1. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    rktho's Progress Journal-- Swordfist

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by rktho, Apr 2, 2017.

    Status: currently seventeen full chapters in. Halfway through chapter eighteen. About halfway through the book.

    Forum status: Chapters 1-2 posted in the short stories and novels section and on blog. Both chapters are posted unrevised and are going through editing.
    Chapter 3 is posted in the novel section and is awaiting feedback. Chapter 4 to follow on reception of feedback.
    Chapter 3 needs to be italicized and put on the blog.

    Important note: Zaktarash is referred to as Zaktarash in forum drafts, but in revisions will be referred to as Daktarash. Revisions have yet to be posted.

    Link to chapter 1: Zarakharn
    Link to chapter 2: Ginzaekh
    Link to chapter 3: The Dreams
     
  2. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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  3. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Stuck on a problem here. Seems my characters' names difficult to distinguish or read for most or at least some people, though others don't have trouble with them. This isn't a new issue, but now I think I should probably do something about it.
     
  4. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Alright. Time to trim my cast list.

    [cracks knuckles] Let's get to work.
     
  5. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Scrapping my draft. I need to start over again and do a rewrite.
     
  6. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Finished my plot synopsis. (I already knew what was going to happen as I've written a full draft before but I thought it might help somehow.)

    Zarakharn arrives home late at night after a journey. (Zarakharn often takes leave this way, alone,and the nature of the journey is left undisclosed.) Immediately, Zarakharn proceeds to meet in private with Daktarash, a thief, who is already waiting there for him. Zarakharn, having descended into the criminal underworld on one of his excursions, learned that Daktarash had procured a sword he is looking for and arranged for them to meet. After verifying the sword's authenticity, Daktarash informs Zarakharn that he has to leave to do business with a crime lord named Kharda, who does not like to be kept waiting. (Daktarash assumes this is safe to disclose because he won't be at Kharda's for long.) Zarakharn pays Daktarash and Daktarash leaves-- the room, at least. He sticks around the palace long enough to steal a valuable crystal belonging to Zarakharn. This is done in the presence of Sartigar, Zarakharn's snake, who has dragonlike intelligence unbeknownst to Daktarash. Sartigar alerts Zarakharn to the theft, and Zarakharn teleports to Kharda's immediately.
    Daktarash stops midflight to inspect the crystal and realizes it is not as valuable as he first believed. The crystal emits a blinding flash and he chucks it into the river. He hears it shatter, but when he flies off, it floats to the surface and heads downstream.
    Daktarash does business with Kharda. After the transaction, Zarakharn reveals that he has been there waiting for Daktarash (who didn't know Zarakharn could teleport and assumed he couldn't apprehend him in time.) The police take him away.

    Ginzaekh and his two friends Zash and Gazi are hunting to procure venison for his mother's butchery, He becomes stuck in midchase and left behind, stumbling upon the crystal but only seeing the flash it emits and not the crystal itself. Zash and Gazi find him. Since his eyesight is better, they continue hunting.
    Zarakharn interrogates Daktarash and kills him in a fit of rage upon learning it was lost and destroyed. (Zarakharn knows it can't be destroyed because his life is attached to it and if it were destroyed he would have died instantly. This is also the reason he doesn't age; he is immortal.) Through scrying, Zarakharn finds the crystal and leaves on a journey to get it back.
    Ginzaekh and his friends are drawn back to the crystal, where they find it, attempt to ditch it, and fail, causing Ginzaekh to take it home.

