NaNoWriMo: Some Nemesis Backstory

This is a bit of roughing out of why the Villain hates the Heroine. Backstory, and even if it ends up in the novel I’ll be seriously rewriting it, so… thought people might like a peek. 🙂


The first time they meet, he doesn’t even remember her name.

Midnight’s been up and running for a few months. Long enough for word to spread about the tricky monsters, the deep worldbuilding with histories of mortal and monster nations, the amazingly immersive gameplay that makes you feel as if you truly stride with sword and magic through an Eldritch-haunted hollow world. Long enough for those who only dabble in the game to have gained enough levels and treasures for a dedicated and intelligent gamer such as himself to find them worth preying on. PvP was, after all, a legal and potentially lucrative option in-game. Granted, the level matching system meant you were supposed to duel those players equally dangerous to you… but there were ways around that.

One of the simplest was to merely ensorcell a monster and make it yours, mind and soul. Then an attack upon it was an attack upon you, and self-defense was not just legal, but encouraged in-game.

So. Snare a low-level monster, bind it, order it to attack the nearest small settlement, then sit back and wait for the bait to reel in new players accepting their first Hunting quests. A good way to pass the time while preparing for his own adventures delving after lost and forbidden knowledge. Not very profitable… but that was the best way, sifting just a tad more from the system than an ordinary player would make, leaving any admin guardians quiescent. It could even be fun, using a rakshasa’s shapeshifting to play yet another wounded or terrified villager, winding up the new and noble Hunters and Nightfolk to seek out this dread (but not too deadly) beast. A player caught up in dreams of being the brave hero usually didn’t think of traps. They usually didn’t think at all.

And it works. He has his fun, the money rolls in, and it’s just so satisfying to roll one victim after another.

(It would be even more satisfying after the game becomes truly life or death, but by that time….)

It isn’t even worth remembering their names, not really. Just a check of appearance and equipment is enough to gauge if a player should be truce, target, or toy. So he barely even notices when another human Hunter appears in his latest playground. Average height, average build; longsword and leather armor vest possibly one or two adventures beyond a bare beginner. She moves quietly, yes – but that’s only natural skill. Aura detection tells him she’s not wearing more than one or two beginner talismans to augment her own magic.

So. A toy, then. He assumes a desperate villager’s form – which one doesn’t matter, beyond that it’s someone the rest of the villagers trust – and begins the delightful trap.

His heart leaps in glee as her gaze slides away from his when he gets too close. Shy and wounded, oh yes, he knows the type. Someone too tender for the cruel world, soothing their hurts in the game. More fools they. Only fools stay that weak.

He scampers off before the villager he’s mimicked can return, making sure the man is never seen in two places at the same time. Attention to details is important for a rakshasa impersonator. Time to start farming small mobs near his monster’s lair, and return to one of his other forms; not his own, of course, but one of the half-dozen cover identities he claimed when around other players. That way he will simply appear to have been adventuring blamelessly with his newly-controlled monster when an overeager noob takes on something far too big for her….

He waits. And waits. Is the toy just that bad at tracking rumors and monster spoor? It never, ever, takes this long-

There’s a sudden, sharp snap in the magic around him. For a heart-stopping moment, the world goes white.

When the twilight returns, the chill amulet against his neck – the one that holds the spell binding his creature, so he doesn’t have to spend personal magic and attention keeping it under control-

It’s not cold. It’s not otherworldly at all.

When he lifts it away from skin; and it comes easily, too easily, control amulets are always blood-drinkers-

Once-carved bronze is blank.

He’s fast. Very, very fast, as he bolts through the night-violet forest, barely hearing the eerie cries of whippoorwills and far worse things. It can’t be more than a minute before he skids to a halt in front of his monster’s fallen-tree lair.

The… empty… lair. Nothing left save a bit of fur, salt, and blood.

And he has no idea how she did it.

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24 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: Some Nemesis Backstory

  1. Ooh. Very nice. Am looking forward to this.

    Below copied from the bit on my schedule that I just wrote up before coming here. Later all, happy thanksgiving.

    I have many things to be thankful for.

    I’m not spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. I’m reaching out from an extremely isolated starting place, and making more places.

