Short bit of something



  • This was written in a somewhat rushed response to a prompt over on one of my art accounts. I would like to use this as a spring-board for a main villain to the world I've been messing around with for far too long, but I need a more solid plot and characters before I can do much more with it. Ultimately, I think I'll need more one-on-one help to develop it better. This is what I have for now.

    The child was first.

    Out of the corner of his eye, she was a slip of gold cloth covered in dirt. Sontar looked past the shop shelf he was perusing to the street. Her back was to him. Grimy fingers closed over a fallen doll. The charm he’d taken down to purchase was forgotten.

    She was wearing that before.

    The stray thought slipped past that morning’s concerns—worries about recent uprisings and abuses in magic—and rested on the dark-headed girl. Doll in hand, she straightened to stare through the shop’s glass at him.

    Sontar’s heart gave a turn. The wind ruffled her hair in a way that was all too familiar, loosening her brown braids to blow in free tangles.

    Her name is—

    An older woman stalked out of the meandering crowds to take the small one by the hand. She spoke the child’s name, but it was as if his ears had closed off to wall it out. “Stop running off! Don’t you realize how dangerous…”

    He didn’t need to see the mother’s face when she took the girl away. He knew already what it looked like—a thin mouth, large eyes framed in dark lashes. There was a scar in the right corner of her lip. What from, he had no way of knowing--

    Sontar shook his head. His mind was toying with the idea of what the woman could look like, nothing more. His schoolmates had always said his imagination was active, mostly to the detriment of those around him. Yet, reluctance dogged his steps to the counter, where he withdrew his coin to pay for his charm.

    Surely, he only knew the girl’s name because he’d heard it in passing on the way into the shop. He just hadn’t noticed her before that moment. With his current distractions, all sorts of things were slipping through the cracks of his mind.
    By the time he returned home, the strange sensation in the pit of his stomach had passed.

    **
    Ava was fond of the roses she kept in their bedroom windowsill. When they were courting, it was his first gift to her, three of them wrapped in thin blue ribbon. In the two years since then, she’d made many trips to the market to purchase more.
    That morning, one hung over the scalloped lip of the vase. A few stray petals had fallen across the sill, black at their edges. The rest stood tall and proud into the sunlight he found himself damning. Sontar turned away to burrow in the blankets.

    There, the feeling found him again.

    I just bought all three yesterday. They were fresh. How odd to have one die—

    Next to him, Ava inhaled. “Is everything all right, dear?”

    He realized then that he was clutching the pillow so tightly his knuckles were bloodless. When he turned, he would see the stray lock of hair she always complained about over her left eye, her nightgown a rumple from her disturbed rest.

    He wasn’t the only one troubled by the violent turns peoples’ magic had taken lately. Word had come from the nearby city of Telvik that more mages would be needed in the city outskirts to prevent the hexes that had ravaged the larger cities from cursing any more people. Being one of a handful in a small town had its detriments.

    Sontar turned.

    “It’s…nothing. Just the sunlight in my eyes.” He brushed the lock of hair away. Ava turned onto her back to stretch, putting him in mind of a large cat.

    “I’ll make breakfast. Something quick this morning---.”

    “---since I’ll need to head to the market.” Pushing the covers away, he put his feet to the cold hardwood. Porridge. Not the thin gruel others made, but satisfying, topped with the fresh fruit Ava bought to liven up what was otherwise a dull meal.
    A half-hour later, he stared down into his bowl. Fruit crowned his cereal, swirling in with the milk Ava had added just before serving it. He ate, chewing with more thought than was his usual custom.

    A small body. Someone crying.

    He all but dropped his spoon. Ava hadn’t made porridge yesterday. He’d been late, drawn up into an unexpected crowd that flooded the shops. He’d been sure to go early to avoid it, missing his meal. His wife hadn’t been pleased, but it was necessary.
    He stared down at his trembling hand.

    What day is it today? He thought they kept a calendar on the wall nearest to the kitchen table.

    It was gone.

    “Sontar.” His name was tinged with an undercurrent of—concern? No, that wasn’t quite it. If he didn’t know better, it almost sounded as if Ava was sizing him up, evaluating him in ways he couldn’t put a finger to. “Are you unwell? I should call someone if you’re--.”

    “I’m well enough.” He looked up at her from across the table, voice firm. “I should be going before it gets much later. You know how things are at the market if I dawdle.”

    She looked down into her own bowl, a frown wedging between her eyebrows. “I do.” She spoke so softly he had to strain to hear her.

