Wed Jan 11, 2012, 9:30 PM
For marioluevanos and I It was one of those interesting ideas that once let loose to run free
in our heads was impossible to force back into the “notions for another time” box. Deadlined chapters
and artworks to open mystic gates to safeguard the coming of the New Year 2012! One more way to show
the world what the talents and imaginations of our worldwide community of deviants are capable of when
challenged with only minimal time and direction! But of course the actual execution of this creative
experiment would require far more prep time to set up, not to mention more technical and editorial manpower
– especially at holiday, vacation, and final exams time of year! And how could all the submissions be
read within hours of their linking, not to mention their being thoughtfully assessed for the choosing?
Of course it was absolute madness. But then again, it was just such a really cool idea...
Odyssey Chapter 1: DescentAs she steps through the gate, a sparkling, silver wind sweeps around her, its soft whisper echoing around her in the emptiness, murmuring, singing, shining. One single word, one solitary breath that holds a vast amount of meaning
The girl stands on the other side of the gate, a small smile playing on her lips as she watches cherry blossoms float by on the wind. Her eyes sparkle as light flows up around her, enveloping her in its grasp, the wind blowing her golden hair away from her head. Her pointed ears twitch, and then the elf-maiden falls.
Her descent seems like an eternity through the shadows, before a small, malevolent laugh fills the air. Then, with a sudden jolt, she lands on something hard, something rough and dirty, flooded with light. The pavement that has rushed up to meet her face brings a new sensation with it pain.
As she slowly lifts herself up, she looks around her, slightly dazed from her travel. A long cut runs from her cheek down to he
Odyssey into 2012 Chapter 1 EntryThere was a subtle throb in her head as she tried to catch breath she didn't know she'd lost. A glance downward provided a clue: altitude. She was standing on clouds. Frosty vanilla clouds shimmered an eyeful of reply to the translucent skin of her bare feet. She started forward. A quick peek; a structure began to show through the mist.
As she drew near, her lips parted in awe. Before her was a gold-framed building with the look of a palace but the size of a single-story house. Excitement filled her stomach for a moment of solid ground's retreat. She raced through the entry and let the hardened skin of her toes embrace the thick glass floor with a twirl. Her eyes, however, were unprepared for the busy sight of a room of mirrors. The flash of her reflection from every angle knocked her flat on her back with a surprised laugh.
Getting up from her knees, she noticed gold lacy texture under the glass: a symbol, "Reflection". She stepped up to a mirror. Her clothes were tattered, but still
We also got four weeks of technical disaster and mayhem, and also near absolute sleeplessness and a real mental duress –
an endless gnawing anxiety over whether or not I was choosing the chapters and illustrations that best served the growing
narrative of the story. Each chapter’s submissions had at least a half dozen entries that could have been chosen. They
were just that good. Well, you know that if you were reading along with me as they came in. This was not a “blind”
contest with “secret” entries. It was meant to be an open showcase for deviants’ talents. I was, and am still, concerned
that deviants would misperceive the experiment as a competition rather than what was intended: an open organic collaboration
of dA talents creating something special to ring out the old year and ring in the new with a real bang!
I kept trying to convey in prompts and notices that deviants shouldn’t get so hung-up by the 300-word count and other “rules”.
I was disheartened when artists dropped out of submitting because their last piece had “answered” all the plot points in the prompt,
but a submission which ignored those “questions” – and was over the 300 limit to boot – was chosen as the “winner”. Everyone who
submitted was a winner because so many of us involved in the project were reading all of the entries that were submitted. That
this story turned out as amazing as it did (that it even got completed!) makes all of us, the deviantART community, “winners.”
I was warned that what might come of this would be a hopeless “mish-mash” of stitched together story fragments barely making sense.
It might be difficult to “get” what was expected, or impossible to explain where the story and project were going. How wrong the
naysayers were! What has been created is a compelling story in which unique characters with powerful backstories and motivations clash
and seek redemption in their own thoughtfully conceived “universe”. A story well-suited to comic book, graphic novel or even film treatment.
Chapter 1: Odyssey into 2012It's static --
trapped between her fingers, buzzing in her ears.
A heartbeat lost in the echoes of her rib cage.
And yes, of course: the intermittent pounding, the thundering, the rush of blood through her veins.
Was that fear?
She'd once been foolish enough to believe that no one could lure her in to this. A ribbon of smokescreen smiles, flashes of deceptive lies, and she was sold for the price of forever. As the cold air smacks into her face and turns her hair to tangled strands, she struggles to maintain her hold on the tattered calendar. It's ripped from the wall, December 2011 in bold Serif typeface filling the upper left corner. Eight dates circled in red. Eight trials, none of them easy, and her mouth runs dry at the thought. She folds the calendar and slips it into the right pocket of her jeans.
The scribbles of "Zephyr" and "Tokyo", etched so hard onto t
thestaccatobutterfly “Light TrainM”
invention became it’s own near-living character in the story. The inter-dimensional “gaterunning” and time travel plot twists were brilliantly
devised when needed to provide Kaylin a logical and reader-satisfying explanation of her dilemma and unique existence in the universe. A new
Heroine with unique powers and handicaps, a compelling Story Arc for the narrative and each main character, a frightening Nemesis, and a Goal
achieved in a most unique final twist. This is no “mish-mash”. This is real storytelling, real magic and wonder wrought from the fevered
efforts of hundreds of deviants pressed voluntarily into service under pressure cooker conditions. Thank you all for creating something to
be remembered for a lifetime!