    Zarakharn teleports to a secret base where he can recuperate from using magic. This is one of many such places.
    Ginzaekh has a series of dreams. A dragon named Knizor bequeaths a sword named Thugron to a dragon named Rishta. (The dream shows that Knizor wears the sword Zarakharn procured earlier.) In the dream, it is revealed that four Kenjai are still alive, though their leader Phyandarst is dead.
    Next, a dragon named Rissa is awakened by a burglar. When he and his wife confront the robber, Rissa sees him attempting to steal Thugron. A fight ensues and Rissa's wife is killed. Rissa corners the robber in an alley and avenges her. He is found by a policedrake named Vazarn, who was tracking the thief. Furious that he was not able to capture his prize, Vazarn takes Rissa instead for murder. Rissa teleports out of jail and back home, rousing his sons Nat and Ginzaekh and going on the run. When Ginzaekh wakes up the reader is informed that Rissa was the name of his grandfather, Nat the name of his uncle and Ginzaekh was his father's name. (The reader is supposed to be initially confused and think the Ginzaekh in the dream is Ginzaekh the protagonist, to make the dream more dreamlike.)
    Zarakharn arrives four days from leaving and finds the crystal is not where he saw it last. He stays the night in Rer and puts out a reward for its return in the morning. Before leaving he buys a meal from Ginzaekh's mother and meets Ginzaekh himself. He uses the alias Zahn Arrissa. Arrissa, a common name, happens to be Ginzaekh's surname. There is a conversation where it is revealed that Zahn Arrissa was acquainted with Rissa and Ginzaekh's father and that they died in a smithing accident. Zarakharn leaves behind a reward poster for the crystal and promptly teleports to his base where he confers with his master, Fiandarsh. Zarakharn relates the events and it is revealed that Zarakharn was enemies with Rissa and Ginzaekh. Fiandarsh instructs him to keep an eye on them. He also chides Zarakharn for losing the crystal (and making it in the first place) and vows not to help him if he goes the wrong way about getting it back. (It is revealed here that the crystal makes Zarakharn immortal and being the reason he doesn't age and such.) Zarakharn needs to get the crystal problem out of the way so he can continue his search for the Elder Swords. (Thugron and the sword Zarakharn are both Elder Swords. Zarakharn has them and one other. There are five Elder Swords total. The Kenjai seek them for the power they hold.)
    Ginzaekh tells Gazi and Zash about the reward and they plan to leave the next day.
    Ginzaekh has a dream that Rissa and Ginzaekh die protecting Thugron from Zahn Arrissa, who is called Jai Azarion in the dream. Vazarn kills himself for not apprehending Rissa. Ginzaekh, restless from the nightmare, feels compelled to copy a symbol he saw on Zahn Arrissa's hand. (This symbol is described with Zarakharn's appearance in the first chapter.) Not knowing why he drew it, he goes back to sleep. The ink soaks into his scales.
    Ginzaekh has another dream where Knizor (whose voice has been present in his other dreams) appears in spirit, speaking with Phyandarst, also a spirit. (Phyandarst's description matches Fiandarsh's.) Knizor informs him that the Rishnaran (the omnipotent writer the Khrizans believe controls history) has given a prophecy to him that Phyandarst's apprentice will die by the hand of one who bears the mark of the Dhurma-Natar, the order founded by the four remaining Kenjai. (At this point Zarakharn is the only living member. He is not an original member as the order was founded long ago before he was born and none of the original members are left. Zarakharn is also the last living Kenjai.) Knizor informs Phyandarst that his apprentice has made a life crystal to thwart the prophecy. Phyandarst expresses jealousy that Knizor is able to speak directly with the Rishnaran, but insists the Rishnaran is really on his side despite choosing Knizor to speak for him. Knizor reveals that Phyandarst is doomed by predestiny, something Phyandarst has already been told by Knizor many times. It is also revealed that the two are brothers.)
    The next day, Ginzaekh and his friends leave. Zarakharn scrys him and finds out that he has the crystal and drew the symbol on his hand. Zarakharn becomes afraid, remembering a prophecy of his death. His worst fears are confirmed when he discovers the trio is flying away from Khriza (the capitol) and not toward it. He takes this information to Phyandarst and the council of the Dhurma-Natar, which now number some twenty deceased members. Phyandarst reminds the council that Zarakharn must correct his own errors due to his vow, and the council charges Zarakharn with killing Ginzaekh and his friends lest the Kenjai are undone. (The wisdom of Phyandarst's vow is questioned, but Phyandarst insists on standing by it.)

    Ginzaekh realizes their map is bad and they were flying the wrong way. They stay at an inn, where they realize they need to keep the crystal secret lest they are attacked and robbed, as the reward's news has spread rapidly. A drake named Vizagar catches on and bribes the innkeeper for information, who refuses to disclose more than the room they are staying in. The innkeeper, Tegar, warns the trio, but they are suspicious of him, especially when he tells them to destroy the crystal.
    While they sleep, Vizagar attempts to sneak into their room, but Tegar throws him out. In the morning, Tegar warns the three that they were almost robbed and to protect the crystal more carefully.

    Rather than going back home to start their journey over, they visit Ginzaekh's uncle Nat. Nat has a strange sign tacked to his door: the word brewer. The trio meet Ginzaekh's cousin Dav, who is writing a book on daktars, a legendary creature nicknamed Smallfoot. Dav claims he saw one as a child and was fascinated with them ever since. Ginzaekh asks Nat about the sign, to which Nat responds by serving a brewed drink. They show Nat the crystal, to which he responds by throwing it at the wall. They are all amazed when it makes a shattering noise but remains intact. Perplexed and angry at his uncle's behavior, Ginzaekh begins to ask him why he did it. Nat avoids the question somewhat and it seems he was possessed by an unknown urge. He then asks if he can go with them, as the journey will be dangerous with everyone out for the crystal, and an adult chaperone would be helpful. Still smarting from Nat's unexplained outburst, Ginzaekh flatly declines. However, when Dav apologizes for his father's behavior and asks to come along, he joins the group.
    Zarakharn acts Ginzaekh and it is revealed that Nat is another of Zarakharn's enemies; like Rissa and Ginzaekh, Nat is a Shuziron: a member of the ancient order that protected the Elder Swords. This only heightens Zarakharn's suspicions. Zarakharn is frustrated he cannot travel faster and is forced to wait between teleports. He consults the Khagra (which is like the Khrizan bible) for magical advice. (There is no reference to Shuzirons, Kenjai, the swords, or magic in the Khagra Khrizans use; Zarakharn's Khagra is a copy of the original, unaltered Khagra, before the Rishnaran made the world forget magic was real and future editions of the Khagra had it edited out.) Zarakharn only learns what he already knows. He has a nagging sense the answer to his problem is something obvious. (When it is revealed, the reader will be kicking themselves along with Zarakharn. Zarakharn forgets that magic does not drain the body itself, only the azra, which is the source of magic, and so nothing is preventing Zarakharn from flying between teleports and covering twice as much ground. He has become overly reliant on magic, so he has forgotten this. It is also interference from the Rishnaran.)
    Ginzaekh has a strange dream where Tegar, Nat, Nat's wife Rastira and their adult son Khazardi, Knizor's spirit, and some other dragons Ginzaekh doesn't recognize. (He meets some of them later but doesn't remember the dream by then.) They discuss the safety of sending Azarion "the real one". Nat says once they have "it" (a different object) they can use it as leverage. Tegar disagrees and says Azarion is too dangerous to live.

