The Choice Is Yours

By eugena On October 1st, 2011

Being an American, I’m fully acquainted with apathy. Maybe not in all parts of America, but it has been a golden standard in parts I have lived in.

In the past two weeks, I have been asked what my published novel, The Age of Merrik: The Anointing is about. In one way, it is difficult for me to summarize. I used it as a writing process to further hone my skills (they are far superior to what they were when it was published). In addition, I wrote three versions of it. Yet I really have to stop and think of a short summary of the published edition.

The protagonist, Merrik, is a young ruler of a kingdom (Tyera). After an eight year absence, The General, the Son of King Malik (a ruthless king) has returned to finish destroying Merrik’s homeland. He and his forces use Tyera as a base to enslave the neighboring kingdom (Rikan). He challenges Merrik and although Merrik is up to the challenge, he finds that most of his subjects have become apathetic and willing to accept The General without question (and falling for his lies). Merrik eventually fails the challenge and his rule is usurped. Only when his people and the people of Rikan are willing to fight for their freedom do they have the chance to receive it again.

Political Undertones

Political Marriages – A big theme of mine. Very big in my new novel WIP King’s Romance (working title). Merrik agrees to keep his enagement to Brianna for cultural reasons, but says she will merely “bear . . . [his] children quickly” and be banished from the hearts of the people.

Political Sucession – A cycle of rise, fall, and rise to leadership. Merrik, The General, Merrik. The inheritance of Sethane (Malik’s Kingdom) is assumed to be left to The General, though most of this importance is viewed in other books. Skye, former Swordmaster of Rikan, gave up her freedom to hand what land would become Nemea to Zaelen (Zaedrif’s Father) and to save him from Malik.

Deceit – The General on Liana, Liana on everyone else. The General on Brianna (also in a romantic fashion).

Role of Women – Brianna sees her role as simply being with the leader. That the leader will “make” her. Both Eleya and Elisha show their abilities and importance, each making themselves by their own worth. The Swordmaster leader is female. Merrik acknowledges their worth. The General uses Brianna as she is willing, but only because this is what she expects of herself. The General greatly respects women due to his love for his mother, *****spoiler***** Skye.

Relationship

Naivety – John and Miriam. Ken’rid’s crush on Eleya. Brianna’s belief in The General.

One-Sided – Jonas’ love for Brianna. Casseya’s love for Merrik. The General’s preoccupation with Eleya.

Cultural Chain – Merrik agreeing to still marry Brianna (“the vow”). Skye giving herself to Malik to save Zaelen, simply due to visions she had about Zaelen’s future.

Betrayal – Brianna’s betrayal of Merrik (love). Liana’s betrayal of Rikan (country). Zaedrif’s prior betrayal of everyone including Eleya (both).

What is a Family? – Merrik was adopted. He has a strong bond to those parents.

Death and Rebirth – Perhaps my biggest general category of theme.

The Swordmasters as a whole are dying. Eleya should have died in the beginning but appears later. The price of this rebirth appears to be her memories and her power. Through her rebirth, she gains power. Eleya (in Rikan as “Merris”) is often appears as sickly and personifies death. “Life” returns as Merris becomes Eleya again.

Everyman

The ethnicity in The Age of Merrik is homogeneous. Mortals possesses equal rights. The only divide is within the divine – the god (Serafin), the demi-god (swordmasters), and the mortal.

A small Merrik/Eleya (as Merris) passage:

[Merrik] had thought of what he wanted to say next. He had considered this since he saw Brianna with The General. He no longer had Cle’an’s wise council, but he felt she was as wise. He needed her advice.

“I’ve thought of this Merris, and I know what I will do after The General is gone. Brianna and I will wed, and she will bear my children quickly. I will banish her, and her children will learn to banish her even from their hearts. They will grow to understand the extent of her betrayal.”

“It could happen, since she is allied to The General. Even the smallest of human hearts can understand this darkness. She would be a mother as only life would command her, not in bond.”

“She would not be like my mother. I know only the family who raised me. My bond is in their hearts, even though they did not see my earliest days.”

“The way it should be.” Merris looked down to her arms, noting that even in this light they were still paler than others’ skin. Other people possessed skin tones all the same, the shade varying only in deep sickness or death.

Chapter 11: A Small Respite

The Choice Is Yours. [Yes, that is a song reference.]

Will the masses let their own Generals conqueror them with their own apathy?

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Some In-Depth Q and A

By eugena On July 5th, 2011

Currently watching SKU…I am one happy otaku.

Hello loyal fans and readers. Today’s been dramatic in the USA…after all, it has been the Anthony verdict. I’m going to refrain from making comments. I am sure I will be having lots of chats about it when I return to law school this fall.

The Age of Merrik, it its initial form was a book I had in my mind many years ago. In one sense, I feel like it has been my entire writing life. When I was still a kid, I wrote that book. In my mind anyway and kept notes on it. Years had passed and I morphed it into its second form, one featuring the Swordmasters, then later into the final form which was edited and published.

