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Bethelamon
April 5th, 2007, 01:21 PM
I've got an excellent basis of a story worked out, and I won't bore you with the details. Perhaps some other time.

But here is the problem. The world my narrative is set in features NO magic. There is no magic, no great quest, no old wizards, no almighty gods, etc etc... Its set in a very real and gritty human world. The only thing 'out of the ordinary' to ever feature was in the mythology of the Saints, which finished many thousands of years ago.

However here is the basis of the plot...

The Saints left earth and the human race developed by itself. But one of the Saints, Betelamon, remained. Im gonna use crude terms to explain this.
Basically, back when the Saints ruled the world, Bethelamon went a bit mad and killed one of his brothers. It wasn't really his fault, he was driven to it through madness and other reasons. So he is not the villain in the story, in fact Im gonna build on pity for him.
But all the other Saints went away, except Bethelamon who had to stay.
He became old and decrepit. He is the only thing vaguely 'magical' in the world now. I guess he could be called imortal. He's got no special magical powers, just he doesn't die of old age. Shortly after the Saints left, Bethelamon's nation, Garnesia, tried to go on with him as their ruler, but it didn't work as he got older and madder. So the priests hid him away, and covered him up. They told the people that he had joined his brothers the Saints in 'heaven'. No one knew why the Saints left and of Bethelamon's murder. The people thought he had just stayed behind a while and now was on his way! But the truth, covered up by the Garnesian Church, is that Bethelamon still on earth, hidden away, but in no fit state to really do anything.
The human world goes on.

Fast forward a couple of thousand years to the setting of my story. There is no boy king, no great hero, no chosen one... My main protagonist is simply drawn into the plot by accident and is nobody special.
The Garnesian Church has kept Bethelamon hidden up and everyone is happy. But one priest and his followers, who have great political power, have decided its time he snapped out of his senile state. They want to unite the crumbling Garnesia and lead it to victory. They basically want to start a war and conquer some territory. But they can't do it. They need a figurehead to unite the people.
What they need is to bring Bethelamon back to his lordly status and for him to lead the people to victory!

And here is where I draw a blank.

The simple option would be to have a quest for a magical object.
Bethelamon lost his crown, sceptre, sword or whatever a long time ago. The 'bad guys' need to find this, give it back to him, and he will snap out of his decrepit state and start some wars!
But I'm not gonna do that. I want no quest for a magical object, and no magic at all.

So this is the question Im left with.
Why is Bethelamon in his current state and incapable of leading his country?
What is it which will enable him to do this?
How are the 'bad guys' gonna go about doing this?
This will lead to the plot where the protagonist is accidently drawn in.
He will not save the world and he will gain no fame or recognition. But hopefully he will stop the 'bad guys' from uniting Garnesia under their patron saint and starting a big war. Bethelamon will gain peace, and either die happily or rejoin his brothers in 'heaven'.

Without using magic, has anyone got any ideas how the 'bad guys' could try to 'awaken' Bethelamon, leading to the narrative of the book?

Konrad
April 5th, 2007, 03:26 PM
I donīt know if its magic but here it goes:
What if this guy Betelamon got a child that got a child etc. and that they still live on somewhere or rather just one. If you want to make him evil then maybe Betelamon would have to sacrifice that person to get it back. I do not know why :o ...

Then maybe there is a mysterious man in the kingdom holding one part of Betelamons body, the one thing that can make him whole...:eek:

Bethelamon
April 5th, 2007, 03:34 PM
I donīt know if its magic but here it goes:
What if this guy Betelamon got a child that got a child etc. and that they still live on somewhere or rather just one. If you want to make him evil then maybe Betelamon would have to sacrifice that person to get it back. I do not know why :o ...


Thats a possibility for an idea.
Admittedely Bethelamon used to have a little magic.... if he had a child, then I could give his decsendent a little 'magic' to make him special. Perhaps if he is reunited with his offspring then he can 'get it together' again.
But hmm... over thousands of years, surely he would have spawned a huge family, not just one person?

Good ideas, keep them coming!!

World Builder
April 5th, 2007, 03:57 PM
Glad to see you're still at this one, Bethelamon, and haven't gone mad yourself. Out of curiosity, does Bethelamon still go mad as the result of certain revelations concerning a certain relation's split metaphysical personalities?

