I’m pretty sure I know where I met Vasili. He was the second of our characters that I met, but the first that I felt like I connected with.
As the ship was clearing the docks, a lone figure was futilely sprinting towards them. In one hand he held his pants and belt, the other he waved frantically trying to garner attention. On the bridge he was clearly visible.
“Who was he?” Archamae asked idly. She wasn’t know (sic) for socializing amongst the crew much.
“Mikhailovich.” Sephara said at the starboard windows, staring at the desperate crewman slowly being swallowed up by darkness.
“Well, you did say midnight.” Archamae smirked, slamming the accelerator forward several notches. The [Requiem] Dawn responded by lurching forward with impressive speed.
“That I did.” The first mate caught the pilots (sic) eye and they shared a knowing smile.
Mike would be angry if I didn’t immediately communicate that:
- This is not from our Skysail books, but from Mike’s work prior, telling instead of the adventures of the crew of the Requiem Dawn.
- This is from 2010, so at time of writing, was written eight years ago. Which is basically an eternity ago in terms of life as well as how much better we are at writing.
- This is unpublished, unedited, and wasn’t supposed to ever see the light of day.
In the parlance of the role-playing forum from which he originated, this ‘Mikhailovich’ was an NPC, a non-playable character. He was someone who Mike created in order to be thrown away. He was disposable. He was a punchline. He was the kind of person who would be left behind.
To equal out the embarrassment, here’s something I (Josh) wrote, way back when:
You’re free of your worthless, pitiful son, father, Vasili Mikhailovich thought to himself, looking out over a (sic) weak beginnings of a muddled sunrise. Your burden laid to rest.
The fifth son of the petty noble-baron Anton Mikhailovich. And as Anton would put it, the “fifth-most diluted.” The preceding sons received the titles, the inheritance, the law, the church… to Vasili was bequeathed contempt, blame for his mother killed in childbirth for an unexpected son, and the constant threat of banishment from his father’s house.
I should clarify:
- This is from a short story I (Josh) wrote, detailing the backstory, the arrival on the airship Requiem Dawn, the apprenticeship under ‘Gregor the Boatswain’, and the abrupt departure of a moody young noble named ‘Vasili Mikhailovich’. The short story paralleled the original role-play forum thread, and filled in what was left unwritten with the crewman they left behind.
- This is from 2011, so, seven years ago. I can’t stress enough how long ago that is. A kind of long ago that should be measured in geologic time.
- I spent, like, a lot of time writing this short story. Let’s estimate at least 8 to 10 hours on the first draft, and maybe a dozen hours of editing in years after. And I still found that
a weak beginningstypo. Ooof.
Such choice, lean cuts of meat these two excerpts are! Just look at them. Energetic, muscular, and glistening. Such artifacts of another, more alien time. It’s like drilling a core sample to find out how things were back then, how we wrote, how good we thought we were, and how little carbon dioxide was still in the atmosphere.