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Author Topic: A Sanctum of Swords: Current Rev. for Chapter 3: A Dominion of the Mind Excerpt  (Read 26626 times)

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Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: A Sanctum of Swords
« Reply #300 on: May 11, 2022, 08:51:26 AM »
Manuscript Update:

The whole manuscript is sitting around 77,000 words as of current. That leaves me 13,000 words before hitting my main goal of 90,000 words in total. Considering how the chapters are flowing for me at the moment, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the completed draft goes a few thousand words over 90,000. That would be fine in either case.

Three chapters and the epilogue remain. I'm on course to meet my deadline.




Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: A Sanctum of Swords
« Reply #301 on: May 19, 2022, 03:21:35 PM »




Quick progress update:
Passed the 80,000 word mark yesterday
I've an estimated 6,500 words before hitting my minimal word count of 90,000.
I'm on track to hand the manuscript off to the editor early next month.
These final three chapters are going to be action-heavy, with intermittent quiet scenes to help wrap up the character arcs to continue into the next installment.

I am super content that I'm going to make my deadline this time, haha!

Thanks guys for stopping by as always!

Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: A Sanctum of Swords
« Reply #302 on: May 23, 2022, 08:56:19 AM »
Approximately 1,400 word count to reach the 90,000 word mark. Estimation that the manuscript will reach about 95,000 upon being completed. I'm aiming to finish this draft sometime this week in time to meet with the editor.

Will keep you guys updated!







Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: A Sanctum of Swords
« Reply #303 on: May 30, 2022, 04:45:03 PM »
Just a brief update!

Completed my manuscript this afternoon! It clocks in at about 102,000 words!

Just in time for the appointment with the editor  :).






Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: A Sanctum of Swords & The Embers of the Past
« Reply #304 on: June 8, 2022, 08:49:33 AM »
Still in the rough planning stages...


The Embers of the Past Narrative Summary

The year is 889 A.H. nearing the end of an era, The Ascension of Kings. Unbeknownst to the realms of Khios continent, a war rages amid the shadows, fought between the Children of the Sun and hidden blades in the dark¬–the enigmatic assassin Kabal, the Ashen Blades of Su’khan Kingdom. A battle waged throughout the buried remains of the broken world of Thearus and beyond the boundaries of the mortal sphere.

A Golden Valley lay besieged, a goddess of a broken pantheon resurrected, and the fractured aspect of the Goddess of Death slain by her greatest disciples turned penitent.
Fifteen years have passed since the battle at the Golden Valley, a fragile peace settling upon the heartland and the Southern Wastes. Shattered by long defeat and fractured after the Sanctum Queen’s death–the diminished Ashen Blades collapse from power. Their tattered remnants disperse amid the Southern Wastes, choosing their death as a geopolitical presence to counteract tyranny instead of warring over the embers of what once was.

Still wounded from the Ashen Blades’ surprise assault throughout the Golden Valley, the Children of the Sun greet another era to blaze like the coming dawn. Their God King having survived the attempt to overthrow his civilization, Erasyl, the Last of the Sun Caller Kings, has cemented an alliance between the Steppe hordes of the U’skar Qi and the Carth Dominion. Their armies quickly approach legion without number. The Children of the Sun and the Qi Confederation launch their first spearheads into the neighboring lands.

As the Alliance of the Golden Sun continues to mount victory upon victory, amounting to conquests on a scale rarely seen before, unknown champions again rise to combat the threat to greater Khios. Children of the lesser kingdoms, obscured by their humble origins.

Sworn enemies of the Carth Dominion since its ancient inception, the Architect Kings of Akopia reinstate Adofo’s place in the royal family. A veteran of many wars and survivor of the battle at the Golden Valley, Adofo finds himself promoted to the rank of Guardian Consul. A rank only second to that held by the kindred he had long thought dead over the passing decade. His elder brother, Nishan, the Scarred Child of Akshera, and the grim, unyielding defender of the Akopian Republic.

Their blades reunited beneath the banners of their homeland a second time, the Akopian brothers prepare to not only whether the approaching storm from the Golden East, but to seek its ultimate defeat.
They must forge another alliance to stand a chance of gaining the upper hand. A brotherhood sworn by the blood of the Dominion’s unyielding enemies, unwilling to bow their knee before the Children of the Sun.

