I finally finished a story before the deadline for the competition and I have submitted it. The story is below and it happens at the same time as this. Any comments are always welcome. This again is a sub-story to my main novel. The theme was to write about a Raptor and miscommunication. I named the characters after Kenny Sebastian and Russell Peters.
A Rapturous Welcome
“Tragedy plus time equals comedy.” Steve Allen
Kenny and Russell scurried through the darkened halls of the monastery. The mock fight was about to start in the field outside. Nearly everyone would be there. The Abbott always used to watch these battles. Some said that he scouted for talent and others said that he was there to intervene in case things got out of hand. Either way, this was a golden opportunity to test the old book they unearthed from the main library. They went to the secluded room that they had identified. They lit the torch in the room. ”Kenny draw a star on the floor. ” ”Which type of star do you want me to draw? Is it a young one or a dying one? A small one or a big one? Maybe one that is just going to explode? Do you want me to draw a moon and planets to go along with it?” ”Draw a bloody pointed star otherwise somebody is going to get hurt.” Kenny shrugged and drew a hexagram on the floor. Russell looked at the floor. ”Kenny are you sure that is the right star from the book?” ”You doubt me, brother? A star is a star after all.” Russell and Kenny smiled and had a swig from their flagon and said: ”Well here goes nothing.” Russell chanted from the book. As he finished the chant there was a slight tremor in the air and a glowing sphere started to grow in front of them. It continued to break the space in front of them. They entered it as soon as it was tall and wide enough.
”Russell I never expected there to be so much greenery in the future.” ”Greenery is one thing but the whiffs of smell troubles me greatly.” They started walking about. It was as if they were walking through a jungle. Russell saw a short bird-like creature. It was short but was wider than they were taller. ”Kenny look at that strange bird there.” Do you think that this is what a chicken looks like in the future?” Kenny was speechless. His eyes transfixed on the creature in the clearing. Russel was about to say something. Kenny quickly closed Russell’s mouth before he could say anything else. ”Russell I do not think we are in the future. I think we are in the past. That thing over there is no chicken it is a Raptor!!!!”
Russell looked at Kenny in disbelief. Kenny whispered to Russell. ”Show me the exact spell that you used.” Russell took the book from his satchel and flipped through it until he found the spell. Kenny read it carefully and then pointed to a word. “How exactly did you pronounce this word and what tone did you use? Russell repeated the word and said it in the accent which he used. Kenny was shocked. “By the mother of heavens do you even know what you have done? You took us to the past instead of the future.” Russell started to wave his hands all over. “All of you speak similarly. How would I know that there are different meanings for the same word? You people from the east are crazy!!” Russell felt feathers by his leg. He looked down at saw the raptor beside him. Russell froze. Kenny instinctively put his hand in his satchel and pulled some jerky from his bag. He tossed it towards the raptor. The raptor ate it ravenously. He tossed some more towards it. “Give me the spell book quickly Russell.” He started chanting as soon as he had the spell in his hand. The portal opened and they were back in the dusty room. The portal began to close. “Russell you have to promise never to tell anyone about this.” “Tell anyone about what boys?” Russell and Kenny turned left and saw the Abbott. “ “It was all Kenny’s idea Abbott. I could not even pronounce the words in the book.” “You backstabbing son …“ The Abbott glared at both of them and Kenny fell silent. The Abbott took the book from Kenny. The next thing they heard was the loud rip of Kenny’s satchel. The Abbott was bemused as the raptor stuck his head out from behind Kenny and Russell. The Abbott cast a spell and the Raptor fell asleep. “Boys you have some explaining to do. You will be here until I come back. May the Mother keep you safe.”
I generally have avoided reading Science Fiction. It has not interested me. I find this surprising considering that I am a big fan of Doctor WHO, Star Trek and Star Wars. I absolutely loved GATTACA. Terraforming and colonizing of other planets fascinate me. Seven of Nine played by Jeri Ryan is one of my favourite movie characters. Now I am faced with an interesting challenge. I hope I will be able to do it. The challenge in the story competition is to write a story where the robot is friendly. In interestingly enough I watched an episode of a series where the protagonist seeks to check if a particular computer has achieved true artificial intelligence by asking a series of questions and tweaking the Turin test. Maybe an idea will come to me as I head over to bed. So far I have been using the competition challenges to develop my novel further. However, this is going to be different. I really don’t envisage a place for robots in the world I have created. If you have any ideas then let me know.
Baahubali and the sequel are probably the first medieval fantasy in India that can be considered world class. This is strange considering the rich mythology and history of India. That though is for another day. Please be aware that there are spoiler alerts.
