I've recently found a txt file of the diary's original draft, so I thought I'd post parts of it on the item's talk page, alongside some other tidbits and personal thoughts when I was writing the diary, instead of on the main article itself, because you'll soon see there's a ton of them and it'd probably be twice as long as the contents of the item page.
So I'm posting it here, like an exclusive insight kind of thing. A word of caution, it'll probably sound like I'm tooting my own horn, I suppose.
The question that started it all[edit source]
A question was asked on the weekly Q&A on 27 March 2019 asking "Silverlight and Darklight both have quests explaining their context within the game, but Arclight is just kind of there? Can we get a miniquest to explain its backstory? This would tie in to the Catacombs of Kourend." The following is the discussion that followed.
- Mod Archie: As long as you don't have to do it to use it.
- Mod Bruno: Yeah, feels a bit too late, 'cause at that point then it's like a quest for an item explaining why an item's there...
- Mod Wolf: The Dark Altar!
- Mod Ash: It might be excessive for the reasons you give, but like when they talked about the Corp a few weeks ago on this, at least providing some in-game explanation via a scroll or a library book; lord knows there's scope(?) for a library book around those parts. That kind of thing might address the lore question without it needing to be a quest, that as Chris says, wouldn't be a requirement for it.
- Mod Wolf: If somebody in the community will write down a short story or a short reasoning/explanation that we can put on a scroll that doesn't overlap with lore that we have, and-
- Mod Ash: and isn't "because the Dark Altar".
- Mod Wolf: and isn't "the Dark Altar", which is probably what it currently is, I will happily plug that in for whoever does that, so if you do wish to write that, I will pop that in.
- Mod Ash: You'll get some awesome stories, I'm sure.
- Mod Wolf: I'm sure I will.
- Mod Ash: And it has to be not obscene.
- Mod Wolf: Yes, not obscene. No, yeah no fanfic, none of that.
The first draft[edit source]
As the story would involve Great Kourend in some manner, I immediately set out to write a story, as I'm quite the lorehound and also one of the leading experts of the kingdom's lore; behind Mod Ed, I sure hope.
Using the knowledge I have of Great Kourend's lore that I acquired through meticulous research of in-game dialogue and texts during my writing of the massive history sections of the Great Kourend article as well as for the Kebos Lowlands article, I managed to get an rough outline of what I wanted to do within ten minutes. The following outline is part of the original text file of the draft:
- Adventurer from distant past travels to Varlamore - Obtains a demonbane sword like Silverlight from Imcando dwarves (bane ore?) - Does something in that time period that blackens his sword - Returns to Kourend after hearing of news that demons have managed to escape from the Catacombs - Acquires shards throughout the Catacombs - Create Arclight in the same way the player does
As you'll soon see, the original outline was way different than the first draft I wrote. The first draft took a little under an hour to write, and I used the outline to guide what I wanted to write. Here is the first draft:
33 - 124 In my travels to Varlamore, I have bested many mighty creatures throughout the Shining Kingdom. From the Desert Wyrm of the Great Savannah to the Cloud Titan of Tempestus, I am proud to proclaim myself as a master slayer. However, rumours back home have indicated that the War of the Five Houses has ended, and I believe it is about time I return to Kourend. The war started from some petty squabble between the lords and ladies of the Houses, and I do not regret leaving at all. My expertise lies in killing monsters, not my fellow man. I shall sail to Land's End once night falls. 36 - 124 The trip back to Kourend was strangely quiet, as if the waves were intent on getting me home safely. I decide to set up camp in the woodlands before I return to Hosidius. I wonder if my parents are still alive; would they be glad to see me after all these years? I did not leave on the best terms, after all. They wished for me to remain a farmhand, while I was ambitious to go on my own adventures. They were not happy. 38 - 124 Somehow, even after the ravages of war, my old home remained intact, though the farm seems to have become much smaller. My mother was shocked to see me return, despite our last encounter. She told me father survived the war, but she tells me since its end, there have been abductions occurring in the middle of the night, and father was just abducted the night before my return. Furthermore, she managed to strike the assailant with her kitchen knife, and tells me the blood was jet black. I have no doubts about it. The magic keeping the monsters in the Catacombs has begun to waver, and demons have begun to climb to the surface. 40 - 124 While I make my way to the Demon's Run in the Catacombs, I look back on my jet black sword I acquired during my travels in Varlamore. I recall encountering a particularly nasty demon capable of summoning colossal sandstorms in the Great Savannah. Being requested by a group of dwarves underground to quell the demon's rage, they forged me a sword made of some mystical metal which appeared to have been tuned to greatly harm demons. I slayed the demon with ease, but not before its blood stained my sword black. I may have use for this sword now. 42 - 124 Entering the Demon's Run, I find the Catacombs littered with dark, purple crystals, as if the demons broke them off for one reason or another. The crystals seem to gravitate towards my sword, as if wanting to be fused with it, but somehow unable to. I quickly shave them off my sword, believing it might dampen the sword's power. Further into the Catacombs, I managed to slay several demons, and one of them carried a particularly odd object. It appears to be a key of sorts, and oozes with the same power from the Dark Altar. The key pulls me toward the centre of the Catacombs, as if asking me to place it on the altar there. That would prove to be my biggest mistake. I placed the key and was teleported into a large, empty chamber. I thought myself alone, until I encountered it. A large, dark demon made its presence known to me. I stabbed it with my sword, but it seemed to have no effect. Did the crystals weaken it after all? Before I could gather my thoughts, the demon grabbed me and threw me across the chamber, breaking my spine. Before it could reach me, I spotted a portal in the corner of the room. I did not care where it led me, as long as it was far away from that demon. I ended up right here, by the altar where I had placed that key. I continue to write in my diary, hoping someone would come to rescue me. Look at me. A mighty adventurer, mortally wounded by that damned demon. As I feel myself slipping away, I continue to wonder why those crystals gravitated towards my black sword. Perhaps it wished to empower the sword, rather than weaken it? I guess I'll never know.
