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Incomplete


On Earth as it is in Hell
by Caleb Nova



And so we find ourselves here again.

This story has haunted me for five years now. The characters of Final Fantasy 8 have had, for me at least, an endurance that has yet to be matched by the other worlds I have walked. There is something silent in the imagination that wonít let go of these places, of these people with whom I have lived so much.

PENIS!

Bet you thought I was getting all serious on you there for a second, didnít you? Welcome to the second authorís note for On Earth as it is in Hell. Version one is dead, as it should be, because it sucked. This version sucks too, but maybe not as much. Maybe.

I am currently referencing my old authorís note, since I canít remember crap. I imagine this is supposed to be some sort of bloopers page for the story. Most stories by good authors probably couldnít put together a bloopers page worth reading. I can, but the truth within that is it is actually a bad thing.

Check out that last sentence. Is it is. See what I mean about good authors?

Anyway, as is obviously apparent to anyone with enough brain power to boot up their computer and read this, I was attempting to make a sci-fi\fantasy based Final Fantasy 8 real world crossover. Real world crossovers are done all the time in fanfiction. They almost always suck. I wanted to write something that would change that perception. I guess the lesson here is that you donít always get what you want. That lesson makes me cry all the time.

Speaking of crying, hereís a great quote from Jeremy Chapterís foreword from Pupuís Saga that I was originally going to use in my old authorís note but naturally I forgot. Of course, Jeremy wrote this not out of envy and bitter spite towards authors that are better than him, but instead penned it with respect. I figured I could twist it for my purposes. After reading this last paragraph over, I realize that it had absolutely nothing to do with crying.

ďBe warned that my writing does not exude the elegance or delectability of Kate Lorraine's. My style has neither the refinement nor delicacy of DJ Johnston's; neither the magnitude nor the endurance of Marcusí; neither the sentimentality nor the poignancy of Arian's; neither the temerity nor the intrepidity of Darren Shier's; neither the gravity nor flourish of Larathia's; neither the maturity nor efficiency of Malice Shaw's. I do not elevate the language as the epic tradition behooves like XmagicalX does.Ē

I would add that my work does not hold the emotional depth of Ashbear, the easy dialogue of Mintbaby, the visceral imagery of DK, the true human spirit of Optical Goddess, the patterned brilliance of Briar Eve Sheurmann, or even the basic competence of Thomas Paxton. Your stories donít make me throw up when I read them Tom, thatís the best compliment I can give you. Make of that what you will.

However, be assured this story has a distinct lack of Mary and Marty Sues. Scott Keyor does not look or act like me, and holds in himself only the vestiges of self characterization that all authors exude. As for Michelle, I donít think I even remember what a real woman looks like. I thought I saw one at the mall once, but it was just a mannequin. Didnít stop me from checking out her ass though.

When I started writing this story the concept was that it would be a story by multiple authors, and that every chapter I would hand it off to someone else. The original versions of the first few chapters still have a contributors list at the bottom of them. Basically, just friends of mine who talked to me about the story. The only person who ever actually wrote anything of this story besides me was Gene when he gave me the cafeteria scene. I was always flying solo on this one, but by chapter four or so I no longer had even the illusion it would be a group effort. Thomas Paxton, aka Jee Simovia, had the second largest hand in the story. He never wrote anything for it, but I received tons of feedback and ideas from him.

Hereís a little behind the scenes story that will be interesting only to those who have already done absolutely everything else that they possibly could have accomplished today- Julian Foss is a direct character copy from a creation of mine with the dubious name of Mr. D. Back in the day, I used to build Lego cities in Paxtonís basement with him and his brothers. I felt the city had a distinct vacuum when it came to organized crime, thus Mr. D was born. His style of speech and manner are loosely based on the main villain in the James Bond film Moonraker. I did make some attempt that he shouldnít be completely evil or in any way actually insane. Heís not a good person by any means, but heís also not the devil himself. His sentiments of not wanting to slaughter the SeeDs were honest, but he has convinced himself it is necessary.

Hendrow is just your basic cultured sidekick. Holy unoriginality, Batman.

I attempted to keep the original characters true to the game archetypes while giving them an added depth. I doubt I succeeded, but give me a little credit for trying.

