In grade 8, my friend Priya and I started our second project, which never got a name and was always just called The Fantasy Story. This was entirely different than Captured. We created a magical world, where Greek-style gods and goddesses were real, wizards existed, and magical animals were commonplace. Priya drew a fairly detailed map with multiple countries.
One of our goals was to not include any of the usual magical animals or beings, so we made up our own. Instead of elves we had giswins, a group of people with wings (and actually a pretty detailed culture. Also they're predominantly left handed, following my trend!). We had human-like beings made of rock and ice, and a type of octopus-like being instead of mermaids. We even had a species that I can only relate to vampires, called dreas. Instead of unicorns we had a magical horse breed for each of the four elements, as well as a breed called Nyghtmares (which represented darkness, of course). We had large winged wolves with tiger stripes. We also had magical birds (like the phoenix) for every element. All of the magical animals were very intelligent and could understand humans.
Despite all the world building we never really had much of a plot. We knew bits and pieces, and we knew our characters had to go on an adventure, but we never really settled on why they were going on this adventure. We knew some of the places they would go, and some of the people they would meet. Like with Captured, we wrote the first couple of chapters, and then started aimlessly writing scenes for later in the book. Again, like Captured, we started rewriting the book in highschool but didn't get much further.
As well as the lack of an actual title, and a concrete plot, the Fantasy Story had some of the same struggles Captured did in terms of the way we were writing it. Passing a clipboard back
and forth simply didn't lead to a flowing story. Priya and I still had trouble writing each others' characters, so our sets of characters started to have slightly different plots.
Loosely, this was the story. It started in the city of Kandar, where three friends lived. Princess Zarita, a dancer named Nephia, and (Zarita's cousin, I think?) Ivanna. Ivanna's wealthy family has human servants, which was uncommon in a world where subspecies (what humans call every other human-like being) are often captured as slaves. Ivanna's servant is named Amikeus. The story starts when Ivanna goes to a Colosseum-like fighting area with her older brother, where magical animals and dangerous subspecies were made to fight. There, they witness the attempted escape of a giswin named Kiro. Instead of letting him be tossed back in to continue the fight, Ivanna buys him.
Around the same time, a fire wizard named Algor arrives in the city to be an advisor to the king. These five, Nephia, Ivanna, Amikeus, Kiro and Algor are the ones who go on the adventure. They also meet a mysterious man named Slate who joins them. I could probably write three or four blog posts about the different ideas, situations and relationships we had figured out for these characters. One of the most important points was that Slate worked for the goddess of darkness and evil (Tisanya), and he was trying to get a special amulet that for some reason Ivanna had. Oh, and Slate had twin brothers (I had to get those twins into the book somehow!) But as I said, we never figured all of these plot details out properly.
The world we had created also lent itself well to side-projects. One of the first, which was more an experiment than a full blown project, was called "Tikya Bafeua's Guide to the World" and it was supposed to be a book that would exist within the story. it was going to contain entries about all the different animals we had created, but the only part I ever wrote were the entries about the different types of magical horses.
The second side project, called "Darkness Follows" was supposed to be Slate's journal, where he wrote about how he came to follow the Tisanya. I only wrote about nine pages of it, but I had a lot of little snippets and scenes that I continued to occasionally jot down into my first year of university.
The third project, and the only one that I actually finished, was called "Deal with the Dreas", and it was my final project for Writer's Craft in grade 12. I set it up as if it were a legend someone could hear in the "modern" times of the original Fantasy Story, and even referenced Tikya Bafeua as a famous naturalist who had made many notes about giswins. The story was about twins Princess Hezeria and Prince Jezerai, who have to flee their Kingdom when it's attacked. Their giswin servant, Jero, helps them escape, and in the forest they meet Ezzaker, a dreas, who makes a deal with them to help them safely travel to their relatives nearby. Dreas were very rare, powerful and lived very long lives, but by the time the main books take place, they had been extinct for so long that people no longer believed they ever existed. However, I planned to have Ivanna actually meet Ezzaker in passing, although I was never sure if she would know who he was or not.
Since "Deal with the Dreas" is actually a complete story, I'll probably post it sometime, just for fun. For now, I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the nameless Fantasy Story! This would be very early in the story, and shows a mysterious stranger arriving in Kandar (hint- it's Slate.) Written in 2011.
