Here we go, we’re now in 2019 and let me tell ya—I feel fine. I’m actually confident that this will be a bright year. Sure, this country’s ongoing disaster is showing no signs of slowing down, quite the opposite rather, but I’m not going to let that stop me. I’m still stuck at the most crucial step of our escape: obtaining visas to migrate legally, but despite that I feel just fine—haven’t felt this optimistic in a while, it’s a strange feeling that I can’t quite describe properly.

I guess I’m finally paying attention to Zeta Gundam’s opening song, I’m “Believing a sign of Zeta Beyond the hard times from now.”

For the past couple of years I’ve envisioning a fiction universe in my head, but it wasn’t until fall of 2016 that I actually got serious about giving it form. Two years later and here I am, with a complete (and quite long) first draft.

The end result of two years of work.

At first, I only had a basic quartet of characters and a very raw idea of what I wanted that world to be, as well as a few key events in a very rudimentary and abstract timeline—I didn’t even had thought of possible titles. I was aiming to finish the draft around the first half of 2018 and having it published by the end of the year but, with all that happened well—let’s just say I had to scale down my ambitions. 

I was aiming to finish the draft by December, and I’m quite happy with myself because I actually managed to finish it right before New Year’s Eve. This is my first large scale (and serious) foray into writing, I’ve only dabbled in small projects with friends in the past, some of which go way back to my Jedi Outcast adventures in 2003.

I guess I was never aware of the fact that I actually liked writing stories until recent years. I always aspired to have a career in computer stuff, but fate placed me behind an office desk before I furthered my studies. Yet, that desire remained in my head, the problem was that I lacked time (and motivation perhaps) to start it up. There’s also the fact that when you spend all day writing, printing, archiving, and stamping documents the last thing you want to do when you’re at home is fire up a word processor and type.

The past years have been rough for my family, in a way, I guess writing became some sort of relief from it all. A way to create something unique in a country prone to entropy and collapse, something that has been brewing up in that introverted head of mine for so long is finally taking form.

I’ve shared very minor details about this novel here and there during these past two years, but I suppose it’s time to start talking about it with more detail. Without further ado, here’s a few (introductory?) words regarding Sword of the Nation

Sword of the Nation is the first chapter in what I aspire to be, a series of books spanning sequels and prequels. The first act is comprised of three books: Sword, Sins, and Soul

The first chapter of this saga, which takes place on a fictional planet, focuses on the Nation of Vaifen, one of the last nation-states in Orbis. Vaifen is ruled by the long standing Starsong monarchy. Its capital, Ternion, is the seat of the three fundamental pillars that guide the proud nation: The Crown, the Senate, and the Tribunal. 

Approximately three decades before the start of this book, the humans of that planet had a visit from a foreign race: The Nasivern. Armed by an unfaltering faith to their mother deity, Sollente, the Nasivern came not as conquerors—but rather as protectors of life, having experienced firsthand the horrors of a gruesome war that nearly decimated their kind.

These heirs of sin were met with rightful and justified distrust, yet their technology was highly coveted by the nations of Orbis, most importantly, by the ever expanding Union of Nations that now encompassed most of the globe. 

During that time, Vaifen was at its darkest hour. A one-sided war with the Republic of Svarzfal had place the smaller nation-state in a most dire situation. The Nasivern chose to side with Vaifen in the conflict, turning the tide towards a decisive and resolute Vaifen victory and earning the Crown’s eternal gratitude in the process.

The Nasivern had become a deterrent against other Nations, and the Union itself. A brief period of technological exchange followed which rapidly pushed Orbis’ technology forward. The Nasivern however, were very cautious with what they decided to share with Vaifen and the rest of the world, they had their own fair share of unanswered questions, for they were still at their very first steps when it came to space faring.

They had changed the world of Orbis indeed, but that calm period was not meant to last. The Nasivern had to wage a war on their own against an invading force known as the Estremoz, which culminated with the fall of Nineveh, their capital. Even though they were vastly outnumbered, the Nasivern emerged victorious in the end—but their victory was not worth celebrating.

Less than a hundred thousand Nasivern survived the war, their flames, which once burned as bright as the stars themselves, were reduced to mere flickers. Their planet was rendered uninhabitable, and most of their highly sought secrets remain buried in the ruins of Nineveh, inaccessible for the humans of Orbis.

Sword’s story begins two and a half decades after the fall of Nineveh. Vaifen is once again under siege, this time, a group that calls itself “The Ashen Reckoning” has unleashed a wave of terror upon the Nation’s main cities. Thousands have perished in a series of relentless terrorist attacks, and there is no end in sight to them.

The Ashen Reckoning is led by an individual only known as ‘Dogma’, their goal is simple: To “free” Vaifen from what they perceive are the shackles of the trinity that rules over its people, so that they may forge a new path in freedom.

Political turmoil is another problem in the besieged nation. The upcoming senate elections have the potential to shake down Vaifen’s core governance. Senator Thomas Easton of the New Vaifen Front has rapidly risen up as a new political force in the nation and could very well be the new Prime Minister by the end of the year.

