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Guardians - Chapter 0: Origins (1520 words) (1 Viewer)

ShadowVafel

Senior Member
[Author's note - I must admit the episode itself is quite boring in terms of storywise since its more of a historical piece than a story told. nontheless I believe its vital information for the story and needed to be known first in order to understand what it going on.]

Miles above the earth floated the High Temple, the remaining top floors of the legendary Tower of Babel, a colossal monument of ancient history forgotten by mere men. A city sized stone structure, floating in the air, surrounded by powerful magic making it invisible to the outside world in its own protective bubble. Even though on the outside it seemed like an ancient corpse made of stone and clay it was redecorated from the inside with marble, electricity, steel, wood and glass; giving it the appearance of modern day hotel, and a fancy one at that.
The mighty structure served as the Guardian Order main base of operations, the seat of the High Council and the training grounds for new recruits. Ethan spent the past four months there, learning about what he became a part of.

The question whether we were alone in the universe was answered long before it was even asked. Throughout the universe there are many planes of existence, many worlds with many different attributes. There is always a connection between them, a link of energy. Some are stronger, some are weaker – but all are there. The strongest one connected to our world is called A'llath by its inhabitants, and it was the first to break contact with the human world eons ago. The A'llathians had a better connection to the mystical energies which surrounded existence, and so they've evolved to it, molded by it, used it. It has long forgotten when or how the barrier between the worlds broke, but when it did the A'llathians found a new world ruled by primitive, weak and meager creatures – right for their taking. An era of pain befell upon the human race at his first steps as the monstrous and powerful beings of the world beyond swept in, claiming this world as their own plaything – a sandbox for their amusement. All the creatures that human consider as mere legend and myth these days roamed the world, claiming it with fist, iron and blood.
The human race, as a mean of survival, began worshiping these gods, hoping to please them – and it has. The invaders were amused by the human race's pitiful attempts to please them with offers of materiel and their own blood and flesh they've let them live in small societies, each worshipping a different leader of the invading factions. The human race survived, engulfed with fear and death as human life meant nothing.
Should any A'llathian take human lives for mere pleasure, despite all their offerings, he would meet no retribution.
Should any human society try to resist its deity it would be destroyed to the last child.

These dark times, known by the historians at the Grand Data Store as The Era of Dread, would end after a long time by the appearance of a man from the region known today as Romania. The records of his early life are now present at the GDS for all to view, as well as his first rise to power and the slaughtering of the first A'llathian by human hands.
Back then he was known as a mere rumor, today he is known as the founder of the guardian order; Daniel 'Talon' Talonious.

Talon was the first of humans to tap into the mystical energies and the first one to use them against his oppressors after his village was destroyed on a whim. After that he set out to the world for decades to learn about his powers and his enemy. During his travels, as his powers grew, he noticed others such as him – tapping into the mystical energies. Yet unlike him they knew not how to use them or that they've even tapped into them and so they've remained slaves to their masters. Talon acted, helping his brothers to control, to use and to understand the power they posses.
It was not long before he gathered the first of the guardians, the ones which were branded as The First Seventy-Two, or The Sons of Talon. Leading the human race into battle they've swept through the world like a great cleansing fire, reclaiming their world back after eons of oppression and driving the invaders back into their world.
Talon and his sons were viewed as angels, gods and saviors. Even though Talon knew the first two are false, the latter was true. Understanding their role as protectors of mankind he founded the order itself, vowing all of his sons to protect mankind, defend it from the horrors of the universe.

As time passed The Sons of Talon had children, and their children had children and the energy usage was passed along the lineage. Before long the small order became a legion, and so it has needed a base of operations like any military. The human race and the guardians worked one along the other to build it, the structure that will be known as the Tower of Babel.
At that time the link between our world and A'llath reopened by Talon, and a sort of peace was declared between the new world and the guardians, unknown to the rest of humanity.