    Zarakharn realizes the protagonists are actually heading toward Khriza and calculates that they will meet in Graktar. Zarakharn formulates a plan: separate them from Nat (who Zarakharn doesn't know isn't traveling with them), kill them and take the crystal back. To enact his plan, he'll need Sartigar.
    Sartigar is assuaging his boredom from Zarakharn's absence by planking the cook, Drezard. Suddenly, Sartigar's tail goes cold, which happens when Zarakharn licks a magic black stone. Sartigar slithers into his cage, which is connected to the palace and Zarakharn's hideouts as long as nobody is in the room. Zarakharn walks into the copy of his room and retrieves Sartigar, telling him of the plan.
    The four protagonists travel to an inn run by Dav's maternal grandmother, Zakana. Zakana speaks with them in private and advises them to destroy the crystal, to Ginzaekh's frustration that everyone they meet seems to tell them that. Zakana gives them their room key and tells Dav to stay. She gives Dav a letter from an old friend, Narta Arsetvisha. Dav had had a crush on Narta when he was twenty-two, and she didn't reciprocate his feelings. Dav was crushed when his family once again moved to another place. (As mentioned by Ginzaekh when they meet Nat, Dav's family has an incurable wanderlust and are constantly changing houses at least every three years, in edition to frequent vacationing to tour the world. This has made them savvy, multilingual, and well-connected.) Dav soon moved on, pushing Narta from his memory and falling out of love. However, some years later he realized that she had inspired the plot of his novel. Filled with a new appreciation for her, he writes to her explaining that he is no longer infatuated with her and that she inspired his novel, which he has almost completed after ten years' work. However, Dav didn't hear back from Narta, since Dav's family had moved three times since they had known each other. He also learned that she had also moved, but wasn't able to find out where, so he despaired of ever seeing her again. The letter is a response to the letter, which Narta had received but never been able to respond to. She expresses her pride in him for writing a novel. Dav is touched by the letter, and now has Narta's new address. Zakana also shows Dav a portrait Narta painted of her when she stayed at the inn (Narta's talent is painting.) Dav thanks his grandmother and tells Ginzaekh, Zash and Gazi about Narta.
    Vizagar, having followed them, asks for a room, but Zakana is suspicious. She gives him a room key, but a mysterious hooded drake throws him out and threatens him not to hurt the protagonists. Zakana and the drake exchange knowing looks.
    Ginzaekh has a dream about a dragon who is apparently has Thugron in his possession and is a friend of Rastira's. He leaves for Teradria to see it before his friends there migrate to the Drakar Mountains. Rastira expresses regret at his early leave. As his aunt's friend leaves, Ginzaekh wakes up and the group gets back on their way.
    Zarakharn reviews his plan with Sartigar, revealing that the plan involves Sartigar biting them. Sartigar is happy to oblige. Zarakharn deduces that their plan will work whether they land in Kaesivar or Graktar.
    The protagonists lodge in a tavern owned by Nat's friend Narv, who ejects a troop of Vrakardians for demanding alcohol, an insult to Khrizans as they believe alcoholic drink to be spoiled and throw it out in the gutter, except in ill-kept or seedy taverns. Dav apologizes to the Vrakardians over the cultural difference as they storm off, placating them into leaving in less of a huff. Dav procures a room and they enter it. Vizagar follows, tricking the protagonists into leaving him alone in their room by claiming Narv asked for them. Narv and the protagonists rush to the room, narrowly stopping the thief, who flees out the window. Ginzaekh resolves to wear the crystal on his person at all times, hidden in a bag at his waist. The protagonists regret not getting a good look at the thief even though they spoke with him for a moment before the theft.
    Vizagar nearly makes it out of the city limits when another hooded drake or the same drake wearing a different hoodattacks him, looking for the crystal. Vizagar insists he doesn't have it, and a search reveals his truthfulness. The drake tells him to stay away from the crystal or else and sends him scampering off.