For my novel, I wanted things to be as realistic as possible. I researched armour and weapons. I found this experience very insightful. The problem though is that I have started seeing medievial fantasy movies with a critical eye. This post is by no means a critique on the movie. There are plenty of those around including silly ones that show the absence of an item in one shot to the other. I am looking at this purely from the practicality of the weapons used. I do not want to talk about the maces used as I have found them very impractical. Cinematically they look great but they are far from any sembelance of reality.
The weapons used seem to be in line with the talwar. I am not an expert but the swords used in the movie are less curved than what the talwar is supposed to be. The other big mistake is that one of the swords called Sikhander which is shown briefly in the movie is brought from the Middle East seems to be a Middle Age European sword rather than a scimitar which would be expected from that area.
Personally I think that the main sword used though reasonably accurate. The complete hilt is good. The crossguard could have been wider. The pommel seems to be useful as a blunt weapon too. The weapon is designed as slicing weapon and is mostly used like that. The part of the movie that I also like is the way the armour is used. I am comfortable with the “artistic” freedom used to wear sleeveless armour. I love the use of gambesons in the movie along with the use of plate and chain mail.
I hope this will usher in a new breed of movies in India.
I have been following a group on discord called Writers Block. They have a weekly writing competition. I have not been able to finish and submit a story yet. However it has given me the opportunity to develop the mythology and characters of the story I started writing for NaNoWriMo. I hope I will be able to complete NaNoWriMo this year. Below is an expanded story of a scene that figured in that story. I would truly appreciate any comments.
The Abbot looked onto the field from his battlement. The students were getting ready over a “game” of capture the flag. The play area was circular. Teachers and students alike were placing bets. Whisky and beer flowed freely in the crowd. The rules were simple. There were twelve players in each side. The flag had to be visible at all times. Wooden replicas of swords and knives were to be used. Blunt rubber arrow heads were to be used. Similarly magicians could not cast spells that could cause serious harm on their opponent.
“Start in the middle. Collect your flag and pole on the sound of the horn. Flags should be visible at all times. You have time until the second horn to set up the pole and then the game begins. Play hard and play fair.” One team wore green gambesons and the other blue. The umpire climbed up the ladder to a high pedestal. He signalled that the trumpet be blown. The green team started digging the ground. Their magicians started preparing the ground. As soon as the flag was brought they started to call roots from the ground and entangled it around the pole. The mages stood in between the infantry and archers.
The blue team started to secure themselves in the centre of their half. Clarke the mage stood next to the pole and cast a fog spell that surrounded the edge of the circle. The soldiers formed pairs. Each member of the pair stood opposite each other. Every pair stood three hands away and together they formed seven concentric circles.
Perspiration flowed down the brows of the contestants. The hot midday sun made everyone sweat. The second horn sounded. Green arrows flew through the air The mages shot through the air. Clarke raised a shield and the infantry raised their bucklers over their heads. The green team saw a gap and rushed towards it. The magicians fell back. The archers dropped their bows and charged behind the warriors. The first three green players were dispatched as soon as they entered. Then the first person from the blue team fell. No sooner did that happen than the entire team moved three spaces right to fill the gap. This followed each time someone from the blue team fell. The front line of the green team were down. The archers proved to be a different challenge.
The intensity of the battle increased by the minute. The mages of the green time tried penetrating the magic shield but whoever was casting the protective spell was good. In all the fervour they failed to notice a petite figure sneak by the circumference. Burly Bruce fell down even before he felt the tap on his neck. Brighid climbed up the pole and untied the flag. She proceeded to dash across the ground. Before anyone had released anything Brighid disappeared into the circle of her team. Clarke helped her hoist the green flag up. There was silence. Then in unison the remaining blue team erupted in joy and carried Brighid on their shoulders. The green team were in shock. They slumped to their knees. They quietly got up and took their fallen mates to the infirmary. They dreaded what awaited them. Bruce lay in quite slumber and drooled dripped onto the ground. Brighid tightly knotted his shoes and feet together and skipped away happily towards her room.
It is with deep regret that I have decided to halt my progress in NaNoWriMo. Sadly reality is significantly stronger than fantasy. Life and death gets in the way. When my world and characters take over my mind and thoughts than the people who matter then there is a problem. I have enjoyed this process and NaNoWriMo gave me the impetus that I needed. One of my characters now has turned from a figment of my imagination to someone who breathes. Other characters came into his life who I never thought of. I have dealt with and killed a few demons that haunted me. I should admit that I found it satisfying although I wish that I made them suffer more before killing them. I have created a world.Religions and customs have started to form. I came across a quote which said that everyone has one good book in them but that’s where it should stay. I hope that I will have more than one book in me and the time will come when I can set it free. I like the process of writing and would love to be called an author. There is truth to writing even if it is fantasy. I would dare say that fantasy is more honest. Characters hate people. They love others. You will know if people like your book or hate it. Some of my favourite books are by Raymond Feist. One of the worst series and books is also by him. In the world of investments you never know who your friends are and who are your well wishers. You maintain relationships because you never know when you will need to wipe the dust off that business card to get some information that will make a big difference. You never know what people think of your ideas.
