Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
    This week, I'll sidetrack a little from my usual insights about storytelling and wish you to have a good day. I would also like to take this time to remind you that gifts are not how many people give or receive love primarily. Perhaps what they want is a hug or quality time. Let us show love to each other and continue to do so for the rest of our lives.

    Now I'll give you a little insight in my planning for my stories. When studying societies, religion is always important, especially early on in the culture. What this means is religion is certainly necessary as I intend to build an entire "world" and therefore cannot ignore the concept and various debates surrounding it. However, it will certainly be different. I do not consider myself worthy of doing a "Christ Story" and so all stories take place before such an event. Hence, Christianity won't be present in name though I will certainly borrow from it.

     Basically, when religion appears in my stories, it's trying to explore the basic principles and focus of what religion means with definition I found while reading through the Roman Catholic Catechism: "Give God what is Due."  What this means will be an interesting topic as the question rises, "How can you have religion without divine revelation?" My quick answer is that if God is the source of all that is Good, then it means you have to align your spirit with what is good and oppose evil. Hence, the values of Love, Respect, and Mercy will be present as I want to strongly advocate virtue.

    So will Neostriker be a religious story? Not really. Neostriker is a world but religion will certainly be part of it. Therefore there will be occasional short stories about religion, but it won't be the main subject. However, because religion advocates for virtues and is a major player in the fight between good and evil, you will certainly see some of the same ideas. After all, the basis of religion isn't evil when considered from the definition I gave earlier. On the other hand, the people who take charge of religion are very much susceptible to corruption. Another way of saying this is that "religion is not a tool. Those who use religion as a tool are likely to become evil."

    Therefore, if you are paying attention to my logic, radicalism is a result of someone using religion as a tool. How can we rationally keep it in check? Consider the basic principles of religion and make sure your actions do not contradict any of them. If God is Good, then that means you cannot do evil if you want to be on God's side. If God is the Author of Life, that means you cannot take another's life except to protect your own and those under your care (self-defense). If God is Love, that means you must love even those who hate you. If God is Truth, then you cannot lie. Consider these and respect them and you should be on the right path to practicing religion properly.

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!
J. D. Nyle


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Legends: The Princes and the Cave

Hello everyone!
    Considering that I had hoped to finish this story by August, which obviously didn't happen due to certain events, I've decided to share the First Chapter. I actually wrote this chapter maybe 5 years ago and haven't made many changes since. When I took a look at it, I decided I liked how it was and served its purpose as a first chapter very well. Oh yes, this is finally where the prince's name is revealed. I might change it but I like how it sounds as well since it's a soft name to contrast with Zel. Anyways, hope you enjoy!
J. D. Nyle

