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Old 10-21-2006, 11:57 PM   #1
vadis
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FireHeart - Legend of the Paladins

Hi, I'm Andry Chang, a novel writer.
And here's a fantasy genre novel I've just made :

FireHeart Saga - Legend of the Paladins

and I've completed book one of the trilogy :
Book One : Chronicles of a Bounty Hunter

As this work is made in a novel form, it's not a comic script but can be adapted into one very easily with some more additional episodes.

Before I put some sample chapters in this forum, feel free to browse for them in my blog :
http://fireheart.tk
or http://fireheart-vadis.blogspot.com

And more about myself and what I do in :
http://vadis.tk

Hope I can somehow publish this novel commercially or publish it in different forms: comics, anime, manga or (maybe ) a movie.
Well, tell me what you think of it, I really appreciate your thoughts and critics.

Good hunt and stay alive! - Andry Chang

http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k1...5x185black.jpg (Linked)

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Last edited by vadis; 10-22-2006 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 10-22-2006, 06:37 PM   #2
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From reading your first chapter excerpt I can seen that you're clearly a fan of quest fantasy. Your writing is easy to read and has a style. However, you have a long, long way to go. I know that sounds harsh, but writing a novel, especially a fantasy novel, takes a lot of effort and skill that isn't easy to develop and can only be done through rewrite after rewrite.

To me the world had a stock feeling to it. I know fantasy shares common elements, but the characters, the seedy bar, setting up characters through a fight, its all things I've read a dozen times before. It’s not to say that you can't use those, you just have to find ways to make it your own.

I personally didn't like the simi-annoymous second person perspective of "The Boy," "The Man." Characters are the most important aspect of any novel and you want to give readers a reason to like them right off, and I don't think that this set up does that.

Your point of view changes at least three times during the opening setup, we go from following the boy to one line that's first person to following this man. It’s confusing and doesn't really set up anything.

First lines are important, and yours doesn't make me want to read on.

You need to set up the crux of your story in the first chapter. From the opening pages of Game of Thrones I know its going to be a succession struggle. In Harry Potter its evident the kid is special from the opening scene. Neil Gaiman wastes no time setting up American Gods. You have got to get whatever your story is about quickly and effective and from reading the first few pages of your book I'm not sure what your story is thematically about.

My overall impressions is it sounds like the beginning of a D&D quest, and while that's interesting to some people, you need to do it better than R.A. Salvatore, and that’s hard, because he's damned good at what he does. I think you need to make it more unique if you ever want to see it published in any form.

I'm always looking for more aspiring fantasy writers to correspond with, so if you want to keep chatting send me a PM.
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:16 AM   #3
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You know, my cousin said that too...

Well, I did write that story in generic. As that is my first, I only know that a bit of 'mystery' may stir up some interest for the readers.

You know, your comment is the same as my cousin's. Too bad the thing I've thought of for many days is not convincing enough for some people to read on. The classics and commercial fantasy novels are very impressive from the start, I admit.

I just wrote spontanically as a hobby at first, and I didn't intend to make it so spectacular and so damn special like Harry Potter and stuff, I just let my imagination flowing freely, free from the pressures of show-offs, brilliance and commercial aspects. The thing I lacked is, maybe I don't make enough effort to think about what my readers will think when they read my novels. My heroes are not very special, and I need to tell everybody even co-stars can take the lead too and not to focus all on the main character all the time. Maybe I should've added a prologue chapter instead.

And if there are so many polishings to do, well that's why I need critiques and to work with an editor. If my writing is not good enough of any form of publication and rewriting it all over again will take more than I can bear, well I guess I won't write anymore. It took lots of pain from my part and I've sacrificed too much already.

So, that's it. My last effort to make it big in anything.
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:32 AM   #4
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If you want better crits than what you can get on a comic board for a fantasy novel, try this site: http://speculativevision.com/
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:39 AM   #5
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Chapter 1.1. The OddJob and The OrcJob (Sample Chapter)

FIREHEART
LEGEND OF THE PALADINS
BOOK ONE
CHRONICLES OF A BOUNTY HUNTER
CHAPTER ONE
ORCBANE:
IN THE SHADE OF THE MOON



‘A monster is not judged by its size and
ferociousness, but by the devastation it brought.’

