From the Archives: Men of War (notes)

It has been asked, and here is the answer.

Someone wanted a deeper look into the story fragment, “Call to Arms”, that I posted here a few weeks ago. Originally, I said I was going only post stories and fragments thereof, not the actual notes. But, since it was asked (and since I don’t have anything ELSE interesting to post right now), I’ll relent and post some of what I have.

Below is the contents of one text file of notes I have concerning the story. The name of the story is “Men of War” (only the first chapter was named “Call to Arms”), and it was not only going to be a novel… not series of novels…. but series OF series’s of
novels. This file contains the world’s history, and a plot outline of the first 1/3rd of the novel of which “Call to Arms” was the beginning. The other files contain a complete outline for another novel (unrelated to these characters, but taking place on the same world in a different time period) and notes for other novels that are ALSO unrelated except for setting and shared historical background. Apparently I was going for something like the Shanarra series from Terry Brooks, with basically has multiple-novel story arcs each presenting a different point in the history of the same world. I’m only posting this one file since its got the most meat.

Interesting note about the world’s history:
This world is NOT related to the world of Magekiller, although a certain point in the world’s history might lead you to think that. This idea pre-dates Magekiller, and it may, in fact, be where the idea originally came from.



Men of War


Characters:

Travis Fourwood (16)- Son of a wealthy landowner. A humble boy, more interested in affairs of the mind than in swordplay, adventure, or in taking over his father’s lumber business. His elder brother, Hargeld, volunteered in the first call for soldiers. Hargeld left to fight the war… and was killed in his first combat against the Rezui. Travis knows little about fighting, but possesses keen insight and a quick mind. However his quick mind is usually slowed by self-doubt, especially when confronted with unfamiliar things.

Rhodrik DeKale (17)- Son of Baron DeKale, and Travis’s best friend. Yearns for adventure and excitement. Tends to say/do the wrong thing quite often. Is quick, strong, and accurate with the bow and crossbow. Fights well with a sword. Is hot-tempered and impulsive.

Belthane Lour (29) – a prisoner. Tall and strong. Excellent swordsman, and deadly with most other weapons… especially bladed weapons. A paranoid loner. Starts off quiet… shares himself with others only after knowing them for quite a while. Belthane was an adventurer for higher. His motivation is to find freedom and happiness. He has seen enough of the world to quench his thirst for adventure, now he wants to settle down… but circumstances constantly deny him that pleasure.

Uley Caefeau (28) – a thief. Motivated by greed and self-preservation. Very quick and agile. No skill with sword, but is surprisingly good with a knife.

Captain Jonill (30) – soldier and leader. Good fighter. Quick and strong (but not as strong as Belthane). Lives to command and succeed. A good man, usually does not abide wrongdoers. Experienced in military battle, but not in much else.

—-

World Timeline

Years prior to 0 AK are approximations

-4000 to -500 Age of Ancients. Barbaric tribes spread over the known world. They fought bloody wars with each other as well as with the other intelligent race on the planet… the Giants. Any semblance of order was usually a temporary alliance to fight Giants or some extremely powerful barbarian horde. These alliances quickly faded when the immediate threat was over… and former allies were often at war with with each other within days.

Only one kingdom of interest existed in this time period… the Nation of Megiddon. The Megiddese are credited with the discovery of magic, and were the first to harness its power. Megiddese mages were capable of feats of magic that cannot be reproduced by current mages. They used their power with great wisdom and restraint. Even though they established cities all over the known world, they did not usually impose their rule on native populations by force. Their mere presence in an area often transformed native cultures as the natives sought to be more like them. Their kingdom to prosper for over 2000 years… a feat unheard of in modern times. Megiddon was also the name of their capital city, which was a wondrous desert metropolis of gold and magic, with buildings and monuments that staggered the imagination. It was the seat of their ruling class, as well as the only place where mages were allowed to learn their craft. The Megiddese had a vast network of underground tunnels throughout all their cities. In fact, over half of their huge capital city was actually underground. They had a rich culture and complex mythology. So vivid were their writings, that modern scholars are often unable to tell the difference between recordings of fact and works of mythological fiction. The Megiddese claimed that their knowledge of magic came from one of their gods, which lived in a magical underground city far underneath their capital. Around -2000 AK, a massive quake destroyed the city of Megiddon. The great city sank into the surrounding desert and vanished. After that, the civilization faltered and died within a few short years. The resting place of Megiddon is unknown. All magic in existence today comes from Megiddon, either through the mages that taught the craft to the barbarians after the destruction, or from ancient texts that were secreted away and hidden… many of which still lay concealed in underground ruins and temples. All current languages are derived from the language of Megiddon. It is said, and commonly agreed, that human culture has never risen to the height of once-great Megiddon.

