(Personal Story/Outer Rim, Beyond Advent Colonies and Trader Space. Not yet in DS)
This is a re-post, it is now the 6th of September and Summer classes are over, but i am starting fall classes. I have been thinking a lot about writing, and how it might be interesting to bring something different to my writing. Many stories are concerned with a character more than a story, which means that both the author and the audience are reluctant to let go of a character that has been created, regardless of the story.
In creating Tier, i had much the same issues, it was hard to let her go because i had invested so much effort into her. Readers to when they invest a lot of time in reading a character, any character, are reluctant to let them go.
I recently came across several things that sort of threw a different angle at me about this. One was a new game for pc coming out called 'Heavy Rain" where the game world is treated less like a fictional story, or a recurring character, and puts 'story' up front, regardless of what happens to the individual characters. This felt more 'real world', and very very interesting because of that. Another was of course the film 'Inception', where multiple layers crossed and recrossed each other as the story unfolded. I have been stunned by this movie and love the fact that it makes the audience think as each layer is exposed. Then there is a trailer for another game for pc called 'TERA'. In the trailer of course the heroes battle a band of evil villans, But unlike most games that play like this, or at least for the trailer, because i am not sure it is this way in game, although i would love it if it was, most of the heroes die. You see them fall in battle and the agony of them failing. It is not something you see in a game every day, and for that reason also, it was extremely fascinating.
What all of this is leading to is of course my idea to tell a story, not just with one character that may get hurt, but never fails, but rather the opposite. To tell a story, where what happens, happens. I will be using a dice roller program to determine what actions succeed and which actions fail, and if they fail what the repercussions are for the characters, who lives, who dies, what planets or stations or ships survive and which do not. In this way the story is true to chance and to an element that usually exists here in the real world, but not often in fiction (at least with re-occurring characters) or in games. As a story teller then, i don't have to try and trick the reader into thinking 'oh the hero is in danger' and then figuring a way out. Because in this way of telling a story, there may not be a way out.
I think it will make the story and or stories more interesting, giving them a quality that is often skirted or ignored in regular games and fiction. I am very excited, because it gives me a way to tell a story without scaring other players that my character is omnipotent, but it still allows for all those excesses of chance and circumstance to be told.
Anyway, here is hoping it is worth reading!
September 6, 2010
Outer edge of Galan system
Would you mind if i jump in? I have been an amateur writer for some time and really enjoy not only the stories but the rpging.
This is a personal story.
Leaving T'Lan -
Two hours before planetfall, Teir made her way back from the crowded front of the cargo hold that held the other hundred refugee families. 'Only a hundred?' It seemed unreal. A township of over 5,000 colonists on T'lan, and only a hundred escaped. She wanted to weep. There was still her father staying behind, but her mother refused to believe he was dead. 'Why did he have to stay behind?' she had said. Over and over again. Teir moved slowly, picking her way through the ragged huddled figures of weeping women, crying children, the silent and dull eyed men that were sitting on crates and bags, boxes of hastily packed belongings. The air in the hold was chill, people's breath came in small puffs of condensed mist from their mouths. Forty-two days!! My God forty-two days in the hold of this ship on this seemingly endless voyage!! But then again, T'lan was an outer rim world, not easy to get to, a farming community of 100,000 scattered over her green surface, people and cows, chickens and ragged dogs, scratching in the dirt and the mud and the rain to make a life. The skies had been green there. It seemed appropriate to have a green star for the Pilgrims who had colonized it. Three worlds floated in system, T'lan, Teir, and Temu. The farthest out had been T'lan. And the first world in the outer rim that had been set on by the evil Vasari!
And what happened to the inner worlds?
Teir grimaced. Her mouth pulling down into a tight frown. Hate was something to keep you warm, when hope and warm light faded! She wanted to put her fist through the porthole and hit them! But of course only the robotic ships had landed on T'Lan. No actual Vasari had even stepped onto the surface of their world. Though the machines had proven methodical and efficient enough. They had worked their way across the surface, whether oceans or mountains, or plains, with slow plodding and murderous effect. The warm green skies had run with smoke, the ground with blood and debris. The fields ripped and trampled by metallic treads and the feet of the six legged V'kar transports. Like long gray metalled worms on spindly legs mindlessly working their way inland.