I experienced something utterly unexpected as I read submission after submission.
As much as I like the story being created, and greatly admire it as it now stands completed. I began to yearn for the “other” alternative versions
of Kaylin’s adventure that might have been had I chosen another chapter each time. I keep seeing this branching tree of a diagram in my head
of all the alternate realities that might have been in the story’s other iterations. Of course they don’t exist, but just knowing and wishing
they could makes me want to now how things turned out in each of them!
For example, if you would like to take some time and peruse entries for the first couple of chapters that were complied for us by katiekerr
you will immediately understand my desire to read all of the other versions that might have been. Just imagine all of the places this story
might have gone! Choosing the last chapters became almost painful when before I even clicked a link I already knew that this was going to be
another submission worthy of “winning” from having read this writer’s amazing prior submissions.
It was with a real joyful anticipation but also a real anguish that I would click on katiekerr, wei-en, SamuelFuery, Willis-Crisp,
PeanutButterLegs, Sayuri14, blue-moon-legacy, MountainMan246, StarkRaving-Mad, NyssasOrbit, AlexanderTheSoSo,
BillBlogins and others and just know that what I was about to read would be great and a worthy choice – but that only one could be chosen.
I didn’t expect that there would be a “sadness” involved in being a “judge” of so many talented and gifted writers’ works of art. I must also
mention the incredible efforts of katiekerr and kersee9. Without them coming to the aid of the ODYSSEYPROJECT form it’s earliest
point it would never have come together in the way that it did. Loona-Cry and Loza-Muse led the charge in bringing new information to
the battlefield as soon as I could hand it off to them. They were tireless in their efforts, generosity of time and dedication to this project.
Endorell-Taelos, TailswimTella and onedaysoon were so incredibly helpful to the process.
SanctuaryShe knows where he's going to next.
The gate leads her to a city she knows, adores. However, this is not the town. She drags up a memory of spells past and finds herself in another place - Salem.
Massachusetts was a legend among her group. The Salem Witch Trials ring a bell? It was only because of their combined efforts that they managed to end it. Decades afterwards, Salem became an asset in the group, a safe place.
The sanctuary he'd seek.
The graveyard was the passageway to the network of magic. She steps up to a small, faded lump of stone, whipping up an arm to reveal an intricate design of ancient symbols.
The stone shifts, revealing a set of stairs leading down into oblivion.
She was gazelle leaping through a frequently used trail. He had to be there, had to. His energy should be depleted from the attack on Tokyo. She ends up before the door leading to the most secure room - only three people had the clearance to enter, her and him included.
A person was waiting for her, a
Odyssey Into 2012 Chapter SevenTurn of Events
The Light Train stopped in a barren wasteland. Kaylin beckoned for it to come back, hoping to push forward, but she knew, at this point, she was being too hopeful. Darus stood in front of her, holding the blue and white ribbon from her memory between his right thumb and index finger.
"You remember this?" Darus mocked.
"Vaguely." Kaylin tried searching her memory for more answers, but found nothing.
"This...is the Zephyr Key. You were not supposed to possess it, but you were chosen as its rightful owner, and you don't even know its full potential like I do." A purple aura surrounded Darus, making the barren wastleland turn into a dark abyss. "Zephyrs are enchanced with this, as you can tell."
"If it chose me, why do you possess it?" Kaylin asked nastily.
"When you left, it chose a new owner. Me." Darus smirked, the dark abyss contorting itself into what one would assume was his imagination - Statues of him filled the roads and squares, and a lone dark edific
Finally 2012Kaylin stood upon the light train struggling to breath as she continued towards the gate. If I hope to save everyone, I must destroy myself. She shut her eyes and wrapped her arms around herself.
The light train dissipated and she stood still with fear before this gate.
"Are you so afraid Kaylin?" Darus laughed as he approached her. "11:58pm. Almost time." Kaylin clenched her fists in anger. He told her this to make her be afraid, to keep her from fulfilling her destiny.
And it had worked.
The anger she felt was just as much for herself as it was for Darus. She had allowed his words to invade her mind and take control. She turned, screaming and unleashing her Zephyr upon him.
Darus simply raised his hand. The energy split and went to either side of him, like a rock in the middle of rapids. Kaylin stared at him and
panted, her energy wearing thin.
Darus walked slowly towards her. "You thought that by throwing your anger at me, like a ill-behaved child, you would win?"
My choice for the final chapter startled me. It was not what I thought I might be looking for. It was not the slam-bang volcanic ending I had been
hoping for. Other deviants have commented that the selection ignored prompt points and my call for New Year’s “fireworks”. But I had no choice.
BookWormMK transcended what I had wanted by giving me what I hadn’t known I wanted.
The End and The BeginningNow is now.
