I’ve been busy… (Changes to Hospitality House)

So yeah. Things happened in real life, so I have not been able to update The Hospitality House of Jolysi like I wanted to (the next chapter needs to be edited greatly from what I had originally posted). So for now, it will be on hold until I feel comfortable going at least to a standard weekly update schedule.

Hopefully, I can get it started back up officially at least by mid-April. It probably won’t happen any earlier than that, due to a trip to Japan I plan to take later this month.

Announcement: “The Hospitality House of Jolysi” Site is Now Live!

That’s right, “The Hospitality House of Jolysi” now has its own site, where it will be published as a web serial novel!

You may have noticed that my preview chapters have all started with the time of a certain day, such as “the 4th day of the 1st month”. All my chapters start this way, and this not only indicates the day the chapter takes place in Jolysi time, but also the day in Earth time that the chapter will be posted on this new site, starting this coming January. The prologue will be posted on January 1st, 2014, and the story will start on January 4th.

For the moment, though, you can head over to hospitalityhouseofjolysi.wordpress.com for a quick look at the place as well as a note from the author (i.e. myself).

In the meantime, this blog will continue to be updated with announcements and news regarding this story, as well as other random things I like to talk about.

I’m definitely looking forward to see how this project plays out!

– Frank

The Hospitality House of Jolysi: Month 1, Chapter 4

Note: This will be the last chapter from my story that I will post here on this blog. Stay tuned for news on where (and when) you will be able to read more of this story.

Chapter 4: The Hospitality House

Esther looked over at Andrew. As far as she was concerned, meeting him was the same as meeting a random guy that happened to be her classmate. Nothing particularly stood out about him, other than the fact that he came from an entirely different culture. In fact, she still felt somewhat embarrassed over her outburst to him the previous night. It reminded her that there was a lot about the world, and even of just Greater Jolysi, that she did not know.

Maybe it was for that reason that, despite the fact that Andrew was not exactly the type of person she would normally hang out with, Esther still found herself caring about him. Of course, if the matter of her adoption ended up successful, then he would become her brother, and in that case it would be expected of her to care about a family member. In that case, there was no harm in caring about him for now. Sure, he was not particularly good looking – he was not ugly, but his appearance definitely had more of an academic, scholarly look, which was not her type – but that did not matter in a future brother. It is not like I am going to be betrothed to him or anything, she thought.

While Esther was sitting down thinking about these things, Andrew got up from his seat. “Okay, I am going to walk around the Hospitality House and learn more about how it works,” he said. “If I am going to work here, I better learn more about what I might be doing here. That must be the real reason why Father did not want us to work yet.” He started walking out of the room.

That sounded a lot like what he would say, Esther thought. Thinking of what she might do, she realized that she was alone in the room. And Esther, more than anything, hated to be alone. She got up and quickly caught up with Andrew. “Is it okay if I go along with you?”

“I do not mind,” Andrew said.

Another very Andrew like response, Esther thought.

The two left the house and entered the main building of the Hospitality House. They started by walking into the main lounge area.

“Hello!” Zoe said upon seeing them. “Are you two here to help out?”

“No, we are just exploring the place today,” Andrew said.

“Oh, okay,” Zoe replied. “Go ahead and walk around or sit down or order a snack.”

Esther and Andrew walked around the lounge area. It was an incredibly large area, easily as large as the main building of Esther’s high school, and that building had to hold five thousand kids. Esther figured that, given that there were not quite as many floors, with there only being a mezzanine like second and third floor, the lounge area could hold perhaps two or three thousand people. She noticed that in the back, there was a stage on which some people were playing music, with many of the tables in front of the stage filled by travelers who were probably listening to that music.

Looking more closely at the tables themselves, she noticed that each table had a number and a bell. If a traveler were to ring the bell, Zoe or one of the other workers would quickly go over there and serve that traveler. The numbers, Zoe assumed were just there to make keeping track of what the people at different tables wanted.