    “I’ll be back.” He tried to sound reassuring as he cast for his coat and shoes.

    He failed.

    Long after he’d shut the front door behind him, he felt the weight of Ava’s eyes upon him.
    **
    The Wandering Dragon was well-known for its variety of charms. In the century since magic had come to the world, the Olories had made a name for themselves as its finest artisans, drawing a variety of people from all over the continent. The youngest great-granddaughter of the original proprietor was now the owner, but due to her frequent travels, her husband usually minded the shopfront in her absence.

    Today, Sontar took in every small detail about the place—the peeling paint on the front door, the slap of the store sign against the side of the building. The tinkle of the bell never sounded in full, the clapper stuck against something inside.

    The interior smelled of dust and charm ingredients. Some of them were herbs he knew by heart, having picked them many times himself. Others were things he could never hope to touch in nature, not having the money required to travel.

    “Morning.” The young man leaning against the counter lifted his hand in greeting.
    “Good morning, Arlen.” Five shelves, three hemmed together against the far wall. Charms wrapped in paper behind glass, each with a tiny sign advertising their merits and prices. A few had warnings scrawled in red ink under that. Two shelves closer to him, those containing the charms better suited to the students that milled in from the nearby university.

    It seemed like everyone had a frown for him that day. “Is something the matter? You don’t seem like yourself.”

    Sontar waved a distracted hand. “Work's been wearying lately. I’m looking for a banishing enhancer. These damn hexes people are bandying about…”

    Arlen nodded knowingly. “Scary times, aren’t they? Mayor Morvaris closed the ports the other day. The High Houses are in lockdown. They’re still negotiating about what we should do with the new magic that’s coming down from the Outside.”

    “Yes.” He didn’t look at the other man on his way over to the shelf. The glass box he picked up was cool in his palms. “Ridiculous, what they’re trying to do.”

    “Mm, try telling some of them that.” Arlen propped his chin in his hands. “Making problems for the sake of it, some of them. They think if they make enough strife, people will want to carve a straight line meant for everyone to follow until the world ends.” He made a derisive sound. “They’re calling it a matter of people determining their own destiny versus having a pre-determined fate.”

    “They say that the problems we cause with magic in this world will be inherited by another when this one ends, so we need to maintain caution.” He gave the box another twist for a better look at the trapped charm. “I can see the need for that.”

    “I wish we could get rid of it altogether.” Arlen propped his chin in his hands. “I wonder what problems we inherited from the last world that had our magic.”

    “We would all die if magic went away tomorrow.” Sontar gave him a disapproving look. “Souls destroyed and all, since it’s all tied together. We’re trying to study that very thing in the universities. In fact, there are reams of literature from when a group of professors who lived in the First Age…” He trailed away.

    Something hurtled past the window.

    A slip of gold.
    The child.

    She cried out when the doll met packed earth. A dirt-caked hand reached to pick it up. Wind, braids. Free-flowing streams of hair like pieces of midnight—

    Her name is--

    “Lora!” The woman, taking the child’s free hand. “Stop running off! Don’t you realize how dangerous…”

    The box threatened to slip from his hand.

    His reaction didn’t escape Arlen’s notice. “Mr. Liabella? Is everything all right?”

    His eyes remained on the child as the mother struggled to corral her back to waiting family. Sontar turned for the counter, hand automatically closing over the coins in the bottom of his pocket.

    “I’m…fine. Distracted.” He dropped the gold on the counter. Arlen slid it down into his palm to count it.

    “Here, I owe you the difference,” he started. “Mr. Liabella, don’t you need your--?”

    “Keep it.” The sun burst into his eyes, dazzling him for a moment. The bell sounded behind him. The shop door closed.

    The woman in the street, distracted by the click of the door, turned away from her tantruming offspring to glance up at him.

    The scar on her lip was paler than the surrounding skin, slightly puckered.

    Sontar didn’t remember going home.
    **
    Two.

    He woke to a milky dawn trying to pry its way through his bedroom curtains. The vase in the window was filled to the brim with water.

    Two roses bowed together in death. One black petal rested on the floor, while another sat on the sill itself. The last living rose sought the feeble sun.

    He turned against the heat of his wife’s body. Her nightgown was the same as he recalled. The same lock of hair fell over her eye. Her left eye. Her stretch, down to the way she opened her fingers, was identical.

    The thought of breakfast made him feel ill.