I think my chapters titles werenít all that bad either, barring the ones I blatantly stole.

In my original authorís note I explained a little about why the story was so disjointed and uneven. It still is, but not so noticeably. Iíll still walk you through it though, since I know that you really care.

1. It was written over a period of about four years. The beginning chapters have been cleaned up a whole lot, but are still obviously weaker in comparison to the later ones. Still, at least they arenít as completely horrible as they used to be. The first version of chapter one didnít even have separated paragraphs.

2. I had no actual plan for the story. I was writing by the seat of my pants up until roughly around chapter thirteen, and even then it was only a vague idea of how I was going to end it. I didnít know how I was going to get there, or how I was going to tie in the whole seven years thing. See, you have to understand that I began this story when fanfiction was new and exciting to me. I just wanted to write something. So I made up a title, On Earth as it is in Hell, and wrote a prologue that I pulled out of my ass on the spot, not knowing that I was giving my future self the job of explaining exactly what the hell it had to do with anything.

3. The periods of time between each chapter were very long, because I am a shitty writer and usually when I sit down to begin working on something I end up blowing peopleís heads off in one game or the other. This meant that whenever I decided to actually begin writing again, I would have no clue what ideas I had been working off before. Basically, I couldnít remember what I had done previously on the story. It was in this fashion that previously unaccounted for plot points began dotting the story like a minefield, while my main narrative thread was forced to take a winding path through them, stepping carefully and trying to get to the end without setting one off and getting derailed. Several of these plot points have been removed in the rewrite, and in previous rewrites. A few of them remain even though they donít really make much sense, but if I removed them youíd have a lot less to read.

A good example of superfluous plot points that seem to come out of nowhere would be Spreading Sun. I believe that was originally intended as the focus of the story. Now it is a side note, a plot device used simply to reunify Galbadia. Another random plot point was Polgroundís capture of the SeeDs, though that eventually came together in the story as a sort of cool coincidence, that Julianís invasion in fact allowed the SeeDs to escape. However, since at that point I had no idea where the story was going I can only assume that their capture was at that time the center of the story. I remember struggling to end The Thesis, trying to somehow top off Scottís introduction. I pressed enter, spaced down and sat there for a moment before typing, ĎAnd then the wall explodedí. I didnít know how or why the wall exploded, but it seemed like an exciting way to end the chapter. The only other abandoned plot point that comes to mind was Carawayís deposition and escape.

4. Iím not a very good writer. I am easily distracted by new forms of writing I see in other stories, and the inspiration that gives me drives me to immediately write something in that style without thought to how it fits into the original vision. For example, the mysterious voices. The Kharadjai were not originally intended to be part of the story. They already existed in my mind, but as part of a separate story. Then I read a fanfiction in the Zelda category, I donít remember the name or the author. It was written very oddly, telling a singular tale but through the eyes of an observer, relating the event to someone else in the past tense. The bold italicized lines of vague and strangely fitting dialogue left an impression on me, so I immediately injected this scene into my story-

------

So anyway, what happened was-

Hyne shut her senses to the state of the universe and concentrated solely on the task at hand. It didn't matter now anyway. If she failed, all would be lost despite her administrations.

....Did I mention that she talked to Scott?

I think so.

You're probably right, I just couldn't remember.

What about Rinoa?

What about her?

What was she doing?

Well-

Rinoa tried to concentrate on planning the upcoming Garden Festival, but the memory of her brush with Scott's mind nagged at her. Despite her failure to completely grasp what had happened, just before the feedback hit she had felt something. Something part of whatever was wrong with the world around Scott. If only she could get a handle on it, maybe something could be done.

Are you sure that's how it went?

Well, I simply assumed. I wasn't there after all.

I know I asked about her, but what does that have to do with anything?

...What do you mean?

It's pointless. It leads nowhere. She never fixed the Knot.

Yeah, but she thought about it.

Save it for your book, I want the real story.

My book is about me. How can I tell you what happened if I wasn't there for it all?

Alright, then explain this. How come the portal was completed and Scott was sent through in '98 and Julian didn't arrive until after '99, but Scott hadn't been in Deling for more than a few hours?

Funny story that. Lucky he doesn't remember.