Legends: The Princes and the Cave

Ages after the fall of man, the world was bountiful with all creatures of life. The lands were mostly divided among the many kingdoms. One of the greater, and focus of this story, was the Nellenion Kingdom, the Kingdom of Nyle. In the years prior the great age for the Nellenion Kingdom, The king Laertor’s wife gave birth to twins. When the first child came out, he was crying loudly and fighting. Because of this, they named him Zel, which means “Warrior.” However, an interesting event happened after that. For when the second child came out, he was quiet and peaceful. Then with a simple yawn, his older brother by seconds calmed down. As a result of this event, the king and queen named the second one Eloim, “Peace.”
The amazements did not stop either, for those there noticed that these twins had slightly pointed ears. The king summoned the prophet Simulaen and besought him of what this meant. For it was the custom that those who had pointed ears, as legends say the first man and woman had, became prophets. The twins, on the other hand, did not have fully pointed ears but half way.
When the prophet arrived, he was greeted joyfully by the king. “Dear friend,” began Laertor, “I am proud to say that I am the father of two beautiful sons.” “Glad tidings and congratulations I bring to you, old friend.” responded the pointed eared Simulaen. “And pride you should have” he continued, “for they are indeed wonderful and shall ever be if raise them right. Now what is it that you wish to inquire of me?”
“My friend, I simply ask for revelation onto what the sign that has appeared might mean” stated the king. “And what sign do you speak of?” came as answer. “The sign of half pointed ears on them both” gave the king. The prophet closed his eyes and meditated for a short while before giving his answer.
“The ears simply indicate the blessings of the Spirit that will be with them. The part that they are half way is to mean that the Spirit has not called them to my sort of duty but to their own.”   
 When the prophet told the king that the Spirit would bless them, he feared this prophecy until he realized that both were blessed. For in the old times, history had shown that when a father was told one of his children was blessed over the other, he would make a grave mistake and cause discord among the family and eventually kingdoms.
“Many thanks, my friend” said the pleased king Laertor, “Please stay tonight as we celebrate the birth of these blessed ones.” “With honor” was the simple response of the prophet.
            As the twins grew older, the people of the kingdom adored them. They both very different, for Zel was a fine warrior from early on, taking on even the greatest of knights before the start of his thirteenth year. Eloim, on the other hand, was considered as peaceful as his name. He was gentle and kind and also thoughtful. The twins were so loved by everyone, the idea of only one taking the throne was dividing, for no one could think whom they would prefer. At the time, the prevailing idea was that of the king. He proclaimed that the two sons should both become kings of equal status and that they should rule the kingdom together. This eased the minds of the people and saw it fair.
One day, when the twins were of the age of twelve, they with their father and a few nobles went hunting in the Kylian Forest. Neither was bad with a bow, but they were not yet experts, even with their smaller ones. As they went through the thick trees and shrubs, the king and his men found a deer and gave Zel the chance to get it. With great aim, the prince did not fail. As they went out to get it, the men praised the lad.
“My son, you will definitely grow up to be a fine warrior.” declared king Laertor.
“Thank you, father,” was the cheerful response from Zel. The rest of the men and Eloim congratulated him. It is said that while Zel was the greater fighter, Eloim was better with the bow. And yet if there was anything else that Eloim was more profound in, it was getting into trouble. No malice was ever in the prince’s heart. It was simply his curiosity about the world around him. And it happened again during that hunt.
A while after Zel got his deer, he was out in the front with his father and Eloim in the back talking with the other men when they found a trio of deer. However, one noticed the approaching men and made a run for it with the others following. The hunters ran after it hastily. Soon, Eloim tripped and fell. He called after his company to wait for him but they could not hear him. These men could run fast when they are on the hunt. The blood was coursing through their veins and paid no attention to anything but their prey and the means to getting them.
Eloim had no hopes of catching up with the nobles. And so the young lad began to walk in the direction they had gone. Even though he was alone, it did not frighten him. The colors of the forest were bright and various. He came across a few little creatures and gleefully chased them around. After losing them, he dropped to the ground and lay facing the sky.
“I love this forest,” thought the boy. “It’s a perfectly fine day to walk around and enjoy the air.” So laid back was the younger of the twins that it seemed little ever dampened his spirit. So innocent of heart he was.  
Soon enough, he turned to his side and spotted a cave with glowing insects flying in. He was so close to it and yet failed to see it when he arrived. It was all too unknown to him. He had heard from a dear friend that there was a cave in this forest he was in. In this cave, he had been told there grew a special flower of beauty which glowed like the moon in the darkness. From the moment he recalled this did his mind not wander from trying to find this flower, until it was too late.
When the curious prince did not find the flower he was searching for by the entrance he ventured deeper into the abyss. He could not venture far, however, because of lack of light. Nevertheless he admired the insects that provided what little light he had. Unfortunately, after tripping again, Eloim discovered the danger he was in. In front of him was a gigantic spider creature. The size of it was more than twice his own. And as a little boy he gave a scream and tried to make a run for it out of the cave. The spider, though, was much faster and blocked his way. With the light behind this monster, Eloim could see a stinger at the rear of the spider’s body. With no second thought, the prince readied his bow only to find that he had dropped most of his arrows.  
