The Prince of Endless, pt. 2

I’ve been writing this material as screenplays, assuming (foolishly) that the format would actually be valuable to a Hollywood agent and, further down the fantasy road, movie director. I also thought I’d put this all into novel form someday. That might happen. For the time being, the scene setting, actions and dialogue (all in present tense) will suffice.

This all takes place in Verisye, a fantasy world not unlike others seen many times. There’s no real technology above crossbows, catapults and large-gear mechanisms. The biggest distinction is the Aviarinelle, a multicolored river which runs through the sky. It’s high enough that it courses past snowy mountain peaks, and it is endless to the eye. Occasionally, characters hear it or think they hear it, so the river serves as a kind of constant in place of any widespread religion.

Tagline for this story: In a fantasy world, two unlikely heroes race to save a boy prince who’s been kidnapped.

(Opening credits with “Would?” by Alice In Chains)

 

In early morning in a fogged-in swamp, two constables (police) creep along a wet boat dock. They are MARVELLA, a blond woman (our heroine) and IBIX, a tough, older man. Both wear the light armor and swords of their job, which is to protect their small nearby town of Dillingham. They are both afraid, swords drawn. Visibility is only twenty feet in the fog.

“We must be close,” Ibix says.

“Why in Gerji [hell] would a boat come here? The dock has been rotting for years,” Marvella says.

“Unknown. Damn this fog.”

Soon, the grunts and moans of a dying “man” are heard. At the sound of clinking armor, Marvella pushes forward to help him.

Close to the boat, which rammed the splintering dock, they reach an Ehara who has been mortally wounded in vicious combat (he still has a sword run through him). A smeared trail of his blood leads back to a broken section of dock, where he fell from the boat.

[Ehara are my own invention, a race of wildly-colored humanoids from the tropical southeast regions. They are thin and tall, averaging seven feet in height, hairless, and come in different hues with markings like tiger stripes, etc. in a different color. Their structure looks similar to an NBA player, but gives them phenomenal strength and mass (they can’t ride horses) and speed. The trade-off is that they are forbidden from magic use, they don’t believe in possessions and are generally altruistic. They are also mistrusted in much of the realm, thanks to the Knight Wars.]

Marvella says, “Ehara.”

Ibix comes up, surprised.

The Ehara man, beige-toned with green markings, perks up at their arrival.

“The prince,” he says, fighting to breathe/stay conscious. “My cousin…Dirkennion…in Greenhump. Find…Dirkennion. They took the Prince of Endless.”

The Ehara man dies. Marvella and Ibix stand up.

Marvella asks, “The Prince of Endless?”

“He means Endruskenlessinia. Everyone just calls it ‘Endless.'”

The two of them look at the boat in the clearing fog. An axe is buried in a bloody railing.

“Endless,” Marvella repeats. “Is this prince the heir?”

“I imagine so.”

~~~

Wall cornerpiece in York, UK

Greenhump is a hillside farming village so named for a large grassy bulge on one side.

DIRKENNION, an Ehara man with maroon skin and copper-colored stripes, wearing light clothing, is standing under a walking bridge being constructed. He is holding a large stone centerpiece in place while workers on ladders adjust other stones to complete it. The bridge crosses a steep-sided creek.

A worker grunts, “Sorry. Almost there.”

Dirkennion replies, “You are okay. Do not pinch your fingers.”

From the creekside, a VILLAGE ELDER watches with admiration. Others watch as well.

A worker says, “It’s in. Let go.”

Another worker says, “Careful. Slowly.”

Dirkennion ignores him and slowly lets go. The stones hold in place. People applaud. Workers clap happily and continue.

Soon, Dirkennion comes to the Village Elder.

“Well done, Master Dirkennion. What will we do without you?”

“I will be around.”

Village Elder gives him a pained expression. “Your time of service is almost complete. Where is the council sending you after this peaceful village? Greenhump is not very exciting, I know.”

“The peace has never bothered me.”

“You are Murrizza, an elite warrior. For two years, you have baled hay and plowed fields for us simple folk.”

Dirkennion smiles at him. “I go where I am needed, Master.”

Village Elder laughs, knowing Dirkennion is halfway joking with him.

 

to be continued…

 

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The Prince of Endless, pt. 1

The tricky thing about stories: You have to start somewhere. Though they are continual streams of thought, action, dialogue and description in the mind of the author, the story itself must have a jumping-off point (or jumping-in point). This can be an art form all by itself. Pick the wrong spot and you can either confuse the reader or put them to sleep with plodding (if necessary) detail. (Does anyone really remember what Tolkien said in 50 pages of Hobbit description? We just remember that they’re kind folk and we like them for being odd.)

The starting point for a world seems just as awkward and problematic. Do you spend a few paragraphs describing moss on a boulder, a peculiar fish in the sea, symbols etched artfully into the hilt of a dagger?

Since your world contains your story, it seems reasonable to use that story to describe the world, which then helps inform the story. (A tale about the crunchies in a cat’s litter box probably doesn’t fit in a realm of airlocks and thruster issues.)

So, where the hell do you start?

Bowness Summit, Lake District, UK

For 25 years (yes, that long) part of my brain has existed in the fantasy realm of Verisye. Dragons, dwarves, fighting with swords, all that stuff. Once this place was created (in high school, thanks in part to Elmore and Easley paintings and the Dragonlance chronicles) my brain gave it a sort of permanent-resident status. It couldn’t be un-created. (Excavators: Turn about, go bother the neighbor.) Not that I wanted to undo it or give it up in any way. The place was fun. Possibilities were endless, and I was King (or God). For once in his life, Justin had his own set of rules and victories. For an audience of one, it was a pretty sweet show.

As the initial concept expanded (and expanded and expanded) the overall story focused on two people: Valessha and Dirkennion. Theirs is a love story set among extraordinary times. (More on that later.) There’s also the significant problem of an unstoppable enemy (Kalimoraith, a fun villain) and why said bad guy shows up on the doorstep of a rather orderly world. (More to come.)

About three years ago, we had a series of foggy mornings right after Christmas. (I love foggy mornings, when my creative engine leaps right into fifth gear.) So over the course of a week, sitting in my leather chair in the foggy quiet (before the kids rose) I penned the scene outline for a new screenplay. (I think in terms of cinema, so this just made sense to me.)

Immediately, this became the story before the big love story and problems with Kalimoraith and so forth. A title of The Prince of Endless popped up and stuck. It’s like it was all etched into stone tablets and my brain took snapshots.

And how to start this story? Where?

How about two town constables (police) investigating a boat-wreck in a swamp?

 

–To be continued…

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