Lords, who make decisions through debate and voting. Appeared ca. 530 CE. Two-thirds of the members were from the Italian peninsula/surrounding territories.
Magus/Mage: used today to denote any person who is capable of regularly using sorcery and/or True Magic, but in pre-modern times referred to a magic-user who was part of the Association. The actual term Magus appeared in the early Roman Republican period in Latin to denote scholars from Babylon, but changed over time to mean what it became.
Magia Magna/Greater Magic (True Magic): magic that is able to do what was thought to be impossible at the time. Discovering, rediscovering, and/or developing these great powers was thought to be the ultimate goal of some mages in the Association. By the 11th century, there were five magics officially recognized to be True Magic by the Council of Lords.
Magia/Sorcery (Magecraft): magic that is within the realm of common knowledge of the time and uses the magic circuits within a mage's body to perform magical phenomena. In Western Europe, the most popular (and therefore most powerful) form of sorcery was thaumaturgy, though other kinds of magic such as Rune magic and Witchcraft also existed. Latin does not have a term for thaumaturgy, instead using Magia for both “magic within the realm of common knowledge” and “thaumaturgy”, and relying on context to distinguish between the two.
Veneficorum/Magic: any sort of phenomena beyond the realm of technology/mundane human effort. Both True Magic and Magecraft fall under this.
Versio Elementorum/Elemental Conversion (Formalcraft): sorcery that does not utilize Magic Circuits. Because this sort of magic typically used mundane objects and rituals to convert what metaphysicists of the time called “elements”, it came to be known as Elemental Conversion, and later Formalcraft. This sort of magic was rarely well-received by the Association.
Alchemia/Alchemy: a school of magic that deals with the conversion of matter, or transmutation. The alchemists of Atlas were, however, known to research the art of converting phenomena, or predicting and changing the flow of events and fate.
Peccator/Witch: a person with magical capabilities who has not received Association-approved training. The Latin term means “sinner” or “transgressor”. The English term “witch” comes from the Old English term wicce, who were usually independent mages who used different magics from the Association. Because such wicce typically refused to submit to Association authority, they thus became peccator. “Witch” then became a word with very strong connotations, and eventually became the word that English speaking peoples used to refer to illegal mages.
Proditor/Warlock: a person proscribed by the Council of Lords. Being declared a proditor by the Council was a death sentence for any mage, since it meant that the Association would expend resources to hunt the individual down and execute him, usually without a trial. The English term came from waerloga, meaning “oath breaker” or “traitor”. Because Warlocks were seen as “traitors” to the Association, the term waerloga came to be used to refer to such people (English speaking peoples often preferred English translations of terms from Latin over using the Latin term itself), and phonetically evolved into “warlock”.
Turris de Horologium/ The Clock Tower: a multi-story tower containing a colossal time keeping device and living quarters, lecture halls, and workshops for many Association members and students. The nature of the time-keeping device is unknown, but it likely used some sort of highly advanced sorcery. Constructed ca. 794 CE in Rome.
Academia Atlantis/Atlas Academy: an expansive facility, much of which is underground. Greek alchemists who took refuge in Rome were the primary inhabitants of the Academy. Like the Clock Tower, it contained living quarters and laboratories. Constructed ca. 817 CE in Rome.
Abbatia/Abbey (monastery): an Association embassy outside of Italy. Because the land that they were built on was legally Roman territory, abbeys followed their own laws independent of local legal systems. Most were constructed to house Association members outside of Rome and provide legal education for mages who cannot travel to Italy, as well as serving as outposts for Association interests. Famous ones include the abbeys in Sponheim, Prague/Praha, and Aachen (known as the Thylee/Thule Abbey). The supreme authority of an abbey was called an “abbot” or “director”.
Fabrica/Workshop: a mage's personal laboratory in which he carries out his research and experiments. Workshops located outside of Italy were typically protected by dozens of spells and magical barriers to prevent intrusion. In mage culture, to trespass into a mage's workshop was an act of open hostility, and the Association created much legislature to punish those who would violate a mage's sanctuary (whether on accident or on purpose).
Terra Spiritualis/Spiritual Land: a piece of land with an unusually high concentration of leylines. These were highly valued by the Association by the 11th century. Famous spiritual lands in Europe includes the Black and Teutoberg forests in Germany, the city of Rome, and the land upon which the Stonehenge rests.
Executor/Executors: martially-inclined people of the Association who were sent out to perform dangerous tasks, such as the execution of Warlocks. They were often viewed with contempt throughout the history of the Association, as mages in Rome have always valued knowledge and intellect over physical ability. Executors were frequently described as serving as bodyguards for mages who performed research outside of the safety of their workshops.
Monachus/Monk: members of the Association who perform everyday, mundane tasks, including masonry (it is likely that the architects and builders of the Clock Tower were monks), accounting, cooking, cleaning, and non-magical maintenance. Some monks were people born in or around an abbey who managed to get hired, while others were failed mages. Attitudes towards monks by fully fledged mages were typically scornful, sometimes even abusive.
...for clarity, I will use the term “magic-user” as a person who commands any sort of magical phenomena, regardless of method.
A Brief History
It is difficult to truly pinpoint the foundation date for the Association due to the fact that there was no official “founding event”. There was no grand speech by an Association official that declared the start of a new era for mages, no grand feast celebrating the creation of one of the most influential political bodies in the history of Europe since the Roman Empire. Instead, the many elements that make up what we would call the Mage's Association were added onto an earlier existing institution over a period of time, and continued to evolve and adapt until the end of its existence. Thus, the Association was never “founded” as much as it “became”.
Nonetheless, it is easier for modern thinkers to imagine the Association having some sort of definite starting point. The earliest elements of the Association can trace its roots back to a collection of scholars and thaumaturgy practitioners (scholaris and magi in Latin, respectively) that existed since the foundation of Rome, ca. 755 BCE. Over time, these learned men grew in number, knowledge, and power, though, according to Polios, the Roman Senate and its consuls made sure to never rely on or give too much power to these learned men—for this reason, magi were unable to successfully "unionize" ...
...and by the late-middle of the 3rd century CE, mentions of some sort of organization of magic practitioners appear in the works of Roman writers. Modern historians have taken this to mean that a body of thaumaturgy scholars and practitioners was formed some time around the beginning of the reign of Emperor Philippus I. Judging from the fact that contemporary writers of this little-known organization did not seem to agree on what to name it, it seems that said organization was not an official government authority or branch—if it were, it is certainly strange that Roman authors did not use the proper name in their works. Instead, it is more likely that this group of scholars and thaumaturgists simply grew in fame and probably gained some legal infrastructure, possibly academies of some sort modeled after those in the Greek provinces.
While it has not been confirmed by historians, many have argued that these gains and the rise of Philippus were not mere coincidences. There are many theories, even among leading historians, that there were mages involved in the mysterious death of the previous emperor, Gordianus III, and that Philippus was either aware of or supported (or even hired) their efforts. In return, it is said, these mages were given some funding and resources. Again, this is a source of much contention in academia...
...but nonetheless, according to surviving documents and archaeological work done in Rome, the god-king Gilgamesh and his armies not only dismantled Roman authority in its non-Italian provinces, and in many areas outright exterminated entire Roman populations, but also crossed the Alps and into the Italian Peninsula and pillaged the some of the cities there (but spared Rome). By the late 5th century, the Roman Empire was no more; in the lands where Romans had once settled, the eastern German Gothic tribes swept through and either assimilated or rooted out what was left of Roman culture and society in places such as Gaul (France) and the Iberian Peninsula.
Writings from this period seem to indicate that the Roman people did not wish for another emperor, possibly because they lost faith in such an authority after watching it be utterly defeated and humiliated by a seemingly invincible living god from the east. Other writings suggest that the existing body of mages seized control over what was left of Rome. Historians today deem this the most plausible model for socio-politics in early post-Imperial Rome. With more than 90% of its forces destroyed or completely scattered throughout Europe, the Roman legions did not have the manpower to assert control. Without military support, any politicians left alive (such as the members of the Senate) could do little, and records indicate that the populace had little trust in such people anyway, so no amount of orating could have given those former heads of state much power. Many Roman merchants and trade ships were killed or destroyed, and with no more raw materials coming in from the provinces, the economic strongmen had no real authority as well.
Thus, it was left to Rome's mages to bring about order and stability. As they were able to sustain much of Rome's advanced public services (particularly plumbing services such as baths, aqueducts, sewage, etc.), and since the remaining populace became reliant on the mages' hunger and disease preventing spells, the remnants of Rome's once extensive network of magical personnel were able to easily gain the support of the people, and thus authority of the peninsula. The fact that the mages who were left in Italy were the ones who were politically savvy enough to not get sent out to battle Babylonian forces certainly helped them gain political control. Around the early 6th century, the Council of Lords was formed from the leading mages of nearby cities and from Rome itself. This oligarchic authority assumed total control over Italy by the early-middle 6th century, and named itself after the once-prestigious Senate of Rome, the Senatus.