    The four protagonists land in Graktar and catch wind of a band of musicians in town. They decide to attend the concert.
    Zarakharn scrys them and teleports to Graktar. He gets directions to the concert from a disgruntled veteran who bears a grudge against Zarakharn but doesn't recognize him as they've never met.
    Dav, who knows the musicians personally, gets the backstage before the performance. One of their members is absent, traveling with another group, and the band plans to perform without her. However, at Ginzaekh's and Zash's recommendation, Gazi sings for them and they ask her to join them in the performance.
    At the concert, Ginzaekh, Zash and Dav meet the veteran, who curses Zarakharn after learning they are going to meet with him, and warns against it. However, he does not seem to know about the crystal. When he leaves, Ginzaekh berates Dav for letting their destination slip.
    During the concert, Zarakharn, and Sartigar, hidden, watch the group closely. Realizing his hood draws attention, Zarakharn removes it, noting that a dragon in the audience (Vizagar) is looking around nervously for hoods, which brings Zarakharn's attention to a drake in a blue hood.

    While walking to the inn, the group encounters Sartigar, who bites Zash, allowing Zarakharn to steal the crystal in the confusion and run off before he is spotted.The blue-hooded drake intervenes, throwing Sartigar out of sight and administers suspiciously fast-acting antivenom that tastes like sugar water. He tells them to let him take them to Khriza, but Ginzaekh refuses due to suspicion and the fact that Zash is still wounded despite no longer seeming to be poisoned. The drake offers to take them to a hospital, but first asks where the crystal is and helps Ginzaekh look for it while Gazi and Dav take Zash to the hospital. Zarakharn finds Sartigar and teleports away but the crystal does not travel with him, and Ginzaekh finds it again. Zarakharn is angry about this newly discovered limitation: he can't teleport with the crystal.
    The doctor, Har Arsaks, is a friend of Dav's and is amazed at Zash's recovery. The hooded drake introduces himself as Assirratan, an name that sounds made up, but Har seems to recognize him. Assirratan insists they stay at the hospital instead of the nearby inn. Ginzaekh protests but relents for seemingly no reason.

    Vizagar, snooping outside the inn he believes the group to be in, runs Zarakharn and tells him about the crystal. Zarakharn thanks him by killing him and entering the inn, where he is arrested.
    Ginzaekh wonders why he agreed to stay, and Dav reckons the drake felt trustworthy, the way he would trust his father or someone like that. They decide against sneaking out in the middle of the night and leaving early.
    Zarakharn is inspected by a policedrake at the station named Drazarkhi, who warns that he'll have to escape "the same way other dragons do," and drugs him. When Zarakharn loses consciousness, Drazarkhi leaves his post, allowing the usual officer to take his place, as his position was only temporary. He and Assirratan walk off together.
    Ginzaekh has a dream about the hooded drake and his interferences with Vizagar, and the drake lifts his hood. Before his face is revealed, however, Ginzaekh wakes up and the group leaves the hospital.

    The four protagonists fly to Kaesivar. Zarakharn wakes up with no memory of Drazarkhi. He is perplexed because he has lost the ability to do magic. He realizes from the syringe mark (I looked up ancient injection methods and found one could make a syringe with a bladder and a quill for the needle) that someone knows he can use magic. He discovers from kicking his bed in frustration that a nail is loose. He wriggles it out and uses it to pick the lock. He acquires a policedrake disguise and runs into another policedrake who takes him to the place where his confiscated items are being kept. It is implied that the drake is helping him knowingly, instead of being fooled by Zarakharn's disguise. Zarakharn attempts to take his items out with him when he ends his "shift", but is prohibited from doing so. Zarakharn attacks the guards and makes a break for it. A chase ensues in the air, with Zarakharn uttering the spell to return him to his hideout until his magic returns.
    After flying for a couple hours, Zarakharn decides to teleport to Kaesivar instead of his base since he's halfway there already. However, his magic still hasn't returned. He is shot down by an arrow. Gauging his magical energy, he uses what little he has to knock the policedrakes unconscious, but instead the policedrakes are simply weakened. That is enough, however, to buy him time to put more distance between his pursuers and himself.
    Using a generic alias, Ginzaekh boards at the first inn they come to. It begins to snow, prompting the characters to comment on the peculiarity and for Dav to confess his hatred of snow. The innkeeper tells a story about Zarakharn to pass the time. The story is absurd and satirical and they all laugh about it.
    Meanwhile, Zarakharn manages to make it to Kaesivar and trudge through the snow (wondering what they snow is doing there in the first place and grateful that it's not snowing at the moment) to arrive at a different inn where he collapses on his bed, collects himself, and formulates another plan. Once he has the magical and physical strength, he will retrieve Sartigar from his hideout and teleport to Azirhk (the next place where Ginzaekh's group will stop) and order the police to secure the area. Let anybody in, but screen any outgoing dragons carefully. If there is a group of four, three males and a female, search them for a mark like on his hand and detain them if they have it. Zarakharn carries out this plan in the morning.

