I’ve mentioned before at least several times that Robert E. Howard is one of my two great literary idols.And Howard is, of course, best known for Conan (though best known in his own lifetime for his cowboy stories).
Now, I don’t want to get into too much of the lurid details of Conan, given that the stories are markedly more, um, adult than anything I’m trying to do with Realmgard.
But let me put today’s scene into context by noting that it’s basically the Realmgard version of the ‘Know, oh, prince…’ preamble at the beginning of “The Phoenix on the Sword”, the first Conan story — paraphrased at the opening of both the 1982 Conan movie and the 2011 version.
This being The Natalian Chronicle:
Hearken to these words and know this:
Between the doom of the kingdoms of Archipelago and the days of Queen Antiocha, seven ships bore seven Elven-Kings west from their homeland and they came unto the west and were the first of the Elves to set foot upon the western lands of Realmgard. And there on the banks of the River Creusa they laid the first foundations of mighty and golden Imperialis, which was mother city of all Realmgard.
From the North to the South and from the East and West, the Emperors of the Elves reigned over all Realmgard and the peoples and nations of Realmgard were laid low and did them homage, and the scarlet mantle of the Empire was spread over all Realmgard and yet further:
Natalis which was the first kingdom to rise in Realmgard; the Sea of Origo, where the gods themselves once tarried, the Sea’s Edge, where the brave Falcatarii brandished strong swords; Tanith, whose proud lords wore purple; to Aurora and the far north, where the Trandarii rode reindeer as their steeds even unto the Wandering Coast and the great deserts of Arena; even unto venerable Archipelago, whence the Elves had once fled to seek sanctuary in the West.
And so it was that the Elves subjugated all Realmgard and the land was quieted before them and they grew mighty and reigned long in Realmgard. And no King or Emperor before them or after them in Realmgard reigned mightily in suchwise. Until it was at last that the Empire fell and there was calamity upon all Realmgard.
But so was it also an age of Heroes without peer: the Ten Most Worthy Women of the Amazons; Lambert, the first King of Gallicantu and who was the uncle of the warrior princess Adelheid; Mercurio who slew the Orc in single combat; Helgi and Hunding, who led their folk out of Hrimfaxi when the mountains spewed fire and ruled the Duchies of the Sea; Theobald, whose descendants yet reign in Middlesbrooke.
And it was in such a manner that the gentry of the Elves did fasten their cloaks about their shoulders: Firstly, they did purchase a cloak for to be fastened about their shoulders from the nearest tailor. Secondly, they did fold such a cloak in suchwise, ensuring that it was folded exactly and evenly widthwise…
“Ugh,” Kat groans, slamming the book shut.
She feels like she needs to wash out her eyes. And she’s getting a headache. It’s amazing that it’s possibly to write so many words but manage to not actually say anything.
And who even says ‘suchwise’?
She glances in disbelief down at her pink-haired cousin.
“And you like this stuff?” Kat asks Annie.
“Are you kidding?” Annie answers. “All my favourite bedtime stories are in there: Quintus Marcellinus Styracosaurus fighting the Turnip-Thing of Aquae Celeres, Mercurio saving Flavia, Princess Adelheid and the Rooster.”
It definitely seems like a good bedtime story, Kat concedes. It’s nearly put her to sleep.
“Yeah,” Kat protests, “but it’s like… like that! Nobody talks like the way this book is written”
Annie blinks up at her. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
Now, for the most part, I think the joke here is that such a dramatic, epic style feels out of character for something like Realmgard.
Admittedly, I think I may have strayed from “Conan” and ended up planted firmly in “King James Bible”, but regardless of whatever it ended up looking like specifically, I definitely nailed the archaic tone.
Though I don’t think I used the words ‘eldritch’ or ‘stygian’ enough.
I’ll be posting my next weekly recap of my February writing exercises tomorrow.
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