-500 to -350 AK The Rise of the Great Kingdoms: Georia, Hanton, and Teskwir are formed as charismatic and wise leaders arise and unify the smaller kingdoms by force or by words. Starting off small, these three kingdoms grew to cover all of the known planet (actually covered only three continents and part of a fourth).

-350 to -250 AK Great Wars: Georia, Hanton and Teskwir engage in a series of bloody wars with each other. Destruction and loss of life is great, espescially since magic has become a very popular weapon.

-250: The Kennic Accord: After the third Great War, which nearly destroyed all three kingdoms, a treaty is signed. However, it took a long time for the kingdoms to actually trust each other.

-250 to 0 AK: Distrust diminishes, and the Great Kingdoms occasionally try to work together on issues of common interest. Some of these attempts fail (violently), but most succeed. These sucesses lead the way to more and more cooperation amid the former enemies. During this time there arises an animosity toward mages, who are viewed as the major causes of destruction during the Great Wars.

0 AK The Age of the Great Kingdoms is declared by common decree by all three kings. The Kingdoms form a common government, called the Council of Kings, to ensure peace and prosperity in all the lands. The kingdoms maintain sovereignty over their own lands, but issues dealing with inter-kingdom trade and conflicts are dealt with by the Council. Council members are required to give up their unique citizenship to avoid conflicts of interest. They become quasi-citizens of all three kingdoms. The original council had nine members, but this number grew over time to a maximum of 45. Meanwhile, magic continues to lose popularity with the common people.

7-13 The Giant War. Giants invade from the north, piercing the great mountain northern mountain ranges that had kept them separate from humanity. The combined might of the Kindoms forces them back. Magic plays a large part in this war (Giants do not use magic), however most of the action takes place in unpopulated wilderness lands. The general public never sees how useful magic was in protecting their kingdoms… a fact with serious repercussions. Back home, sentiment continues to turn AGAINST magic.

15 AK The Mages Guild is founded. It is an inter-kingdom guild that oversees and restricts the teaching and use of magic. It is an outgrowth of the common distrust of magic. All mages are required to be a part of this guild, and their activities are highly restricted and monitored.

17 AK The Mages Guild forms a unit of Overseers, who police the users of magic.
Powerful mages themselves, the overseers eventually become symbols of salvation for the common people, and of terror for those who break the Guild’s laws.

15 – 30 AK Mages continue to be vilified by the people. The Mages Guild becomes a dark oppressive organization to the mages, while the people view it as their only hope to control the users of arcane force. Rules of behavior become more and more complex, and punishments become more severe. 21 AK marks the first public execution of a mage (Theodon Marwik) who went against the Guild’s wishes. Executions become more and more common after that.

30 AK – the Orion Group is secretly formed. This group of mages plan to revolt against the oppressive Mages guild.

30-35 AK Orion Group grows in popularity among young mages who refuse to accept the authority of the guild. The group makes terroristic strikes against the guild, and the guild often strikes back by hunting down secret Orion strongholds and public ally executing its members in horrible displays of violence and magic. Some of the most painful and grotesque spells were created for the sole purpose of torturing and killing Orion members in the most painful ways imaginable. These dark spells were contained in secret unnamed book. Mages refer to this tome as simply “The Book.” The mere sight of it caused some prisoners to swallow their own tongues or bash their heads against stone walls in order to escape it’s terrors.

35 – 45 The Orion War. A full-fledged war between the Mages Guild and the Orion Group. Vast destruction was caused across major cities as mage fought mage in duels to the death. Even though the Kindoms were still at peace with each other, the death-toll was close to that of the Great Wars… with the exception that most of the casualties were civilians who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were a number of spectacular battles won by both sides, but in the end, the Guild, who had the support of all three Great Kingdoms, overran and destroyed the rogue mages of the Orion Group. As a partial result of the war, the Mages Guild, the three Kingdoms, and the Council of Kings make a slight change in their operations…

45 AK The Mage Accord – The Mages Guild now works exclusively for the Council. No Kingdom can have a mage on staff, or use magic in any way. All mages work for the Guild, and the Guild takes its orders directly from the Council.

