Killing the Ones You Love

“In writing, you must kill your darlings.” –William Faulkner

As you may want to know, not only am I writing Ignis Fatuus: Somnium as a novel, but also as I always envisioned it- an RPG inspired by Final Fantasy before things went down south with both the game series I love and failing to pursue the one thing I was passionate about. I have played around with RPG Maker 2003 back when I was younger and even as a kid I set pretty high standards for myself that I failed to live up to. I stopped playing around with the series once I switched to a Mac because of game design but then RPG Maker VX Ace came out, so I never got to demo it. Browsing Siliconera one day, I saw an announcement for RPG Maker MV and the first thing that got my attention was that it was announced for the Mac, so naturally I got as giddy like a child.

That passion I have for RPGs never left me, especially since I’ve recently gone back to playing Final Fantasy VII within the last few weeks which I must say is far better than today’s Final Fantasy and most of all is what started me on the path of writing even if I thought that it was game design. Now that I’m re-learning the software that’d make me realize a dream, I knew I was never able to kill that darling although I do get frustrated when something I’m trying to get working doesn’t work. If only I was not such a perfectionist.

Of course, I bring this up to discuss how even as both an aspiring author and game designer that as the opening quote states, I have to kill my darlings. I’ve been thinking about the number of characters would be accompanying Renier and whether they have any important roles within the storyline rather than be just a random follower the reader will forget about or not care for. Thinking as a user of RPG Maker also makes me think of how to balance my characters. The main issue that arose within my writing and game development was whether to have six or seven members of Renier’s party, himself included. I will list the benefits of having six characters for your convenience.

Six Characters

 

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What a six-man party menu would look like. These are placeholder images and in no way represent how I envision my characters’ appearances.

 

  • I am able to give everyone their own weapon type
  • Each character is more focused on their own specialty in combat.
  • It’s an even number in case I decide to split up the party.

As you can see, I have a more balanced party than I would have I decided to go with my original seven-man party while I will describe.

Seven Characters

 

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What my seven-man party would be. Note how the menu looks more cramped.

 

  • Characters would have overlapping weapons.
  • Characters would have overlapping specialties. Two of the women would be magic-oriented for example while three of the men are more agile and one of them is better with magick than close-ranged combat.
  • More work setting up individual characters’ stats.

My final verdict from this experience of learning as a writer-slash-game designer is that I would have to merge aspects of two characters into one. I could make one of them a non-combatant or non-player character (NPC,) but why do that when I could have less characters for the reader to be focused on, even if I intend to write the novel in a free indirect discourse narrative focused on Renier’s point of view.

Well my fellow writers and game designers, what are your opinions regarding the amount of companions your protagonist has on his or her journey?

MV Journal I: Setting Up Character Stats

Setting up stats individually per level since Renier and company gain three stats per level up. I originally planned on doing it Fire Emblem style, but with Yanfly having an add-on for his Victory Aftermath displaying characters’s stats upon levelling up, I thought I’d undergo this tedious journey. This also balances characters as with the previous system I established, sometimes one stat would go up several times instead of once which would become unbalanced.

Not Normal

I’ve always felt like a freak. You know the weird kid always sitting by himself, keeping to himself assumed to be doing inappropriate things? Do you know the kid that’s suspected to be a criminal of some sort? That’s me. I remember my mother told me that my sixth grade teacher said in a conference that I needed some friends. That’s just how misunderstood and lone I was and I still feel that way. Most would contribute it to being shy. That’s true for the most part.

Suspecting people of thinking you’re weird is one thing, but being born that way is another thing. I know I’m weird. I’m an Aspie, or rather someone with Asperger’s Syndrome if you want to be politically correct. If I could, I’d change it but that’s just something I have to deal with and something everyone else has to deal with, or rather it’s something I wish people could accept about me. Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

Communication is the first thing most people who know of my oddities will think of. This becomes even more ironic when you consider that I am majoring in English regardless of my feelings towards it. Most kids should know to speak coherent dialogue at around two years at most. Nope, not me. I first learned to speak at around age three or four. Already assuming it to be from my confusion at whether English or Spanish is my first language, not being able to speak the way a child my age would have spoken was a red flag that I’m not right.