Despite being able to stabilize their immediate surroundings, however, the mages of Rome still had to contend with foreign invaders. Gothic tribes from eastern Germany, for example, attempted several raids through the Alps, and one even managed to partly sack the city of Rome. What little writing that remains from this period suggest that the Council of Lords focused resources on military and food production, while any magical research was devoted to logistical, strategic, and/or tactical applications, thus gearing the entire state towards defensive war and shifting the attentions of Roman mages from gathering knowledge to maintaining political power...
By the late 6th century, the term Sodalitaris Magorum (Association of Magi) begins to appear in Latin writings. It is also around this time that the Association began to actively weaken the link between a mage and his lord.
Judging from various surviving images and poetry, mages outside of Rome during this period were often mistreated and exploited by nobles—as powerful a mage may be, he can do little without food, shelter, resources for research, and protection, and non-Roman nobles were almost always the only source for such necessities.
After approximately a century of chaos and struggles to maintain power and order, the Association seemed to have amassed enough wealth to provide any mage of proven skill and worth with plenty of necessities and resources, and by offering such things to mistreated mages, they were able to significantly increase the manpower of the Association. Most of these newcomers were from Frankish and Germanic territories, with a few from Scandinavia, Denmark, Britain, and Slavic lands. At this time, almost no Greek mages seemed to wish to leave the comfort of their reinstated city-states. This is where the Association's monopolization of European mages began.
Of course, the wise amongst the nobles who were rapidly losing their mages began to introduce new policies for treating their magi-wielding retainers, and as such the period in which a relatively large number of mages relocated to the Italian peninsula was very brief. Because there were still an appreciable number of mages remaining in their old territories, thaumaturgy continued to develop independently outside of Rome...
By the mid 7th century, the focus of the Association seemed to revert back to knowledge, which is the most common explanation that historians use to understand why Rome did not bother to expand its borders into Europe once more aside from certain cities along the northern Mediterranean coast, such as Venice...
...aside from some border skirmishes with Greek city states and Franko-Germanic kingdoms, little else of note happened until the Kullervo Incident...
In ca. 680 AD, Europe was rocked by what was to be one of the defining moments in history. Modern historians call this the Kullervo Incident. Contemporary Association records refer to the event as Clades Arctoum, or the Northern Calamity... 1
1The effects of the Kullervo Incident had other major consequences throughout Europe, one of which being the beginning of the long decline of the Vikings. Although Viking activity continued after 680 AD, mostly from Scandinavians who pushed out the Danes and settled themselves in Denmark, they never returned to the levels of activity from only decades before. Among other things, this cut off most of the Danish Viking settlers in England from Denmark, which forced them sue for peace from their former Anglo-Saxon targets.)
Scandinavian sagas tell of a man from what is today Finland, a man of great magical power, possibly a highly advanced form of thaumaturgy or, more likely, True Magic. The sagas say that the man was born with great potential, but also matched his magical power with great hatred and a thirst for vengeance on the tribal leader who slew his father and the rest of the his tribe save for the woman who would become his mother. A violent and angry person from birth to death, Kullervo's fierce temper eventually lead to the annihilation of much of civilization in Scandinavia, thus creating a chain effect of refugees fleeing to other countries and pushing out its former inhabitants, thus creating more refugees. The initial Scandinavian population mostly fled south-southwest and displaced Danes and Slavs, who in turn fled south and pushed out Germans and some Greeks, who fled down to the relative safety of Rome or went west into the kingdoms of the Franks (this is now called the Kullervo Effect).
The Council of Lords apparently determined the cause of this great disaster to be the lack of control over magical education throughout Europe. They thus strongly proposed (some say demanded) that all mages from across Europe be trained by Association-approved sources of education, in order to prevent another rogue mage such as Kullervo from appearing again. In practice, this immediately applied only to areas that were severely destabilized by the Kullervo Effect, namely most of Germania, some of Frankia1, and many Slavic territories, which, after being displaced (and thus severely weakened) and hearing of horror stories from the north about the madman Kullervo, were all too glad to comply. Other areas did not agree to this edict for at least a century, mostly due to popular pressure. After the Kullervo Incident and the Association's decree, rogue or “illegal” mages became anathemas to society, and so most illegal mages were turned into Association authorities by frightened or angered commoners than actual Association enforcers...
1: Many historians cite the Kullervo Effect to be the reason why Charlemagne rose to power. With the influx of a large number of eastern Germans and Scandinavians, including many nobles and their retinue of mages, the Franks were given enough resources to fend off invading Ghanans at the Battle of Tours/Poitiers in 732, which in turn set up for the rise of Charlemagne to the throne partly via the exploits of his ancestor, Charles Martel, at Tours. The prestige of being the descendant of the man who defeated the Ghanan army at Tours, along with the extra population and thaumaturgical knowledge gained from the Kullervo Effect, gave Charlemagne the resources he needed to create the Carolingian Empire.
...Initially, the laws governing the education of mages were very strict, if not outright draconic. Public executions, sanctioned by local authorities and Association representatives, were common responses to illegal mages being found. Any mages who were conducting particularly dangerous or forbidden thaumaturgy or research were exiled from the Association and hunted down. Fear of illegal mages, and mages outside of Rome in general, rose dramatically, and as a result many people were accused of being peccatoris (“witches”) and were subsequently lynched.
This furthered the monopolization of magical resources by the Association, and it was not long before the Association had many powerful nobles by a leash, threatening to cut off access to mages and magical resources if the noble did not comply with the Council's wishes. perhaps it was not mere serendipity that the Association's proposals resulted a great rise in Rome's influence, though it still did not expand its borders aside from the handfuls of territories here and there.
Also of significance is the addition of personnel from Greece. The few Greeks who fled from their city states to Rome were almost all alchemists who were originally from Egypt. In 569 CE, Egyptian alchemists rebelled against the god-king Gilgamesh and were subsequently wiped out. Those who managed to flee went to Greece, where they eventually made their way into the northern edges of Greek influence. Due to the Kullervo Incident, they were once again forced to seek refuge, and this time they went to Rome (as they had, perhaps unwisely, angered their Greek neighbors some decades before). In exchange for their vast knowledge in alchemy, they were given a place in the Association of Mages, and several of their leaders joined the Council of Lords (which by now also included some Germanic, Frankish, Ulster, and Anglo-Saxon/Danish members)...
...the most common explanation for a relatively minor but sudden expansion of Roman borders outside of the Alps is that, due to the sudden appearance of the Ghanans in the Iberian Peninsula, the Visigoths were weakened to the point that they seceded territories north of the Alps in order to procure an alliance against the invaders...
...and due to the dramatic influx of wealth from other countries, the Association was able to construct two magnificent structures, which still stand today in Rome.
The first was the Clock Tower, or Turris de Horologium. The Clock Tower, at the time of its creation, was a techno-magical marvel (the engineering and metaphysical principles behind it are matters that I will not get into here), and was a demonstration of the Association's power, knowledge, and prestige. It is certainly the most famous among Rome's tourist attractions, and the most well preserved one.
Social archaeologists theorize that the Clock Tower's primary function, to accurately keep time, was deemed necessary by the Council due to the rise in wealth and manpower: because of the extra wealth, mages were able to perform even more research and education, and because of the extra manpower, there were obviously more mages running about Rome. It is thus hypothesized that the mages desired to be able to better keep track of the time they had in the day so that they could more spend that time more efficiently doing things.
This does not fully explain, however, why there are also extensive living quarters, offices, and classrooms for students, teachers, researchers, and many members of the Council itself. Archaeologists have thus also theorized that the original Roman members of the Association were alarmed by the great influx of foreigners, and thus (perhaps unconsciously) sought to distance themselves from such people. Indeed, for the first hundred years of occupation, records indicate that the people who called the Clock Tower their home were almost exclusively Roman, and absolutely no Greeks.
The Greco-Egyptians who came to Rome formed their own facility, the much humbler Atlas Academy. Parts of the facility were underground, possibly to minimize damage from alchemical experiments (which were sometimes volatile). Most of the Academy was devoted to such laboratories, but there were some living quarters (mostly for Greek Council members) available. Archaeological remains indicate that the facilities were used almost exclusively by the Association's alchemists, who in turn were mostly Greek.
Interestingly, the Frankish, Germanic, and Slavic newcomers did not seem to have built their own facilities. The reason for this is unknown...
...however, aside from naval skirmishes in the central Mediterranean, Rome was mostly untouched by Ghana Empire's incursions into Europe through the Iberian Peninsula, though there are passing mentions of handfuls of Celtic and Visigothic refugees...
...but by the 11th century, the once draconic ideas governing magical education and legality were relaxed, both socially and legally...
The next great political upheaval for the Association was Alexander the Great and his conquest of fully half of Europe by 1063 CE...
The Tri-Objective Model
For those who have studied the Association of Magi in high school history courses, you will no doubt be familiar with the “Tri-Objective” model. Although it is a useful way of easily memorizing the complex socio-politics of the Association, simplicity has reared its ugly head. A painfully common trend has appeared recently, in that people learn the simplified explanation given by the model and forget that there is so much more to the matter. Part of this is the fault of teachers who fail to make students understand that the Tri-Objective model is only a simplification of the truth.