Sage the Fireheart
Founder, Fireheart Hunters’ Guild
First Emperor of Arcadia



An Oddjob and an Orcjob


A boy runs in a hurry along the narrow streets of Rand. He bumps into people and tramples mud puddles along the way, leaving people cursing and yelling behind him – some even check their tunic to look whether the boy has stolen their purses or anything valuable. The streets are real crowded here in Rand – as the city in the kingdom of Lore becomes a center of economy and culture. Thanks to the hunters and the hunters’ guild, the risk of monsters and bandits’ attacks has been lessened – at least less than other major cities in Lore: Varestine, Wagnerport even the capital, Alceste. Merchants, caravans and travelers usually hire hunters as escorts, unless, perhaps they are well-skilled, well-armed and can defend themselves or hire personal bodyguards.
The boy ignores all the curses and yells upon him, and runs along several blocks until he enters a shabby-looking tavern with a yellowish ram with the text ‘The Golden Ram’ badly carved on a signboard hanging in front. The Golden Ram is the cheapest, shabbiest and dirtiest tavern-inn in Rand. The wine and ale there are bad, but it is always full of rowdy, strange and suspicious people with their own strange, shady businesses – gambling, brawling, having fun with tavern maidens, and even talking in low voices. Well, secret talks in loud voices can be made in here too, as it’s too loud there – rest assured your talks won’t be heard by the neighbor at the next table.
The boy looks around desperately, and once in a while ducks to avoid flying objects like wooden mugs, stones – fortunately no sharp ones, though. After a while, he finally notices someone and comes to a group of people gambling on a corner. They are shouting in frustration or muttering things like ‘Damn, he won again!’ and all sorts of curses. One of them – a man with silvery, unkempt hair - doesn’t yell, though and coolly extends his hands to collect the crowns (gold coins), florins (silver coins) and zennies (bronze coins) on the table and pour them all into his purse. Although he apparently is the winner, he doesn’t smile. He only stare cautiously around him, readies himself as though anticipating something bad. And it happens. One of the gamblers, an ugly, fat, unshaven and badly dressed man gets up, bangs on the table and puts his one foot on the chair, screaming.
‘You CHEATED! Bloody cheater!’
The two other gamblers are puzzled for a while, staring at him – but they instantly understand, and scream along to support him.
‘Yeah! Winning seven times already! That’s impossible!’
‘Must be sumthin’ behind ‘ees hands!’
‘And he ain’t even smile all the time! Mus’ be afraid he’s gonna be found out!’
‘Thrash ‘im!’
‘Search him! Make him return our money!’
The cool silver-haired guy raises his face. He is handsome, although his face is sallow and looks somewhat feminine, but his calm, serious and cautious behavior gives an air of someone who has endured great hardships, tragedies and traumas. He always wears a leather breastplate in front of his shirt, and always ready with a kiliji (a curved long sword) neatly hung inside its scabbard under his shabby blue hood and robe. The boy recognizes him perfectly at once, and is about to call him, but the silver-haired man notices the boy and signals him to keep quiet and keep away.
‘Hey, won’ speak a word, eeh? No reveal your secret!?’
‘Maybe you will talk after we rearrange your pretty face!’
‘O’ you hungree? Wanna eat? Here, taste THIS!’
The bald man launches his knuckle sandwich towards the silver-haired man’s mouth, but the silver-haired man simply moves his head aside with great reflexes and avoids the hit altogether. He gets up, and is ready for the next attack.
One thought comes into the silver-haired man’s mind:
Even if I speak, these stupid brutes won’t listen – they just want to rob my winnings. Well, it’s time to show them who I really am, as Pear is already here…
To avoid revealing too much of him, the silver-haired man avoids most of the attacks using knuckles, knifes and a wooden chair, and finally counterattacks, catching the bald man’s punch and kicks him straight on his jaw, sending him flying backwards and falls crashing on the wall, knocking him out. The fat guy and the one-eyed scarface are astonished to see this display of strength, but thinking that it was only a lucky strike they attack the silver-haired guy altogether. The scarface’s attack misses, but the fat guy successfully hit the silver-haired guy’s shoulder as he is avoiding the scarface. But the silver-haired man’s expression doesn’t even change in pain, instead he ducks and sweep-kicks the fat guy’s feet, causing the fat guy to fall tumbling on the floor.
The one-eyed, badly-scarred man thinks. Damn! He’s too strong! I must get outta here!
And he runs away at once.
The fat guy tries to get up although he is irritated with his friend’s cowardly behavior. But the silver-haired man doesn’t waste time and instantly draws his kiliji and points it directly to the fat guy’s throat. Then he finally speaks.
‘Get out now. I only kill monsters and bandits, unless you are one of them.’
The fat guy whimpers, ‘Ah, you’re a hunter?’
A tavern guest cuts in.
‘You’re new in town, heh? He’s a hell of a hunter, you know.’
The little boy named Pear speaks, ‘Mister Orcbane?’
The silver-haired man replies, ‘Sssh, I’ve told you many times, just call me Robert.’
‘Aw, it’s easier to remember you as Orcbane, as it is so frequently said at the guild.’
‘Ah, Pear, now you’ve done it.’
Robert the Orcbane then talks to the fat man with a threatening tone.
‘Well, what will it be now? Still want to rob my money?’
‘Your money WHAT? You must be cheated, I can tell’.
‘I didn’t cheat.’
‘Then how come you won seven times and only lost twice?’
‘’Twas a dice game, right? Maybe you must learn about concentration *). Focus your mind and eye on the dice movements. Well, you must train them hard, because I got that kind of training once as a soldier and a scout in the Lore-Arcadia war.’