It never ceased to amaze Doven, how cold the desert could get at night, and how dark. He shifted closer to the fire and pulled his cloak tighter around his shoulders. The orange flames lit the stone walls around him and threw up moving shadows that occasionally startled Doven, though he’d never admit it. Through a doorway he could see the huge portcullis that protected the city at night, and the blackness of the empty desert beyond it. Unlike most cities, Kandar was completely surrounded by walls. The palace stood in the middle, surrounded by wealthy residents and the famous gardens that supplied the city with most of their fresh fruit and vegatables. A large wall surrounded that. Then there were the surrounded village and farmlands, which would usually not be surrounded by a wall. But Kandar was so remote, and so vulnerable to sandstorms, that the villages were also surrounded by a long wall.
At night, Kandar was full of guard activity. Guards in the palace, guards patrolling both of the walls. Doven envied those guards. They got to move, and see other guards, and speak to them. Down in the tiny guardroom beside the portcullis, Doven was alone. Every guard had to spend nights guarding the gates occasionally, but none of them liked it. There was no reason for it, no guard had ever had to sound an alarm or let in someone in the dead of night. No one traveled the desert at night.
Doven shivered and moved closer yet to his fire, his thoughts wandering. In the village, in a small farmhouse, his beautiful Audri would be sleeping. He wished he could be there, sneaking into her house and avoiding the disapproving attention of her father. He would marry Audri, once he had enough money to buy his own house and support her. He was determined.
Doven was jerked from visions of Audri when he heard the voice. He picked up his sword, which was lying in its sheath at near the fire, and walked out of the small guardroom to the portcullis. Away from the fire, in the darkness, it took him a moment to see who had spoken. A young man, a year or two older then himself, stood in front of the portcullis, a dark cloak wrapped snugly around his body.
For a moment Doven stared at the stranger in shock, then he came to his senses and asked. “What is your business in Kandar?” It was the standard question, but Doven felt unintelligent the moment he asked. Of course the stranger was looking for shelter from the cold desert night.
“I need a place to spend the night,” The stranger spoke slowly and clearly, giving Doven the impression that he was being insulted.
Doven almost drew his sword at the tone of the stranger’s voice, but instead he took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down. “Of course, I will need to know your name, and why you have come to Kandar, and there is a toll to be paid for entry. ________ for yourself and _______ for your mount, and...” Doven trailed off there. He had seen no mount. “Sir, where’s your mount? How did you get here?”
The stranger shrugged and when he spoke, his voice took on a different tone, one that sounded regretful. “My mount, my horse, fell early this morning in the sand dunes. He was greatly injured, I was forced to... to kill him, to save him from the pain. That is why I have arrived here so late, and why I have no baggage.”
“Oh, I’m sorry...” Doven murmured. “Just the toll for you, then.” The stranger dug into a pocket in his cloak, reached through the bars of the portcullis and dropped some coins into Doven’s hand. Doven counted them quickly, and seeing the correct amount, slipped them into his own pocket. He pulled a large key from around pocket and slipped it into a lock in the portcullis. Unknown to most people, there was a section of the gate that could be opened like a door. He heard the lock click as he twisted the key, and he pulled the door open. The stranger stepped inside and Doven quickly closed and locked the door. “So...” he retrieved a badly bound book and a quill which he quickly dipped in an ink pot from a shelf in the guard room and returned to the stranger’s side. “Your name and reason for coming to Kandar, please.”
He was about to scribble down that the stranger had paid the told when a shiny coin landed on the book. Doven glanced up at the stranger questionably. “You all ready-“
“Forget I was here,” the stranger said quietly. “I do not need to be recorded, and you do not have to report my arrival to anyone. Just forget.”
Doven stared down at the coin. It was the largest amount of money he’d ever had in his life, when he was young he’d even thought such coins didn’t exist. With it, he could pamper Audri, and buy a beautiful large house, and her father would not be able to refuse his offer to marry her then!
Doven glanced up to see the stranger walking towards the village, his dark cloak making it almost impossible to see him. Doven glanced down at the coin again and smiled, “Stranger?” he said quietly to himself. “What stranger?”