For a time it was peaceful while the guardians ruled and protected the world as individual groups of A'llathians broke the peace and wondered into our world and more planes broke barrier. But as it known with humans – peace cannot last.
Human life is short, and so does his memory throughout generations. What was love and gratitude by the fathers became hate and contempt by the sons. They've view the guardians as oppressors instead of the saviors of says past. The numbers of the human race blustered in years and it became cocky. A conflict was inevitable.
Understanding this Talon decided it was time for them to disappear into the shadows and act as the guardian angel to mankind – protect it without him knowing it. Talon himself destroyed the bottom of the colossal structure in a final demonstration of power unseen before, leaving the upper floors high above far from human eyes, and as generations passed the guardians were forgotten.

Ages continue to flow as it's their right, and the toll of leadership was taken from talon. With all his power and millennia of experience – he was still just a man. The mighty leader of the guardian order befell slowly into madness; sending warriors on operations with shady motives and reasons and horrible outcomes to both our world and A'llath. The first guardians refused to believe that their father and savior would succumb to such madness, but eventually it was no denying it – Talon had to be stopped.
The final battle took place on A'llath as Talon was summoned there by his sons – he was too wise to fool and his sons respected him enough to not try to fool him. It was clear to all that a physical conflict was inevitable and so without a word, and with much sorrow they've fought.

It is said the battle lasted for days; the oceans evaporated, the skies shattered like glass and the earth bled. Many believe it's just an exaggeration, but wiser say it an underestimate. A'llath still carries scars from the colossal battle which took place there thousands of years ago.
Out of the seventy two who fought only thirteen remained and Talon was no more.

The crisis was over, and the order endured; keeping his oath still generation after to this very day.
The bloodline of the seventy two sons of Talon spread throughout the human race as it expended, and the gene carrying the ability to wield energy became scarcer and harder to find. It is known to skip a generation, but not members of a generation it picks to show himself. Should a person show the ability to use energy his sibling will also have the ability eventually – so was Ethan's case. His sister was a member of the order for ten years before he joined, and so it was known it was a matter of time before Ethan will join as well. The problem to his sister seemed that it takes too long, and that the gene should receive some 'motivation' to show himself. After some persuasion she managed to get the person who recruited her, the very stranger who kidnapped Ethan, to put him through the grueling process he went.
Ethan passed, survived and endured; tapping into his pool of mystical energies and becoming a guardian.

Four months he spent at the High Temple; training and learning about his powers and new abilities. Though, as all new thing, he found a new life of devotion and danger are hard, especially the ones he did not choose but was chosen for. None the less he rose of to the challenge, raising many questions from superiors as he went on – mostly about his competence.
 

J.T. Chris

WF Veterans
You said it's boring, so I took your word for it and didn't read it. Ask yourself this: if you know it's boring, why subject a reader to it? Do you think we're dumb?
 

LeeC

WF Veterans
In developing a story one works on setting in which the intended storyline can play out understandably. It's a logical thought process, but it's not normally a good presentation approach.

If you've read much, you might recall the stories that drew you in didn't begin with several pages of a history lesson (unless you're a history buff, which many are not).

The point being that you don't need to start with blood and gore, or any of the other shock tactics so often employed, but you do need to interest the reader in your story up front, dribbling in necessary backstory as you go.

Formulating a story is one thing, and presenting it is another. They are two different thought processes in writing, regardless of which comes first in your mind.

So what I'm saying here, is to keep your thought out "notes" here close, and rethink your presentation approach to keep the reader turning pages.

I hope this helps in some small way :)

Best wishes,
LeeC
 

popsprocket

Retired Chief Media Manager
I was going to give out my usual long-winded line-edit and point out the multitude of technical errors. But I won't because my recommendation is not to even bother including this chapter.

Nothing here looks like it needs to be included at the head of a book. All of this information can get squeezed in naturally. All of this information should be squeezed in naturally.
 

Folcro

Creative Area Specialist (Fiction)
WF Veterans
Ask yourself this: if you know it's boring, why subject a reader to it?

Because not all of us are here to be entertained. Obviously the OP has a problem they need help with.

But in all seriousness, self-depreciation usually doesn't work, especially when appealing to a crowd. Don't say anything that can be used against you (avoid disclaimers if you can altogether and just get right to it).

Info dumps and lectures are also to be... not avoided, but woven. Start with action, get to the story, show me something happening. If you do this, you will find that you have ample openings to smoothly insert bits of information and philosophy and clever references and allegories. Just keep things happening until you are confident enough with your prows to slow the pace in favor of character/setting development.

