1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Greetings Guest!!

    In order to combat SPAM on the forums, all users are required to have a minimum of 2 posts before they can submit links in any post or thread.

    Dismiss Notice

My attempt to spruce up the current event Fiction.

Discussion in 'UO White Stag Inn' started by Renyard Foxenwyle, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Sadly the fiction that was produced for the Bane Chosen event seems to have been slapped together on short notice. Though I will give whoever wrote it credit for the Nero reference at the end "fiddling while the Lost Lands burn" I have tried to stay true to the feel of the fiction. This is simply my revision of the current fiction that went live today. Original credit goes to EA/Mythic.

    Anyways, here's my attempt to revise the fiction. Tell me what you think.

    Queen Zhah was lost in melancholy, idly studying the human who sat across from her. Queen Dawn sat quietly, admiring the beauty of the palace garden. The Gargoyles had gone to great lengths to preserve the garden, which was once an artifact of their fallen empire. The Queen of Ter Mur was saddened that on this auspicious day, the first summit between Britannia and Ter Mur since the completion of the Abyssal Outposts, she was the bearer of ill news.

    Contemplating the beauty of the garden she leaned back in her chair, wings expanded behind her to for balance. “Sorrow be damned.” She thought to herself as she broke the silence that hung between the two monarchs like a blade.

    My dear Queen Dawn, on behalf of Ter Mur allow me to extend to you my deepest congratulations on the completion of your outpost in the Abyss.” Queen Zhah reached to a plant and plucked a leaf from it, holding it between her long fingers. “I had thought” she began “that your mage’s theory of Virtue Nodes was naught but drivel, but your results have proven the truth of the matter.” With a flick of her wrist she sent the leaf dancing into the water of the reflection pool.

    Annoyance shot across Queen Dawn’s face. How could this person consider the Virtues drivel? “Congratulations are in order for you as well Zhah. My people have known the power of the Virtues since the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. Perhaps now that you have seen their power you will study them for yourself one day.” The Queen replied condescendingly.

    Zhah never ceased to be amazed at how emotional humans could be. What had she done to insult Queen Dawn this time? Queen Zhah’s world was on the very brink of annihilation and this young pup of a woman was sermonizing her on the Virtues? Zhah had no time for such petty annoyances. Ill news or not, it was time to deliver it.

    From within the folds of her robe Zhah pulled a scroll. “This is a ciphered report from my Warden in the Abyss. He reports that a host of hellhounds and strange black dragons have begun to reach the surface through the fissure.” She passed it to Queen Dawn.

    Dawn quickly read over the scroll and placed it beside her. “Thank you for sharing this information with us. We had only just received a similar report” she replied. “We have also received word that some adventurers calling themselves the Bane Chosen have taken to taming the dragons and hellhounds. So far we have yet to be able to determine their motives.”

    “Ah yes, the Bane Chosen.” Queen Zhah said. “I presume you know they have been recruiting here in Ter Mur? My guards have driven them away.” It was time to soothe relations with Dawn with a bit of candor. “The Void has taken much from my people, Dawn. Some have lost everything, including their families. I do not wish them to align themselves with strangers for the promise gold or a better life without knowing their intentions.”

    Queen Dawn took a breath and began to speak. She paused and studied the face of the Gargoyle Queen. It was only right that she be as candid with Zhah as Queen Zhah had been with her but moments before. “Their motives are certainly suspect. Aside from the insidious nature of the title Bane and their use of hellhounds, the uniforms they wear remind me of those worn by the Chaos Soldiers who once tried to take over Britannia. It could be remnants of their army trying to reorganize under a new banner. That is purely speculation though, you understand.” Looking at the reticent queen, Dawn prepared to share even more. “My spies are infiltrating their camps. They have not been seen near any of my cities as their attention seems to be focused on the Ophidians of the Lost Lands. They seem to be at war with them.

    Curiosity swept over Zhah. “Who are the Ophidians?” she asked. Human society was a complex interaction between various factions, but the Scholar in her was intrigued by such things.

    “Who? I would not say who. What is more the term you are looking for. They are an evil race. They take the form of snakes and always seem to be at war with somebody, whether it be the Terathans or even Britannia. They attacked us once when an artifact was stolen from them. Wave after wave of them assaulted our cities and we were only able to sue for peace by finding the thief and returning the artifact.” Dawn carefully explained.

