Well well, here we are. I'm posting this chapter on the one year anniversary of posting the first one, beginning this story that's occupied a part of my imagination ever since, and even before. Here I'll shed some light on how it came to be before addressing the comments of the reviewers I've had as of this typing. Like any story, with a few exceptions, the best place to start is the beginning.
I'm a lover of history, particularly military history. And one of my all time favorite subjects of history is the Siege of the Alamo, the most famous battle of the Texas Revolution. For thirteen days (February 23 to March 6, 1836), a garrison of Texian regular soldiers and volunteer milita numbering 187 to 250, depending on which account you trust, was surrounded by an army of about 2,000 lead by the dictator of Mexico, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who wanted to crush the revolution himself. The final battle of the siege occurred in the pre-dawn hours of March 6, and after ninety minutes of fighting all of the Texian fighters were dead, the only survivors being the women and children taking shelter in the fort, and the slave of the garrison's commander. It was, obviously, this battle that served as the major inspiration for Liberty Rock.
When I read something that involves a battle of some kind, my favorite scenario to see is "good guys outnumbered and surrounded in a fort or weak position". The Battle of the Hornburg (or Helm's Deep if you've only seen the movie) from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a particularly good example from fiction, and like the Alamo it had its own influences in this fic (the image of the North Wall exploding is certainly reminiscent of the Deeping Wall suffering the same fate). I've always wanted to write such a battle myself, and have thought of all sorts of variations. This fic was my first serious attempt to get it down in print.
In regards to writing the story itself, my original plan was to use the same writing style Stephen King used in the novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption", where a character is writing the story itself. When the character recounts scenes he wasn't present for, he writes what he has heard to be what happened. I wasn't quite able to maintain that style for the whole story though, so by the time I had the final draft of chapter 1 ready, I'd decided to use the Survivor's Account as a framing device.
The writer of the account himself was always a blank slate. That idea came from another piece of King short fiction, a short story called "Trucks" where vehicles and certain electronics come to life and begin a war on people, so to speak, before enslaving them all. It's told by a first person narrator who is trapped in a diner with a few others, a narrator who never says his name or anything.
The most important character in this story though is obviously Link. His status in this fic as a famous hero worshipped by the everyman as something more than what he thinks he is is based on one of the Texian militiamen in the Alamo: David Crockett. Crockett grew up in Tennessee and learned the ways of the tracker and the hunter as a young boy, and as a young man he served as a scout in the Creek War before pursuing a career in politics as an adult. One of his schticks as a politician was to prove he was the average joe by doing what average joes of the time did: he told stories about himself. He bragged of exaggerated feats he'd performed and was That Guy that's always a crowd pleaser at parties. Here's a well known example of his entertaining spiels:
"Who-Who-Whoop — Bow-Wow-Wow-Yough. I say, Mr. Speaker; I ve had a speech in soak this six months, and it has swelled me like a drowned horse; if I don't deliver it I shall burst and smash the windows. The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Everett] talks of summing up the merits of the question, but I'll sum up my own. In one word I'm a screamer, and have got the roughest racking horse, the prettiest sister, the surest rifle and the ugliest dog in the district. I'm a leetle the savagest crittur you ever did see. My father can whip any man in Kentucky, and I can lick my father. I can outspeak any man on this floor, and give him two hours start. I can run faster, dive deeper, stay longer under, and come out drier, than any chap this side the big Swamp. I can outlook a panther and outstare a flash of lightning, tote a steamboat on my back and play at rough and tumble with a lion, and an occasional kick from a zebra.
"To sum up all in one word I'm a horse. Goliah was a pretty hard colt but I could choke him. I can take the rag off-frighten the old folks-astonish the natives-and beat the Dutch all to smash-make nothing of sleeping under a blanket of snow and don't mind being frozen more than a rotten apple.
"Congress allows lemonade to the members and has it charged under the head of stationery-I move also that whiskey be allowed under the item of fuel. For bitters I can suck away at a noggin of aquafortis, sweetened with brimstone, stirred with a lightning rod, and skimmed with a hurricane. I've soaked my head and shoulders in Salt River, so much that I'm always corned. I can walk like an ox, run like a fox, swim like an eel, yell like an Indian, fight like a devil, spout like an earthquake, make love like a mad bull, and swallow a Mexican whole without choking if you butter his head and pin his ears back."
