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Author Topic: A Deadman's Search For Redemption  (Read 3331 times)

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Offline TheEndisNotThere

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A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« on: October 08, 2021, 10:10:19 AM »
Setting: The setting is a high fantasy medieval type of world with monsters, magic, and light technology.  The world is bigger then ours with 8 gods who preside over different aspects of life, creation, morality, and death.  There are many sentient races (ie. elves, humans, gnomes, and the like), but there are more primative/hostile races (ie. goblins, orcs, minotaurs, and so on).

Story: The main character is abandoned as a baby on a military ship as a stowaway in their cargo.  After he is discovered by chance, someone on the crew rummaging through the cargo for anything of value, he is brought to the captain of the ship.  The captain, who recently lost both his wife and unborn child, decides to take in the main character as his own son, believing it as a sign.

The boy grows up learning all about the military's structure and procedures as his new adoptive father wants the main character to eventually follow in his footsteps, becoming a captain for the military.  The captain teaches the main character about many core fundamentals like, honor, courage, strength, and comradery.  At the age of 16, the main character follows his father's wishes and joins the military.

After a few years in the service under of his adoptive father, he is transferred to a new ship.  While his father's ship was more of a frontline combat ship, the new ship is more of a military cargo and transport ship.  The captain of the new ship is very shifty (ie. doesn't follow proper procedures, deals with criminals, and accepts under the table payment for unauthorized transport of people and cargo), but the main character gets paid more under him, so he puts up with it as he has gotten married and has a child of his own on the way.  The main character is assigned to secure the cargo of the ship.  While doing this, he hears things from inside the crates, like muffled movement and scratching from inside the box.  It is explained away as animal/livestock transport by the captain.  After over a year of service to this captain, while he is tending to the cargo mid transport, a storm they passed through caused some of the wooden crates to crack and slightly break open.  Checking inside the box to make sure the animals are unharmed, he finds the crate is full of the more humanesque type of monsters.

He confronts the captain thinking the rest of the crew was also unaware of what they are transporting.  The captain explains that these creatures are useful to the rich people of the county as slaves, laborers, and "entertainment".  The captain also explains this is why the pay for transport ships is higher than regular combat ships.  The main character decides to confront the captain, in front of the crew, the following day to get the captain detained and have him face trial when returning to their home port.  However, the crew already knows what is happening, they are fine with it and detain the main character instead.

When the ship returns to their home port, the main character is put on trial for the attempted stage of a mutiny.  The entire trial is rigged against him and he is sentenced to death.  His adoptive father is tasked with carrying out the punishment, because his loyalty is called into question as he both raised and trained the main character.  The father takes the main character out to a deserted island, and leaves him there.  The father knows this is treason, but believes the main character was doing what is right and supports what he decided to do.


This is just the opening chapter,  I am looking to continue this with the main character finding a mimic, who becomes a new ship for him.  The main character deciding to free all the monsters enslaved by his old country.  Having the main character find and kill his birth parents, because they can be used against him both magically and emotionally.  Finding a magical weapon and someone who can use it.  Finally, taking down the country that left him for dead.

The main character uses both a rapier and old fashioned pistol.  He fights dirty by using the rapier to get in close and then shots his opponent's in the leg or arm to set himself up for a killing blow.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments.

Thank you.

Offline TheEndisNotThere

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Re: A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2021, 03:27:28 PM »
After some thought, I decided that the original post will be back story to be reflected on in later chapters rather than as the first chapter/chapters.  It is a little long and dry to try to tell all at once.

The first chapter will start in a port city's tavern early in the morning.  The main character (Dorian Phore) will be sitting in a bar stool, face down on the bar.  The tavern is rather busy with travelers, adventures, and sailors eating breakfast preparing to start their day.

The door of the tavern is kicked open by a guard captain, and guards flood into the tavern.  "Where is the captain of the 'Gluttonous Anemone'?"  The tavern keeper looks at Dorian who is still face down on the bar.  The captain of the guards approaches Dorian.  "I have been informed that a large number of provisions have been delivered to your ship."

"Why is the guard captain coming to tell me about the food I ordered, was delivered?"  Says Dorian still face down on the bar.  "Do you moonlight as a messenger?"

"Based on the size of your ship and the amount of food delivered, your reported crew size of 2 is clearly not accurate."  The guard captain unfastens a pair of manacles from his belt as he continues to approach Dorian.  "You therefore owe more for your docking fee, an additional fine for lying to the port master, and an additional 'messenger' fee for a guard escort to the station."

