For a while, I have been making use of Living Story Roleplay in World of Warcraft to map out the plotline for Seryth/Sirith. This spawned three short series including “The Story of Seryth“, explaining Sirith’s origin as a baddie, “The Shaping of Seryth“, acting as a sequel to Story and detailing what happens to Sirith after his defeat, and then the unfinished “The Search for Seryth“, which introduces Ezran and his quest to try and redeem the broken warlock. (Regarding the confusion of the name: “Sirith” is the character’s actual name, but it was taken on the WoW server I rolled him up on, so he became “Seryth” for the Living Story. In this post, he is back to being Sirith, since the setting is also back to being Talmenor, not Azeroth.)
However, when it came to Ezran and Sirith’s final meeting, where Shaping and Search were supposed to collide, I couldn’t make it work out: the scenarios available to me in-game couldn’t carry the weight or significance I needed.
Sirith’s tale in particular petered out, while Ezran’s threatened to overshadow him in a way I felt wasn’t fitting for the overall theme of the plot. Ezran is a larger-than-life character already, coming out of a series of his own (more on that later) yet somehow Sirith must transcend him, as the student always surpasses the master. So, it wouldn’t do for Sirith to come crawling back to Ezran without achieving some kind of heroics of his own. “The Shaping of Seryth” still has some moments I like as far as character development goes, but it doesn’t really go anywhere as a story, and I knew that needed to change.
Finally, I distanced myself from the Living Story Roleplay entirely and let these scenes write themselves without the guidance. It’s a fast-paced read for what feels like a novel worth of plot, much like the Living Stories, and when it comes to writing the fuller book there are many spots I will need to fill in.
I will probably still end up stealing some of the better moments from the Living Story series as well, particularly Ezran’s. It had some good timing.Author’s Note
He came from Svenby, he said. It was one of those towns no one had ever heard of, except that one tavern drunkard who only talked about it when he was deep in his cups and reminiscing about the war. “Reminiscing” was a polite word for it; those were often the nights the bouncer had to drag him out in the morning, barely conscious and still begging for more drinks to drown the memories. Given this effect on the drunkard, no one asked him to elaborate either.
He was a scrawny sort, like a teenager who hadn’t yet put on his adult musculature, though there was a broadness to his brows and a deepness to his eyes that said otherwise of his age. He had come in one day from across the fields to beg for work. He had come from the direction of the forest: a bad omen if Saul had ever seen one, but the old farmer had given the man work anyway. When Saul asked for his name, the man paused for a long moment, before identifying himself as, “Chard.”
“Like the plant?” Saul asked.
The man paused for a moment, and then said, “Yes.”
Chard was a good worker, and seemed to know his way around a farm. Saul had felt the callouses of a farmworker on Chard’s palms when he shook the man’s hand. Saul felt like he had known Chard from birth, somehow, though of course his face was unfamiliar and strange. His grayish-brown skin was like someone from distant Krygon, and his shaved head would glisten like polished wood when it was hot out. His ears were faintly pointed like a ‘mar’s.
He was a stranger, though not entirely unwelcome, during the drought of good farmhands after the war.
This all was what was told to the Lord Baenarn when he came to visit the farmstead shortly after the planting. Everyone came out to greet the Lord as was custom. He came at the head of a small unit of what he called “paladins”, mixed humans and ‘mari mounted on graceful little horses, some of which had charming little horns, like antlers, sprouting from their foreheads. No one had seen a paladin since before the great war, and they were a welcome sight. It was a promise of fewer bandits in the area: a return to the orderly laws of old.
Despite their stodgy reputation, the paladins were happy enough to kick back after their long ride across the Tarithian plains, and the celebration thrown for them by the locals was a noisy and raucous affair that lasted long into the evening. Saul had only noticed later that Chard hadn’t been present.
“A shame,” Baenarn observed when the old farmer told him about it. The festivities had died down sometime past moonrise, and Saul had broken the seal on an old bottle of Lion’s Head’s best to share with the lord by the embers of his farmhouse’s hearth.
“You mustn’t blame him,” said Saul, topping the lord’s cup before filling his own. “The war turned his head, I think. He rarely speaks to anyone, but he keeps his bunk clean and is always on point as soon as the wagons are ready to roll out, so I haven’t a complaint.”
“Perhaps I should come along on the wagons and see him in the morning, then,” quipped Baenarn.
Saul started to laugh; Baenarn was a good-natured chap and almost everyone liked him. It only surprised the old farmer that Baenarn had meant it, rising even earlier than his men to help the loading of the wagons. That was the lord’s way, though at the time, Saul didn’t think to wonder why Chard might have attracted his specific attention.