[Whiteleaf] Novel Opening

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willpell
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[Whiteleaf] Novel Opening

Post by willpell » Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:24 pm

Among the several other ways in which I have tried to make Whiteleaf happen, I planned a series of novels, and even began writing one of them, following my usual habit of beginning at the beginning, though also attempting to pull together a rough outline and plug segments into it as I lined them up, hoping that the whole thing would eventually cohere. It hasn't happened, and probably won't, but I'm proud enough of at least the opening, and possibly some of the later chunks, to want to share them with the world, so that maybe somebody else can take my creations and run with them after I'm gone. So here goes the beginning of what was meant to be the first of three or so fictional stories set in the Whiteleaf universe, in which two of my "author avatar" characters (only one of which is introduced in this segment) were meant to cross paths, discuss the nature of the universe, and eventually find themselves embroiled in exactly the sort of adventure which they've always both disdained as hopelessly cliche.

******

Good Slash Evil - When Giordan Met Willow

Official legal thanks to everyone whose contributions were absorbed into the Great Chaos Amoeba which spontaneously polymorphed into this project.
Apologies that I cannot be more specific.


Chapter One

As the dawn-singers called out their praises from the eastward-facing spire of the Church of Aelalia, or however they were spelling their deity’s name this week, Willow Silverthorn reflected for roughly the fifty-thousandth time on why exactly murder ought to be legalized, if the Tradespeak Empire were really as interested in justice as their propagandists always claimed. It was recognized that people had the right to exercise lethal force in self-defense, when other options were lacking - but it seemed that defending one’s ears against being assaulted by high-pitched, ululating caterwauls of reverence at sunrise (which one was exposed to just because one’s walking route to the butcher shop, where one worked on Warsdays and Freedays in addition to one’s other several bailiwicks, inevitably took one past this uniquely laughable and infuriating house of worship)...somehow, that failed to qualify. Such arbitrary rules that humans invented to impose order on their societies, when it would be so much simpler and more efficient if they’d just permit occasional bloodshed. Merchants were always complaining about caravans parking in front of their stalls, or some damn thing of the sort - a million petty inconveniences preoccupied the day-to-day routines of the city’s populace, and she couldn’t help but think how many of these problems could be solved by killing the idiot who caused them. The lot of these self-important, hypocritical townsfolk were badly overdue for a reality check; they wouldn’t obsess so much over trivialities if they’d seen one man kill another right in front of them within the past week, she’d bet money on that. But of course, she dared not breathe a word of any of this to anyone.

Though tremendously inconstant in most other affairs, the Aelalians were as predictable as clockwork in their determination to greet the rising sun with their wailing voices - or at least most of them were. On an average morn Willow could hope to pass the insipid-yet-widely-liked house of worship unmolested, but today the proselytes were out in full force, spreading a wide net across the walkways that passed their cathedral, hoping to catch someone gullible enough to be swayed by their ideology, and she couldn’t hope to get by without at least briefly engaging one of them. As determined by the accident of physical proximity, today’s contestant was a plump, chestnut-skinned dowager whose flaxen tresses were obviously artificial, either a cheap wig or a cheaper application of dyes; had she invested in a decent illusion, everyone would still know that yellow hair above a typically brown face was a natural impossibility, but at least they (and Willow, who was adamant in her determination to be mistaken for one of “they”) would have pretended that the glamer fooled them, out of respect for its tremendous expense. As sloppy a fake as the coiffe or coloration was, however, Willow would be entirely within her social rights to insult it, should an appropriate conversational opening present itself. Sadly, this was not to be.