She and Andrew walked up to the mezzanine levels. There were more tables and longchairs there, and there were also some rooms inside the walls which seemed to have people in them. Esther figured that the rooms must be able to be reserved for travelers traveling in a party that wanted a room to themselves instead of being in the larger, noisier lounge. Esther also noticed doors that led to the rear balconies of the lounge building, which had plenty of tables and chairs as well.

As she went back downstairs, she noticed that a number of the servers were other people that she had not met yet. She wondered if they, too, were adopted by Father. There seemed to be a lot of them; would they all be her brothers and sisters? I kind of hope not, she thought. Having seven new siblings is going to be crazy enough as it is.

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The Hospitality House of Jolysi: Month 1, Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Father

Andrew had wondered how one could live modestly in a place as grand as the Hospitality House. That night, he found his first answer, when he was brought outside of the main building and led to another, smaller house in the backyard.

This house was still big, but it did not give off the feel of an extravagant mansion. Rather, it looked like the type of house an average family might buy if they had a lot of children. Compared to the ornate decorations of the Hospitality House, this house was a lot more modest looking, with a simple design and few notable decorations outside of the paint and tiling. The house itself was tall, being three stories high, and looked fairly wide, too, but despite being big, it still looked like a normal house.

Going inside, Andrew felt even more like this was just a simple home. There were no lavish decorations, just basic furniture one might buy from a common carpenter, plus some simple lamps and a feel of being in a normal family’s home. In fact, if only to look even more like the place has been lived in, there were clear signs that not everything in the house has been cleaned up, as Andrew turned a corner into the kitchen and saw pans and dishes piled up in the sink.

“Whoops, forgot to do those,” Ganymede said when she saw that.

Going further into the house, Andrew saw such sights as socks strewn about the floor, books left open on side tables, and papers lying in a pile on an office desk.

“I thought I had put those away,” Winstrom remarked.

Another voice was heard coming down the stairs… the voice of a dog, which jumped on top of Corrine.

“Hey, Lupie!” Corrine said as the dog, a large golden reclaimer, licked her face in happiness.

“You allow pets in here?” Andrew asked Blair.

“Of course,” Blair said. “As long as we take care of them and they do not enter the main House without Father’s permission… in fact, as long as we do not cause this place to fall down, he lets us take care of this house however we want.”

At this point, both Andrew and Esther gave a large yawn.

“You two must be tired after everything today,” Blair said. “Let me take you to your rooms.”

Andrew and Esther followed Blair up two flights of stairs to the third floor of rooms. There were a large number of rooms spanning the width of the house, all in one hallway.

“Andrew, your room is here,” Blair said, pointing to a room three doors from the end of the hallway, “and Esther, your room is here,” he said, pointing to a room on the other side, one door from the end of the hallway. “There will be two beds in your room, but as we have yet to find roommates for you, you can choose which bed you will take. And the bathroom is the room right at the end of the hall, and there is another one in the center of the hallway.”

Andrew went into the room and saw that it was fairly large, but only to accommodate the two people that would live in it. There was one small bed on each side, as well as one desk, one nightstand, one dresser, and one closet on each side. Because of this, the room looked large enough to be comfortable in, though not so large that, even with no one else in the room, Andrew would feel lost in a large open space.

He took out all the various things he had packed into his wings and placed them in the dresser, on the desk, or in the closet. Taking out some sleeping clothes, he got changed, and then went to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Going back to his room, he took out a book, turned on the lamp on the nightstand, and got into bed to read. However, he found the bed surprisingly comfortable for how small and simple it looked, and within moments, he fell asleep with the light still on and the book dropping out of his hands onto the ground.

When he woke up the next morning, he noticed that the light was on and turned it off. He then saw the clock on the wall, which said that it was already the ninth hour of the early day. Wow, I think this is the first time I have ever slept in so late, he thought to himself. He got out of bed and quickly got dressed, thinking that he might have been keeping this Father he was going to meet waiting. I hope he will not be mad; it is my first day of work and I am already late, he thought.