Teir's father had put her mother and her and her sister on an evacuating caravan of N'hel herders moving south, away from the carnage, and kissed them quickly, run a rough farmer's hand through their dark hair. "You take care of your mother now," he had said and squeezed her hand in his, then pressed his lips close to her ear and whispered, "She doesn't know what to do in all this. Remember what we are, we are T'lani, of the land... we take our strength from the land, and our resolve, and our peace. Help your mother and your younger sister, they will endure, but your mother is not T'Lani, she is an outsider, afraid and alone among the other tribes. Help her." And then he had gathered her up and put her into the wooden cart set atop the massive back of the N'hel and smoothed her cheek with his rough hand. She watched him, tears streaming down her face. She was afraid, and yet her father asked her to be strong! How would she do this! She watched crying, bawling like a newborn y'eet in a cold barn, while he gathered up her mother in his arms, his brown workshirt still stained from the fields. And he had smiled. He was looking at her mother and his face lit up, like a light, his eyes warm. The way he stood, casual, and strong, as if he had just come in from the fields and swept her mother up into his arms and asked her to dance. Their were no cooking fires, or the smell of close thatch from the walls of the houses. They were in the open air and the sky, still a bright green beyond the smoke made it all seem a normal... an average, small, comfortable, and quiet day. His eyes gleamed with joy and love and he gathered up her mother as if she were only a youngling girl just married, and placed her in the next cart. He kissed her quickly and Teir had seen her mother's eyes, still crying and tears streaming, but she had smiled at holding her man. Teir wanted to cry again, but for joy, even in these dark times, that there was still love.
He had stepped back then, dust swirling as the N'hel had gathered there legs under themselves and stood. Rising sixteen hand spans above the ground. Her father had stood there with a group of the other men who had decided to stay, to see if they could fight. He waved as the herders moved the brown haired N'hel with their carts in slow plodding steps down the grass and dirt tracked road out of the town. Her mother had watched, her hands gripping the wooden rails of the cart as they moved away, while Tier's sister had turned her sightless eyes toward the bars and tried to smile goodbye, waving her hand slowly as the cart lurched and then began to move down the dirt roadway. Teir had stopped crying long enough to wave and try to smile, and while her heart broke, it was still a joy to see her father standing with the other men. They would do something! It was improper to let the anger show so freely in her, but she let it. For a moment, she was like her father, standing in the dusty air in the dwindling distance. She would fight! The Vasari would pay! But then she had seen her mother fold down into the other cart and begin to weep again. How could she give comfort and soothing words when anger pulled so much in her? She yelled across the distance then, to her mother, to give her courage... and partially to her father who was just a slim shadow now down the road, the fields moved past, "K'een Nar!!" We Shall!! It meant of course that they would. Would survive, would go on, would fight back, would overcome! It was in her heart! She stared past the porthole into dark space and thought of forty-two days, eating, sleeping, relieving themselves in the back area where the portable stalls had been erected, til it smelled like a barn, heavy in winter cold, when no air was let out to remove the stench. At the edge of the porthole view, their was Galan, of course, brown and blue, with clouds and blue sky!! My God how blue! It seemed so alien. So far away from what was familiar and home. A new world... a place to begin again...
Their was the Advent, of course. They had saved them. Saved the refugees when no one else would even consider it. The young acolytes in white robes moved silently among the survivors, passing out new blankets to replace old ones, giving bread and cheese out of large wooden bowls they carried in their arms. Some would stop and offer a word, but only the older Sisters, the chain of beads around their necks showing they had been among the advent for many years. One bead for each year. The advent were a race of "others". Not a true race, but a group of refugees, like the T'Lani now who had made choices and come to that faith for reasons of their own. Teir had watched them. The young girls with clear faces and big eyes, and silent. The older women with their beads and soft words. The mad men who had quieted, and the grieving women still weeping, rocking, their arms about their legs and their faces pressed into their knees. still weeping, for all the world as if the pain would never end. Teir thought that it might not. But her anger made her want to fight back, not to continue to cry. Though she still did cry. She twisted a corner of her brown robe in her fist and thought of what she would do when she got hold of a Vasari! Not just one of their machines!
