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James Volt, Chapter 4: Legacy

by CarlosFG

Chapter 4: Legacy

As Exus and James were leaving, an awkward silence came about.

“James, this won’t be an ordinary walk,” said Exus, with a slight grin on his face.

“And why is that?” replied James.

“Index is the world that always changes. Things are drawn every day, and can be changed by only the eight book holders. The books are everything to this world, and you’re part of its life. Please, don’t be afraid.”

James looked pretty scared, but was ready for the worst.

“Okay, I’m ready.”

Exus grabbed his book with both hands, held it in front of the giant door, and waited. The room’s metal door slowly opened, and light completely illuminated both James’ and Exus’ faces.

There it was, Index. There was a street going down for what looked like miles, and little stores everywhere. Everything was so colorful, and the scenery was amazing. Abstract statues and monuments were randomly placed everywhere, accompanied by beautiful flowers around them. Many dragons and crazy-bodied birds were flying high in the sky. There were many different kinds of music everywhere, strange beings arguing about prices, and weird vehicles going to and from the stores, trading. At the very end of the road, miles away, there was a huge building, made entirely of glass and shiny, gray metal. It was surrounded by a gigantic lake filled with humongous boats. James’ mouth was dropped.

“This is Index, our home; created by the books, ruled by the books. This is where you, the Great and Almighty James Volt will one day be its favorite and most effective contributor, and King.”

As soon as people started realizing that Exus and James were in their presence, everyone stopped what they were doing, and stared. A poorly drawn goblin bowed down and said “Long live King Exus, ruler of everything and everyone!”

Many other creatures and creations followed along, yelling “Long live the King!” and continued with what they were doing.

You’re King of Index, Exus?” said James, in awe.

“Yes, I am the first, but certainly not last, King and Ruler of everything in this world.”

“Then why did you say that I will be King one day?” asked James.

“Come, let us walk. Well, it’s a long story, but we have nothing but time here in Index. Where should we begin, James? I’m sure you’re burning with questions,” said Exus in his deep voice of his.

“Why me? Why do I have the book?” said James eagerly.

“Your story happens to be one of my favorites, James. There is an exact copy of your book, belonging to Geoff now, right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“About two thousand years ago, there were a set of twins, by the names of Hyderus and Cyrian Volt. They were orphans, and complete opposites; Hyderus was a noble, respectful young mage and warrior, and Cyrian was a cruel, sick troublemaker. They had a meeting one day with three other best of friends, also orphans, and came up with the idea of a book; an indestructible, powerful book that had to be kept secret for ages to come. This book would be an alternate world for them, and they would be the only ones to know about it. Since Hyderus knew dark and light powers of magic, and he knew everything about magic, he would be in charge of making the books.”

“Long live the King!” was heard across the street, next to a weird stand selling some kind of odd food. King Exus waved, and resumed.

“The other three friends; whose names were Viruli, Exus, and Pyrus; gathered materials to make these books, and to make spells for durability and usage. The three learned spells from James, and James was very smart. Anyway, the original plan was to make four books. Volt, Viruli, Exus, and Pyrus were engraved on four books in gold letters. The spell that Hyderus had made was made with both good and bad magic, which was the only way to make a book last forever and usable for living in. But behind everyone’s back, Cyrian made a book himself, and wrote Volt on its cover as well. When the other four had made their books and dipped it very carefully in the potion, Cyrian waited in the dark patiently so he can dip his book as well. He was successful.”

“King, please grace us with your presence, we would love to have you around! The meal is on the house!” yelled a vender that seemed to be good friends with King Exus.

“I’ll come back around later, Jade!” said King Exus to the alien-looking thing.

“As I was saying”, continued the King, “He succeeded in making a book just like the other four. All five would use the book for their own needs, and their wants. They never thought the book would be the end of their lives though.”

“The book killed them?” said James, surprised.

“Oh yes. The book killed almost every single owner it received, James. Why do you think your book is so blank, as well as Geoff’s? They didn’t know how to use it wisely. Hyderus’ book, your book, I mean, killed Hyderus and everyone that ever used it. You’re very lucky your father found no interest. As I was saying, they all died. You see those drawings of animals in your book? Those animals killed your ancestor Hyderus. Cyrian died in an explosion, due to the unknown chemicals he was using. The others died in similar ways, as well.”

“How do these books work, Exus?”

“You see that pen that appeared before you after the message I sent to your book? That pen only works on your book, and is the only way to draw anything in your book. As soon as you draw something, it appears in Index. You can write where you want it, how, and when. There are rules, though.”

“Like what kinds of rules?” asked James.

“You’ll see when we get to The Hall of The Chosen.”

“Is that what that thing over there is?” said James, pointing at the enormous building off at the end of the road.

“Yes. The rules are stated there,” said Exus.

They were about halfway there when James realized he had more questions.

“Are these…things… drawings that people made with their books?”

“I’d prefer to call them inhabitants. And yes, they are drawings. Some can reproduce, some can’t. It all depends on the drawers intentions. Some were drawn to sell items and keep Index civil. Some dragons were made to guard, some creatures were made to farm, etcetera. The meaning is what counts, James. Have you given your book a shot?”

James looked at his book, frightened. He knew he had to use it either way, so he grabbed his book and his pen, and began to draw. He drew a sword with a giant blade. Nothing happened.