When not entertaining potential voters and whoever was in the room, Crockett was a humble man who simply enjoyed his life. He eventually made it to two terms in Congress, and was known as a real man of the people. Thing is, when people spoke of Crockett they always thought of him as the superman of the stories, the folk hero of today we call Davy Crockett, though the real Congressman has never been recorded to refer to himself as anything other than "David". The name difference might not seem important, but it's what the names represent that makes the point. I'm probably not articulating it clearly enough, but I hope you understand, and even if you don't hopefully now you're interested enough to research it yourself.
The idea of a hero who was seen as something more than the hero saw himself applies in some variation to all heroes throughout time, but Crockett always sticks out in my mind. Way I see it, Link would be just the same.
In my opinion my original characters aren't anything special, but a few people seem to think they are. Colonel Gavelston fills the role of Lieutenant Colonel William Travis, the garrison commander of the Alamo. Other than their jobs and similar ranks, they're very different though. Where Travis was a young, idealistic, and patriotic lawyer who aspired to be something more than an everyman, Gavelston's an older, tested soldier who does his job so someone else doesn't have to. His name might be a product of subliminal filling in the blanks: when I was trying to think of a name, "Gavelston" simply popped up. At the time though, I'd forgotten a fact that I'd known before and have re-learned since: there's a city in Texas called Galveston. Slightly different spelling, but maybe my memory was trying to pull it up and used the next best thing? We may never know.
Another difference is their main subordinate. Travis had a slave named Joe who, during the battle, reloaded his weapons while he fired others. When Travis was killed on the Alamo's north wall by a shot to the forehead within the first ten minutes of the fighting, Joe simply locked himself in Travis's quarters until he was found by Mexican soldiers, who spared him in accordance with their country's rules about slavery (they saw it in a negative light and saw slave fighters as men fighting against their will). My story's equivalent, Turo, was based on recollections I had from animes and cartoons I used to watch featuring an overly enthusiastic and eager-to-help sidekick of some kind. His name comes from the movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, where the Joker has a clandestine meeting with Gotham City's District Attorney Arthur something-or-other. During said meeting, the Joker calls him all sorts of names, including "Arturo". Something about the way he said that stuck with me and popped up when I was writing the character, so I ran with it.
Captain Rhodus is just a generic experienced soldier. His name's a tweaked version of "Rhodes," which is my go to easy-stamp name for second-in-commands for some reason.
Bargus seems to be a fan favorite, and his origins can most easily be described as "Gimli the Giant." In my head he was just a huge guy with a big axe, a beard, and the voice of John-Rhys Davies. My main reason for having him there was to fill the role of James Bowie, a famed frontiersman and knife fighter of the time. Yes, he's the guy who popularized the Bowie Knife. He was also almost as big a star as Crockett at the time, and so I made a well known Calatian hero and somehow naturally filled in the Gimli details. Oh, and about my attempts to imitate a Scottish accent in text. Well…I'm sorry.
Then of course there's the Big Bad: General Vael. While he fills Santa Anna's role, the historical figure he's most like is Hitler. What can I say, when I come up with villains they rarely have any likeable qualities. To follow the mold, Vael has none whatsoever. We never even see him, much like the classic villain Sauron. I had an idea for a sequel/companion piece detailing the Rebel Army's clean-up of the fort in the morning after, and we would've seen him then, but I've scrapped it.
But the characters weren't the only thing influenced by the Alamo. I did my best to describe it, and I might have come up short, but in my head I picture Liberty Rock as having a very similar layout to the Alamo compound as it stood in 1836 (I say that because all that's left is the main chapel and the long barracks that made up most of the East Wall). Instead of flimsy adobe walls and houses, though, the walls are made of stone and thick like a castle fort's. Instead of the main chapel we have the Keep, instead of the palisade we have the Low Wall, and instead of a horse corral outside the East Wall we have a stable inside it. This detail's rather minor, but in my head the Keep is a lot closer to the main courtyard than the main chapel of the Alamo was.