Regardless, I'll offer up my two cents worth.


Why is Bethelamon in his current state and incapable of leading his country?
To this I'll answer with some quotations from Sartor Resartus: "Why was the living banished thither? Why, if there is no devil; nay, unless the Devil is your God?" and "The Everlasting No had said: 'Behold! Thou art fatherless, outcast, and the universe is mine.'" Hopeful these coded messages aren't too esoteric; I didn't want to divulge any details of the story that you might not want revealed at this time. If translation is needed, feel free to PM me.


What is it which will enable him to do this?
"To which my whole Me now made answer: "I am not yours, but free, and forever hate thee!"

Bethelamon's got to snap himself out of his own millennia long existential funk.


How are the 'bad guys' gonna go about doing this?
They can't, but that won't stop them from trying. I kind of like the convention of gathering sacred items to aid Bethalmon; but perhaps that only brings back his strength and will to rule, but does nothing to solve his madness.

Though if I were writing this, I would certainly consider setting up the "Restore Bethelamon" Party as the good guys at first, until its clear that they're misguided and will only do more harm than good. At which point, you have a schism, and your dissenting protagonist can now move to counter the "Restore Bethelamon" Party and work toward helping Bethelamon snap himself out of this madness. Oh, wouldn't a trip to the terrifying dreamscapes of a mad demigod's mind be fun?

WB

Bethelamon
April 5th, 2007, 04:27 PM
Glad to see you're still at this one, Bethelamon, and haven't gone mad yourself. Out of curiosity, does Bethelamon still go mad as the result of certain revelations concerning a certain relation's split metaphysical personalities?

Hey I remember you helping me with this one before! Glad you remember too!
Yeah what I've got worked out is thus:
The bit of 'bad spirit' left after Kayal (the guadian spirit guy) departed is left to fester in the Forest of Isethuin, which are poisoned and generally go nasty. This is a close to a 'bad guy' the mythologoy gets - Its not really evil just full of malice and 'mischief', as it is essentially some angry thoughts which have broken free and become freestanding.
It had almost caused the apocalypse, till Kayal noticed what had happened to the world which he had left behind, and he sent his sons the Saints down to clear it up. They do so and the spirit hides in the forest, defeated. The saints build their ten cities around the forest to guard it.
Its name is Valagaur (or at least thats what men called it), and Valagaur begins to enter Bethelamon's dreams and starts haunting him, slowly driving him mad. Valagaur calls Bethelamon to come and see him.
Eventually Bethelamon cracks and leaves his country for the forest. His brother Caradhain, who he has told about the dreams, is concerned for his mind and accompanies him.
They meet Valagaur. It has taken the form of a man after possessing one foolish human who ventured into the forest. He reveals to the brothers how he is part of the spirit of Kayal, their father, and how they are brothers. He's out to cause trouble.
Caradhain is horrified and insists they tell their brothers and do something about Valagaur.
Bethelamon is shattered - not believing that father Kayal could have such a dark side. He does not believe Valagaur and does not want to tell their brothers.
Caradhain insists, and in a moment of madness through his damaged mind, Bethelamon slays his brother. He returns from the forest without him.
After a while the other saints realise what he's done, and the War Of The Saints begins, and after that Kayal calls his eight remaining sons away from the earth. Bethelamon returns and his priests take him in.
So the reason for murdering his brother is through being slowly driven mad by Valagaur, who wants nothing more than a bit of trouble, since bringing about the apocalypse is no longer an option.


To this I'll answer with some quotations from Sartor Resartus: "Why was the living banished thither? Why, if there is no devil; nay, unless the Devil is your God?" and "The Everlasting No had said: 'Behold! Thou art fatherless, outcast, and the universe is mine.'" Hopeful these coded messages aren't too esoteric; I didn't want to divulge any details of the story that you might not want revealed at this time. If translation is needed, feel free to PM me.

Hmm, I'll have to work on that one. ;)


"To which my whole Me now made answer: "I am not yours, but free, and forever hate thee!"

Do you mean that Bethelamon does not want to rule, and just wants to sit and get old? He doesn't any more to do with it. In which case its the job of the "Restore Bethelamon" Party to perhaps persuade him. Hmm. If thats not what you meant, thats still a thought!