(* Concentration = What Robert means is Eagle’s Eye – the ability to notice very quickly or even the slightest movement from the objects from any distance. Besides training, one must have the talent – that is very uncommon among humans. An Eagle’s Eye expert is usually a good scout or spy. Robert has that talent.)

‘Damn, you’re a soldier! Then why did you lose twice?’
‘Even fools can guess that. I deliberately let you guys win so you won’t suspect me using concentration and you won’t want to gamble with me anymore. I know you guys are new in town because none of my old mates want to gamble with me again. I need to earn pocket money, you know as there is no orc to hunt…’
Suddenly Pear remembers something and cuts in.
‘Excuse me, Sir Orcbane, but now there is’.
‘It’s Robert, Pear, Robert.’
‘Yeah, Robert… Robert…’
‘Wait.. you said there’s an orc-job at the guild?’
‘Yessirah.’
‘Let’s go there! Here, Gumbold, for the food, ale and for the damage too’
Robert tosses several florins and zennies to Gumbold the tavern-innkeeper’s table, and a crown to the fat guy.
‘Here’s for you. No hard feelings mate. Treat your friends too.’
The fat guy doesn’t believe his eyes and ears. He is still sitting on the floor, astonished as he sees Robert and Pear rushing out from The Golden Ram tavern-inn.
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Old 10-26-2006, 07:46 AM   #6
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hmmm...

maybe i should be more positive in answering critics...
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:13 AM   #7
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Man, I gotta record this in my thread. It's real valuable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vadis
maybe i should be more positive in answering critics...
my reply:

well, I admit that I just began my journey and I have a long, long way to go. and as I don't have enough to start with, I might just get my efforts going and enjoy the ride. I put the 'reader's curiosity-maker' part at the end of the first chapter and go on with the second and third chapters.

what I really need is a good editor I can work with, because I honestly don't have a clue at all of how to make a bigger impression in my first chapter than the one I've written already.

I really don't have a clue on how to satisfy what my readers want from a story that is so basic as mine, and I have so little time to do that because of my responsibilities (especially the financial ones).

So, please tell me, do I have to improve on my first chapter only or write this story all over again?

FYI, it took me one year and four months to finish the first book, and another six months to edit and re-edit that before I can proceed to the second part.

I really appreciate your kind comments, that's really very valuable for me.


Reply From Scribe :

I don't think that you're ready to work with an editor yet. Finding an independent editor isn't easy and its not cheap. You're probably better off finding a critic group of writings, aspiring or otherwise, and getting some good solid feedback

I'd also recommend reading some books on writing, I recommend Stephen King's On Writing and Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel. These are two books that helped me a good deal.

My advice is to just do draft after draft. I've written five novels that have not, and will not, see the light of day. Then, when you feel like you're ready start going to writing conference and start meeting professional editors, agents and writers.

I know a year and a half seems like a lot of time, but to the publishing industry, especially in fantasy, its not. JK Rowling took five years to write Harry Potter and still got rejected by 23 agents and seven publishers. Its a long road, most of it is by yourself, and its important not to get discouraged. There is no such thing as your "last attempt." Writers get better with age, not worse. Don't stress the shit and just write.

My reply:

Yup, guess I'll keep researching and researching, expanding beyond my limits. Thanks for your sharing, though.

