When Lastelle awoke this morning, she didn’t know it was going to be her last.
She did know however, that something was afoot. Pejite was bustling with an anxious energy that filled the air and tasted like salt. Lastelle swung her legs off her bed and threw on her favourite pink dress. She was still fixing her yellow hat as she glided down the stairs of her tower.
“Is it alive?”
“What will we do with it?”
“I always knew that pit was a bad idea.”
Voices whispered around her in a swirling commotion. At the bottom of the stairs her mother was pacing across the dining hall. When she heard Lastelle’s footsteps she looked up, her eyes growing weary.
“What is it mother?” asked Lastelle, growing anxious.
“They’ve found something in the pit.”
“Another engine?” Lastelle’s people dug up engines from an ancient city that was buried under Pejite. It is how they had survived for over 500 years.
Lastelle’s mother opened her mouth to reply but the door to the dining hall burst open, Mayor Hamil and his men rushed to the two women.
“Your Highness’”, the Major addressed them both.
“There is news. Torumekian spies were seen in a war ship early this morning leaving the area around the pit. We believe they are aware of the situation and are making their way here.”
“They will be wanting it for their war,” added Lastelle’s mother.
“Wanting what?” Lastelle asked frustratedly.
Lastelle’s mother turned to her, a grave look in her blue eyes.
“Late last night our excavators found something in the pit. Something we all believed to be extinct, gone from our world.”
“A God Warrior?!”
“Not just any God Warrior, Princess Lastelle,” the Mayor added, “this one is alive, and fully intact. We think it’s dormant.”
What could this mean? And the Torumekian’s knew about it? It couldn’t be good.
“Does Absel know? Where is he?” Lastelle worried for her older brother; sometimes, he was too brave for his own good.
“He left immediately after he found out what happened. He’s on his way to Torumekia to figure out their next movement,” said Mayor Hamil.
Lastelle straightens and speaks, “Mayor Hamil, please take me to the God Warrior, I’d like to see it for myself.”
“If Torumekia do come, we will need to be ready, I will put preparations in place. Be safe all of you.” The Mayor and his men bowed to their Queen, before turning and following little Lastelle out the door.
Lastelle had seen many engines in her life. There was always a joyous celebration all throughout Pejite when an engine was found. The money received in return for just one engine was enough to feed the entire Pejite population for a year. When you walk through the square there is music playing, children dancing and so much food to go around. The walk through the square that Lastelle took with the Mayor and his men that day, was vastly different. The taste of salt was hanging on her tongue and the nervous whispers of her people swirled in the wind. She couldn’t help but wonder if her brother was okay. What if he was captured by the Torumekian’s? What if his gunship didn’t make it? She could only hope that he would be home soon and everything would be alright.
The Pit was a large black hole on the west side of the city. It was so large that it took over an hour to walk from one end to the other and some people even say that the excavations are so vast, that one can get lost down there and never find their way out again. It was usually bustling, the sound of the bucket-shaped elevators clamouring up and down the steep decline into the earth, but as they approved the entrance, Lastelle took note of how quiet it was. The only thing to be heard was the sound of the wind, flowing though the deep pit and whistling along its curves and bends.
“Your Highness, Mayor Hamil, it is good to see you.” Mayor Hamil and Lastelle were met by the lead excavationist.
“And you as well, Yasuke. Show us what you have found,” Mayor Hamil motioned them toward the edge of the pit where a bucket-elevator stood waiting.
“It was found last night, just before midnight. At first, it just seemed to be an engine, we could only see a section of it coming out of the earth. But by the early hours of the morning, we knew. My men have been working to uncover the rest of it as quickly as we can.”
“Our best chance is to move it if the Torumekian’s are coming.”
“But to where?” Yasuke questioned.
Lastelle spoke up, “We could always hide it in the Toxic Jungle, they wouldn’t think to look there.”
Mayor Hamil put a hand on Lastelle’s shoulder. “I like your thinking princess, but we don’t know what this thing is fully capable of yet, let alone what might happen to it in the Toxic Jungle.”
Lastelle listened as the two men kept considering possibilities of hiding spots. It was only until she watched one of the excavationists pull on a lever to unlock the elevator just over Mayor Hamil’s shoulder. He stepped inside and pulled on the lever again, she guessed to lock himself in. Then, he tugged on a pulley rope to lower himself into the pit.
No one had seen a God Warrior since the Seven Days of Fire. Lastelle could admit her curiosity was getting the better of her. Inching her way closer to the edge of the pit, the God Warrior came into view. It was a towering beast, made from metal and ceramic. God Warriors were said to cast a poisonous light onto the earth, killing everyone in sight.
“There it is,” Yasuke wandered up beside Lastelle, his hands on his hips, “Did you want to take a closer look Princess?”
He motioned to the bucket elevator that was making its way back up the pit. Just a quick look wouldn’t hurt, she thought. Yasuke moved to the side of the elevator, holding onto the pulley and holding out the small gate to Lastelle.
She climbed in and Yasuke locked the gate afterwards. “I’ll pulley you down and when you wish to come back up, just tug on the rope three times and I will bring you back up.”
“I won’t be long.”
“Be careful, Princess!” Shouted the Mayor, but Lastelle was already on her descent.
Lastelle looked up and watched as the faces of Mayor Hamil and Yasuke grew smaller and smaller, until she could no longer hear them. She could see the shape of a man in a brown coat wave at her from the top. She knew that coat could only belong to one man and so she waved back.
When the elevator stopped, she pulled on the lever and pushed out of the gate. The God Warrior definitely looked bigger from down here. Its large towering presence seemed to shake Lastelle to her core. The excavators were hard at work, lifting the God Warrior out from the deep below, only its upper structure was visible. She moved down the pathways, looking in each alcove and following the track.