“When does it pop out?” asked James, confused.

Exus laughed. “It all has to do with intention. As you draw, think of how you want the item to be, where, when, and so on. Go ahead, give it another go.

James opened his book again. He drew the same thing, but this time in complete concentration. His eyes grew big, and his hand flowed freely from the tip of his fingers, drawing in great detail. And right when he closed his book, a golden sword popped out in front of him, straight from thin air. He grabbed the sword and held it, in amazement. All the inhabitants surrounding King Exus and James Volt clapped and cheered on at what had just happened, and then resumed on with what they were doing.

“See? That’s how it’s done. Imagine the things that can be done with that book now,” said Exus, very seriously.

They were getting close to The Hall of The Chosen when Exus says, “This is our area of order. The Hall of The Chosen can only be entered by book holders and can only be opened by a book. The presence of a book is all that is needed to enter.

James grabbed his book, held it in front of the door, and waited. The giant door slowly opened, shaking the ground beneath them. Exus smiled, growing prouder of James. James was learning everything very quickly, and he was taking advice from one of the best. Exus knew that James was going to be a great help, and a great savior for Index.

“Let us go in, shall we?”

“I’m right behind you, King,” smiled James in excitement and anticipation.

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1220 Reviews

Points: 72525
Reviews: 1220

Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:54 am
Kale wrote a review...

And here I am for chapter four, as promised in my previous review.

As Exus and James were leaving, an awkward silence came about.

This sentence made me realize one particular issue with your writing that I didn't notice consciously enough to mention in my previous reviews.

Basically, all your chapters are written in the passive voice, and while the passive voice is very useful at times, it can really make a story drag. Stories involve actions and characters doing things; meanwhile, the passive voice is suited for times when something is acted upon, instead of performing the action. In general, it's best to avoid the passive voice in storytelling whenever possible, as it makes who is acting on what less obvious, and the action is what makes stories interesting for a lot of people. If you think about it, it's why action movies do so well despite having very little/poor plot -- things are always happening in very actiony ways, and that's what makes action moves so much more interesting to watch than, say, a documentary.

The same basic principle applies to writing as well, and the voice you use can (and does) have a huge impact on how your story is perceived by your readers. You don't always use passive tense, which is good, but you use it a lot, which is not so good because it makes the story feel more like a textbook (which are almost always written in passive tense) rather than a story with interesting things going on.

So, in addition to what seeminglymeaningless already pointed out, I'd like to recommend that you also pay closer attention to when you're using the active and passive voices. Right now, you're using the passive voice too heavily, and that's really slowing down the story.

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377 Reviews

Points: 22732
Reviews: 377

Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:43 pm
seeminglymeaningless wrote a review...

Hi, I'm reviewing your work for Review Day. I haven't been following your series and I know nothing about it, so pretend I'm someone in a book store, checking out the new releases. I've just picked up "James Volt" and turned to a random chapter. Let's see if I would continue reading, or return your book to the shelves.

Realism: I'm only in the very first few sentences/paragraphs here and I already feel alienated by your lack of realism. On one hand, Exus is grinning, and on the other, he's reassuring James that everything will be okay. Generally speaking, one does not grin when another is scared. Unless Exus feeds on James' fear? Even if Exus is older than James, grinning about something scary doesn't often reassure children.

Description: Your description of Index was lacking. I felt like you tried to describe too much in too small of a space. Because you tried to stretch yourself so thin, your writing suffered too. "Everything was so colourful, and the scenery was amazing" - this is terribly terribly generic. Instead of "so colourful" you could have said:

The colour assaulted James' eyes and he had a hard time trying to decipher and distinguish the various shades of red, blue, green and yellow vying for his attention.

Instead of telling us... show us.

Repetition: Many many many many. Miles miles miles. Everywhere everywhere everywhere. Use a thesaurus. Instead of "many", several. Instead of "miles", great stretches of distance. Instead of "everywhere", wherever James' eyes alighted. You need to vary your words and word usage. It is boring to read a word over and over and over again.

Story: I can't help but think of Harry Potter as I read this. A giant opening reveals a wonderful and different town setting. But instead of "The Boy Who Lived", we have "Great and Almighty James".

Aaand, I stopped reading. I stopped reading when you said:
As soon as people started realizing that Exus and James were in their presence, everyone stopped what they were doing, and stared. A poorly drawn goblin bowed down and said “Long live King Exus, ruler of everything and everyone!”

Many other creatures and creations followed along, yelling “Long live the King!” and continued with what they were doing.

More repetition and very generic wording. You need to expand your vocabulary and start liberally applying more advanced writing styles to your work. "Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared" is stage script, something for a director to follow and embellish on set. You should have written:
A hush fell over the crowded streets. James felt immediately alarmed and strangely elated when heads swivelled to stare in their direction. Eyes bored into his head, swept over his clothing and the book he carried by his side. "The king..." Murmurs started sweeping over the odd collection of creations.

Hope this review helps somewhat. Don't hesitate to PM me or comment on my wall. I don't keep track of reviews and I don't get notified of them, so you'll need to contact me in the ways advised.

Good luck,
- jhoi

It's a dramatic situation almost every time you answer the phone—if you answer the phone.
— Matthew Weiner