You've got good stuff here--- take it and weave it.
 
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J.T. Chris

WF Veterans
Because not all of us are here to be entertained. Obviously the OP has a problem they need help with.

No, see, I suggested he ask himself. I'm aware he has a problem. He can solve it that way. Easier than reading all your pontificating. Simple solution: if you're bored, betcha the reader is too.
 

Pluralized

Black Dracula
WF Veterans
I think that's why the forum exists, though, see. To pontificate so that others might gain from your advice. There's a pervasive 'just shut up and write' mentality that exists here and it's never helpful. People need advice, or they wouldn't ask for it.
 

J.T. Chris

WF Veterans
And I offered advice, perhaps with more brevity than this forum is accustomed. I wouldn't be here otherwise.
 

Deafmute

WF Veterans
Ethan spent the past four months there, learning about what he became a part of.

Ethan had spent the past four months there, learning about what he would/had/was about to become a part of.

so they've evolved to it, molded by it, used it. It has long forgotten when or how the barrier between

person pet peeve of mine, don't start a sentence with the same word you ended the last one with.

right for their taking

Ripe for the taking

Ok so, I am going to agree with everyone else that this chapter needs to be cut out all together. Or rather it needs to be moved into your notes. Every detail that you just regaled use with should be put into the story because its all great back story, but it should be sprinkled in. The tale of the last fight with Talon should be seen as they visit the scarred planes of All'ath, the history of the dread era should be told to us as Ethan himself hears it. I think the best place to start this story would be before Ethan is kidnapped. That way as Ethan learns the back story during his training so does the audience. You have a fun setting here, now you just have to figure out how to introduce it to use instead of just telling it to us.

Alternatively, there is a literary device where at the start of each chapter a little blurb is presented almost like an excerpt from some sort of encyclopedia which will present the information in a small chunk. Read Isaac Asimov's foundation series to see a great example of this device. You mention an enclipedia type reference in this that I think would work really perfectly for this device.

I envision this piece starting with a prologue voiced by one of the guardians as they find out that Ethan carries the gene giving the order to bring him in, maybe allude to some reason he has to be picked up quickly before "unnamed antagonist" gets to him. so on and so forth. get the audience excited by having them flash around some sort of magic or whatever get your hook, and then open the first chapter with Ethan's boring normal life, give us some backstory on who Ethan is with this chapter and then lead into him being kidnapped and trained where in we get all this information at the same time that ethan does. Show us don't tell us the history.

Hope that helps, can't wait to see what you do with it.
 

JosephineRinaldi

Senior Member
After reading this I agree with the general consensus that this should become apart of your notes. Then work the information into the story as its being told, for many readers aren't going to jump into the history of the world without having a connection to it first. For instance Tolkien and middle earth or J.K. Rowling and the wizarding world. Without strong characters for the reader to invest into the history wouldn't really matter. But you have a really interesting idea and I'd really like to see where it takes the story. Hope this helps!
-J.R.
 

John Galt

Senior Member
Instead of throwing information at the reader, try to weave it in where relevant or necessary. Also, you should give the reader a sense of the character(s); usually, the characters compel the reader to turn the page.
(referring to the last line) Instead of telling the reader that he (the protagonist) lives a life of "devotion and danger", show him devoting himself to the Order and the dangers he faces (through the plot)
 

The Bruce

Senior Member
I was actually enjoying the exposition: the Tower of Babel's not too well-trodden as a reference, I was interested. And then you've got a really strong sentence like "The question of whether we were alone in the universe was answered long before it was asked." Really good, establishes a very epic scale and should probably be the opening line.

I don't think there's anything wrong with history as long as it's entertaining for its own sake rather than an information dump as an alternative to making an immersive universe. For example, unless I really need to know about the many planes of existence or the energy linkages, then don't tell me, especially not right at the start of the book. I'd rather know about the Era of Dread and Talon as soon as possible.

And to preserve the epic focus, I would avoid mentioning in the prologue "Ethan" and the daily workings of the "Guardian Order" because they drag you away from that scale. Finally, I would also strongly reconsider the name Ethan; because when you hear Ethan, you think douche.
 

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