    “I shall throw a glaive in the dark here. Perchance was the thief named Ricardo?” Queen Zhah asked.
    With a groan Dawn leaned back and rolled her eyes. “Ricardo? How do you know of him?” she asked.

    With a throaty laugh, the first overt emotion that Queen Zhah had displayed that day, she spoke. “My dear, who doesn’t know about the incorrigible Ricardo? His research into Lord British’s Vault is of great interest to me.”

    “Yes, entirely too many people in the world know about his research.” Dawn said with a sigh. “We will be forced to open the vault soon before someone else does. Initially it was feared the Bane Chosen were going to attempt it, but they seem to be focused on the Ophidians.”

    “Forgive me for prying Dawn, but some of my reports say that Ricardo is a thief, while others say he is your advisor.” Zhah’s curiosity had gotten the better of her. Such a statement could provoke Dawn’s temper and end the meeting. Evidently Zhah was getting more skilled in diplomacy as Dawn’s temper held steady.

    “Yes, he was a thief, and yes he was my advisor. He stole the artifact from the ophidians and served a good deal of time in prison for it. Eventually I pardoned him for his help in the battle against the Shadowlords. After the war he remained one of my advisors, but the horror of the war slowly drove him mad.” Dawn replied.

    Unconsciously adjusting her wings as she leaned forward, fascinated by the bizarre story, “Is madness a common malady amongst humans?” she asked with childlike innocence.

    “No. It is not.” Dawn replied tersely. “We put him in Yew Prison because we didn’t know what to do with him. He had left the castle one morning saying he was off to visit some friends. A few weeks later he was found on Fire Island completely insane and covered in blood…and naught else. What is strangest is the fact that the blood was not his own. I think he may be the victim of an enchantment. I pray a cure will be found soon.”

    The two queens seemed more relaxed now. Together they admired the beauty of the palace gardens. What tension there had been between the two seemed dissipated by the sharing of information. With a sigh Queen Zhah broke their reverie yet again.

    “What are you plans to deal with these Bane Chosen?” she asked Queen Dawn.

    Leaning back in her chair she replied, “In the past I would have advised my commanding officer that we should go up there and do something about them.”

    “Surely you as the Queen can order that done.”
    “Politics” Queen Dawn sighed and stood. “It’s always Politics.” She said as she began to pace back and forth. “I think I was much happier brandishing my sword rather than my diplomacy.” Dawn looked at Zhah and whispered, “Do you ever wish you were not the Queen?”
    With shock on her face Zhah answered with a short “No.”

    Queen Dawn placed her hand gently on the shoulder of Zhah. “Forget I said that.” She said as she took her seat and attempted to relax again. “As I was saying, I am constrained by Politics. My advisors have told me that any official military action against these Bane Chosen could easily be an unpopular decision. Many of my people have lost loved ones to the Ophidians and bear them ill will. Some see the Bane Chosen as instruments of Justice. Any interference could easily result in yet another faction forming. We will do nothing but remain neutral for now.” With a laugh Dawn spoke again. “If only being Queen was as easy as Music. You know our bards have made great advancements in their magic lately. Maybe I can keep my people on the proper path by supporting the arts, though we could end up playing the fiddle while the Lost Lands burn in the flames of war.

    Zhah was confused by Dawn. She seemed to have such little control over her people, yet they held her in high regard. Human society was truly complex! There was much to think about. Zhah was pleased that she had gained so much information, but was exhilarated by the fact that Dawn seemed to have opened up with her. She had always been uncomfortably formal with her in the past. Hopefully the connection made today would only strengthen their alliance. The summit was a success. Not only had Queen Zhah received beneficial information, she had also sown the seeds that would potentially become the sprouts of a friendship with Queen Dawn.
     
  2. Mark_Mythic

    Mark_Mythic UO Legend
    VIP Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    An interesting interpretation. I can tell you read it and I thank you. I'm sorry you found it "slapped together".

    I chose to keep a single perspective since the last time the queens met I told the story from Dawns point of view. I find it interesting to explore how people perceive each other vs. how they see themselves. I am also interested in the 'unknowableness' of others.