The great and powerful send call to arms out across the continent, honored by the courageous, idyllic, and steadfast scattered throughout the continent’s four corners.
Yet upon one such missive being returned to Akopia to announce an ally of unknown origins, far across the Alabaster River to the north, hope stirs for the coalition. For the Children of Irothis have never kept boundless numbers, but only the blood of heroes, seeking to create legacies yet to be tested.

As the Ascension of Kings crumbles into anarchy and total war, does the continent resound to another era, a Sanctum of Swords…


Dramatis Personae

Children of Irothis & Old Myria:
Aiman, the Light of the West
Azat Zakarian – the Black Wolf of Irothis
Hazan Sadoyan – Queen of the Old Myrian Empire
Krikor of the Veiled Mountain
Vahe of Grand Damiyra

Children of the Carth Dominion:
Erasyl Sar Amun
Tabia Sar Amun
Siham Sar Amun
Shoushan Sar Amun
Voshki Sar Amun

Children of the U’skar Qi:
Sarkis, the Black Tiger of the U’skar Qi

Children of the Southern Wastes:
Gadara of Suann
Zagir of the Withered Fang
Faris
Anoush

Children of Akopia:
Nishan Akopian, the Scarred Child of Akshera
Adofo Akopian, Guardian Consul of Akopia

Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: A Sanctum of Swords & The Embers of the Past (Status Update!)
« Reply #305 on: July 5, 2022, 11:27:30 PM »
A quick update!

- I've completed the Manuscript Evaluation with my editor and received the assessment last week (Good news, not a long list of problems - though the issues that are there will require passes across the whole manuscript).
- I've mulled over the feedback and have laid out a strategic plan to tackle the issues.
       - This includes:
       - Ornate and overwritten language (Descriptions, dialogue, scene setting)
       - Clarification on some stakes / character motivations
       - Dialing down an overbalance of world building & scene setting on a scene by scene basis
- I believe those are the main issues - which are all tied together in a way. Revising in one area will mean revising in other issue related areas as well. I think this process will be straight forward, basically I'm going to start cutting away all the excess on the rough draft to reveal what I hope to be the refinement underneath!

- I've made a little progress into Embers of the Past with the creation of two chapters!

- I'm redirecting focus back A Sanctum of Swords again, however, to make the revisions. I've gotten through the first two scenes of Chapter One and am making progress through the final scene at the moment.

In other news - the illustration that I've long promised to coordinate with my cover artist on is set to start this month!

Curious about what region or aspect of Thearus will be depicted? You'll find out soon enough  ;D!


Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: A Sanctum of Swords & The Embers of the Past CH 1 - Excerpt
« Reply #306 on: July 7, 2022, 08:53:34 AM »
Hi everyone,

I'm currently making a legion of revisions on chapter one and as a consequence, some more nuanced narrative changes and other passes on the material will mean that the website excerpt will need to be updated  :). Just wanted to share a brief excerpt from what I've been working on.

Hope you guys like it!

############

Hidden beyond Akara’s gates, Enigma descended upon a lonely path into the buried realms underneath the Southern Wastes. As the lengthened minutes passed into an hour of wandering–daylight’s radiance appeared nothing more than a pinpoint of light the way he had come.

Adapted to the claustrophobic conditions often found in the underground, Enigma navigated himself through an impregnable darkness by natural intuition and memory. Such a rare ability he had always regarded with no subtle amount of pride. An Ashen Blade could spend their entire lives treading the broken world beneath the surface without mastering such a complex technique. 

The Banished Blade’s voice resounded inside the cavernous road, speaking for the first time since encountering Amunet beside his disciple. “Advance with caution. Here in the black shroud beneath the Southern Wastes does radiant life bloom and shine once more.”

An ethereal luminescence emanated from farther up ahead, painting the caverns with a dim sapphire glow. At the path's end, a door carved from obsidian and onyx stone barred the way forward.

A blooming grove of cerulean petals draped a craggy stone passage¬. Each came attached to an emerald and ruby leafed fauna, somehow prospering around the forgotten tombs known only as the Mausoleum of Shades. Earthen walls narrowed sharply ahead along the branching path between the Mausoleum gates and the tunnel Enigma stood inside of.