The Tri-Objective model argues that, throughout history, the Mage's Association's political actions and social structure were guided by three principles:
Gathering and developing magic and the advancement of knowledge of magic
Accumulating and maintaining political power
Regulating the usage and education of magic
(A popular mnemonic for this is GAR*: Gathering knowledge, Accumulating power, Regulating usage.)
Once again, many people learn the meme and leave it at that. The problem with this is that it assumes the history and political mindset of the Association was something so simple and organizable, that there were distinct groups of people within the Association who believed in one of those three goals and nothing more. If there is one thing I would like readers to bring with them after reading this book, it is that the Association was a far more complex institution, filled with contradictions and illogical occurrences.
Problems with the Tri-Objective Model
Part I: Gathering
The first goal, Gathering, seems to imply that the mages were unified in always trying to learn one single thing, and that they about doing so in similar ways. This is as faulty as claiming that, for example, all biologists conduct research to learn one single thing, and that their experiments and research methods were all the same. Archaeological records indicate that mages seeking to gather knowledge were very vaguely divided into two groups: those who sought to advance the limits of magic and to make anything once considered impossible into something possible, and those who sought something called “The Akasha” (also known as the “Root”). Even with this distinction, however, there were mages who could be classified in both groups, seeking both things equally, or leaned towards one or the other. There were also mages who refused to share their research with others, and those who worked in groups: those who used utterly inhumane methods to gain knowledge, and those who were serendipitously seen as heroes for their research.
As mentioned before, mages with similar goals did not necessarily use the same research methods, either; in particular were the mages who studied the Akasha. One surviving paper, The Nature of the Soul and the Source, mentions how this Akasha phenomenon could be found by, “...tracing the origins of the soul, which is connected to the Root...” Another document, Corpus and Origins, goes into detail about finding the Akasha through the artificial synthesis of an “original” human body, theorizing that such a form would be able to reach the Akasha. Other theories involve “reducing oneself to nothing” (it is unclear as to what this is supposed to mean)...
Part 2: Accumulating
The second goal, Accumulating, seems to imply that, once again, the mages (and in this case the Council of Lords) were not only politically unified but also shared the same political goals throughout time. This is a laughable assumption, on par with claiming that a modern country's politicians are politically unified and share the same political goal. Needless to say, the Association was politically no different from modern political institutions in that it was rarely, if ever, completely unified in political ideology.
The T-O model also implies that the overall political agenda for the Association remained the same throughout history, which was also untrue. For example, as mentioned before, the Council ordered several unusually large military excursions outside of Italy throughout the 7th century, and documents from accountant monks from the time period indicate an increase on military spending, such as significant boosts in the import of food, charcoal and iron ore production, and military conscription. Compare this to the Association in the 10th century, where military excursions were almost non-existent, and most imports were luxury goods and construction material.
Also note that the Council's foreign policies were radically changed after the Kullervo Incident. Before, it was simply another minor nation, difficult to assault but lacking the manpower to do much outside its territory. It was a political equal of, or in some cases an inferior to, the various other kingdoms and empires that grew from the destruction of Rome's, such as the kingdoms of the Visigoths (before it was pushed out of Iberia by the Ghanans and then absorbed by the Carolingian Empire) and the Franks, and thus had limited influence in world politics aside from certain cases. Thus, it could not simply command the rulers of other nations the way it did a century and a half after the Incident. After the event, however, when it gained the political muscle to strongarm half of Europe into doing much of what it wished, the Council changed its foreign policy to exploit its advantageous position.
Nor can it be assumed that all, or even many, mages were particularly interested in politics...
Part 3: Regulating
The third goal, Regulation, seems to imply that there was one single way of teaching students thaumaturgy and other magics, and that all mages who taught students used such a method. This is quite false. Even today with standardized education and curriculum, there are differences in how a given subject is taught between schools and even between teachers; the same applied to the education systems of the Association.
Records indicate that, both before and after the Kullervo Incident, teaching between mages and students was always a master-apprentice system. Fully fledged mages rarely, if ever, took on more than one apprentice at a time, and even then not all mages were interested in teaching others (aside from the mage's direct heirs) the ways of magic. There is no evidence that any sort of curriculum was enforced by Association authorities on such relationships, so it is likely that masters taught their apprentices in whichever way they saw fit. Nor did masters always teach apprentices everything they knew. As mentioned earlier in Chapter 2, masters were usually careful to keep non-heir apprentices at an arm's length in order to prevent the junior from divulging the secrets of the senior...
...and, as I have said in Chapter 3, due to regional specializations and preferences in magic, it was not uncommon for teachers to have biased curricula; for example, Association abbeys in northern Germany and Denmark taught more rune magic than the Clock Tower did...
...the education system in Rome, however, was more standardized than that of abbeys outside of Italy. The various thaumaturgical subjects were divided into a number of “schools”, including Spiritual Evocation/Invocation, Minerology, Alchemy, etc. The master-apprentice system still remained, but students could also attend lectures on several subjects, assuming that the lecturer felt generous enough to bother giving one (personal records left behind by disgruntled students indicated that lecturers were somewhat fickle on this matter). The Clock Tower and the Atlas Academy were thus a bit similar to modern universities...
...but one must remember that, although the education in Rome was probably the best (and certainly the most prestigious), non-thaumaturgical subjects were rarely taught, which seemed to have been the advantage of monastic education...
...the point of all this is to demonstrate that the Association was never truly unified and organized in increasing its knowledge of magic, taking and maintaining political power, and teaching and regulating the learning and usage of magic. The objectives, methodologies, and ideologies were greatly diversified throughout all of the Association's history.
Academic Subdivisions in the Association
As magic is as widely varied as any other academic subject, it is of little surprise that the educational branch of the Association was once divided into many departments, called schola (“schools”). Each schola instructed students on a specific subdivision of thaumaturgy.
The Schola Evocationis Spiritualis (“School of Spiritual Evocation”) dealt with the art of summoning spiritual bodies into the physical plane, outside of the mage's own body. The Association considered spiritual evocation to be different from normal summoning, but it is not entirely clear why or how.
The Schola Epiclesis Spiritualis (“School of Spiritual Invocation”) dealt with communicating with/working through spirits, and sometimes with spiritual possession. The difficult art of spiritual surgery fell under this department.
The Schola Mineralogiae (“School of Minerology”) dealt with the study of how minerals and magic interact. Note that magical minerology is slightly different from alchemy; if, for example, we take a jewel that can conduct magical properties, minerology would study how to store and maximize magical energy into the jewel and how to efficiently release it, whereas alchemy would seek to transmute it into something else.
The Schola Exquaesitionis Universalae (“School of Universal Research”) dealt with miscellaneous thaumaturgical subjects. Archaeological studies indicate that this was the most popular department throughout most of the Association's educational branch's existence.
The Schola Alchemiae (“School of Alchemy:) dealt with, not surprisingly, alchemy. This school seemed particularly popular with ethnically Greek students.
It is debatable whether or not the Association taught subjects that were non-thaumaturgical but nonetheless fairly popular in Europe, such as runologio (study of magical runes), ars anathematismi (“the art of cursing”, or what was colloquially known as “witchcraft”), or versio elementorum. Recovered diaries of monk scribes mention that such subjects were “unpopular”, which may imply that they were formally taught on a small scale; however, remains of tools used in witchcraft and rune magic found in Rome suggest that they were imported from foreign areas, and instructors who seemed to possess such objects came from various different departments throughout the Association. Combined with the fact that tools and materials necessary for research and study in the five known schools were made in the city of Rome itself, it seems unlikely that these non-thaumaturgical subjects were formally taught at all, and instead were personal projects of individual teachers and students...
“Probably one of the most pretentious pieces of trash I've ever read...his insulting and snobbish tone in the latter half of the book...was both unnecessary and arrogant.”
-Johnathan Magle, The American Review
“...the irony is rather amusing. He wanted to make a book easily readable and accessible to high schoolers, yet comprehensive and informative, but failed at both.”
-Dr. Peter Edwards, Oxford University
“Although the book is fairly informative, the author skimps out on critical details at times...”
-Jane Sable, Professor of Medieval Socio-Archaeology at the University of Harvard
“This book sucks.”
-Emily Tanaka, High School student
*: Please tell me someone gets the reference.
04-16-2009, 12:19 PM
The Tale of King Arthur and the Ogres of Hamlin
“...in 1061, Arthur I reunited Britain as it had been in during the reign of Alfred the Great...and Britain was without troubles until the coming of Mordred the Conqueror.”
-Winslow Hillchurch, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Vol. I
1061 CE, Summer
Wilderness of Britain
1st year of the reign of Arthur I of Britain
The foul, familiar stench of ogre hit her as she peered through the bushes. She could see almost two dozen adults and twice as many cubs milling about, eating badly cooked meat, chatting, or horseplaying. A handful of guards were watching over the camp, but none of them seemed particularly alert.
After many days of tracking the creatures through the forests, she had finally found the ogres' encampment.
