Wednesday, September 02, 2009

SOME SOULCALIBUR: BROKEN DESTINY COMMEMORATIVE SCRATCHINGS (NANOWRIMO PRACTICE): This is some nonsense about an idea I was having about fighting game characters gaining sentience combined with how a fighting game would actually look as a narrative (multiple winners and losers, with the same characters winning and losing in the same story.) More importantly--wrote it in an hour and ten minutes, and it's about 1100 words. Gotta get that word count up. Writing after work--I can tell already--is going to be a little tiresome. But that's what practicing is for! And knocking off a few pages on the weekdays is going to make the weekends go much easier, I believe.

Need to arm myself with an outline going into November, though. Can't do this without some idea of where things are going--I've been realizing that as I do these little on-the-spot exercises. Scratchings follow.

She had that feeling that day, like she was a supporting character in someone else's drama. And it was her turn to lose. She didn't like to lose, as a general principle. But she recognized its inevitability. Sometimes she would not be up for a victory—her strikes would not be precisely timed, or she would lose focus and stand there and take hit after hit until she fell. Other times her parries flew like water, her counter strikes were bold and varied. Those were the days it felt good to fight.
Today was not one of those days. She raised her bo staff (covered in ornate metal designs that both reinforced and added heft to the wood) anyway.
“Let' s make this quick,” she said, eyes gleaming, voice sharp, none of her countenance betraying the fact that she was going to lose this battle.
“Egotistical fool,” said her opponent. “You dare challenge me?” He was Zanzeroff, the Russian woodsman, with his golden jewel-encrusted axe and shield with his personal dragon sigil.
No, she thought, not today. Today I will not be a challenge. She drew back her weapon and rained down blows upon him. A mid strike to distract him, then two strikes to the head. Disoriented, he fell back.
Zanzeroff, she thought. You have opposed me before. Was it—countless times? No, that was not quite right. The potential, though, was there. But she could remember a time when she wasn't fighting. There was an origin point to her ordeals.
The woodsman's axe belted her at her side; the force of the blow drove her into the ground. The impact sucked the breath from her lungs. Always I fall, she thought. But never for long. My pains are always temporary. So too, she realized, were her victories.
When have I defeated him? she wondered. It was during those stretches when I defeated them all: Zanzeroff, the Valkyrie Elhundra, with her enchanted sword; Boscov, the rogue circus strongman with his dual hammers; Athenae, who claimed to have a shield and sword blessed by the entire Greek pantheon; X'ian Minh, with her cruel whip; Red Richard, who fought with mace and shield; Satsuko, who wore a dagger on every finger. There was even a creature who called itself Wendigo, and fought with a wooden spear as thick as a log. It claimed to come from a land far away. A land, she thought, she might like to see some day. If only she could cross the Wendigo's path again....
She raised her bo staff, trying to ward off the Russian's blows. It was futile, she realized; she was stuck. She had method of counterattack. A kick at his shins somehow exposed her head to the flat of his blade, and with a final strike she was knocked to the ground, crying in anguish as she fell. It was my time to lose, she thought. There is no shame here, exactly.
“Such is the fate of all who oppose Zanzeroff,” said the Russian. He posed, briefly, with his axe, resting with his weight on it like it was a cane. Then he bounded off. Off to fight again, she knew. Victory means you keep fighting. Those were the rules of their games. Until you fought that one person who possessed humanity's most powerful artifact: the God-Scythe. The thing that was so powerful it could not be allowed to fall into the hands of her enemies (or her family's enemies; she had inherited their assets and their liabilities, as it turned out.) Why did Zanzeroff want it? Was it an act of vengeance? Something like that, she dimly recalled. The Mongol called Qengke had done something terrible with it, to his native village or his wife, and was threatening more his homeland with it.
Which was it—his village or his wife? she wondered. I should really know that, it was so important to poor Zanzeroff. So much of his motivation was tied to that initial wrong. Unless he was just a vindictive person in the first place—it wouldn't matter in that case what the wrong was, exactly; Zanzeroff would find some reason to take revenge. And the God-Scythe would be his at the end.
She sat up and stuck her legs out, then drew them in to her chest. It was a beautiful day for a fight, she thought. For winning or losing. The grass and earth beneath her smelled rich and fine. A light breeze stirred the leaves in the trees. It was curious, she thought, the way the leaves moved. The sameness of their motion—it was the same every time she took the time to look at the world around her, which wasn't terribly often (when she had a contemplative moment, sometimes after a loss such as this, sometimes during the flow of a battle when time seemed to slow a bit, and she would notice the smallest things, like the way the leaves were moved by the wind.) If she stared at the leaves long enough they would take on an unreal quality. Like they were composed of glops of paint. Tiny glops, stitched together. If she stared long enough, she though, she could see each glop individually, and then the spaces inbetween them. The sights of my world, she thought, like dots of ink on paper.
She stood up, stretched. A loss didn't end everything, she knew. Neither did a win—a win simply felt better. Someday she would possess the God-Scythe. She had held it in the past! It had whispered virtuous thoughts to her, how she would clear her homeland of its occupiers now that she had the world's finest weapon. Her journey had come to an end and she was content. Maybe that was how, she realized, she lost the weapon to another combatant. To the fighting nun Evangeline, who wanted the God-Scythe buried under tons of rock.
Preposterous, she thought. That sword was her people's last best hope. And yet if it was that important—would she have lost it so quickly? Or wouldn't she have at least started to cast out the invaders before she lost it? I have failed, she thought. Failed my people and my ancestry.
I'll get it back, she told herself. The weapon will be mine again.
But the doubts were still there. The knowledge that even if the God-Scythe were in her hands very little would change. She would fight to keep it and then fight to get it back.
There would always be one more fight, she realized. That was the one true constant of her existence. The chain of combat—at least I'll have that.
It was some comfort to her. Checking the sun's position in the sky, she picked a direction, knowing it was a path she had followed before.

No comments: