Monday, December 30, 2013
Fourteen-year-old Cordenqua becomes an orphan when he accidentally kills his father during battle. [Suddenly the one flaw in the decision to battle at night becomes clear.] Consumed with grief and guilt, he declines the sacred ceremony of manhood, earning the condemnation of the villagers.
Shamed, hated, and alone, Cordenqua runs to Eloq’s Temple, aware the God will strike with lightning any but the Called who enter. Killer of Father, traitor of faith and tribesman, he leaps through the archway.
Certain he has been Called, Cordenqua intends to tell the Elkek, the village Holy Man, of his Calling. However, as he remembers the Elkek’s insistence that only a Holy Man can be Called, he decides to keep his Calling secret. [I note that the Elkek hasn't leapt through the archway.]
Though the tribesman hate Cordenqua, the Elkek shows compassion and adopts him as his son, filling the void that his father’s death left. Cordenqua becomes bonded to a new companion and adopted brother—the Elkek’s son Rhatanqua.
Cordenqua attempts to convince Rhatanqua he is Called by leaping into the temple unharmed. While trying to stop him, Rhatanqua trips through the archway. Eloq strikes with deadly lightning, killing Cordenqua’s adopted brother.
Cordenqua drags his lifeless companion’s body back to the village—the second death he has caused. Consumed with anger, the Elkek attempt [attempts] to kill him, and Cordenqua flees the village, having lost all those he’s ever loved.
Before he leaves, Cordenqua takes the Holy Writ, the sacred text of his religion and discovers a hidden prophecy that suggests that Cordenqua will save his people by destroying their false religion. Cordenqua refuses to accept the prophecy, choosing instead to believe that his Father’s spirit flies among eagles.
After finding shelter in a cave, he discovers a glowing box (computer monitor) that spies on both his tribe and the enemy’s. Seeing the glowing box, he recalls the words of the prophecy that foretells such an encounter, yet still he rejects its validity. [It was foretold that I would encounter an impossible glowing box that spies on my tribe, and so I have, but it could have been just a lucky guess.]
Upon the mountain’s top, overlooking the land below, he sees the enemy tribe preparing to attack his village. Though they hated him, he warns the villagers. He plunges into battle, hoping for death. [If you're really hoping for death, I recommend plunging into battle without your sword and shield.] Before the fight ends, the dead bodies of his enemies litter the ground and the village welcomes him back, naming him the village hero.
He finds the warmth of acceptance addicting and rejects his destiny, ignores the prophecy, and lives among his people. However, the Elkek maintains his hatred for Cordenqua, and his hatred intensifies when Cordenqua falls in love with his niece, Ariane. After a long battle with his hormones, he rejects her, hoping his abstinence will win back the love and acceptance of the Elkek. [If you want to win a guy's love and acceptance, rejecting his beloved niece is a good start.]
Ariane marries another, and Cordenqua chooses again to live in isolation, too heartbroken to be near her. In a fit of jealousy, her husband attempts to kill her, but Cordenqua kills him instead, leaving Ariane widowed with a child. [He's in isolation, too heartbroken to be near her, but he happens to be on the scene when her husband tries to kill her?] [Also, that kid appeared awfully fast. Maybe sticking "Nine months later" in there somewhere would help.]
Having saved the life of his niece, the Elkek finally forgives Cordenqua and consents to their marriage. [This says that the Elkek saved his niece, which isn't what you mean. (Whether it also says that the Elkek is going to marry Cordenqua depends on the times they live in.) If you want to say this in one sentence: Having saved Ariane's life, Cordenqua is forgiven by the Elkek, who even helps plan the Cordenqua/Ariane wedding.]
Cordenqua speaks to Ariane of his secret doubts and she makes connections he had missed, proving the religion is fabricated [The line "Once we convince them to worship us, they'll do any ridiculous thing we want" was the giveaway.] and the rituals of their faith serve no other purpose than to keep them in perpetual war with their enemy. [It's perpetual only if no one ever wins. Is there some reason neither side can win the war?]
His father’s death was meaningless, as were the deaths of many others. [His father's death was meaningless whether the religion is legit or not, as it was an accident.]
Enraged, he runs to the temple, intending to kill the enemy that hides within its walls, but not before the village learns of his intentions. Half the villagers, led by the Elkek, hunt him, [This Elkek flip-flops more often than a politician.] while the other half attempt to save the village hero.
Before any can stop him, he leaps through the archway. When they see he’s unharmed, some hail him as a god, while others seethe with hatred. As he prepares to enter the temple’s doors, the neighboring tribe crest a hill adorned with battle armor. [I suppose we can infer it's not the hill that's adorned with battle armor, but if the neighboring tribe, adorned with battle armor, crest a nearby hill, you'll escape the grammar nitpickers.]
He fights desperately to protect his wife and adopted child, but an enemy breaks their line of defense and stabs her [the wife or the child?] in the back. [He's fighting desperately to protect his wife and child, yet the single enemy soldier who breaks the line of defense manages to get within stabbing distance?] Dying, she commands [Implores?] Cordenqua to take care of her child. He circumvents the deadly barriers to the temple and enters, convinced that their enemy has magical powers that can heal Ariane. When he enters, he finds dozens of corpses and a message on their computer monitors—Project Eloq—Training and Selecting the Nation’s Warriors. Program Terminated. [Is this a novel or a Twilight Zone episode? The Holy Writ is . . . a cookbook!!!]
Ariane dies, [What?! You're killing off the only likable character? This is worse than the third Hunger Games book, though I'll probably still watch the movie just because I believe Jennifer Lawrence is my destined soulmate.] leaving him alone with his adopted child.
Did the tribes have any religion before Project Eloq began? If so, is the Holy Writ the sacred text of the tribe's original religion? If so, is there also a sacred text of the false religion? If not, why have the tribe chosen to follow the new religion?
So are the corpses the people who were monitoring the project? If so, were they killed by the God? If so, why did he wait so long to kill them, allowing all these meaningless deaths?
The techno-superior race secretly monitoring a more primitive civilization is the plot of a dozen Star Treks, but the training-of-warriors aspect may add a different twist. Which nation's warriors are being trained in this project? If it's the techno-superior nation's, I don't buy that they would need great warriors from tribal villages. Unless they're selecting gladiators to fight for their entertainment? Even if that's the plan, you haven't said that the best warriors are suddenly disappearing.