Well the 'Paladins' series is a pretty basic thing, I must admit. I wrote this just for fun, to satisfy my ideas of 'Hey, why don't someone make a basic thing for once?'

If I can't sell it just yet, at least the blog will suffice for now. Even if it takes five or ten years, I will see my writings in the light of day, not in the undergrounds anymore.

Well, I got my copy of Stephen King's On Writing, but I haven't finished reading it....
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Old 10-28-2006, 12:01 PM   #8
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Hey, man, don't be discouraged..
I wrote 300 pages of my first book (a fantasy novel) just to abandon it due to the sheer amount of changes I'd have to make to make it readable..
Bear in mind that most writers start to write worthwhile stuff after a couple thousand pages..
I'm now on my second novel (also, 6 years have passed) and it's amazing how much I've improved. My first novel served as a notebook on "what you shouldn't do". I now take a more structured and thoughtful approach to each chapter, the overall feel and style of the book, and I've written detailed character synopsis for each of the main characters, something I hadn't done on my first novel and is an unavoidable task if you want to escape bad characterization and make the characters come alive.
Look for "character questionnaires" on the net and look for one that encourages you to flesh out your characters.

Peace.
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:13 PM   #9
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Um, Thraxx? Lots of writers manage to write well fleshed out characters without writing a character synopsis, so it's only an unavoidable task if you are the kind of writer who needs to not avoid it.

Vadis --I find reading the posted exerpt very awkward, and I find the prose distancing. It is written in the present tense, which is extremely unusual and tends to draw attention to itself. And it is also written in omniscient which is slightly less unusual, but still uncommon nowadays, and which also draws attention to itself.

I would never try to tell someone that they should *not* write in present tense or omniscient, but I am wondering if you made those choices on purpose and if so, what your reasons are? Because I don't see any reasons for such unusal choices in the bit of the story that I have seen.

If you want to keep the omnscient pov, I think you need to work a bit more on giving the narrator a distinctive and interesting voice. At the moment the narrator's voice is very bland, which can work in third, where the narrator becomes essentially invisible, but omniscient narrators just aren't invisible to the average reader, no matter what.

If you don't know what I'm talking about when I start going on about present tense, omniscient narratation and pov, please do ask. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is familiar with technical writing terminology as my writer friends are.

And, um, not to be cruel, but...
The usual advice given to writers is: If you can possibly not write, then you probably shouldn't.

For me it doesn't matter how badly I write or how long it is taking me to "become a success", (It has taken me 13 years to become a "neo-pro", and I still haven't sold a book), because the stories come to me whether I want them to or not, and they demand to be told. When I stop writing, I become miserable. The sales are nice, but even without them, I would be a writer... I have no choice in the matter.
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LavenderBard
Um, Thraxx? Lots of writers manage to write well fleshed out characters without writing a character synopsis, so it's only an unavoidable task if you are the kind of writer who needs to not avoid it.
I meant that it's a must if you're unsure about your characters and need to define them clearly. I found that it's the method that works for me, maybe you don't need it. I've actually set it aside once I started writing, and never go back to it for reference, but it proved a good exercise to make the characters "stick" in my mind so I know exactly how the character will act/react.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LavenderBard
For me it doesn't matter how badly I write or how long it is taking me to "become a success", (It has taken me 13 years to become a "neo-pro", and I still haven't sold a book), because the stories come to me whether I want them to or not, and they demand to be told. When I stop writing, I become miserable. The sales are nice, but even without them, I would be a writer... I have no choice in the matter.
Totally agree with you there. It's a calling. If it's not enjoyable and you can put it down, then you probably should. If it's not enjoyable but you can't help it, you're probably on the right track. It is a hard-work/low-benefit life, but if you can't help writing, eventually you'll get better even if your "talent" isn't that great.
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Old 10-29-2006, 07:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thraxx
I meant that it's a must if you're unsure about your characters and need to define them clearly. I found that it's the method that works for me, maybe you don't need it. I've actually set it aside once I started writing, and never go back to it for reference, but it proved a good exercise to make the characters "stick" in my mind so I know exactly how the character will act/react.
I have different character problems than lack of depth. :rueful look: Assuming the reader will understand my characters as well as I do tops the list... it can *look* like lack of depth from the other side, but its actually just sloppy writing. "Why did your character do x?" "Well that's because of [explanation], of course." "You never *told* us about [explanation]." "Oh. Oops!"