    Blueberries and milk. The porridge sat heavy in his stomach.

    The woman hadn’t wept long. There was no reason to.

    No calendar. Of course. Yet if it was there, if he could see it, what he suspected--
    This time, the spoon did clatter from his hand, meeting the table in a chime of metal.

    Ava glanced up from her meal. “Sontar?”

    There was no mistaking that tone now. “I’m fine, Ava. I—I’ve just noticed the time, that’s all. If I’m much later, the market will be full. I’m out of banishment enhancing charms.”

    Her eyes felt the same. The material of his favorite coat, once a comfort, felt like a smothering skin. His shoes were prisons. The way to the town proper was a blur his addled head couldn’t distinguish from a dream.

    The same bell, the same shelves. He was certain he’d seen each minute detail the same way before, down to the last cobweb.

    He tried to keep his chat with Arlen to a minimum. He knew the box he took into his hand as well as he knew his own name, down to the chip in the corner from where someone had likely been careless with it before.

    The view outside the window loomed. Across the way, there was a restaurant, next to that another shop where caught souls were rendered to have their memories distilled into usable information before being released again.

    Gold. The child, the doll, the woman. All reeled across his eyes as he paid. Once more, he refused his change. The light hurt him.

    The figure crossing the street kept pressed into the crowd she was among. The child screamed—something about her dolly having lost an eye that she needed to find before she allowed her mother to take her back to where her auntie was waiting. The throng of crossing people stepped closer.

    The woman noticed him first. The eyes that met his were fathomless.

    Sontar tried to move forward, to speak. His lips refused to part. His mind refused to engage.

    Instead, somehow, he went home.
    **
    The last rose was wilting.

    This time, he didn’t need light to see that. He knew it, knew it the same way he knew the way Ava would wake, the way he knew his porridge would go to his aching stomach like a mouthful of gravel. His coat was the skin of a dead man wrapped around his own. His shoes were made of iron that smashed against his toes. His name in Ava’s mouth fell to ashes. He heard her as if from underwater.

    His way to the market was a scene from a story that felt as if it happened to another man. On the shelf furthest from the shop door, a spider was trapping a fly in its web, turning it over and over, applying more sticky threads to keep its meal in place.

    His own threatened to come up. Scolding Arlen for wishing magic away was a mechanical chore. The girl would be by in a moment.

    Gold.

    Yes, there she was. The doll disturbed the soil when its stuffed body struck. Her fingers reminded him of matchsticks. So thin, so fragile, just as easy to break.
    The sound of the money he dropped onto the counter may as well have been a scream. His ears throbbed with the conversations others had around him. The shop bell tolled death while the sun threatened to raise burns across his uncovered skin.

    The wind raked at his hair, the girl’s hair, the hair of the turning mother with her scarred lip.

    The crowd came. The figure in the middle was his focus. Something in the way she moved, something she reached for. The girl protested her mother’s efforts to remove her. Dolly needed her eye.

    This time, he remained close to the mother and child. When the crowd drew close, he could feel the magic others couldn’t. Unlike the common person, Sontar was trained. He knew what magical danger, even the most subtle types, felt like. The woman in the crowd used powerful concealing magic, but she wasn’t careful enough.

    Even so, the magic that radiated out from her released hex was enough to take him from his feet. Cries of pain and fear blended together into a long moan. The protective wards around Arlen’s shop would save him from the worst of the damage, but others were not so fortunate.

    The last scream he heard before the world closed to him belonged to Ava.
    **
    “He’s waking.”

    “Is he?”

    Heads bent together, the two senior healers stood over the mage’s hospital bed. He was fairly young, ensuring that the worst of the physical wounds the hex opened across his body would heal soon enough.

    The fashion in which it affected his magic was another matter.

    “Mr. Liabella?” The elder of the two leaned closer to raise his voice. “Can you hear us?
    I’m Healer Quinfiel. You’re in Telvik. Mr. Liabella?”

    The eyes that shifted to him reminded the healer of glass marbles. “Can you hear us?” he repeated, quieter.

    Sontar took a moment to remember how speech functioned. “Yes. I…” He licked lips that flaked under the effort. “How is the little girl from the market? The one in Ebla? I remember the woman in the market released her hex, and…”

    “She’ll pull through. Her mother as well. That charm you had saved a lot of people.”
    Quinfiel smiled down at him.

    Sontar’s brows knit. “Ava, my wife, she was there as well. I’d forgotten something, lots of things, actually, and she was there. I don’t know how she found me. I must have spent an hour in Arlen’s shop looking at things. How long have I been unconscious?”