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The Hospitality House of Jolysi: Month 1, Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Esther of Kris

The two of them walked through the door, where a young man and a young woman, both somewhat older than Andrew, greeted them.

“Welcome back, Corrine!” the man said. “And good evening to you, sir.”

“Good evening,” Andrew replied.

“Big bro, this is Andrew,” Corrine said, giving introductions. “He wants to join our family. Andrew, this is Blair. He is the current manager of the Hospitality House. And this big sis is Zoe; she looks out for all of us siblings here.”

Andrew gave a bow to Blair and Zoe. “My name is Andrew, and I am a human – fae halfling from Alia,” he said. 

“No need to be so formal with us,” Zoe said. “If I may ask, under what circumstances have you lost your previous family?”

“I had been disowned from my family for failing to test into the Alia Capital University,” Andrew explained.

“Hmm… I see,” Blair said. “Then, by any chance did they give you any paperwork saying you were no longer their child?” he asked.

“Actually, yes they did,” Andrew said. “Let me get it…”

Andrew reached back towards his mana wings, and then pulled out a bunch of papers and started sifting through them.

“Whoa! You keep stuff in there?” Corrine said, amazed.

“Yeah… it is pretty advanced faerie magic, so not a lot of people can do it, but I managed to get it to work.”

“It sure is not something I can quite do,” Zoe said, her own large avian shaped wings indicating her humish faerie race. “You should teach me sometime how to do it.”

“Okay,” Andrew said. “Oh, here it is… the separation paperwork.” He handed some papers to Blair.

“Good; that saves us the trouble of having to go to Alia to get it,” Blair said. “I will take this to Father, and he will take care of the rest. It will be a while, so please make yourself comfortable.”

“You must have been tired coming all the way from Alia, so how about you take a seat in our dining area and have dinner, then take a nice, warm bath?” Zoe suggested.

Andrew nodded and sat down at a booth table.

“Is it okay if we join you?” Corrine and Zoe asked.

Andrew nodded. 

“Um… can I join, too?” another voice said.

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Hospitality House: Month 1, Chapter 1

Note: I have decided on a special format for my novel: it will be divided into months, and each month will then be divided into several small chapters. What follows is the first chapter from the first month.

Note that this is NaNoWriMo, and as such, this is very much an unrefined first draft.

Month 1: The 1st Month of the Year 053

Chapter 1: Andrew of Alia (The 4th Day of the 1st Month of the Year 053) 

At 17 years old, Andrew no longer had a family name, because he no longer had a family. It was not like his family had died, either; they had simply disowned him. And because he no longer had a family, he also no longer had a home.

This year’s class of students was just too high caliber, he thought to himself. His family lived in Alia, the country that was considered the academic capital of the entire Greater Land of Jolysi. He had attended the prestigious Alia Capital Academy, where only the top students of the country could attend, and had applied for the Alia Capital University, the highest ranked university in the nation, which is so selective that even the average student at Alia Capital Academy only has a 70 percent chance of being accepted. As such, perhaps it was not too unusual that Andrew just could not quite make the cut. However, he came from a family of some of the Capital’s greatest scholars, and both of his older brothers had successfully been accepted into the University, so in order to maintain their reputation, his parents demanded that Andrew get accepted into the University or be disowned from the family. 

Yet, for all his anger at himself for not being able to meet his parents’ expectations, there was one thing that angered him more, and it was not his parents. 

And to think I even passed up on that class trip to Faeran in order to study more for the test, he thought. If I was going to fail anyways, I might as well have gone on that trip. He had really wanted to see the floating islands of Faeran for himself, but dared not bring this desire up to his parents. Of course, it is way too late now to even think about going there…

His parents were at least kind enough to leave him with some money to live off of until he found his own job and place. However, two weeks had gone by without him being able to find either a job or a place to live, and he was starting to run out of money. Desperate and figuring that trying to find anything in the very tight run country of Alia was impossible, Andrew crossed the border into Jolysi.

Once there, he made his way to the nearby town of Jolysi Nord. At this point, he was incredibly fatigued from a lot of walking, so rather than jump right into finding work, he sat down at a bench in the town square for some rest. He was not able to rest for long, though, as he soon heard a voice from right in front of him.