    I’ve also been gradually waking to religion. I had some in my teens, which was a strong influence on me, but I am coming to appreciate the fuller experience, and how much I have been missing.

    Storywise, communities like here, and people like the regulars here, who have given me many interesting suggestions. Vathara and the many other skilled writers who have given me bits and pieces of the understanding I’ve used to reach this point. We have some skilled accomplished writers posting here beyond Vathara, I hope I do not need to name handles.

    I’m thankful for Minetaka in Fairy Dance. A man schooled and originally employed in the United States is plausibly Americanized enough to observe a certain holiday. A man wealthy enough to build a full body blow dryer into his actual house is potentially wealthy enough to observe that Holiday in Japan. I’m thankful to Suburbanshee, specifically for my story on this day, because her complaints about the lack of Chaplains in SG-1 canon inspired the creation of an OC, who I help tie into the plot on the 28th in my story. That OC is also one I put together thanks to Foxfier inspiring me to realize that my wedding epilogue means I need certain elements more deeply entangled in the story and the events. I’m thankful to a poster by the handle of Kirk over at ATH, who many years ago helped me learn some about Army Chaplains, annd Chaplain’s Assistants. I’m thankful for the allegations surrounding Storzkt, Comey, et al. True or not, those have given me some inspiration for a plot line involving the Syndicate in Japan, for which I created a plot line that I hope is not too political. And frankly, if it does wind up too political for a Japanese audience in discussing subordination to American security orginizations, I’m mostly wanting to avoid being too political for American audiences and for my own sake. I’m thankful to a Catholic gentleman I know in real life, who inspired a wildly different OC, similar mainly in being a good man. That OC is associated with that plot line, and is also someone I hope to have in one of my November 28th story events.

    Many others here have helped also, but not for story events brought to mind by my planning for November 28th.

    Nov 28:

    When American culture was established, many of the component Christian cultures had traditions or customs of days of thanksgiving. Days where they formally made a point of recognizing the gratitude we owe our Heavenly Father for the very many things He has done for us.

    Like His subtle plan for shaping His Creation, which is important when I’m trying to recognize Him in a plot involving divination based Xanatos chess and speed chess, and a fair number of mad fools.

    Or for his mercy in letting the process of creative writing be much less screwed up than theoretically possible. My process is incredible screwed up, and my status quo is a horrible mess. I am profoundly grateful that, for example, my bunnies have not committed me to a faithful and exact implementation of the milestones of Mailanka’s Path of the Nameless Hero for Hei last night after realizing again last night that DtN OST is ‘Hero Without a Name’.

    Many more things to be personally grateful for, some of which are not topics I will discussion here. (Progress on my occupational goals, and collaborations I have met and developed recently! Very exciting, needs special mention somewhere. I’d like to work with connecting with more of the locals in my internet circles. I’d also like to connect with some of my relevent internet circles as I move myself towards developing long distance contacts related to my occupation.)

    Thanksgiving is now a day that is part of American culture. Thanksgiving episodes are part of the more recent American storytelling tradition.

    Minetaka’s boss at his American bank branch in Japan invited him and Midori for their first Thanksgiving together. Their second thanksgiving, the boss’s wife was long term ill, and Midori helped them have a good experience with both the American traditional dishes, and some Japanese influenced dishes. I’m not sure what kind of ovens the Japanese use most often, but the Kirigaya also have an American model. One of Minetaka’s American friends is in Japan, and brought some of the fixings Minetaka’s schedule distruption prevented him from bringing over.

    The OCs I mentioned also are established in Japan, are observing the holiday, and have invited a lot of guests. This is during the second phase of my plot, which involves amping up the tension with ever more blatent political killings and occult events. (Third phase, the irregular civil war is moving fast, and the occult mess becomes something that needs to be dealt with now.) There are no political killings on the 28th. It is going to be a rest in my plotting, and is going to be socially awkward.

    Kirito has a lot to be grateful for. He is alive and free, and Asuna is alive and free. Wide range of circles at this point, still alive, and still free. Speaking more broadly, of others characters… Faith, Love, and /Hope/. There is always something to hope for when things are bad or very bad. Those things one can be grateful for.

