I have to say, it’s not often I am met with pleasant surprises, and I daresay this counts as one of them.
Every now and again, I get a notification that someone has favorited one of my old fanfiction; added me to their list of authors that they wish to be notified with updates of. I have to say, I am pleased that there are still folk who stumble upon Slayers: Dragon’s Cycle and even happier when they leave a review like this. So, thank you, Girl, for leaving it, and I am happier than you can imagine, that you enjoyed it so!
Every now and again, I do think about this story, try to figure out how to solve some of the problems that the characters have. I think of the story with great fondness, as I associate it with good friends and good memories – as well as of loss. The person who use to help me the most with the story, who used to review it and help me tweak it, died in 2003. I still miss Za; and remember the happy days when I would write this story, excited and plotting ahead, cackling with her as we made mischief for the characters. It was all in fun; yet at the same time we wanted very much to make a doujinshi story that was well made and well written, to see a story done that people would read and enjoy in the way we wanted to enjoy the series, all anew.
That there are people still able to enjoy something I’d written for fun, mental breaks taken between homework and the tons of research I was doing in high school and college at the time, tells me that in that at least, I succeeded.
Dragon’s Cycle and The Slayers anime and manga era of fanfiction and fandom were my entry into the Internet going all the way back to 1996, with the old Geocities sites and fanart and where every little scrap of news from Japan was excitedly hoarded and shared. Anime and manga wasn’t readily available then, but through difficult-to-obtain VHS tapes with fan-made subs and such, and the rare English dub tapes, we got what we enjoyed.
Dragon’s Cycle was – from the author’s point of view – an exercise in schizophrenia. I was determined to give each character their unique voice and personality – something that I’ll admit was a little difficult when it came to Lina and Zelgadiss – of the characters they had marked similarities; before they had some of their traits exaggerated in the later Anime shows. It was in this regard that I needed Za to help keep them ‘in character’ – having a fresh set of eyes after all, helped! I would have liked to been able to obtain more of the later mangas and the light novels; as characters they were solidly built and it was to those original novels – which we did not have access to at the time – that I was hoping to do a homage to. However, for the sake of readability to a Western audience, I did not ‘port’ into my fanfiction a number of the nonverbal cues that tend to be written into a Japanese light novel. However, I did my best with what we had at the time.
(Milgazia also had more ‘screen time’ in the novels, but I dared not even try to mimic his mind-freezingly…strange… sense of humour, no matter how much I heard of it.) At the time I was writing in the fandom, we would get little itty bits of translation of the novels – and well, fanfiction, at the time, was meant to fill in the gaps for our own entertainment until we got the real thing. For fun, I would even include little afterword ‘backstage’ scenes and fourth-wall breaking conversations, like I’d heard the novels had.
I wasn’t able to get my hands on the light novels. At the time they were published I didn’t have money; and around the time I did have some to spare, I couldn’t get them any more! Worse; Tokyopop had stopped translating them halfway through – they ceased translation at Volume 8. There are fifteen volumes total of the original Slayers Light Novels.
Other than a short story for Valkyrie Profile, I never really wrote fanfiction again; though I participated in the forum RPG game set in Megatokyo – called Megatokyo: The Clans. That’s where Rhys and I ‘met’ – though we met for ‘real’ in 2004; and we’ve been together since, though certainly he isn’t the only person from ‘those days’ that I still chat to on occasion – time differences and real life responsibilities keep us busy; and we’re all so much older now, it’s a bit of a surprise of how quickly time went by.
Time, ultimately, has been the biggest obstacle to my finishing this story, though I have every intention of doing so. Real Life (TM) kept getting in the way, I lost my Dad and had Vincent and at the same time had to step up to being the provider in the family. I eventually migrated to Australia, and pretty much it seems almost that I’ve had all my time taken up by the various minutae of daily life; and just as it seems I was starting to get settled into the routine enough that I could make a little time for myself, we lost Damien to stillbirth, and after that, Brandon to SIDS. So on top of it all, I’m fighting a daily battle with grief and PTSD, and wrestling with the stress and depression. I’m told it’s early days yet, and it will take time. It feels like it’s taken so much of my life, but it’s been only three since Damien, and we lost Brandon in April 2015. Some days, I can feel the words on my fingertips, but as soon as I set them to the keyboard, they vanish, like so much mist. Some days I feel other stories being whispered to me by my muse; I make notes.
But I will one day finish Dragon’s Cycle.
I promised Za, after all… but I don’t remember the setting as well, and some of the ways I used to write back then I don’t use any more. But I do like the way I was able to give each character such an individuality – I really hope that I am able to keep doing this, for all the stories I have yet to write.
But I will finish it.