The Shape: Volume 1 – Black Saturday

It’s been a long while since I’ve dedicated my time towards writing narrative, but I feel that, if I want to make good use of this blog, I might as well have a go at self-promotion.

Here is a fanfiction that I will be posting today, Black Saturday. It’s a relatively simple story. Set in the Harry Potter universe, Black Saturday is primarily a story of listening to Luna Lovegood and my OC— Enekai Rahal— chat with each other, all the way until Rahal reveals the titular rose and her reason for growing it.

It’s not very “commercial” as far as stories go. Yeah, there’s an eensy bit of lesbianism, but it’s a T story for the most part and leans towards reeking of the auteur. It’s a story about Enekai Rahal that’s set in the Harry Potter-verse more than it is a Harry Potter fanfiction, and it’s a story meant more as an atmosphere piece than a narrative. If I could have told the story entirely through photos of gloomy autumn days with a backing sad guitar and cello piece, I would have.

Yet it’s clearly only one part of a series, otherwise I wouldn’t have called it ‘Volume 1’. So what’s that all about?

The Shape is less of a series and more of a set of loosely connected stories following a few characters, primarily a character known as ‘The Shape.’ No relation to Haddonfield’s legendary serial killer. This Shape has a face, thank you very much. She has a cameo in Black Saturday and is mentioned several times towards the end, but it’s left vague as to why she’s important.

Even I don’t know who the Shape really is. This is intentional. In the first draft of the original short story, the Shape was supposed to be the daughter of Satan. In the second outline, she became the daughter of the Antichrist, before eventually becoming a female Antichrist. In the last version of the original short, the Shape was Satan having taken the form of a teenage girl. However, when writing the first draft of Black Saturday (which was wholly different from the current version), the Shape was actually nothing more than a mute teenage girl who lives in an underground chapel because she has a very severe case of childhood-onset schizophrenia and autism, partially caused by her equally schizophrenic mother who believed her to be the Antichrist. Beyond that, there was nothing supernatural about her; she simply had a vibe of high-strangeness.

After that, I realized that it would be fruitful to keep the Shape’s nature unknown. Is she a broken human? Is she possessed? Is she the Devil? Is she an interdimensional ultraterrestrial? Is she a master troll? No one knows. I don’t know either, and I don’t want to know. Interestingly a lot like the original Shape from ’78.

What does Rahal and Lovegood have to do with her? Right now, the story goes that the Shape is stalking Rahal for an unknown reason.


Enekai Rahal herself has been a character in my head for about 5 years now, waiting to get out. To be fair, there are a lot of characters and worlds in my head, and one of the reasons why I’m so obsessed with writing and literature is because I wish to see both these characters and worlds on pages and screens as well as people’s reaction to them.

Rahal, for example, is a failed attempt at an Urban Fantasy electro-punk chick. She’s always been a freerunner and psychokinetic, but it’s only recently that she became an elf maiden. The gist behind her character is that she was supposed to be a traditional elf maiden, but was corrupted (or perhaps freed) by Modern Earth, which caused intense disillusionment with her world’s social order. I sometimes call her character the “Romantic Killer”. When I say that, I don’t mean she butchers trashy romance novels or acts as the Anti-Cupid, but that she is the slap to the face of Romanticist fiction that glorifies pre-industrial, agrarian, and mystical lifestyles. She hails from the world of Navia, which I created based on pseudo-medieval fantasy clichés.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for pseudo-medieval fantasy, so it’s not out of some hatred for the genre that I created Rahal— not at all. The point was instead to contrast what was wrong with old society with what is wrong with today’s. From an entirely objective standpoint, modern society is wholly better than medieval society ever could hoped to have been. It’s a subjective standpoint that will disagree, but I noticed that most objections seemed to be based upon highly Romantic ideals of what medieval times were like rather than the reality of the age. In fact, I can trace the Romantic Killer concept right back to a specific Reddit thread that brought up the point that living as a prole in 2016 was preferable to living as a king 2,000 years ago. The response to the thread seemed to be an overwhelming “Nuh-Uh”, and the reasoning behind these responses all brought up heavily idealized misconceptions of what it would have been like to be a king in olden times. Primarily: sex. You could have all the concubines you wanted. And I can’t say that’s false. However, there were also mentions of how glorious it would have been to have been the real world equivalent to the Dragonborn, or to be able to visit real life pseudo-fantasy inns with other sword-clad warriors. All the mundane stuff, as you can imagine, was conveniently forgotten— outside of the rampant sex and the occasions of being a warrior king, you still had to deal with real life issues. Except you then had to deal with real life issues without any modern conveniences or luxuries.

And that was the scratched surface of the tip of that iceberg, as some of the other responses clearly showed me that many of the people responding only knew of medieval and pre-medieval history from Epic/Heroic Fantasy stories.

All I could do was say “Yes, there was some charm to living without Facebook and Justin Bieber, but people much more knowledgeable on medieval history than I are screaming as this thread.” That gave me the idea of creating a character straight out of a typical pseudo-medieval fantasy world who was able to taste the pleasures of the modern world and, thus, had something to compare it to.

The only problem was creating a ‘typical’ pseudo-medieval fantasy world that made sense in logical ways. I suppose that’s communicating right off the bat why I could spend days talking about Killing Romanticism, as once you apply logic to a pseudo-medieval fantasy world, everything collapses. They’re always meant to be escapist universes, places for us to imagine going on epic adventures. The only reason why they’re “pseudo-medieval” is because most of our great Western myths come from pagan Northwestern Europe— particularly the Celts, Nords, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Goths. That’s why pseudo-medieval fantasy worlds tend to look so similar to each other, with all their thatched and timber-framed houses and taverns, as well as why we keep coming back to the elves, dwarves, faeries, orcs, and dragons (though a certain J. R. R. Tolkien is responsible for a lot of that as well). The Romantic aspect of pseudo-medieval fantasy, though, requires a world to never change. That’s why it’s considered “fantasy”— even back when the world legitimately didn’t change much across centuries, things still progressed. And that’s another reason why it’s considered fantasy— things progress. They don’t devolve. The closest thing to fantastic devolution that has occurred was the decline of Roman civilization, and even that’s a simplified look at things as, when the Romans became the Byzantines, their civilization boomed once again.

Rahal is supposed to be a character from a degenerated fantasy world. A world so degenerated, it would make the world of Dark Souls look like the background to Tellitubbies. Yet it’s still a world of manly heroes and medieval values. She is then whisked to Seventh Earth (read: our world in the near future) where she discovers something absolutely amazing, something so technologically advanced that it makes her weep— clean roads and fresh air!

In Black Saturday, her arrival to Seventh Earth is close to a decade behind her, and she instead jumps to a fictional universe. Most fictional universes are considered to be part of ‘Ninth Earth’. Here, she gets to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which itself is a fantasy world juxtaposed against the modern world. Because she comes from a fantastical society much purer than Harry Potter’s, she views Wizarding Britain as being a quaint place.

Also, Rahal is dating Jesus Christ.

So without further ado, here it is: Black Saturday!

nfrhleo

Author: Yuli Ban

I'm an aspiring novelist with a terminal lack of a life.

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