Here's another hint from the "needs to work on a character to make them rounded contingent" though. For peple who find that filling out a questionaire is too mechanical or otherwise doesn't work for them, try Zelazny's trick. He would write a scene that would *not* appear in the story... that happened, in fact, *before* the story, but that centered around some vital aspect of that character tha did appear in the story. Coming up with the vital aspect and the scene forced him to put the thinking into the character that was needed to make the character real. (And at least once the scene turned into a short story that he subsequently sold -- or so they tell me.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thraxx
but if you can't help writing, eventually you'll get better even if your "talent" isn't that great.
10% "talent" and 90% hard work.
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAvenderBard
For people who find that filling out a questionaire is too mechanical or otherwise doesn't work for them, try Zelazny's trick. He would write a scene that would *not* appear in the story... that happened, in fact, *before* the story, but that centered around some vital aspect of that character tha did appear in the story. Coming up with the vital aspect and the scene forced him to put the thinking into the character that was needed to make the character real. (And at least once the scene turned into a short story that he subsequently sold -- or so they tell me.)

That is a good method, I guess I'll apply it and see if it works for me..

About talent, Newton (I think) said: it's 1% inspiration, 99% transpiration...

Last edited by Thraxx; 10-30-2006 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 11-03-2006, 01:10 AM   #13
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Wow, thanks guys...

Looks like since I'm the narrator of this story - actually the 'god' in this world is Vadis, and it's my nickname - I found it very appopriate to write in present tense. Although the real reason is I should've written in past tense like all professional fantasy writers do.

As I'm not quite well-informed in Professional Writing Standards and as Scribe said - never took a formal lesson, and at first I wrote FireHeart for my own pleasure and hobby and then share it with others, while coping with my own business, so please pardon the blandness and the 'unappealingness' because of my lack of vocabulary.

Honestly, I'm reading David Eddings now and his very 'grand' language is giving me headaches more than entertainment.

But above all that, I'll keep polishing this again and again while keeping my business together, and you'll hear more from me, mark my words.

May the sun shines upon you and the earth gives you life - BJ Vadis
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Old 11-03-2006, 05:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadis
Looks like since I'm the narrator of this story - actually the 'god' in this world is Vadis, and it's my nickname - I found it very appopriate to write in present tense. Although the real reason is I should've written in past tense like all professional fantasy writers do.
If you are trying to write as the voice of a god, you should choose what you say and how you say it so that it conveys the *personality* of that god. Right now you sound vaguely like a history professor -- because you stop the action regularly to give us a mini-digression on the political and economic background of the setting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vadis
Sso please pardon the blandness and the 'unappealingness' because of my lack of vocabulary.
Er...
I never said that the blandness was due to a lack of vocabularly.

When I brought up the question of vocabularly, I was trying to find out if I was speaking in a way that was comprehesible to you. It had nothing to do with what you had written at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vadis
Honestly, I'm reading David Eddings now and his very 'grand' language is giving me headaches more than entertainment.
So, um... *why* are you reading Eddings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vadis
But above all that, I'll keep polishing this again and again
If that's what you want to do, I wish you every success in the endeavor.
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Old 11-04-2006, 12:09 AM   #15
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The Prologue

Terra Eternia

The world of Vadis, Adair and Enia

Created by the One

Kept by the Three

Terra Eternia

Where three live as one

Positive, negative and neutral

Magic, science and nature

Terra Eternia

The world where myths are real

Fantasy is history

Fairy tales are actual

Terra Eternia

The world of dangers and adventure

When light and dark collide

And the neutral shed tears


Just like in our world, our dimension, when all beings live in harmony, Terra Eternia is indeed a beautiful world of love, hope and peace. But when evil – the extreme form of negativity – disrupts the balance, there are always conflicts between good and the Trinity of Evil: hatred, destruction and terror.

Evil once ruled supreme in this world, the Evil named Vordac, the Dark Overlord. His domination was ended by Sage the Fireheart, who assembled the Seven Heroes and waged the First Crusade. Vordac has once rebelled against Adair the Sodomos, the Dark God. Adair defeated Vordac, banished him from the underworld and cursed Vordac to roam in Eternia eternally. As a result of that, Vordac’s spirit can possess mediums or hosts, and after his defeat to Sage, he possessed a medium, the Great Sword Deathblade.