    I’m personally also grateful that our real America isn’t anywhere near as messed up as the America or Japan of my story world in 2024. The Americans of my story America still have a lot to be grateful for.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not up yet, will post here when it is.

        I’m in the middle of untangling the mess of a plot. That will be followed by outlining, then writing, then creating an account on AO3 and posting. Bunch of new tasks for me, so can’t even give a good estimate of timeline.

        Like

  2. Congratulations on a villain I would love to hate. PvP is not my thing at all, and your character seems like the worst of Dark Souls jerks cubed! Good job!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This sounds very plausible.

    I can just see the line of “if they’re using game mechanics to mess with people, I’ll use game mechanics to get them to stop” logic of whoever the hero is.

    And oh boy… Villain who is annoyed the Hero messed with their Clever Plan. Hero who might not even realize they messed with a Villain’s Plan… those are always fun to read.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it’s specifically that he doesn’t know how he lost.

      He has a more powerful character, more knowledge of the game, he shapeshifts to control the context and engineer the situation perfectly… then he loses anyway.

      It would be one thing if they brought a hundred friends and swarmed it or some other obvious solution but having no idea how means he was outsmarted.

      If some game avatar beats his avatar, then he can always say “oh well, it wouldn’t happen that way if I wasn’t limited by the game.”

      If he gets outsmarted, that’s the player beating the player.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. More like the sort of gamer that rages everytime you screw up their “flawless” plan. PvP can be soooo frustrating to some people… Sometimes you can’t believe the overeactions you see… I usually stay away from PvP in games for that exact reason. Any strategy works, the ones who play fair usually don’t win, camping the weakest players is a thing, but when you use unfair strategies and you lose? Especially when you usually don’t lose at all? These sort of players are the worst. They’ll use dancing emotes on your corpse, but kill them back and they’ll camp you and hunt you for the rest of the day, just to ruin the fun you were having playing. (sorry, end of rant)
      Yeah, I can totally see that kind of person becoming a bad guy if the game truly became a life or death one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Part of the problem is that usually that sort isn’t actually anywhere near as intelligent or competent as they think they are, but because of putting a greater amount of effort into the game than they do anything else (and than their victims do) they can be “better” simply through experience. And when the game is the only place they’re “better” than other people, because it’s the only place they actually put in the effort, it’s the only place they can convincingly lie to themselves about “I’m a genius, see how perfectly my plan works!!!” and actually get apparent confirmation (including from other people, ranting about how well they’re plan worked). So when their PK trolling is foiled, in a way they can’t explain or justify as “well, game mechanics, they were higher level/greater numbers/etc”, their entire house of cards comes tumbling down and they are faced with their own pitiful existence. And they don’t like that (which is why they were PK trolling in the first place).

        Liked by 2 people

      2. They’ll use dancing emotes on your corpse, but kill them back and they’ll camp you and hunt you for the rest of the day, just to ruin the fun you were having playing.

        My favorite PVP story EVER:

        leveling a troll mage, I attract PKers like crazy. Always have, so I built the character around surviving to escape, and pretty decent reactions as well, set up a macro where I’d cast frost-nova, teleport, and trigger my healing ability, then use the instant-cast ice spells while I strafe out of range. A skull rogue shows up, I do my usual attempt to escape thing, usually the rogues will vanish and attack again, I spec’d so I could do the macro again immediately and if I’m lucky I’ll escape, and I managed to kill the SOB because he burnt his vanish and then kept chasing after me trying to get to a finishing move.

        And then three more times, until I finished and headed back in; I lived, so I had to die, at which point he’d have corpse-camped.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. *shrug* Nothing like playing on a PvP server to have a daily reminder that the Horde is mostly genocidal dicks, that the kind of person who wants to play a monster while crowing about his faction being the misunderstood victims/heroes is probably rotten in real life as well.

        Heh. Mangled movie quote incoming.

        Villain: You killed my monster and ran away!

        Heroine: I’m sorry, I don’t remember any of it.

        Villain: You don’t remember?!