45 – 250 AK A time of rebuilding after the Orion War. Magic become so scarce that most children born in and after this period never see a mage in their lifetime. It is generaly a peaceful time of exploration and enlightenment. It is also an age of exploration and discovery. All three kingdoms expand their colonies in foreign lands.

250 – 255 AK The Council of Kings stands at 45 members. They pass a set of laws called the Standardization Accord, which hopes to establish a common set of laws for all three kingdoms. Included is the establisment of a common currency, the forced merger of some guilds, the elimination of slavery, the establishment of an income tax upon each kingdom’s population, and many many others. Two of the Great Kingdoms, Hanton and Teswir, reject the Accord, saying that it is an intrusion of their sovereignty and a violation of the agreement that established the Council. Georia accepts it. The argument over the Acccord continues for the next several years, with two of the kingdoms accusing the Council of trying to establish and empire. All kingdoms remain part of the Council, however. Hanton and Teswir simply ignore the Standardization Accord as if it had never been passed. This angers the Council. In 155, They force Georia to cease all trade with the rogue Kingdoms.

256 AK- The Council passes measures intending to punish Hanton and Teswir. They sieze some of the land and colonies belonging to these Kingdoms… this terriroty is placed under the official rule of the Council. Note that, until this point, the Council had no land or assets of its own, other than its own small army. Teswir and Hanton are infuriated. They attempt to reclaim their terriroty, but the Council defends it with soldiers from Georia and mages from the Guild. Very little land is regained. Teswir prepares for full-scale war, but Hanton still hopes to solve the problem diplomatically. Unbeknownst to anyone, the Council makes arrangements to bring in mercenaries from the north… Giants.

257 – 261 AK A time of high tension, with repeated demands for the return of claimed territory.

262 AK The Council annexes even more of Hanton’s terriroty, and siezes it with its Georia soldiers and Giant mercenaries. Hanton and Teswir make an agreement, and together they fight to liberate the siezed land. They fail, and the land becomes part of the Council’s growing kingdom.

263 – A mysterious plague strikes Hanton, decimating it’s population. Teswir is spared, mostly due to the Orion mages it had held in secret since the Orion War. These are descendents of mages in the Orion Group. Teswir’s mages claim that the plague is caused by the Council (more specifically, the Mages Guild). Hanton, which has the highest anti-mage sentiment due to the inordinate amount of damage it took in the Orion War, breaks contact with Teswir. The death-toll rises.

264 AK – Ravaged by plage, Hanton yields its soverenty to the Council. Teswir now stands alone.

265 AK- The Council demands that Teswir turn over its mages. Teswir refuses. In the latter part of this year, The Council declares war.

265 – 380 AK The War of Ending.
The most bloody and destructive war in human history. The Council uses the Mages Guild , Giants, and soldiers from Georia to force Teswir to submit. Teswir, however is the largest of the three kingdoms, and they have mages of their own. Early in the war, Teswir… at a huge cost in men and mages… Teswir exposes the Mages Guild’s efforts to break Hanton’s strength with a magical plague. The plague is ended. Hanton secedes from the Council and joins Teswir. The war escalates, ending with the eventual destruction of all three kingdoms.

380 – 450 The Fall of the Council
With the three Kingdoms gone, the land falls into chaos. Small, mini-kingdoms arise. Some individual cities declare sovereinty. Soldiers returning from battles to find homelands scorched and destroyed, group together into roving bands under the leadership of powerful warlords. The Council, using its mages and what soldiers remain, attempt to re-unite the people under their rule… creating one single all-encompassing kindgom. The task proves too large. Their forces are spead too thin. Colonies fight for independence and win. Warlords, who’s armies are often composed of men from all three great kingdoms, slowly chip away at what little order that the Council is able to create. Finally, several warlords band together under the leadership of Anteus Britton, and together they launch an all-out assault on the Council. The Council falls, and with it, the age of Chaos begins.