Vordac re-emerged with the help of his host, Mildred Urganon, but he again met a fatal defeat from Fireheart’s son, Antoine the Avenger. And again, Vordac’s spirit found refuge in Deathblade.

And now, that very blade is in the hands of an old man with white long hair, moustache and beard. He is standing in a dark, vast room with another old man and a she-elf. The bearded man talks,

‘At last, we found the perfect, safest place to keep the sword.’

‘Are you sure, Azrael?’ says the she-elf inquiringly, ‘Because, honestly, this room is not inaccessible enough.’

‘I agree with Carolyn,’ says the old, half-bald man with a white moustache. ‘I say we better melt this sword in the lava pit.’

‘I can’t believe a scientist like you would say that, Theripides. If we melt this sword, we’ll destroy it. Vordac’s spirit will be free and possess any of us,’ says Azrael.

‘Hmph, I guess we don’t have a choice, then,’ says Theripides. ‘We have searched for months, and Her Majesty here offered this place although she is not sure either.’

Carolyn, the blonde, long, curly-haired elf responds with a sigh, ‘I guess we have to be satisfied of this place. It has all natural barriers, enough to prevent any being to reach here. All we have to do now is adding some more to make sure no one can claim the sword, even us.’

Azrael nods and makes a decision, ‘Very well, then, we’ll seal Deathblade in here! I will now create a force field using this orb, and I also need some magical assistance from you two. This will be the final barrier should others fail. So, shall we begin?’

‘Naturally,’ says Carolyn.

‘Anytime,’ says Theripides.

Azrael holds the sword with his outstretched hands, and Theripides casts a spell to keep it aloft.

‘Eleviant!’

Azrael releases the sword and reaches into his pocketed belt. He takes out a silvery-white orb, and places it on his upright palm, and chants,

‘Aegis, ma washtar galatre Kraal’shazar, im gemackt an Corona Infer. (Aegis, please help seal the Deathblade, as the Little Sun is being made)’

The orb reacts and emits violent sparks, then flies towards Deathblade. When the orb touches the sword with a devil carved on its hilt and seven runes of Original Sin carved on its blade, the sword suddenly vibrates very hard. The red eye carved on the blade just above the hilt is widened although it’s alive. An thick aura of darkness comes out from the eye, resisting the power from the white orb.

The orb intensifies its energy, and the sword follows suit. As they reach the peak of their auras, anyone can see a visualization of a thunder bird and a black devil fighting each other. Soon enough, the thunder bird still doesn’t get the upper hand against the devil. Seeing this grim prospect, Azrael decides to help, saying,

‘I’ll begin the sealing process now! The dark energy from Vordac is still too strong for Aegis! Carolyn, help Aegis too!’

While chanting an indistinct, long mantra, Azrael releases threads of light from his ten fingers of his hands. The threads of light spin around the devil and the thunder bird as though trying to cover both of them in a bigger orb.

‘Yggmaishduma!’

Carolyn’s Force of Nature spell is much simpler than Azrael’s, yet more focused, giving more and ever-amplified pressure on the sword and also amplifying Aegis’ power. Under such pressure, the devil’s shadow roars. It amplifies its energy threefolds and overpowers Aegis and the three wizards. It now looks like a devil’s shadow with an overlarge, open mouth. It’s going to swallow Aegis!

Knowing that more power is needed, Theripides now shows his speciality: his ability to cast two spells in one time. Using his free hand holding the Chrono Chakram, he casts Meteor Shower. Bolts of fiery meteorites pour down from above, and all focused towards one target: the Deathblade. The battle is in an even footing again, but the wizards need something more – because they don’t know how long they can keep this on. If one of them runs out of mana, all will be lost.

A calm loving smile shows on Azrael’s face. He knows at once that for the greater good, he must sacrifice himself. He stares at Carolyn and Theripides in turns, and then nods. Just then, a layer of light appears, covering Azrael’s body and making him shine dazzlingly. Carolyn and Theripides stare back at Azrael in terror: Azrael is going to cast Divine Retribution, the spell that once made him vanish without a trace – until he was found again about five years later.

Before any of them can say anything to stop Azrael, he already spoke the incantation aloud.

‘Eleison ex Tributalis!’

As though a million angels rush down from the sky to attack one devil lord, the beautiful-looking yet deadly spell attacks the Deathblade from all sides. It’s a sure hit, no evil can escape and block this spell and the damage is continuous and extreme – the truly ultimate holy spell next to Armageddon. If it’s a one-hit and kill, Azrael is going to be all right. But the need to cast this spell ceaselessly drains more energy than Azrael can bear.