She didn’t get to explore for long however, as the emergency sirens, positioned all throughout the Pit, began blasting a terrible warning song. Chaos exploded in the Pit. All the excavators ran for the elevators in waves of sweaty bodies, their feet kicking up dust and dirt that swam through the air. Lastelle was immediately swarmed. Hundreds of workers pushed onto the tiny path way, hardly wide enough for 2 people. Lastelle tried to find her way through the tall chaotic mass but she was no longer in control of her direction. Everyone was so tightly woven together as they moved that Lastelle was picked up from the ground, her feet no longer touching the earth. Dust and grime matted her hair and cheeks as she searched for a way out. The elevators around the Pit were filling with masses of passengers, and once they were all full, they’d have to come back down again. Once the workers around her realised they’d be on the last boat, anger followed. People began trying to burst through the pack, pushing past and forcing their way through. It only took one rough shove to fling poor Lastelle out of the heap and into an alcove.
The alcove was dark, and once Lastelle finally managed to get back on her feet, it was quiet too. The sirens had stopped and the commotion just outside had vanished. What was going on? Are the Torumekians here already? If they were, where was her brother?
Lastelle stands at the entrance of the alcove, looking in all directions to try make sense of the silence. Being so far down in the Pit made it hard to see who was standing on the top. To her right, the pulley rope that usually holds an elevator. To her left, stairs that travel down, deeper into the dark. Straight ahead, it was hard to miss the torso of the God Warrior, its dark metal glinting in the sunlight. Behind her, she assumed was just another tunnel, leading to more tunnels, which would lead to more tunnels, until she was so deep in the Pit she never made it out again. She couldn’t see the end of the tunnel, only a dark airy quiet that whispered an invitation. But closer to the entrance, she could now see something that caught the tiny bit of sunlight that found its way to the alcove. She moved to pick it up, under the mist of dust it was hiding in, she could now see the intricately designed shell.
“A control stone,” she whispered.
She looked out at the God Warrior as she slipped the small stone into her dress pocket.
“Absel will know what to do.”
Lastelle walked out of the alcove and started back up towards the elevator pulley, she tugged on the rope three times and waited patiently for Yasuke to send down the bucket. But it wasn’t Yasuke she saw look over the edge and down at her.
“Torumekian’s, get that girl!” Ordered Kurotowa from the top of the Pit. He had been sent from Torumekia to confirm that news. That a live God Warrior had truly been uncovered. Princess Kushana will be pleased. He looked down at the small girl, dressed in pink and yellow. What is the Princess of Pejite doing in the Pit he wondered.
“Don’t you hurt her!” Threatened Mayor Hamil, who was now restrained by Worm Handlers.
“Don’t worry Hamil, she’ll be safe with us,” Chuckled Kurotowa, as he watched his men pulley down into the Pit, to pick up his bargaining chip.
The Heroes Journey:
My fanfiction represents Act II of Christopher Vogler’s The Hero’s Journey as I tell a snippet of Lastelle’s tale prior to her death.
They encounter tests, allies and enemies:
Lastelle wakes up to find out her people have recovered a God Warrior and that their enemy country Torumekia already know about it. She goes down into the Pit where the God Warrior was found with the help of the Mayor of Pejite and the lead excavationist Yasuke, to get a closer look at the beast, when Torumekia invades.
They approach the inner most cave, crossing the second threshold:
This happens when Lastelle goes into the Pit to view the God Warrior, second turning point is when Torumekia begins their invasion and Lastelle is stuck in the Pit.
They endure the supreme ordeal:
Lastelle finds herself captured and on her way to Torumekia when their ship goes down, killing everyone on board. Lastelle manages to survive the crash, long enough to give the control stone to Nausicaä with instructions to give it to her brother Absel, before she dies.
According to Volger (2007), sacrifice is the true mark of a hero. That is exactly what Lastelle does. Although she survives the crash landing of the Pejite brig, once she knows the control stone is safe in Nausicaä’s hands she is happy to give in to her wounds, and sacrifice herself. On top of the courage she shows by facing the God Warrior up close, and defying her enemy by stealing and hiding the control stone.
Volger (2007) believes that the mentor figure is somewhat of a parent figure in a narrative. Mayor Hamil is potentially this figure for Lastelle, but I wanted to leave it slightly ambiguous because if this was a full fleshed story then I think Absel would be a better choice, as her older brother, to guide her.
The shadow in this fanfiction is probably best seen in Kurotowa, he is the general of Pejite’s enemy country Torumekia and comes to invade Pejite to steal the God Warrior from them. He is Lastelle’s central antagonist as she dies before she ever meets Princess Kushana.
I wanted to write this fanfiction because I wanted to explore Lastelle, who she was and what happened to her prior to her death. This fanficition occurs during Act II of Lastelle’s journey, just prior and/or at the beginning of the crisis section of Act II (Mountfort, 2006). Volger (2007) mentions that fifty percent of a narrative resides in Act II, as it is the major phase of development of the narrative. I wanted the arrival of the God Warrior to act as a catalyst to help speed up the action and create a turning point for my central character. I also wanted to explore what it was like in Pejite, as post-invasion from Torumekia leaves there entire country in ruin. As we know from the film and manga, after being captured by Kurotowa, Lastelle is imprisoned and transported with the God Warrior on a Torumekian airship when it is attacked by insects and crashed into the Valley of the Wind – this is where Nausicaä finds Lastelle and is given the control stone (this slightly differs in the manga but I have gone with the film version for my fan-fiction).
Mountfort, P. (2006). The Grammar of Popular Genres Part I: Mythic Structures. [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/
Vogler, C. (2007). The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. (3rd ed., pp. 31-56).