    As a stylistic choice, I prefer to let people read between the lines than spell things out. I'm interested in the use of inferrance and implication, going back to my interest in the unknowableness of others. I am happy to see that you read between the lines quite easily and your story reflects that. It also suggests that my efforts at inferrence were successful and I didn't really need to spell it out for you to get the point.

    Thanks for taking the time to give feedback, I do appreciate it. I don't claim to be some kind of authority on writing in general, I just write stuff the way I like to read it.

    Your tag says you are in Iraq, be well and stay safe. :)
     
  3. RaDian FlGith

    RaDian FlGith Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,442
    Likes Received:
    323
    @ OP:

    In no way do I mean to offend, but by and large you will notice that writers tend to stick to a single character's perspective during writing because it is easier to follow. When you run back and forth between perspectives, you tend to run the risk of losing your reader in a confusing jump.

    Not saying that a good book won't shift perspectives between sections within the same chapter, but typically -- not universally, but typically -- you won't find the better writers out there jumping back and forth. I'm with Mark, single perspective is better.

    The other issue I would have with your version is that you make strange character choices that seem out of the ordinary. Queen Zhah sounds human in her speech. "Naught but drivel" doesn't sound very much like a gargoyle to me; nor does "this young pup of a woman." Queen Dawn doesn't strike me as condescending, but more agitated at something we don't yet know in the original version. Ophidians don't "take the form of snakes," at least not here in Ultima Online. They are snake-like beings...

    I mean, truthfully, I find your version making presumptions that shouldn't be made based on the Ultima Online canon to date. I understand this is just my opinion, but, I wouldn't prefer yours over what was published. I think that the piece that was published today shines out as a standard that they should adhere to (obviously there's always room for improvement in everything, but they did a damned fine job with this piece), and to be frank, I don't think your piece meets the standard they provided today.

    Sorry.
     
  4. Mark, I'm sorry if you were offended, and was unaware that you wrote the fiction, which makes sense with the rushed feel of the fiction. You're a busy man with a lot on your plate. I had assumed (we know what that makes right?) that there was a writer stable at EA/Mythic like there are at many other developers. I honestly didn't expect one of the Designers to write the fiction. Maybe if I had been playing these last 8 years I would have been better aquainted with the fiction process in the current incarnation of Ultima Online.

    That being said, I will say you guys are doing a great job with the game. I have reactivated 3 of my accounts because of how good a job you have done with the game....even if I can not stand the AoS item system...Classic shard plz!....Oops sorry, couldn't keep it from slipping out.

    As for the choices I made in my revision I will just say it was written from 1am-3am here in Iraq after I had been working hard in the heat all day. I tried to proof read it as much as possible, but it's always best to get other peoples views on it. I appreciate both of your opinions on it.

    Ohh yeah, thanks for the well wishes Mark, we all appreciate them here. I just have a few more weeks here and I'll be on the bird home but there are many people who will be staying behind here or heading from here to Afghanistan that will need all the prayers and good thoughts that anyone can send them.
     
  5. Lore Denin (GL)

    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    303
    Mark I thought for fiction for the Bane Chosen was solid. Well thought out, well written and well executed. I think it is a good direction to continue to take UO fiction.

    Renyard, I think adding your own perspective on the interaction was also creative and interesting. When writing parallel fiction to Ultima Online Cannon, I find it better to filter those thoughts through characters of our own creation rather then cannon characters (EA run characters) even if we feel those characters are acting out of character from what we perceive them to be or believe.

    That being said since there are perhaps infinite worlds, I propose you post alternate UO fiction with a sub heading as occurring on an alt shard which opens up infinite possibilities to re-write what and how things happen while keeping the integrity of what is happening on the shards we live on.

    Just like we have bad days in RL, act differently then we expect, speak in ways we might not normally, or apply more then our standard amount of mascara, it is important to give fictional characters the benefit of the doubt as these character nuances help create a more believable reality. Though writing a character inconsistently will also damage that reality so you want to err on the side of consistency if you can.

    Lore's Player
     
  6. Mark_Mythic

    Mark_Mythic UO Legend
    VIP Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oy, I've gotten a lot of grief off that mascara! You should have seen my first draft, I wrote her as straight up Cruella Deville but Cal put the kabosh on that. Anyway, I think it's fine if Minax wants to wear Mascara. I think she's kind of sexy for a cugar. Heh.