    “Nearly four days.” It was the other healer, a younger woman, that chimed in. “The woman that hexed everyone was taken in. They’re asking her questions now.”

    “My wife?” Sontar turned his head. His neck felt raw where it met his shoulders.
    Glances were exchanged.

    “The effects of the hex on her were more severe.” Quinfiel’s nose twitched. “We weren’t able to save her, but she did donate her soul’s energy to you in order to save you.”

    Sontar’s jaw tightened. “I’m going to need some time alone. Please.”

    “Are you sure that’s---.”

    He interjected before she could pity him. “Yes. Thank you.”

    Quinfiel shook his head. “Leave him be, Shey. He’s well enough not to need constant monitoring. We’ll see you tonight, Mr. Liabella.”

    Together, they departed.

    Above his head, Sontar watched the last of his wife’s precious soul drain from a containment unit into his own. He could feel his flesh rallying with each glowing drop it took.

    Living a day over and over again. The glow of the lights above his head were harsh. He shut his eyes.

    Other thoughts drained in, one after another.

    I wonder what lead up to that moment in the marketplace. If I’d done a few things differently, could it have been avoided? If everyone had done something differently, would it have happened at all?

    Day wore into evening. By the time the sun lent its light to the moon, the last of Ava’s soul was gone.
    **
    Three days later, he was permitted to go home.

    The first thing Sontar did was take the vase down from the window, before he put away his belongings, before he greeted any of his and Ava’s old friends who came by to pay their condolences.

    He ate. He talked to his visitors. He eventually rejoined the world at large.

    His eyes opened to new sights. He began to keep a journal, one he would write in every night. Sontar expanded his study of magic into new avenues to keep his mind at ease.

    Several months after Ava’s death, he sat to record the events of the day. His clothing felt loose, falling away. He hadn’t eaten. He was almost never hungry these days. His thoughts had changed regarding many things.

    It was time to take a new path, and he intended to take his first strides.

    Reliving a day. His hand had trouble keeping the pen steady. He bore down on it. A splotch of ink spread across the page, strangely-colored blood. More than once, with small changes each time. That was what I dreamed.

    He continued to scrawl. Would it be possible to go to the seat of magic in the Outside and change the course of magic? Magic is a tool. People tend to limit it with their minds, their imaginations. Perhaps too, it’s limited by the First Mage, the one who went to the Outside and joined her body to the source of magic, parceling it out to us like hungry children.

    There, he stopped. Other ideas capered in his head, but they were poorly formed. If a man could relive a day in his mind, make slight differences to alter the outcome—
    Could he relive whole swatches of history from their beginning, knowing what originally happened, then re-suit them to his liking? Can the people within those histories become unknowing pawns, as long as it’s for a better outcome?

    Sontar stumbled up from his chair. The healers warned him fevers related to his hex would be common for a few months. He picked his way back to the bedroom he never slept in anymore.

    The vase remained in the window sill.

    Sontar went to sit on the bed, facing the window, and contemplated the glass prison.

    All the roses inside had long since died.



  • I wasn't sure to expect, but I really enjoyed this! ^_^ It leaves me with a lot of questions (in a good way!) but watching the progression of Sontar's character, I can see how he would make a fantastic villain. The way you leave off especially makes me feel like Sontar is eventually going to unleash a master plan to change history until he can keep the hex from happening/save his wife.

    I will say that it used a trope I love where as it unravels, you realize it's one of those stories you have to reread because the way you were thinking the first time through means you missed a lot of details you didn't know you should be looking for. I was probably 3/4 of the way through before I realized that he was reliving the same day over and over and I'm still not sure if it was the same day or if each day was just really similar to the last??

    Anyway, I'm gonna leave before I start hashing out conspiracy theories. XD This was a great piece and I do hope you find a way to go somewhere with it!



  • Thank you! It's always good to know someone likes what I do, even if there are many times where I don't.

    It leaves me with a lot of questions (in a good way!)

    If you want me to answer some, please feel free to ask. I'll say with honesty that I don't have all the answers myself yet, but I will try to respond to the questions where I do the best I can.

    The way you leave off especially makes me feel like Sontar is eventually going to unleash a master plan to change history until he can keep the hex from happening/save his wife.

    He...well. He has things he does towards that goal, but without spoiling too much, it doesn't go quite the way he planned. I feel that more prompts/having one or two people to bounce ideas from will really help me get where I need to go in hashing out where I should take this as well as details. Thus far, finding said people who are consistent has been difficult.