A man with a silver tongue, Easton’s promises of reshaping the traditional precepts of Vaifen’s constitution and reducing—if not outright removing—the monarchy, replacing it with a system were the people are in “direct power of their future” have begun to resonate among Vaifen’s citizens.

A growing general consensus among the populace is that authorities have been incompetent when it comes to dealing with the Ashen Reckoning, some would even add indolence to the list of adjectives. These sentiments have been capitalized by Easton’s campaign with great success.

The King, aware that he nation he swore to defend is facing enemies both external and internal, has created a new initiative: Gestalt. Led by the head of the National Intelligence Center, General James Exley, one of the very few men in Vaifen that have the King’s absolute trust.

The unit is to be comprised of the finest sons and daughters of Vaifen, the most exemplary and outstanding in their respective areas of expertise. Armed with bleeding edge technology and wearing suits based on the highly advanced armors that the Nasivern once wore in battle; the small unit is tasked with stopping the threat of the Ashen Reckoning, to do what others haven’t been able to and secure peace to Vaifen once more.

That’s more or less an initial look at the core premise of the book and a quick glance at the overall setting. There are certain Tokusatsu influences in how Gestalt operates and behaves, such as the group being comprised of five people with color-coded suits, unique gadgets, and all that. Toku was after all, a large part of my childhood (it still is), even my mom grew up watching Ultraman. With that in mind, the large bulk of the story focuses on the antics of these five guys.

The first iteration of their suits (BS-100 Series: ‘Nightingale’) is a key figure in this chapter of the story, they’re similar to each other aside from minor differences (just like Sentai/Power Rangers does it), over the course of these first three books you’ll see rapid advancements in Gestalt’s technology (and funding) which will pave the way for a more specialized line of suits, distinct to one another (more akin to Kamen Rider/Metal Hero), which highlight the strengths that each team member brings to the table and their unique forms of combat.

Sure, there’s plenty of action, but there’s also wholesome, heartfelt, and comedic moments, many of which are inspirited by my own life (albeit in a more exaggerated and fanciful portrayal). I’ve also placed some of my vices (and virtues I suppose?) across a range of characters with the hopes of making them more human and unique.

Things like “Should you be burdened with the need to equal or surpass the legacy of those that came before you? Should you carve your way through history by your own means instead?” Your role in the grand scheme of things, finding your place in a world that may not ever fully accept or understand you or what you for it, and the Greater Good™ are among the themes that I want to explore with this story as well. You can tell I took some of these outta myself (I mean, I’m the son of one of a woman that was one of the most accomplished doctors in her branch and I haven’t amounted to much in my life so far).

Family, friendship, duty, and loyalty are some of the aspects that define the five members of the core group. In a way you could say that these men and women running in blue, yellow, green, pink, and red are the Crown’s very own modern knights of the round.

The world of Orbis itself isn’t that different from ours; still far from space-faring and all that but with enough fiction elements to portray a pseudo-futuristic setting. The aesthetics of Ternion are a mix of a traditional architecture with the modernity of the future. Technology retrofits the long standing edifices for the sake of convenience without forsaking the structures of the past, one example of this is Estival Station, which is featured in the book’s prologue.

When it comes to the politics of it, I want to create something timeless that doesn’t get stuck with our current political landscape/language. This is a big flaw in most fiction stuff right now (talking about you, Marvel/DC comics) that I don’t want to fall into—and I say this as a man that has lived two thirds of his life under the same Socialist regime and just wants his brother to have a future outside of this mess, also I’m at constant risk of getting gulag’d for “hate speech”  due to wrong-think and all that.

As for the whole history regarding the Nasivern’s fall, rise from the ashes, and eventual demise, that’s something I very much want to explore in a book or two, hence the plan for prequels. Nasivern history is a whole other beast of its own. Some of their tenets and history is spilled over these first three books for sure though.

There’s much more to this world’s mythos, but I don’t wanna blow it all at once. I’ve been working on plenty of lore elements, some of which I’ve tried to write as correspondence from the perspective of certain characters so as to give these lore entries some narrative uniqueness.

Over the next days, I will start polishing it as much as I can and decide a handful of names that I’m still unsure about. I have a mountain load of lore pending for the entire project as well. At the same time, I need to start figuring out the whole editing/publishing aspect of this whole thing. That being said, I’m open to suggestions considering the limitations that my country’s situation impose.

Hopefully this brief introduction to the Nation of Vaifen piques your curiosity. This is something I’ve been working for so long and I can’t wait to show it to you all.

My goal with Sword, Sins, and Soul of the Nation (and all that comes later), is to entertain, to amuse, to hopefully inspire that hero that resides in all of us. But most importantly, to create something unique that persists through time. I know fiction, comics, and everything else is going through a rough and insipid time so, at the risk of sounding pretentious and over my head, I hope that this is something that freshens up things a bit and shatters some of the monotony that shrouds fiction right now.

Hopefully, this will all materialize soon. This is 2019 after all, and 2019 is /ouryear/.

-Kal


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