You didn't.

Not quite. I never shared all that much. And I never talked to Hyne.

I never liked her.

Nobody did.

We're getting close to the reason I'm here. You knew about Scott, and you still didn't do your job.

I had my reasons.

Then I'd better hear them.

You just sat through all that and you still don't get it?

All I get is that if things had gone just a little bit differently I wouldn't be here questioning you, I'd be beating the hell out of you. You know the Council doesn't take kindly to this crap.

Maybe I felt Hyne could handle it.

Hyne was a minor deity with a bad track record. If that's true, I'd leave it out of your excuse.

I think the Council would do well to judge me by the end results.

I think you would do well to kiss your ass goodbye.

Once a Kharadjai, always a Kharadjai. What are they going to do, impeach me?

No Kharadjai has almost lost an entire universe before. You'd better think fast or they'll have you by the balls and squeeze.

Before you start threatening me again, at least let me finish the story.

Fine. But hurry it up, I need to check on A21b in awhile.

Really? What did Brian do?

Few problems with a black hole and a decaying orbit. Nothing compared to the shit you're mired in. Start talking.

Okay, so the Garden Festival was coming soon, and everyone was getting ready for it,

------

Of course, without any thought as to how that fit into the story in any way. As I was writing it, I attempted to reconcile it with the fiction, and the best I could come up with was that they were Kharadjai. Obviously, it was strange they didnít appear until so late in the story. After this rewrite, they appear earlier and play a larger part. That scene has also changed quite a bit from the original version.

As for the Agent, that was random. At least, the first part was. It sort of grew on me, and I enjoyed having a device to get a little more into the lab back on Earthside. The strange parts where he is sort of dreaming are once again inspired by something else that I just absolutely had to imitate- Itís a wonder of a story called Sonic: Sketchy. Itís the most disturbing, brilliant, visceral, violent and fucked up amazing piece of first person writing Iíve ever read. Artificial was written entirely because I had read that story and wanted to try a hand at first person writing of my own.

You can find the story here, http://prettysideofpain.ketnar.org/otherfanfic.html

Itís by Sean Catlett. Be sure to also read Glint, by M.C. Griffin on the same page. Another disturbing story that makes me want to write something in second person. Doesnít matter if Sonic the Hedgehog isnít your thing, it really isnít mine either but some stories defy the boundaries of interest.

Er, perhaps I should tack on a little warning here, as much as that is against my nature. Those two stories are pretty hardcore. I mean, leave you with a sick, saccharine empty ache all day after reading them hardcore. The kind of stories you donít want to read again even though you know it was one of the best things youíve ever seen.

Obviously I donít actually care if you are disturbed by reading those stories, which is why a warning of any sort is highly out of character for me, but I realize the best way to get someone to read something is to warn them away from it. Besides, I wasnít lying.

Anyway, back on topic. One of the most common compliments I receive for On Earth is regarding the humor, which is funny in and of itself because at its heart this is not a humorous story. I will admit, while my drama often concerns feelings of which I know very little, the jokes come straight from me. The fact of the matter is, I think Iím funny. You will have noticed most of the humor is very dry, often sarcastic, occasionally cutting or even dark. My friends know this sense of humor intimately, as in person I use it on all occasions, treating them with cynicism and abuse. Thomas Paxton especially could tell you more on this subject.

Iím glad other people can appreciate this sense of humor, since it is rarely lighthearted and often mean. Judging from reactions however, Iím going to assume it is also fairly funny. It isnít the first false assumption Iíve ever made, and it certainly wonít be the last.

This is the point in which I consider simply copying and pasting from the old authorís note, because Iím about to chronicle my mistakes, and thatís quite a task. Iím not counting all the typos either.

The first issue I want to cover concerns the fact that the characters in the story are never told about the video game that exists in our world. Iím sure some of you are wondering about that.

Essentially, my thoughts on the matter were that Scott had only a brief experience with the game. Rather than go the obvious route and make Scott a gamer who happened to love Final Fantasy 8, like all self insertion stories in which that dream comes true, my idea was that he had only rented it at one time and thus possessed merely a passing familiarity with only the basest concepts of it.