They can't, but that won't stop them from trying. I kind of like the convention of gathering sacred items to aid Bethalmon; but perhaps that only brings back his strength and will to rule, but does nothing to solve his madness.

Yeah he's pretty much always gonna stay mad.
Bethelamon is reminding me more and more of Syd Barrett...


Though if I were writing this, I would certainly consider setting up the "Restore Bethelamon" Party as the good guys at first, until its clear that they're misguided and will only do more harm than good. At which point, you have a schism, and your dissenting protagonist can now move to counter the "Restore Bethelamon" Party and work toward helping Bethelamon snap himself out of this madness. Oh, wouldn't a trip to the terrifying dreamscapes of a mad demigod's mind be fun?

Yeah Im definately keen on not drawing a clear line between 'good' and 'bad'. I think the "Restore Bethelamon" Party are going to pretty much be religious extremists. Religion isn't a very important part of the world anymore, except in Bethelamon's Garnesia, where the church is very powerful. But not even the Garnesian people know that Bethelamon is still on earth and the church is hiding him. My main character isn't gonna be a great believer in religion. But then he's gonna find out that the gods (saints) DID exsist, and that one of them is still around, and people are planning a come-back for him! Bethelamon's priests are all up for just praising him and keeping him hidden away. Its gonna be a renegade extremist faction who want to actually bring him back, and are preaching that he's gonna return. They gain supporters in cults across the continent who preach that the Saints are going to return, and most people see them as crazy religious fanatics. But they are actually working for the renegade priest faction. Some of them will act as agents and make most of the contact with the protagonist, as the narrative will not be set in Garnesia.
I can see the dialogue now.
Priest 1 - "Hey guys, have you heard there's people across the country preaching that Bethelamon's gonna come back? And they've even got out of the country too. Crazy huh?"
Priest 2 - "Yeah... real crazy..." [Secretly thinking "Haha yeah you better belive it, 'cause Im in charge of them all!"]
Priest 1 - "Oh well, lets go give Bethelamon his bath."

James Carmack
April 5th, 2007, 08:02 PM
As far at non-magical ways to restore the mind of Bethelamon, consider drugs. In other words, the bad guys are working to develop a cure for his madness. They can be conducting live tests in the asylums, conducting secret raids to acquire rare ingredients, etc.

For a slightly magical option, we can say the prevailing assumption is that Bethelamon is possessed by Valagaur and the bad guys are looking for an appropriate sacrifice to be the new host. Maybe that sacrifice can be our protagonist or someone close to him.

And as far as Bethelamon's offspring go, if there are any, it is indeed likely that there's a large number of descendants, but there may only be one true successor that has received his spiritual inheritance. It can be either patrilineal or matrilineal. The latter appeals to me somewhat largely due to the aesthetic value of a female compliment. I'd rather you not go all Dan Brown with the idea, though, but I guess it's up to you.

World Builder
April 5th, 2007, 09:10 PM
Of course I remember the tale of Bethelamon. Its certainly one of the more intriguing ideas I've seen on the forum. I think it's the secondary world set up without magic that catches my interest. Here's a lot more rambling:

Anyhow, seems like Bethelamon goes mad just as I remembered (with some details filled in since last time). After the War of the Saints, and the retreat of his brothers, does Bethelamon or his faction win by default? Seems like with the other Saints out of the picture the world would have been ripe for the rise of a Bethelamonic Theocracy. Also, what exactly are Kayal and the Saints up to when they abandon earth to Valagaur and Bethelamon? They seem a bit like quiters, or at least slackers, doing just enough to keep the world ending, but not really going the extra step to improve its condition. Any possibilities of any other Saint returning?

I assume Bethelamon wasn't unique in having his own priesthood pre-War of the Saints, does that mean Caradhain also had his own church? How does the Cult of Caradhain (probably a small, secretive group if it manages to survive through the War and whatever sort of world emerges post-War) feel about these rumors of the return of the Patron Saint of Traitors and Fraticide? Actually I could see a psuedo-Cult of Caradhain emerging, not particularly dedicated to the Dead Saint (what happens to Demigods when they die?), but just being a general anti-establishment group striving to sow dissent against the Garnesian Church (and perhaps the Bethelamonic Theocracy). Of course, it could just being Valaguar, being his usual trickster demiurge self and influencing people again.

