Hi there, all. I haven’t posted anything in a few days, and usually that means I’ve been working on other projects. All it means for this stretch was that I was taking a short break.

The last time, I talked about the very early stirrings of Tamalaria, back when I was just using it as a grounds for table-top roleplaying game sessions. It was when I was 18, in my junior year of high school, that I started using the fantasy realms of Tamalaria as a launching ground for fully developed stories.

In my junior year of high school, I was enrolled in a Poetry and Creative Writing class. This was one of three English electives I took in that year alone (I would end up with a total of six, three in my junior year, three in my senior year; I was a little obsessive). Our third assignment of the class was to try and write three short stories using the same characters, but different styles. This, I thought at the time, would be an excellent way to start laying the foundational work for Tamalaria.

So I wrote the first short story featuring a young Elven Aquamancer who was trying to find his father in the foreign land of Lemago, a fiefdom based loosely on feudal Japan (this is one of the few areas of Tamalaria that underwent NO changes from early conception to current use in the tales). Thinking that his father had abandoned the family during a war between the Elven Kingdom and the neighboring nation of Lemago, the young Elf discovered that his father had been grievously injured and lost his memory, awakening to find himself conscripted into the Lemago military.

I don’t remember much else about the story, other than receiving high praise for it from my teacher and classmates, though they all had the same criticism; two fight scenes that were, by their tastes, a little too violent. Apparently a high schooler writing about an Elven Aquamancer using a magically bound ice knife to slit a town guard’s throat in the dark of night didn’t sit well. Oh well.

For the second story, I used the same young Elven Aquamancer, but set the story seventeen years later, with him now living in Lemago with his father (who never recovered his memories, but felt an attachment to his son) and chasing after a comely young Elven woman working as an apothecary. The tone was a lot lighter, and was a sort of romantic-comedy (not a genre I’ve ever worked with since; just not my thing). While not as widely enjoyed by my teacher and classmates, they did like that I was being consistent with the characters and setting while further developing this fantastical realm.

For the third and final story, I set the tale one year after that, with the young Aquamancer having taken a post as an assistant-minister of magical affairs for the Lemago township of Shittan. When wraiths and poltergeists started making a ruckus in one of the township’s schools, cursing and slaughtering students, the young Aquamancer was sent to deal with the spirits. This tale was done in a heavily horror style, and when I come to think about it, this story was actually more responsible for the style I use in my Amelia City Stories than anything I’ve written since in the Tamalarian Tales. While violent, unpleasant and unsettling as the story was for my teacher to read, she loved it, and gave me plenty of notes about it when she gave it back to me. However, she refused to let me share this third story with the rest of the class; she didn’t think it was appropriate for them, thanks largely to one scene wherein I had a poltergeist possess a young human student while he was having sex with his girlfriend and strangled her with his belt.

What ultimately came from this week-long assignment was the establishment of various elements of both the realms of Tamalaria themselves, and the style that I would adopt for early tales. A dash of the bizarre, a heaping helping of Stephen R. Donaldson’s fantasy style, and elements of dark humour would color my style in those early days. But there were more stages building up to writing that first full-length tale, and I’ll tell you more about them next time, folks.