The idea is never fully explored. Scott seems to have some small beginning knowledge of things, recognizing Selphie and thus his probable location, but he knows nothing of the Garden. Assuming he played only the beginning of the game this makes little sense, since the beginning of the game gives the player the clearest look at Garden available. In the rewrite a half assed line has been added on their approach to Garden from the SeeD boat, in which Scott thinks about the Garden, but his memory of it is vague. Essentially, what we have is someone who played the game once, but had little interest in it.

Again, the idea was never fleshed out. Partly because I didnít want the story to focus on how he knew that this world was a game in his world, but also because thatís just the way things turned out. I never really did anything about the fact it was all a game. That wasnít what the story was about.

Further compounding this problem, some of you might remember Scott had the Final Fantasy 8 booklet in his jumpsuit pocket. The original story explanation for this was that his nephew had somehow gotten it in his laundry. This plot point was referenced maybe once or twice in the first few chapters, then promptly disappeared for almost all the rest of the story, making one more appearance when the SeeD clothes were returned by Julian then vanishing again.

This was a plot point so obviously stupid, improbable and contrived that it is nowhere to be seen in this rewrite. The booklet is gone, along with his camera and test tube full of elements (also two other items that never showed up again).

On the topic of the jumpsuit, I fixed a sentenced in which Scott pulls the top and bottom of his jumpsuit out of the bag of returned clothes. Apparently I had forgotten a jumpsuit is all one piece.

Anyway, there really is no resolution for that side of the story. It doesnít matter to the core of the tale, and I saw no point in pursuing it.

It may be wondered why chapter six is so short. It used to be even shorter. Basically, I went over chapter seven one day, I think a couple weeks after posting it, and realized with utter horror that Selphie was in prison with Irvine and Quistis. The problem with that? She had never been captured. In a complete panic I tacked on her capture to chapter six. In the rewrite I have also added a short scene between the Kharadjai for a little exposition and another earlier appearance by them.

And who could forget the part where they're all in the auditorium and the jailer slaps Selphie, and when that happened, 'No one saw Zell bite back his own private rage'. Well, that's real damn interesting considering Zell was back in Balamb when that happened, never mind the fact that it would be extremely out of character for Zell to quell the rage even if he was there. Needless to say, I rewrote that part.

Yes, that last paragraph was directly copied and pasted from the old authorís note. So is one of the two paragraphs below this. You figure it out, if youíre so smart.

You perhaps might think to yourself, ĎWhy are Rinoa and Zell back in Balamb?Ē The answer is quite simple- I forgot to put them in the hotel. By sheer chance, it worked out better that way. You can even make up little explanations to fill the blanks- Zell didnít go to the conference because heís unpredictable, or maybe he had another mission to do, and Rinoa didnít because she isnít a full SeeD yet. Bingo. Problem solved.

Ah, On Earth as it is in Hell, where typos become plot point. Rinoa is leading Zell to Deling, and she tells him to go to a broken down water tower, where hopefully he can climb down into the tower base and get into the sewers that lead to Deling. I type all that out, and just when I've written Zell down into the tunnel I realize, 'Wait. Why would a water tower filled with fresh water be connected to a sewer tunnel'? So of course, Zell points that out.

It's also quite interesting that at the end Hyne doesn't mention the huge Knot over Deling when she's telling Scott that killing Julian will destroy them all. She only says she'll keep his Knot from exploding too. On further review, it may be discovered that Scott will explode because he is a Knot himself- the Knot over Deling is just over the city, not the city itself, so the city wonít be destroyed. I think I waltzed my way out of that one smoothly enough.

What ever happened to Caraway? The scene serves no purpose other than to be the death of Polground. I wrote it in the dead of night while I was staying over at a friendís house. I wanted to work on my story but couldnít since I obviously didnít have my computer. I booted up his, banged out the Caraway scene, yanked my crank to some free porn, and emailed the scene to myself.

It was never fully explained in the original version why they didnít use their Guardian Forces in the sewer fight. It still isnít even in the rewrite, but I added one line, just one, in a much later chapter to give some insight.