The nest itself was standard ogre fare: crude tents made of branches and skins set up in a cleared area of forest, with a large central tent reserved for the chieftain and his family. Their inhabitants were typical ogres; they were ten feet tall, covered in coarse, dark hair, and their profiles seemed pig-like with upturned snouts and large, protruding tusks jutting from their mouths. Some were clad in animal skins or poorly made clothes made of plant fiber.
A young man, clad in a plain suit of maille and spear in hand, silently crawled up behind her. “The troops are in position.”
She nodded. “Very well. On my signal.”
She opened her palm and ran a bit of od through her Mana Veins, feeling the familiar rush of heat as the magic power flowed down her arm. A large bastard sword, decorated with gold leaf and blue glass, materialized in her hand for a moment before it suddenly became invisible, emitting a slight hiss of air as it did so. The familiar weight of the sword in her grasp felt comforting.
She saw one of the ogre guards sniff the air and scan the bushes. It motioned for two of its comrades to follow its lead, and trudged towards a clump of undergrowth that her soldiers were hiding in.
She stepped out of the bushes and swung her sword at the three. An invisible globe of air smashed into them like a hammer, and they were blown back into a tent, every bone in their body shattered.
The ogres cried out in alarm and scrambled for their weapons. A few guards rushed her, clubs and spears raised, before a volley of arrows from behind brought them low. A survivor wheeled about, confused, before she ran up and cut him in two. She shouted, “Warriors of Britain! Charge!”
Under the cover of arrow fire, scores of soldiers, each armed with spear and sword, swarmed out of the undergrowth and plowed into the panicked bunches of ogres, showing no mercy to any in their path. She led them from the vanguard as they made their way towards the center of the camp, where the chieftain was already tearing out of his tent, his iron warhammer in hand.
To her left, she saw a soldier lose his weapon and saw him trying to retreat, but an ogre's spear caught him in the stomach. The crude spearhead tore open his armor's rings and almost punctured the thick cloth underneath, but the gambeson1 held. The soldier tumbled back, the wind knocked out of him, and his comrades dragged him back into safety.
A spearman and a swordsman took his place in the battle line. The latter parried another blow from the ogre and pinned the weapon against the ground with his shield. The former, meanwhile, behind him thrust his own spear forward and impaled the creature through the neck, dropping it to the earth. The swordsman charged forward to duel with another ogre, while the spearman finished off the creature he had impaled.
To her right, she saw a particularly brash young trooper, eager to earn glory. He roared a challenge and slipped past a thin line of ogres, charging straight for the chieftain. His fellow soldiers shouted warnings, but he did not heed them. Confident that his spear's reach would keep him safe, he made a thrust at the chieftain's vulnerable neck.
There was a blur as the ogre swung his hammer, and the spear flew out of the soldier's hands. Another blow, a low sweep, smashed into his calves and forced him to the floor. He looked up and saw hammer head rushing at his face, and cringed and waited for death to take him.
It did not come.
She stood there, gritting her teeth as she bore the blow of the hammer on her sword. She had leaped over forty feet, over mobs of ogres and soldiers, and landed perfectly between the chieftain and her fallen soldier. Her steel boots sank into the earth as she strained to keep the hammer from falling any further. Before her knees could buckle, she turned aside the hammer and swung her blade, scoring a deep cut on the ogre's chest.
“Retreat,” she said. She never once took her eyes off her opponent.
He gulped. “Y-yes, my liege.”
She and the ogre chieftain circled each other, each sizing the other up. The fighting around them came to a halt as all stood witness to the duel.
The chieftain was the first to make a move. He surged forward and made a horizontal sweep with his hammer. She ducked under it and parried the next downward blow, driving her enemy's weapon into the ground before she ran her blade up the hammer shaft and sliced off the ogre's forearms. Before it could even flinch, leaped up and cleaved off his head with a single sweep. As the head tumbled to the earth, the soldiers cheered in victory and began to renew the attack. It was only a matter of minutes before the ogres either all fled or cast aside their weapons and begged for mercy. Those who retreated were put down by either arrows or reserve troops hiding in the undergrowth.
It is done, she thought. She unsummoned her weapon and let out a sigh of relief. She looked around at the wake of battle that lay before her.
She saw a chain gang of human prisoners led out of a large tent by soldiers, all of them miserable and dirty. Some wept and thanked the soldiers over and over. Others spat at their former captors and cursed them. Still others, many of them children, grieved for dead relatives. She saw a little boy pleading for a still form to wake up, shaking the body to stop sleeping and take him home. She looked around her, and saw that some of the meat that had been roasting on spits looked very much like human limbs. The ground was also littered with what looked like human skulls and bones.
Then she gazed at the ogre children who clung to their mothers or one another, or even to the corpses of those who might have been their fathers, wailing pitiably. She watched as the females begged to be spared, or weeping for their children's lives. Some of them held up necklaces of stones and beads and pointed to their young. She wondered if they were attempting bribery.
However, she remembered that she did not come to simply arrest them. Even if she changed her mind now, she realized, she brought no chains to bind the creatures. Transportation to the ogre pens would be impossible.
A veteran soldier, covered in dark blood, strode towards her and saluted.
“My liege,” he said, “I am happy to report that we have no deaths, and just a few injuries, none of them too serious. We have three dozen captives on our hands, mostly females and cubs, along with a few elderly.”
She nodded. “Our purpose was to track these ogres down and to exterminate them,” she said. “Too many innocents have suffered at their hands. They will raid my people no longer..”
He saluted. “Aye, my liege.” He strode off shouting orders.
As the soldiers went about their work, she strode off by herself into the forest. She did not like forests quite as much as the rolling green hills of her childhood, but the woods had a sense of isolation that gave her a measure of solitude. She trudged through the undergrowth far enough so that the smell of the ogre camp no longer pervaded her senses.
She stood there for a moment in that silence, gazing at the trees, at the greenery that surrounded her, breathing in the fresh forest air. As her eyes wandered, her mind soon followed suit. This is what you must do as a king, she thought to herself. You knew this when you pulled that sword out the stone and swore to protect and serve your country. You knew that not every decision would be an easy one, Merlin told you this far too many times for you to forget.
You knew that these creatures had to die for your people to be safe. They refused the Amnesty, they refused to live in the ogre pens. This is the consequence of their choices.
Choice. Yes, choice. She chose to do this. And as king, she had to make her choices without hesitation or faltering. Merlin told her that, too.
But she wondered, didn't Merlin also tell her that kingship was a position of honor and glory?
A guttural cry broke her out of her reverie. A dark, hairy figure, appearing from nowhere, rushed at her with a club raised over its head.
Her sword reappeared in an instant, and her attacker's own momentum impaled it on the blade. It spasmed and twitched as it slid off the weapon.
A cub, she thought. Only a few months out of infancy, judging from the size. She stared at the corpse.
She turned towards the noise. One of her men stood there in the undergrowth.
“Everything is...” He noticed the body that lay at her feet, then looked up and saw that she was not harmed. “Uh, everything is finished.”
“I understand. Tend to the wounded and make ready to march.”
“Yes, my liege.”
As she left, she glanced back at the ogre child. It still lay there, bloody and alone.
1Gambesons are a type of cloth armor, usually made of many layers of tough cloth such as canvas. They were often worn under metal armors such as maille ("chainmail") or plate, or even worn as an independent piece of armor by poorer soldiers. They're actually surprisingly durable, and certainly better than wearing nothing.
That night, she sat away from her feasting soldiers as she usually did. She gazed at the small fire in her tent as she listened to her men revel outside.
“...and remember when he jumped right over all those ogres and stopped that hammer from pasting Albrecht with just a sword? What was that, a good thirteen yards?”
“And that duel with the big bastard, took 'is head right off! Finished the battle just like that!”
“Ha! And I thought the fight would last longer! Pity it didn't, I might've gotten a few more ogre heads...”
“You? You took a spear to the stomach right when it all started! You're lucky you fix your armor everyday, or you'd be a dead man now.”
“Well, in any case...a toast to the king!”
“Aye! Pity he never comes out to drink with us, eh? For the king!”
“For the king!”
Scores of crude drinking mugs clashed, and then the camp was momentarily silent as the men quaffed their ale. The men spared little time getting back to their revelry.
And inside her tent, king Arthur I of Britain smiled as she listened.
By the next noon, they were already journeying back to Camelot.
She rode at the front as she always did, her soldiers in a line behind her. The freed prisoners were already heading back to their homes, and had a detachment of troops to escort them. The escort had grumbled, saying that there were no more ogres or bandits left in the region, but they followed their orders faithfully nonetheless.
As they made their way to Camelot, they passed peasants working at the fields. The workers cheered and praised their king as she rode by. She, in turn, replied with brief waves of acknowledgment, but nothing more. It is improper for a king to excitedly return adulation like a minstrel, she thought.
By the third day of travel, they approached the gates of Camelot. A herald's trumpet was the first to welcome them.
She noted that the masons had finished the final improvements to the city gates since she had left, and that another section of wall had been completed. She was grateful for the presence of Sir Palamedes, who brought his knowledge of advanced eastern stone fortifications with him when he joined the court several moons ago. A glance to her left as she continued to ride past the city entrance showed her parts of the old wooden walls that were still left. Proud banners, each bearing Britain's coat of arms, fluttered on the finished sections of fortification.
