Updated: Jan 20
As some of you know, my brother is considered to be one of the greatest fantasy authors of all time. Truth is, having the kind of creativity and insight it takes to write grimdark fantasy, is not always easy on the health or the soul.
In this blog I want to give you an insight into some of the origins behind the series and some news about what may be ahead.
Back in the 1980s Scott became enamoured with Dungeons & Dragons. As an avid reader, and a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, he was hooked quickly, and as his younger brother, I was an obvious choice to experiment on. We had played many games together by that point. Many of which were quite advanced for our ages, my age at least.
So when D&D came along, I was an easy sell.
It. Was. Soooo. Cool.
D&D allowed us to live the stories we loved, not just read them. Scott spent endless hours planning our campaigns. Campaigns that would eventually become the foundations for the world of Earwa that is now featured in his books.
In the beginning he used store bought modules for our adventures, but over time, they were modified, and then one Sunday, gone altogether. In their place was fully customized story templates, tailor made for our small group of intrepid adventurers.
Some of the memories I have from those days are indivisible from other memories - fighting a dragon one day, then going to school the next. The death of my character, Magaar Kadd, one day, kissing a girl for the first time outside my grade seven class, the next.
Scott had always been an 'A' student with an impeccable memory, deep seeded creativity and a limitless fascination with history. All of these factors became a recipe for immersive narratives that, to this day, feel as real as anything else I have experienced in my life. He learned how to take on the personas of his NPCs and, more importantly perhaps, how we, myself and three other friends, would react to the storylines.
In retrospect, it probably became a powerful petri dish for an aspiring writer to test on.
As I went through my old papers for this blog - yellowed with time from those days, I found a bunch of drawings Scott had prepared for different campaigns, and then a poem, I wrote, from the perspective of one of my characters, Rhojan. He was an illusionist/thief in our last fully completed adventure. The last campaign Scott DMed before being drawn into the teenage slur of girlfriends, friends and partying.
Such was the awe of that journey, it seems I was inspired to wax poetic about it.
What a wonder it was to read after 35 plus years. I hand wrote it all, very neatly on graph paper. Neatly enough that Google Lens could turn it into text for me to format here. For those of you who have read Scott's book series I think you'll find it interesting. It's entitled...
The Last Days of Mekeritrig
Across the forest and across the grass,
The summer air, to Valley's Grasp.
The Dark grey form, of brave bold view,
Stride a step for a day or two.
Across the Great Land, did the man go,
For he was raised by a Dark Elf and Named Arsenal.
His heart was dismayed, for his mind's eye see,
The losing of his master. Of Lao Tse.
With him stood, a Gnome of Stature,
Rhojan the Grey. A master with picture.
With Gems for eyes, and hand on dagger,
He followed his friend, in his heart's adventure.
Ahead them walked, a man called Ranger,
Across great land, for cause he wager.
For his Quest, and honour's tiding,
He search for Bane, and then wizard dying.
The Ranger had come the morn of the fourth,
and warned of Orcs amassing North.
The Witch King came the night before,
and had sent Arsenal's heart into a burning roar.
The Ranger said, the Orcs were led,
By the Witch King in Kulag.
So they set out, with an army to Route,
And a fortnights provisions in a Bag.
Nights did pass with Wolves on trail,
a guard did watch, should Bonfire fail.
Then all at once the Beasts did attack,
with fire in Eyes, and Orc's on Back.
They fought the creatures into Night,
The magic blazed silhouetting the Sword fight.
Soon all orc's & Wargs had died,
The one that escaped, soon was tied.
During the time when question had answer,
they saw a glint, shining like an elven dancer.
Arsenal and Ranger went through the falls,
and spotted a body from death's dark Halls.
The Glint they saw was a small round ball,
And Ranger grasped it from the dead man's fall.
Covered in Rune's and like a fire in rain,
Was the Leksonsiya, the Wizard's Bane.
The Night passed slow, and the morning slower,
as they walked, in light of Last night's horror.
They finally reached the mountain wall,
and stepped its highs, "To Kulag " they Call.
Across great land, again they travel.
To eventually meet another Death Cards Raffle.
