I started looking at the blog today, and I realized, "wow, I wrote this article finishing up the story of Tale 7 and never published it!" So, coming at you quite later than it ought to have, is "The Many, Many Forms of Tale 7 (Part III)!"
Going into the fourth draft, I decided to focus on something different. First off, I wanted more emphasis on Zealot as a man, rather than a figure of history. Juno would obviously play an integral part to that sort of development, so she had to be included in some capacity. The conflict would need to bring out the best in Zealot's character, that was one criterion. Second, I wanted to change Zealot's class. I added the Halberdier class, but there were no opportunities to actually make it playable up to this point. Zealot was good with lances, so I figured "why not?" But then I'd have to explain how he went from Halberdier to horse-rider. That would be the end result of the conflict, I decided, and Zealot would have to be forced to change classes.
The final draft was developed around a small-scale conflict. Zealot had been dispatched to distribute rations under Marshall Tybalt, a simple task on a year Zealot wished to remain in Ilia. This, however, escalates into conflict when it is discovered that the bandits raiding these villages are actually involved in a money-making scheme set up by Tybalt, a bitter and crippled soldier seeking to line his own pockets. Tybalt, it was decided, would serve as a character foil for Zealot. Both men were promising, young commanders. Both graduated at the top of their class, and both had very, very bright futures in the eyes of many. During a conflict with Bern, however, Tybalt was greatly wounded. His leg was shattered by a Tomahawk thrown at him by the enemy commander, he could never walk again, let alone fight. Tybalt was given his post as Marshall and tasked with distributing rations to a scarcely populated section of Ilia. It was the guild's gift to him for his sacrifice. Tybalt, however, felt robbed of his future, and grew into a bitter man. Years later, Zealot would undergo a similar upbringing, and ultimately his fate would end up in the hands of Tybalt, envious of Zealot and the bright future that he possesses.
As time went on additions were made. Sykes was pulled, seemingly out of thin air, to join the cast as a conflicted subordinate of Tybalt's (mostly because he could display The Blind Archer's new Swordmaster animation, but hey, he was worked in quite well). Niime, a hermit living in Ilia's mountains, came into the picture as a confirmation of Canas's death (and also because the party was in DIRE need of a healer). Sain was added to the tale after it was decided that he would leave Caelin in search of love. With Sain came Sigune, adding a deeper love plot of a girl lusting for Zealot, in a committed relationship with Juno. Finally we had a romantic sub-plot with some depth, and a game's worth of Sain's shenanigans compressed into one tale.
"That's more like it," I thought. Fourth time's the charm, I suppose, at least when it comes to drafting tales.