Yes, it's story time once again people! After MUCH deliberation I have decided to "reboot" the Flesh & Steel story that I had begun as a "script". As that format was defunct for the purpose I was using it for, I have started rewriting it in the "Narrative" format. It allows for more description! For those of you that may have read the script version, I beg both your forgivness and indulgence as I go over it again.
Majeer Academy, Neroon City, Vartanian Empire.
Warm, afternoon sunlight streamed in through the large, arched window of the private study, casting the room’s many bookcases and curiosity-filled shelves in an orange glow. Grand Master Ezarra Mordecai, current head of the Majeer Academy, sat at his ornate, leather-topped desk and scrutinised the ancient pages of the tome that lay before him. The writing was faded with age, but the strange, alien characters and symbols used by the millennia-dead Arvernian civilisation were still legible. The Academy had entire departments whose job it was to try and unlock the riddle of the dead language and discover the secrets of the lost empire, but the Grand Master had a keen interest in the subject and spent much of his own time translating and transcribing the more complex artefacts.
Much had already be gleaned from the works that had been salvaged from the ruins found in the Arechi Wastes, not least the means to store warp energy within alreeum crystals and to harness it towards tentative mechanisation. Yet, despite all the wonders and advances that had been achieved through the deciphering of the ancient documents, the Grand Master was convinced that there was more to be found.
Mordecai followed the lines of script on the pages of the book before him with his left index finger while he wrote down the translated words into a journal with his right, his hand steady and sure despite the fact that his eyes never left the Arvernian tome.
A knock at the study door caused a momentary frown of annoyance to crease his age-wrinkled brow.
‘Enter,’ he commanded in a firm tone, his voice carrying a strength that contradicted his wizened appearance.
The wooden door swung open and the Grand Master’s personal attendant entered, the hem of her long, gold-trimmed, dark gray woollen robe trailing behind her. In her hands were a rolled up scroll and an old and battered-looking book. The attractive young blonde paused as she closed the door behind her then approached the Grand Master’s desk.
‘I’m sorry for disturbing you, Grand Master,’ she apologised deferentially as she bowed slightly, ‘but the latest expedition has returned from the Arechi Wastes. I have their report here.’ The attendant placed the scroll down on the desk. Mordecai glanced at the rolled sheaf of paper then pointed at the worn book the woman was still holding.
‘And what is this?’
The attendant looked down at the book she held and a surprised ‘Oh!’ escaped her lips, as if she had forgotten that she was holding it. ‘Yes, the expedition found this along with several other artefacts,’ she explained as she carefully laid the book down on the desk. ‘The others are being examined by our Evaluators and Artificers, but I thought you might want to see this one immediately.’ She knew of Mordecai’s passion for ancient written works.
The Grand Master laced his fingers together and regarded the book with curious eyes. He then leaned forward and carefully lifted the worn cover open with a bony finger.
‘What have we here?’ he mused to himself as he mentally translated the first few lines of script. Mordecai looked up at his attendant, who still stood in front of his desk. Returning his attention back to the newest artefact, he waved a hand in a dismissive gesture. ‘That will be all.’
The woman was used to such treatment and simply bowed deeply as she backed away. ‘Yes Grand Master.’ She left Mordecai alone in his study and closed the door behind her.
The Grand Master mentally translated the first couple of pages, a hand idly stroking his trimmed, white beard.
A journal of some kind? He pondered. His gaze then turned to the scroll that held the expedition’s report. A skeletal-like hand reached out and picked it up, quickly breaking the red wax seal and unrolling the paper.
The Grand Master’s gaze flicked between the details of the report and the open book that had accompanied it. As he read further, his white eyebrows raised in intrigue, a contemplative “Hmm…” sounding in his throat.
The scroll was quickly rolled back up and put to one side as Mordecai stood and made his way to the door. Pulling it open, he addressed his attendant.
‘I am not to be disturbed until further notice.’
The young woman had barely turned in her seat at her desk to respond with ‘Yes, Grand Master,’ before the door was quickly shut again.