A towering ice wall, and Mammoth Grave
They must scale the Wall and time must save.
A rumble approached, and the party retreated,
The ranger attacks and is painfully defeated.
The magic of Rhojan Confused the beast so,
that ranger was spared and the Mammoth doth go.
The ranger lay pained and gave them the Bane.
He bid them to leave him and told them his name.
He told of his quest but was not a long talker,
So in promise of Return, they left Daedreth Wildwalker.
They began the Climb, in the morning sky.
Their thoughts were lost, their hearts did cry.
The Climbing was weary, the Ice smooth Cold,
Four hours did pass, till Krest did hands hold.
Up on the Huge Glacier did the pair travel.
For hours again, did the Cold Chill Grapple.
Then off in the snow, was a faint Rumble,
and forward they ran, the Avalanche still tumble.
The Snow did bury and frostbite the Gnome.
Many a day hence did he wish he were home.
Off with a finger, and off with an ear,
On they continued without a shed of a tear.
The ground did slope and Orc fires did see,
in cross of the Valley and past many tree.
They traveled forever along a great Crag.
Between the arms of Eirost, "Between is Kulag".
They Climbed a great ridge, with ny as a ledge.
Then reached the top and crossed to the other edge.
Raging below, Upon a Great Tower,
A figure moves quickly between four fire's of Power.
With Chill in Air, and Ice on Twig,
They see the dark elf, the Witch King Mekeritrig.
In evil dance and evil Zealous,
He Swings the Sword named Kurjelis.
Down below his orc's abundance,
Stains the land with the Unified remnants,
With fangs of Bear, and face of hog,
Are Strained awide chanting "Mog".
They entered the tower by a strong rope,
and stealthily moved upward, hoping against Hope.
They met a great Wizard locked in a Cell.
His name was Maonis, a prisoner of Hell.
Still they went upward, though Wizard went down,
And entered a forest where Illusion is bound.
They met Koku, the Host of delusion.
For his thinking was relative, a part of the Illusion.
Again they went on, into a great tree,
to appear on the Tower and again see he.
Mekeritrig did trick the assassin so,
To behead his master, whom he owe.
A Fog did appear to defy the belief,
inside Mekeritrig was laughing at Arsenal's Greif.
For Arsenal did kill, Leo Tysee,
Grandmaster of Flowers from Sea to Sea.
Appearing behind Maonis did Bother,
and cast a great fire then readied another.
At that instant Mekeritrig attacked,
Rymon Sword Blazing, Arsenal Drew back.
The Battle did wage for Ny than an hour.
Till Mekeritrig fell from Wizard Bane Power.
His Sword did fall into Maonis' Grasp.
He Screamed in Power and the adventurer's Gasped.
Before his power was, complete,
did the small Gnome Bound from his feet,
Leksonsiya in hand and straining with heat,
did he touch Maonis into Miserable Defeat.
The Weary Companions did pocket the Bane,
and Arsenal returned to where the rymon sword was lain.
They had an adventure in the escape part itself,
though their thoughts always returned to Mekeritrig, the Dark Elf.
By Rhojan The Gray
(Bryan Bakker's D&D character)
Many seeds for the Second Apocalypse book series are embryonically alive in this tale, written at the time as a way of remembering one of the most powerful adventures I went on through my D&D days.
What's Going On With Scott Now?
For those interested in the now, some have commented on the fact that Scott has been quiet online in recent years. Suffice it to say he has gone through a lot. His singular focus right now is raising his daughter and building his family's future.
As for the future of the series, I've heard him say two things, over the years, about how the Second Apocalypse should end:
One was that there would be a third trilogy outlining the blow by blow of 'you know who's' rise. I know outlines exist for such a story, but just outlines.
The other is that the story is finished. That 'The Unholy Consult', is a fitting way to end a sprawling epic about the death of meaning.
For my part, I can't help but to think that this massive story was where Scott's creative life began and, it would surprise me if, after his real life trials are complete, he doesn't return to it, before the end.
Like a favourite old coat - warm and comfortable - and smelling of sulfur (:
Sometimes, life does come full circle.
Thanks for reading.
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