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Eliza’s Notes - 05: Age of Attunement

In the ancient creation myths of people of my society, it was said that the gods came from the sun, created the vastness of the world, and then returned once more to their kingdom to watch over their creation, and rain down fragments of their power to the people to give them life. A legend not passed onto the people of this world, but as the world is about to take its next step into this new era, it reminds me of that old legend.

A long time has passed since people began spreading from the continent of New Ildios. All along the ring of the main continents now are great cities and countries, spreading all along the parts of the land that aren’t desert. But from closer to the equator, the increased solar activity has brought a novel new idea: that energy can be collected and used. With some schools of geomancy solar energy can be converted into elemental magic energy, and from that they’ve developed a new technology, designed to convert that solar energy and channel it, and, with some discoveries from how the Evreux live, they’ve come up with methods of storing it. Its culmination: the mothercrystal.

 The first mothercrystal is to be brought online in a few days, the others still in constructions and have form months to years until they’re brought online. Nine in total, one for each element of magic. Light magic can’t be collected in that fashion, ironically enough to our naming of it, and the nine mothercrystals are spread across the lands of the middle continents evenly to not put too much strain on the immediate land around them. The crystals themselves are massive structures, grown to be nearly one hundred stories tall, cover over thirty acres at their base, with miles around them of arranged mirrors pointing sunlight up into the crystal. As it stands now it’s not doing much, but once they come online they should begin glowing brightly with color associated with their element, and stand as a beacon even during the night.

From the mothercrystals, charge will be transferred into smaller crystals and then distributed. The people have leased rail lines from the Evreux to aid with distribution, and the smaller charged crystals will be used all over the world. The intent with this is to allow everyone to be able to use all elements of magic, which should bring people once more to a lifestyle such as was on Aughylia before we were all forced away. It is an incredibly ambitious project, and it still remains to be seen whether or not it will work once this first mothercrystal is ready to be brought online, but I have hopes for it.

As I have worked with the Evreux to learn their language, and they learn ours, I have gained a complete picture of the history of not just our world but the world of Aughylia as well. The truth was even stranger than I expected: the ancient Aughylian Empire, for whom the third planet is named, was in fact a colony themselves, escaping the galactic empire that Menos Cor came from. The Evreux were once a vast society here on Vaudios, but they survived on relatively few food sources, and their primary one was infected with a blight. They launched scientists into space to travel to Aughylia to seek help in solving the blight, when their scientists were stranded as Menos Cor’s forces attacked the first time and destroyed the Aughylian Empire. Without that aid, famine and starvation swept through their people as the crop died. Those that were left dismantled their space program, dismantled their great cities, and scaled back to live more at one with nature, as they believe they were punished for leaving Vaudios and traveling to the stars. Similarly, they believe that same punishment would extend to the other humans born on Vaudios, so if this world ever became great enough to travel to the stars as well they would suffer the same fate.

I don’t particularly share the Evreux’s same outlook, but as I have been working with them they have taught me new skills and magic to work in this new age that the crystals will bring in. They’ve taught me extensive use of electricity to power machines, the key to their underground networks, and technology my world was just barely beginning to discover before we were attacked by Menos Cor. They’ve helped me attune with electricity and fashion a new staff capable of utilizing it, believing that the crystal magic will soon lead to electricity generation and a far more advanced society. Electricity itself, being the pure form that the Lightning element of magic controls and rather dangerous in large amounts, the staff will allow me to handle it at levels that would normally kill a person if it were to discharge into them, to allow me to, as they have strongly suggested I do, interfere and prevent any manned expeditions into space as the technology grows.

Date posted: 01 May, 2016
Tags: elizas_notes writing

Eliza’s Notes - 04: Age of Revolution

It took quite some time, but society was finally able to recover from the damage it did to itself after the volcano. Another ten generations of kings since Rorozak V, and breakdown into a few different nations that warred with each other, and from there the people began to change the shackles of their own system. I’m not sure exactly how I want to say how it happened, other than the system simply got too big to sustain itself.

As the population recovered it continued growing again, and continued expanding. It expanded all across the continent, and with it the unified empire breaking down into smaller states of government, then in turn those breaking off into their own countries. Countries fought, countries grew, countries shrank, as a vy for power started, the smaller areas wanting more power themselves and arguing with each other about who owned what land. Amidst all this, as people became more isolated from each other, new ideas formed, and new cultures spread. Differing ideas, differing opinions, differing ways of treating people and differing ways of reacting to what was happening. As different individual countries tried different ways of living to try to make their specific setting better, ideas drifted and traveled along, bringing the ultimate idea that rose from all of it: revolution.