450 – 780 Age of Chaos. A return to the barbaric times of ancient history. Anteus Britton forges a small kingdom which prospers for a few generations, but, like the Council, he is unable to extend his rule over the great mass of war-torn humanity who survived the War of Ending. Anteus’s kingdom (the name of which has been lost to history), fades away into obscurity. They did, however, successfully turn back not one, but TWO invasions by Giants in this period. The final resting place of Anteus, as well as the location of his capital city, is still unknown today. With Anteus gone, Giants actually did succeed in capturing much land in human terriroty… claiming almost all of what was once central Georia. Meanwhile, the rest of the world wallowed in chaos.

780 – 1190 Rebirth
Order slowly rises from the chaos. Kingdoms form, fight, and fall… only to give rise to larger kingdoms who start the process all over again. Several kingdoms survive long enough to extend their influence outward and grow to substantial size. Slowly, stability returns to humanity. Roaming armies die away or build stable kingdoms of their own.

918-927 – The kingdoms of Rezu and Loyer form in the section of land that was once Henton.

962 – The western half of Loyer, begins a war for independence from the northern half. Rezu remains neutral, however, several other smaller kingdoms lend their support… secretly hoping to destabilize the entire area and make it easier for a later attack.

965 – The war of independence ends, with Loyer being split into Eastern and Western Loyer. These three kingdoms control the entire continent.

966 – Almost immediatly after peace is achieved, warlords from across the Barrier Sea (Teskwir) who helped Southern Loyer gain its independence, swarm into the area in hopes of easily overtaking the war-weary kingdoms. Rezu lends its aid, and the warlords are defeated. With its most powerful warlords dead or imprisoned, the neighboring continent is thrown into upheaval. Out of this new chaos, a single powerful warlord emerges and begins to unify the small, warring nations

979 – The kingdom of Vaquur forms across the Barrier Sea. This kingdom continues to absorb smaller fiefdoms, and is well on its way to becoming an empire.

990-1012 – The Continental War. Vaquur launches a massive attack on the Rezu, and the Loyer kingdoms. Mighty ships sail across the sea, and huge armies march through the moutains and forests that separate the two continents. Eastern Loyer falls to Vaquur. Through a complex network of spies and espionage, the Rezui discover some of the magical tactics and spells that the Vaquur use. There is much contention concerning the return of magic to the continent, but it is this magic that evens the playing field enough so that the Continental forces force a Vaquur retreat, liberating Eastern Loyer in the process.

1013- 1268 (Present) – The Contenental kingdoms, once allies, now begin to slowly turn against each other. Rezui, now in possession of magic that rivals (and even surpasses) the Vaquur, lay claim to lands of both Eastern and Western Loyer… saying that the lands are owed to them for their assisstance in the war. Naturally, the Loyer kingdoms resist their arguments. Meanwhile, the Vaquur are gone but not forgotten. They continue to build armies and make overtly hostile overtures. Finally, in 1266, the Rezui begin moving troops into both Eastern and Western Loyer.

Magic is rare, although it is more rare in some places (Loyer) than it is in others (Rezu, Vaquur). There is no single authority or brotherhood among the users of magic… no mages guild, no Orion Group. What few tiny scraps of the Art remain are horded by frightened, greedy mages and passed down only to hand-picked apprentices. Magic is only a fraction of what it was in during the time of the Great Kingdoms and the Orion War… and is almost trivial compared to the ancient magics of the Megiddon. There are secret caches of magical texts, items, and weapons hidden throughout the world… but any useful items are likely to be cursed by the long-dead(?) mages who hid them.

Trilogy
Men of War
Men of War II: Kings of Battle
Men of War III: Lord of Agony

Story 1: Men of War
T and R join a doomed military squad and have a few terrifying encounters before an evil mage teleports them to parts unknown.

Episode 1:

Travis and Rhodrik receive word that they’ve been drafted. They say goodby to their fathers, and receive last miniute gifts/words of wisdom before setting off to the front.

Eposode 2: The Road to War

T and R meet Captain Jonill and the rest of their 15-man squad. T and R train as they travel north to Cesquane, where they hope to join several more squads for an assault into enemy territory. Rhodrik surprises the others with his swordsmanship and fighting skill, and Travis surpsises them with his LACK of the same. They are both resented because they come from well-off families. They make no friends other than Blake, a young boy who befriends Travis, and Captain Jonill himself, who takes Rhodrik ‘under his wing.’ On the way, there is much talk about the Rezui forces. Rumor is that they have hired fearsome giants as mercenaries, and that they have much deadly magic on their side. They arrive at Cesquane to find that it has been devastated by something.