ĎCasting Protect and Shell on himself and Rinoa, Squall hauled himself to his feet and began to summon Shiva, praying he had enough time to do so.í

The italicized line was tacked on to that original sentence in the rewrite and sums up my entire effort to explain why they didnít use their Guardian Forces. That it takes time, and there wasnít any time to stand still in the tunnel and summon something. A better explanation would have been that the Knot over Deling prevented it, but I like to allow the reader to draw their own conclusions. Mostly because it saves my fat ass some writing.

ĎAnd how come they didn't use their Guardian Forces in the tunnel fight? Did I mention something later about the Knot preventing it? I don't even remember. And what the hell kind of lame plot device is Julian mailing them their clothes? And how come it reads like I just stuck Seifer in there for the hell of it? And why did I go on about Quistis' unhappy lack of a love life and then not do anything about it? And how many fucking times can I use 'your' when it should be 'you're' and 'it's' when it should be 'its'? And if Hyne couldn't do anything to the Outsiders, how the hell did she bring Scott to the future? And am I the only one that noticed that Julian never even really had a good reason to attack Garden?í

Thatís all from the original authorís note, and was my reference when it came to fixing a lot of things in the story. A good number of them still arenít fixed, but you canít have everything I guess. At least not when Iím writing it.

The reason I bring it up is because now I start chronicling the differences between the rewrite and the original version, or at least what differences I can remember.

The obvious ones are things like spelling and the occasional grammar. I also changed many sentences and a lot of dialogue, removing lines, tweaking them, or often even adding new ones. These are too numerous, so Iíll stick to the big things.

Like Iíve said, I put a lot more emphasis on the involvement of the Kharadjai. Thereís a new bit of them in the prologue and several added scenes over all the chapters up to what used to be their first scene.

The entire thing between Julian and the Garden was handled much differently this time. I changed many lines concerning this. In the original, there really wasnít a very good explanation for why Julian released Seifer and returned their things. Now it is put forward as a peace offering, and Julian wants them to think the new Galbadia government is friendly to keep them off their guard. His reasons for attacking Garden are still not very profound, but Iíve messed with his dialogue concerning this enough that it seems to make a little more sense. Iíve attempted to create the impression that he has convinced himself it is in some way necessary.

The relationship between Selphie, Zell and Irvine was given more attention, and hopefully more depth. The feelings involved in the chapters before it comes to a head in Twilight Liaison are extended a little, enumerated on more. The breakup between Selphie and Irvine is more painful and less clean this time around, rather than being so awfully convenient. The Zell and Selphie dynamic has more scenes dedicated to it and is more passionate. I tried to create a little more feeling there, a little more spark.

This of course brings us to the fact that the story has been, for lack of a better phrase, sexed up. Several scenes are rather unapologetically, well, smutty. This is a far cry from the awkward physical scenes of the old version. I imagine this more than anything will cause the most reaction, since youíll be thinking youíd certainly have remembered that if it had been in before. I stop just short before it devolves into flat out pornography, but you get the picture. I spent a lot of time reading romance fanfiction in an attempt to get mine up to scratch. I still donít think I could write a whole story that is nothing but romance, but at least it is I think fairly passable in a smaller context.

There were several other sort of large things done, scenes cut and such but I donít really think I could pinpoint all of them.

The largest change is one Iím sure everybody who read the older version will immediately recognize- Seifer doesnít die.

This decision was made for several reasons. I wanted to give the readers returning something new. I also decided that I enjoyed writing the character of Seifer and wanted to give him more material, or at least some sort of future.

Chapter 26, Hostage Reality was almost entirely rewritten. There is a wealth of new scenes in the chapter. Before, we never really had a look at anything that was happening during the Festival. The new scenes with Zell, Selphie, Seifer and Quistis now give that, as well as providing yet another relationship scene between Zell and Selphie.

For those of you who have never read this story before, here is Seiferís original ending.

------

The upper floors were dark and silent, and the only sign that something was happening in the dim Garden was the faint roar of the party below. The floor tiles gleamed in the low lighting and the click of his boots seemed amplified

Seifer paced the upper floors alone not out of any required duty, but rather a need to remove himself from the dorm in which he spent most of his time like a caged animal. You could only pace the same stretch of floor before you needed somewhere else to rage. So he roamed randomly and almost silently, a ghost distanced from the life of the ongoing gathering. By choice and by necessity. There was no place for darkness amongst the bright lights and colors downstairs, and he was a walking bad memory.

