We’ve tiptoed in The Realm for a few scenes, and now we begin our long descent into quirky oddness. Let’s unpack.
The references to narrative convention are absolutely inspired by the likes of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Jasper Fforde. I make no apologies for this, but given the story’s setting it’s also rather important.
It also gives the Narrator a bit more presence as a character, as he likes to cut in with comments from time to time — usually when he’s explaining how conventional narrative is or is not being heeded. The Narrator might be my second-favorite character in the story.
I’m a pastor by vocation, so my use of religion in a narrative probably shouldn’t come as a shock. I tend to see things from a theological perspective, after all, and it colors how I write. In my other story, Welcome to The Valleys, religion is always hinted at but never explained. This tale, on the other hand, required a more defined religious system. Thus was born Narrativism.
The Prophets of Narration have made the people of The Realm aware of a purpose behind their existence, and the various sects of Narrativists exist as a way to understand that revealed purpose. Professor Nobody, whose reflections on Narrativism have yet to be revealed, might actually have the closest grasp on the actual purpose of The Realm.
Interestingly enough, the “navel-gazing nitwits” are the closest to Nobody in understanding. Sometimes it’s the people who are closest to being in agreement with us who draw our deepest disdain. After all, they could be just like us if they only tried harder. Nobody isn’t immune to this impulse.
The elves in The Realm are nitwits, though.
The one point on which all the peoples of The Realm agree, except for the Realists 1, is the Narrator is the “True Friend of Imagination.”
Actualization is a huge point in the story. Actualized realms are what make up our stories and legends and tales. They don’t live out the stories we know, so much as they exist as their archetype. That is, the stories we have draw their existence from the actualized realms. And changes in those realms do affect both our experience of those narratives which they represent and alter the course of further stories which spring from the same source material.
This means trade and cultural interactions between the various realms need to be carefully monitored, or bad things can happen. The introduction of midi-chlorians into Star Wars, for example, was the result of a black-market trade in plot devices between A Galaxy Far Far Away and the realm which empowers a certain comic book publisher’s universe.
It was the Narrator who made the peoples of The Realm aware of the other realms of existence, and the monitored trade conducted through their embassies has contributed to plot developments ever since.
The Big Bads
The last line of this scene reveals the identity of the “Big Bads” in this story. Lawyers.
Not all lawyers, mind you, a very specific horde of rampaging lawyers who have broken from their main stream culture and gone on a rampage of conquest, seeking to control the very flow of narrative itself.
The Realm is under siege from the Copyright Horde.
In fact, the nature of the horde is precisely why the wizards in The Realm live around a town called “Boarsblemish,” that’s not the original name of the city, it was changed in order to break a siege which almost brought The Realm to the point of utter collapse.
Throughout the war a strict “no mention” policy has been enforced in The Realm. Specifically, no actualized realm or entities are ever to be vocalized. The Horde has ways to pinpoint these vocalizations and launch a missile to obliterate the offending point. It’s been a long war, and between the siege and the no mention policy legitimate trade in narration has all but dried up.
- We haven’t even mentioned them yet. ↩