Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tehanu, Writer's Itch

So I finally broke down and read Tehanu over the last two days. It's been so long since I've read something new! My mind must have been starving, given how swiftly it gorged itself upon the new text. This has had an unfortunate side effect, however. I've now got an itch to write something again, but I don't know what. So many ideas that are started and unfinished. *sigh* There are two significant stories that deserve to be finished. And one old, old story that maybe I should finally write. I'll let you guys in on the basic ideas.

The basis of this story is the legos my brother, Hugh, and I used to play with many many years ago. Ten, maybe 12 years. Almost a lifetime ago, it feels. But the world we created was inspired by the Steampunk fantasy elements of Final Fantasy VI(III). The main character is a young man named Falcon. Your stereotypical rural-raised orphan type with a stereotypical independent streak and a stereotypical mystic heredity. I've always appreciated cliches and well-known plot devices. But he escapes into a wood full of "savage brigands" from his over-bearing and rather malicious "aunt." These brigands turn out to be nice guys, a la Robin Hood, but brigands nonetheless. And so he is raised a brigand. He grows up tall and strong with an unexplainable noble air that inspires people to follow him. The brigand's leader is aging and gives the boy more and more responsibility, which he lives up to magnificently. Then comes the "Kill the Mentor" scene. The Prince's Men come into the wood in force, to rout out the brigands. Many die, including the old Brigand captain. But in his dying moments, he lets Falcon in on a secret: the location of his old airship, the Raven. Back when the Brigand Captain Leader Type was young he was a Sky Pirate, raiding this and that as he saw fit. The skies in those days was filled with airships and dragons and swashbuckling glory, etc, etc. So Falcon and his few remaining friends take to the skies! Pirating and harassing the king's men, but always with his noble air and sense of justice. Before long he is hailed by the lower classes as the Bandit Prince.

Here we zoom out from our hero into the world at large. There are three main kingdoms (whose names I have used and reused and overused over and over again): Hyla, the Dragearean Empire, and Falconia. It is a time of decline, a dark age. Hyla was once a great and bright kingdom, full of justice and peace, enlightenment. But the Old Kings have long faded from power, replaced instead by the Crown Princes. The rules and traditions of the land, and ancient magics, prevent the Princes from rightfully claiming the crown. This denial of the true rule of the kingdom drives the Princes to be cruel, each moreso than the father that sired him. Enter Princess Aila and her twin brother Ailen. Ailen is cruel and cold like his father, and his father, blah, blah, blah. Aila is fair and wise and kind. And is locked away in her tower. Which is still plushly accomodated, well tended. Because he's cruel and cold, but not stupid. Aila has power he does not. The power of the Old Kings to wield magic. So he dare not move openly against her. He allows her out into the world, but always with a thick guard of his most trusted me, for her "protection". It is in one of these forays into the world at large that her troupe is attacked by a suddenly descending airship. She, wisely, remains calm, while her guards do not. They are quickly gunned down by the rifles and bows of the crew. Falcon recognizes something powerful in her and in a dramatic gesture, sweeps her up into the ship, no doubt right before truly powerful reinforcements arrive. The crew is typically ragtag, with each member having a particular quirk or another. Falcon is the captiain of the Raven. His first mate is his fast friend and part-time rival since being found in the woods, and an excellent marksman with any ranged weapon, though he favors the bow. There is one who is a sort of mercenary/wandering swordsman. He's in it for money, sure, but his heart is true and he stays on the crew even when the money isn't there. He's also a good pilot for the ship. There's a mage on board, too. His primary skills are in woodland and nature based spells, imagine, but he knows more magic than he lets on. The ship isn't in the air long, because the crystal that powers the ship is old and weak, shatters, trek to find. There's also an old man in the crew. If the Bandit Captain was like a father to Falcon, the old man was like a crazy uncle. He's ancient, but has the best eyes in the crew, and spends most of his time singing old pirate songs up in his perch atop the mainmast.

Somewhere along the way, the find Falcon's true father, the Archduke of Falconia. And old grizzled stone of a man. Falconia is little more than a shadow anymore, decimated by a costly war waged against the Empire. There is no king in Falconia, no royal line, anymore. Only closed off and huddled baronies with large open wildernesses that are haven to true brigands and cut-throats and, you guessed it, Sky Pirates. The Archduke has been wandering all over the wide world, fighting for whomever can afford him, just fighting. Outcast and exiled from his former land and power by the war he thought so necessary, though even he forgets the reason why. Cool, collected, powerful, skilled, and badass. He's even missing an eye. Hardcore, yo.

There are legendary swords and prophecies involved. And a climatic battle with an ancient and evil Great Dragon summoned byAilen to finally rid himself of Aila and Falcon.

Of course, it's all jumbled in my brain. But these ideas are over half my life old. I think that tamed the itch enough for my to finally sleep at least.

pour your misery down on me


thatweirdgirl said...

Does anyone else feel old when he says, "many many years ago...ten, maybe 12 years," anyone?

Let's see, ten years ago from this month...i was in college....I was being 'dropped' by my boyfriend. Dropped: where a frat boy gives his letters to his girl, the letters hang vertically on a small more pinning, now it's dropping. Mom was ecstatic because that was the step just before, who needs a husband anyway?

He was a med a successful doctor...glasses...brilliant..thick hair...what was I thinking?

Julien Grey said...

Hey, 12 years is half my life ago!

Not my fault I was born so much later than the rest of you. I feel as old as you guys, does that count? ;-)