Oh, I realized I actually misquoted Sartor Resartus. The first quote should read (emphasis added):
Why was the living banish thither, companionless, conscious? Why, if there is no Devil; nay, unless the Devil is your God?
Obviously this was meant to be a reference to The Valaguar Shadow-aspect of Kayal driving Bethelamon mad and preventing the benevolent rule of the Saints from being acheived in the world.

The second quote equates the Everlasting No to Valaguar, speaking hypothetically to Bethelamon. He's been cast out by his brother Saints, abandoned by his father Kayal, and because of his actions the world has been left to Valaguar. That's enough to put anyone in a depressed mood for a millennia or two.

The quote that begins "To which my whole Me now gave answer:" would be Bethelamon replying to the Everlasting No/Valaguar's previous declaration. In order to break his existential funk, as I put it earlier, he's got to work through it himself. Come to terms with the dualism of Kayal, realizing nothing he can do can change what has been done (or is such a feat within his "magical" capabilities?), forgive himself, and move on with his life. Wallowing in angsty self-loathing, trying to force the world into clear good-and-evil mindset (when its not that simple) is what's driving him mad, encouraged of course, by Valaguar's dream.

What could snap him out of this? Perhaps the protagonist could smuggle Bethelamon out of his secure location and let him see what the Garnesian Church is up to. Let's assume for a moment that the Church tries to impose a strict Good and Evil viewpoint on the nation's morality. What sort of Good and Evil code would you develop from the gibbering of a mad demigod? I'm sure the Garnesian Church would be full of absurdities because of this. Sending Bethelamon out into the real world might trigger a buddha-like enlightenment, or utterly backfire.

Or at the very least, it's a thought :)

WB

Konrad
April 6th, 2007, 04:44 AM
Have you thought about a Science fiction aproach? The Saints could be beings from a different planet and the thing that this guy Bethelamon needs is an object from their planet. Something that he got separeted from a long time ago maybe?

Then the childthing. I got this idea now that the kid or grownup could have a special gene lets say a cure for the madness. The madness being a sickness right. But this is what the thread is about so Iīve no idea why I said it...:o
But the gene could be dangerous too it could kill the bearer that will die soon. But the bearer knows that he will die anyway when Betelamons hoard gets him so what should he do: fight or flight? :rolleyes:

World Builder
April 6th, 2007, 11:18 AM
A thought just occured to me, a collision between the Saints-for-Another-Planet concept and my question "What are Kayal and the Saints up to now?"

What if the Kayal and the Saints take the form of celestial bodies when away from the world. For example, Kayal could be the sun, the Saints the planets. When a particular celestial body isn't visible in the night sky, that could translate into that Persona visiting the world. The exception to this would be Kayal, for when he / the sun isn't visible, is when Valaguar comes out to play.

The Star of Bethelamon would not have been seen a very long time, since he's been stuck in the world for so long.

Conversely, when their respective planets are out and about, that might signal their arrival in the world. In this case the Star of Bethelamon might be a moon of some sort, constantly visible both day and night.

If you don't like the idea, let me know. I might be able to find a good home for it elsewhere

WB

Bethelamon
April 6th, 2007, 03:16 PM
Its certainly one of the more intriguing ideas I've seen on the forum. I think it's the secondary world set up without magic that catches my interest.

Excellent! I hoped it would be interesting.


After the War of the Saints, and the retreat of his brothers, does Bethelamon or his faction win by default?

No one wins, the war is just abandoned. Its pretty much a stale mate, and the saints and their people are pointlessly destroying the earth again. Kayal looks down from 'heaven' and pretty much gets pissed off. He abandoned the earth a long time ago as mankind was destroying it... later he took pity and sent the Saints to sort it out... and now it has descended into madness again, with the Saints initiating the madness this time! Understandably he is pretty peaved. He gives up and calls his sons back to 'heaven', never to have anything to do with the world again. But as Bethelamon killed Caradhain, he doesn't let him back, and sends him back to stay on earth. Caradhain is buried on earth. So no one wins, the war just ends. When the saints leave, their nations get bored of the fighting and get on with their lives - after all, it was because of what went on between the saints that all the fighting began, and their people were drawn into their dispute like pawns to fight their battles. In a way I guess some people would be thinking "Finally those idiots have gone, we don't have to serve them anymore and keep on killing eachother. No hard feelings huh?"