And left with a few bad memories of his own.

Danger.

The real problem with pacing was that it left your mind relatively free, and the last thing he wanted to be doing was thinking. Maybe he needed to take up a sport. Something suitably violent, of course. Boxing maybe. Pounding someoneís face in legally had to be better than the punching bag.

A familiar door on his left caught his eye as he passed it. Trepeís room. His face contorted into a sneer. Seemed like everyone in the damn Garden thought they were an item. Because that was just what he needed, someone else as emotionally crippled as himself. Another walking wounded. Fuck that shit.

Of course, he wouldnít be opposed if it was just about sex. Socially he was treated like a leper, and that didnít run well with the ladies. He didnít even try anymore.

Danger.

He stopped, frowning. His skin was crawling, the hairs on the back of his neck were standing up. Why? Seifer had always prided himself on his instincts, but he had seen nothing to provoke suspicion.

Then he heard it. A soft scraping noise, like something being dragged across glass. Coming from Trepeís room. He retraced his steps, pausing just outside the door. There is was again. A quiet, squealing rasp. Probably just some stupid kids writing cuss words on the windows while everyone was at the party.

Then why did it scream of something darker?

Carefully, he drew Hyperion from its sheath, relaxing at the familiar comforting whisk of steel against leather. If it was just some kids, at least heíd scare the shit out of them. Slowly, he reached to key open the door. The door slid open before he touched the button.

And a man dressed in black stepped through, assault rifle cradled in his hands.

Seifer had been prepared for this from a young age.

There was no hesitation.

Seifer swung Hyperion upward with full force. With a wet Ďchunk!í the blade parted the manís head from the base of his jaw to his forehead, the impact lifting him slightly off his feet. He collapsed without ever making a sound.

He instantly withdrew to take cover, no time to gloat over the clean kill, no time to ponder why there was an armed man in black entering the Garden through an upper level window. The moment he had killed the man the others within had warned him of their presence with several muffled swear words and what sounded like ĎOne-Air Three down!í.

Sliding with his back to the wall away from the entrance he slapped down the button to close the door, then smashed his blade through the mechanism in hopes of jamming it shut. Without waiting to see if he was successful, he spun around and ran as fast as he could down the hall towards the stairway, knowing it would be foolish to use the glass elevator if the men should leave the room.

This plan became moot when another door down the hall slid open and more of the intruders poured out. The lead intruder saw Seifer and froze.

ďContact, Tango-Ē

Seifer didnít see the point in waiting for him to finish. Bracing Hyperion with both hands he raised it in a smooth motion and pulled the trigger.

The built in revolver released its tremendous charge, and the weapon bucked heavily in his firm grip. In the hallway the noise was deafening, and Seiferís ears at first ached, then felt like they were filled with cotton and he could hear nothing but a high pitched ringing. The bullet impacted into the manís body armor directly over his heart, disintegrating the first layers of cloth in a smoke like cloud before piercing the organ and lodging in the armor on his back. He spun with the force of it, falling to the floor.

Dazed and deaf, time seemed to slow for Seifer, everything taking place in a silent haze. He cast Protect on himself before looking back over his shoulder. The other enemies by the door scattered like a school of fish, some ducking back into the entryway, a few sprinting past their fallen comrade and going behind a wall alcove on the other side. There was a dull roar back the way he had come, and the door to Trepeís room blew outward with a blinding flash. When his vision cleared the assailants had already made it halfway across the hall to more cover.

One of them was crouched in the doorway, aiming at him.

Not today, I think.

Seifer raised his arm and let loose a Firaga spell.

Momentarily the hallway was obscured by a raging explosion of flame. Bottled by the walls of the corridor it shot across the tile each way, swallowing everyone around Seifer in its deadly heat. Seifer felt the sweet exultation of victory surge through him. From what he had seen these enemies were nothing more than regular army. It would take someone with high magical power to survive a spell of that magnitude. And he should know. The spell faded and the smoke cleared as if it was never there.

And the soldier at the door hadnít moved.

What the fu-

The Heckler & Koch Mp5-A5 shook three times as the soldier flipped it onto its burst setting and squeezed the trigger. Seifer winced and braced himself for the painful shock that accompanied the impact of bullets on a Protect spell.

