Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

What? It’s back?

Yes, that’s right! Part 4 of the Fan-Voted Story is back with a vengeance.

Unfortunately, no one voted last time, so I continued on my own. So, if you want to help shape the story about what is going to happen to Kayla, please vote down below. If you like someone’s suggestion, like it! I’ll choose the highest voted suggestion or, if there isn’t one, the suggestion that I like best.

If you want to catch up with the story, please go to the Evan Elias section of the Living Author’s Society page.

Back to the action!

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Hello everybody!

It’s been a long time coming but Part 3 of my Fan Voted Story is here!

The winning suggestion from last time was made by Mandibelle16. Thank you for the suggestion that the ring was dark magic and there were consequences for using it.

If you need to catch up on the story, feel free to go back on the Evan Elias section of the Living Author’s Society page. While you’re at it, feel free to check some of the other authors as well, they’re very talented.

As always, please comment down below about what you think should happen and what you thought. The winning comment will dictate where the story goes from here!

Now, without further ado, let the story continue…

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Crystal-clear water flowed over the rough rock, collecting in a deep pool, white foam crashing against tan stone. The steady trickle landed on the body floating in the pool, her brown hair soaked through, her clothes dark and waterlogged, every inch of her dripping. A stream of crimson came from her shoulder, where a black arrow was lodged in her flesh. Her eyes were closed, her limbs still.

Then, with a splutter and a cough, her eyes flashed open and she jerked upright, her legs kicking and her arms splashing. Rings of disturbed water sped out from her as she grabbed at the rock, hauling herself up. She sat there, breathing heavily, wincing at the arrow’s bite. Water ran down her sleeves and her forehead.

She was alive. She had escaped.

But there was no time to rest. They’d be after her soon. She had to keep moving.


Word Count: 148.

This is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Maria for providing the prompt photo!

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The jewel gave off a deep purple glow that seemed to consume the entire cavern. It played across the curving rock walls, the twisting tunnels, and the large, almost ape-like statue, carved into the stone. Celeste’s heart beat in her chest like it was a drum in the hands of a hyperactive four-year-old.

This was far from the most dangerous task she’d ever undertaken.It was certainly nothing compared to Atlantis. But there was something in the cold air, in the strange glow, in the eerie and nameless statue, buried deep in the earth, that made her blood run cold as ice.

Focus on the mission, she told herself. Just get the jewel and leave.

She reached out a hand for it, her fingers sliding over the luminescent surface. Carefully, she began to lift it from its resting place.

The statue turned its head to fix her with two stone eyes.


Word Count: 150

This is for Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Jade M. Wong for providing the prompt photo!

It’s also a sequel of sorts to my Quest for Atlantis serial. Check that out if you want more Celeste!

No Man’s Playing

Posted: August 25, 2016 by Jaden C. Kilmer in Article
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

There’s two questions on the lips of thousands of people who pre-ordered No Man’s Sky.

“So… now what?” followed by “is that it?”

There may never be another game like this. The idea is extraordinary. If you haven’t heard, then I’ll let creator Sean Murray pitch it to you; here’s what he said in an interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

What we are trying to do is generate an entire universe… and set players loose in it… something like eighteen quintillion planets.

Eighteen quintillion planets.

Eighteen quintillion.

That’s over three times as many planets as there are grains of sand in the world.

The game’s intention was to be the pinnacle of sandbox gaming. An entire universe, simulated in one sixty dollar bundle. Colbert then replied:

“Wouldn’t the game get boring after the first trillion planets?”

It was a joke, a little good-natured teasing, really. But behind many good jokes is a basis in reality.

Because Colbert’s joke appears to have come true.

In the last two days, the game has seen its active player count drop… a lot.

… A LOT.

 

That’s somewhere between 80 and 90% of its players jumping spaceship. But why? There’s an entire universe to explore!

And that’s kind of the problem.

Again, I’ll let Sean Murray explain it to you.

Even if a player discovered a new planet every second, we would still all be long dead before they were all discovered.

Ever heard the expression someone’s bit off more than they can chew?

The game comes in-built with an existential crisis, free of charge! Because the whole point of the game, to discover new planets, is defeated by the very idea that made the game so intriguing. He’s right. The game can never possibly be fully explored.

And that would be okay if there was something else to do.

“I guess providing a game with no missions, growth as a character, or a story means people get bored pretty easy,” says redditor /u/Mtfilmguy.

Seeing as this a writing blog, let’s hone in on the word story.

Perhaps the easy retort to Mtfilmguy’s comments is that Minecraft is an open world sandbox with millions of players and no story or arc to follow. But there are stories to Minecraft. Players just create their own.

In Minecraft perhaps you set your mind to building a large mansion for yourself and decorating it however you like, or perhaps simply an unassailable fortress to protect yourself from the griefers, a word I totally didn’t have to ask my twelve year old little brother on. There’s an element of danger to the game once nightfalls and the monsters come out that provides conflict. Because that’s what stories are.