Seems like with the other Saints out of the picture the world would have been ripe for the rise of a Bethelamonic Theocracy.

Bethelamon is mad and injured and has no plans to take over the world. He goes into hiding. The church/priests are just interested in caring for him and preaching praise for him.


Also, what exactly are Kayal and the Saints up to when they abandon earth to Valagaur and Bethelamon? They seem a bit like quiters, or at least slackers, doing just enough to keep the world ending, but not really going the extra step to improve its condition. Any possibilities of any other Saint returning?

Hey, I need a bit of mystery! When the saints depart that is the last that is EVER heard of them. Nobody knows what happens to them. They are not abandoning the world to Valagaur though, he is pretty much powerless and disappears into a vague distant memory. When he was robbed of physical power, he only really had mental power over his 'brothers' the saints, ie how he drove Bethelamon mad. Kayal pretty much has had enough of keeping the world safe from being overrun by the evils of mankind - he abandons it. He's not a quitter. He has tried very hard and failed. He's not going to try again. And by 'being overrun by the evils of mankind' I mean pretty much developing into the modern human-dominated world. His sons just do what he tells them. Who knows where they go and what they do afterwards? I don't. That's the last we hear of them. No saint will return. Its a nice idea, but goes against my idea of having gods and such involved in the action (except our mate B obviously).


I assume Bethelamon wasn't unique in having his own priesthood pre-War of the Saints, does that mean Caradhain also had his own church?
Yes. All the saints had churchs and they still exsist. The popular religion of the day worships all the saints. Some follow it and believe what it teaches, much like today. Just like people today will ask you "Do you believe in god? Do you think jesus exsisted?", people in this world can ask "Do you believe in the saints? Do you think they exsisted?" Some will base their faith on this belief, some will think its hogwash and are aethiests.
There are also smaller churchs following particular saints, based around where their original cities were. (for example, the Church of Miranar is based in Antirol. Antirol is the modern name for Ereth Miran, the city where the saint Miranar dwelt and ruled). All the churches get on more or less ok, as they all are based around the same beliefs.
The Church if Caradhain is more of a cult nowadays. Caradhain's people came from Dainaith, an island off the mainland. After the saints departed, they slowly abandoned Dainaith and dispersed among the mainland. My first thought is to have the followers of Caradhain as like the Dunedain, a secret society of warrior-rangers... but I hope for something more original than that.


How does the Cult of Caradhain (probably a small, secretive group if it manages to survive through the War and whatever sort of world emerges post-War) (bingo! feel about these rumors of the return of the Patron Saint of Traitors and Fraticide?

I dunno yet, but the followers of Caradhain are gonna play an important part in the narrative! I can safely say already that they won't be big fans of the Church of Bethelamon.


...this was meant to be a reference to The Valaguar Shadow-aspect of Kayal driving Bethelamon mad and preventing the benevolent rule of the Saints from being acheived in the world..

Yeah thats pretty much what it did - prevented the benevolent rule of the Saints from being achieved.


Have you thought about a Science fiction aproach? The Saints could be beings from a different planet and the thing that this guy Bethelamon needs is an object from their planet. Something that he got separeted from a long time ago maybe?

Nah Im not really interested in bringing science fiction into it, but thanks for the input!


A thought just occured to me, a collision between the Saints-for-Another-Planet concept and my question "What are Kayal and the Saints up to now?"

What if the Kayal and the Saints take the form of celestial bodies when away from the world...

...If you don't like the idea, let me know. I might be able to find a good home for it elsewhere

Hmm a nice idea, but I don't think I'll use it, as the whole 'Kayal is the sun' etc idea makes it too high and mighty and more detached from real life... and it has Kayal and his sons still hanging around. They are long gone in the setting of the story, Bethelamon (and Caradhain's tomb) are the ONLY remnants of the Age of the Saints left on earth. If the sun in the sky was actually Kayal looking down... the reality would be shattered and it would become TOO fantasy for me!
So you're welcome to that idea!

I've had a thought about Bethelamon's madness.
Perhaps he is so mad that he doesn't remember who he is. He doesn't know he is one of the Saints. The priests could just care for him like an old man in a care home... the truth being that he is actually Saint Bethelamon stuck on earth, but he doesn't know it. He's too old and decrepit. And its up to the "Restore Bethelamon Party" to convince him of who he is...