Author's thoughts on the story:
Well, we are at the end at last. I actually feel like crying. I never would have imagined I would write something of this magnitude, let alone dedicate… years to it. To be exact, five years and just over six months. I began this story on April 24th 2006. I was in my second year of college and now I have been out of college for a year now. But, in spite of all the time writing this story took away from my studies, I am proud to say I got my bachelors, and now, I have also completed this many-year-project—because, really, what else can one call this monstrous story? XD I think if it were a real book, it would be as thick as a text book. Or, I would have had to split it into stories, like the Harry Potter Series.
But I am satisfied. I managed to do what I had set out to do, and that was to give my readers a different perspective on Vlad Masters/ Plasmius and his relationship/rivalry with Danny Fenton/Phantom. What was my inspiration? Mostly, The Ultimate Enemy. When I first started watching this series—and you have my brother to thank for that—I used to see Vlad as your typical Saturday-morning villain, but after watching that episode, and then further watching, Secret Weapon, Master of All Time, and Kindred Spirits, I began to get a bigger picture of Vlad.
I like to think Mr. Hartman also had a bigger idea for Vlad than what we ended up seeing. I like to think, he put in these 'little hints' through the episodes in season two in hopes of turning Vlad into something more than the average, black-and-white bad guy. And the fact that even when I wrote this story without the knowledge of third season, it did not clashed with my take on Vlad, then I think I might be onto something. I like to think Mr. Hartman also wanted more for Vlad than for him to be a villain. Unfortunately, Nick put an end to the series and Mr. H had no other choice but to turn this series into the cartoonish hero-and-villain doddle, where the villain does something dumb in the end and loses everything and the hero gets the 'happily-ever-after'. But I regress, since it's pointless to talk about this now.
My point is that I wanted to show all aspects of Vlad. How dark he could be. How obsessive he could be. But also, how emotional he could be. How weak and vulnerable he could be. How... human he could be. I wanted to show Vlad's way of thinking and why he thinks and acts how he does. I wanted to show the part of him that the show never showed and that was his life outside his being Danny's enemy. I wanted to show where his strong need to have love and a family came from. I wanted to show why he turned into the cold person he was. I wanted to show how far he could go to gain love. And, lastely, I wanted to aknowledge that like anyone else, he has a past; one which greatly influenced the man he had become.
But, there was also the Danny angle. Again, it brings me back to TUE. I personally believe something so traumatic would not be so easily forgotten and pushed aside, like the show made it seem. I wanted to show Danny's emotional scars—from his uncertainty of his powers and who he is, to his fear of turning evil and losing those he loves. They say it is in our darkest times we learn the greatest lessons and gain the greatest strengths. So, why not Danny?
He suffered like he probably had never suffered before. He came close to death on multiple occasions. He lost the will to fight and his hope. Was ripped away from all he knew and his beliefs challenged to the fullest. And even after all that, he was able to do what any hero does: walk the right path.
Yes, we got to see Danny's human flaws and mistakes, but also that purity of his soul and the goodness of his heart. He had the strength to do what is hard for any human being: forgive those who hurt us. But then he went beyond it. He sought to help and save his enemy.
Ultimately, as Danny learned more and more about Vlad, he, too, learned more and more about himself. He gained a deeper understanding of not his ghost half and his powers, but of his own humanity and the strength of the human heart.
It was a hard road, but Danny was able to live what he believes in: that everyone deserves a second chance. And, in turn, he also discovered who he was. He is a hero, something he never really acknowledged in season one or two, but he does in season three.*winks* But going back to what I was saying, Danny also got to see his beliefs become a reality. He got to see how people can change. How love indeed conquers all.
It is with the heart that the real battles are fought.
Hate and vengeance only brings more hate and vengeance. It destroys those that will it as well as those around it. But, love, is more powerful than anything in existence. It is as tender and as fragile as a rose, but as powerful and strong as a double-edge sword.
It was a weapon Danny learned to will perfectly through this story.
But then, we are left with one other important lesson, one which, has yet to be fully understood.
You can give someone love; help them change; but ultimately, we all choose our path. We choose whether to be in darkness or live in the light. We choose whether to hate… or forgive.
Danny did what he needed to do. He showed Vlad it is possible to forgive and that it is possible to change. And Vlad was willing to do that; but he was willing to do it for Danny.
Like anything else in life, we have to choose to change for ourselves—because it comes from our heart to do it.