    Dav is excited because Narta's new address is in Azirhk. When they arrive, they see policedrakes flying over it. The group is nervous but lands. They stop for a meal and Dav asks about Narta. It turns out Narta is in the back room of the diner, painting her meal. She and Dav talk about their lives since they last saw each other; among other notable events, Dav can speak Drakish now and Narta is dating a semi-famous songwriter (Dav hasn't heard of him, but Gazi has.) Dav confides in Narta how woven their meeting seems; if Ginzaekh hadn't taken a wrong turn, he wouldn't have visited his grandmother and received Narta's letter, and found out where she lived. Narta replies that that's how the Rishnaran works and that she's glad of it. Their conversation is cut short when Ginzaekh and they have to leave, but they arrange to meet tomorrow before they leave.
    Zarakharn stays at the Azirhkan governor's mansion and sends Sartigar on a reconnaissance mission, using a spell to see through his eyes. Sartigar encounters Assirratan and Drazarkhi. Zarakharn doesn't recognize Assirratan or remember Drazarkhi, but it becomes clear that they are Shuzirons. Zarakharn teleports to them and orders a policedrake to arrest them. The drake attempts to do so by shouting at them to halt, causing them to dart into an ally and vanish. Zarakharn berates the officer and orders a warrant for their arrest.
    The protagonists meet with Narta for breakfast and the others get to know her better. Ginzaekh insists on keeping their schedule, so they have to leave. As they are walking out of Azirhk (it's illegal to fly in urban limits), Dav convinces Ginzaekh to let Narta accompany them to turn in the crystal. Dav runs to ask her to join them, but her father says no. However, Dav's absence and the fact that the mark has faded from Ginzaekh's hand cause them to slip through Zarakharn's screening criteria. Dav goes through screening separately. Assirratan and Drazarkhi are observing the screening from a hiding place.
    Zarakharn fires the incompetent officers upon learning of the mess-up and teleports to the police station in the forest between Azirhk and Sharnadda. He asks the area to be secured: no campers land in the forest. Rather than trust the task completely to the authorities, Zarakharn flies and creates a magical perimeter to alert him to their location when they cross it. Zarakharn also finds out through scrying that they have a tent, which he assumes to be a fortress in the shape of a tent in his paranoia, when it is in fact just a four-dragon tent enchanted to hold five. (The protagonists don't know it's enchanted, but Dav's family is comprised of five people, so he knows it can hold them.) When they land and camp that night, Zarakharn tracks them. However, the police show up and arrest Zarakharn and the protagonists alike. The police officer in charge of the posse silences Zarakharn by sneaking a magic word into his speech, so Zarakharn can't utter spells. Zarakharn is stunned the officer knows magic. He can't see the officer's face in the dark, so he doesn't recognize him as a Shuziron he's seen before.
    While they are detained, Zarakharn's speech returns and he confronts the protagonists in their cell room. He soon learns they have no idea what he's talking about and that Ginzaekh doesn't have the mark. Zarakharn realizes anyone could destroy him just by drawing the mark rather than having it magically tattooed. In the process he reveals he wants to kill them and take the crystal. He talks about his enemies and magic, which they don't understand or believe, and they don't believe him when he says he is Zarakharn. Zarakharn is abruptly incapacitated by Khazardi Arrissa (Drazarkhi.) Dav is amazed to see his older brother, who tells them to sleep and transfers Zarakharn to a specially prepared cell.

    The cell is guarded by "Captain Rissa", who is actually Nat. They swap out the crystal for a fake and keep the real one in Khazardi's safe in his room.
    Ginzaekh, feeling cold, is visited by a voice. Ginzaekh asks if it is Knizor, to which the voice responds yes. "Knizor" tells him to trust no one, explaining the difference in his voice to be caused by the distortion of dreams. When Ginzaekh agrees, he feels warm, which appears to be a sign he made the right decision but is due to the fact that the spirit left the room.
    In the morning, Khazardi tells them not to go to Khriza and that Zarakharn is trying to kill them. They don't believe him, especially when he adds that he and Dav's parents are part of a secret order and that the crystal makes Zarakharn immortal. Khazardi references the prophecy, but the modern Khagra falsely claims that the Rishnaran no longer makes prophecies. Suddenly, "Knizor" begins to whisper to Ginzaekh, sowing distrust and reminding Ginzaekh that if Zahn Arrissa is really Zarakharn, he is imprisoned and therefore cannot harm them in Khriza. Khazardi attempts to do magic but inexplicably cannot. They lose trust in him and he arranges for their release so they can go to Khriza.
    As they get their things in order, Khazardi introduces them to Assirratan, who reveals himself to be Nat. (Assirratan is Nat Arrissa backwards, which is why it sounded made up.) To Ginzaekh's ire, they insist on accompanying them to Khriza. Gazi talks with him in private and points out that though Knizor is benevolent in his dreams, the "real" Knizor said his dreams weren't real, and Ginzaekh doesn't hate his uncle or cousin, so he shouldn't be so cold and distrustful.

    They stop in Razaga, where Kharda is in power, and avoid paying "tribute" to one of his thugs when Nat uses magic words to make him think they pay him. Ginzaekh realizes that's why they agreed to stay at the hospital: because Nat told to them using magic words, which made them trust him. Ginzaekh's suspicion grows and he begins to wonder if there is truth to what he has been told about magic existing.
    They enter a bar, but a pickpocket accuse reveals the crystal, causing the whole tavern to pursue them. They manage to teleport into the forest with the crystal (which they wouldn't have been able to do with the real one, but they don't know that) and make camp, away from the mob.