Enigma halted around the burial tomb’s outskirts where the blooming flowers formed a natural perimeter. “Lantern Stalks, always shining in the most morbid places. A ray of moonlight found amid the graves of the honored dead.”

His master called out to him. “And here you stand. A child of the Goddess of Death and her most devoted disciple. And you appear hesitant to come any nearer to her revered house.”

Could the Banished Blade have spoken the truth? A rhythmic pulse inside of his wrists betrayed as much. An unfamiliar sensation that made him curious more than anything behind the source of his growing dread.

Irrational minds born from emotions of fear and terror were only human nature. An inability to comprehend the inexplicable and understand the mysteries behind what often caused such phenomena had always haunted mortal kind. And Enigma stood as no different in that regard.

He realized that maybe the source of his terror stemmed not from uncertainty, but his possession of foresight enough to know that Zahira sought to test him inside the Mausoleum.

He breathed in the hanging mist creeping around the burial grounds, approaching the Mausoleum of Shades through the overgrown pathway. Cerulean petals sprouted into full bloom with every patient step taken through the narrow passage. He heard fauna petals crumpling back upon themselves in the wake of his passing.

Enigma approached the mausoleum gate, entering through the dark shroud, waiting for him within the shadow it cast. A natural barrier created from lustrous volcanic stone, black like charred earth after a magma river’s passing. An unnatural scarring created by human hands appeared all that marked the weathered stone for anything of importance.

An illustration carved deep upon the obsidian, Enigma uncovered with a second thorough look. A familiar symbol, masterfully worked upon the soot-black stone, maybe when the whole of the gate appeared smooth long ago–swirled across the length of the gate like a grand sigil.

It depicted an unadorned gladius, a short blade of simple design, but beautiful in that form and grim function. The blade appeared reversed, the pommel nearly reaching the cavern ceiling, and the blade pointed toward the earth beneath Enigma’s feet. A serpent coiled its length around the blade’s hilt, tail ending near the blade tip, while bearing a fanged maw above the weapon’s pommel.

A sigil of the Ashen Blades.

He didn’t need to speak a command or find some hidden lever amid the Lantern Stalks' glowing groves. A loud sound of ancient mechanisms grinding against one another deafened him. And the earth beneath his feet quaked from unrelenting force. The claustrophobic passage behind him collapsed, the walls crushed into each other, sounding like calamity.

And the mausoleum gate sundered open before him, splitting neatly apart into two doors. Enigma braced amid the tectonic force, peering into the widening gap between the gate, opening just enough to permit a single file entrance into the ancient burial ground.

A tremulous breath came shuddering out of the dark beyond the gate. A sound made by something inhuman and driven with undisguised aggression. He assumed a combat stance, removing his gladius from the scabbard on his waist with a flick of the wrist.

Dominion's End. A blade made famous not by immaculate craftsmanship, but a storied legacy woven by its wielder’s own hand.

He listened, each unfamiliar breath rattling the bones beneath his skin. His heartbeat quickened inside the chest. Yet Enigma ignored the warning sign of another perilous encounter. A hand clutched around the leather-wrapped hilt of his blade. He waited, until realizing the mausoleum guardian awaited Enigma inside.

The Banished Blade spoke. “Your gauntlet begins. It’s been some years since you’ve met such a tough challenge. Show me what you remember of your training during my physical absence.”

Enigma sprang into motion, charging headlong into the black shroud beyond the mausoleum gate. All turned to deepest night, until the dark receded before what appeared to be torchlight, burning inside the burial tomb. Flaming brightness clawed up fractured and unadorned stone tiles, revealing sarcophagi fashioned from rough ebony stone. Each casket came with a gilded serpentine filigree, surrounded by grand bouquets of Lavender-leafed flora related to the beloved family of roses.

Lavender night, Enigma remembered, surrounding each casket on the risen daises like an ocean of undying remembrance. He counted a score of unburied graves at a glance, finding the same venomous fauna left in offering around the base of each one.

A select handful of Ashen Blades had already entered the Mausoleum of Shades before he had achieved the feat. Just recently too, judging from the Lavender Night bouquets embellishing the graves inside the burial tomb.