Not any one specific revolution, as we would refer to it. Smaller, more isolated revolutions. Revolutions of ideas, revolutions of thought. A revolution of idea to increase efficiency and profit in trade lead to increased ship travel, leading in turn to a revolution of living and the rise in port towns and industry of ship construction. In turn, this led to a revolution of exploration, with people finally deciding to venture forth and see what else was out there, what more resources could be found, and finally travel to the new world of the north continent.

The land of the north is vast, and once people realized just how truly scaled differently the continent we began on is compared to it everyone wanted to flock to it. Seemingly endless in resources, the revolution of behavior moved to the new world, people staking their claims, and using the vast expanse to start living how they wanted, no longer listening to and being subject to the rules of the nation they came from. It was a fresh start, just what was needed to wipe the slate clean after the stall the world entered from the volcano.

The land to the north also brought a surprise I wasn’t expecting: goblins. The Evreux, a nomadic, diminutive race on Aughylia, existed here on Vaudios in the mainlands. But they didn’t just exist here, no, they thrived here. To a casual observer it may seem as if they were just as nomadic here, but, as I have met with them and learned from them, the truth of the matter is they have a vast underground network of roads and rails, spanning all around the world. There’s no way they could have built so much in the time since escaping if they were transported here with the rest of us, so they must have originally come from here and themselves sent colonists to Aughylia sometime in the past. Perhaps, as warlynxes are found all over here as well, and have clearly been trained and domesticated by the Evreux as pack animals.

Learning more than that from them has been… difficult. Their language is a strange mishmash of compound words, and is as much cipher as it is speech. Many of them have begun picking up our vocabulary from meetings with other humans, and will tend to speak with others in their language but with our wordset, which lends to a basic understanding of what they’re trying to portray but still just as dizzying to try and follow. What I have been able to figure out from them is, while their underground rail network is vast, they live very simply on the land because they don’t want to make the mistakes of their past. They once had large cities, it seems, but had some massive population collapse, and over time dismantled what they had to live more simple lives. Once I gain some better grasp of their language I should be able to learn more.

It is surprisingly easy for me to travel now, though. As people spread all around, the world, they lose familiarity of each other. Most everyone is a stranger, and few will remember the strangers for very long. And there's so many people about, with so many people coming and going, that there's hardly any chance for them to meet the same stranger over and over. I've entered a city from the same port multiple times, in a relatively short period of time, and every time I've met different people at the docks. And so with so many people around once more, there's hardly any chance of some random person remembering that they met this old woman ten, twenty, or thirty years earlier and them finding it so strange that I'm still alive.

Sure, I suppose for me as well it's difficult to remember so many faces as well. I've all but forgotten the faces of my friends and family from when I was young, but at my age that can be expected I suppose. Humans aren't supposed to live as long as I am, of course, it's no surprise that the brain has to just expel information to make more room. That's why I keep these records, so my brain doesn't have to.

Date posted: 01 April, 2016
Tags: elizas_notes writing

2016 Book Blitz - February: Spiral Island 1

Okay, so I very clearly failed here. But for reasons. Not necessarily good reason, but reason.

This was, perhaps, the hardest of all of the books I'll be writing this year. Becuase it's nature is very different. Several of the books I have a detailed outline of chapter to chapter, some of them I just have a general plot that I'll be making up as I go along. But for this one, this is a true adaptation, because I had an outline of where to go for it, but it wasn't nearly as simple as that.

Spiral Island was planned as a video game. So, too, are the next two books, making up the trilogy. But in this case it was the only one that was already planned as a video game. I had already written a complete script, and was working off of that when I was working on making the game to publis on Xbox Live Indie Games back in 2009-2010, before I shelved it for a while for my lack of artistic talent. But I had everything planned out, everything written. Some of the story has been changed since then as I'd expanded, changed, or clarified things as I further worked on the worldbuilding after that game effort ended, so there was some script rewriting that was going to be going along with this in prelude to a full script overhaul, but still, as I sat there working on properly novelizing it, I realized more than ever what an undertaking it was. A lot of the game's events exist as gameplay for a JRPG, and that doesn't really translate easily to a novel. So then it was down to what was needed and what wasn't.

I rewrote my outline several times, adding and deleting sections. I skipped boss battles or character interactions that weren't necessary to the overal theme of the book itself, as a consolidation of the story for a specific purpose. Characters are mentioned briefly in passages as we skip around in the complete game's script that don't actually get introduced, and other characters that are important to certain plot lines in the game aren't mentioned at all. At one point, following the origianl script turned out that all of the original script for a very key scene, with everything that had been changed in the lore since meant everything in that original dialogue had to be tossed out and written from scratch, and so I had to make up a whole new plot line to fill in gap left by the fact that removing that meant the plot wasn't moving anymore. Keeping the whole thing as one cohesive peice proved difficult, and with it finally done I'll have to go through it all very thorougly to make sure it all does make sense with the skipping around and fits the theme of what's going on. 