“Hello, big brother.” 

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NaNoWriMo: The Beginning

Prologue: History of the Land of Jolysi

A long time ago, the land of Jolysi was a large and prosperous land, populated by the three races of human, elf, and faerie. The humans had incredible physical strength, the elves had keen sensory perception, and the fae had wondrous skill in using magic. For many years, the three races lived together in harmony, intermarrying and forming tribes that had friendly relations with each other, all while living under the sovereign rule of the deity of the land, the great Eiyam, and his human avatar, the King of Jolysi.

However, the evil in the hearts of these beings stirred, and caused a division between the twelve tribes. This division eventually caused a conflict that grew into a war. Known as the Great Civil War of Jolysi, the war drove each tribe to form its own country on the outskirts of the land, while the center of the land became an abandoned wasteland. This war lasted for over two hundred years, until divine intervention forced the twelve tribes/countries to come to a truce.

For many years after the war, the land of Central Jolysi remained a no man’s land, believed to be cursed by Eiyam as a punishment for the war. The twelve countries remained hostile to each other, and no one traveled between countries, even neighboring ones. Then, twenty years after the war, twelve people, one from each country, were led into the land of Central Jolysi, where they worked to rebuild the homeland that the war had destroyed. Soon afterwards, the Kingdom of Jolysi was established. (The entire continent that includes the Kingdom of Jolysi and the other twelve countries is referred to as the Greater Land of Jolysi, or Greater Jolysi for short.)

It was during this time that the Hospitality House was established. Built in the center of the kingdom, it was intended to be a resting place for travelers going between countries. Of course, at the time no one actually traveled between countries, so the people of Jolysi also worked to improve relations between the countries and promote travels. Eventually, their efforts were fruitful, and while the twelve countries still are not quite as friendly as they were before the war, international relations are definitely much better now, and there are plenty of travelers between countries, to the point where the Hospitality House has instituted branch Houses around the country as well.

All this brings us to the present time, Year 053, fifty three years after the end of the Great Civil War of Jolysi, and thirty two years after the establishment of the Kingdom of Jolysi. During the 18th day of the 1st month of this year, one young man wanders his way into this land…

And thus begins my novel for NaNoWriMo, Hospitality House.

If you want to read more… well, first of all, you have to wait for me to write more. But I’ll be posting the entire first chapter here, as well as excerpts of future chapters. If you’d like to read everything I’ve written so far, please e-mail me at the_joy_company@yahoo.com and I can give you the link to the Google Docs document that has all of that (once I finish the second chapter).

One thing’s for sure; this is going to be a fun month once again.

WCA Global Leadership Summit 2013 Overview, Part 1

Oh, hey. Didn’t think I’d update this blog, did you? While my anime blog continues to be updated, I will look towards updating this blog more with various thoughts, particularly related to writing.

For now, enjoy this first part of a series of posts about the WCA Global Leadership Summit.

I had the privilege of attending this year’s WCA Global Leadership Summit. Many of the world’s top Christian leaders come together to teach various things about leadership, and their messages are pretty much guaranteed to be extremely insightful. I will be covering their various insights one by one, for a grand total of 14 individual parts to this series, including this one… and yes, that’s quite a lot. (Over at A Series of Miracles, I will also try to connect each part with something from anime, if you’re interested in that.)

What’s nice about all of this is that, while the summit itself is geared towards leaders, it’s applicable to everyone. Much of this insight is Biblical (I’d contend that all of it is, even if I can’t point to a specific verse for each one), and is thus useful for all people. Not only that, but everyone will be called to lead in some way or another–for Christians, if nothing else, remember that Jesus calls us to make disciples of all nations; that doesn’t just mean converting people, but also raising up new believers into the full Christian life.

In fact, for this first part, it’s good to note what exactly a leader is. Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, one of the largest churches in the nation and the location of the GLS, opened the summit by talking a bit about what it means to be a leader.

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