Satisfied that he would now have complete privacy, Mordecai returned to his desk and began reading the ancient book, carefully turning each page and making occasional notes as he progressed.
Completely engrossed, the Grand Master only became aware of how much time had passed when the room began to darken and the Glow Globe on his desk illuminated automatically, its light growing to fill the dimming chamber.
Breaking from his study, he took a moment to rub his eyes and stiffening neck. After decades spent reading numerous tomes and books, it was all the respite he needed before continuing.
Evening turned to night and the Grand Master finally closed the journal before leaning back in his high-backed chair. He stared off into the middle distance, an eyebrow twitching as he ruminated on and digested the information he had just gleaned.
So, he thought, the ancient Arvernian Majeer that fled the Demon Incursion aimed to create an outpost in the Karnelian Mountains…
Rising from his chair, with no hint of cramp or muscle soreness from hours seated at his desk, he walked over to a wall-sized map of the known world. He examined the large landmass labelled “Vartanian Empire” then reached up to a small cord that hung suspended from a cylinder which ran the full length of the top of the map. Pulling it down produced a huge sheet of semi-transparent material that overlay the map beneath. Drawn on the material was all the known geographical knowledge that had been pieced together from salvaged Arvernian documents, showing the layout of the lost civilisation.
The Grand Master stepped back from the map and tapped his bearded chin with a finger as his eyes scanned the locations depicted. Minutes passed before he grunted in satisfaction and stepped up to place a finger on a location labelled “Karnelian Mountains”.
A slight jerk on the cord sent the overlay retracting back up to its holder and Mordecai tapped his finger on the region that had been beneath the mountain range he had discovered. The location was in Thorensae, a northern province of the Empire, and the miniature peaks illustrated on the map read “Corolan Mountains”.
A satisfied smiled briefly creased his dry lips before he turned and made his way back to the chamber’s door. Pulling it open, he addressed his attendant once again.
‘Bring me Maxamillian Sterling. Immediately.’
The young woman rose from her seat and nodded her understanding. ‘At once, Grand Master.’ She then hurried off to do as ordered.
Mordecai paid her no further heed and closed the study door as he made his way over to a three-foot-tall, metallic tripod which stood in a corner of his study. Held within a sconce at the top of the tripod was an aleerum crystal the size of a fist. The Grand Master stood before the mystical stone and flicked back the sleeves of his robe as he placed his hands on its surface. Closing his eyes, he began to focus his will. The crystal responded and began to glow; soft, blue light radiating from it in a sparkling halo.
Well, that's part one down. Hope you enjoyed the reworked version. If you spotted any mistakes, please let me know.
The instalments of this will be at a significantly slower pace than Gunmetal Sky. BUT there SHOULD be an image for every one!
I also extend the invitation to any interested artists to do their own visual interpretation of any of the characters. That is, if you are inspired to do so!
Thank you for reading and for any comments left.
Nov 14, 2012 5:15:09 pmby Diemamker Homepage »
Great beginning! ...I can imagine him looking in that book with great interest.... I sense a great story unfolding, and I will be waiting with great excitement for the following pages...
I might try to render a character or two, only I'm not that good at it...But this sound so interesting...Outstandingly done!!
Nov 14, 2012 5:25:56 pmby SidheRoseGraphics Homepage »
Yay!!! and *Applause* but then I would have been happy whatever you decided to do, as I like all your stories, Alex. I like that you decided to do this in dialogue/story form too. It will flow better. Whatever I said originally on this still stands (I think - lol). Looking forward to more.
Nov 15, 2012 1:01:27 amby renecyberdoc Homepage »
in the beginning of the read i felt like beeing in the vatican and read the "treasures"they hide there .
most intriguing the way he handles his attendant there is somethibg more to it.
could she be his daughter,and he has to hide his feelings.??you leave plenty of toom in the story for one who is interested to construct his own line,i do hope i explain well,i mean i can see quite some routes to take,shall be interesting to follow this new works.