The Squire

Hi there... been a while, yeah?

Lemme just blow the dust off of this World and we can get started. How embarrassing. It's been what, almost a year since I've written an article in The Web? Oof...
 
This article aims to accomplish three goals:
  1. It will tease what I'm working on, the quotes establishing the first moments of my latest story, and this time the story is in The Web!

  2. It will explain how I'm doing things differently compared to The Void Between, not just to inform, but also to get feedback on whether it's a good idea or not.

  3. It will serve as a landing page with all article blocks in the proper reading order listed at the end of the article.
 

Let us begin...

 
Provost Ellestrom hands me a file. It seems remarkably light compared to my last assignment. It's rare for her to personally hand out fieldwork, especially to someone like me. I'm basically an intern.   She sits in a chair at the head of a long table, leaned back with her hands in her lap. Her blue eyes lock onto me in a cold stare, her black hair tied into a bun to keep it out of her face. Her suit is immaculate, well-tailored. My god, I can't even imagine how much it cost.   The table feels more like a vast field of black and white granite. It separates us in more than just distance. Her eyes never glance away. I jostle in my seat on impulse. I know this look well. She's sizing me up, wondering if I can even handle what she's throwing at me.   I open the file, trying not to panic. Inside is a sheet of paper, a document detailing an anomaly we've been studying for years yet have no information on: The Grail Knights.   "Languages?" She asks.   I look up, cocking my head. She should know what languages I speak. She has my dossier right in front of her.   Oh, right. It's a test. Everything's a test with her.   I reply, my answer short and to the point, "English, Latin, and French."   "Weapons training?"   "Type 1."   Ellestrom nods. "You can requisition a handgun before you leave then." Before I can reply, she speaks again, "Any experience in fencing?" She cracks a smile.   "What?" I cross my arms, and stutter, "I- why would I even need that."   She leans forward, resting her arms on the table. "You do know what The Grail Knights are, right?"
       
The Web is one of my favorite worlds. Some of my best writing can be found here, which is to say that some of the writing I'm most proud of can be found here. However, since its creation, The Web lacked a direction. It was a setting that only existed to world build for my first novel, one I hope to finish editing soon.   Whether you're returning like an old friend or here for the first time, if coming from The Void Between you may notice some key problems in using the similar format and style in The Web. The Void Between tells a complete story alongside its worldbuilding, from the first article to the most recent. The Web is much bigger, almost twice the word count, and carries its own weight as a traditionally created world.   Instead of the world telling a story as a whole, I want to scale things down and discuss some of the minute details of the world. I tentatively refer to major plots in The Void Between as "Seasons." In The Web, think of it as a miniseries. This will hopefully help with how overwhelming following a story is, given how intimidating the number of articles in The Void Between can be.
 
"Grail knights? Sure, but am I going to be fighting one? A gun usually beats a sword."   "Depends on the sword," Ellestrom replies. "You leave tomorrow. One of the Knights, Sir Boris, agreed to have a shadow from the university in exchange for access to our resources." She leans forward, points to the folder, and continues, "That file is all we know about them. It's pathetic." She laughs I'm almost afraid to stay silent, but far too intimidated to play along and laugh with her.   She gives a sigh. "Loosen up, Mccollough. This is your shot. I expect that folder to be filled to bursting when you get back. Doesn't matter how you do it."   My heart leaps to my throat and my jaw drops. "You mean I'm in?"   "You will be. I'll make sure of it."   I'm not sure why I'm excited. Situations like this happen all the time. "I understand. I don't mean to sound ungrateful but, why me? There are far better scholars who would love this opportunity."   "Yes, but, seeing as they're far better, it'd be more of a risk. It's dangerous. Sir Boris specifically asked for one of our engineers. You've been working on our vehicles for a few years. Your skillset matches the job and you're expendable." She stops then quickly adds, "No offense."   I blink at her for a moment then manage a reply, "None taken. That's fair."
   

The Squire

 
The squire follows University Scholar hopeful, Casey Mccollough. She attempts to study The Grail Knights, an enigmatic group in The Web.   She does this by shadowing Sir Boris, one of the oldest Grail Knights. She will train, learn all there is to know about his order, and in return offer her own skills as a scholar of English Folklore to answer his own pressing questions regarding his true nature.   The grail knights are quasi-immortals, some claiming to be figures from Arthurian legend. Their memory isn't as good as it used to be, however. Immortal Decay has set in for most of them. Casey, herself, will be pulled between two worlds, her loyalties always teetering on a fine line as the story progresses. I don't know. I mean, who knows what could happen...
       

Let's Talk About Casey

If you're a fan of The Void Between, you're likely familiar with The Archivist, the lovable, sassy, and kinda terrifying narrator. When I started writing in that world, I wanted the narrator to have an almost Shakespearean quality, as if he is not just dispensing information, but also engaging in a passionate performance.   Casey is not The Archivist. She's just as capable of witty banter and sassy in her own way, but at the end of the day, she's just an intern seeking promotion. The University is a highly meritocratic organization, and it's hard as hell to get your foot in the door.   The only reason she was chosen for the assignment is the danger of it. They don't want to risk their membership, but by God, they're sending someone. The knights have proved difficult to study, eluding the university's every attempt to gather data. They need this to happen.
 