“Morning’s blessings to you, Citizen!” the priestess happily sing-songed within a quarter-second of achieving eye contact; silencing her urge to curse, Willow returned the absolute minimum semblance of a smile, and made a futile effort at presenting body language that suggested a pressing appointment elsewhere. Perhaps the private knowledge that it was untrue, that she had nearly a half-hour to complete the three-block walk to her workplace and could easily spare five minutes to be civil to this evangelist, sabotaged any effort at subterfuge; due to her own spiritual devotions, Willow was not skilled in representing mistruths as accurate, past the very superficial level of this talent she required just to get through the day at all. Or perhaps it was the work of cosmic forces with a malevolent sense of humor, who propelled her into social confrontations specifically because of her dislike for them, simply to see her squirm. She found the latter theory entirely plausible.

Having found the barest trace of encouragement which she needed, the celebrant launched forth into a full spiel. “The Lady of the Cleansing Wind has blessed us indeed this morning, seeing fit to bring none of her cumulus messengers to shield us from the glory of this perfectly azure morning sky!” She spread her arms widely, allowing her somewhat diaphanous azure robes to fall against her generously rounded frame, so that ample and perfectly white undergarments could be glimpsed beneath. (Though not among the more blatantly sexual theologies, the Elallia cult’s more spirited adherents did frequently like to tease and flirt, out of mischief more often than genuine interest, at whoever might seem particularly susceptible to such jackanapes; in this they often vocally compared themselves to a playful morning breeze, which would tousle the hair of anyone who wore it long enough.) “One can truly see the veriest heights of the vault of the sky, and be inspired by their cerulean majesty, as the refreshing breath of the mistral winds sweep away the cobwebs of sleep and sing welcome for a new day’s infinite potential! Does not the clarity of this dawn make the horizon seem genuinely limitless, an ever-widening expanse of possibilities?”

Willow’s instinct was to point out that possibilities were not inherently good things - there was, after all, a possibility that she would set the woman on fire with a word and a gesture, if she decided that she no longer cared enough about the consequences of such an immediately-satisfying act. Of course, she was far from having been pushed to that point as yet, but even so, the temptation to abandon her lifelong masquerade for the sake of a shattering rhetorical triumph was there, however fleetingly. She thankfully did have the chance to make a sarcastic response that was not quite so outrageous. “Well, I might have more of such a sense if our horizon was less cluttered with buildings.”

“True, we live in the lap of one of Civilization’s greater bastions, but does that not afford us all the more opportunity to revel in the glory of Creation’s vastness? Are we not afforded a better view of the world spread before us, when we climb to the top of a tower which our loving labors have built, rather than staying put on the ground at whatever height we happened to find ourselves? Although the Daybreak Maiden does not directly specialize in the portfolios of construction and industry, they are certainly the fruits of Heaven’s carefully-cultivated vines, and the Song of Morning is staunchly counted among the allies of the Celestial Host. Do not the angels wish to see us create, as is our instinct as sentient humanoids?” The priestess’s eyes were rolled all the way back into her head as this point, as she was utterly transported by the ecstacy of her preachings; she did not however pause for breath, nor relax her body language in any way that might suggest Willow could reasonably slip away. “Is our capability to dream, plan, and achieve such invention, transcending the limits into which we are initially born, never contradicting our initial nature but rather constantly evoking its inherent potential, not the very manifestation of those same possibilities I spoke of before?”

Somehow, Willow realized, she had been dragged into a full-fledged theological debate, against a better-armed opponent who had nothing else to do with her time. Prudence would suggest that she take the better part of valor at this stage, but while her common sense was probably her single best-developed virtue, it was not the only one which influenced her daily life. A strong competitive streak was also inevitably part of the life-path she’d chosen to walk, and so on this occasion, she decided to suppress the urge to simply get away, and instead press the attack against her more-prepared foe, hoping to display just enough ferocity in the attack to weaken her foe’s resolve and level the playing field, without burning too many of her own bridges - a delicate balance, but it was good practice to keep walking that line, which Life would certainly force her to tiptoe along often enough in the future, under far more dire circumstances.

