Out of The Darkness: Chapter 7 Discussion

Heading into Chapter seven, things are finally beginning to physically change for our dear nameless protagonist.  He’s reached the age when his fairy blood begins to awaken, and his master will discover just what type of fairy he’s got on his hands.  So far, the brutality, isolation, and cruelty encountered by the slave should be enough to waken his heritage in such a way that he will forever remain the the Arenas, no matter if he wins or not.  However, that would have been the easy way out.  What type of fun would it be to read about someone who enjoys killing for the sake of killing?  Instead, there’s a twist in the story here, and it sets up for events later down the line.

The changes don’t come out all at once, but rather piecemeal as the child discovers them on his own.  The focus is still tightly regulated to the point of view of the child, and the opportunities for actual dialogue are still limited.  There’s a little more outside history brought to light, and I did try to keep a light hand with it.  It is pertinent to what’s happening, which made it a bit of a challenge to introduce it without falling off into pages of research notes.

There is a continuing thread of development for Nameless – he’s not just a well oiled killer.  He’s beginning to show some actual thoughts beyond the personal fences he put up to protect himself in his environment.  No longer is the tenet “This is”  and “This is the worst I’ll ever be” enough.  Now, he is beginning to consider something more.  Something bigger than himself.

You can see it in this snippet here:

“When he had finished his meal, and stacked the plate in its usual place by the door to his cell, he returned to his thinking spot.  His thoughts centered on last night’s matches, and the crowd’s responses. He did not consider the probability that he was playing into anyone’s hands, or that he was different. He only knew that he had failed to win an approval from crowds and his master continued to be pleased with him.

He had enjoyed playing with his opponent.  The sense of expectation for the next move, the way his opponents had shown fear in their eyes before he had even moved in to finish them.  The thrill he had felt actually increased his enjoyment the cat-and-mouse game he had established. And, somehow, his opponent’s fear had also given him a power he was just beginning to recognize as something to garner. ”

He still has no idea what is going on outside of his very small world, but he is beginning to develop an idea that there is a world beyond his cell and the Arena.

For the actual development of the character, I was faced with several key issues:

  • The traditional faerie sensitivity to iron – Even in a prehistoric world, there is going to be some metal that is the bane of the faerie types.  To make it easier on myself, I cheated and introduce forged iron.  Yeah, I know.  It’s cheating.  Guess what?  This is my story, so I’m using iron.
    • The sensitivity is highlighted here:  “.  Even as his fingers struck, the sword once again found purchase on his body. Down his ribs the sword skittered, leaving an open gash much larger than it should have for such a weak blow. As the swordswoman collapsed, so did the child. He balled up, his face contorted in a rictus of pain from the cold iron which had found him”
  • Physically aging the character – with the age he is, he should have hit his full growth.  However, being from a race that can live a very, very long time, the question arose about how he would appear.  Would it be child-like, or more teenage?  Maybe even a babyish adult?  Except for the obvious elements needed for him to have survived as long as he has, I decided to leave most of this up to the reader.  There were more important physical aspects I needed to focus on.
  • Physical changes – from almost every game system I’ve run across when dealing with a race that has a blood quantum that awakens, there almost always winds up being some type of physical change.  I decided to keep that for this work, though the foundation I work from allows for these changes to remain hidden from casual view.  It was more interesting to create a more limited effect.  It also ties the character deeper into the overall religious structure within the world/realm that I’ve built.
    • With most of the elements that weave through the story I did my best to keep them understated.  Such as what happened here: “The tide of physiological changes had crested would not be stemmed. Despite the foul conditions he lived in and the poor diet he lived on for so long, the changes had reached a point where they were self-sustaining until the rudimentary new organs were fully mature. Had he lived the life of freedom, as most fey did, the physical changes would not have become apparent – only manifesting when he wished them to, rather than becoming actual alterations to his appearance. Under the conditions in which he had awoken, the manifestations were permanent and often unnoticed.”
  • The issue of how well conditioned he is for the live he is living – granted, he has not been exposed to anything else, but even for someone who has been through similar circumstances, he is unusual.  He enjoys the life he has, and has the driving need to be the best.  With the only competition he has being his past performance, he drives himself unmercifully to obey, to please, and to live by the strictures others have instructed him to live within.  This can clearly be seen in the snippet
    • When he reached his cell in the Death Sentence, he entered without being ordered, to the slight disgruntlement of the cell’s manager. He now knew this routine well.  Like a well trained animal, he did not fight the necessity of being in the smaller confinement before he could have his fun. This was the part that he savored. It gave him a chance to build his own edge for the fights to come – time to hone his desire and hunger, time to see something besides the solid walls of his stall-cell.  It also gave him time to harness his anger at the fate he had been given from birth – to always fight for something he did not know, understand, or comprehend. Time to renew his own personal promise to himself that he would obey, and in obeying.. live.