NJCU Capstone Journal Entry I: Bizarre Coincidence- A Potential For Aspergers

It’s a little late for me to be writing, but there is something I’ve always wondered. Where do I stand on the autism spectrum? I feel like I’m obviously a person with Aspergers. I have a hard time socializing with people and I did not speak until I was around four years old. I just remembered how I always had speech classes, physical therapy, and occupational therapy when I was in grade school. I even mainstreamed into regular classes which I did not do well in.

It should be obvious that I have a case of Aspergers, especially now that my cousin/ surrogate sister Lacey’s child Fabian seems to be showing similar traits according to an email to my mother. I was just thinking about Aspergers as a topic until my mother mentioned this to me. Telling my mother outright about my case might have offended her so I kept this information hidden from her, even though I’d need to speak to her about it sooner or later.

She told me this just half an hour ago and I knew that it would open up a conversation on something I needed to do. It was something that she’d know about. As I mentioned before, I didn’t speak until I was four and even then, I was more familiar with Spanish than I was with English. Once I spoke, Spanish became a blur. That’s probably where the holes in my childhood came from.

As unusual as it should be, I do not feel comfortable admitting my feelings and my thoughts to even my own mother. It’s far easier to express my thoughts in publicized writing since I’m afraid she’ll think I’m weird. Alas, I mentioned my potential case and she didn’t seem upset. Instead, she reminded me that I was tested a lot when I was younger and I didn’t seem “wrong.” Still, she feels that something about me isn’t exactly right. My hopes for my capstone will be that I can discover where I stand on the spectrum and I am hoping to stay informed about my nephew.

As my mother said, it is a bizarre coincidence that something I am thinking about seemed to be brought up. I will look into this further.

Another Sample of Ignis Fatuus

Missed me? I’m back after some writing. As always, leave comments and suggestions.

—-

Renier woke up and saw he was in a prison. How long have I been asleep? It was unlike the earthen dungeons of Corazol in that its walls were built from stone. He regained his vision and saw a rat in front of him. “Fuck!” The magus shouted. His voice echoed. He noticed that there seemed to be no one guarding him. I’m getting tired of that woman’s bullshit. Renier crossed his arms and sat back down on his bunk, leaning forward. He looked at his foot and saw that it was healed. The Magus then heard voices. Not this shit again.

“And what if we can’t get him to cooperate?”

“You know His Majesty wants him as a bargaining chip against Iairus.” This second Talian voice was familiar to him.

“Keep yourself in line, recruit. I don’t care what happens to him. With his head, we could be handsomely rewarded!”

“But we have families! You don’t know how the king would react to his gift.”

Renier crossed his arms. “Okay, interrogate me!” he called out.

Two Navarrean footsoldiers approached. Renier recognized the lithe, brown figure of the Talian. Also noticeable about him was his longbow as opposed to the standard longsword of a Navarrean soldier. This can’t be.

“Um, you do realize that’s a Talian.” The Magus asked.

“Talians are our friends.” The unknown soldier hiccupped.

The magus responded, “Had a drink, had we?”

“Nope, not at all,” the Talian soldier answered.

Renier mocked them. “Not even a sip? I was so looking forward to being interrogated by a drunkard. I even made sure to cast an extra Sulm for the occasion.”

“I have a wife!”

The Talian soldier interrupted, “I’m sure she’ll miss you.” He tossed his helmet off and cast lightning on his partner with his magick. “Missed me?” The magus was well acquainted with that scruffy appearance.

Renier made a fake smile. “Kieran, why are you with the Usurper?”

Kieran answered, “He wants you. So does the princess.”

“What could I have that she wants? Oh wait, I get it. She wants her throne back.”

“Yup.”

“How? By selling me out to my brother?”

“He’s not your brother.”