And now to address my reviewers.
Chocolate Teapot – Thanks for being my first reviewer. Since you pointed out the thing about the word "Crisis" being overused in chapter 2 I've come to agree, but I can't think of what else to say in its place. I hope the story was as interesting as you originally thought it would be, though.
Restof – I'd like to know if the tragedy was as, well, tragic as what you felt you had to prepare for, and I hope it lived up to the expectations.
CatVista – That comment about my writing style having "this epic quality to it… like it could be a legend from Greek or Spartan times" has always stuck out in my mind as a special form of approval, and I'm glad you felt it deserved the praise.
kindingo – The details thing is just a quirk of mine. I try to fill my fics with info for anyone unfamiliar with the fandom while slipping in the references that the real fans get and the newbies can infer to mean.
Like I said in my reply to your review way back when, I like to think Link's whole "I'm not just a superman I'm a real person" complex is a justifiable reason for his overt modesty besides his natural humbleness.
Link being a natural musician just seems…well, natural, given all the instruments he's played throughout the series. I just slipped in a violin because it's my favorite classical instrument, it's one we haven't seen in a game, and Crockett was a fiddler. Hooray for more historical allegory!
Thanks for subscribing when you did. I hope you've still kept up with the story, and it was as enjoyable as it was to make you subscribe.
lawleit – I was also snickering when I thought of the scene. And you hit the nail on the head about how normal dying and being revived is for Link. It's just a different story when the fairies are gone, though.
The consequences and implications of one person killing another when they oppose such a thing is standard for a story dealing with the inner workings of the people involved. I'm happy to see you picked up on it though.
And yeah, the letter part was a simple piece of good in a rather bleak situation.
Fun Fact: one of the names called out to receive a letter, "Gwynne," is the name of an Alamo defender from my home state of Mississippi. I don't think there was anything special about him besides his name and being one of five (I think) Mississippians there, but I wanted to throw it in.
krock – Thanks for the reassurance that I still had readers beyond Trickster's Imagination and Shadsie.
"Me" – I'm glad my story appealed to you despite the presence of something you don't normally like. It also makes me smile to know my story caused conflicting emotions. That means I'm doing my job right as the storyteller.
Airian Reesu – It makes me feel cool to know I caused reactions from you and others. It strokes my writer's ego, so to speak.
The statue of Link in Calatia is an image that's been with me from the beginning. I'm happy to know it was so well liked.
JoshRand1982 – The thing with Vael's staff and Link's body is my way of reminding the readers that, while there are real bad guys in any army, no army of people is made of nothing but bad guys. There are always those who have a sense of right and wrong, and others who're actually willing to stand for that sense. Like the statue, I'm glad it was so well liked.
Joe – Finding this at the end just means you didn't have to sit through several weeks or even months of delays and lost work ethic. Now you can get it all in whatever schedule you want.
I've got a lot of other ideas to work on, but only one of 'em is Zelda related. Whether you read the others as well is your prerogative, but whether you do read 'em or not, thanks for the encouragement.
Tex – You're welcome.
Trickster's Imagination – You gave me my first really in-depth review on anything I've written, and you've stuck with it loyally since the beginning, or close enough to it. You've given feedback and encouragement, and at the very least reminded me that I had someone waiting for the next chapter. Thanks for it all, man.
Shadsie – When I first read "Wolfhide" way back when, you had me hooked to anything you uploaded, some more so than others. I kinda felt cheap asking if you'd read my story, almost like I was flapping it in your face. Then I saw how much you liked it and I got a feeling of accomplishment that I can only fittingly compare to finally beating Majora's Mask after ten years, especially when I saw that recommendation part in your profile. You tolerate me, you really, really, tolerate me! *shakes award statue vigorously*
And so, ladies and gentlemen, the time capsule on this year-long escapade is sealed. It's been a bumpy ride, and I'm glad to say I did it. I'm off to other projects, and it'll be a long while before I return to a Zelda fic, but I definitely will someday.
After all, how else are you gonna find out what happened to Link's violin?
- Sergeant Conley