    Thank you for the read and the feedback, it means a lot to me!



  • My pleasure! ^_^

    I'll have to reread it in the morning and I'll give you questions then. The only problem is that when I look at stuff specifically to ask questions I end up asking a lot of unrelated things with no sense of order. So.

    So... his master plan to stop the hex via history backfires when he accidentally changes a major historical event the wrong way and, thereby, changes the way the world developed?



  • So... his master plan to stop the hex via history backfires when he accidentally changes a major historical event the wrong way and, thereby, changes the way the world developed?

    I'll admit that could happen, yes. It's more that the Intrepid Heroes (such as they are) find out about what happened before he has the power to stop everything and engineer a plan to try to stop him. Not that I see that going exactly to plan either, but I haven't written it yet. ^^;

    Thank you! I'll try to respond to questions as soon as I can, since I have work tomorrow. I appreciate all the reading and feedback!


  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    I plan on getting involved in this thread, just a widdle bit busy with some nifty things our team is doing for Plotist right now, but note I will be back and happy to give feedback.

    I'll give you the same options I give everyone who shares work here. I can read and give different types of feedback based on what you're looking for!

    1. Simple Enjoyment - here I just sit back, enjoy the story, and give very light feedback about how it impacted me.
    2. Editing Editing - I can look at it from sentence structure, grammar, etc. Ignoring story structure.
    3. Content Editing - I look at characters, plots, foreshadowing, etc and give feedback on that.
    4. Beta Reader - I have a massive list of questions I respond to involving the content shared with me.

    Is there any particular type of feedback you would like me to dig into for you here? :D Good to know before I start to read as each author, I have found, has their own specific desires regarding the feedback they are looking for. I want to be able to really support you how you need.



  • Hiya,

    Thank you for the offer! I think at the moment, I'd like it if people focused on 1, 3 and 4 the most, please. I appreciate anything you can provide with those, though in some ways this part of the story is still very young and developing. Now, if only I could figure out anything about the characters who later go on to combat this guy... ^^;



  • @Rose said in Short bit of something:

    It's more that the Intrepid Heroes (such as they are) find out about what happened before he has the power to stop everything and engineer a plan to try to stop him. Not that I see that going exactly to plan either, but I haven't written it yet. ^^;

    ....

    Now, if only I could figure out anything about the characters who later go on to combat this guy... ^^;

    Part of the way through rereading the story, a thought struck me.

    Why can't Sontar be the (anti)hero? He is set up to be the perfect tragic hero. You know his motivations and you have a basic idea of what he needs to do to enact his master plan to change history. The Intrepid Heroes can still very much beat him in the end, even when it looks like the Intrepid Heroes are going to completely fail in their efforts. His plan doesn't have to be a one-man thing-- he could recruit another powerful mage for assistance or something.

    Anyway. I realized that I would love to read the story from Sontar's POV as much as anyone else.

    Questions, of which there are many (these ones are unrelated to the age of the world and that is important because I have an entire section of questions related to the age of the world. Fair warning.)

    His schoolmates had always said his imagination was active, mostly to the detriment of those around him.

    Being one [mage] of a handful in a small town had its detriments.

    Porridge. Not the thin gruel others made, but satisfying, topped with the fresh fruit Ava bought to liven up what was otherwise a dull meal.

    Before we get started (I didn't want to scroll for the quote), it's also said that Sontar is young (allowing him to heal more quickly from the hex). There's also that line talking about charms university students would like but all my question notes are near the top of the page, which is why I'm not scrolling down for that :P

    • How common or uncommon are mages? Is magic something that everyone possesses but only a few are trained in?
    • If the latter, how does one get accepted into a magic program at a university?
    • BONUS! What kinds of magical programs are there? It sounds like there are different types of magical focuses. So, does this mean that people focus on different types of magic? Are people inherently more talented in some areas than others?
    • If magic is uncommon is this why Sontar has the money to be able to eat decent food (porridge, not gruel)? Or does Sontar make this much money because he was university-educated?

    Five shelves, three hemmed together against the far wall. Charms wrapped in paper behind glass, each with a tiny sign advertising their merits and prices. A few had warnings scrawled in red ink under that. Two shelves closer to him, those containing the charms better suited to the students that milled in from the nearby university.

    • I liked the way this was described. Question: are there regulations on magical items, or is the purchase/usage of magical items more of a free for all/honor code?