“You’re damned right he isn’t. Now why are we talking when that Birq could be heard throughout this prison?”

Kieran sighed.

“Let me out, Kieran.”

“Aye!” The Talian was embarrassed and unlocked Renier’s cell.

“I could hug you right now.” Kieran opened his arms and Renier walked away, grabbing the guardsman’s sword along the way. His friend removed the rest of his borrowed armor and took off after him.

Renier snickered. “You’re following me.”

“’Course I am.” Kieran replied.

“Stop.”

“Hmm… no.”

“They’ll kill you too.”

“That’s why I’m following you.”

Renier sneered, “Oh. Safety in numbers. You forget that I’m a pyromancer.” He saw a grease puddle and cast a Giir on it to provide some lighting.

“Oy Ren, this is a maze. I’m thinking you might have trapped us here. The Usurper even has all sorts of beasties.”    Renier stopped in his tracks. “Then let us have a guess as to how they’re not attacking you.”

“Oy, they are.” Kieran shot down an oversized rat with his bow. “Not like he intended anyone to escape.” They continued to navigate the labyrinth, fighting whatever beasts attacked them along the way.

Along the way, Renier asked, “So, why were you patrolling when the Usurper is keeping his pets in this dungeon?”

“Well, how’d you get in? We didn’t know if you’d get out. Not like anyone’s escaped from this prison.”

“You don’t know?” Renier tilted his head.

Kieran shrugged. “They just drugged you and the Usurper teleported you into a cell. The Usurper’s smart enough to keep you alive.”

“So, what’s he going to do?”

“Start a war with Corazolia.”

“Shit.” Renier cursed. They found themselves in a dead end. “How’d you find me?”

“Love finds a way.” Kieran winked and Renier gagged.

“Oh! I get it! You forgot to take your friend’s map.” Renier walked off again and Kieran followed. “You don’t have to follow me you know.”

“Yeah. I do.”

“About that war.”

“Aye?”

“I got kidnapped again.”

“I know.”

Renier sighed and shook his head. “This time with the trauma of being rescued by you once again.”

“That’s what I do.” Kieran crossed his arms and smirked.

“This time, the innkeeper I liked died for me.”

Kieran was silent. After some further navigation, the two went up a flight of stairs.

“More of this shit, Kieran?” Renier glared at his friend. They heard heavy steps and Renier looked up to see a giant fly. “Beelzebub spawn.”

“Oy, not good.” The spawn flew at the two who took it down with both Giirs and arrows.

“Clearly.” Renier ran off with Kieran again trailing him. Let’s haul ass. I hate those things.”

Kieran stopped and before the two of them stood a minotaur. “Ren, wrong way.” The monster prepared to charge at Renier who dodged out of its way.

Kieran yelled, “You’ll just make it angry!”

As Renier ran from the beast, he shouted, “You know what Kieran? Go scurry along back into your woods.”

“Oy!” Kieran ran the opposite direction of Renier.

Genius, Kieran. Genius. He came towards the minotaur and saw Kieran throw a barrel at it. Renier aimed a Giir at the barrel and caused it to explode on the minotaur.

“Just shut up and fight!” Renier charged ahead with his sword to slice into the giant beast and distract it while Kieran prepared a sleep-inducing Nall spell alongside his Birqs to distract it. With the beast at its dying breaths, Kieran tossed another barrel of gunpowder at the monster. Renier again ignited it with his magick.

Renier took a breath of relief and shook his head at Kieran. He asked, “What?” Renier smiled.

“Seeing you smile’s worth it.”

Renier bent his neck down and scratched the back of his neck. “What?”

“Nothing.”

“Let’s haul ass.” Renier walked ahead of his friend and waited for him. They found another staircase upstairs.

Renier heard a Navarrean soldier ask, “What if the magus broke out? Jeffry and that Talian recruit haven’t come back.”

“The Usurper will have our heads!” Responded another. Renier glanced at Kieran.

Kieran whispered, “I’m coming with you.”