    Zarakharn is awakened by Fiandarsh, who reveals the Rishnaran ordered him to break his promise (and prevented Khazardi from doing magic earlier.) Zarakharn assumes he's been drugged again and waits for it to wear off.
    Nat makes some modifications to the tent, turning it invisible and making it bigger on the inside. Taking Ginzaekh aside, Nat surreptitiously repairs a scratch on the false crystal before Ginzaekh notices.
    Zarakharn realizes the cell itself has been enchanted, not that he has been drugged. He finds that he is only prevented from using magic that directly relates to escape (such as opening the door) so he conjures useless and counterproductive objects to orchestrate his escape. After escaping, Zarakharn looks for Sartigar.
    Dav finishes his book and the protagonists celebrate.
    Zarakharn accidentally steps on Sartigar, piercing him with a claw. He can't heal him fully because his azra is drained from escaping.It is revealed that Sartigar wants to use the Elder Swords to become a dragon.

    An officer named Zahn, who is the usual drake holding Drazarkhi's position, returns to take over for him again. He finds the police investigating the escape and finds the actual crystal in Drazarkhi's room.
    Zarakharn visits Kharda, who unsuccessfully tries to introduce him to an erotic drug, hoping to "cure" Zarakharn's lack of interest in marrying and siring an heir. Kharda himself is irreversibly addicted and overdosing in order to counter his bodily deterioration, having dealt in and used the drug for decades.

    Zarakharn leaves Kharda's and reaches the palace before the protagonists can arrive.
    In Khriza, the protagonists go sightseeing. Ginzaekh wants to turn in the crystal immediately. They visit a statue of Khriza, the emperor for whom the city, the land of Khriza and the Khrizan species are named, and Ginzaekh sees he resembles Knizor. Nat says that Khriza's name in his own language was Knizor. Ginzaekh asks if Rishta means Rissa, as in their arfather (the person they take their family name, Arrissa, from.) Rissa being a common name, Ginzaekh knows the Rishta in his dreams was probably not his arfather, but he does wonder if it's a possibility. However, he insists they stop sightseeing and return the crystal; they can go sightseeing afterward. Nat reluctantly relents and gives Khazardi a magic tooth to communicate. (The tooth functions like an earpiece.) Nat draws the symbol on their hands and they go into the palace, leaving Khazardi in the city.
    Zahn's station is visited by a facility inspector named Zakar who arrives just as Zahn uses his leave to take the crystal to Khriza. Zakar, who is actually there to relocate the crystal, uses his own tooth to notify Khazardi of the disappearance.
    Nat takes the group to meet with Zarakharn, who appears as an old drake. From his tooth, Khazardi tells Nat about the real crystal missing, but Nat can't doin anything about it, so he discreetly severs the communication. Zarakharn takes the crystal out of the room and Ginzaekh confronts Nat for his paranoia. Nat reveals that if he is paranoid, it's because he'd been running his whole childhood from a drake who wanted to arrest his father for murder. Ginzaekh realizes his dreams are real and he apologizes to Nat. They tries to leave, but find the door locked. Zarakharn appears in the room, still looking old, but dropping the charade. Sartigar attempts to sneak up on Nat, who turns around and kills him. Zarakharn, devastated, goes straight into revenge mode and cuts down Dav. Nat attempts to heal Dav before he dies, but Zarakharn reveals that the blade is an Uthgal blade-- a dark implement invented by Jai Uthgal of the Dhurma-Natar that corrupts any attempts at magical healing. Any magical energy fed to the wound makes it worse, so the wound must heal naturally. Dav dies, being wounded fatally. Zarakharn gloats over Nat's pain and Nat attempts to stab him with a small rod. Zarakharn reveals that he enchanted the castle to wipe any ink from the scales of any who enter it, so the mark they need to kill him is not on their hands, and at any rate, the crystal is not in the room. Nat reveals that he did not attack Zarakharn to kill him, but to incapacitate him, and reveals that the rod is a wand, and that it absorbed all Zarakharn's magical energy when it made contact with him. Nat uses the energy to bind Zarakharn hand and foot and unlock the door. Nat leaves Zash to watch Zarakharn and takes Ginzaekh and Gazi to find the crystal. Nat uses an illusion to distract the vault guards and takes the crystal from it. Rushing back to the throne room, they find Zarakharn has escaped his bonds (a trick he learned from binding himself earlier to escape imprisonment) and bound Zash, holding him hostage. Nat threatens to destroy the crystal, but Zarakharn calls his bluff-- he doesn't know how. Nat keeps to himself the fact that the crystal is fake, though he knows the real one is missing. He agrees to hand over the crystal in exchange for Zash. However, Zarakharn reveals to Ginzaekh (who already knows from his dreams) that he killed his father and grandfather. Ginzaekh is goaded into attacking Zarakharn, at which point Zarakharn calls the guards on them and they are thrown in the dungeon, separately.

