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Thread: Trying out a new writing style - Chapter The First

  1. #1
    Moderator Veteran Hubber Badri's Avatar
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    Trying out a new writing style - Chapter The First

    Everyone: I am trying out this writing style...wonder if it is going to attract anyone at all...I had earlier written a full length fantasy novel and this is a recasted version of part of its first chapter. Your feedback is highly appreciated.
    ---------------------------------

    The little village of Panch was just that - little. It nestled in the foothills of the mighty Panch Mountains that towered above it. It was a self-sufficient community, as most communities in the Kingdom of Gand’har were. It had its own baker and barber, blacksmith and locksmith, merchant and mason and medicine man. It had its own Temple of the Light, with a solitary priest to fulfill the religious longings of its people. In short, as we have had the opportunity to observe already, it was much like many other villages in the Kingdom of Gand’har.

    If this be the case, you, the reader are no doubt asking us, the chroniclers of this history, why we chose to begin our chronicle in this particular village when there are no doubt many more such villages available for the taking. Acknowledging then that legitimate query and attempting to answer it, we would like to draw your attention to the tall and thin man who entered the village of Panch on the afternoon of the fourth day after the full moon in the Bhuvan month of Tarich, and thus started this history.

    The man in question was, as pointed out earlier, tall and thin, but we wish to reiterate this description because his height and his substantial lack of girth immediately marked him out as a stranger to these parts, whose people seemed to favour horizontal growth to vertical. Also, although not immediately visible owing to the somewhat generous coating of dust upon his person, he was fairer in complexion than the natives of Panch, or indeed of Gand’har. He was, not unreasonably therefore, the recipient of open stares as he strode into the village. Used as he was to these displays of curiosity, he minded them not, and instead walked up to one of the villagers and accosted him thus:

    “Greetings, Goodman. Could you, and if you could, would you direct me to the residence of the Venerable Nambi?”

    The man shook his head. “Wrong village. There is no Nambi, venerable or otherwise, here. Are you sure you have the right village?”

    “Ah! Is this not, then the village of Panch?”

    “Panch it is, but I repeat, there is no Nambi in this village, never has been.”

    The stranger took a while to consider this disconcerting piece of information. He had travelled for nearly four months in search of Nambi of Panch. While, at the time of setting off on his journey, he had anticipated it to take him only three months, it had been unfairly extended thanks entirely to the directions given by well meaning people who had known as little of geography as a peasant did of the current fashion trends in any of the capitals of the Six Kingdoms of Bhuva, which, needless to say, was very close to nothing.

    The consideration stood the stranger in good stead, for he remembered something he ought to have, even before he had framed his question.

    “My apologies, Goodman, but it is not Nambi but Holy Rayun that I seek.”

    “Why didn’t you say so then? You will find Holy Rayun at the Temple. If I am not much mistaken, he should be closing the Temple for the afternoon, and if you would but hurry, you can catch him in the act.”

    The stranger thanked the villager and strode off in the direction of the Temple, which as every religious Bhuvan citizen ought to know stands towards the Eastern edge of every village, facing the East. And there, as the good villager had observed, the stranger found an old man of indefinite age locking up the Temple. He was dressed in the simple white robes of a priest of the Gods of Light and the stranger had no difficulty in immediately recognizing the Holy Rayun as the Nambi he had come in search of.

    “Greetings Holy One. My name is Valthor and I come from the Northern Kingdom of Hallad.”

    The priest turned to face Valthor. “You are a long way from home then.”

    “That is true, but it is in search of you that I have come.”

    “Why, are priests in short supply in Hallad that you would travel this far to find one?”

    “Ah, but it is not the priest Rayun that I have come for; it is the Yati Nambi.”

    If Nambi or Rayun felt any surprise in hearing Valthor, he hid it remarkably well. Instead he said, “I had thought I had concealed my identity well.”

    “Not nearly well enough, Yati Nambi.”

    “So it seems. Come then, let us repair to my humble abode. You are, it would appear even to the most undiscerning, quite travel weary. A bath, I believe, might set right that condition.”

    “I share your belief.”

    “You are welcome to share my lunch as well,” said the priest.

    Whether this was said in jest, Valthor knew not, but followed the priest to his house, which, being similar to other rustic houses in Gand’har was quite unremarkable and of no significance to our narration; we would hence gladly give its description a miss, unless of course the reader is intent upon learning of the architectural wonders of the village houses of the Kingdom of Gand’har, in which case, the reader is encouraged to peruse through the volume Architecture and Town Planning In Contemporary Gand’har by this same author, a sound book to be found in any of the Royal Libraries of Gand’har.

    It was during lunch that the priest broached upon the subject Valthor was waiting impatiently for. Valthor had just finished eating a second helping of rice and the vegetable stew that Gand’har, among other things, was famous for, when Rayun, or Nambi, if you would so prefer, asked, “So why have you come seeking me?”

    “My late lamented father Ahiro spoke highly of you.”

    “A good man, your father, and a better friend.”