Dorian, head still on the bar, "first of all I've had a long night, and really don't want to deal with you lot."  He pulls his head off the bar and looks at the captain.  "Second I didn't lie about the number of crew, there is me," pointing at himself, "and him."  pointing at the tinny treasure chest resting on his shoulder.  The guard captain looks at the chest.  The chest pops open startling the guard captain.

In side the chest is an eye inside the teeth lined interior "Yeah, and I'm the big one" blurts the mini-mimic.

"I guess we need to add bringing a monster within city limits to the list of fines you already owe.  We have already ordered your ship to be locked down.  Guards are in the process searching the ship for any extra crew that may be on board.  Now, are you going to come quietly, or do you need some 'gentle' persuading?"  The captain holds the manacles out to Dorian.

Dorian holds out his hands and says "I'll let you know now, this won't end well for you or your men, but I will come quietly."  After the captain places the manacles on Dorian, he leads Dorian outside and heads toward the port.  After reaching the port, the guard captain finds the port with the ship, but none of his men are there.  He pulls a crystal from his belt, which is lights up in his hand.

"Report lock down team."  The guard captain speaks into the crystal, but there is no response.  "Guards, this ship should be locked down by now.  Half of you go aboard and find out what is taking the lock down team so long."  Half the guards escorting Dorian go onto the ship.

After a few minutes have passed, Dorian says while scratching his head, "I told you this wouldn't end well for you and your men.  Now you can either let me go and I'll leave with my ship.  No more damage, no more death."

Ignoring Dorian, the guard captain speaks into the crystal again.  "Squad B report."  No response.  "Squad B what is your status?"  The crystal lights up this time.

"Captain, there is something going on with the ship.  I cannot find anyone else, not from the lock down squad or from squad B.  It's like the ship is haunted, people are disappearing, the structure of the ship seems to change constantly.  Captain, I don't know what's going on I think --" the crystal goes dark.

"Squad B report!"  A gunshot rings out and one of the guards falls to the ground.  When the knight captain turns to see what happened, Dorian has his rapier in the chest of an other guard.  The other 2 guards attack Dorian, but with an other gun shot and a parried attack and riposte the other two guards are dead.  Dorian walks towards the ship, putting himself between the guard captain and the ship.

"I'm leaving.  Belephore, get ready to set sail."  The Guard Captain draws his weapon and shield and gets into a fighting stance.  The ship begins to move, it grows arms, and a mouth revealing that it is actually a giant mimic.  The Guard Captain drops weapon and shield as Dorian walks onto the ship.


I think this is a better starting chapter, as there is only a single encounter to focus on.  Again, any comments or suggestions are appreciated.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2021, 03:29:40 PM by TheEndisNotThere »

Offline Coryn

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Re: A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2021, 12:19:42 PM »
Hey there TheEnd! Welcome to MangaRaiders. I suggest you introduce yourself in the Welcome Center! It's a bit easier for people to notice your arrival there than just posting a story.

Reading through what you've posted, I definitely agree with your decision to take that initial first chapter and split it off into the backstory. It is a heck of a lot to tell in a single chapter, and would only really work as an entire arc if you wanted to tell it in full detail and not just info dump.

Past that, I definitely like the whole fantasy golden age of piracy thing you've got going on here. But since that is your setting, I suggest making things a little less black and white. From the backstory, it becomes quite a leap to have Dorian decide he needs to take down an entire country for what is a much more minor betrayal. A coupe against a corrupt government is definitely something you need to build up to. It would also help explain Dorian somewhat better, because he seems to go from a fairly decent guy who's had it rough, to someone who doesn't mind his ship/pet mimic murdering a bunch of dudes just doing their jobs. It's hard to believe the local guards deserve to be mimic murdered just because they work in the same system that betrayed Dorian. Instantly he feels very cold and unlikable (not to mention the whole nonchalant parent murdering line).

Besides lightening Dorian up and giving more nuance to our presumed bad guys, I would also give more agency and character to the "primitive/hostile" races you mentioned, especially the ones being enslaved. If all you have is a monolithic population that's just waiting to be saved, then all you've done is fallen right into the tired old "white savior" trope. It's been done, it's boring, it's backwards. Especially when you're comparing whole nations (or however you want to think about them) to a single guy with a grudge. All told, it feels like you should be setting up for an ensemble cast, but so far you've only talked about a single character, and have given no indication that you plan to introduce anyone else.