So, then, why did things ends as they did? For one simple reason:
Vlad has to learn to forgive—and it is something he must choose to do.
Nevertheless, we got to see Vlad and Danny's character to the deepest of their confines. We got to see the potential of each of them and the potential of what they could be together as allies and something more. We got to see how complex and powerful these two hybrids' relationship can be.
And they… they got to truly know each other and learn from one another in a way that was only possible when they gave each other that chance.
Some people say there is a fine line between love and hate. I think that's nonsense. The truth is that love is such a powerful emotion that when it is unwanted, people try to mask it with hate. But it will always be there, no matter how much hate you try to cover it under. Love' s light will always come through in the end.
The reality is this: Where there is faith and hope, love will always remain.
And isn't it faith and hope what keeps our hero going…? :)
Checkmate was my first story I wrote, and after more than five years, it has come to its end. I am glad I wrote it, and my main wish as its other is that it has touch my readers in some way or another. And perhaps that the real life lessons in this story, you will all take to heart.
Thank you for completing this journey with me.
Okay, if you don't know. There will be a sequel to this. But, first, I have a one-shot in store for you all sometime this year—or, what remains of it. As most of you know, Checkmate took place after season one and two. Although I did try to merge season three so it falls into place after this story, I want to merge them together a bit more. The one-shot is for that purpose: to fully merge Checkmate with season three. To be exact, though, it is to show Danny's change in attitude towards Vlad. I think it is easy enough to see why Vlad acts the way he does in season three towards Danny by the end of this story; but there are a few unsaid reasons why Danny is a lot more resentful towards Vlad in season three than what I showed at the end here. And it's that specifically that I want to show.
I wanted to also show Vlad's change of attitude in season three. He is no longer after Maddie or Jack, and instead has a powerful resentment towards Danny and is seeking to find 'his destiny'. Not sure if you all noticed, but it was a big thing for Vlad in season three, and he manifested this latest obsession through the infi-map, with Vortex and trying to gain control of the Ghost Zone, and finally in Phantom Planet by wanting to become ruler of the world. It leads me to believe something inside Vlad felt unaccomplished after season two, so he was desperately trying to find something to fill this new void in season three… Any guesses on what this empiness he felt could be? heh-heh.
As I said in the last chapter, I wrote an addition. And that was the scene with Serenity. I decided to be nice and answer a few things about the Spirit of Order. I was going to properly introduce her in Endgame, but, I thought it would be nice to do it here. *winks* I have many plans for her. And, of course, for… heh-heh. Viviane.
For those interested. Here are the Checkmate stats:
Published date: April 26th 2006
Completed: November 5th 2011
Word count: approx. 1,075,912.
Reviews: 2,853 and counting (I hope!)
Hits: 310,601 and counting
Community additions (C2s): 23
Okay, so don't forget the Hidden Pearl chat over at Deviantart! It starts at 2pm New York Time/ Eastern Standard Time. It will be our last Checkmate chat, so I hope you all attend. You can find a link to the club page on my profile. All you need is to get an account for DA if you don't have one. Don't worry. It's as easy as getting one on here. *winks*
In a perfect world where I have unlimited time, I would be going back through each of these chapters and editing and fixing those tiny mistakes that slipped by, mostly in the first chapters of this story. Alas, it's not a perfect world. But who knows. Maybe someday. Unless… someone would like to volunteer to do it for me? Any takers? Lol!
Okay, first, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support. I still remember when I posted the first chapter to this story and ended up with one review… And now… It's amazing. It is nice to know how popular this story has become, but what makes me happiest is to know I have been able to share my work with all you wonderful people. It's nice to know Checkmate has earned a place in your hearts as it has in mine. Thank you for making this story so special. And thank you for sharing your thoughts with me about it through all these years. They say a writer loves to write because it's just part of them; but I think the motivation to keep writing comes from the readers. It is a true accomplishment to know that even in the smallest way that I have impacted your lives with this humble story.
From the deepest part of my heart, thank you all very much.