    Zakar arrives in Khriza and he and Khazardi infiltrate the palace. Zakar looks for the crystal and Khazardi looks for the prisoners.
    Zarakharn uses Nat's draining wand against him and confiscates his wand belt. Zarakharn takes out the crystal, gloating. Nat can't reach it from behind the bars. Zarakharn informs him that they will all be executed presently.
    Zahn, the policedrake who found the crystal, runs into Zakar, who confronts him about where he got it. Zahn confesses he stole it from Drazarkhi's room. Zakar reprimands him, but admits he can't blame him for wanting to get the reward. He tells Zahn to leave, promising to notify Zarakharn of Zahn's efforts, and Zahn leaves, influenced by magic words. Zakar rushes the crystal to the dungeon.

    Khazardi releases Ginzaekh, learns about Dav's death, and finds and frees Gazi and Zash as well. On their way to find Nat, they are meet Zakar, who has the real crystal. The group find Nat, who warns them that Zarakharn has ordered their execution and gone on his way to gloat to the others. Khazardi realizes that by releasing the others, he has alerted Zarakharn to his presence. Zarakharn cuts them off and reveals he hid when he noticed Khazardi approach, in order to trap them. He draws Thugron, giving him immense strength, and begins to attack them. Khazardi draws Aciphar, one of the Elder Swords Nat had been safeguarding, giving him and engages him. The duel comes to a draw when Khazardi manages to erect a forcefield between Zarakharn and the protagonists. Nat takes the others and runs. Zarakharn tries to cut the shield, but is unable. Zakar takes both crystals from Khazardi and runs. Khazardi, aided by Aciphar's strength, holds the shield. Zarakharn then takes Nat's wand and uses it to drain the shield. This doesn't work as Aciphar is aiding Khazardi. Zarakharn stops and uses the energy he drained to boost his power and teleports to the other side of the shield. He kills Khazardi and takes Aciphar, rushing to find the rest of his enemies.

    Nat tells Ginzaekh about the two crystals and the prophecy. Ginzaekh has an idea. He takes the two crystals and runs to face Zarakharn. Ginzaekh offers Zarakharn both crystals in return for the lives of his friends. Zarakharn accepts, putting Aciphar and Thugron aside as part of the bargain, fully intending to renege on his promise the moment he has the crystals. Ginzaekh reminds him that one of the crystals is fake, so he can't destroy either of them. However, Zarakharn knows that the real crystal won't shatter. Zarakharn dashes both crystals to the ground. To his amazement both the false crystal and the real crystal both shatter. Light begins to emanate from the real crystal and Zarakharn looks at the mark on his hand, realizing what Ginzaekh figured out-- the prophecy meant that he could destroy himself. Zarakharn tries to attack Ginzaekh, but he runs and Nat rushes to his defense. Zarakharn doesn't have much time to fight, though, because his body begins to burn up. When Zarakharn has vanished completely in a blinding inferno, only the false crystal remains, lying shattered on the ground, next to the imperial cape and Zarakharn's silver helmet. Nat takes the helmet for safekeeping and they leave the cape on the floor of the dungeon.

    Zakar informs the guards that Zarakharn has vanished (I need to come up with a way for them to not be blamed for the disappearance or at the least be held in prison or executed as were Zarakharn's original orders.) They bury Dav on the palace grounds and travel to an inn.
    In the inn, Nat explains everything. Long ago, there was an ancient order called the Shuzirons, who protected the Elder Swords. The Rivanaran (known as the Riphalaron in Khrizan Dragonese), which the modern Khrizans know to be a prophetic position, was the leader of this forgotten order as well as the conveyor of the Risharan's prophecies. Khriza was the last Rivanaran; his brother Fiandarsh, jealous of his brother's connection to the Rishnaran, sought to become the Rivanaran, seeking the Elder Swords to achieve his purpose and founding a rival wizarding order of those who would have the Swords' power-- the Kenjai. A great war ensued between the two. The Kenjai were wiped out and Fiandarsh was killed. The Shuzirons went into hiding, numbers reduced. Four Kenjai survived the last battle, and Fiandarsh, now a spirit, christened them the Dhurma-Natar, the ones who would seek revenge against the Shuzirons. The Dhurma-Natar trained apprentices, who became Kenjai; when the members of the Dhurma-Natar died, their apprentices took their places. Not all Kenjai joined the Dhurma-Natar, since there could only be four at one time. Zarakharn was the last Kenjai and member of the Dhurma-Natar. Because Zarakharn was the only Dhurma-Natar, he thought he was safe from the prophecy, but created the life crystal anyway, thinking to rule as emperor forever without handing down the throne. Ginzaekh's father and Rissa were Shuzirons who were tasked with protecting Thugron, a duty that had been passed down from their arfather Rissa-- or Rishta, as he was known in his own time. Khriza had tasked Rissa specifically to protect Thugron, and Rissa passed it down through the generations, all the way to one who would take his name-- Ginzaekh's grandfather.