Even if you do introduce Dorian as this essentially broken character, that opens doors for him to actually learn about a people(s) and lifestyle(s) that he doesn't understand. It's the beginning of a real character arc. You just gotta set him on it.

Those are my thoughts anyway.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline TheEndisNotThere

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Re: A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2021, 12:48:46 PM »
Hello Coryn,

Thank you for taking the time to read through my story idea and leaving feedback.  I have created a post in the welcome center, to give a little more information about myself and the goals that I have.  Thank you for the suggestion.

It was my mistake to not be more clear in the previous posts.  The first post and the second post are separated by about a year of events.  After being left on the island, Dorian finds a cave that leads to ruins of a tower that have been swallowed by the earth.  While exploring this sunken tower, he discovers that it is riddled with traps and that belonged to a mage researching mimics.  At this point Dorian learns more about physical and mental aspects of mimics.  At the bottom of the tower he meets a mimic who doesn't have a name and a magical ring on the corpse of the dead mage.  The mimic agrees to be Dorian's ship, but in return Dorian agrees to letting the mimic try many different types of food (mimic biology functions essentially like alligators in that they do not die from old age, have even slower metabolisms as they do not need to move most of the time, but they can get smaller through reproduction by division).  After agreeing to the name Belephore, Bele being the name of the mage and Phore being Dorian's last name, Dorian heads straight back to his previous country to reunite with his wife.  The ring that belonged to the mage is identified as a ring of clouded vision here.  The ring hide the person wearing it from any type of tracking magic.  However, upon returning to his home, he found that his wife was not there.  He finds her journal and after reading through it discovers that she had been having an affair with with a high ranking noble.  This affair had been going on while Dorian was out to sea, and that the noble was the actual father of the child his wife was having.  This noble is also the one who hired Borgar (previous captain) to transport slaves.

It is also where he looks at the port city he resides and sees the true disparity between the humans (primary race) who live there and most other races.  This is when Dorian decides that he will be going against his previous government by freeing the slaves before they actually arrive in the country.  Due to the time he spent in the military, he understands the methods and tactics used to track down and eliminate enemies.  Through some careful maneuvering, he manages to get a hold of a lineage crystal.  These crystals, when placed over a magically attuned map, gives the location of a person or closest living relative within one step (ie father, mother, siblings, and children).  The magic of the crystal requires some kind of physical object closely tied to the individual.  He sets his previous house on fire, an attempt to destroy anything that could tie him to a lineage crystal, and flees the city with Belephore to find his birth parents.

Dorian arrives in the port city of the second post, as this is where his birth parents are.  He orders a large amount of supplies to be delivered to his ship, and spends a few days trying to locate his birth parents.  When he finds them, they are homeless people, living a miserable existence of scrounging for food, begging for money, and doing anything they can to escape the reality they are in.  Drugs, magical potions, and spells that fascinate/hypnotize them to take them away from their reality.  The guards of the city basically ignore them, and sometimes abuse these homeless people themselves.  The night before the second post's events.  Dorian rationalizes to himself that killing them ends the existence that they are constantly trying to escape, and protects them from the previous country if anything should happen to where a linage crystal is used to find him.  That night, he kills them in an alley while they are under the effects of some magical spell or potion that they have taken.  As he walks out of the alley, two guards are on patrol, stops him, investigates the scene, cracks a joke about if he got anything on him, and good riddance that there are two less rodents on the streets.  He heads back to the tavern in the first post, and attempts to drink himself to sleep, but even alcohol cannot provide the relief needed to stop the mental anguish he is in.  This is when the second post/first chapter starts.

As you mentioned, Dorian is a broken character to start with.  I wanted this to paint him as a "bad guy" to allow him to grow into a character who is willing to create bonds again, as he spent so much time breaking the old ones he had.  Both the physical and emotional ones.  The second chapter has his first raid on a slave transport ship where he pick up his first permanent crew mate.  Verigal Fin is a lycanthrope who had a similar idea to Dorian, in that stopping the slave ships and freeing slaves is the way to help those affected the most.  Verigal is a Natural Born Wereshark (Doesn't go absolutely berserk during full moons and has full control of his shapeshifting) who is brawny, brash, ruthless, and intimidating, but he is willing to sacrifice himself for the betterment of others.  During this raid, Dorian is wounded.  The wound is cauterized by Dorian using the heated barrel of his pistol, but he ends up going into shock.  Verigal leads Belephore to an island where he knows a physician is.  This is to give Dorian a reason to form a bond with Verigal, as he realizes no mater how strong an individual is, he needs others to do what he cannot.