Kaylin is stepping off the Light Train. It's dark and the dry wind scratches at her face. It's the one place that doesn't come to mind when you think of New Year's Eve.
In front of her blooms a different kind of darkness. It's wet and humid. She turns around and Darus is there.
"This is it," he says. "The final gate. The last trial." He spreads his arms, and the wet warm dark spreads out and presses against her dark. He pulls his sword out of the scabbard. Kaylin stands in front of him, tensed to run.
"Running again?" He flourishes his sword. It's giving him an unfair advantage. The sword disappears.
"You should sacrifice yourself now, if you want to win," he says. The fear in his voice is unmistakable. "A fair trade, one life for all, don't you think?"
"I don't want to die," Kaylin says. Her voice is strong and afraid. She closes her eyes, and opens them. A portal of light appears between them. They both blink.
"I didn't do that. You can't do that." Darus says.
"I did." Sh
The “solve” of having Kaylin the Destroyer destroy the darkness to defeat Darus is worthy of a classic mystery writer. And then the quietly poetic
denouement of Kaylin answering the unstated question, bringing the tale full circle back to the prologue… These are moments of inspired genius
writing – the real unexpected magic that takes the breath away more startlingly than any pyrotechnics. So if you differ with my selection, all I
can tell you is: Forgive me, for I was momentarily so mesmerized by this writer’s words, that in this choosing, I really had no choice. And by the way,
this is one timeline along one Cosmic thread in Kaylin’s Universe. I honestly expect there might just be a letter from Jackson on the nightstand
next to her when she awakes.
Odyssey 2012. Chapter 7: Scenario No. 3,722Skyscrapers glinted with the dying sunlight. This was the Tokyo she remembered long before Darus tarnished it. Kaylin stood at the top of a hill surveilling the city. Breeze caressed her face. She knew this was the place to end what Darus had started.
Something moved behind her. Kaylin whirled around and found Jackson staggering towards her, unscathed. He fell into her arms.
"Jackson! You're here! How is this possible?"
He stood up, his hands clawing on Kaylin's shoulders for support.
"By destroying your alternative future-selves, you have also altered the course of my future." His voice trembled. "Kaylin...you're the Eighth Gate. The last barrier between Darus and the Zephyr key. Break its seal and you'll be able to use all of your powers... "
Jackson's words pierced through her, but what Kaylin heard next felt worse.
"Haven't you told her she'll die if she does that?"
Darus advanced towards them, the Blade dangling from his hand. "Break the
Odyssey into 2012 Final ChapterKaylin sighed as the Light Train faded around her, its corona vanishing into stardust as it fulfilled its purpose. It was Darus' creation, she knew that now, shuttling her from one test to the next, leading her to every gate so she could unwittingly weaken the walls of reality, that flexible space/time cycling into infinity, until infinity no longer existed. It was all part of his plan. And Jackson...
He was still a person-shaped hole in her memory. She was beginning to think he had never existed at all.
Exhaustion weighed her down like so much lead. The baggage of so many cycles; the sweet oblivion of Lethe only to be forced again and again into painful remembrance. Her own soul, reborn again countless times, ached with the abuse Darus heaped on her, dragging her back into this life, shoving knowledge back into her skull until she was fit to burst.
He didn't suspect she would wipe her own memory? He was the one that kept returning it to her, would keep returning it to her. All so she
The Final Elimination -Odyssey Project chapter 8The light train that never stopped for anyone was waiting.
Something in the breeze behind Kaylin stirred. "Jackson?"
"I'm sorry, I should have told you,"
"Told me what?"
"I lied. It was always going to be you. Here and now, it always has been. This has been played out countless times. Each time with you waking up at the first gate.. I thought I could find another way out, but this is the only way. We don't know for sure what will happen when you destroy the gate but..."
"I'll disappear with it.." Kaylin finished
3,722 different end scenarios, this hadn't been part of the plan, had she gone wrong somewhere? The urge to begin her journey again from the start was immense, but then somehow she sensed she had already done that, too many times.
"You're right, this has gone on long enough. It's time to end this,"
Taking a deep breath, Kaylin climbed aboard the light train, for the last time. Her chariot, at her command, racing toward the last gate... except something didn't feel right.
The last few days of the year were so busy for everyone leading up to New Year’s Eve we did not have as many artwork submissions as we
had hoped. Now that everyone has had a minute to take a breath I would still like to re-open submission for the last two chapters to the
entire community. I would also encourage those few of you that were able to submit to add any additional touches to your pieces that you see fit.
marioluevanos and I will also be posting a list of possible titles for our story to be voted on by you.
It’s only days into the new year of 2012 and I already feel like we have traveled a grand and glorious journey with our noble band of
companion writer and artist deviants. Thank you all for the amazing ride! marioluevanos and I have learned so much from this first
experiment – and most importantly: from you! – that our next collaborative expeditions will run more smoothly and un-glitchy. I hope you
learned something about your own development as writers and artists along the way, if only what you’re capable of when your own powerful
desire conquers impossible circumstance and restriction – and real art can still spring forth!
I will be releasing a follow up article with an interview featuring the main participants in the Odyssey into 2012 project as soon as we
choose the final artworks and make one more important announcement about the project.