Her subjects cheered her a welcome as she made her way to the keep. A townsman haggled fiercely with a vendor over the price of of a young pig. A gang of little boys, led by a bright-faced youth armed with a stick, charged past them, calling out mock war cries and shouting, “For the king!” They nearly collided with a young man and a girl, who were walking down the street, arms intertwined. The man was pulling a flower out of his pocket when one of the running boys knocked into his arm, causing him to awkwardly lunge for it. Behind him passed a pair of patrolling city guards, who were glancing at another beautiful woman across the street and were daring one another to court her. All of Arthur's subjects stopped when they saw her riding by and shouted praises to their king.
Eventually, she reached the castle courtyard where she dismissed her retinue, who saluted and went off to relax in the mess hall. She herself dismounted from her horse and walked towards the keep. A young woman around her age greeted her at the entrance.
“Your queen welcomes you back to your castle, my king,” said the girl.
Arthur smiled. “It is good to see you again, my queen Guinevere.”
They strode down the winding stone halls of the keep, which had been but a wooden fort before Arthur's crowning. Guards came to attention and saluted them as the king and queen walked past.
“How fared the ogre-hunt, my king?”
“As well as it could have. The men suffered minimal casualties, and none of the ogres managed to escape.”
“Were there any prisoners?”
“Yes, there were. Twenty, both old and young, most of them starved but otherwise unharmed.”
“Oh, I was speaking of ogre prisoners, my lord.”
“Our quest was to exterminate them, Guinevere, not to arrest them.”
Guinevere nodded and sighed. “I suppose they did refuse the Amnesty...”
“...is something the matter, Guinevere?”
“I...no, my king.”
Arthur gave her queen a comforting smile. “I have told you before, Guinevere, that as my dearest companion you are free to speak your mind any time you wish.”
Guinevere shook her head. “It is of no consequence, my lord.” She paused for the moment. “Does this hallway not lead to the throne room?”
Arthur gave her a puzzled glance. “Yes, it is.”
Guinevere blinked. “You only arrived just recently, my liege. Will you not rest and dine first?”
“I must attend to my duties first.”
“You are straining yourself, lord.”
“I am the King, Guinevere. I can do no less.”
They came to a great oaken doorway, and heard the sounds of laughter and cheer that came from the other side. Guinevere huffed with disapproval. “They are knights, yet their conduct is like that of boorish boozehounds...”
A herald threw open the door and shouted, “The King has entered the chamber! All rise!” All noise abruptly ceased, save for the sound of dozens of knights standing at once.
A gargantuan ring-shaped furnishing2, made up of countless, finely crafted tables, dominated the throne room. Around it stood many men and women. Some had fine, noble statures; others bore scars of old battles, though most of them were well-hidden by the robes they wore. Still others had wild look about them, as though civilization were a novelty. Each of them of them, however, stood at attention, honoring their king.
“Knights of the Round Table,” said Arthur, gazing at each of them, “it is good to see you all again.” She and Guinevere moved towards their respective seats. “I will now hold court.” She motioned for the servants to clean up the table.
To the right of the king and queen's thrones at the Table were two special seats—a simple yet ancient wooden chair for the king's personal mage, and similar one for the mage's apprentice. Lady Morganna le Fey, Arthur's half-sister, occupied the latter.
“Lady Morganna,” muttered Arthur, “where is Merlin?”
The gentle mage-in-training answered, “He is resting, my liege. I was told that yesterday's scrying session fatigued him...”
As the rest of the court settled down and prepared themselves for a long day of answering petitioners, Arthur wondered how a scrying session fatigued a half-demon.
2 Certain depictions of the Round Table actually did have it as a ring-shaped piece of furniture. I went farther and made it into dozens of separate desk-sized tables since it seemed rather unwieldy to have a single-piece, colossal wooden table large enough to seat 60 or 70 people. Just think of the size of Arthur's throne room!
Many petitioners had come and gone by the time the village elder arrived. Among them were representatives of the isle of Ulster from the west, some merchants from Germania, and a diplomat, a Speaker, who came on behalf of Alexander the Great.
The Chair of Petitioners was the same as any other chair at the Round Table, save for the king and queen's thrones. Whoever sat in the Chair would be treated as an equal of the Round Table, whether that person was a lowly peasant or a great noble of the realm. That was the idea, at least, according to Merlin.
The elder was covered in filth, and not even the dirty rags he wore could disguise how spindly his arms were, or how his flesh was stretched thin across his cheeks. Arthur could see the dull rage in the old one's eyes from all the way across the Table. She vaguely wondered why such a mud-encrusted, emaciated village leader seemed so familiar to her.
His body trembled as he spoke, but his growling voice was firm. “My king, the village of Campton is in need of aid. We have no food and already the little ones are dying. We have but few cattle left for the winter, and not enough hands to till the fields. The women are doing their best, but they already have too much to do and there are not enough of them to bring in the harvest by winter. ”
Arthur nodded. “I understand. I will have a shipment of grain from Camelot delivered to Campton within the week, along with twenty volunteers to assist with the fields.”
“I thank you my king,” said the elder, “but it is not enough. We lost too many of our young men those weeks ago during the battle, and we need more men to work the farms-”
“I can spare no more, elder,” said Arthur. “I will ship grain and extra hands to Campton, but-”
“We must have more!” shouted the elder, slamming his fist onto the table. A few knights jumped in their seats. “The harvest is soon, and we have no men to bring in the grain! The fields do not have the fine men of Campton working them, because of you!” He pointed an accusing finger at Arthur. “You took my son and and my grandson away, and so many others, only to stain the earth with their blood!”
She remembered an old but strong-looking man pleading with her several weeks ago, begging and pleading with her to not take so many men away from the village when the harvest was so soon. She then knew why the elder seemed so familiar.
“Young Richard...” wept the old one. “He was to be married the next week! But you tore him away from his house, threw a spear into his hands and told him to kill Franks, seasoned warriors! Richard, and so many others like him, you took them away from their families and condemned them to die dogs' deaths-”
“Hold your tongue, old man!” shouted a young knight. It was Gawain, Speaker and the personal diplomat to Arthur. “You speak insolence to your king-”
“That is enough, Sir Gawain,” said Arthur. She turned to the village elder, whose dirty face was streaked with tears and was shaking. “Elder, I understand that these are dark times for Campton, and I will send aid to your village, as much of it as I can muster. But I can send no more.”
“My word is final.”
He stared hard at the table before him, head hanging low. “I...I...” He swallowed. “I...thank you, my king, for your...generosity.” He limped his way out of the chair and out the throne room.
As he left, Arthur called out to him, “Elder. Because of the sacrifices of the men of Campton, Britain, and Campton itself, lies safe from the hands of Franks and saved us from the treachery of Baron Herbert. They did not die dogs' deaths.”
The elder looked over his shoulder and hissed back, “They died so that their families may starve and freeze. No, King Arthur, they did not die dogs' deaths. They murdered their own village, and you ordered them to do the deed.” He almost ran into another man dressed in Mage's robes as he left.
“Such disrespect,” huffed Gawain from Arthur's left. “He should be hanged for insulting the king in such a way.”
Before Arthur could digest the elder's words, the herald announced the next petitioner.
“Announcing Bartolomeo Razzini, Speaker for Lord Pietro Orseolo II of House Venezia, Council Lord of the Association of Magi.”
Razzini strode in and plunked himself down on the Chair of Petitioners, a disarming smile on his face. He was a middle aged man wearing indigo robes of fine wool, and many jewels bedecked his hands and throat. A large feathered hat lay on his head. However, as foppish as he seemed to be, Arthur knew that Razzini was a mage, and a mage of the Association, at that, and was not to be underestimated. .
“My dear king Arthur!” he said, “It is good to see you again! We met once before at the Council of Kings two moons ago, if you would recall-”
“Speaker Razzini,” said Arthur. “We are to discuss business, not to trade pleasantries.”
Razzini merely laughed. “Ah, my apologies for rambling, my king, the experiment I was conducting before I had left must have addled my brains, as I am sure you know that Thaumaturgy is a rather exciting work, but I shall now speak of the matter at hand. Brevity is the soul of wit, as I am fond of saying!” He cleared his throat and continued.
“Now, my king, I am sure you are aware of the existence of a certain lithic curiosity in the area of Wales, known to my colleagues in the Association and to you Britons as Stonehenge, which many magi, the Association included, are interested in due to its status as a Spiritual Land.”
The rest of the throne room stared for a moment, expecting more.
Gawain spoke in place of the king. “If I may, my liege. And you would expect us, Speaker Razzini, to...assist the Association in acquiring this Spiritual Land?”
Razzini's smile grew wider. “As expected of Gawain of the Silver Tongue, you have struck the matter precisely on the head. The Council of Lords has long known of the importance of Stonehenge, but the chaos in Britain before its uniting under Alfred the Great prevented any Association members from researching Stonehenge in the old days, and since Alfred the Council had...other matters to deal with, so as you can understand, the Council is quite anxious to unearth what secrets Stonehenge has to offer.”
