When all else fails, summon some random person from Earth, they are always so awesome…
So as I mentioned in my previous post, I listened to this song, The Call, performed by Regina Spektor, and a story started to grow in my head. And that story took me back to the imaginary world of Oktagonien, which I wrote about last November, during the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As regular readers will know, I take NaNoWriMo off each year to dabble in writery.
At first, I was somewhat unsure whether this would be a reboot or a sequel, but it pretty quickly became a sequel. Evidently the previous hero at some point left Oktagonien for good, and the Book found its way to a new high-school boy.
There is actually a reason why I pick 17-18 year old boys as my protagonists so often. Well, three reasons, since in this part of the world that is where they most frequently lose their virginity. Boys will consistently lie about this from around the age of 15, so those who are still virgins by this time tend to be pretty desperate. It is the time when the male sex drive reaches its top, almost two decades earlier than the female. -_- Intelligent design, huh? Well, I suppose it may have come in handy in the Stone Age, when most men died young.
The other reason is that 18 is the “normal” time when young men first manifest schizophrenia. Or so I’ve been told, and it seems so to my limited experience with them. So this lets me keep both the main character and the reader guessing as to whether we’re actually seeing a magical world or just another sad psychiatric case.
Finally, there is a lot of anime about high school boys and girls, which I can use for inspiration. Although in this case, the lands (and furries) of Oktagonien are a lot more like Skyrim than Dog Days. And it is not like I have not written about sexy squirrel girls before. “Lesbian squirrels” used to be a running joke for a while, years before one appeared in Dog Days’ Dash. (The current, second season.)
Now, the squirrels. In my original Oktagonien story, Timelands, there were three races of cuddly furries: The dog people of Dogland (the western continent), the cat people of Catagonia (eastern continent, connected by a narrow land bridge), and the rodent people of Mousinana (the southern subcontinent). Together, their lands constituted the Empire as we knew it. In the northern lands and the mountains lived the spider people, an elder race which had immigrated to the continent in historical times and had originally raided and enslaved the furries. They were well-behaved citizens in Timelands, although the other races were still wary around them.
In the new story, the snake people from the eastern Serpent Isle have rediscovered ancient magics used for seafaring and navigation. Or perhaps they have invented new ones, but the general belief is that they have found them – such things were common in the Golden Age. They have become their world’s counterpart of the Vikings, raiding the nearest continent, which happens to be Catagonia. As the Empire fortifies its coastal towns, the snakes stir up rebellion by giving a group of malcontent spider-men access to their communication magic (seemingly on a similar level to two-way radio). Using this, the young and rash spiders overthrow their Elder Council. Due to the spiders’ alienation from the three other races, it is entirely too easy for the rebels to gain the upper hand and launch an ethnic war against the three younger races.
However when ships from Serpent Isle manage to make their way all the way around the two continents, they happen upon the Western Isles, which is populated by squirrel people. These capture a snake vessel and are able to copy their navigation magic (probably a simple compass), but not their communication device. Being already excellent shipbuilders, the squirrels combine their own skill with what they can learn from the captured craft, and create the best ships since the Golden Age. They come over to the mainland and soon ally with the other furries against the double invasion. So that’s why we have a party of a warrior dog, a mage cat, a ninja mouse and an alchemist squirrel, plus the new Emperor. (That’s what humans are called in Oktagonien.)
While the earlier Emperors have come to Oktagonien on their own, this one is the first to be summoned. This has its own complexities, although I have not written much about that yet. So that’s where the song comes in. “You’ll come back when they call you – no need to say goodbye.” Evidently the previous Emperor was the one who came up with the idea of the summoning, but for some reason the furry “temporary” rulers who took care of the Empire while he was gone, never thought it was a good idea to have him summoned or let anyone else ever know that it was possible… until the snakes and spiders are overrunning the empire and OMG we’re all gonna die!!!11 At which point 2000 years have passed, which translates into 2 years in the real world, and the Book is back in the library, waiting for some other inexperienced teen to take it home…
“I’ll come back when you call me – no need to say goodbye.” Heh.