It was a small comfort to vent her anger, but still a comfort. She gazed back over her shoulder to watch her mother, still seated on their bundle of bags, the bent silent, still softly weeping woman, Teal sat next to her, her arms about her, but it was of no comfort. How could she help her? She wanted to go back and sit with them, put an arm about their shoulders and press her face into their hair and say "It will be all right..." though she didn't believe it.
Along the back one of the raging men, a mad man who had lost his family stood screaming! The din seemed normal after forty-two days. He stood screaming at the thin air, shaking his fist in a way that Teir understood very well. An older Advent Acolyte woman approached him, many had since the start of the voyage, but none had been able to comfort him. She wore the black robes of an elder Sister, perhaps even the head of the small group that had come to T'Lan to offer help in the evacuation. The woman approached him, without a flicker to her eyes, she stopped and stood before him, his fist shaking not more than a few inches from her face, but his eyes were blank and tear stained. Of course he didnt see her at all! The woman opened her mouth then and said a few words. Teir from across the hold could not hear of course, but the man stopped. His unfocused eyes turned to the woman, though he seemed to look right through her, but he stopped screaming. His hands returned almost forgotten to his sides. He stood silent. The woman said something else, short words with a small gesture of her hand, as if she were smoothing a wrinkle from the man's shoulder, but did not touch him. The man slowly nodded, his dark tear stained eyes still not focusing on the woman, but on something far away, the life he had left behind? Teir thought as much, how could anyone lose their family and not want to cry or rage forever? The woman reached out then and touched the man's face with her hand when he had nodded, and the man went suddenly slack. The woman caught him, apparently stronger than she looked for a thin, older woman. She set him down, slowly, on the bags behind him and he breathed hard, but then his breathing after a few moments slowed. Had she killed him then? Teir thought. The Advent were said to kill anyone not of them. At least it was said. But then why had they come to T'Lan at all? Why had they offered help and food and blankets and soothing words?
The man rubbed at his face for a long while, but he didnt mumble, didnt scream. He moved now for the first time since Teir had seen him when they boarded the transport carrier in Halia. Rubbed at his face, all the while the black robed woman stood before him unmoving and silent, watching him. After several very long minutes he stopped. And then slowly looked up at the woman. She smiled then, and offered him a small string with no beads at all on it. He took it in his hand and let it lay in his open palm and staring at it, as if it were some wonder he could not yet comprehend. And then he spoke, soft though voice roughed words from screaming so very long. "Thank you!" The robed Sister smiled once more briefly and turned away. The younger white robed acolytes had stood watching now returned to passing out bread from the bowls and blankets in their arms. Some wore stunned looks, as if seeing a blind man see again. Some smiled small smiles and went on about their work. One pushed her hand into the air in a symbol of victory, but was quickly frowned down by several of the other acolytes. She lowered her arm and began passing out blankets again, though she still wore a big smile on her face.
The older woman approached through the crowd the outer bulkhead, near the portholes where Teir stood. Teir quickly glanced back out the window to the black sky and the planet now no more than a hour away.
"You have pain?" the woman asked. Teir turned suddeny seeing the woman beside her. "Ughh, no. I mean, well... not like the man, and as for myself, no... " She stopped then, not knowing if she should go on, what she should tell this stranger. "...more anger than crying, though i still cannot stop crying for very long. You know..."
The woman regarded her with soft eyes, "Yes, we know... we lost our family many years ago in the pogram when the Tec's exiled our world. We were outcasts then, ... yes, we know what you feel." She folded her arms and simply seemed to wait for Teir to go on. Teir swallowed and tried to find the thread of thought, "It's really my mother... she isn't like the man, but well... I don't know if she will get better. She eats little, and always cries. Even when my body can produce no more tears and i stop for a time, she does not. She is crying to death I believe." The last words came in a quick, low hush of words out of her. The woman frowned. Did she know or not know what it felt like?
"We can take that away if you like, we can bring her peace."