There are a total of five crew mates that will end up aboard the Gluttonous Anemone, not including Belephore himself.  Dorian the Pirate, Verigal the Wereshark, Nicodemus the Cartographer, Lloyd the Researcher, and Sylvana the Cloud Shaper.  Each of these characters will have their own quirks and goals that happen to align with Dorian's.  There will also be many characters from the rescued races including Orcs, Minotaurs, Goblins and Hobgoblins, and other various creatures.  However, not all of them will be in need of rescuing, some of them will be fighting back as Verigal did.  As Dorian progresses through the story, he will start to build ties with both his crew members and the different creatures he rescues and meets along the way.

Dorian doesn't start by trying to take down the government, but rather stopping the flow of slaves.  However, once the government starts using slaves to transport new slave, sending more battle hardened ships as escorts, and eventually using airships instead of traditional boats, Dorian realizes that just treating the symptoms won't stop the corruption, and actions need to be taken to break down who is currently in control in order to start the healing process.

I hope this makes things more clear.  Again, thank you for taking the time to read through my idea, and if you have any more suggestions or comments, please feel free to let me know.

Thank you

Offline Coryn

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Re: A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2021, 01:48:51 PM »
Well, the biggest comment I have for you right now is to actually get this stuff down into the actual form you want your chapters to take. Right now you're describing the story a lot, but not actually telling it so much. Getting the full picture is all well and good if all you want is a proof of concept, but to give your story telling abilities a proper critique, then you gotta have at least a rough draft of an actual chapter to work from.

What form are you planning for this story to take? Are you going to go with more prose, or put it into a script format? The language you used in previous post kinda feels like it could go either way.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline TheEndisNotThere

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Re: A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2021, 04:07:55 PM »
I use the prose format when I am doing a general outline of events to help describe actions and events in a more detailed approach.  When actually writing the dialogue, I prefer the script format because it's much easier to determine where and when the speech bubbles should actually appear.

Offline NO1SY

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Re: A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2021, 03:51:33 PM »
You got right to it in sharing a story - awesome!

I too enjoy the combination of fantasy with piracy as a setting, and I really like the idea of a mimic being the ship. However, this immediately brought up a point of confusion for me in your first chapter...: If Belephore is with Dorian in the bar then wouldn't that mean that there is actually no ship for the supplies to be delivered to, or for them to pay a docking fee for?? (If this was an oversight then perhaps the altercation can be over the mysterious disappearance of his ship from the dock and requiring to keep the empty space clear, and the upsetting rumours about Dorian bringing a monster to town?)

My personal feeling is that Dorian's backstory, regarding his confrontation with his captain and subsequent trial, needs a little more work to be convincing. Why does he care about "monsters" when other people don't, and why does he care so much as to be so actively defiant over it? Just pointing to his upbringing of "honour" and "comradery" seems a little weak... Solutions to this could involve something like a teenage love interest with a more humanoid monster, members of his father's crew being monsters that helped to raise him, or maybe his father was actively working to abolish monster slave trade as part of the military that was actually corrupt behind his back.

This actually leads into my second point - who exactly is making sure that the trial was rigged against Dorian, and why would they bother? It can be good to be quite focused in scope at the start of your story, but at the moment the backstory leaves things a bit vague and nebulous. If it were me, I would have the Govenor be corrupt and invested in the monster slave trade, enlisting several military captains to help run his operations, and then orchestrating Dorian ending up on the slave transport ship where an altercation was likely to occur, so that he would have an excuse to remove Dorian's father's military faction that is obstructing his schemes. This way there would be a very clear logical line that Dorian can follow on his trail of revenge (Dorian and the readers don't have to know this backstory until it plays out obviously).

My favourite pirate revenge story is currently Black Sails, so looking forward to how this turns out in comparison! Good luck!