    “I believe that is what my father said too. That you had both been best of friends in your time.”

    “And yet, I hardly believe you would have undertaken a journey of many months just to apprise me of your father’s opinion of our friendship. An opinion, as you would know, I am perfectly well aware of.”

    “You are right. That is not why I came hither. I have come to learn the Arts from you.”

    Nambi laughed aloud. A rich laugh that seemed to come from deep within him. “The Arts, do you say?”

    “Yes, I believe that is what I said, although of a certainty I fail to find anything remotely amusing about it.”

    Nambi laughed the louder on hearing this, and seeing the look of annoyance on his guest’s face tried to stifle his merriment.

    “Did not your father speak to you of the Arts? He was as good an Artist as I have ever known.”

    “I am afraid he did not. For some reason, he would invariably become silent when I spoke to him of it. And yet, I know, he was a past master.”

    “That he was, but did it not occur to you that there may be a reason why he chose to become silent about the Arts?”

    “I confess some such thought did occur to me, but I could not divine the reason. Perhaps you would shed some light?”

    “I can more than shed some light, young man, I can tell you exactly why your father was reticent about the Arts. Simply because the Arts have died. That is the reason why I have chosen to conceal myself under the guise of Ruyan, the priest rather than Nambi, the Yati.”

    “I do not understand. You say the Arts are dead?”

    “Why, is that not what I have said but a minute ago?”

    “And yet, how would you explain this?”

    Valthor took out a little crystal pyramid from the rude cloth bag that he had brought with him and placed it upon the table.

    “An Eye,” said Nambi.

    “Yes, it’s an Eye.”

    “Or rather what used to be an Eye. I have no doubts it doesn’t work anymore.”

    “So you say. And yet I maintain I was able to find you using this very Eye.”

    “Impossible,” Nambi burst out explosively.

    Valthor shrugged. “And yet, here I am.”

    “And yet here you are, I cannot deny that, when I thought my concealment was near perfect. Not even Ahiro your father knew where I had betaken myself, and he was as close as anyone had ever gotten to me.”

    “If you would not mind my asking, why do you think it is impossible to find you using an Eye? Perhaps you thought you could conceal yourself from the Eye?”

    “No one can conceal himself from the Eye. But the Eye doesn’t work any more. None of the thranya have worked in the centuries since - “

    “Yes? The centuries since?”

    “The centuries since the loss of the Chalice,” said the old priest rather abruptly.

    “So I have heard my father say, and often. Yet, I repeat, here I am and I assure you upon my honour, I did seek you out using the Eye.”

    Nambi stared at Valthor for a space and then said, “If you do not mind.”

    He reached for the crystal pyramid and even as he touched it, felt it pulse slightly at his touch.

    “Why, I believe it is alive!”

    “A rather redundant statement, do you not think, after everything I have said about it?” Valthor asked.

    Nambi merely waved his hand deprecatingly. He took the pyramid and held it close to his face, peering into it. The warmth from his hand caused the pyramid to become cloudy and in the clouds, he could see the mountains that surrounded the village.

    “Gods of Light, it is alive,” Nambi said again in a whisper filled with awe.

    “So, are you willing to teach me the Arts then?” asked Valthor.

    “The first lesson a Yati learns is patience, young Valthor. And having already taught that first lesson, perhaps it is as well that I teach you the rest of it too. But first - “

    “Yes?”

    “Was it from your father Ahiro that you learnt to use the Eye?”

    “Ah, no. My father, as I have had the honour to tell you, did not encourage my dabbling in the Arts. The credit or blame for that must go entirely to me.”

    “Why, did you learn it all by yourself?”

    “Yes. I did. But - “

    “Yes?”

    “Why did my father not wish to speak of the Arts? And why too, have you given up the Practice and undertaken to be a priest instead? Not that it is a profession not worth adopting, yet - “

    “As to that, there was no point in the Practice when the Chalice was lost. Our powers came to us from the Chalice, you see and when it was lost, it made no more sense to Practice. Besides, we would have failed miserably even if we had tried. As I did, and as very publicly, did you father.”

    “So that is why - “

    “Yes, the shame of having failed, of having fallen was why you father never spoke to you of the Arts. It was no fault of his. None of us could have Practiced without the Chalice but he was proud, your father, and overtly optimistic. He thought there was power still left and tried and failed.”

    “I did not know that.”

    “I daresay you didn’t! We were particular in concealing that fact as well as we did our identities.”

    Valthor sat in silence on hearing the words of Nambi, grappling with thoughts that were to a certain extent coloured by shame, arising out of certain assumptions he had made in a bid to explain his father’s reticence, none of which were in any way flattering to that gentleman. Although by virtue of our position as the chroniclers of this history, we are in a position to peek into Valthor’s mind, yet since it is not good character to intrude upon such private reflections, we shall refrain from doing so and instead engage the reader’s attention by explaining some of the terms that this conversation has thrown up, for we are well aware, the reader has had little chance to know who a Yati is or, for that matter, what the thranya are.

