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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What Makes a Family? Blood or Bond?

By eugena On August 31st, 2011

It wasn’t until I was far into a few scenes in Shinigami that I realized I have a reoccurring theme of what defines family?

In Shinigami, a young girl, a teenager by today’s standards but an adult by time of then standards, believed she lost her mother when she was very young. yet **spoiler** she begins to believe perhaps her mother was only lost and not dead and that her mother has come back.

In the end, I believe she will say “You are my mother” regardless of whether the woman birthed her or not. The woman is what the girl had always wanted in a mother, and she is filling that absent role.

Fans of The Age of Merrik may be a bit familiar with this.

***Major Spoilers for The Anointing, do not read further if you don’t want to know. ***

The main protagonist, Merrik, is the adopted son of Her Ladyship of Rikan and Matthias (former ruler) of Tyera. These are to him his parents, regardless of whose blood birthed him.

Of course, the God Character Serafin knows whose genetic son he is. (It is a fantasy novel, so instead of “genetic,” I say either blood or refer to ancestry.) I think it will be a big spoiler. Anyone want to guess?

Merrik accepts Her Ladyship and Matthias as his parents and honors them as that. He accepts Elisha as his sister and this is the only familial bond that is present at the time of The Anointing, since Matthias is long dead and Her Ladyship makes a early exit

 

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Zine Article: Merrik

By eugena On February 11th, 2011

Merrik is the male protagonist of The Age of Merrik. His biological parents are currently unknown, but he was raised by the married rulers of Tyera and Rikan along with their daughter, Elisha.

Merrik’s home life shattered when Zsastar, Son of Malik, and his army attacked Rikan during Shattered Sky. He had enslaved the minds of many Tyeran men, and they turned against their leader, Merrik’s father. Many more people, including Merrik, may have died in the battle, but the sword masters Eleya and Zædrif intervened and defeated Zsastar. Merrik’s father died in the battle, and his mother, Her Ladyship of Rikan, became horribly disfigured.

Eight years after Shattered Sky, Merrik must once again battle Zsastar for the freedom of the peoples of Tyera and Rikan. If he can face the pain of his past, he may become the next sword master.

Merrik’s father’s name (Lord of Tyera) was later revealed to be Matthias

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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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