History of World's End, Part 4

This probably merits mention: somewhere along my writing process, two characters who would later become rather important in the World's End universe came to exist.

The first was Ytha. Or was it Iyitha, or Aethiya, or Ythaea? Well, let's ignore the problems I had in deciding upon her name for now. Regardless, she was a certain strange character who existed from close to the beginning. Throughout the early iterations of the story that became World's End, Ytha was supposed to be a second-tier NPC who, for whatever reason, helped Aizu along on his quest. (Aizu was still male yet, if I dare remind you.)

This character evolved in a slightly curious fashion. From being an eccentric yokel on some backwater island who aided paladin Aizu in finding a means to travel to the mainland in my ancient story, she soon became a rough-tempered bounty hunter, and steadfast minion of exiled Boronachian Intelligence Minister Adasai Tevoran, who followed his sagely advice to the word, even beyond his death.

(Did I mention that Tevoran was originally destined to die at some point? I eventually deemed his death not just too Gandalf-esque, but ultimately entirely unnecessary, to allow it to remain in the story. I'll get to that, as usual, in time.)

Anyway, I'm trying to speak of the character who became Ysabel. Her backstory only became developed later, detailing her reasons for following the character who gradually became the Tevoran we now know. Look, let's just move on for now, as there's another guy we ought to explore.

Ivir was a later invention. As my writing progressed, I gradually came to realize that making an insane Mary Sue paladin the ultimate subject of the story would leave readers feeling alienated (or just bored). There needed to be some sort of everyman, a well-grounded character that would lend a bit of levity to the story — thus Ivir. Ivir was and remained lazy and passive, with a tendency to mouth off at self-declared leaders whose authority he ever failed to recognize.

Ivir's evolution was a bit more nuanced than Ytha's. He started off as a son of rural Boronachian shepherds who left for the Capital and found himself drafted into Boronach's (i.e. Vorona's) army. I changed his upbringing here and there, and had him drift through a variety of jobs such as being a vodka bootlegger, a stable-sweeper, and worse. A constant thread of the story at this time was that he was a reluctant soldier of Boronach, either drafted or joining out of sheer poverty.

This character became Ivan Vaclav. At this point, one matter of definite note is that his mixed Tiervan-Phorian parentage, and indeed the entirety of the characters of his father Tomasz and uncle Milan, didn't remotely exist at this time. Hell, he didn't even smoke. The seeds of his character were sown nonetheless.

My notes imply that I intended a disturbingly notable role for Ivir that now shocks me upon reading it. In the interest of preserving suspense, I can't mention any of that quite yet, so let's just keep going.

So here we are, sitting in the midst of late 2002 now. I lack any means to develop a video game other than with the miserable RPG Maker 95, so for the time, I've abandoned that ambition, but I've developed my world and characters to such an extent that I once again feel they're worthy of inhabiting a novel.

Thoroughly exhausted with my Silmarillion ripoff world-building, I figure now's a good time to actually write a proper narrative, so here I go, and we come to the “Trial of Setoran”. This particular story represents both my most serious attempt yet at narrative writing of this silly plot, and the beginning of the end of the generic RPG quest ideas that started the whole mess off.

To frame it: it was intended as a first-person narrative by Ivir (already pretty close to Ivan's character) detailing the various travails of his group — including Ytha, Marovyr, Aizu and other companions — on their journey to defeat Phorex (already basically Duriken). “Present-day” chapters were alternated with chapters detailing Ivir's past, with my intent being eventually bringing Ivir's story up to the “present day” mid-book and continuing with the rest of the story from there.

I barely got anywhere into it, with a handful of two or three-page chapters. It was spared from being a total shit in that it gave me a reason to flesh these characters out far more than I'd done so before. Nonetheless, after a few more false starts, I gave up on the whole affair for about a year. Seemed like the best idea at the time. Among other now-excised elements, the whole time-traveling soul-possessing demon idea now struck me as particularly dumb.

Looking back, a lot of the material I wrote at this time would prove instrumental to World's End as it is now. Back then, however, I only felt extremely disillusioned, and simply bored, with my creation. I wrote only sporadically, thinking the whole project increasingly worthless.

A faint glimmer of hope for the story came when I conjured certain ideas that resulted in a total re-imagining of the story's universe. Then, around 2004, I discovered RPG Maker 2000, far more robust than its predecessor. Armed with years of accumulated material, I decided I could properly make a game this time! No, really!

And so I began assembling the adventure of Tomasz and Milan Vaclav...

— Complacent