She drew a breath in preparation for her own long spiel. “I’m just a simple homemaker and handywoman-about-town, Priestess; I don’t know much about angels and inventions and Infinity and such. But I do know this: the fact that the sun rises every morning is due to the fact that Terrestra spins on its north-south axis, taking exactly 24 hours to rotate fully; your Goddess or any other deity does not ‘bring’ the dawn, she’s simply taking credit for it, bribing your higher-ranked priests with spellcasting power so that they’ll spread the word about how she’s responsible for good things in life, when actually those things just *happen*, and are not anyone’s doing, nor do they mean anything. All the symbolism attached to them is just a great deal of pomp and circumstance that gets people like you all puffed up, feeling like they’re part of something greater than themselves, when in fact they are just as alone in life and just as confused about its ultimate purpose as anyone else. Cling to your ridiculous dogma all you like; make believe that every sunrise is a personal gift from your Invisible Sky Sister, if it brings you the happiness you need to get out of bed an hour and a half before dawn every morning. But please be so kind as to leave me out of it. Religion does not put any coins in my purse, nor is it welcome to take any out, and I have better things to do than stand around here and listen to your nursery rhymes. Good day to you.”

Proud to have managed to so expertly tell off her opponent (whose expression of shock and disorientation was just sufficient for someone who has just been verbally outclassed, without showing the utter dismay of someone who had realized she was talking to an antisocial hermit who had no use at all for deities of any variety), Willow turned and walked away before the churchwoman could recover her wits enough to attempt some sputtery counter-argument. The speech had managed to roll off her tongue just right, even though she’d never yet found cause to deliver it in exactly this form (a few past confrontations had carried similar themes, and there were several of her favorite stock phrases incorporated, but the overall diatribe had been fully extemporaneous); the knowledge she had succeeded under such unfavorable conditions put a certain spring in her step, and by the time she got to the meat market, she was in fact in a genuinely good mood, with no need to fake her smile anymore.

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Big Mac
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Re: [Whiteleaf] Novel Opening

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:08 pm

willpell wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:24 pm
Among the several other ways in which I have tried to make Whiteleaf happen, I planned a series of novels, and even began writing one of them, following my usual habit of beginning at the beginning, though also attempting to pull together a rough outline and plug segments into it as I lined them up, hoping that the whole thing would eventually cohere. It hasn't happened, and probably won't, but I'm proud enough of at least the opening, and possibly some of the later chunks, to want to share them with the world, so that maybe somebody else can take my creations and run with them after I'm gone. So here goes the beginning of what was meant to be the first of three or so fictional stories set in the Whiteleaf universe, in which two of my "author avatar" characters (only one of which is introduced in this segment) were meant to cross paths, discuss the nature of the universe, and eventually find themselves embroiled in exactly the sort of adventure which they've always both disdained as hopelessly cliche.
There are some websites out there, where you can publish novels.

Or you could even go for something like Kindle and sell one.

NaNoWriMo comes up every year (in November) and is a time when you will find lots of people thrashing out the first drafts of novels.

If you go hang out in the right place, maybe you can get the inspiration to get some progress made.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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Kythkyn
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Re: [Whiteleaf] Novel Opening

Post by Kythkyn » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:39 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:08 pm
NaNoWriMo comes up every year (in November) and is a time when you will find lots of people thrashing out the first drafts of novels.
I started a novel for NaNo 2017 and I am currently editing it before seeking publication! NaNo is a pretty nice resource!

Also, if you're looking to connect to other writers, OP, check out this discord (this is an open invitation to all writers BTW)
Gaming Blog | Twitter | Discord
MAYBE YOU RUIN CHOCOLATE!

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willpell
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Re: [Whiteleaf] Novel Opening

Post by willpell » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:58 pm

I am not here looking for general-purpose encouragement for my foolish aspirations of eventually becoming a published author, which are pretty definitely never actually going to happen for a variety of reasons. If you want to comment on anything, let me know what you think of the text I have written, but I didn't really post it even because I wanted feedback, I'm simply "giving it away", since I am unlikely to be able to work on it myself for much longer.

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