Looking Back at Greysons Arc II

Sixty-eight chapters (plus a special “Interlude” chapter). 271,458 words.

Greysons of Grimoire Arc II: Solitude is complete! And what a giant arc it was. I want to take some time to look back at this arc, as I did after the end of Arc I. This will serve as both a sort of breezy recap of what happened, but even more it will serve as a look into my process and thoughts about this Arc. Let’s dive in!

Throughout all of Arc II, the perspective shifted with each chapter on a (mostly) constant rotation. We started with the “Library crew” – Delilah and Chelsea sharing the perspective duties in that respect. Then we went to Caleb, then the twins, and finally Fae.

The Library crew’s journey took a few twists and turns. Early on it focused on Chelsea and Gwen and the strange world of shadows they found themselves in. They had to face their inner demons, come to grips with the evil and pain within themselves, and find the answer both of them have been seeking for so long, the cure for their hatred: to let it go. They also, through this shared experience and seeing just how tragically alike their pasts are, forged a friendship that will likely last a lifetime. After that, reunited with Delilah and the others, they began trekking towards the center of the Library, battling against shadow-Hollows and meeting the villainous, mysterious Valgwyn.

The twins’ storyline was for a long time separated and yet connected to the Library storyline. As Shana, Shias, and the “Dawn Riders” found Maribelle, they then brought her out of her solitude at the edge of the world to save the sister she thought was lost to her forever. In so doing, we ended up with a pretty exciting action set-piece, with lots of different characters using all of their skills available to struggle, strive, and finally prevail in saving little Annabelle. After that, they found their way to the Library, but not without sacrifices, as Shias, Kathryn, Rae, and Ben took Void with them to Grimoire in order to protect Shana and the two princesses.

And then, with the Library crew bolstered to an even larger number, their journey continued to discover the Dream Forge, the way to restore the Library, and the frightening test that Shana and the princesses would face. And they succeeded, triumphing against all odds and through much pain to see the Library of Solitude purged of darkness and back to its former glory.

Caleb’s journey started off almost as a detour – he had failed his training and had to recover from chronial poisoning, so Mister Midnight took him on a jaunt over to Sunset Square. This trip of recreation soon turned into something much more, as Caleb and Midnight met Midnight’s sister Alexandra, and took on the task of freeing Mineria from the seemingly unassailable prison, The Brig. They succeeded, Caleb and Midnight returned to Midnight Bridge, and Caleb finally completed his training. Along the way, we learned more about the Radiance, and their newest plan – to return to Grimoire on the day of the Lunar Festival. Caleb’s come a long way since we first met him in Chapter 1 of Greysons, and now that he’s reunited with his friends and family, it’ll be exciting to see how his new skills and character development work with his teammates against new dangers. Midnight also got some wonderful moments, from his exciting “Paladin moment” against Valgwyn, to the more subdued but heartfelt moment with Ingrid, where he showed her the truth of her past, and she found healing and safety in him. And though Caleb’s path now takes him away from Mister Midnight and Ingrid, they won’t be parted forever. There are exciting things in store for the master of Time Magic and his apprentice.

Finally, there’s Fae. Her journey continues to be the most separate from the others, though it’s started to connect, and will continue to do so in Arc III. She started off seeking out items and clues in the Basin of Antiquity, bringing her and the Star sisters in contact with the awkward yet brilliant Maxwell. Then they set off on their scavenger hunt, heading to the Crimson Docks, retrieving the bell that carried the essence of Child’s Innocence, and meeting the Fates for the first time. And… well, that meeting with the Fates didn’t go so well, with the girls barely escaping, making their way to the City of Anguish. In the Mourner’s Collection there, they found that there was more for Maxwell to tell them, through a journal recounting his search for the truth about Collapse, an Intangible and illness that bear the same name. Through this, Fae and the sisters found the clues they needed, and proceeded to heal the Fates and receive the knowledge and truths they needed to continue their journey. But there are also worries and fears, from the knowledge that the Sealed Vessel is following the girls, to the warning that they will meet one of the Spiral Dragons sooner than they expect – and Dragon Riddles are something to avoid answering at all costs. The Arc ended with Fae descending into the Deepgrave, led by Gerick Irsotz. What they will find there, and where these discoveries will lead, is a story for the next Arc.