Ithaca by Constantine Cavafy is one of my favourite poems. I know my destination. NaNoWriMo was the wind that caused my ship to anchor off. I do not know how I will get there or when nor who I will meet on the way. I will finish my novel which has a working title of “The priests of Konkor.” At the risk of sounding too cliche; “Watch this space.”
I have Epilepsy. It scares me. All I know is how I feel after I have a major seizure and the relief I feel when I have a jerk. I want to raise awareness about epilepsy and other mental issues in the book I am writing but how can I do it justice when all I remember is the disorientation after I had a seizure. The incoherent childlike ramblings, the stiffness of my muscles, the ache in my head and the sound of fear in the voice of my wife. I feel guilty when I see the tears on the face of my wife. The death of my friend David has put the mortality of my life into the forefront of my mind. What will happen if I have a seizure and fall on the tracks of the tube? What will happen if I get hit by a vehicle while crossing the road? How will my wife cope? Sometimes I wish I could see what happens to me during a seizure. For now, I will have to settle for knowing the feeling of feeling electric tingling in my brain and the momentary loss of awareness.
The priests of Konkor is the working title of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. I am glad that I started the project. It is an exciting process though I must confess that writing the quota of words per day is daunting. I do not know if I will finish in time. I like the way the story is progressing. I am starting to bond with my characters. I would like my readers to do that too. I will not forget how one of the scenes in a book by Raymond Fiest made me feel sad because of what happened to the characters. Fantasy is more than swashbuckling knights, fire breathing dragons and pointy hatted wizards. It is about transporting people into a different world and making them feel the depth of emotions that the characters go through. I have also found myself starting to learn more. I am sure I will be a theoretical expert in anatomy,botany, forging and many more topics by the time I finish writing 50,000 words.
People that I have known have died. However the news of the death of David has shaken me to the core. I broke down in tears yesterday. This is something I have never done before. There seems to be a void left in my very soul. I have heard sermons where people have preached about having a hole which only God can fill. However how can you fill space left by a good man? I have known David for a couple of years. However he is one of the few people I count as my friend. He was a gem of a person. His fiancée is also a wonderful person. We were looking forward to them getting married in January because both of them deserved happiness and each other after the hardships they went through. If and when we had children then they would have been perfect God parents. David had this wonderful ability to connect with kids at their level. A few minutes later he would be talking to adults about Dostoevsky and classical music. He was passionate. I sincerely wish that I had known him longer. We will treasure the time and meals shared. They will be ingrained in my memory for as long as my mind lasts.
I recently decided to take part in NaNoWriMo. He was one of the reasons I decided to take part. He provided the spark of life to characters until then existed only in my head. A nice conversation that I had with him as we took a bus from church was all that was needed. I do not know if I will be successful in NaNoWriMo or not. However I do hope I can complete my novel. I think David would like that. I pray that he has found peace and I hope his family will have the strength to go through this loss. Goodbye David. Goodbye my friend.
Sometime back I put together a collection of my poems in an informal manner and called it “The road not taken” It seemed to epitomise the feeling that I had if I had taken a route more geared towards the arts than finance. My writing has always been fuelled by emotion and feeling. In hindsight I feel now that my work ate my soul up one piece at a time. Thankfully I have not lost it completely. I feel it coming back with each passing day. I am looking forward to this next chapter. Previously my work was inspired by what I can only term as my naivety of love. I was in love with the abstract concept of love and had to discover its many facets. Today I know what love is. This time my emotions have burst out not out of love but out of something primal. I have also discovered the National Novel Writing Month. I think I will take part in it. It is time that I make my characters live on pages than run around in my head.
I have been played around with the character of Raidon for quite sometime. He was a character of my imagination. I have recently come to realise that the backstory of Raiden from Mortal Kombat is very similar to my character. I do not intend that he be resigned to some part of fan fiction. I was also not aware of Mortal Kombat when I created him. I was in a role playing guild in a game called Ultima Online. It was there that I created Raidon Raikatuji. The story I intend to write will be a medieval fantasy novel. I intend to create religions and gods. I suspect that it will not have any weird life forms. I want to keep it human because I do not want to fall into the usual fantasy genre of elves, dwarves and orcs along with humans and halflings. As much as possible I do not want to fall into the trap of falling into the D&D mould of having one warrior, one thief, one magician, one healer and one ranger. Though I think that this will be a difficult one to break. 1,667 words per day. It will not be easy but it should be interesting.