Let’s forget about character development and setting and rising and falling actions for a moment. What are the absolute basic elements to a story? Conflict, and resolution. A story is a series of events that revolve around a conflict until that conflict ends.

There’s no conflict in No Man’s Sky.

You fly to a planet, you name it, you name the animals, you collect stuff, you fly off to another planet. There are some “dangers,” but if you happen to die from, say, a planet with dangerous weather conditions, you respawn with all your belongings and no real punishment. That’s not really a conflict. The closest the game comes to making conflict is the “sentinels,” robotic forces that come to attack a player if they kill too much wildlife on a planet. But reviewers and gamers are complaining that the Sentinels are too easy to defeat and besides, the goal of the game is to accumulate scientific data. In order to trigger the Sentinels’ appearance, you have to be doing the opposite. So in a way, there’s no conflict at all. The Sentinels aren’t their to put a stop to a players’ goals, they enable them.

There’s also no Player versus Player interaction, because the game is just so enormous.

Contrast to a game like EVE Online, which is basically meeting No Man’s Sky halfway. Players inhabit a galaxy, not a whole universe, and are free to do whatever they please, not following a rigid storyline or battle lines. But players do interact with each other, and create conflict with each other. A few years ago EVE made headlines when a player cheated another out of over ten thousand dollars worth of materials while operating completely within the legal means of the game. (That’s ten thousand real US dollars, mind you. Not in-game currency. That total is much much higher.)

But that doesn’t quite sound like the dream of Sean Murray. His dream seems to be create a zen-like utopia of gaming. To make a game without conflict, but instead using that instinctual drive humans have for knowledge and exploration as the focal point of the game. Which is admirable and surely ambitious.

But that’s not how games work.

You don’t play Monopoly to peacefully strut around the board and build pretty houses for the hell of it. No one says “no, please, you take Yakutsk” in Risk. Even in Minecraft people don’t just fly around in zen-mode looking at the surroundings forever.

There’s got to be something to do.

Quest for Atlantis Logo

Prologue 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four 

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Epilogue

The Fragments Fit Together

As I write this now, I am sitting in a hospital bed, alone with my old notebook. There are people constantly pestering me – and I suppose Demetrios as well. They want to know our story: how we came to be there in the heart of the sea, what we saw in the storm, what became of Megalos and Stamatios. There are no easy lies to give them, so it will have to be the truth.

I am writing this because part of me still can’t accept that truth. Atlantis seems almost like a dream now, a strange nightmare of clockwork and lightning and time’s ever-burning flame. By putting pen to paper, I hope that I can make some sense of it all. It’s almost working.

I’ve found myself in a whole new world now, a new time. My era is gone, as much dust as Atlantis is. Time passed us by, decades gone in the blink of an eye. Although I still can’t believe it, I am writing these words in the twenty-first century. History has swept past, full of events I can’t even begin to conceive. A screen is hanging in the corner of my room, a television thinner than some magazines I’ve bought. I’ve seen people checking little boxes that fit in the palms of their hands and calling them phones. How can something that small be a phone? And how can it work without a line?

Everything I’ve seen is as incredible as what I saw in Atlantis. It’s just as alien, if not more.

I saw Demetrios once. He came by to visit me and smiled. I held his hand.

They say the past is another country. The same is true of the future. We are foreigners here, two mariners shipwrecked in time’s storm.

But I think if I had to stranded with someone, Demetrios isn’t so bad.

Together, we can face this new world.

We’re explorers. Facing new worlds is what we do.

I’m ready to talk to the men in dark suits now. I’m ready to tell them what I know.

And then?

“Prometheus” is still out there. Things like Atlantis and that sphere exist. The “gods,” whatever they were, are out there as well.

Someone will need to deal with them, to make sure nobody like the Queen ever gains that sort of power again and to ensure that there are no more hidden surprises lurking in our history.

And I’ll need something to do in this new world.

Perhaps I can save it one more time.

 

THE END

Quest for Atlantis Logo

Prologue

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Downfall of Atlantis

The machinery all around me groaned furiously. It was like the roaring of a tiger waiting to pounce. I knew what it meant. Death was coming: death in fire and bronze and lightning.

Still, I had saved the world. I’d stopped the Queen from using the sphere. I’d rejected the chance to use it myself. Even if nobody ever knew what had happened here, I had saved them all. I’d protected time itself from the force of the invaders.

That’s one hell of a legacy. I hope it would have made father and grandfather proud. I closed my eyes and whispered the words.

“If I am to perish, let it be in battle. Let it be for a good and righteous cause. Let me not show fear before my foes. Let me go out roaring as a lion.”

“Don’t go roaring just yet!” Demetrios yelled.

I opened my eyes and laughed for joy. There he was, Stamatios beside him.