Offline TheEndisNotThere

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Re: A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2021, 12:00:51 AM »
Hello NO1SY,

In regards to Belephore, the simple answer is that they are both the same mimic.  The long answer is that the mini-mimic with Dorian is a simple collection of sensory organs that are connected to the ship's main body through an invisible/psychic link.  This lets Belephore be in essentially 2 different places at the same time, so that it can taste and experience food, that may not be possible to prepare on the ship.  While the ship mimic can freely change its shape, it cannot change its mass, so there is always a consistent body.  While Belephore can multiply numerously, all his parts must add up to the mass of an entire ship.  However, too many copies results in an overload of stimulus that results in Belephore becoming physically sick, as there are too many different senses returning different feedback.  Belephore is still a single individual creature and cannot handle overstimulation.  Instead Belephore can choose to sever the link with a piece that was separated, but this creates a new mimic that is no longer attached to the main body.  If it has all of the essential organs of a mimic, it becomes a new mimic with Belephore's memories up to the point of disconnection, but if it doesn't have the organs it needs to live, the copy dies, and cannot be reabsorbed into the main body.

As for Dorian's back story part, this has a lot more to do with his adoptive father, Bartholomew Phore (Bar for short).  Bar was titled the "Tactician's Judge" for utilizing a number of unprecedented tactics and technologies that allowed him to win a great number battles.  No one in the main country knew where these innovations came from, as it is an island based country without humanesque creatures other than humans, elves, and very rarely dwarfs.   Bar had acquired them through battles with the monstrous races.  Taking tactics from hobgoblins to board enemy ships in close range and setting ambushes and utilizing orc weaponry and goblin primitive submersible technology.  The main country's other troops never fought these creatures as they were only heard of through rumors and legends in distant lands too dangerous to visit.  However, Bar was not just a man of military might, he was an adventurer before deciding to settle down in the main country with his wife, a Duke's daughter.  He taught Dorian of how these creatures were not just dangerous monsters fighting to survive, but also intelligent creatures to be respected.

The person who rigged the trial is also the same noble having an affair with Dorian's wife,  Fredrik Aldele.  Fredrik really doesn't care about Dorian at all, but absolutely hates Bar for a number of reasons; being a foreigner, being lowborn man who married into the royal line, being successful, and being what he needs to measure up to in order to get any accolades himself.  Everything he is doing is an attempt to drag Bar's name down into the mud, so that he can rise higher.  Fredrik is closer to Dorian's age then Bar's, but it was his family who poisoned his mind and turned him against Bar to begin with.

This should shed some light on the questions that you had about the story.  If you have anything else you would like to know or ask, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks

Offline Coryn

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Re: A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2021, 12:06:51 PM »
So, something that is beginning to become clear (and I think NO1SY will agree), is that the backstory and lore of your universe is very deep and detailed, but it's so deep and detailed than when you try to explain it, it comes out as very hard to understand. You're throwing so much out at a time that it's hard to keep track of it all.

Telling us all this background is fine, but when it comes to an actual reader, you're going to have to drip feed it to them. The mimic situation is a great example. It breeds confusion with him already being separated. I had the same question as NO1SY but didn't mention it. A simple fix would be to just have Belaphore be a single whole at the beginning of the story, and then have him split a little later on when it would be easier to explain to a reader.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline TheEndisNotThere

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Re: A Deadman's Search For Redemption
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2021, 08:28:40 PM »
You are correct, the world I am using is very detailed, as I have been constructing it over 5 years or so.  This universe will be were all of the stories that I am creating will take place.

I absolutely agree that readers need to be slowly introduced to the more complex parts of the story.  This is why when I wrote the second post (the part intended to be the introduction), I only included the main character, other humans, and the mimic.  The reader doesn't know who Dorian is, about is journey to save monstrous humanoids, or even that he is a pirate.  The main reason why I have given more information than what is actually going to be used immediately is because there are more questions about the backstory than about the first chapter.  Also, I want to make sure it is known that I have already planned well into the future about where the story will head, and how Dorian gets there.

As for the confusion with Belephore being in both places, I understand how that can be confusing when you know that there is only one mimic.  However, if you do not know that there is only one, it eliminates the confusion as there could be 2, 5, 10, or 100 mimics.  The ship is meant to be a surprise for the reader.  They won't find out that Belephore is only a single mimic until a possible last scene of the first chapter, or an early scene in the next one where the mimic detaches itself from Dorian's shoulder, hits the deck of the ship, and is reabsorbed by the main body.

I hope that helps to clear up anything.  Thank you for the responses.