Episide 3: Battlefield: Cesquane
A surprise attack by Rezui forces decimates the squad. After a long, horrible fight, only Captain Jonill, Blake, Trav and Rhod escape. However, the only route left is north… further into enemy territory.

Episode 4: Bad Company
Pursued by a large enemy force, they find another stranded squad… this one composed of thieves and rogues forced into the army for suicide missions. Jonill merges this force with his own and together they defeat another enemy squad, complete with giants and mages. (First appearance of Belthane and Uley)

Episode 5:
The outlaws were supposedly on a mission to distract enemy forces while another team destroyed a large enemy outpost. While wandering, the combined team finds the remains of the other team. They now take on the mission of destroying the outpost, but first they have to fend off a golem attack or two. They reach the outpost and prepare a strategy.

Episode 6:
Squad invades fortress by capturing a convoy and dressing as enemy soldiers.
The get well inside before they are spotted in an area where they shouldn’t be. They fight a battle with a mage and several guards, they kill the mage but are forced to flee… right into the armory, which is guarded by several giants.

Episode 7:
Battle with giants PLUS some more guards and another mage. Brutal. Some of the outlaws die, but thanks to some quick thinking by Travis and some (foolhardy) bravery by Rhod they succeed in cutting down enough opponents to allow them to flee into a hidden passage, at the same time, they set off an explosion that devastates the room.

Episode 8: Fire and Brimstone
The group search for a way out of the burning fort, and finds the office of the commander. They nab a map, but the commander arrives, with more guards and yet another mage. The group kills them and escapes from the rapidly-burning fort.

Episode 9:
The group licks their wounds. Jonill discovers that the map leads to a hidden tower of MAJOR importance… it contains the key to the enemy offensive. There is a big argument about whether to return to safer ground, or go and investigate the tower. The remaining outlaws want to flee, but Jonill knows that, after destroying the fort, safe passage back home would be impossible. A fight erupts, with Jonill and Rhod fighting Bethane. Jonil wins, but only with Rhod’s help. They decide to go for the tower.

Episode 10:
Travelling deeper into enemy territory, the group face increasingly more difficult enemy patrols. Some they attack, others they avoid. There is a surprising number of mages in the patrols, and they all seem to be casting the same spells. Finally they reach the tower. It is a recent construction jutting from the rocky side of a mountain. It is surrounded by soldiers and giants. Dozens of magi float in and out of its high windows. It looks as if THIS is the headquarters for the enemy invastion.

Episode 11:
The team sneaks into the tower using a similar tactic as before… disguised as soldiers and prisoners. They succeed this time, and, rather than fight their way through a tower full of soldiers, they explore silently. They find many strange things, some of which are traps.

[END OF FILE]

That’s it for this story. I do remember certain things about what was going to happen next, but those notes aren’t written anywhere and are just floating around in my memory. Probably the only thing of interest is this:
The group discovers ancient sources of power in their journeys, and one of the kids appears to have a natural talent for using this ancient magic. I can’t say which of the kids it is, either Travis or Rhod. From the character descriptions you’d think it would be Travis, BUT my gut is telling me that it is really Rhod that becomes an uber-mage. I can’t remember if this is what I was GOING to do or if it is what I WOULD do if I was writing the story now. Making Travis the mage is so… predictable… I can’t imagine me doing that these days. Anyway, back to what I’m sure of. The new uber-mage is, over time, corrupted by his new power (thus the title of the third story: Lord of Agony) and it is up to the OTHER kid to stop him. It ends tragically. That is essentially the story of the three “novels” that would contain this tale.


3 Comments

  1. Loki, October 13, 2007:

    Just finished it. Bout the ‘uber-mage’, kinda see why you would make Rhod the uberness.

    Reminds me alot of like Terry Brooks. Also a bit like Robert Jordan. Good thing though;)

  2. DarkIcon, October 13, 2007:

    Never read any Robert Jordan, believe it or not.
    But Brooks is The Man.

  3. Loki, October 13, 2007:

    :O!!! SACRILEAGE!!!

    RJ is a must read.

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