Voice and Style

Since Casey is a scholar, it stands to reason that her narration will be less... theatrical than in The Void Between. Woah, hold on. Calm down. I get it. I'm disappointed too. Lol   This is why she's inexperienced, and why tiny flickers of her personality will shine through the narration. It's why the story is told in 1st person, as well. That being said, she also is encouraged to make the report truly her own, incorporating her own voice into the report you'd be reading. For this reason, worldbuilding will be presented in many different ways.   Sometimes you'll be reading her reports, much in the way you'd read most other articles. Sometimes you'll get notes coupled to transcripts of conversations, journal entries, passing thoughts, and more. You won't be reading the file she's compiling for Camilla Ellestrom. You, my dear readers, are spectators riding along in Casey's head.
 
"I have one request," Ellestrom says, raising a finger. "Please make it interesting. Test theories and get your hands dirty. Don't be afraid to jump in the trenches."   "Of course," I reply.   She shakes her head and stands up. "I mean it. This is your first time on a real assignment. Not the busy work we usually give you. Show Initiative and get it done."   "Wouldn't want it any other way," I reply.   She nods and gives me a smile. "This is quite an experience for you, so try to have fun in between any life-threatening situations, okay. You'll be answering directly to me."   "What do you mean?"   She starts to pace up and down the length of the table. "I mean you're off the books here. You won't have anyone breathing down your neck. I'll be your contact and I'll be the one to receive your final report. Don't worry, I won't steal the credit." I nod in reply and she continues, her voice rising with every word, "and please dear god, let it not be the same dry, pretentious crap I get from the other scholars. Make it fun to read. "   I laugh, despite trying to hide it. She sees my smile and her body loosens. "Good. Get some sleep. You meet Sir Boris tomorrow afternoon."
   

Mysteries and Reliability

 
The Void Between is a world of many secrets. It's a world of unreliable narratives, biases, twists, and big reveals. This story is not. Casey knows what she's talking about and is trained in her field. She's not going to lie to you. Most of her assumptions will be correct or corrected as the story progresses.   That's not to say the story won't have any surprises. Far from it, but I don't want to leave loose ends. By the end of the story, the only questions left unanswered will be ones that are intentionally left behind, and in a way where one can easily rationalize why.   This opens up new possibilities I want to explore with The Web. It's the real world, after all, our world. Casey may cite sources, these sources being actual books and studies in the real world. She'll use practical skills and knowledge to blur the line between fiction and reality.
   

Meta

Finally, I'm gonna do my usual thing and talk about the themes and inspirations for the story before it begins, not just to inform, but to keep myself on track as we go. I wrote The Grail Knights article and began working on the plot of this story in May of 2020. While Arthurian legend has a role, it was inspired by one of the more infuriating symptoms of ADHD and other disorders: a lack of object permanence and a tendency to forget. Out of sight, out of mind.   It's never intentional, but I easily forget things no matter how important they are. We're not just talking meds here. It could be tasks, grammar rules, goals, and promises. I forget to eat all the time. I forget to sleep. I even forget people exist, as weird as that sounds. The Grail knights are reflecting this. They forget their families, their friends, and even forget the promise they made to gain their immortality. They can't fulfill this promise if they don't know what it is, and it keeps them clinging to life when they'd rather move on.   They start to wonder why. They start to question their convictions and become unable to trust themselves. This kind of mind is a maze, a prison filled with demons. They're haunted by nightmares, half-formed memories populated by those they once knew, now faceless and unrecognizable. They have no sense of object permanence, able to shrug off the death of a friend until one day it finally hits them like a ton of bricks. They're gone, and they never had a chance to mourn. It's a brutal way to live.
     
Okay, no more pretentious nonsense. Let's get down to business. Don't forget to stay safe, stay hydrated, and loosen your jaw.   Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy it. The articles will roll out when they are ready!
     

The Squire

If there was a theme song, it would be this.
   
 

Sir Boris

Squires

Contracts and Contests


 

Honor and Chivalry

The Oath

The Questing Beast


 

The Grail Knights

The Isle of Apples

The Monument


 

The Lake Hag

Maidens of Avalon

The Stone


 

The Chalice



Cover image: by Ricardo Cruz

Comments

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29 Aug, 2021 13:52

Oooooh, yes, I'm very excited for this! As a big fan of arthurian legends, and the complexity that comes with the entire package, I'm looking forward to reading this story!   Unrelated but the deal about immortality and Immortal Decay remind me a lot about a solo RPG called the Thousand Years Old Vampire, which I vividly recommend you check out as I think you'll be very interested in its themes!

Author of Interarcanum !
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
29 Aug, 2021 13:58

OMG! TYOV IS WHERE I FIRST SAW THE IDEA USED! It's what inspired immortal decay. Omg yes! I want it so bad but I have yet to play it.   Also yes! I'm excited as well. Glad you are too!

29 Aug, 2021 15:52

OOOH!!! AMAZING!! I'm so glad you know the game! Have you seen / heard about the companion book???

Author of Interarcanum !
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
29 Aug, 2021 18:01

A companion book?!

1 Sep, 2021 10:27

I'm so excited to see a return to the Web. Bitter sweet as I love the Void between also. But hell Arthurian flavors splashed across a world our own but not quite our own. Hell ya. I am excited.


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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
1 Sep, 2021 14:33

I'm excited as well. No worries though. I'll be back at the void between eventually!

9 Sep, 2021 18:06

I really needed that reminder to unclench my jaw after just finishing reading the Void Between S2 finale xD   This is super exciting though. I already REALLY LOVE the idea and theming behind the Grail Knights, and Casey seems like an absolutely wonderful protagonist and narrator. This is gonna be fun, I can't wait. Great writing, Dylon :D


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Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
6 Nov, 2021 22:56

Hell yeah I love The Web, I'm definitely jazzed to see this! Interesting to hear that the Grail Knights were inspired by your own struggles, glad you found an outlet there.

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