Renier watched closely and spotted some barrels. “Do those have gunpowder?” He whispered.

“I don’t know,” hummed his friend. Renier sent a Giir at them. “Ren. Run.” They hurried to the entrance of the fortress past the guards.

“Why’d you have to do that?” Kieran asked, panting.

“Shut up and run!”

Ignis Fatuus Character Profiles: Renier

I hath returneth!

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Created in Soulcalibur V.

Affiliation: None.
Age: 23
Rather than having power over a single force, Renier can instead absorb the souls of those he slays at a great cost…

A vengeful renegade against the feared Order, Renier is foremost a seeker of power as a means to ending the evils of the Novus Lux and claim it to himself to restore a broken world. Taken from his family at a young age, Renier never knew love as he was feared as a demon on account of his power that exceed that of the already rare Magi. He is passionate yet narrow-minded when it comes to accomplishing his self-proclaimed destiny as a liberator of Souls. The spirits of those whom he vanquished haunt him and it is their apparent leader that guides him in his lust for power.

Ignis Fatuus Somnium: The Inn

It’s been a while my readers but I have started to work on the novel version of Ignis Fatuus: Somnium. As usual, I would like comments and suggestions.

No resident was allowed outdoors past eventide on Saturn’s day in the sacred city of Corazoras. Within its walls, it was folly to even question the Sanctorum on this tenet. The masses learned not of their religion’s past, not even whom they truly worship. While an oppressed people, it was through the ill-placed faith that their suffering that would lead them to salvation or they would be struck down by the knights within the Order should they defy the Novus Lux, the true might operating behind the Sanctorum. No common man or woman was even allowed to exit the city.

Renier knew the truth. He feared neither the Sanctorum nor the Novus Lux. Instead, he believed that one day he would rise against them through any means necessary. The Novus Lux is mine, he would tell himself every night before his rest. He only knows these truths as he too was once a knight of the Order. It was not by choice that he fought for his enemies in the past but because he was a living weapon-a Magus gifted, or in his words, cursed with the power over fire. Now he was a pariah marked for death by the Order. Because he forfeited his initial training, he only knew to destroy with his powers. Such power would come handy against his foes, but the Flame-bearer had to conceal his magicks if he did not want spotted by the Order. Of course, one had to fight back even without their talents and Renier was a sell-sword that took jobs which the Sanctorum’s knights would not handle. Their neglect of the common people only led to Renier’s repulsion of those whom he thought were supposed to be champions for virtue instead of enforcers of an ill power. The Flame-bearer would have to be mindful of his identity because of his status as a wanted criminal by the Sanctorum. Other times, he would take on a job but get betrayed by his employers. There was no doubt that Renier had to be weary of others as a menace to the Novus Lux and by extension, the entire world.

Nightfall came again and Renier cloaked himself, making sure that his hood did not interfere with his eyesight or could easily get caught in something. The only light was that of the guardsmen’s torches. While they were not true knights of the Order, the city guards were still under the authority of the higher ranks within the Novus Lux and thus they too had to hunt down the Flame-bearer. Renier would have been a higher rank than them had he not turn against the Novus Lux controlled Sanctorum. They’d be serving me against those cur, he thought to himself within the city’s dark alleys. Renier was always in want of the city’s shadows as if he was a common rogue but he believed his intentions were noble unlike a common criminal. He hated the life of a street urchin, but such would be the beginning of his conquest. The Flame-bearer observed the guards, mindful not to alert them and cautious as to not move a muscle. When he saw that his path was clear, Renier ran towards the inn across from him.

He opened the door and saw that it was nearly empty. Not even a wary traveller stopped a drink and the only man within its doors was the innkeeper himself. For such a lax day, Renier was repulsed by the smell more than he would be at any other tavern. Even the inn itself was dimly lit as if one was not supposed to be there but the innkeeper was still someone the Flame-bearer needed to approach with caution. Renier, still wearing his cloak with its hood up, stepped towards the innkeeper who appeared to be counting his coins of Aurum. This large man was a jovial man for his age but he also appeared to be troubled by something judging by the way the Flame-bearer observed him counting the round coins.