From just ahead, Enigma heard urgent shouting between a handful of voices. The telltale sound of steel tested against steel followed them, heading toward Enigma by either chance or fate. Their shouts coordinated a cohesive struggle against that creature breathing hard enough to make the bones around his inner core tremble from within.

EXCERPT END

Offline Myen'Tal

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A Sanctum of Swords: Status Update!
« Reply #307 on: July 22, 2022, 05:23:23 PM »
Quick status update:

Work continues apace on the revisions for the manuscript - still early into the manuscript itself, but have devoted time to revising each chapter until I'm convinced enough improvements have been made in that section until the coming copyedit.

I am aiming for Q2 2023 launch for A Sanctum of Swords!

As for the website - a few more additions have been made and more are underway.

Firstly - there is now an entirely excerpt from the revised chapter one on the website! It is an action-oriented scene that will introduce you to Enigma and a little bit about the Ashen Blades. You can look at my signature and find out where you can read that  :).

Also - the illustration is underway.

I won't be spoiling anymore until it is completed and added to the website - but it's coming together in the early stages!

Offline Myen'Tal

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Current Revision pre-copy edit:

Chapter 3: A Dominion of the Mind - Excerpt

A hearth fire’s light illuminated the chamber, forming shadows that played upon the sandstone walls. Siham tracked the darkness between the alabaster pillars jutting from the room’s four corners. She studied the hanging vines creeping through the ceiling’s minuscule cracks.

Another quiet night in the fabled Heaven’s Gate, the Children of the Sun’s guest wing, housed inside the royal palace. Outside her chamber door, everything seemed tranquil amid the silence.

An impulsive flame sparked inside Siham Sar Amun’s mind. A dark temptation luring her toward unfamiliar thoughts. Hands coiled in anticipation, searching for a sharpened blade to hold on to. Her mind raced, glimpsing herself falling on the blade.

Her fading dreams were so lucid, they almost seemed like actual memories. And when her mind ushered her back into the mundane world, the warm chamber she sat in appeared bereft.

She languished here, an apparition bound to the place of her torment. Agitated, she breathed. A successful dispelling of the tension wound up inside of her chest. She relaxed upon her opulent palanquin, draped in silk sheets of various shades and several fleece-stuffed pillows.

Siham breathed again, looking up to watch her newly betrothed. A royal prince born from foreign blood-ties. An ascendant warlord’s firstborn son on the U’skar Qi steppes, by the name of Sarkis. Dikran, the Black Tiger of the U’skar Qi’s appointed heir.

He leaned back in a sturdy leather chair, head rested in an open palm and elbow braced against the seat’s extended arm. Hazel eyes burned inside a chiseled face, flawed like blemished granite.

A deep scarring streaked across Sarkis’ face like a fractured lightning bolt. The healed over wound spread down from the right ear to the jawbone. Any surrounding skin and muscle nearest to the bone had healed like cracked earth. Matte black hair bundled into a lengthened ponytail came to rest between his shoulder-blades.
He found little solace in the guest chamber’s comforts.

Sarkis looked up without warning, finding Siham watching him. Her breath became caught in her lungs, her chest burning from within by that unwavering gaze.

He smiled, a ferocious aspect to the expression, but nothing like the violent kind. The royal prince seemed a primal and un-tameable soul, like the harsh lands that had forged him. And yet, Siham found something else in that roguish smile.

An undisguised empathy bordering on caring, enough to guilt her quiet protest of their marriage.

Sarkis mirrored her method of relaxed breathing, speaking over the crackling of burning wood. “You’ve nothing to speak with me about, Siham?”

“Should there be much to speak about between unacquainted souls, paired without thought for marriage?”

He shrugged, heaving broad shoulders. “Well, you summoned me behind closed doors, remember? And I’m here by your request alone. We’ve spent hours watching the evening fade into dusk and again into night, standing still while time continues outside our chamber door.”

Siham considered deceiving the royal prince with a blatant lie. Or maybe a barbed tirade would make him relent? After a moment’s thought, she settled on sharing the simple truth instead.

Her hushed answer seemed to resound inside the quiet room, loud enough that maybe the entirety of Heaven’s Gate heard her confession.