It never came.

But he felt the searing blow of 9mm bullets tearing their way through his flesh.

Somehow, in the space of seconds everything had gone terribly wrong. If time had seemed to slow before, now it stopped. His thoughts trickled through the haze of pain.

Somebody hit rewind, because I want to see that again.

Even anti-heroes arenít supposed to die.

But I seem well on my way.

Maybe I should have said I was sorry.

Maybe I should never have done it at all.

...No Ďmaybeí there.

I am actually sorry.

Why is it so cold?

...Fuck. Dying hurts.

Then it didnít.

------

You will probably recognize this scene from its new and almost completely altered form as being the death sequence of the janitor Gerce.

First what happened is that I just cut the scene entirely. But then I looked it over again and I saw I had this pretty good action scene already set up, and without it the story was much shorter. So I decided to introduce a new character and alter the scene to fit.

Originally the character was really going to just be a janitor, your basic story cannon fodder. He sees the enemies, he dies. But then all the action would go to waste. I felt the scene needed to remain violent, that there needed to be more consequence against the people invading the Garden.

So I came up with the Carver. It was obviously never explained very well in the story, but the concept was that the Carvers were an elite military group during the First Sorceress War. If youíll notice in my story the Protect spell is made out to block bullets, but not a sword. I extended this concept to the belief that magic is primarily a ranged tool, both offensively and defensively. As I imagined, the Carvers were assassins, using stealth to close the distance between them and a magic user, where they could kill them at close range. I think this is a really interesting concept, so donít be surprised if I self-plagiarize and use it in another story of mine.

Another thing I can remember being an issue was the section of the story that was song-fic. That was removed with great pleasure. I canít believe I did that.

As Iíve said, there were very many other small changes made over the course of the rewrite. Some of them may be noticeable, others less so. I hope you will at least see significantly less typos.

Hereís another piece stolen directly from my previous authorís note-

ĎAnyway, there are a few reasons I wanted to write this story. Most of them have to do with Purgatio, by Marcus, who is now 'Marcus1' on fanfiction.net. Please, go read it. It was the first fanfiction I had ever read, my introduction to the genre, and my driving force to write everything I have in the hopes that someday, maybe I could write something like it.

There are others, of course. Darren Sheir, Ashbear. XmagicalX. DK. Kate Lorraine. My good friend Sergeant Phoenix. Even Marco Leonstrife, who got me started here on fanfiction.net.

I think it's a shame that so many new authors have never read the classics by these people. You used to be able to find these stories on indie Final Fantasy VIII fanfiction sites all over the web, the precursors to fanfiction.net and could often be superior to getting the best. Now most of them are gone, swallowed into the abyss of Geocities, Tripod and Angelfire.

I often miss those magical first days where I realized that people actually wrote stories about books and games and movies they liked. I remember my first story on fanfiction.net, a rant designed to infuriate people who liked the Squall\Quistis pairing (it was forcefully removed shortly after). Back then fanfiction.net didn't even have a chaptering system, and the Final Fantasy VIII section had about 2000 stories, which meant maybe 1200 with all the separate chapters. Maybe even less.

When I started writing this all I wanted was twenty reviews. Then fifty. Then all I wanted was a hundred reviews. I guess the moral here is, if you get what you want you'll never stop being greedy. So give me more reviews goddamnit. Now.í

That last part still applies, by the way. Feel free to email me some feedback. Itís free, you know.

You probably noticed that a great deal of this authorís note has to do with expanding on things that were never completely explained in the story itself. This is Iím afraid, part of my writing style. I am very brief when it comes to bringing across ideas- I present the picture, but I rarely belabor the point. I expect my audience to draw their own conclusions. This is probably not the best way to write a story, but it does lend itself to being a personal style. Iíve been somewhat harsh with myself over the course of this insanely long authorís note, but I will say I am proud of one thing- I have a distinctive style and tone to my writing. It may not be a very good style or tone, but it is one of my own.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed On Earth as it is in Hell the second time around (hopefully the first for some of you). I certainly enjoyed writing it. Well, most of the time anyway.

Caleb out.


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