Gawain spoke once more. “Of course, sir, but you are aware that, though we are the rulers of the region, as part of the treaty binding England and Wales together we, the English, have sworn to protect all Welsh sacred sites from any outsiders?”
“I am well aware, Sir Gawain,” said Razzini, his smile never faltering.
Gawain blinked and glanced at his king.
“Speaker Razzini,” said Arthur, “though I understand that the Council strongly wishes to study Stonehenge, I consider the Welsh my loyal subjects as much as any of the knights who sit before you.” She gave Razzini a stony stare. “I will not betray them for any reason short of treason.”
Razzini's smile froze. “...you would disobey the wishes of the Council of Lords, the ruling body of the Association of Magi-?”
A door behind Arthur flew open.
“Oh, Barty's here! You little runt, you've gotten quite big now! Uncle Merlin hasn't seen you since you were five!”
He was a wizened old man, a little soft and flabby around the middle and clutching what looked like a crudely hewn branch. His incredibly long white beard seemed to threaten to trip him every other step he took.
“Ah, where's my seat, where's my seat...there it is! You there, the pretty serving wench with the blue ribbon, bring me some wine, would you? Red, if you would, just bring the whole pitcher and a goblet...yes, that's it. No, no, I can pour for myself, I'm not that old—whoop! Maybe not...”
Razzini stared with a quiet horror at the bumbling old man who sat at the right of Guinevere. The king and queen tried to hide their exasperation, while Gawain, who prized manners above everything else, tried to hide his seething rage. Morganna simply looked embarrassed.
Merlin drew a very long draught from the goblet of wine as the rest of the room waited, Razzini squirming in his seat. The old wizard set down his goblet and seemed to begin speaking when he poured himself another helping of wine and quaffed that as well.
“Ah! 1049 Burgundy, such a wonderful flavor. Now where was I?” He peered across the table to Razzini. “Oh yes, you, young Barty! Here to visit your dear old uncle?”
Razzini fidgeted and cleared his throat again. “As, as I was saying to the court before your, uh, arrival, I am here to request to King Arthur to assist the Association-”
“Is this Association business? What a pleasant surprise! What's new over there?”
“You would know,” said Razzini through gritted teeth, “if you had answered the many summons the Council had made.”
“Do they really want to see me so much? Then they should come visit sometime! Preferably during the spring or summer, the cows in Britain are a bit rowdy in the fall-”
“If I may continue, sir,” said Razzini.
“Oh yes, go ahead.”
“As I was saying, I am here to request to King Arthur to assist the Association in...researching Stonehenge in Wales-”
“Come now, Barty, it's me, your old uncle Merlin! Surely you could tell me a secret or two.”
“Well, I was just wondering why those old codgers in Rome felt like rummaging around in Welsh country for some rocks.”
Razzini began steepling his hands together. “I was...not informed as to why the Council wishes Stonehenge to be studied, only that I was to acquire the assistance of England in-”
“Yes, yes, we've been over that,” dismissed Merlin. “Why don't you just ask me if you're all so interested? I've been there a few times when I was a wee bit younger...”
“Well, uh...we would prefer to study the area ourselves.”
“Really now? Well, I'm sure that Arthur here's told you that we can't let you do that, since the Welsh are bit sensitive to outsiders running around their holy sites, so be a good boy and bugger off then, eh?”
Razzini's anger finally broke through. “You senile old fool. How dare you defy the will of the Council?”
“And how dare you,” said Merlin, “wear that stupid purple dress before me? Is that the new uniform now at the Tower?”
Razzini exploded, “SILENCE! You insult a representative of the Council!” He pointed a finger at Merlin, which began to glow with power...
And found two blades at his throat, courtesy of the knights sitting beside him.
“May I, liege?” asked Sir Gareth, casually eyeing Razzini's quivering throat.
“Both of you, sheath your weapons,” said Arthur. She had a look about her, the same sort of look she had when she was about to do battle.
“Speaker Razzini,” she continued. “You are to return to Rome immediately. My guards will escort you out of Camelot. Tell the Council that Wales will not be sacrificed for the Council's gain.”
“This is in total defiance to the Council!” growled Razzini.
“When I pulled the sword Caliburn out of the stone, I swore an oath to protect Britain and all of my subjects, be they Danes, Scots, Saxons, or Welshmen. Nothing will make me forsake that oath; not even the will of the Council. Go now, and make my decision be known.”
“I will make it known, boy king,” said Razzini. “And you will regret this act of impudence!” He stormed out of the chamber, his escorts jogging to keep up with him.
“Well, that was interesting,” remarked Merlin when the footsteps died away. “I think I'll be back to bed now, that wine's made me sleepy again...” He trundled off to his chambers, pinching a serving girl's bottom as he went.
Arthur stared at the empty center of the Table, attempting to digest the events of the day. The knights around her were silent.
Guinevere placed a gentle arm on Arthur's shoulder. “Perhaps we should have supper and adjourn for the day,” she said. Arthur nodded in response.
Dinner was typical fare, and as usual the meal was taken with mostly silence. Though Arthur never explicitly prohibited merrymaking during mealtimes, the knights and other guests never made much noise outside of the occasional bit of light conversation. Guinevere often said that the knights were behaving as they should in the presence of their king. Sir Dagonet the court jester, however, often joked that Arthur's serious disposition, “...devoured the merriment in a room as a wolf devours meat.” But then, Sir Dagonet was the sort of fellow who found it humorous to compare the queen to a jackdaw for her love of precious jewels. (Since then, Guinevere was strictly forbidden from using Gandr curses on any member of the court, no matter how deserving).
As there were no more petitioners for the day and since Guinevere insisted that Arthur rest from the ogre expedition, Arthur retired to her chambers after dinner. But first, she decided to pay the College Tower a visit.
The College was another recent addition to Camelot, one proposed by Merlin himself. The old mage insisted that, at first, all he wanted was a decent Workshop for himself since his old one fell to ruin soon after the death of Uther: the other additions, such as an expansive library, an alchemy laboratory, elaborate private quarters, and a handful of dorms for potential students were just “minor additions” that came to him. Arthur, meanwhile, always wondered why mages liked their facilities arranged in inconveniently tall towers.
She approached the entrance to Merlin's chambers.
“Merlin. Are you awake?”
“My king! Always nice to have you pay me a visit. Come in, come in.” She stepped into the room.
There were books and the occasional spare robe scattered about the stone-walled room, with several candles providing dim illumination. In the shadow cast by the flickering light, Merlin somehow seemed less...harmless. The mage was bent over a piece of text and did not look up to speak to Arthur.
“Something's troubling you, then?”
She rummaged about for a cushion and took her seat.
Merlin was scribbling something onto a bit of parchment. “Apologies for the row I had with Barty back there,” he chuckled. “The cheeky young upstart thinks he can just bully you around just because he's the Council's lapdog.”
“Was it necessary for you to insult him like that?”
“Of course. If he went on, some of the knights might have lost confidence in you for challenging the Council. I had to...ruffle some feathers up a bit, make him look like a silly bully.”
“But the Council-”
“The Council can't take any direct action. They might have a Wizard Marshal, but they don't have the manpower to punish us militarily. Oh, we'll be blacklisted by the Association for a while, but that's what the College is for.”
Arthur had no answer save for silence.
Merlin looked up at his king, the young girl he had groomed and helped Sir Ector raise since her infancy, and smiled. “Arturia, my girl, I know what I'm doing. I was a lord on the Council once, remember? I know how they work.”
Arturia returned the smile. “Thank you, Merlin. Ah...there was one other thing...”
Arturia paused. “...no, I will not bother you any further.”
“Are you sure?”
“I thought so. Tell me about it, Arturia.”
She hesitated for a moment before speaking. “The village elder of Campton came as a petitioner today. I am sure you remember Baron Herbert's betrayal?”
“Yes, that horrible little incident, go on.”
“You were not there, but my men and I had to strip the village of Campton bare of food and men to prepare for battle.”
“The battle with the Franks did not go as well as I wished it to. Many good men were lost...many men of Campton.”
“So the elder came by today to plead for supplies and field hands, I suppose?”
“And I suppose he wasn't very jolly, eh?”
Again, she nodded.
Merlin sighed and put away his quill. He turned around in his chair and looked straight at the girl before him.
“'Tis politics, my girl, 'tis politics. Ector and I raised you as an ideal knight, so while fighting and riding and monster-slaying's easy for you...well...dealing with problems that can't be solved with steel and nerve's a bit troubling. It'll be like that until you get used to it.”
“But am I not responsible for the suffering of my people?”
“Suffering, like evil and stupidity, will always be. It's your duty as a king to lessen such things in your country, but they'll never be totally erased.
She sighed. “More than half a year has passed already since I pulled that sword out of the stone. Yet...”
Merlin placed a warm hand on hers. “You'll pick it up in time, Arturia, no need to worry.” He chuckled, “Until then, you have your knights, your queen, and this old wineskin to help you.”
“Are you sure the old wineskin will be of any use?”
Merlin did a small double-take, then saw the little smile on her lips.
