Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Excerpt from Wraith Knight Manuscript

Here's an excerpt from my current project. It's just the Foreword but I thought it was terribly clever. Wraith Knight is my current manuscript project alongside Rules of Supervillainy, The Red Room, and Cthulhu Apocalypse.

Foreword

I love J.R.R Tolkien's writings. I love Middle Earth. I love its characters.

It's also the last fantasy setting I'd ever want to live in.

Oh, there's worse fantasy settings out there. Warhammer 40K is an anti-space opera built upon genocide, religious intolerance, and fascism. H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham Cycle has its roots in fear of the Other and a belief man's insignificance is a bad thing rather than liberating. I'd last approximately a week in Westeros before dying of any number of treatable conditions in our world or getting my head chopped off by a knight for insolence.

Middle Earth is the one setting, though I'd just find myself at odds with on every level. It's not that bad place to be, Sauron aside, with its largely affable nobility and places like Hobbiton. However, it's a world which doesn't reflect my beliefs. The greatest things in the world were made in the past, technology is something to be suspicious of, the aristocracy draws its descent from literal superior beings, the forces of evil are irredeemable monsters, and the elves are just perfect in everything.

I'm exaggerating these flaws as Tolkien's setting is rich with a lot of subtleties people don't pick up on from Peter Jackson's movies. Anyone who thinks the elves are perfect just has to read about the misadventures of Feanor. Tolkien wasn't against technology so much as pro-green. The elves, for example, made some pretty nifty stuff. Tolkien's heroes offered the bad guys plenty of chances at redemption even if none of them ended up taking them up on their offer.

In a way, I was always more fond of The Hobbit because there was a greater awareness of what people call "bog standard" fantasy tropes. Thorin Oakenshield is absolutely the rightful heir to the Kingdom under the Mountain but he's also a pompous fool. Bilbo Baggin's common sense solution to the Battle of Five Armies comes within inches of saving thousands of lives while subverting the "epic" war its participants are all looking forward to. The Goblin King doesn't freak out about his prisoners until he sees they're wielding weapons emblazoned with the Middle Earth equivalent of 'I kill your people, Lozerz.'

So what does this have to do with Wraith Knight?

Wraith Knight is a book which takes place a little ways down the road from Middle Earth, perhaps in what you'd call the bad part of town. It follows the adventures of Jacob Riverson, a man who has the misfortune of being one of those many unfortunate cloaked figures who served the Ultimate EvilTM against their will.

It's a world where good and evil are absolute but this doesn't mean anything to the people who live in a world infinitely more gray. Elves and humans may be the greatest and most noblest of people but if they're still people then they're bound up in the same flaws as we are. It's a world where nostalgia may make things appear greater in the past but which is squarely looking forward. Is it more realistic? Not in the slightest. Cynicism is no greater thing than optimism and both J.R.R and my worlds have their mixture of both.

I make no pretensions of being anywhere near Tolkien's level of writing nor am I trying to make some grand statement. It's just a bit of fun set in a fantasy world where things are just a wee bit different.

I hope you enjoy.

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