    Well then, it was in the year 1005 of the Yash Era that Hothrim discovered the method to harness the infinite cosmic energies that permeated Bhuvangera, thereby becoming the first Yati. Although we have used the word discovered, perhaps we should said “stumbled upon” for indeed it was quite by an accident that the young shepherd boy Hothrim unleashed these energies. Since that particular incident has been made the theme of many a ballad and epic, we will not expend our energies, which are neither cosmic nor infinite, in describing it again. Instead, we will quickly narrate to our readers the five thousand years of Yati history that followed Hothrim’s discovery, in the next few minutes.

    The miraculous powers that the shepherd boy displayed attracted many people towards him, and by virtue of the aforementioned energies, he was able to select a few from amongst those that possessed the “talent”, as he called it, and began to teach them the ”Arts” , as again, he termed it. These chosen few became the first Yati. They took a solemn oath that they would use their Arts to uphold righteousness in society and to preserve Bhuvangera from its enemies, seen and unseen. If you are curious as to who these enemies, seen and unseen were, we beg your indulgence in holding off the answer for now. We give our word, however, that we would provide the answer later in this chronicle in a place and time that would, in our opinion, heighten the suspense and provide greater thrill to the reader than if revealed at this moment.
    When we stop labouring under the delusion of our cosmic self-importance, we are free of hindrance, fear, worry and attachment. We are liberated!!!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Seasoned Hubber scorpio's Avatar
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    Badri,

    Read thru'. Good attempt!

    Tell me, at who this story is aimed at? Adults or Children??

    I could sense your mild satire in the conversation between Valthor and Nambi. ( From where did you catch these names?? Bit difficult to remember and relate to..) But, I would request you to tone down the complexity of writing for easy reading and comprehension.

    Waiting for the second chapter now!
    Your attitude determines your altitude!

  4. #3
    Moderator Veteran Hubber Badri's Avatar
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    Thanks, Akka.

    Adults primarily, but if children or young adults can grasp the language subtleties, then they are most welcome to read it. The content per se is going to be G rated only, so no question of anything unpalatable for kids. It is only language that I wish to play with.

    The original version of the story is very straightforward. It is only in this that I was trying to play the fool with language!
    When we stop labouring under the delusion of our cosmic self-importance, we are free of hindrance, fear, worry and attachment. We are liberated!!!

  5. #4
    Senior Member Senior Hubber nirosha sen's Avatar
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    a cross between the puranas like Mahabharat and Lord of the Rings, Pa!! Good attempt! Would love to analyse it a bit more once it's done. How many more chapters are you planning?

  6. #5
    Senior Member Veteran Hubber Surya's Avatar
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    Nice! I second Niro. A cross between Mahabharath and LOR. Eargerly waiting for the forthcoming chaps! 8)
    Back after a while...

  7. #6
    Moderator Veteran Hubber Badri's Avatar
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    Niro & Surya

    Thanks a lot guys! Nice to know people don't think of this writing style is crazy. As I have said, the entire novel is ready (317 pages) written in the more conventional style, like how you would have LOTR or others. But this, I want to be different - so will keep posting the chapters as and when they are ready.
    When we stop labouring under the delusion of our cosmic self-importance, we are free of hindrance, fear, worry and attachment. We are liberated!!!

  8. #7
    Senior Member Veteran Hubber Querida's Avatar
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    I also enjoyed your chapter...your style is at times memorable of LOTR as aforementioned...as well as the narrator voice seems similar to that used in the terry pratchett series...this would a liability to your work were it not so creative and intriguing...very nice technique indeed, hope to read more

  9. #8
    Moderator Veteran Hubber Badri's Avatar
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    Hey Thanks Q...I was waiting for your comments, and wondering why you haven't said anything yet!

    I must admit, Terry Pratchett was in the back of my mind when I wrote this. There is another that I was writing which was more influenced by TP, but I never had LOTR in mind when I wrote this. It is rather strange everyone saw a semblance to it. Perhaps it is the usage of a slightly convoluted archaic style?
    When we stop labouring under the delusion of our cosmic self-importance, we are free of hindrance, fear, worry and attachment. We are liberated!!!

  10. #9
    Senior Member Veteran Hubber Querida's Avatar
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    I think it is just our lack of stories such as these...the ones who attempt the style either end up trying to tackle very complex concepts and hence bore the reader to tears or take on alien world/earth in the possible future/or multiple dimension theme...so we try to match influences to the most apparent example we have...LOTR...Terry Pratchett is one of my very favs...i just wait to read the often quirky and amusing footnotes...
    anyways have you submitted your novel to publishers as yet?

  11. #10
    Moderator Veteran Hubber Badri's Avatar
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    well, actually I did submit it...and one of them was interested, but at the last minute, I got cold feet. I thougth it wasnt good enough and that it needed revision. So I asked them for time, and I am ashamed to admit, it is now lying in the back burner.

    I lack the discipline needed for an author, Q!!
    When we stop labouring under the delusion of our cosmic self-importance, we are free of hindrance, fear, worry and attachment. We are liberated!!!

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