    In relation to the time loop

    • is it a dream or did the day constantly loop?
      Basing all these questions on the day repeatedly looping but with slight changes each time:
    • Did the woman who cast the hex, despite harming people, actually stop the loop? Because until she casts the hex, Sontar keeps living the same day over and over.
    • The way you foreshadowed the woman's presence was great and I absolutely loved the way you used the girl to reveal that the day was looped.
    • why do the female characters have real world names but not the males? (Minus Shey, the other two named characters (Ava and Lora) have names we would see in RL.

    What day is it today? He thought they kept a calendar on the wall nearest to the kitchen table.
    It was gone.

    • ....why? where did it go?
    • am I the only one confused by the way Ava's character is depicted? (Okay I'm gonna try and stay on topic and move on, but still.)

    So, why does no one else sense the way the day is looping? (Except maybe the lady who cast the hex.) Is it because

    Unlike the common person, Sontar was trained. He knew what magical danger, even the most subtle types, felt like.

    That is to say, your average person is untrained in magic, thus, they do not sense that the day has been looping, or is it some other reason, the way Groundhog Day only affected the one guy?

    So, the roses and the vase. The story suggests that time doesn't loop a lot of times. However, the roses continue to decay.

    • Do living things continue to age? or just the roses? Why just the roses?
    • How much time has actually passed?
    • I thought there was another one but maybe not.

    random question

    “I wish we could get rid of [magic] altogether.”

    • what does Arlen have against magic? He basically runs a magic shop.

    random bits I like that I also thought to mark

    “Souls destroyed and all, since it’s all tied together.

    This was an interesting way to allude to the way souls are used. But this was my absolute favorite part (in regards to souls)

    ...next to that another shop where caught souls were rendered to have their memories distilled into usable information before being released again.

    I'm just going to copy/paste my note on that tidbit because it's easier:

    DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY USES THAT COULD HAVE?
    But I can just imagine them distilling the memories of someone they executed for murder or something, someone who SWORE on their LIFE that they were innocent.... and as it turns out, they were innocent.
    But also, this suggests that souls wander..... Are there professional ghostbusters? And wow, that could really be a treasure trove for historians. I take it they become separated from the body at death? Can people capture their loved ones' souls before they leave the body and store them?
    ...that would bring ancestor worship to another level, that's for sure.

    ....anyway, I read that and decided that you could write a novel around that worldbuilding bit.

    I liked the way you did the description. Though, now that I say that, I think it would've been nice if you described the way the charm box felt earlier in the piece, because you brought up the chip in it, and that would've been a good way to allude to the looping of days. I'm also going to bring up the way you foreshadowed the woman who cast the hex. Though, with the day looping, even with slight changes each day, how was she able to finally cast the hex? And when she was able to, why is it that it broke the loop? (I keep bringing up the fact her hex broke the loop because it seems to me that, even though it was deadly, it did, in a way, save the town from reliving the same day.)

    Above his head, Sontar watched the last of his wife’s precious soul drain from a containment unit into his own.

    How do they extract souls + wow those are powerful. I bet there's a black market of souls that are used to help people heal.

    and now we enter the question of the world in relation to magic

    So, the first time through, I liked the way they associated magic with the world living/dying. I wasn't sure if it was an actual world mechanic or not, but I liked it.

    Rereading it, I found a line that I must've missed last night:

    In the century since magic had come to the world,

    .....so this just made the rest of the piece, in relation to magic, kinda confusing to me.

    So, this is the prelude to a conversation about magical issues from the Outside (i got questions about that as well) and how each world inherits the magical troubles of the previous world. Sontar specifically says that they would all die if magic went away tomorrow.

    So, instead of posting every question that I then had to ask afterwards, I'm going to ask if you would be willing to define what is mythological in that conversation and what is part of the physics of the world. Especially because

    In fact, there are reams of literature from when a group of professors who lived in the First Age…

    which suggests that magic has existed for longer than 100 years.

    So, does magic wax and wane over time in the world (and with each age is when magic is "full", so to speak), with periods when magic is almost inaccessible, causing it's return to being full something that could cause people to consider it "coming to the world"? Or are their periods with and without magic and nothing in between, causing magic's appearance in the world to be a notable moment?

    Depending on which one it is (or if it's something else) I may have a full other list of questions in regards to that. My apologies.

