When I finished book one of the first vision of my story in 2009 under the title, The Dark Traveler, I had churned out a 43-page prologue. Yikes! Just a tad verbose wouldn’t you say?
My current editor chuckled after I told her, indicating, “That is not a prologue…it is a chapter.”
Writing a prologue is optional depending on the message you want to convey. If you do plan to use one ensure it is succinct, preferably no more than five pages and tie it to your ending, i.e. bring it full circle.
I have included the prologue from the new version of my story, The Cradle of Destiny below. In future blogs, I will only be using small excerpts to illustrate a technique and specific point.
My blog is not just about the creative process and what inspires us to write. It is also about the Sy’Arrian Legacy series; what I have gone through to bring it this far and what it will take to ensure its continued growth. Lets get to it shall we?
The Ties That Bind
“Every man is his own ancestor and every man his own heir. He devises his own future, and he inherits his own past.” – H.F. Hedge
He stood on the very precipice of lunacy and truth; the smooth stone surface beneath his feet rumbling with the aftershocks of what had just happened. He looked towards the blood-soaked skyline for answers. Thick, black smoke picked up by the slow building breeze clouded his view, its stench coating his nostrils. He squinted through his own tears for an answer that would never come. His soul was battered and his spirit mortally wounded. How could this have happened?
The breeze morphed into a vigorous wind wrapping his tattered battle cloak around his tall frame as the warnings of his father whispered in his ears. The tall man’s gaze fell back upon the sweaty, soot stained face of the young man who lay limp in his arms, the savior of a legacy torn asunder. Despite the prevailing wind, the young man’s short-cropped, stark white hair was pressed firmly against his forehead; a sign of the exertion he had endured to save the few who remained.
Lourous Mirriam, High Leader of the Cri’lin Council shifted his footing. The wounded and dying lay scattered haphazardly around him, their gargled groans tearing at his disbelief. Some crawled, some limped, while others lay crumpled against blown out and cracked walls marking the perimeter of his beloved city. Both friend and foe had not been spared from the unrestrained violence demonstrated on this day; a day Lourous knew would change the course of Akasha’s flow in the universe.
Yet, despite the decimation, Lourous stood before a glimmer of hope whose purpose had previously been an enigma to his people. The dual pillars forming its main structural base extended over 150 feet curving at its highest point. It stopped short of completing a solid arc as the ends split apart to form thin lines extending above and below the tips. The thin lines connected with one another to form a diamond shaped pattern to finally complete the arc’s true shape. Its smooth, turquoise colored stone surface displayed an ageless quality. Runes of unknown origins decorated its surface on both sides up to the highest point. The arc had been here when his people first colonized the planet over 400 years ago; it had been a beacon to help land their ships and served as an integral part in their development as a race.
The Arc of Rydair framed the horizon overlooking the ocean of Angira, which seemed impervious to the mayhem played out before it. The arc’s runes pulsated a deep blue as a muted hum emitted from the area immediately surrounding it. Both the sound and energetic blue runes cut through the thick clouds of smoke to help those who could still move on their own escape through the stone arch to safety.
The last survivor of his people stopped briefly to make eye contact with their leader prior to stepping in to the arc. Her long gray hair whipped around in the strong wind, the piercing nature of her green eyes stabbing at his heart. The nightclothes she wore were stained with dirt and ripped in several locations. He surmised she had been sleeping when the horror had torn her from a peaceful slumber. Her bare feet stood firm.
Through the haze they managed to make eye contact. To his surprise, she smiled and mouthed a silent, “Thank you.” He nodded reverently as she resumed her pace and disappeared.
The grating of loose gravel beneath his feet signaled another shift in his movement. Strangely, the weight of the boy in Lourous’ arms was not sapping his strength but he knew it would not last if he did not make his exit soon.
He paused and chuckled to himself in spite of the environment around him. At six feet tall with a slender frame and defined muscle, the figure cradled in Lourous’ arms was by no means a boy. The young man had just recognized his 100th birthday a few days prior but from the perspective of a race whose people live well past the age of 800, he was still just a boy. A rasping sound over Lourous’ right shoulder pulled his attention.
Lourous followed the streaks of blood staining the stone surface with his eyes until he spotted a lone figure propped against a fallen rock wall. They narrowed in focused hatred when he recognized the author of his people’s massacre; Alexis Striken.
“Alexis!” Lourous’ voice deepened with justifiable disgust. “I should kill you right now.”
“As satisfying as that may sound to you right now, I doubt your self-righteous warrior code would allow it.” Alexis coughed laboriously expelling small droplets of blood in his hand.
“How could you? These were your own people.”
“Spare me your Sy’Arrian platitudes, Lourous. My people stopped being such when they abandoned my father effectively resigning him to his death. If I were not so badly wounded, I would finish what I started!” The veins in his neck bulged with rage.
“The tragedy that claimed your father’s life, Alexis had nothing to do with us. We did not even know what had happened until after the fact. Need I remind you it was the actions of terrorists who took him from you not our inability to act swiftly?”
“Lies! He would not have been in that situation had your father given mine the support he needed to solidify the Confederation.”
Lourous shook his head in dismay. “Whatever false reality you have chosen to believe, Alexis, it does not justify genocide! If it were not for this young warrior all would have been lost.”
“Even I am amazed at the sheer power the young one displayed here today. It is like nothing any Sy’Arrian has been able to accomplish – it is a mutation. It must be! Even you cannot deny it, Lourous.”
“What I cannot deny, Alexis, is the vile cruelty you exacted on this day. Merciless, dishonorable and cowardly.”
“Ha! Brave words spoken by countless leaders of many civilizations who faced their own mortality not fully understanding their usefulness had come to an end. You know what I say about the young one is true. You simply lack the fortitude to do what is necessary to keep the natural order of the universe intact.”
“You are correct, Alexis,” Lourous’ steely admission caught Alexis off guard. “But what is undeniable is your fear of this young man. Indeed, there is something about him I cannot immediately discern and, although I am uncertain as to how he fits in to future events, I sense he is the binding tie that will mend the wound you opened so profusely on this day.”
Alexis’s wide-eyed expression was the last thing Lourous saw as he walked towards the Arc of Rydair resigned to go wherever fate willed him. It was what Alexis screamed next that stopped Lourous’ forward movement.
“You do not defy me, Lourous! No matter where you hide, where the other survivors hide nor where the mutation cradled in your arms hides, I will not rest until you are all dead!”
Lourous inhaled deeply as he committed the last official decision of his leadership to memory. “So it begins.”
He stepped in to the arc allowing his essence and the one he carried to be transported across the galaxy to a predetermined location; the screams of prophetic doom uttered by Alexis slowly fading in the cold expanse of space.
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