As the title suggests and as I promised to have a sneak preview of what’s Unker cooking, here is the comeback of the novel which pushed me to write many years ago. I’ve had re-written this piece at least 4 times without much progress until another fellow writer advised me to start something small and shorter.
Thus came all the shorter works like iCat, wordless, Moral conflicts and finally progressed to Schzool. Now as an attempt to re-write the novel I’ve set aside for years to complete, below is a preview and comparison with what was written years ago and the most recent one.
Next week I should be posting another RSE entry; content will be a surprise!
Now behold, the latest chapter written most recently.
EOS Part 1: Return To Fantasy
“No.” Was the only word that breathed from Ri Shen, the short, messy boy from the other world.
“Fine.” Eril was disappointed. She made sure her tone carried her disappointment across. During these hard times, she really didn’t care if it was appropriate or what anyone in the room would think of her.
The room was heavy with emotions and no one dared to speak a word. Although Eril was titled the God of all Gods, second to the Creator, she was clearly human now and no one dared challenge her emotions, more so one with such power.
Clementius, a young man with blacksmithing skills ahead of his time, looked upon Ri Shen with pain mixed with sadness. On one hand he could feel Ri Shen’s internal struggle – he had been closed to Ri Shen since his arrival in this village, thus understanding all his conflicts with morals – on the other hand there was too much at stake.
How did it lead to this? Clementius wondered. Just months ago Ri Shen arrived in this village, heavily wounded at first and then heavily burdened as a candidate of the Gods to battle against an ancient threat of this world. Just months ago Ri Shen slowly climbed out of the dilemma of murder versus survival even though the only things he ever kill with that sword was monsters that harmed other people. Just months ago, the village Chief was slowly integrating him into this world.
The Chief became was just days ago when Evil Lord, the ancient threat, sent one of his minions to wipe out this village. Piace, where Clementius was born, was never part of the Gods’ plan to be their hideout or ‘training camp’. It was no more than a decoy. The Chief knew it, Eril knew it, he knew it. Ri Shen didn’t and he’s blaming himself for if he had retreated as instructed, the Chief would’ve still been alive now.
This was war, people die all the time so no one blamed him, but he did. And he couldn’t understand why the Gods sent them newcomers to protect an atheist country like CY whilst stationing all the Heavenly Guards in other religious countries. Wouldn’t it been better to simply just let this place be wiped out? Ri Shen wondered. But really, he was just looking for something to blame other than himself.
“So much for saving you eh? That how you repay those who pulled you up? That how you handle crisis? By running away?” Eril didn’t mean it of course. Having lived through millenniums didn’t make her any less human, much less woman.
That hit the spot. Ri Shen turned around with his face all crunched up in anger and yelled. “First of all, you were late when I first arrived here and you were the one who swore against teleportation spells because it’d reveal your location but it is you who crossed the line and that’s why Piace was almost wiped out!” He had to emphasize on the ‘yous’ and ‘almost’, he didn’t know why; it was supposed to make him feel better but it didn’t.
Tears welled up in Eril’s eyes and she bolted out of the house. The Chief’s death was a blow to everyone, especially Eril who spent the last century of so as the Chief’s caretaker.
Clementius left the house back to his home for the death of a leader would mean lots of meetings, gatherings and discussions on the following day and being part of this village meant many rough days ahead. Lucky Ri Shen didn’t have to attend any of these.
Ri Shen returned to his room with heart heavy as anvil, confused with all the sudden happenings. He stripped down to shorts and left the cuirass and sheathed sword in one corner hoping nothing would disturb him tonight. But his conscience did. He stirred in the blanket covered straw bed for hours before his mind finally rested.
Eril couldn’t sleep that night. Then again, she didn’t need any sleep at all. She returned to the kingdom up in the clouds; what people call ‘Heaven’ but to her it’s just another place of staying and that’s where all the Gods in this world resided. Her being titled the ‘Gods of all Gods, second to the creator’ stemmed from her identity as the Gods’ caretakers. She saw every one of them as her own children, especially Saine.
Saine was hurt from the previous battle by a mysterious spell from Evil Lord which can only be cured with a certain medicine which can only be synthesized by an ingredient that Evil Lord produces. In a moment of fluster, she saw no other options than to teleport straight to evil’s dwellings to retrieve that crucial ingredient for every passing moment Siane’s life was fading away.
“How are you doing?” Eril prodded Saine with a finger.
Saine forced opened a trembling eye lid, his face still pale from the attack. “Weak. How’s things down there?”