    As for the Outside magic, how long ago did that start to appear? It seems like it would have to be fairly recent, based on some of the references of responses and whatnot given in-text.

    in summary

    So this got much longer than I expected it to when I read through it last night. Sorry.

    I think some of it might've gotten a little nit-picky, so sorry for that as well, but I did enjoy the piece! ^_^



  • Hiya,

    Thank you for all the questions. That helps me know where I messed things up and how to better fix them if/when I revisit this draft. So, I'll go on to the questions I can answer at the moment, and try to think of how best to answer the other ones, considering I haven't put as much time/thought into this world as I have other unrelated things. Some things will be subject to change as I play around more.

    *Why can't Sontar be the (anti)hero? *

    I've considered that. I'm not quite sure how his master plan shakes out yet; many of the details there are up in the air, so it's difficult for me to know what he's going to do for the time being. I can say one thing, start writing, and have the outcome be something entirely different, so I'm hesitant to commit to any one thing right now.

    • How common or uncommon are mages? Is magic something that everyone possesses but only a few are trained in?
      If the latter, how does one get accepted into a magic program at a university?
      BONUS! What kinds of magical programs are there? It sounds like there are different types of magical focuses. So, does this mean that people focus on different types of magic? Are people inherently more talented in some areas than others?
      If magic is uncommon is this why Sontar has the money to be able to eat decent food (porridge, not gruel)? Or does Sontar make this much money because he was university-educated?*

    Many of the answers to these questions are also subject to change as I go, but here's what I have for now:

    1. High-grade mages are relatively uncommon. Not to say they're overly rare, but it's also not as if you can swing a stick and hit one. The magic rage goes from someone who can barely work a charm to what you see Sontar as being.
    2. Schooling. Depending on how well one does determines the outcome of how/where they go to school.
    3. Several. Again, I haven't really clarified what, since that will depend on what I want the characters to do later. Just as in real life, you have people who are going to be very talented at a given thing, people who are mediocre, and people who aren't that good.
    4. He makes that much because he's a high-grade mage in a town where most people are mid-grade to low-grade mages at best. Many mages who were of a higher grade didn't want to be in so dangerous a place, but Sontar volunteered, so he gets a pay bonus.

    There are regulations on charms, yup. Some a person can only purchase if they have proof of being able to handle it, which I've toyed with displaying through marks on one's soul that others can read, clothes, etc. Not sure what to settle on yet there.

    As far as Ava and why others aren't aware of what's really going on--this is Sontar's dream. Therefore, everyone and everything in it are subject to his interpretations, emotions and ideas. The point to the whole thing (which I probably was crap at explaining, sorry) is that after the accident, part of him wanted to remain in sleep, in a comfortable dream. The rest of his mind and healing body won't permit that, hence why you see the same day being played over and over again. His mind is filling in blanks so he comes to realize the truth and wake up. Ava's depiction is part of that--she is part of his comfortable dream, the part of his mind fighting not to confront the truth. In the end, though, he breaks free of that.

    The name thing was the product of a generator, some of which provide names that are closer to real-life ones than others. I would likely change them to something else if this was more than an experimental piece to feel things out, but for the moment, they're placeholders. I'm probably going to get flak for how I depict certain things in my world later down the line, but I'll have to play with those too as I go.

    ....why? where did it go?

    Again, that goes back to the part of his mind that wants a comfortable dream. He's slowly coming to the realization that he's suppressing something, but the dream at this stage is vague.

    *So, the roses and the vase. The story suggests that time doesn't loop a lot of times. However, the roses continue to decay.

    Do living things continue to age? or just the roses? Why just the roses?
    How much time has actually passed?*
    

    The roses are symbolic of how many times he's restarted the same dream. They're the one thing that moves, a representation of his mind that wants to go back to reality.

    Arlen, while running a magic shop, has also seen the turmoil magic can cause. With his being secondary, I didn't want to go too deeply into that. Magic is like everything else; it has good and bad sides, depending on the user. I thought it would be too easy to just delete it from the world, so I made it so the inhabitants' lives depend on it.

    I borked the timeline with when magic came to the world, sorry. I need to proofread better. Magic, as I see it at the moment, is a constant thing, but it comes in a 'raw' form that people need to shape into spells. After those are made, more raw magic is provided and the cycle continues. I haven't really developed that beyond some vague thoughts; I apologize. There probably is a black market in regards to souls and healing, but I'd need a use for it beyond 'interesting world-building shiny thing' before I really thought about it and delved in.

