Alternative Prologue 

Here’s an alternative prologue idea. Not sure which one to go with, or whether either of them should be longer.

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Sam stood at the ship’s mast, legs struggling to keep balance on the rapidly shifting vessel. The rain had hardened and now fell in a torrential downpour, and the giant drops stung the arms of Sam as he looked at the clouds above him. This storm was not a natural one. There was something iridescent within the clouds that seemed to make the storm glow from within. Flashes of purple and silver emitted through the mists surrounding them and the ship rocked to and fro in response to the splash of colors. Sam tightened his hands on the rail in front of him without even realizing that he was doing so. The ocean surrounding the ship he stood upon was as dark as an abyss when compared to the flashes from the storm around him. He couldn’t take his eyes away from the choppy seas, semi-believing that if he did so the water would disappear and he would find himself, ship included, falling through the empty air beneath him forever surrounded by the supernatural storm. 
A strong hand landed on Sam’s shoulder causing him to jump and spin around. It was only then that he realized how tightly he had been holding onto the railing. He stretched his sore fingers out as his hands fell to his side. The man in front of him laughed at Sam’s uneasiness, but then walked past him to stare out at the storm surrounding them. His easy laughter quieted as he took in the view. Sam turned back around to stand with his father at the mast, his hands shoved into his pockets lest they betray his fear again. 

“Have you ever seen a Monstrum behave this way?” Sam asked, trying for all the world to appear as if he were debating the weather patterns of summers in the South than the uncertain storms surrounding the two men. A tremor in his voice betrayed his anxiety. He looked to his father, searching for the same notes of fear that he found within himself. Finnick held his back straight with his arms folded behind him. In looks, he shared Sam’s light coloring and stocky build but where Sam personified a growing pup, Finnick had all the dignity of an old St. Bernard. Sam felt himself involuntarily straighten his back as he turned his eyes back out to the sea. 

“Never,” Finnick replied to his son. “It must be a powerful talisman to control such creatures, but where is the holder?”

Unclasping his hands from behind his back, the older man reached down to his boot to pull free an old, copper spyglass. He brought it to his eye to spy through before handing it off to Sam. Sam clutched to the spyglass eagerly, bring the piece to his eye. He focused the eyepiece to the flashes of purple and silver that continue to light up the night sky. Even though he knew what to expect, knew the creatures that would cause such lights, the evidence before him stole the breath from his lungs. Winged eels flew through the clouds as simply as if they maneuvered in the waters. Bolts of electricity shot from their skin and helped light up the night skies, though there skins alone would have been able to do that. Their wings were like gossamer and so translucent that they could only be detected by their hummingbird speed fluttering. Sam had never seen this type of Monstrum before, even as he was sure he had studied every species known to man. There were more than he could conceivably count and they moved like a school of fish surrounding the small patch of ocean that the ship Sam now stood upon covered. 

He lowered the eyeglass and continued to look at the waves of Monstrum surrounding them. The creatures were so far above them that they were no longer distinguishable to the naked eye. The words that his father had just stated about the talisman’s holder reverberated through him as he searched the horizon for another ship. It seemed unlikely that any man or woman would be in this maelstrom controlling these creatures. 

“What has the captain decided to do?” Sam worked hard to control the waver in his voice. 

“What else would William want to do but steer directly into the bloody mass?” Finnick answered, though it was unclear whether he thought the captain’s decision was a good or bad one. The eyeglass slipped from Sam’s sweaty palms and rolled across the ship floor until it came to rest against Finnick’s boot. He reached down and grabbed the piece and carefully stowed it back into his boot. He put a comforting arm around his son’s shoulders and tried to ignore how Sam’s shoulders shook. “Let’s go see what delectable dish Cook has made today. Hey, if we’re lucky, we’ll all die and never have to eat that poor excuse for food again.” 