    Renyard, I was not offended. I've been criticized on this forum much more strongly than that. Heck, I've had a person calling for my job. Anyway, God's speed on your trip home and I appreciate you guys over there. You all make America the kind of place where people can play UO without worrying about a car bomb going off and I thank you.
     
  7. Lore Denin (GL)

    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    303
    I thought I slipped that by... and sorry to move things off the topic from the well written, quality fiction you have produced in the latest installment. Awesome job!

    I won't waste everyone's time going paragraph by paragraph but to summarize here are things I really enjoyed about the piece: Original Article Good Neighbors

    Great introduction, it puts the reader immediately in the shoes of Queen Zhan whose internal dialog shares with the reader the thoughts and feelings Gargoyles collective mentality. It also demonstrates that Gargoyles are not simply humans with a different graphic, showing some of the racial and cultural differences that exist between the two.

    The piece is well paced as not to lose the reader or have them tune out.

    Very good physical description of Zhan's Gargoyle features to further set the mood, and what would seem to be a compliment to Queen Dawn from her perspective. Dawn's unexpected response and further exploration of human and gargoyle differences and an indication of how dire things really are for the Gargoyles.

    Great job linking old fiction "Chaos and Order Guard things” and linking that to Queen Dawn's well known Order leanings. Also her description of Ophidians as "evil" shows her still slightly judgmental perspective whereas a more perfect being might simply consider them "misunderstood". Either being correct based on perspective, but I like the direction you have Dawn coming from in that sense.

    What I loved most was the defining of Britannia and an expansion of its politics through fiction. The Lost Lands not being part of Britannia, "Bane Chosen seen in the Lost Lands and not in her cities". These are all things that old time players and rp junkies love to see in game fiction as it helps the newer generation of players who have not lived through all the ages developed a way to connect with modern day "Britannia". I also enjoy the touches of humor which were very appropriately placed in the setting - Dawn's statement, "Apart from the obvious fact that they have ‘Bane’ in their title and seem to employ hellhounds" - Zhan's Innocent Question “Is madness common among humans?”

    I also enjoyed the exploration of the conflict Dawn is facing from being a military leader in the past and now moving into a position of Queen which requires more diplomacy and tact.

    Last the use of Queen Zhan's lack of knowledge of Britannia to allow Dawn to explain to us the readers who might also be unaware of what "Ophidians" are, who the "Chaos Guard" was, and "Riccardo" part in all of this.

    We appreciate what your doing for us and the game, Keep up the good work. This in my eyes is a land"mark" piece from which to build the future of UO fiction.

    -Lore's Player
     
  8. WarderDragon

    WarderDragon Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni BRPA

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Messages:
    2,688
    Likes Received:
    69
    I happened to like both pieces. Well written. Well thought out. I look forward to more from both writers.

    I like how Mark has begun to show that there is a tangible political landscape with numerous Kingdoms, Empires, and City States. I've always deplored the old tales where any land that opened was immidiately considered part of Britannia and under the jurisdiction of the Royal Council.

    We have the last vestiges of an Empire (Akalabeth) that became a Kingdom (Old Britannia) that turned into five states (New Britannia in Trammel and the Factions Kingdoms in Felucca). Two more crumbling Empires with their respective Empresses (Tel Mur and Zento). Six independent states (Luna, Umbra, Delucia, Papua, Heartwood, and Lakeshire). Two lawless border towns (Buccaneers Den and Sanctuary). And I don't know what you would consider Magincia to have been with its parliment (it reminds me of Carthage with its Senate; paying homage to Rome for a time before it was destroyed during the Punic Wars).

    Renyard is also a talented author. I liked how you included references to the Age of Enlightenment. I would encourage you to follow up with another tale from your own characters perspectives.
     
  9. WarderDragon

    WarderDragon Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni BRPA

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Messages:
    2,688
    Likes Received:
    69
    I'd like to see more of an edge out of Queen Dawn. It makes her more realistic and believable than a perfect, altruistic ruler with agape love for all creatures and lifeforms. That is the Avatar. She is not.