“I would refuse your hand.” She admitted. “You’re an honorable man, royal prince, and a noble-minded soul, but I would refuse your hand…”

The U’skarite prince tilted his head at an angle. He leaned forward in his chair, assuming the appearance of living artwork posing to be replicated on a canvas.

He didn’t respond immediately, considerate about many factors from the way he appeared irritated at himself or the unfamiliar foreign tongue he spoke with.

“You’ve made no grievous error, prince Sarkis. You’ve spoken nothing to turn me against you, but I won’t deceive you about how I feel in my heart about our betrothal.”

Another smile, possessed of warmth enough to banish the fear and anxiety Sarkis must’ve noticed in her eyes.

“My burning heart,” the prince said. “We’re behind closed doors, alone in the chamber prepared just for us. Your parents aren’t here to deny your voice or your kindred, the Children of the Sun, here to misjudge you. Is there something that maybe I never thought to offer?

“You appear to be seeking something through our meetings together. You only need to tell me what a prince must do to be worthy of your offered hand. I can see you’re not a woman to buy with wealth and power, like your immediate family appears to be interested in by no unnoticeable margin.”

Laughter slipped from her mouth, breaking her façade of stone countenance. A feeling of being relieved surged from within her chest, inexplicable like the sudden contentment it brought.

“Isn’t that the one currency available to a warrior prince?”

Sarkis matched her amused laughter at a barking volume, but didn’t disagree. As their mirth died together, another moment’s silence sobered their minds.

“And what of devotion, given time enough to learn about each other? Maybe a commitment to fulfill something you wish about? I was born with a warrior’s heritage, but the trust of kin, oath-bound brothers, and significant others cannot be demanded.”

Siham arched her brow at him. “You truly believe that trust cannot be demanded?”

He shrugged again. “Something that sacred not given freely is just an illusion of being trusted or loved… a lie the weak tell themselves for a fleeting contentment, never fated to last beyond the next reunion.”

“And what if the truth behind my rejection was that… there was nothing you could do? What would be your answer then, Sarkis?”

Sarkis contemplated for a lengthened period. He seemed prepared to admit his own suspicions. “Your heart beats for another. I’ve heard a thousand women pass on weaker men before. I’m familiar with that old excuse, but that explains your kindred wanting to sell your hand to me–if your soulmate might not reach their standard of honor and nobility. Is that the truth of it?”

Siham’s heart skipped a beat, and she paused, her thoughts uncertain of how the prince seemed so confident behind his guessing.

He interrupted before she said anything else. “It doesn’t matter though, does it? I won’t trouble you for personal matters of the heart you’ve been keeping before I even thought to offer my hand. Leave the truth behind your soulmate unspoken.”

Her breath became locked within her chest again. She said nothing.

Sarkis climbed out of the ornate chair, appearing more a bear than an ordinary man, even among royal warrior stock. He cast an eclipsing shadow over her, tall like a giant, an unconquerable warrior. Maybe indefatigable too, she wondered in the back of her mind.

“A royal prince doesn’t need to stop the world for just a betrothed. Not for the finest beauty said to be in all of this Golden Valley. I’ve little need to complain when a thousand other ladies and heiresses wait to compete for the hand of the Black Tiger Prince… yet before I must make that crucial decision, I hope that Lady Siham Sar Amun may change her mind not too far from now.”

He cradled their engagement ring between the fingers of his other hand, freeing the sapphire gem encrusted jewel from his finger. He cast the gem into the burning hearth, appearing calmed when the action was done. She knew the true reason behind his relief, that the uncertainty behind his proposal had reached a decisive conclusion.

He approached the guest chamber entrance, an oaken door that creaked loudly whenever anyone opened it. When he stepped out into the greater corridor beyond, he said. “I hope you don’t despise me for pleading my offer. Another prince or king would have burned cities and conquered kingdoms worthy enough for you to reign over. I guessed correctly that none of that would impress you.

“Yet I can tell every time our eyes meet, Siham, that you would come to love life on the open steppes of the U’skar. Should you ever become curious, it would honor me to receive your visit at Xura.”

He shut the door closed behind him, leaving Siham alone in the guest chamber with just her own thoughts…

*Scene End*

 


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