“Ha ha! In a few years, I'll be a senile old wineskin, and then I'll really be of no help!” He stood up and moved to his wardrobe.
“Ah, the hour grows late. You should get some rest,” said Merlin.
“Agreed. Good night, Merlin.”
“And to you, my king.”
Arthur entered her chambers and undressed herself with the help of her servants, who silently left once their work was done. Clad in sleeping robes, she found Guinevere practicing her magic again.
“Always at work, are you, Guinevere?”
Guinevere started and turned around. “Oh! I did not hear you enter, my king.”
Arthur let out a little sigh of exasperation. “I told you many times, Guinevere, that we can let down our guard here.”
Guinevere moaned. “I know, Arturia, but it feels so strange to think of you as a woman after spending a whole day pretending you are not.” She put away her jewels and entered the bed. Arthur followed soon after.
“Such a tiring day.”
“Yes. But tomorrow is a new one, no?”
A quick puff of air, and the lamps were extinguished.
They lay there in the comforting darkness, reflecting over the events of the day, until Arthur turned her head towards Guinevere.
“Am I a good king?”
“The very best.”
In the moonlight, Arthur saw Guinevere smiling.
So ended the last day of summer.
One of my sources of inspiration is the video game series of Myth, made by Bungie (of Halo fame) back when they weren't rolling in cash thanks to Halo. The first game was made in 1997, and was followed up by a sequel. The Myth series is a classic in Real Time Tactical games (like strategy games but without any sort of resource collecting or base building) and was known for, among other things, its advanced physics engine, excellent gameplay, and kooky humor contrasted against a grim, hopeless setting.
What I especially liked about Myth was the flavor text of of the units. If you clicked on any given unit (yours or the enemies'), at the top of the screen you'd see a mug shot of the unit, plus a bit of text that pertains to the unit. A lot of such flavor text were written as if they were pulled straight out of a history book or a tall tale, and I absolutely loved them.
A database of such flavor text can be found here: .org/legends/encyclopedia
Since I liked them so much, and since Myth has an influence on my own planned series of stories, I've decided to add a Vignettes section, a section reserved for "flavor text" pertaining to the characters and settings involved in the story. Many of them will be pilfered straight from the Myth quotes. These will serve to outline extra details and trivia about things that I wasn't able to cover in the actual story. Although the vignettes certainly aren't necessary to enjoy the stories, they will certainly provide extra information on characters, particularly on characters who do not show certain aspects of themselves to others.
Like archaeological written records, not all quotes found in the Vignettes section speak the literal truth. However, in every Vignette there is still truth to be found, without exception.
And so, I give you the Vignettes:
"...among the Knights of the Round Table, none were as skilled in horsemanship as Sir Bedievere...not even Lancelot could best her in tourneys."
-Sieffre o Fynwy, The Book of English Kings
"Alfred the Great was the first to unite the Saxons and the Danes, but not even he could tame the wild lands of the Scottish Highlands and Wales..."
- Oswald of Avon, Historian
"... though the Franks were afraid to kill him after his capture at Cardiff they dislocated his arms at the shoulder with a chisel to prevent him from ever drawing a bow again."
-A Treatise on Welsh Longbowmen In British History
"Above all else Gawain was known to have valued manners the most...rumors are abound that servants have disappeared after failing to respect proper court manners..."
"...so Merlin became to be known as The Deceiver. This should come as no surprise, given his lineage..."
-Private diaries of Lord Otto Orseolo of House Venice, Council Lord
04-16-2009, 12:31 PM
“We weep at the cry of the hawk, but not at the blood of the fish.
Blessed are those with voice.”
Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
“History is written by the victors,” as the saying goes. But what about the losers? What about the lost stories, those silenced voices, those unheard testaments? The unheard stories of people who were unlucky enough to not have their story be told? The unknown and the forsaken, whose point of view will never be considered? The hated, who will never be understood?
What about their stories?
Why should they be left unconsidered?
Why should we forget them?
A dedication to those who speak, but are never heard. A requiem for those who bleed, but are never mourned.
May their testaments be forever remembered.
The Blood of the Og Hur
The Last Testament of Nalgrash dur Nalgorat
I am Nalgrash dur Nalgorat. I was the chieftain of the Urshku tribe of the Og Hur people before my death. I tell you my story not because I will be heard but because I must speak.
My people walked the earth since the early days, when Shr molded us out of clay and her blood. We quickly came into conflict with the Amansur, the Frail Ones, and for innumerable seasons we fought them and oppressed them. We dominated their weak race, for their arms were weak and their backs were thin. We took from them their food, their hunting grounds, and at times their flesh. In those days, they knew not of metal nor magic, and so our might was unstoppable.
But our oppression of the Amansur led to our destruction. The shamans spoke of how our strong bodies made us too proud and cruel, and how by the time we realized the Frail Ones had mastered the secrets of copper and sorcery, the earth had long since been stained with our blood. The Frail Ones drove us to the farthest corners of the earth, where Og Hur still hide. Once we were shattered, the Amansur paid us little heed, and we struggled to live in hiding for generations. The greatest among our number, Enkidu, traveled forth to defeat the greatest among the Amansur. But we became forsaken by our champion when he, instead of smiting the Shining One to the earth, became his greatest friend and ally. Without our champion, we were pushed further into the dark corners of the world.
As we had grown proud of our strength, so did the Amansur grow proud of their secrets. They waged war upon one another, turning the tools they used to slay us against their own kin. For generations they fought and slaughtered one another, and because of their conflict we fell out of their sight. This is why the Og Hur still walk today. The occasional tribe among us would venture out of the mountains or forests to feast upon the flesh of the humans, for the humans were many in number and easy to catch, but each time the Frail Ones would venture out to catch and exterminate them. It was this way for generations.
When I was born into the world and my spirit given flesh, the Amansur of the lands that my fathers had lived on were thrown into chaos, for they were without a strong leader, but we were as one behind our Great Chieftain. For many seasons we ravaged the Frail Ones, stealing their secrets and using them against their former keepers. We would drive away those Frail Ones and establish a new territory, one for the Og Hur and the Og Hur alone. The Amansur, weakened by years of warfare with one another, fell prey to our warriors at first. But we were few in number, and the Amansur too many. Though we slew them and took away from them their cattle and their metal weapons, they sent forth their own Great Chieftain, Young Sword, and struck us down once more. He fought our Great Chieftain and cut off his head in front of a thousand of our number; at this, the nine Lesser Chieftains and our warriors swore oaths of vengeance and went forth to slay him.
That day, a thousand became none. Their bones still lie there on that bloody hill, unburied and left for the wild dogs to eat.
Once they crushed us into the earth, they herded us into pens as they did with their animals. They called it the Amnesty, as though we were guilty, as though we had committed a great crime against the gods. What crime is it to take the food and land of a people who could no longer keep them? And have they not committed the same crime themselves? The other chieftains quailed in terror of the Young Sword and accepted his Amnesty, but I, as the new leader of the Urshku, spat upon his false offer and waged war against him as we did in the years before. I would not live as swine, wallowing in a muddy sty as a human throws me fodder. This I told to the two messengers of the Young Sword as I ate his third.
He came for us as we were resting in the late afternoon, like a hunter stalking prey. We had raided a human village for victuals several days before, and did not expect them to catch us so soon. I warned my people that they would not show mercy, and to be on guard for their trickery, but it was not enough. I armed them with weapons of iron, and tried to instruct them in their usage, but it was not enough. I know now that had I a hundred strong warriors and gave them the best metal weapons, it still would not have been enough.
When they came, my warriors fell as sheep did before wolves. I faced the Young Sword in personal combat, as leaders should. Our duel was swift. He was no larger than a Og Hur child, yet could match me in strength, and was armed with a sword that commanded the winds itself. It was but a few moments before my arms were cut off and my head separated from my body. I could say that it was an honor to die as the Great Chieftain did, but it would be a bitter lie.
As my spirit fled my corpse, I watched as the remnants of my people fought and died, watched as our children and wives were put to the sword. It was all I could do then, to observe; to only observe as their blood seeped into the earth, as the women begged for the lives of our children, our future; as our frightened young wailed for the comfort of their mothers and fathers, but were answered with cold steel. It was only as I saw the last child of the Urshku try and fail to slay the Young Sword that I realized that I had doomed my people to this fate from the beginning, the day I refused his Amnesty.
As my spirit left the world, I raged.
I raged at the gods for failing my people.
I raged at the Great Pit for dragging into it the souls of the innocent Urshku tribe.
I raged at the Young Sword and the Frail Ones for wiping us out of existence.
I raged at the others of my kind for abandoning their pride as Og Hur.
I raged at myself for dooming the Urshku, my brothers, my kin, my children.
I raged at the world because I knew that none would mourn the Ursku but the crows.
I raged because I knew that my voice will eternally be silent.
I am Nalgrash dur Nalgorat. I was the chieftain of the Urshku tribe of the Og Hur people before my death. I told you my story not because I will be heard but because I must speak.
The Last Testament of Lurze dur Rushak
I'm Lurze dur Rushak. I was the last living child of the Urshku tribe of the Og Hur before I died. I'll tell you my story because I'm scared and I want to be heard.
