Because in the end you have to show, not tell
In this installment I provide a brief peek at a character who figures “highly” in the history of the Lands, but whose personal history goes much deeper.
Yula is a Dwarven warrior and one of the mainstay fighters in the adventuring band known as the Candidates. He began life in the wrong city and as far from fortune as anyone ever born. Yula never shirked danger, never let down his comrades, and wound up on the highest throne in the Lands. Who says you can’t come home again?
In the fewest possible words– do not get me started.
It’s not just that Yula is the Emperor of Argens, it’s how he got there. And how little, how microscopically tiny is the portion of his tale that’s leaked out so far. He’s a great hero, in what was arguably the greatest band of adventurers the Lands of Hope ever saw. The tale of his struggle, the redemption of his hopes and how an empire had to fall rather than his friends, is simply too big for me. At least right now.
So what? So this– Yula and the Candidates are a perfect example of the kind of depth writing can use. What percentage of your raw notes makes it into the finished product? Doesn’t matter who you are, what genre of fiction you write these days, I can answer the question definitively.
On the first draft, when it’s still so cool and you can’t stand it, out comes reams of background and detail and fab world-building. And of course, it has to go. But where?
In thirty years of Hope-watching I saw Yula practically from the start, followed him all the way to the throne. I’m still not sure it’s a tale I can tell.
He and his band got their start in 1995 ADR (you will see the Candidates briefly near the start of The Eye of Kog, upcoming sequel to Judgement’s Tale). All through the latter days of other adventuring bands, the Restorants and Tributarians, plus the storied solo careers of men like Trekelny and Judgement, the Candidates were the ones making the headlines. But you see just a peek here and there.
Simple really. When I thought about trying to write Yula’s saga my fingers froze. But when I wrote about the REST of the Lands, in which Yula and his companions were such a major part– then it all came out like water from a sluice-gate. He’s in the background, part of the tons of pressure making these current tales come spiking out as if shot from a cannon. You hear soldiers singing derisively about the “stubby little carker” in The Ring and the Flag; Hansen interviews Justin at the start, Morinack is referenced as the puppeteer behind the scenes. And Kama, the healer of the Candidates, is a supporting figure in Fencing Reputation. I’ve been privileged to learn about these marvelous characters, and to see so much about this world over their shoulders.
Yula slew Viridian XXVII, the demon unmasked, in personal combat, probably one of the most puissant feats of battle seen since the days of the heroes.
Yula has surely dispatched more of the Greater Demons than any being alive. He banned the drug trade, freed slaves all over his dominions, sent out brave souls to recolonize the Far Mark; it’s only been two years, give him time. So many things going on in the Southlands are ripples from actions the Candidates took. But he’s just the usurper they love to hate, a distant figure on a throne in the capital, surrounded by his sorcerous northern allies and brewing yet more trouble for right-thinking folk. They don’t know him, not like I do.
My Nokia Refocus lens has on-board edit functions that help prep the photos before sending. I think this is the first time I used afternoon light for my session, and a standing lamp near the table which also helped. The close-up shots of faces still lack some focus (other shots, the focus is off on purpose, like here).
Let me know how I’m doing! Rooting around for these figs made me honestly nostalgic for painting again. I have SO many unpainted ones in the basement… but it would take at least $100 to restock the paint supplies alone.