Why is this man working on a Saturn-day?  Renier had to wonder. He would work on this day just to disobey the Sanctorum’s tenets but he knew that if he asked the man, he would be identified as what he called the Novus Lux’s favourite miscreant.

The innkeeper suddenly spoke up and looked into Renier’s eyes. “Welcome! You ought to remove your cloak ‘least you catch a cold. Shall I prepare you a warm meal to help you warm up?”

“No. I must hurry.” Renier broke his silence. “Please give me directions to Navarre.”

The innkeeper laughed and placed his hand on the Flame-bearer’s shoulder which startled him. “Surely you must be tired by now. I insist that you stay for the night! You know times are rough. Navarre plans to invade our lands. It’s surely a death sentence for us!” He explained. Renier stared the middle-aged man down, baffled by his attitude. He looked behind the desk and saw that in the cupboard, one of the bottles of ale appeared to be arranged in a way as if it was intended to somebody. Since there did not seem to be a guest, the Flame-bearer had a clue as to what it was meant to be.

“I grow weary of your babble. How do I get to Navarre?” Renier said without heeding what was obviously a trap. He could not look at the innkeeper with a straight face as he realised how pathetic the potential attempt on his life was.

”Are you a fool? You should really remove your cloak.”

Renier loosened his hood so that it covered more of his face. “You need not see my face.”

“If you are a sell-sword, you won’t intimidate me! I was once a soldier too!” The innkeeper’s jolly expression became tense and Renier could clearly see that the man was sweating. The Flame-bearer could only sigh as he knew that the innkeeper had ulterior motives. To him, they were very obvious. Renier looked over by the stairs leading to the second floor and saw a familiar sight-a bounty depicting his face albeit drawn crudely. He scratched his chin’s scruff and pulled on the fuzz above his lip since he was well aware that the innkeeper already knew who he was.

He barely resembles me. Do they really think of me as some common thug? The Flame-bearer thought to himself. Setting his eyes upon his would-be assailant, he insulted the innkeeper with a cold smirk on his face. “Bullshit. We do the things nobody else would dare accomplish. Because you have a clue as to who I am, I refuse to serve as a pawn to those in power. Since you refuse to give me advice since you intend to poison me, I’ll have to go. I can handle myself. Next time you want to poison somebody, do a better job at it.” He walked away knowing that another attempt on his life has been averted. He approached the bulletin board and removed his crudely drawn countenance from it. Renier then crumbled it into a small ball as he ascended the stairs and incinerated his bounty with his fire magicks.

“You need to pay for a room!” the innkeeper’s voice cracked from below. Renier looked down at him and shrugged in shame. The Flame-bearer’s victory was short-lived as he heard the familiar footsteps of the Order’s paladins from outside. He hurried and climbed unto the rafters in the hopes that no one would notice him.

The doors opened and the Flame-bearer heard that walk from before. He saw his elder brother’s messy blond hair and militaristic figure clad in the Paladins’ ebon armour enter the inn.

The innkeeper hastily bent his knee for the holy knight who greeted him with one of his twin swords. “Where is the Flame-bearer?” the Paladin demanded. The terrified man’s face reddened in fear and he pointed up the stairs. Renier’s brother looked up and then back into the scared man’s eye before thrusting his sword into his chest.  “You let a Magus escape?”

The innkeeper’s voice became raspy as he tried to explain to the ebony knight, “Sir Iairus, he was too fast…”

Iairus stabbed the poor man with his sword used his lightning magicks to electrify the cowardly proprietor. “Take action and not folly in words. Be more zealous in your faith,” he said as he withdrew his sword from the corpse.

Renier overlooked his brother’s act and felt guilty for leading the innkeeper to his death. Fuck you, Iairus. He thought about his brother as he escaped the inn through a window but he could not look back. He had to hurry.