There was a brief interruption of the pattern with Arc II’s Interlude chapter, centering on the Radiance, and near the very end I also switched up the order in the hopes of making the final set of chapters feel more exciting to read back-to-back. So, while Fae’s “Flowers” chapter was supposed to be Chapter 64, I moved it one chapter earlier so we’d have a straight shot of chapters focusing on the climactic conclusion to the conflict in the Library of Solitude – from Shana’s desperate “All Alone” moment, to the Chelsea/Delilah duo chapter “Defenses Destroyed,” to Caleb’s final stand with Midnight in “Defiance,” and finally Shana’s painful, heroic final journey through Nightmares in “Eternal.”

And it all capped off like Arc I, with an “everyone!” chapter in “Family.” Each of our characters got a moment in the spotlight, though the majority of it was focused on the aftermath of the battle for the Library of Solitude, naturally. After all, that was the primary focus of this second Arc. Fae and Shias got little moments showing where they are – and, in Shias’ case, also served as a tease of Arc III. And at the very end, also teasing what’s to come in Arc III, we got to see a mysterious unnamed stranger arrive at Grimoire, thinking about the danger about to befall the city, and remarking that he’s come back “just in time.” Who is he? Why has he come back to Grimoire? You’ll find out very quickly in Arc III.

Speaking of Arc III, it has a title: Defenders of Grimoire. That should make it pretty clear what the focus of Arc III is, if you couldn’t already guess from the story so far. The Radiance is coming to Grimoire, and yet, from hints we’ve seen here and there, danger already festers within Grimoire. The Radiance will make their move, but there are new villains to encounter, new battles to fight, new fears to overcome, new dangers to face. And all the while, threads that were started very early on continue to weave their way forward.

While I’m sure the nature of Greysons and its writing has made parts of it feel scattered or unfocused, I have a clear picture of how all the pieces fit together, and I’m excited to continue telling this story, building this world and these characters, and heading towards an ending that… will come. Eventually.

I don’t want to leave you with false assumptions, so I want to make sure you’re all aware that Arc III is not the final Arc. There will be an Arc IV, and very likely an Arc V. I explain this because I know some people love long-form storytelling… and others don’t. To those who don’t, I hope, if you’ve found anything to love about these characters, that you’ll stick around, and find that Greysons ends up concluding in a very exciting and satisfying way. I’m hoping to end the story with the fifth Arc, but… well, I don’t want to rush things. I also don’t want to meander or overindulge, leaving the story spinning its wheels long after it should have ended. I hope, when all is said and done, that most of you who read this story will find its full telling, and its final ending, satisfactory and worthwhile. I hope, in the end, that these characters and their stories, will have made you laugh, and cry, and feel inspired in your own life.

And suddenly I’m reminded of Aunt May’s wonderful line in Spider-Man 2. “I believe there’s a hero in all of us.” too believe that. Many of us struggle to find our inner hero, and we all know that there are far too many people who never do, who give themselves over to evil and cruelty, or who wander through life purposeless, without hope.

I think that’s at least a part of why fiction matters to me, why telling stories about heroes matters to me, and why I love telling this particular story. Because by seeing these make-believe heroes, by reading about them, by getting absorbed into their stories…

We find that we, too, can be heroes.

It may be fiction, but the themes, the ideas, the struggles between good and evil, the struggles against fear, the desire to find our purpose… these aren’t make-believe. And I hope that others can find, like I have through so many stories, that fictional heroes can help us find it in ourselves to be heroes in the real world.

And on that sentimental note, I’ll leave you. But not before a few final notes. First: what do you think of the new website? I was on Wordpress for the entirety of the first two Arcs, but I think this new format and style is quite nice. The freedom afforded by Squarespace is really quite something, and while I’ll still tinker with things as time goes on, I’m very happy with this website so far.

Second: thank you! Thank you so much for reading. Thank you so much for any likes or comments you’ve left, for any times you’ve ever shared these chapters or the story with friends, family, or confused strangers on the street. Thank you if you even for a moment so much as consider to support my writing financially through Patreon.

Most of all, thank you for reading. I hope you continue to follow this story, and enjoy it just as much as I enjoy writing it.