First, a few words by:
(A.k.a. Luggage Puppy, a.k.a Chris Cuellar)
I'm horrible at writing introductions. Let's face it... introductions are really thinly disguised attempts by the writer to plug their own work. So when AA informed me that I had to do an introduction to what has become, as Queen of Swords so delicately puts it to anyone that asks her about her own work with Slayers, "The Fic That Ate My Life" my initial reaction was, "But I don't I have TIME! I have to write Chapter 16! I why should I have to plug my own fic?
Well, I thought about it long and hard, and decided that I shouldn't have to.
So I won't.
Heheheh. Almost had you going there, didn't I?
No seriously folks... I don't want to write down what I like or think is particularly good about Shards. If I did that (for those of you who actually read these stupid things) then I would give you MY prejudice on the story, and I really don't want to do that. I want you to experience it yourself, whether you like it, love it, are indifferent to it, or just plain think I should be taken out into the street and shot repeatedly.
In my tender bits.
So, instead of a plug, what I'll do is give numerous thanks (towards the end) to the people without whom this fic would not be possible, and give a sort of an evolution of the fic from idea to actual fic. Since at the writing of this intro the fic is not yet completed, I'd also be willing to answer any questions people might have, if they are directed at me. I'm assuming that AA will list my email address somewhere on this site, since she thinks of everything. Bear in mind that if the reason something is left vague is simply because it will be revealed later, I will refer you to my Q & A representative, Xellos, and I think we all know what HIS answer will be.
Anyway, in the beginning....
Always wanted to start like that. It was a rainy (and yet disturbingly warm) day in Dallas Texas. AnimeFest, my first ever anime convention, had just wound to a close (or something resembling one, since anyone who has every gone to an anime convention knows that we Otaku have a tendency to stick around a place until we are forceably removed, usually with pointy sticks) and Teresa (or AA to those who know her by reputation only) and I found ourselves in what I believe was a Chilies, (but may have been an Appleby's, since the weather was sapping my intelligence by the minute) idly eating our lunch before we had to take her to the airport, (and we all know how that turned out) when the topic of discussion turned to Gaav.
You see, both of us shared the opinion that Gaav had been dealt a bum rap. I felt he was far too dynamic and just plain cool a villain to be destroyed the way he was. Since Gaav had been obliterated at the end of Slayers Next, there was really very little we could do about it.
So we began to conceive a way for the Chaos Dragon to be reborn. Far too soon, our time together drew to a close, but not before the seeds of an idea had been planted and begun germinating (really gross huh?) in my head. I had avoided writing fanfiction up to this point since I didn't think I had anything I could conceivably bring to the genre... everyone knows that if you think of a really cool thing for characters to be doing, someone has inevitably come up with the same idea only better right?
Wrong. The idea just wouldn't go away, and before two months had past (the fanfic's first chapter came out exactly three days before the horrible attacks on our country, and in retrospect, had I begun writing them on or after this date, I probably never would have started it) I had completed the first chapter, bringing our hero, the Demon Dragon King, back to life.
In a manner of speaking.
I'd never intended the story to become the monster that it has today. I'd only intended to bring Gaav back, mix him up with the Slayers crew once again, and maybe try to make if not a hero, then at least someone you wouldn't mind to terribly to bring home to mum, assuming you are either A) the correct gender or B) into that sort of thing... but I shan't go there.
Then I put Xellos into the story.
The rest is, as they say, history.
Now comes the thanks and tributes.
Also known as the sucking up.
Firstly, I'd like to thank Teresa Dietzinger, also known as Amethyst Angel, for her diligent work on my behalf... ensuring that there are no blaring continuity errors and forcing me to maintain if not a deathgrip on the Slayers Canon, then at least a very respectable kung fu grip (note that I mean the Slayers TV series when I say this, I give a nod to the novels, but since I haven't read them and have no idea how to incorporate them, I basically ignored them) and for the wonderful artwork that really brings my story to life. In case you don't know, I love getting fanart. In truth I cannot begin to list the things that AA has done for me, but for all of this and more, I give my heartfelt thanks.
Secondly, thanks go out to Jonathon D. Baker, (AKA Tons of Fun) for being the only serious Otaku I know who is currently on the USS John C. Stennis (I forgot to mention, I'm in the US Navy, and during most of this fanfic I am participating in Operation Enduring Freedom) and also willing to act as a sounding board for my plot, and for reading my pitiful attempts at a first draft. I have truly atrocious spelling and grammatical sense, and he is my first line of defense against making a fool of myself.
