Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Scholars

This shadowy group is the only reason you’re even reading this story! The page draft to the right is actually from an older introductory sequence that focused more heavily on this group of clandestine recorders. It was to be done entirely in the shadows, with no faces visible and only outlines to suggest characters. Rachel did a really neat wallpaper image of her initial style test, which I'll toss at the end of this post for anyone interested.

The idea for this kind of heavily stylized "in media res" intro came from the Thief series of PC games, which often featured cutscenes of shadowed characters identifiable only by their outline and voice. It was a style we wanted to emulate, and will hopefully get to indulge in during certain sections of the comic.

As for the Scholars themselves, their influence remains in the tale, as they will be the ones actually keeping track of the events from issue to issue. Who are they, you ask? To answer that, we'll have to travel back in time a bit.

Long ago, before the Four Kingdoms were created at the end of a great and terrible war, there was not any form of ‘history’ aside from the occasional oral folktale, and these were twisted and skewed over many generations. So twisted and skewed have these stories become that they now hide the original facts, blending them completely with fantastical elements inserted only to keep the audience’s attention on the storyteller.
Because of this, a battle of a hundred became a war of a hundred thousand. A party of fifty heroes became a single warrior, capable of striking down armies where they stood. A political matter between two tribes became a quest for a lost love, spanning across land and sea. While these embellishments made for great tales around the fire, they did nothing to teach future generations of their ancestors’ struggles. Because of this, ancient strife was never quelled, and war became inevitable.

After the massive Four Kingdoms War, the Felis – now settling into their new homeland of Gair – decided that they would dedicate themselves to the recording of true history. They would form an elite group of scribes and researchers who were impartial to an extreme, writing history as mere vessels of the truth, devoid of personal interpretation. They travel all over the land, never seen, never heard, but they watch, and they listen. When their work is done, they return to the spire of Gair and begin to write.

To avoid external pressure, the Scholars are known to isolate themselves for weeks at a time as they chronicle a major event. Nobody is ever allowed in or out of their massive spire academy at the heart of Gair during this period of time, but at the start of this tale, one lone figure approaches the spire academy...

For the first time since its inception, the Scholars are calling on an outsider to assist them. The story they aim to record is, as they say, a “great event” – a title given to world-changers and wars. The only other “great event” to be recorded by the Scholars was the Four Kingdoms War – the very first historical tome ever written.

This outsider tells the Scholars of a captain from the western kingdom of Sunsgrove – Quinlan – a member of the Tamian race. This young warrior will travel the known world in his quest, finding friends and enemies along the way, all in the name of preventing a second massive war from destroying the Four Kingdoms. It is his story that we follow, from simple beginnings… to the bitter end.

Keep your eye on this blog as we dive into the world and characters of The Four Kingdoms, as well as the many sources and motivations of the material.

For now, signing off!

-AK

1 comment:

highwing said...

What's this? No comments yet from *anyone*?!!? What's this world coming to?

Anyways, this blog so far lays out the entire idea and concept behind "Four Kingdoms" far more fully than that other little sneak peek you gave me, Alex, so now I feel like I've got a really good handle on what you and Kobb are trying to pull off. I don't know if you'll ever achieve your ambitions of being as successful as Brian Jacques - or "Mouseguard," for that matter - but I wish you both the best of luck in your endeavor.

So ... good luck! And I look forward to future posts here with baited or bated breath.