Excerpts from the diary of Captain Korus Fallenleaf of Overlund.
Fallenleaf. A strange name for Drow, the men often say. My family line can be traced back to the Greenleafs, a once proud family of Wood Elves. Overlund is a great city, built above ground in the Greypeak Mountains. Unlike other Drow cities, the sun and sky waits for us right outside our cavern. As I patrol the beach, I wonder if it is time to continue the Fallenleaf line. More than one wealthy lady has taken an interest in me, perhaps it is time to consider their offers.
The city has fallen. The light burst into the cavern from above, and rubble crashed into the lake below. Giant tools broke the rock, tearing an opening in the mountain like a vicious wound. The massive monsters poured in like rats, grabbing for anything they could get a hold of.
The men wanted to flee deeper into the mountain, into the caverns below. I ordered them into formation behind me, crossbows at the ready. I would not abandon Overlund. Our weapons were ineffective. A massive stone giant knocked me into the lake, where I nearly drowned. When I awoke, the men were dead, the city looted, my people gone. I should have ordered the men to retreat, so they could protect their families. Now all is lost. Their deaths were my fault. I could follow the survivors deeper into the mountain, but what will I say to the survivors? The giants destroyed Overlund, but I killed my men. There is nothing for me here now.
How many years have passed? The human family who lives on the edge of the forest have grown grey, has it been so long? The sun is so bright and it seems to be everywhere, overwhelming me, but at night I can survive. There are plants and animals to eat but the silence is destroying me. Every night I can hear the screams of my men and the echoing roar of the giants, laughing at me. There is a human city nearby, perhaps there I can drown out the noise in my head.
Yartar. I hate this city. The water of Firefly Lake was so clean and clear, here the stink reaches every part of the city. They drink it, bathe in it, then pour it right back in. This place is nothing more than a haven for pirates and thieves, but the is no shortage wine and no one asks any questions of me. If I drink enough of it, I can find some peace.
I am broke. Worse, I am indebted to a local conniver known as the Snail. After months of sleeping at the bottom of a bottle, I have picked up the sword again. The lure of human wine is strong, I will keep a sword in each hand so that a bottle cannot take its place.
The Zhentarim have offered me a place in their organization. In return my debt to Snail has been cleared, in fact I have gained his favor. I ride with six other Zhentarim mercenaries to a town known as Nightstone. Our leader is a man named Xolkin Alassandar, a paranoid racist who does not hide his disgust for me. It is sad times indeed that I have ended up in the company of such men.
It’s been a few months since I wrote anything for the blog. Since my last post, I rediscovered my love of RPG’s and I retired from writing. I was always setting up deadlines for myself and struggling to get through the editing phase of books and I realized I was carrying around all this baggage and stress and for what? I don’t know how many people actually read my books but it can’t be more than a handful. Why force myself to perform in front of an empty auditorium? I do plan on finishing some of the books I started, but as of right now there is no date or time for when I will do that.
I’ve never felt bad for failing to achieve my goals or reach an audience. I know it is difficult to capture the attention of the public and I accept the fact that not everyone can win. In any creative endeavor we undertake, we are competing against everyone else doing the same thing. In order for there to be a winner, other people have to lose. Being first requires that there be a second, third and fourth. I can accept that I was meant to be the loser so that other people could succeed, I am fine with that. What continues to bother me though is one particular question: “Why didn’t anyone like me?”
I finished a comic about Canadian superheroes, promoted it online, went to conventions and generally got positive reviews on it. Yet now with a blossoming Canadian comicbook industry led by homegrown heroes, it is like I never existed at all. I won the Top Cow Talent Search one year and got published, yet no one called me about work, no one noticed the book I did, I was never able to get another writing gig after that one. I know other winners who got offers, but I didn’t hear a thing from anyone. I even wrote books which I published through Amazon, I kept a Facebook page and a blog and generally tried to be as positive and creative as possible. Yet it all added up to nothing. Nobody followed the page or the twitter account, nobody sent me friend requests, no one in the world was discussing the stories or the characters I created. THAT is what really demoralized me, the echo of my own failure to create a fan base. I’ve come to accept my failure as a writer, but it is going to take a while before I can learn to live with the fact that people just don’t like me. Hopefully that wound WILL heal, in time. . . .