The Great Archmage of Light’s face turns white and pale, with traces of his nerves showing on his face and hands. His eyes are bloodshot, and blood begins to drop out from his eyes, nostrils, ears and mouth. It seems the spell is backfiring on him because of his lack of mana energy, but now the vision of devil begins to contort and dissolve. The dark mana from the sword is going to be suppressed, and the seal is about to be completed.

Then suddenly the devil’s shadow explodes the last drops of its energy, throwing Azrael, Theripides and Carolyn far away. The Orb of Aegis is thrown too, but it doesn’t break. It immediately turns into a white bird and flies back to the sword. Then it uses this golden opportunity to electrocute the entire sword.

Staggering and half-kneeling, Azrael also uses the last drops of his energy to complete the seal covering the sword. Theripides, who instinctively rushes near the sword, gets an unpredictable turn. The Deathblade suddenly attacks and severs Theripides’ right arm. Theripides moves back, electrocuted and badly wounded. Now he probably regrets that that was the stupidest thing he ever done in his lifetime.

Carolyn immediately moves to cure Theripides, and the Viavitali spell mends his severed arm nicely although it can’t connect the severed parts together. ‘Good thing you’re a lefty, we sure are going to need your technical concepts.’

‘Ugnnh... I’m done here, don’t worry about me. You better tend to Azrael.’

‘Ah, alas... he’s a lost case. Just let him finish the sealing before we help him.’

‘He did it again,’ says Theripides, shaking his head. ‘Why did he get to cast that blasted spell? Come to think again, he really sacrificed much so we can seal this sword.’

At last, Azrael finishes the orb covering the sword and Aegis’ orb. Taken from Vadis’ Aegis Shield, Aegis is assigned to a new job: suppressing and protecting Kraal’shazar, the Deathblade at all times. Carolyn the Elf Queen, the Archmage of Nature completes the sealing by adding Flame of the Eternal Corona on the orb surface, making it into a complete miniature sun.

‘At last... my last mission in this world is complete.’

After he says that, Azrael falls on his knees. Fatigue takes over him now all his magical energy is gone. He is one hundred twenty four years old now, and he is a mage no more. Naturally, he is now very weak and his feet can barely support him. Carolyn moves to support Azrael, saying, ‘You fool... losing everything to a devil-inhabited sword. You should’ve done better.’

Azrael responds feebly, ‘I have done my best, and... and I h-have no... regrets. Now I’m g-g-going to leave you all f-for sure. This is my last journey. I can’t go anywhere else now. Please, my friends. Now, for the first time, I’m going to ask you two some f-favors.

Please send my regards to the Old Emperor Sage and Prince Anthony. Tell them it’s been an honor serving them. And for me, Anthony is always Anthony. I will send his love to my daughter Vivian in heaven. May Arcadia live long and prosper.

Also, tell your descendants that should the Deathblade is in the open again and Vordac gets a new host, they must gather a number of heroes again to prevent that or make sure that this time Vordac’s soul will perish permanently.

I now prophesy that one day the paladins will rise. We may not be able to seal Vordac forever. But when Vordac is indeed released, these multi-talented heroes of light will emerge and fight the Dark Overlord and his minions. Find them, and make sure they are united and well-prepared. Only in the paladins’ hands hope may prevail.

And this is my last request. Just let me stay near here long enough until I die. I will now retire from the world and take a rest here. Put somebody trustworthy here to take care of me, so I can look towards this place where my masterpiece lays and be happy and satisfied about my life and what I’ve done for this world. I hope you will comply with my wishes.’

‘Of course, Azrael, my friend,’ says Theripides. ‘We will strengthen this place with our combined mastery of science and magic, and prepare our future generations.’

‘And we will find the paladins once we hear or see any premonition of Vordac’s return. The Holy Pope in Valanis will help too,’ says Carolyn.

‘Thank you, my friends,’ says Azrael with tears in his eyes. ‘Thank you for appreciating my thoughts and wishes. N-now would you take this old soul outside, to his final resting place?’

‘You don’t have to ask,’ says Carolyn. Then she and Theripides take the ex-wizard Azrael out of the room through a secret stone door and then the door slams shut.

The room is empty again, except for a miniature sun ever-burning in the center. It’s the sun with a devil within.
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