    In the aftermath of Zarakharn's death, Kharda is assassinated by a slave with the help of his right hand drake, Vidzit. Razaga is freed from his corruptive influence as Vidzit seeks a new life in the criminal underworld. Dav's novel is published posthumously. Zarakharn's cousin and successor (by default) is found, an old drake named Shrakhaan with a son ready to assume the throne when his brief reign ends. Shrakhaan proves to be a wise and good leader. Nat's family takes Khazardi's family in and moves to Rer to live with Ginzaekh. Ginzaekh, Zash, and Gazi go hunting as before. When Ginzaekh falls asleep that night, he has a dream that Knizor and Nat are discussing the true nature of his dreams, and why he has them. Nat tells Knizor that Ginzaekh is not ready to be burdened with the knowledge, and Ginzaekh drifts into a deeper, dreamless sleep, and forgets it.

    I might need help ironing out the climax.
     
  7. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Draft rewrite begins now.

    Let's get cracking.
     
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  8. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Nevermind. My new draft is going to need a lot more work before I start writing it.
     
  9. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think my villain sounds evil enough in the first chapter of my new draft.
     
  10. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Currently editing first chapter.
     
  11. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Currently writing second chapter. Looking for a name for the investigative division of the imperial police. Oh! IDIP! That's it!
     
  12. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Need to write my second chapter scene... gotta plan it out first though.
     
  13. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Alright, I have a general idea of how it's going to go down... Going to try and get some writing in later this afternoon after my work is done.
     
  14. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Status-- need to form culture better. Excellent illustration of my antagonist by user @Sixthperson. Zarakharn Complete.jpg
     
  15. Sixthperson

    Sixthperson Member

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    Okay, haha, I just found out that I was drawing the ANtagonist! lol, thought he was the PROtagonist. Glad that didn't effect the quality at all!! :)
     
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  16. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    You want to draw my protagonist next?
     
  17. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Decided to go with my original beginning perspective. While fun to write it didn't feel right and I stopped halfway through. The book is definitely supposed to open with Zarakharn entering the palace and I could feel that as I wrote from Daktarash's perspective while he was awaiting the emperor's arrival.
     
  18. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Brainstorming the aspects of a dragon culture. Should be a medieval setting with swords and castles and peasant towns, but I also want it to feel like something almost completely different from medieval Europe since instead of humans the characters are dragons. So, with that in mind, I ask myself, how would dragons build/make those things? I can justify a little human influence because they were taught to make some of these things, such as swords, by the Rishnaran, a human who is their all-powerful creator.
     
  19. Sixthperson

    Sixthperson Member

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    Sure, why not? It may take a while, before I get started. In the meantime you can send me the descriptions!
     
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  20. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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  21. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Ever procrastinate so hard you develop a plot for an entire musical?
     
  22. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    I'm stuck on chapter one addressing plot holes and nobody's giving me advice for my questions. Not a good place to be in.
     
  23. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Issue resolved. Getting to work tomorrow!
     
  24. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    I feel my chapter is less well-written than the last draft. Need to fix that.
     
  25. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    I've written a new prologue introducing someone other than Zarakharn first. Assirratan, a mysterious character, anxiously awaits a meeting with Daktarash, the dragon who meets with Zarakharn, the emperor, later. When Daktarash arrives, Assirratan makes him an offer-- a sword he can sell for ten thousand ingzai, and in return steal a crystal from Zarakharn. If he does not accept these terms he can walk away. If he does not uphold his end of the bargain he will be hunted down by the government. Assirratan, a government operative working behind his agency's back, will see to that personally. As proof that Assirratan and his team are capable of carrying out his threat, he takes Daktarash to see Sar Argarva, a terrorist who has been missing for ten years, never been captured and held the title of public enemy number one ever since his attack on a group of police in a protest against Zarakharn. Daktarash agrees and Assirratan gives him the tools to start the job.

    Larger context: Assirratan and his two comrades in the scene, Kazar and Drazarkhi, are using pseudonyms. They do not introduce themselves by their real or false names to Daktarash in case he rats on them; only the reader knows their names. The three are part of a wizard order called the Shazarians. Sar is also, but he was imprisoned by the Shazarians because, knowing Zarakharn is evil, a dark wizard, killed several police as the start of a vendetta against Zarakharn for killing his daughter, also a Shazarian. The Shazarians know that Zarakharn is their only enemy in the government deserving of death, and even then are reluctant to kill him. By approaching Daktarash their plan is to avoid as much collateral damage as possible (the risk, of course, is that Daktarash fails and is killed, which does end up happening.) The crystal makes Zarakharn immortal and if it is destroyed he will die, so that is why they want Daktarash to steal it. They don't disclose anything related to magic to Daktarash, so he has no idea what the crystal does or that he's dealing with wizards.

    I want it to be clear that Assirratan is a protagonist (though not the main one.) He doesn't want to carry out the threat if Daktarash betrays them, and neither he nor his companions are sinister characters. I hope I achieved that with the text of the prologue.
     

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