The Merrik of long ago focused on a trio — Zira, Zsastar, and Zaedrif. Yes, they are all “Z” for a reason. They were the reason for those three crystals. There was in fact another story entirely for them. That story passed into legend and two of the names were reused as new characters. Zsastar, still The General, now had a father, Malik, and the backstory of Sethane took roots. Zsastar now fought the Swordmasters — save Eleya — whom he still desires to dominate. No, Zsastar does not love. He is not capable. He is immature, but dangerous. He won’t falter to slay anyone — except Eleya. Zaedrif was no longer the teenage child. He became a cunning traitor — though most of his treachery was in fact a motivation I would have for Dark Desires.

Dark Desires and Rise of the New Masters will depart their predecessor and feature many changes, one of which is last names.

Some of the questions I have received:

  • What about John and Miriam?
  • What about Cle’an
  • What’s the deal with the crystals?

I’ve gotten the crystals question quite a lot. So, I’ll give you all a little hint: very important to mind/power transference. Yeah, not really too much of an answer. Eleya did not seem to have much effect with the blue one, but her memory and power had been sealed away by the end of Dark Desires which effects the influence of the crystal. Why did Zaedrif have them at first? Okay, I’ve already spoiled it a bit. He’s really a bad guy, but a bad guy at the end of his life, seeking to earn his redemption. Is he the same person as the Dark Desires baddie? You will all have to wait for that.

John and Miriam will have some sort of reunion. Cle’an will face his past and show his true loyalties. Will those crystals be important again. Yes, you all can bet on that.

I will need to flesh out the past a bit more (Dark Desires). For now, I’m focusing on Megami Pandora and Shinigami Saga.

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AOM Memories

By eugena On February 12th, 2011

May not be appropriate for young readers.

In the midst of writing the second book, I think back to the many memories of the first.

The first is the vow: I’m sure some of you think “what’s the big deal on this kiss” sorry got to say that was when I decided “I should not do any more flashbacks or lessons on history.” It really is a plot device and is somewhat important but it only affects some characters. It will be explained in AOM 2. I think I did a zine article on that one.

I also wrote a great scene with Eleya (taking place before AOM: TA) where she is pregnant (or at least she thinks so — could be a nasty spell) and married to Zaedrif. Now with the ending I think, “Crap! Can’t use that now.” But maybe I can use that as a “prophetic dream” instead. It’s such a great scene that I love, I will be fitting it in somewhere.

Perhaps the most disturbing memory comes actually from a reader. He read parts of the first version of the story, which featured a different herione and a different Zaedrif (though the name remained the same). Although I am very familiar on how to use incest in literature (I read japanese manga and light novels and watch anime — it’s full of incest in the weirdest places. Not to meantion that incest itself is absolutely disgusting.), I never once used that in AOM. Not even for the baddies. But he said something like, “Oh, I get it. Zsastar and Kerris (the protagonist) are brother and sister and Zaedrif is their secret child.”

NO. No way. I realize later — I’m not a doctor but it became obvious — that he had a secret desire of incest. No, I could not pass off this reference to Japanese manga/anime/novels, as he was not into them.

WOW amazing what you learn about people even when you’re not trying to learn about them.

Trivia: I finished the first full version of this novel before I was 18 — wow that’s a long time ago. (And it’s really amusing that at law school and during my externship so many people think I’m really young and I’m older than they think. I won’t say how old I am on the ‘net.)

Merrik’s hair: why did I do it that way? I just felt like it. Why black? Black in literature = death. Also, I think Malik meant “dark king” or something like that though in the first version I did not introduce Malik (King of Sethane).

Sex: One reader complained there was no sex. But he was wrong. It’s like violence in a Greek play — it happens off-stage. Miriam gets pregnant (by John) and obviously sex had to be involved. Use your imagination.

Sexism and women hatred: At one point Eleya might have been a widow — then found out her husband was alive when she married Merrik (I have not decided when/if she and Merrik get married now). This reader called Eleya a WHORE. But cheered on Zaedrif who is definitely a whore.

THE SEXIST MALE POINT OF VIEW: MEN SHOULD SCREW AROUND WITH EVERYBODY AND THEY ARE A HERO. WOMEN SHOULD ALWAYS BE A VIRGIN WHEN MARRIED AND ONLY “HAVE” ONE MALE.

I’m glad I have gotten a lot of feedback on this. Prepare to have butt kicking. If you are the sexist view of above, your butt is thoroughly kicked in advance.

And why hasn’t anyone figured out WHY all the swordmaster true leaders are FEMALE? It’s my version of kicking the pathetic butt of you sexist people. ESPECIALLY YOU RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS THAT ENCOURAGE RAPE, ABUSE, AND MURDER OF FEMALES FOR AN EXCUSE BACKED UP BY YOUR SO-CALLED “RELIGION.”

If you really enjoy reading about females being abused, I recommend The Sword of Truth seies. I expected it to be great after watching the tv show, but it really is a playground for those who fantasize about the abuse, rape, etc of women and minor (though the focus is on the women).

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Zine Article: John + Miriam

By eugena On February 11th, 2011

John and Miriam are the central couple of the latter part of The Age of Merrik: The Anointing. Their naivety speaks to their simple desire to connect with others. They found love in the midst of war, a reoccurring theme throughout history in humanity.

They are naïve, because Miriam chooses to live a sheltered life, and John is too afraid to stand solely on his own. John, however, grows as the story progresses. After Cle’an leaves to visit the hidden survivors of Shattered Sky, John becomes the first Second to Merrik.

They are devoted to each other, and their relationship is a symbol for the relationship of others. Areya sees hope in Miriam’s child, a replacement for the two children she miscarried. Surprisingly, Zsastar encourages John to find Miriam for their child’s sake, foreshadowing Zsastar’s disconnection to and abandonment from his biological parents.

Additional Notes (Blog Tags): Areya’s husband was Edric. Miriam will name her child Merris.

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The Age of Merrik: Relationships and Such

By eugena On February 11th, 2011

Ok, getting to another question.

This one stems from the screenplay version:

What is the big deal with the vow? Why not break it?  (See this post)

And a combo from the novel:

What is with the “I think I might kiss her” obsession from John? What’s the big deal about kissing? Does it mean something else?

(Yeah, put the something else in “”)

To answer them all at once, the big deal with the vow is very cultural. To break it is to lose honor. And, consider the explanation of the vow.  Merrik risks losing power by simply breaking it.

Kissing. That relates back to the vow. In real life, kiss all you want. Just be careful of mono. In the AOM world, if you are a sword master or wizard or other magic user, be careful not to lose your life. You are transferring your power to another, whether or not you want to.

The cautions of the vow become part of the culture, and even non-magic users (who may not know the origin) are cautious of it. As for “something else” it does not refer to that. Think of how much more power a character would lose that way. To answer an unspoken question, there was none of that between Merrik and Brianna. Good thing, Brianna did not need to absorb any magic power, and Merrik did not need to lose any.

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Defining Characters

By eugena On February 11th, 2011

Characters become part of you. You are their creator, their “god.” You define their beginning, trials, end. Sometimes when writing, you amaze yourself in the amount of evolution/personal growth you go through.

I remember when I first wrote The Age of Merrik under the title Crystal Destiny, focusing more on the powers of the crystals. I had three main characters other than Merrik, Queen Zira, General Zsastar, and Zaedrif. I eventually kept some ideas from Zira to keep her as a character of the same name in the sword master past**. She was married to Zsastar I, the namesake of General Zsastar. To a certain extent, Zastar of Crystal Destiny and Zsastar of The Anointing are the same. For Zaedrif, I only kept the name. While genetic characteristics are similar, the first Zaedrif was merely a teenager, adopted son/ward of both Zira and Zsastar, their common bond. Then Zaedrif became a bit older, a noble swordmaster, more like that of Zaedrif of The Age of Merrik: The Screenplay Adaptation.

While Oroco and the other members of The Four have always been part of the story since version one (Kaeya did have development), Oroco became a focal point of version three (final) Zaedrif. Zaedrif and Oroco are childhood friends. They shared in a very naive love, which eventually develops deeper. Oroco can’t let go, but Zaedrif can, because *enter Eleya.* I really like the name Eleya, one of the many that I made up. It’s perfect for her. Merris is ok, and Merris becomes *spoiler* the name of Miriam and John’s first child.

I could have left it at that. But when I began to develop an even deeper history for the sword master characters, I decided that this is really why Zaedrif betrayed his people. He did not cower in fear, he was not incapacitated. He failed them because he chose Oroco. Idiot. Choosing a pitiful love over responsibility for an entire nation.

Compare him with Merrik. Again and again he chose his responsibility as a leader over that of his own love, interest, and family. Yet Zaedrif is supposed to be a sword master and closer to the god character (Serafin).

Who are Merrik’s parents? Two-fold question. His bond/adoptive parents are much like himself. They both chose their positions as leaders first in as their priorities. As for his blood parents, I promise at least one of them will eventually be revealed. Did they make the same choice? Yes, I could answer that question, but I prefer to keep you all hooked.

Reflecting on it now, the Zaedrif/Oroco connection has an impact on many things in the storyline. Cle’an was once a minor character, taking entrance and exit, with Jierin then on stage. Now he became more rounded. He has a past. All characters do, but the more minor they are, the less the pasts are revealed. (Perfect fodder for fanfictions.) Cle’an, native of Nemea, obeyed his lord, Prince Zaedrif, to send Oroco away and protect her; he left his beloved Valerie. While Zaedrif’s love lived, Cle’an’s did not. Neither did Cle’an’s beloved queen escape unscathed. Rise of the New Masters reveals more of her suffering.

Many love Eleya. Mostly courtly love. Look that one up if you need to. They admire her, adore her. Is she god on Earth? No, but that doesn’t stop Zsastar in his “create-a-Serafin” plan.

Another character I enjoyed the development of is Areya, but I will save that for another post.

** Zira later renames herself Kerris, and this is the name recorded in Swordmaster historical records. Therefore, Zira is tagged as “Kerris”. The “Zira” tag is for the main character of version one. Eleya later becomes the main character instead of Zira.

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