The village square was filled with harsh debates among villagers of what they were to do next. The next Chief of Piace stood calmly on a wooden pedestal (it’s customary for leaders who wish to make announcements that affects the village as a whole), waiting for the voices to die down. In his mind, he rehearsed his speech over and over again, challenging himself with possible questions or objections to the direction he’s going to bring Piace next.
The new Chief cleared his throat that silenced the crowd. “Villagers of Piace,” he took in a deep breath, “As the new Chief of the village my purpose is protecting the village. We have been nomads for centuries under the guidance of our Gods – ” he held on for a dramatic pause, “LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO US!”
Doubtful murmurs rose from the crowd; they were beginning to doubt the protection of the Gods they have worshipped for long; a tradition diluted through centuries of passing down and no one knew if that did any good to them at all.
“We helped!” The new Chief carried on, “We listened! And we were almost wiped out! What for?”
The majority repeated the new Chief’s last words chaotically, leaving the minority who still had faith worrying. One of them was Clementius. Through these months of helping Ri Shen, he gained the attention of a God who promised him a future where only a select few have walked.
A large hand held Clementius’s shoulders firmly that supported his falling heart.
“We cannot stay here for long,” his master said, “If they wished to degenerate like that there’s nothing we can do.”
‘We’? Clementius was bemused over his master’s words. He knew his master as a boor who had faith in filling his tummy; when did he become as religious?
Masedra, Clementius’s childhood girl-friend, squeezed through crowding bodies to get to Clementius. While the others were overwhelmed by the new Chief’s words, she intended to elope with him; right here, right now. That’s just the kind of person Masedra was; pretty and reckless, that is, pretty in looks and pretty reckless. Yet in her heart she knew this was going to be something she had never faced before; something being rash wouldn’t help a bit.
She said nothing except staring into his distant eyes which seemed to be searching for a sign or clue from the Gods that told him what to do. But there was none.
“From now on, we SHALL BE, liberated from the Gods and lead the peaceful life we deserve!” Yelled the new Chief, and his audience cheered.
That was the end.
“So you’re going to just run away like Eril said?” The voice from the sword asked.
“You heard it yourself, they’re not going to tolerate anyone or anybody that has anything to do with the Gods, I’m not going to stay here to find out what they have to say to me,” Ri Shen said as he packed in a few clothes, jars of dried food and other equipment.
“Don’t you want me to keep those?”
Ri Shen stared at the gauntlets other defensive equipment, “Yes please.” With that, bright light shrouded the items as they beamed into the sword like a scene plucked out of a sci-fi flick.
He slung the rucksack over his shoulders and descended the stairs with fantasies of confrontation running through his head. He wasn’t the sort who loved fights but if he had to face one, he’d rather prepare them well before anyone was hurt. The new Chief hadn’t struck him as friendly, especially when the late Chief was struggling for his last breath the past week, the new Chief’s tone hadn’t been kind. That struck a nerve in Ri Shen but he didn’t want to torch the whole village even though he could.
No resistance at the door. Not yet, Ri Shen presumed. Taking a whole community into one’s hands and steering them away from tradition was a daunting task for anyone inexperienced, let alone the new Chief. Perhaps, Ri Shen thought, he should stop assume the worse of that man; he was just protecting his people after all.
“Shouldn’t you at least bid farewell to your friends?” The voice from the sword spoke.
Ri Shen thought for a moment, “Alright.”
With that he went to Clementius’ house and hoping to avoid Masedra; a childish impulse stopped him from doing so. He never liked good-byes, never was, never will.
Clementius was packing his rucksack when Ri Shen entered the house. Seeing how his friend had to move away because of the incident ached his heart. Clementius looked up blankly while none could find the right words to say.
After a long pause, Ri Shen decided to make a move. “I’m making a move.”
Clementius shrugged, “Alright.”
Another awkward silence.
“I’m making a move too actually. Can’t stay here for long with a revolution going on and such.”
“So where will you be heading?” Ri Shen asked.
“South; down south. Master says that’s where the rainbows are.”
‘Down south? But there’s nothing down south!’ Ri Shen could faintly hear Clementius’ protest months ago when his master first told them of the rainbows that lead to the legendary blacksmith. The legend was one with celestial materials; every blacksmith’s dream.
“You’d be heading North I presume? That’s where the King is.”
“Until Eril stops me, yeah.”
Clementius reluctantly extended his hand to Ri Shen. “I guess this is farewell.”
Ri Shen emotionally forearm and pat his back. “Remember to inform Masedra!”
Clementius simply gave a snorted grin and Ri Shen walked towards the north; never turning back again.