            The lack of arrows struck fear in the mind of young Eloim. He was already terrified of the monster that stood before him poised to strike and now knew he lacked resources to fend it off. His hands did not give up though. They grabbed one of the few he had and took aim. The spider then made its move. Its stinger came fast upon the fallen lad only to just barely miss. The prince took his chance and fired straight up into the body where it stuck. It was a fine shot but this monstrous creature was tougher than an ordinary spider. It shrugged off the pain but it was still all the more angry. Trying again, Eloim attempted to draw another shaft from his quiver only to fumble it. The terrified boy, who could barely see his opponent, could not compose himself and released another echoing scream.
            It was a long and painful moment. Eloim was frozen in place. He had heard that some creatures, if their prey doesn’t move, won’t attack. However, this was not the reason why he did not move. He couldn’t. Fear had taken a grasp hold over him and all he could do was tremble. But suddenly, a glint of a blade came and hacked at the hind legs of the threatening arachnid. The eight legged beast screeched in pain, something the prince had no idea it could do. The creature, which no doubt had a venomous sting turned its attention to its new assailant. Eloim also took a look towards his savior and found it was his own brother!
            It was long after they began pursuit of the deer that Zel took notice that his twin was not in sight. He immediately ran back along the path he had traversed. Some of the nobles followed but for some reason they too got lost and Zel was all alone. Yet he did not care. All that went through his mind was to find his brother. He just made it to the cave when he heard the second scream. Without strategy he rushed in the cave and took his knife out to slash the assailing monster before him. Always preferred the blade to a bow, Zel did. He had more confidence in his strength than his accuracy. To him a blade was more dependable for one could always run out of arrows to use. The use of a blade to save his brother was by then instinct.
            As stated before, the monster arachnid did not like this treatment. One of its legs was almost cut off despite the single blow coming from a knife. By no means was it a weak knife either. It was a strong and sturdy steel knife, made by the best blacksmith in the Nellenion kingdom. The venomous creature was quick to turn toward this newcomer. The thing gave another screech and attempted to sting Zel again and again. However, Zel, being smaller than the creature was able to move around and through its legs. He willfully gave another hack and finished off the leg he had begun this encounter with. The arachnid had then become a seven legged monster. Its fury did not cool down. It scrambled to attack again only to just miss. Zel was indeed a fine fighter.
            Finding some courage in his bones, Eloim found the arrow he had dropped and fired it at the enemy’s head. It could be certain that till that day, that spider had never felt so much pain, yet it was amazing how much it could take. Zel did not skip a beat to diverting the seven legged fiend back to him. He went and with two strokes took out another hind leg. The monster fell on its stinger only to quickly get up again. Zel could not believe it at first. For the back of the monster appeared to be very heavy despite the darkness the limited such sight. To add to it, the legs he felt should have been weak considering how easy he cut them off with his knife.
            Zel finally took an instant to strategize. He made a run and when he reached Eloim, he dropped his quiver at his feet and continued to move, all while keeping his adversary’s attention. It would have been wise to by then try to escape, but Zel was a warrior, one who rarely thought of retreating even if it would give him the advantage. Sadly, this is where it all went wrong.
            The warrior prince was doing a fair job fighting and Eloim, a little more sensible was beginning to make his way towards the exit while fixing an arrow on his bow. The fearful lad readied his bow and fired another at the head and hit. The creature fell back but disaster had just happened. The stinger fell and hit Zel in the chest and he fell back, dropping his cold blade. Eloim, with all anxiety and worries raced to his brother’s side only to see the monster getting back up. The standing prince grabbed his brother’s steel knife and stabbed his opponent. The monster then took its chance at stinging the prince but missed as he pulled away in time. While he just escaped, he stumbled and fell back and was in a horrible position. It was then that a great light shone and blinded the monster.
            The light came from behind Eloim and so he could not make out what was happening. The white light came like a javelin and six legged arachnid finally retreated back into its abyss. When the monster went away, Eloim wasted no time returning to his brother’s side.
            “Zel!” cried the rescued brother. “I’m so sorry for all of this.”
            “Don’t worry” responded the prince weakly. “You’re my dear brother. I’d gladly die for you.”
            “Let’s pray that you won’t die from that, prince Zel.” called another voice. Eloim finally turned to look at he that saved them both. A light was still shining from a staff so that the cave brightened up. The man was Simulaen the prophet. He placed his hand over the wound and muttered a few words as in prayer. From his hand another light shone and Zel began to recover. He handed Eloim his staff and then proceeded to carry the wounded prince out of the cave. There, they found the rest of the company who had just arrived. The king would have normally scolded the twins but concern took its place for the poisoned son.

            “He has begun to heal” started the prophet, “but I will need to take him to my place to continue the treatment.” No debate met his statement. The group proceeded to the home of the prophet where he finished his treatment of the lad. Laertor questioned the other twin as what had occurred but the boy was still in shock of it all and would not answer. Nor did he ever readily tell the tale of the events of that cave for the rest of his life.