When the human called Young Sword came to our camp, I was just a little boy. My tribe and my family were always moving. I asked Father and the uncles of my tribe why we were always moving, when there were lots of fish and berries and deer around. They always laughed and told me I'd know when I'm a man. I really wanted to grow up fast.
Life was weird because of all the moving, but it was nice. I played with my brother sister and my friends, and I wanted to be the greatest shaman ever. Lorgu was my best friend and blood-brother, and he wanted to be the greatest chieftain ever. We made a promise. He was going to be the strongest chieftain, and I'd help him as the strongest shaman. After that, we made another promise. We were going to protect our tribe, and fight the Frail Ones, like our parents told us. We really wanted to go hunting with Father and the uncles, and come back with huge hunks of deer and scared humans. We wanted to know what it was like. We thought it'd be fun.
The Frail Ones are weird. Father said they were really strong, but the humans he brings back are really weak and break a lot. The elders told me lots stories. A long long time ago, Shr made us, and humans were really weak. We had the land. Then they told me how the Frail Ones had metal and magic and got strong. I didn't believe them. I know the Amansur were weak. The ones our fathers brought back home were always scared and crying. One day, I wrestled with one of the younger ones. I thought he was my age. I took him out to the forest, and we played. I heard a stick break. I looked down, and I thought he fell asleep. I shouted at him and yelled at him to wake up, but he didn't, so I left him there. When I asked Father about the weird human, he cuffed me and yelled at me. He told me that I “killed” the human and I was being “irresponsible”. He told me that humans were really easy to break. After that, I decided humans were weak and frail.
I was wrong.
I was listening to Elder Arthrk when the tent fell. I thought a tree had fallen on us, but it wasn't. I got out of the tent and I saw lots of people asleep. I saw lots of humans wearing rocks running around, and everything was really loud. There was red stuff everywhere, like the red stuff that comes out of deer when Father chopped them up. I think he called it “blood”. I saw Lorgu yell and run at the humans, and suddenly fall down. I saw chieftain Nalgrash, the strongest in our tribe, fall down. His head rolled off, like the way deer heads rolled off after Father cut it. I couldn't find Mother and Father.
I was scared and I didn't know what was going on and everything was really loud. I went into some bushes and I crawled past some humans with bows and I picked up a club and tried to hide under a bush because I was scared and I wanted Mother and Father and Brother and Sister and I think I cried a little there and humans and people ran past me and I'm not sure really sure what happened after that I can't remember I can't remember I can't remember—
I saw him.
He was really bright. You know when you look at the sun, it's really bright and it hurts your eyes? He was like that. He just stood there.
He was scary. But I hated him. I hated him more than I was scared.
I don't really know why I hated him. Maybe I just knew somehow that it was his fault.
I ran at him. I screamed really loud. I swung my club, like how Father told me to do. Then everything was dark.
Maybe I should've run away.
But I didn't.
It's too late now.
It's dark here. It's cold and I don't know where I am.
I can't hear Brother and Sister.
I can't see where Father and Mother are.
I can't find Lorgu.
I can't move.
I yelled, “Mother! Father!”, but I don't think they heard me.
It's really cold. I can't see anything. I can't hear anything. It's all black like night, but I can't see the moon or stars.
I think I'm alone.
I'm Lurze dur Rushak. I was the last living child of the Urshku tribe of the Og Hur before I died. I told you my story because I'm afraid and I want to be heard.
04-17-2009, 09:15 PM
This is pretty long (though also pretty neat). Still, I think you might be hard pressed to find anyone willing to read all of this, simply due to length.
I myself skimmed the historical one, and immediately thought of one big issue, however: how would people like, say, Emperor Antoninus Pius, exist. If history has taken an entirely different path, it wouldn't make very much sense to have the same Roman emperors or even the same Roman empire: for example, if just one of Antoninus Pius' ancestors had died due to this alternate history, he certainly would not be emperor; if Rome had lost the crucial access to Anatolian resources and Egyptian grain that had made the Antonines wealthy, he might exist, but again, he wouldn't have been emperor.
I think it might be impossible to reconcile a fictional setting with a realistic-style history...
Also, where was the Catholic Church?
[ :smallamused: ]
04-17-2009, 11:59 PM
As it is getting late here, and since I have to wake up early tomorrow (Astronomy...:smallmad:), I will address your points a bit later.
Historiae/Silent Voices has been updated. Chapters 1 and 2 posted.
04-18-2009, 09:11 AM
This is pretty long (though also pretty neat). Still, I think you might be hard pressed to find anyone willing to read all of this, simply due to length.
I myself skimmed the historical one, and immediately thought of one big issue, however: how would people like, say, Emperor Antoninus Pius, exist. If history has taken an entirely different path, it wouldn't make very much sense to have the same Roman emperors or even the same Roman empire:
That's true, but I haven't explained exactly how the Roman Republic, and then the Empire, came to be, or what happened before all that, did I? :smallwink: The history that plays out will be different, of course, and who's to say that the Roman Empire portrayed here is the same one that appeared in history?
for example, if just one of Antoninus Pius' ancestors had died due to this alternate history, he certainly would not be emperor;
That's true, but it could easily have been a different Antonius Pious, a different fellow with the same name (or even a different name, but still has "Antonious" and "Pious" in it).
if Rome had lost the crucial access to Anatolian resources and Egyptian grain that had made the Antonines wealthy, he might exist, but again, he wouldn't have been emperor.
But Rome also had lots of mages. It's where the Association started, remember?
I think it might be impossible to reconcile a fictional setting with a realistic-style history...
Maybe, but I'm going to try nonetheless.
Also, where was the Catholic Church?
Hmm...this is going to irk some people I think...
When I started making the setting, one of the first things I tossed out was a large, organized political/religious body (like the Roman Catholic Church in real life history). I neither support nor condemn such institutions, but I felt that if I included one, it'd have to be a major part of the story, and if it became a major part of the story I'd have to delve into its characteristics, and if I delve into its characteristics I'd eventually end up having to write it as though I condemned it or supported it.
I didn't want to do any of that, so simply cut it right out. Screws up history in a big way, I know, but religion wasn't really something I wanted to focus on, and the only real way I could do that was to cut out large religious organizations.
04-21-2009, 07:39 PM
Meh. The odds of everything working out the way you have it are so improbable that you'd need to hit the lottery six consecutive times (without cheating) to match it. That is, it's not gonna fly.
You're going to need to throw history out the window to make this work, and it's tough to write a history in which history is thrown out the window...
[ :smallconfused: ]
04-23-2009, 05:26 AM
:smallfrown:I haven't done a word count, but it is rather long. Expecting someone to read more than three to four thousand words without a break isn't such a hot idea. I read very fast, so I have weird standards, but your first piece (Arturia's viewpoint) seems to me to be about novella length. At that point, chapters are worth considering.
That's true, but it could easily have been a different Antonius Pious, a different fellow with the same name (or even a different name, but still has "Antonious" and "Pious" in it).Based on my limited understanding of the way the background 'verse works here (I've never seen any piece of fiction related to Fate/Stay Night in my life), the idea of famous people from history existing in the setting isn't as bizarre as it would be in a standard alternate history setting.
Hmm...this is going to irk some people I think...
When I started making the setting, one of the first things I tossed out was a large, organized political/religious body (like the Roman Catholic Church in real life history). I neither support nor condemn such institutions, but I felt that if I included one, it'd have to be a major part of the story, and if it became a major part of the story I'd have to delve into its characteristics, and if I delve into its characteristics I'd eventually end up having to write it as though I condemned it or supported it.You can work around that, but you have to work, so it's not an obvious call to include it.
On the other hand, the existence of organized magic-users fills part of the social and political hole left by the Church in medieval affairs, though not all of it.
04-23-2009, 08:46 PM
Meh. The odds of everything working out the way you have it are so improbable that you'd need to hit the lottery six consecutive times (without cheating) to match it. That is, it's not gonna fly.
You're going to need to throw history out the window to make this work, and it's tough to write a history in which history is thrown out the window...
[ :smallconfused: ]
Eh...perhaps this is because I constructed the history of the setting to match the "present" (1066 CE); that is, I plunked down what the setting of 1066 CE was going to be like, then constructed its history so that the sequence of events would lead to that present.
I haven't done a word count, but it is rather long. Expecting someone to read more than three to four thousand words without a break isn't such a hot idea. I read very fast, so I have weird standards, but your first piece (Arturia's viewpoint) seems to me to be about novella length. At that point, chapters are worth considering.
Oh...so three to fourthousand words is the recommended limit? I didn't know that.
As an FYI, Foundational Memories Chapter I was about 6000 words, Documents about 5000. I didn't realize that such length would strain people's attention spans. I'll keep this in mind for later chapters.
You can work around that, but you have to work, so it's not an obvious call to include it.
I don't quite understand what you mean. Are you saying that it seems like I'm handwaving the no-Catholic-Church issue? I had that in mind while I was constructing the Association.
Also, any thoughts on Silent Voices? Or anything else about Documents, for that matter?
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