That's partially why I fell behind and never caught up. I was slacking, for sure, as I missed seven whole days of writing period, which is a whole quarter of the month, but days where I got well under the 2500 word goal was because I was just there tyring to figure out how to write a scene in prose that was designed for the visuals of a game, and try to decide whether I should describe something or leave it out. Spiral Island the game, way back when it started as a RPG Maker 95 project had three main bosses that it started with before any story was written just placed on the open map. Those remain, written into the game's script, but here in the novelization the only critical elment was what lead up to the first so the first was skipped, the second was skipped entirely without mention, and so only the last got any description. Other boss battles from the game's script I skip entirely, skip over with a scene break mid-chapter, or abberviate because they have actual dialogue  going on in them. It was actually easiest to write the chapter that fit the newly introduced plot, overall, because making it up from scratch meant I only minimaly had to make sure it fit with everything else, and didn't have to worry about trying to go from a script and scene directions into prose writing. I'm going to write a couple more post-mortem articles with chapter samples about how this all, so that will come later this month. 

For sure, this kind of slacking isn't going to work for the rest of the year, that chart filled with red is awful. But the worst is behind me, the most difficult part of this blitz done, and so the rest of the year should run smoother.

Date posted: 05 March, 2016
Tags: novels personal spiral_island writing

Eliza’s Notes - 03: Age of Darkness

The darkest sides of man shine through when people live in fear.

The curse from the lord of the underworld is not without its place. Wrath, Pride, Greed Envy, and Sloth, the great sins described as from which all evil spawns, but I could tell you now that it’s simpler than that. Evil spawns from hunger, and evil spawns from fear.

Let it not be known that, even as ages pass, people have forgotten yet what took place on Aughylia. It is still ever-present in the sky, clear to see whenever the planet is close. The planet is frozen and dead, volcanic activity from Menos Cor’s weapon covering it with ash and freezing it. The day the earth shook, people merely took pause. The day ash began to fell from the Vaudios sky, people began to worry. As the temperatures fell, worry turned to panic, and panic turned to crime. Once the snow started to fall, and crops began to freeze, crime turned to the darkest evils, as people were starting to be sure that the world was doomed to die as well, or that it was Damien of Nyskina come back for their souls.

From the observation balloon I launched with a remote viewing spell, it seems the volcano wasn’t on our continent, but a volcano on the large landmass to our north, situated near the coast. We were on the edge of where the wind carried the ash here, luckily as closer to the volcano appears to have been heavily buried by ash, but the biggest problem was not the ash itself but the effect it had on the atmosphere. The first few months the temperatures fell significantly enough to freeze crops. After that a

transition of Aughylia across the sun made the temperatures fall even more, devastating the region and causing mass deaths, many from violence and starvation and many from hypothermia. It took about ten years for temperatures to truly return to normal, but by then the damage was long done.

Raiders banded together, forming parties. Parties banded together forming alliances. Alliances banded together forming armies. Armies were supplied by those who had horded and cut off the food supplies. Powers emerged, several smaller at first, then one that was ambitious. It was a Vor-rodeq man who truly started it, now dubbed Emperor Rorozak I, who started a massive expansion campaign to get the food supplies into his control. In his eyes, he thought the best way to stop the violence that had broken out would be to bring everyone under one rule, his rule, one nation stretching across the land, bringing the people into a military order to protect them from violence and feed them and shelter them.

But where power comes, power is abused. Multiple generations have passed since then, and we’re now under the rule of Rorozak V. A fierce trichotomy was created by that time, with the land devolving into a feudalist society with three castes: the serfs working the land, the soldiers guarding the land, and the nobles who owned the land. As the years have progressed society has depressed to support this system. The water systems of the past were destroyed, and sanitation is poor. Child mortality is high, old age average has dropped, as the knowledge of healing magic has been hoarded and kept secret for power and disease and illness is rampant. The nobles initiated a new writing and ledger system that only they know and understand, so literacy fell by the wayside as the old writing system fell useless.

I myself had to retreat, make myself scarce, in order to protect the knowledge I have built up over the ages. My main home is hidden, protected by magic, but as I travel to observe the people I have to keep to myself and not interact with too many people. I hear tales from children in the lands I travel through that a witch dwells in the dark forests who kills and eats naughty children who stray too far from home. I don’t eat people. But the tales could also be mixing in stories from during the frozen years, as it was known a number of people had resorted to cannibalism.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear currently that this fallen system will be corrected any time soon. The system is tuned so that those in power stay in power, they hold all the keys and hold all the knowledge. The soldiers serve the nobles. The soldiers can’t turn against the nobles as the nobles have the magic. The serfs can’t turn against the soldiers as the soldiers have the weapons. The serfs can only stop working the land, but they would be the first to starve as the nobles are still in control of the food stores. Something drastic will have to happen in order for this system to be upturned.