I also must extend my gratitude to those people who have helped me mold and polish this story chapter after chapter:
I actually had quite a few for this story. And although some of them are probably long since gone from this site, I still want to thank them:
Now, I have to recognize one of my betas above the rest, and that is Truephan. Although she was my last beta I was blessed with, she has been by my side for the longest. And over the years, she has become a great friend to me. She knows I could never thank her enough for all the time and effort she put forth to make Checkmate what it was. Seriously, it would not have turned out as special without her. So, once again, for I will never get tired of saying it, thank you, my friend. I could not have done this without you. I love you. :)
I also gotta thank those kind little artists who time after time have blessed us with so many amazing story-art for this story. I, especially, gotta thank Fantasy93, because she has probably done as many fan-arts for this story as I wrote chapters for this story! Ha-ha! No, but she is an amazing artist, and a friend, too. Thank you for those beautiful inspirations. But that also extends to the rest of you who have amazed, inspired, and filled me with happiness with your works of art. Thank you!
Invader Johnny… Heh. I gotta thank you, too. Being able to talk to you on a regular basis about my stories also has motivated me through the years. I think you get the award for being the most loyal person to follow my work. You are always wanting to know more and more about my work, and are one of the first in line to review each chapter I post for each story. Thank you, my friend, for your continuous support and creativity! Heh… just keep the spoilers to yourself. *winks*
NewGhostGirl: If I could, I would hug you. You took your support to an entirely new level. I still remember how floored I felt when you told me you wanted to dedicate a club to me on Deviantart, and the coolest thing was that we actually have a nice group! You and everyone else have really shown your love and support for me in ways that have left me speechless, but deeply touched. Then, if that's not enough, you go and make those wonderful trailers that I simply cannot get enough of! You are an amazing and talented person, and I could never express to you how thankful and touched I am with your dedication and motivation you have given me through all these years. Even if Vlad muse won't admit it, I know he also feels the same way. And deep down, he loves you just as much as I do! XD
Lastly, I want to thank those that have shown me their appreciation and support in another special way. I was shocked when I got one fan club, so when two more appeared, I think I thought Vlad muse was playing a joke on me. Heh-heh. I already mentioned NewGhostGirl and the Hidden Pearl club. But Little juniper made the 'Niane fanclub', showing her love for one of my most special OCs. To think when I started Checkmate, Niane was going to be called Apirl and she was just an unimportant ghost maid at Vlad's house… Somehow, this little OC evolved to the point that she became a keystone in Vlad's past. Little Juniper, I think you truly did see in Niane what I see in her as her creator. Thank you for sharing your love for her with me and everyone else. Finally, our newest addition, Lion-king-scar. Not sure if that's your name on this website, but you know who you are! XD I am happy to see how much Checkmate has touched you; but you have touched me with your love for me and my story. Even when this story is at its end, I hope we get to have lots of fun activities over at the #DP-Checkmate club! Thank you!
Well, my readers, this is the end. I hope you guys all stuck with my rant to the very end; because I have a treat for all of you now. Thank you once again for all your support with this story. If it's not to much to ask, grant me one more review with your thoughts. And if you have been following this story and have never reviewed, then if you can, let me know what you thought of this story.
So, then, to show my gratitude, I do have a funny one-shot in mind, which I hope to post for thanksgiving. It is just a silly idea I got some years back, and I never really finished it, but I think I will now and share it with you all. So, look for it for thanksgiving. And you'll probably get the CM/season three one-shot 'My Last Lesson from you' in December.
For now, allow me to present to you, the official summary for… Endgame. *winks*
Sequel to Checkmate. Rated T. Release Date: April 2012.
One year after the Disasteroid event, Vlad Masters is merely a fading memory in Danny Fenton's mind. The sixteen-and-a-half-year-old superhero appears to have the perfect life. And with his ever-growing experience with his ghostly abilities, his job as protector of Amity Park seems to be getting easier and easier. Now that everyone knows his secret, he has the support of not just his sister and friends, but that of his parents and of his 'many' fans. Even school seems like paradise, with his ever increasing popularity and grades.
Still, as the saying may go, 'one person's paradise is another's nightmare...
With old pressures gone, new ones surge in this famous hero's life. But they will be the last thing on his mind when the reappearance of his arch-enemy triggers a set of happenings that frees the darkest part of both hybrids. As Danny's 'perfect' life begins to unravel, will he be able to search inside himself for a certain forgotten bond formed a year-and-a-half ago? Or, will the rise of a certain evil self only drive him further away from the man he once sought to save? But in this final game, it's all hands in for the fight to save Time and Existence. In the Endgame, there is no stalemate, for it is equivalent to losing. Sacrifices will have to be made and all the pieces will need to come together, for in the end, there can only be one Master.
Vlad muse: *grins wickedly* Yes, I wrote that. See you all at the Hidden Pearl. *laughs evilly and vanishes*