At that moment, it struck me how incredibly beautiful Demetrios was. Not beautiful as the Queen had been, regal and furious and controlling, but a more earthy, real beauty, a beauty with sweat on his brow and bruises on his skin.

There was little time to dwell on that.

“Come on!” Stamatios yelled.

He was shoving with all his might, shifting the doorway. It squealed as he wheeled it just far enough for me to squeeze through. I grabbed the spear from the floor and darted past him like an arrow through a slit in a castle wall. With a grunt of exhaustion, he let it go and metal whirred away, bolts flying loose behind it.

I looked at the pathway ahead of us. It was jammed, the metal shaking as it strove to break loose. At any moment, it might have the strength to do so. Each wall and disc might slip from its chains, bloodhounds racing after whatever prey they might find. In that event, I had no doubt we’d be reduced to bloody slivers.

I just had to have faith we’d make it through.

I slipped hands into theirs and gave each of them a look.

“Together,” I said.

And together we raced forward, feeling like the Israelites marching through the split waves of the Red Sea, knowing what the waves could do if they were let loose, but having faith that they would stay put.

We ran until we reached the stairs and clambered up into the throne room where we’d been held prisoner. It was shaking there too. The glass of the windows had been shattered and the throne was knocked over, some of the decorative elements smashed beyond repair.

“Look!” Demetrios pointed to the guards lying on the smooth floor.

Or rather, to what was left of them. They’d been reduced to dust, their armour and weapons slowly decaying around them. All around the room, the bronze was turning green, beset by corrosion. It would soon crumble to nothing.

“Time,” I whispered. “The Queen is getting what she wanted. Being in the mechanism protected us.”

“And what’s protecting us now?” Stamatios asked.

“Nothing,” I replied. “Which is why we should run.”

And run we did. We ran through corridors and winding streets, through clouds of dust and stone. The storm was wailing furiously all around. Winds swept in low, sweeping the piles of dust aside. Lightning flashed all around, the clouds moving far too quickly.

In the heart of the storm, above the peak of the citadel, I saw the flame, burning and crackling like an atom bomb. To look at it was to peer into fury itself. It was the wrath of time and hurricane, a wrath unbound by mortal thought. It was pure elemental rage.

“There!” Stamatios shouted. The boat was still sitting on the shore. Rust had begun to crawl over it, the wood sagging and rotting, but it was still seaworthy, if only barely.

“Quick!” I called, leaping aboard. “Before it’s too late!”

Demetrios clambered in after me. With a typhoon’s strength, Stamatios shoved the boat into the water and then jumped in, trying to start the engine.

There was nothing. Not the slightest response.

“It’s too late,” Demetrios said. “The engine’s dead. And soon we will be too.”

I looked back at the crumbling citadel and the sprawling streets slowly being leveled by the winds. Smoke rose high over the dead of Atlantis.

We were witness to the end of an empire.

“No!” Stamatios roared. His eyes were full of fury as he eyed the storm’s edge. Just for a moment, the clouds parted, revealing blue seas and a bluer sky. It was a glimpse of freedom, less than a hundred meters away.

Stamatios grabbed the spear from my hands. I’d half-forgotten I was still holding it. Like Zeus of old he held the shaft aloft and then plunged it down into the engine. Lightning tore through the boat and the engine gave a great roar. With a cloud of black smoke, we shot forward. The engine would burn out in a moment, but that single burst of speed was all we needed.

Stumbling back, Stamatios let the spear drop from his hands. They were black as coal. The lightning hadn’t just shot through the engine.

Demetrios caught him as he fell.

“You fool,” he said, his voice heavy with sorrow.

Stamatios smiled weakly. “I will die on my seas, under my skies. That is all I ask for.” He looked at me and pointed ahead. “Keep the course, Celeste. Keep the course.”

I nodded and leapt to the wheel. It was his last wish and I would honour it or die trying. I kept my eyes upon the blue skies ahead. Black clouds rolled in from either side, lightning flashing like enemy bullets. With each second that rolled past, the gap was growing narrower.

We shot through, the stern of the ship scraping through clouds. Blinding light jabbed at my eyes and I was flung back.

As I lay on the deck, the wind knocked out of me, Demetrios pulled himself to his feet. He looked up at the sky, the blue sky with a yellow sun, ordinary as houses and telephones, and let out a thunderous laugh.

“We made it,” he said. “We made it.”

Stamatios smiled and whispered a few words in Greek. I knew enough to tell their meaning.

“Home,” he had said. “I die at home.”

His eyes closed and never opened again.

Behind us, lightning flashed like the sun and thunder gave one last almighty cry, deep enough to shake the very earth. Then the clouds vanished, leaving behind only a clear sky.

I looked at Demetrios and he looked back at me. We were two alone in the world, the only ones who had beheld Atlantis and lived.

I took his hand in mine and we sat there, waiting for rescue.

To be concluded…