Jake Elliot is a fellow member of NIWA, and he gets today’s second Boosting the Signal post so he can tell you about his ‘mock-epic’ fantasy The Wrong Way Down. What’s a mock-epic fantasy? I’ll let him explain! Take it away, Jake!
Thank you, Angela, for giving me a place to talk about my ‘mock-epic’ fantasy, The Wrong Way Down. What is ‘mock-epic?’ Many characteristics of this series hold true to the fantasy genre, however, it reads with a different spin. My heroes could be heroic and have the right stuff, but they can’t quite become heroes. In fact, their mission is so dire, and the world needs them to win, but every foot forward is one step closer to their graves. So therefore, this tale is ‘mock-epic.’
In chapter three of The Wrong Way Down, the story’s heroes receive two scrolls to be delivered to the nearest military garrison. The first scroll is read, but the second one is never opened. These are the words written upon the unopened scroll—
Dear Priest Betrum, my old friend,
I don’t know how to begin this letter, for it tells the worst of misfortune. Without easy words, High Priest Marcel was murdered this morning before dawn. I know this information is staggering by its own weight, but the ‘why’ of his death is far worse.
We are in deep trouble out here. I don’t know anyone else within the Church who I can turn to with this, so I’m turning to you, my most trusted brother in faith. I entrust you to invite whichever Superior you feel can adequately respond to the gravity of our situation. I am at a loss as to who to contact. The holy scepter we’ve been entrusted to keep secure is gone. LeSalle’s Grace was stolen this morning.
It is a delicate line we stand on, protecting Grace while continuing to display the divine relic has been a tradition provided at our temple for over 400 years—now broken. This morning, thieves using a hook and rope climbed into Grace’s display room, where subsequently, they murdered Marcel as he prayed. Marcel—our friend and teacher for twenty-four years—cut down in cold blood.
We are still at a loss to figure out how this crime transpired. We were awakened at the time of occurrence. The room to LeSalle’s Grace had been barred from the inside. It took Priest Horace several attempts, but on the third thrust he broke the door-jam with his shoulder. There, through a window no bigger than a crawlspace, at least one burglar escaped down a rope tied to a grapple. Now Marcel is dead and Grace is gone.
Truly, by the blessing of the divine, we found one thief lying unconscious in the middle of the room. My best guess is she—the unconscious thief—touched LeSalle’s Grace. As you know, holy power of that magnitude will sunder the ‘misaligned.’
Maybe thirty minutes ago she regained consciousness, but her only response to our questions is a mouthful of obscenities. As if she were spawned from a devil, she tempts us to break our vows of pacifism. My subordinates are on a slippery edge—I’ve had to call them back twice. By the gods, Betrum, I saw the animal rise within my own clergy—our compassion is but a shallow well.
Since this woman refuses to cooperate in any fashion, I’ve decided to have her escorted to Blackmire Garrison. By the time you’ve received this letter, the woman will have been broken by the garrison inquisitor. I’ll send instructions to the fort commander to forward the interrogation report directly to you. She’ll act tough for a bunch of priests, but I doubt she’ll last a minute under an inquisitor’s blade. God, please forgive my betraying thoughts. However, it is quite possible you’ll receive the inquisitor’s report at the same time this note arrives.
Call upon me as needed, I am in ever-loving service to our God and Church. I will tend to the spiritual injuries of my staff, and as any new information arises, I will keep you informed.
My prayers keep you in mind,
High Priest at the Temple of Dawn’s Mystery
Popalia is a young priestess. She is the unlucky girl to be assigned the mission of delivering two letters and a rebellious thief to the local military outpost. Assisted by a servant at the temple, Popalia’s mission is a long-shot that goes horribly wrong—and after that, it gets worse. They’ll be waylaid by a backward group of wild elves, chased through the woods by a relentless bear, surviving all of this only to be duped by a gang of shifty thieves, finally seeking uncertain protection with the unscrupulous Ascolan Brothers’ Mercenary Team. This fun story begins when the heroes fail—over and over.
Welcome to The Wrong Way Down.