As the wall of Monstrum compounded behind them and seemed to grow each minute, father and son walked away from what Sam was sure was a portent of their certain death. His father talked beside him about nonsense, obviously an attempt to take his mind off the swirling creatures. Finnick’s words glossed over him though, and Sam chewed his lip while his mind worked furiously. Ignoring the potential power of a talisman that could control these creatures, there must be a reason why they were targeting the Cecile’s Dream specifically. A thought occurred to Sam. His eyes widened as he almost tripped over his feet before his eyes landed on his father’s in panic. Finnick quickly steadied his son, but he let out a resigned sigh as he saw his son’s realization. 

“Charlie,” Sam gasped. “Someone has figured out what Charlie is.”

History of the Monstrum, or How We Got Here

I’ve been in the process of writing a fantasy novel for the last few years, and even used Nanowrimo to help me put the pen to paper. Many things still need to be fleshed out in my world building, however… and so I’ve decided to start with a little history of the creatures at the forefront of my story

In the early days of the 21st century, mankind had little clue as to what manner of creatures lived among them. These creatures, all magical in nature, preferred to keep curious eyes away from themselves and so had no problem with allowing the humans to believe that it was them that controlled the planet. But, as is often the case in these kinds of stories, mankind became selfish and many of them overreached for control over the elements. Technologies had been created, marvelous technologies that rivaled the creatures’ own magic. These technologies, not unlike magic, came with a great price. War, drought, famine, and destruction had reached all corners of the globe hurting the humans as much as it hurt the non-magical creatures that existed among them. 
It wasn’t until the next century that these creatures decided they could no longer sit idly by while the humans destroyed everything that was held dear to them. After agreeing among themselves, they quite suddenly made themselves known. Overnight, everything changed in the world. The greatest battle over control of the planet had been waged, and the humans were barely prepared for it. Even their technology, which had far surpassed anything ever expected, could do little against creatures that seemed capable of controlling the very elements that they came from. The humans came to know them as the monstrum, because to humans they were frightening monsters sent to destroy them. 

The war would have been over in a moment, the monstrum as a united front far outnumbered the already dwindled population of the humans. However, if you for a moment imagined that the monstrum were the righteous, honorable faction in this story, you would be wrong. It is not that the monstrum were all bad any more than they were all good. Instead, the monstrum were very much like the humans they opposed- carrying great capability for both good and bad. In this case, it was that many of the monstrum may have believed themselves to be the good of their species, even when they were clouded by the anger they felt towards the humans they now fought. 

And so it was that a rift formed between the monstrum. Many of the monstrum begin to see humans and their technology as evil and incapable of any redeeming qualities. Of these monstrum, a plan was formed to destroy every human in existence, no matter the cost to other creatures in the way. The majority of the monstrum continued their efforts to gain control of their damaged planet without destroying the entire species to do so. This rift deepened as the war raged on, and before the humans knew it, the war was being fought between three factions instead of two. 

It is an age old adage that the enemy of one’s enemy is one’s friend. And this case proved not to be any different. It wasn’t long until an alliance was formed, due in part to the many deaths caused by the rebel faction. Those monstrum that were sympathetic to the humans’ survival teamed up with the humans and allowed them the use of their powers to remove the threatening monstrum from existence. 

And this was how the war was won and an alliance formed. It would only be decades of peace between the remaining monstrum and the humans before it was inevitably destroyed again. The ability that the monstrum had to lend their powers to the humans during the war had been the decision of the monstrum, but had also been lusted after by many of the humans who had borrowed these powers. Unbeknownst to their monstrum allies, scientists had been working on developing a mechanism that would allow all the humans control of these powers regardless of choice. 

With this mechanism created, the alliance was no longer necessary for peace. It was mass created and sold on the open market, often taking many different forms of otherwise common place objects and affectionately called by humans “talismans.” And then it was, by the end of the 23rd century that the monstrum were largely enslaved by the humans, friendship betrayed by greed. They became a status symbol for the rich, with a family’s importance increasing by the amount of talismans they owned. Those monstrum that had managed to escape the initial gathering of powers went back into hiding, not to be seen again. 

This story begins centuries later, when monstrum have become no more than a piece of furniture in a great household, their powers greatly diminished with no memory of the creatures they used to be. As far as anyone is aware, no wild monstrum still exist in nature…