Thirdly, Gigi (who's real name shall not be mentioned here because she really hates it when I call her by her real name) whom many of you might know as the artist behind my online manga, Silence, which we'll get around to launching ONE of these days I swear... (oh my... a plug... how did THAT get in here?), as well as the amazing online manga Magical Boys (done with the Queen of Swords... I'll get to her later). For her allowance of me using her as a sounding board, as well as being a helpful prereader.
Kathy Hassinger, The Big Q... Queenie, the Queen of Swords. She needs no introduction, but for those of you who like Slayers fanfiction (and you obviously do), if you haven't read Zelgadis on the Couch and Zelgadis on the Road there is something seriously wrong with you. Kathy (and it's with a K... GOD help you if you use a C) helped me to finally hone my writing style into something that does not instantly make readers wish to beat me with sticks. She's also the most ridiculously nitpicky prereader I have ever had to deal with, and for that I shall always adore her. This fic would not be half the fic it is without her attention to detail.
I am and always will be a Plainclothes Loyal Minion to the Queen of Swords. They tried to get me to wear the uniform, but sorry Kathy... dresses just ain't my style.
As is required, I also give props to my family, Mom, Dad, Dee, Ken, Papa and Nana... most of them have no friggin' idea what the heck this Slayers thing is, but they read my fiction anyway. The greatest compliment I have ever received from my sister is "Way to go Chris! It doesn't suck!" Doesn't suck indeed.
Truer words have never been spoken.
Finally, to all my fellow writers who have witnessed this fic in its initial conception as Slayers Generations at www.fanfiction.net... thank you for taking the time. Your criticism has helped me make this thing the fic that it is.
What is it you ask?
I have no idea... but at least its mine.
AE3 Christopher T. Cuellar USN, AKA DustTraveller, Luggage Puppy, and Plainclothes Loyal Minion to the Queen of Swords
And now, a few words by:
(A.k.a. the Illustrator, a.k.a Teresa Dietzinger)
Ah, it's my turn to talk? Good...
Everything Chris has told you about the history and origin of this fic is pretty much true (the only part he got wrong was the name of the restaurant where we had our little fanfic discussion dinner--it was a Tony Roma's)... In any case, I had agreed then and there to host the fanfic, should Chris ever come round to writing it, and when the first chapters started pouring in, I knew in my heart I couldn't just toss them onto my website as they were, not without first creating a few sumptuous visuals to go along with them. All chapter art and character pictures you will see on this website have been created by yours truly and it is my deep and earnest hope that if you do not find them pleasing, you'll at least find them passable. (And if not passable, then at least not hideous to the point where you'll go utterly mad from looking at them).
One thing you should know before beginning the story: As Chris mentioned in his little introductory speech thingy, he is a sailor. His manner of speaking and writing tends to reflect this fact at times, so you should, while reading his fanfic, be prepared to find yourself running into a patch or two of salty language here and there. As well as into a few patches of adult situations and violence. It's PG-13, non-lemony stuff for the most part (so far), although since this story is still in the process of being written, I can't say it will continue to STAY that way as the fanfic progresses. But if any material should arise which might be objectionable to some audiences, I'll be sure to post appropriate warnings in front of said material.
Now I thought at this point in my little introduction thingy, that I would take the time to mention a few words about canon: Chris did his utmost best to stick to the rules of the Slayers Universe when it came to writing this story. He knew zip about the novels and manga, and based his vision primarily upon what he had managed to glean from the television series. I tried to fill him in on what I knew of the Slayers Universe from reading QP-Diana's excellent compendium of All Things Slayers: QP's Slayers Page. Still, I reckon, there are times when Chris got it wrong, canon-wise. But it certainly wasn't because he wasn't trying. If anything he did flies in the face of canon, then it behooves us to remember that Slayers creator, Hajime Kanzaka, ain't exactly the biggest strickler for continuity as far as his works are concerned. And if HE'S not going to give a rat's ass about consistently getting every little detail of his universe right, I don't see why WE have to.
One thing you'll notice while reading this fanfic. At the beginning of every chapter, you'll find there is a song quote. Many of these quotes are from songs you've never heard of. Chris' taste in music is rather eclectic, and at times obscure, and often, it tends towards the gothic with a capital "G".. Some of it is downright creepy, dripping-blood-from-its-fangs kind of stuff, but it sounds cool if you listen to it. (And admittedly, it's a helluva lot less scary than the stuff I listen to on a regular basis. Like Steeley Dan, for instance...)
Okay. I've blabbed enough. it's time to start reading the story...
Shards of Chaos - Chapter One