"Like the man?"
"Yes, like the man, but it is a choice. Hers, and also yours."
"What does that mean? You say it like it is something that is like becoming older and we cant go back."
"It is a choice, and yes, it is something from which you cannot turn back."
"You want us to be like you!" Teir's anger suddenly was hot, and instead of the Vasari, she now had this black robed woman in front of her.
The woman made no indication of moving, but stood and watched Teir, with her white eyes. White eyes!! Another alien thing! Was all the worlds out there then to be so very very different she would always feel as if she were in alien places? Was there no place like T'Lan, like home, with green skies and rolling hills of Nimbak trees that swelled with fruit in the summer? Her anger turned to doubt and saddness at the thought of home. She wanted to cry again, but not in front of this stranger.
"We have been angry... before, as you are, and we have been angry sometimes since then, but not often, the "others" help. We are not alone, in our minds, after we make the choice to join the Unity. It makes us ..."different"... than we were before, but it also brings us peace and comfort that we can not find alone. This is true, there you know it. There are stories of witches and their spells, and losing your soul and mind. But there is not madness in the Unity. Only one-ness. But it is for you to decide. It need not be now, or even ever. But we offer it, as our breath comes out of us, without our choice. Now you know. You can listen to the stories and the whispers, but keep your eyes open and see also. What you see maybe different than what you hear. It has been offered, and we must attend to others. There are wounds here, not all of them mean choosing your life. Some are simple and small, like cuts on fingers or bruises on knees. Many of them only need a little ointment, a bandage, a blanket, some food, a drink of water, a book to distract the pain. Not all choices on this ship must involve leaving what you are behind. We do not expect it."
Then the woman turned and moved away from her, walked down the length of the outer wall and helped an older couple that were arguing over what to get out of their bags, or what not. The woman moved gracefully, slowly, as if there were all the time in the world to see to all things. And perhaps in her way, there was time. Teir glanced back at the bags where her mother had stood and was searching frantically for her. It was not good to see her upset, but it was good to see her stop, at least for even a small time her weeping. Teir left the porthole and the view of the alien world with the blue skies behind her as she made her way back to her mother. Between groups of huddled and crying people, silent people.
The man who had been screaming was now sitting cross-legged on the floor with bread in his mouth working at re-pairing his old work boots, his tools moving methodically and evenly in his hands. It was good not to see him screaming. And he even smiled for a moment, not at her, but at some thought, even through a grimace of getting some tool to work just right, even having trouble with it. Smiled and grimaced through a mouthful of hard bread. Teir wanted to smile for a moment too. But she went quickly back to her mother instead.
"I couldnt' find you..." Kindra said to her daughter, as Teir come up beside her, her brown robe swirling against the brown robe of her mothers. Her sister sat quietly on the box behind with her head down and said nothing.
"I was just seeing how close we are. It is almost time, mother. Soon we will start a new life."
Her mother's eyes looked distant for a moment, and through tear stained eyes she managed a small smile, "Yes, yes... adventure in a new life, is that all young people think of?" She laughed then, her mother, she laughed, how could that be? "A new life? Shall we eat first, are you starving? I am starving. Shall we eat, i have a little 'IL Yan left from last summer. It is canned and still fresh as a newly caught Suk!" Teir wanted to cry for a moment, just from the joy of it, from the small respite of horror and pain and anger and doubt that seemed so much a part of every moment now, since the Vasari had come to T'Lan. But she knew it would be brief, a wheel turning from anger to peace, from prosperity to desperation. It would turn. But for the moment she was glad to have it. She patted her mother's arm and went to help her with getting the IL Yan from the bags. Already she could taste the sweet taste of the peppered and breaded, spiced slices of it. Better hot, but even cold from the canning jar it was spicedly warm in the stomache. She did smile that time. They would need to share of course. What small amount they had, she could share with others. But still she would enjoy the taste of it, and good memories of home, and her father, and the quiet fields, and her sister, and her mother not crying for even a small time. She was grateful of that. Yet she wondered where their life would turn, where her and her mother and her sister would go. On this new world? In this new life. If they would see her father again?