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"The Final Power"

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IIRC, the author of the Thomas Covenant novels, Stephen R. Donaldson, has a method where he comes up with an ending and reverse-engineers the beginning and middle of a story as the logical precursors (in the story) to the ending. Not that he's perfect at it, but plenty of scenes he's written showcase his talents on this score quite nicely.

With that caveat, it is sort of unreasonable, maybe, for me to post the following scene, since it is part of the endgame scene for the last entry in what would have to be a fairly well-sized series of fantasy/science fiction novels (probably 14, one title for each line in a poem of 14 lines). Or, it is a prototype of this scene, or whatever. I'm talking thousands of pages of preamble and backstory omitted :P Well, in case this works:

[Prerequisite information]

The immediate scene: the transcendent plane, true heaven, where the eternal light shines. An infinite city that transcarnates the Holy Trinity (of this world). However, the only part of this true city that has the anticity of Apollyon superimposed against it. So, a part of the eternal city that looks like this, roughly []:

Image result for city in flames

Why is this so? Or how? There are angels in this world, with strange levels of power, and so the darkest of the fallen angels, darker all the more in that he did truly redeem himself once upon a time, only to fall even more terribly later, now that is: this one, Vyrian Armirex, has given his share of the last form of magic to be granted to transcreation, the Final Power, unto the one entity sealed against possession from itself, of the very thing, namely Apollyon. And Armirex and the Destroyer have chased the Form of Evil from the physical planes, to here, to bring it to an end. [Now, the Form of Evil looks like a huge gem, with a hydra trapped inside it. This hydra symbolizes the sinful form of lying that the Form of Evil represents most exactly.]

Ripheus has followed them. Armed only with his part in the Final Power, and the Shield carven at the dawn of the world from the heart of the City of Destruction, he has gone to try to understand what Armirex is doing, for even now it is a mystery why the once-fallen angel has lapsed again? And in this way?

Magic comes from many things, but the ultimate magic comes from a machine: the Keyscape, created by Ripheus and his host at the end of the last war in history. The Keyscape is failing, giving rise to the Anomalies, warps in pure reality that threaten to unrealize everything.

So, Ripheus stands before Armirex, Apollyon, and the Form of Evil, remembering the prophecy that says: "Apollyon came to destroy that which does not exist."]



"What are you doing here, Vyrian Armirex?" Ripheus asks as he sights the Noumenal Artificer on a ledge overlooking both the flaming city and a gyring crystal of jagged darkness suspending itself above the fire: the Summum Malum,

the Form of Evil? Here? "Why have you brought Apollyon--and that--to this place?"

Armirex must have been waiting for his friend, but not ready with an answer to his friend's question. The Artificer stands silent, watching the swirl of the immense gem in the air. After a few seconds he replies. "I know how to fix the Keyscape, Ripheus. I know where we went wrong." The angel's words resonate like the sighing of worlds. "Evil is not meant to exist... It is itself meant to be nonexistence. The legends say that the Destroyer is the Fifth Nothingness, that which reduces things to the other negations. I have commanded Apollyon to use its might to transform the Form of Evil, into the Form of Nothingness, to prove that evil does not exist forever. In this way, the Keyscape will be repaired."

Ripheus gently shakes his head. Can he believe what he's saying? "The only way that would work is..."

Armirex completes the thought: "... if I had transecrated my share in the Final Power, to Apollyon? That is exactly what I have done, Ripheus."

Shadows purl upward across the four highest towers at the heart of the City of Destruction, rapturing the landscape with trembling might. Avenues and causeways shatter, their undead essence drawn into the anticity's center.

Steadying himself against the earthquakes, Ripheus looks at the angel in horror. "What! Apollyon is the only one who had to be prevented from having the Final Power, Armirex. Why..." Another eruption sends him to his knees, and the angel returns his look with dismay.

"Ripheus, if I was redeemed once, should not Apollyon be given its chance at redemption as well? Would this not be the ultimate justice, that only the Form of sin itself must be sacrificed, to save the world forever? That even the Destroyer could find peace in the end? But if the Anomalies are not stopped, they will grow and grow and grow until they have devoured all of reality as we know it, and it will make no difference what Apollyon does then. Unless you have a better plan, this is that to which I will say amen."

Inscribed between the four dark towers at Apollyon's heart, pentacled fire opens into a gate--an absolute inferno collapses into one ray of light, driven into the crystal holocaust of the apocalypse.

In a flash, the Form of Evil explodes, a deluge of shattered disgrace breaking like day across the horizon of the City of the Test. The seraph hydra dies and melts from within its emprisoning gem, desecration's ichor pouring forth in the hydra's moiling blood. Smashing into Ripheus, who still braces himself to stand under the weight of all this ruin.

* * * * *

Everyone else, everywhere else, witnesses the same thing start to happen to their world: images of possible worlds where all other sins exist, washing over the texture of existence itself. Raging against the durance of nothingness.

Every image is a sign of the audio malefico, the trumpet of ought-not blaring, the dark clarion giving out its last tune.

* * * * *

Now the angel's eyes have consumed themselves with the same horror Ripheus showed them already. "What... what is..."

Apollyon's ray immolates its own garnet aura, prisms [read that as a verb!] into sapphire, and at another chiming of this light, reforges the jewel of Evil in the sky again. The undeath of the seraph hydra tries to resurrect its darkness from nothingness and...

"Apollyon's only will is to destroy, Armirex." Ripheus stands true, but to no other effect; but so as he stands, he knows: "You commanded it to destroy the Form of Evil? To make that into the Form of Nothingness instead? It is destroying the Form of Nothingness also, and by doing this, it will transcreate all other possible sin at once."

When the demon-crystal unfolds in full, a shockwave of hell unfolds with it, and the images of possible atrocity immortally massacring the souls of all those who dwell in the physical plane now become the damnation of everything there actually is.

So yeah Ripheus knows how to fix it, will post that scene later hopefully. If you can figure out how/why, and you have the will to, try to imagine the above scene while listening to the song "One-Winged Angel," from FF7: Advent Children. There's a way to line it all up pretty nicely haha.

Edited by Ripheus23

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Heady stuff, as always. Very vivid diction. I can't wait to see this 14-line poem.

I believe Brandon also starts at the end and works back. Dan Wells's seven-point plotting method works on a similar principle: first identify the climactic resolution of the story, then you create a beginning that's the polar opposite of that to maximize the dramatic transformation of the story arc. (Then you connect the dots between those points with a series of revelatory plot twists and intense pinches.)

Anyway, I'm glad that as you work backwards to discover the path of the plot, you're also considering the path of the reader. The learning curve for this story is going to be Mount Everest. The complementary opposite of this momentous, arcane climax is a beginning that's accessible, ant it'll take a lot of hand-holding to get the average reader from A to B. 


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Wherefore the preface to this resistance

is true,

the Axioms of Paradise

and reason's trinities

a tower of fire defy;

and in the Days of Ascension,

seven fallen are denied.

Of their dominion

"was" an end.

Will always be until the end.

But alas! the broken come

To seal all light in the dimension of sin,

Or else to herald the end of all that there is;

and why ask why this should be?

If all is denied for the sake of three things?

But if darkness is nothing instead,

how would the darkness not come to an end?

To heaven to go,

to take a stand,

to sing the song of silence,

to pass the Test:

"Wherefore Apollyon et Ripheus"

EDIT: on another site, a poster described my proposed plot for book 1 as Vonnegut/SH5 kind of, only in Vietnam/the multiverse or what :wacko:

Edited by Ripheus23

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