        Heroine: The day I graced your hunting grounds and you tried to grief me was the most important day of your life . . . at least before it turned into a death game and we tried to kill each other for real. And then hell opened up and monsters started happening in meatspace. Ahem. Anyway, but for me, it was Tuesday.

        Villain: . . .

        Villain: Does kinda put it in perspective, doesn’t it?

        Heroine: Yep. Now, since you’ve joined the real monsters, hold still while I put you down for good.

        -Albert

        Liked by 1 person

      2. *shrug* Nothing like playing on a PvP server to have a daily reminder that the Horde is mostly genocidal dicks, that the kind of person who wants to play a monster while crowing about his faction being the misunderstood victims/heroes is probably rotten in real life as well.

        Don’t worry, they’re matched by the geocidal dicks who want to play the designated good guys because it excuses any sort of bad behavior they engage in, because the opposing faction deserves it. Tend to be loot-ninjas, too, because “it’s just a game” so cheating is fine if it’s physically possible.

        (It’s not really that high of a percent, I’d say maybe one in twenty, but man are the evil ones EVIL.)

        Fun tip, figure out who the griefers on your side are– and go do things like kill the monster that their target was fighting, so that they have to actually fight back.
        If on an RP server, mock them– in character. (Trying to figure out how to spell ‘Thrall’ to show you’ve got a Jamaican accent was interesting– I think I went with “T’rall.”)

        Like

      3. Reference to the live action Street Fighter movie (with villain and heroine switched around): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjZ5I8l32CI

        As for WoW, I make no claim that the Alliance are the good guys. Morally, they’re quite gray. But orcs are genocidal invaders currently engaged in Thrall’s program of ethnic cleansing the harpies, quillboar, centaurs, and other NPC native sophont races off of Kalimdor. Their cannibalistic troll allies are happily on board with the program. The Tauren eagerly signed on for the program of genocide as soon as Thrall added the centaurs to the list, so that the Tauren could colonize centaur lands. The Forsaken are omnicidal nihilists who literally blight the land in which they dwell, while scheming to kill everything on Azeroth. The blood elves embraced being junkies to the point of draining a demigod until it turned into a soul-sucking abomination, so found themselves in comfortable company in the Horde. The goblins are cartoon supervillains.

        It’s not good versus evil in WoW: The setting is a blatant ripoff of Warhammer, so there could be no outright ‘good guys’. (Even the Draenai now have a ‘tyranny of the Light’ faction so that they can be less than good.) But if the Alliance requires hundreds of years to kick the Horde off Azeroth, it will be time just as well spent as the centuries of Reconquista to expel the Islamic invaders and those who collaborated with them in oppressing the natives.

        It’s not black vs white. It _is_ black vs gray.

        The orcs might not be pure evil if they hadn’t drunken the demon blood willingly. Or if they’d declined to continue their campaigns of genocidal conquest as soon as Thrall helped them escape. Or a lot of things. But they’ve always been evil, so that Blizzard can have them be ‘monsters in need of redemption’.

        Which never happens, so they remain blackhearted villains with good PR.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Only genocidal in the modern rewrite-terms of “fighting back and winning is genocide.” I know that the harpies, quilboars and centars are established as being the invaders to a previously unsuitable area, because of raiding opportunities.
        Now if you’d included those dinosaur type raptors, you’d have a point, because they both seem to be intelligent (build houses and make feather jewelry at least) and seem to have been there before, but on the other hand they also hunt anybody who happens through.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. *grumpy* flippin wordpress deleted like half a paragraph and posted….

        Now some of the Forsaken are abominations– but they are also not the blight.

        The blight was brought by the Alliance prince who became the Lich king regiciding his dad, basically while in the service of either a demon, after killing an entire town of his own people for being infected with the blight that turns folks into zombies. (Forsaken being those zombies who break away from the zombie-maker.)

        For the first expac or two they did a decent job of having sane people on both sides, and it mostly being “hey these guys were mind-controlled in to this world by somebody who promised to help them survive their dying world and then managed to break free and it’s the next generation later”.

        Oh, also? The thing the blood elves were feeding on was not dark because they fed on it– it’s because that’s a natural part of their life cycle. Whiiiich coulda been saved as a story thing, but then they got all stupid.

        Liked by 1 person

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