    I think that covers most of what I can answer at the moment, but if you'd like to know anything else or I missed something, please let me know. Thank you again for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate it!



  • Before I go started, I totally forgot to ask where the Outside was headdesk Also, how long ago did the magic start coming down from there?

    Okay, yeah, all of those answers make sense.

    I'm probably going to get flak for how I depict certain things in my world later down the line, but I'll have to play with those too as I go.

    Definitely, but you're also still in the middle of building it, so people (or at least me?) will cut you slack XD It was just a weird inconsistency that I noticed which is why I pointed it out, but I understand using placeholders. Most of my place names in my fantasy worlds are placeholders because I'm terrible at naming places.

    The only reason I can see you catching a lot of crap once you've reached a point where rules are solid is if you depict something that has real-world issues in a way that is negative with regards to the real-world, but that's something else that can be dealt with in time.

    There probably is a black market in regards to souls and healing, but I'd need a use for it beyond 'interesting world-building shiny thing' before I really thought about it and delved in.

    You're heroes have to get info somehow. And it sounds like there will be at least one fight... XD

    Thank you for answering the questions! I kinda bombarded you. XD



  • Before I go started, I totally forgot to ask where the Outside was headdesk Also, how long ago did the magic start coming down from there?

    'Outside' is a realm of magic outside of the physical world. Think of it like the ether or similar. I'm not sure when magic became something people in the world started to shape and use. That's another thing I need to figure out, but the more time I have to work on this, and the more feedback I get in terms of what to focus on/what people want to see and what makes sense to them, the more answers I'll eventually start having.

    Definitely, but you're also still in the middle of building it, so people (or at least me?) will cut you slack XD It was just a weird inconsistency that I noticed which is why I pointed it out, but I understand using placeholders. Most of my place names in my fantasy worlds are placeholders because I'm terrible at naming places.

    Well, I'll name one example-there's a character who is referred to as 'Charlie'. His given name is Charlok, but like our world, his language has diminutives as a way to denote closeness. I'll have to come up with names that tie to languages/cultures/other places better, but that's another future thing I need to work on when I have more mental energy to sit and worldbuild rather than try to tell a story.

    You're heroes have to get info somehow. And it sounds like there will be at least one fight... XD

    I'll need to develop them first, unfortunately. I need to figure out how they meet and are involved in Sontar's mess here. I love it when characters are depicted as good people but maybe have some skeletons in their closets that, if things had gone a slightly different way, may have become the bad people themselves. So far, I don't see a way to do that with the characters I'm trying to revamp. I might throw some experimental ideas in the mix and see if their plot ideas work, then go back to the drawing board if it gets too complex or it raises more plot holes/issues than it helps.

    Thank you for answering the questions! I kinda bombarded you. XD

    No worries. Frankly, I'm not a fan of large posts because I have trouble digesting the information and thinking my answers through, so I was more worried about missing something you may have needed to know more than anything else.



  • @Rose said in Short bit of something:

    Well, I'll name one example-there's a character who is referred to as 'Charlie'. His given name is Charlok, but like our world, his language has diminutives as a way to denote closeness.

    I've done things similar to that before. If you decide to change his name in the future, one thing to think about is how diminutives are used. That's a way we use diminutives in English at least, but there are different rules in different cultures/langauges :P

    I'll have to come up with names that tie to languages/cultures/other places better, but that's another future thing I need to work on when I have more mental energy to sit and worldbuild rather than try to tell a story.

    Good luck and Godspeed. In my main fantasy world (back when it worked a tiny bit) I just assigned a European language to some of the cultures and randomly generated names that way because I was wayyyy too lazy to come up with individual naming patterns. (I've been worldbuilding lately and that doesn't really work at all anymore, but I'm still wayyyy too lazy to come up with naming patterns, so I don't know.)

    I love it when characters are depicted as good people but maybe have some skeletons in their closets that, if things had gone a slightly different way, may have become the bad people themselves.

    Same, which is why I asked about Sontar being a protag.

    Frankly, I'm not a fan of large posts because I have trouble digesting the information and thinking my answers through

    Also same. Large posts intimidate me.



  • I'm on mobile again and stuck at work, so my reply here will be short until I can get home.

    I may change his name, I may not. Languages are kind of my thing, but by the same token, with this not being our world, I'm toying with the idea of some cultures/languages following a pattern we might be familiar with while others don't. However, this is all very early stages, so I have no hard and fast rules yet. Once I have a better idea, I'll just have to tailor things to it.


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