It cannot last, of course. Empires rise and empires fall, they can’t last forever. Unfortunately, I cannot foresee when this one will finally fall. Each new generation that passes under this system means that’s the only thing they’ve ever known, anything different is ancient ancestral tales that seem more and more like fantasy to them than history. And there’s very little I myself can do, a single old woman wandering among the people.

Date posted: 01 March, 2016

Eliza’s Notes - 02: Age of Flight

Now seems to be a good point to declare that we are in a new age. We will call this one the age of flight.

Back on Aughylia, flight was possible with magic, but rarely done because of the control it would require over the flow of magic to keep the vessel aloft. Designs for vessels that could actually fly properly were pursued, vessels designed on the flight of birds or of insects, but no serious funding ever was put forth to make a practical and proper vessel. As such, with the death of the first few generations and the stories they were passed down by the colonists, all knowledge of such things were dismissed completely.

It was a Hokeno pursuit, of course. Who else, they are the ones born with birdlike feathers, and they were always the ones most interested in the magic wings that James used. If I had to bet on anyone inventing flight I would have put my money on it being a Hokeno first. But what I wasn’t expecting was the form it would take. I was expecting a birdlike vessel, with wings, instead what they invented was the hot air balloon. A mere party favor in Aughylia days given to children, using the principle of heated air being lighter than regular air. But they have perfected it.

The initial invention just supported one person. A large leather bladder, inflated and heated, with a canopy below it for the person to sit, with a tank for fuel and a geared rowing device to cycle large paddles to go forward or backwards. The initial ship wasn’t much, and it couldn’t get very far on its fuel supply before running out and falling to the ground, but it worked, and for the first time in Vaudios history the people flew in the air. From there the designs were improved, refined, adjusted, and expanded, leading to the advanced state of today. Now we have multi-chambered air vessels, capable of carrying multiple passengers and cargo, capable of traveling up to sixty miles per hour, and capable of flying long distances without having to land and refuel. With this newfound flight, people have expanded out and explored.

From these explorations, we’ve gotten a fair detail of what our current landmass is like now. The continent we are on is consistent of two land masses linked by a small land pass halfway across, the entire length from east to west spanning roughly four thousand miles. We’re on the far western end of this continent, the landmass north to south on this half has a rough average length of about fourteen hundred miles, and on the other half the average north to south length is about seven hundred miles. Another landmass is reportedly to the north, but it’s too far for air travel with current technology, and sea travel isn’t really pursued for any significant distances yet.

Other than expeditions to the eastern half of the continent, there hasn’t been any human influence there. But here on the western half there has been expansion, all along the west coast and inland now multiple settlements have spread and begun growing. With a large enough spread of population now I can freely wander among the populations again without people realizing I shouldn’t belong, as I just fit in as any other old person who appears to be traveling on her own. Crime is on the rise, but of course that’s to be expected as the population gets larger, and so larger, proper police forces have risen from the older volunteer security detail.

As the population grows, and technology expands, new careers are born and no longer is everyone just working in farms, although still much is based on the movement and delivery of food. Vehicles are constructed to aide on farms, or move food from farms. Warehouses are built and staffed with people to sort and transport the food. Roads and corridors laid to support the vehicles transporting the food, and stores and bakeries and restaurants built to distribute food to the people. Water is much the same, as people have carried on the plumbing and water distribution networks quickly established upon arrival on Vaudios in our original colony, so dams divert water, water filtration and treatment makes it clean and safe for consumtion, plumbers and pipefitters move the water through the towns, and sewers carry the waste to be processed and used for fertilizer. Just by matter of course for the population, there’s not much purely academic pursuit yet, or significantly developed sole entertainment industries, but they are slowly emerging and leading to such things as the development of flight we have reached.

I have myself taken a balloon flight just recently. It wasn’t one of the long explorative endeavors, just from the northernmost settlement to the southernmost one, but seeing the land from above it is quite something else. Everything looks so tiny, like a model, and it’s clear to see we’ve touched so little of just the land that we have already spread to, much less the planet. There were never any clear globes of Vaudios that I remember seeing as a child, but from what I do remember of glancing up at it during it’s perigee is most of the middle of the world is covered by a significantly large series of continents, and so I suspect the one we’re on now may be one of the smallest landforms. There’s a long time to go yet before we fully tame this world. So long that I do not myself even expect to see it now, just as a matter of course that some accident will likely take my life before that.

Date posted: 02 February, 2016
Tags: elizas_notes writing

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