As you see, I made a fair few improvised changes that stray a bit from the original outline.
As the adventurer is from Great Kourend, naturally he'd use their date formats. I had to recheck the decades to make sure they'd be shortly after the end of the War of the Five Houses in the 123rd decade. I was a bit tempted for the days to be in the range of 35 to 73, but making it too meme-y might've lowered my chances at getting this story in-game, so I just mashed the keyboard for a starting day.
Varlamore seemed like a good place to start the story in, but I decided that that particular diary entry should be set in the past because writing out what would basically be Shadow of the Storm, but different, would inflate the diary too much. I also wanted to pay tribute to GentleTractor for his "Zeah Redesign" post, so I decided to make up some mighty creatures that would live in those areas. I created the Desert Wyrm for the Great Savannah because Karuulm, the dragonkin who created the hydras, drakes and wyrms would have most likely traveled further south after creating the Great Olm, and then created the Cloud Titan who resided in Tempestus, the floating city (which I interpreted as a magical city above the clouds akin to Cloud City from Star Wars). I originally wanted to create a camel boss for the Great Savannah, but then thought of the Desert Wyrm as more mighty and strong.
I thought the entries about him leaving his parents because he didn't wish to become what his parents wanted him to be would be a nice fit for why the adventurer left Great Kourend in pursuit of adventures rather than farming, and is the reason why I chose the adventurer's hometown to be Hosidius, as they're mostly pacifists; at least, the early settlers of Hosidius were.
Next, how the adventurer got his demonbane sword. I connected both Imcando dwarves and the adventurer so that it's somewhat in parallel to the events of Shadow of the Storm, where the adventurer is enlisted by thm to kill the demon that's been a thorn on their sides.
I opted to write in Imcando dwarves because they're master smiths that can work with almost any metal. With the Silverlight having special effectiveness against demons, I decided to write that they smithed a version of Silverlight using bane ore, an ore in RS3 that can be magically tuned against certain creatures, that is different from the Silverlight players are familiar with. This wouldn't overlap with the lore of Silverlight because there is no lore about the sword's creation or what metal it was made out of (besides silver), and from what Silverlight does, it is basically a demonbane sword.
The passage involving his acquisition of his version of "Darklight" would later be moved to the later diary entries to suit my ever changing vision of the diary mid-writing.
Mid way through writing, something clicked in my head, and I thought "maybe the adventurer never obtained Arclight at all"; maybe he'd nearly create it by accident, but miss something vital? This would make it more creative and stand out more among the heavy competition I expected I'd get once I submitted the story. I never did find out how many players actually submitted a story, though I know that the Song of the Elves lore competition had only 30 submissions, 9 of which made it in-game.
And of course, the phrase "breaking my spine" was a reference to myself if that wasn't already clear. I was tempted to capitalise the S, but decided not to for the sake of grammar. After the story was finished, I posted it on Twitter.
The next, final draft[edit source]
It was quickly pointed out to me that savannahs are NOT deserts, and sandstorms don't happen in savannahs, though rainfall does occur. So a simple rewrite that the demon summoned torrential rainstorms instead of colossal sandstorms was done. In addition, the Great Savannah was actually called the Avium Savannah on GentleTractor's post, so that got fixed as well, then changing the name "Desert Wyrm" to the "Colossal Wyrm". Good thing I didn't stick with the camel warrior, hmm?
The next things were general grammatical improvements and small additions to make the story flow better and have locations more familiar to someone who'd read this.
I decided to include silver in the creation the adventurer's sword for consistency in case they ever shed light on the creation of the real Silverlight. In addition, I realised afterwards there really was no instructions in-game on how to assemble the dark totem and where you'd use it, so I decided to write those in as well.
The full differences of the original and final drafts can be seen here.
Lastly, a name for the item. I figured after being so brutally beaten that the diary would be stained with blood, so I opted for either "Bloody diary" or "Blood-stained journal". I'm not too sure why Mod Ed chose what he chose at the end, though I reckon Bloody diary has a nicer ring to it. Fun fact, the internal name for the bloody diary is
I also added a suggested examine text: "A diary of a Hosidius adventurer. Most of the pages are stained with blood and have become illegible." Again, Mod Ed chose to only include the latter sentence, most likely because the one I suggested was too long.
I posted the revised draft on Twitter again, and that was the draft Mod Ed ended up putting in game. I waited several months hoping it'd get put in, and it wouldn't be until the release of Song of the Elves that I realised that Mod Ed used that submission as my lore competition entry rather than the two others I submitted for it: one of which detailed elven history before Seren's arrival, and one focusing on an elf who realised the cost of Seren's gift to them. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one!
And that's pretty much it; what started as a simple question from a player for a Q&A eventually ended up getting one of my stories in-game, and it's one of the biggest highlights in my many years playing the game. Of course, the next thing to wait for was the engraved crystal decoration that would be sent to me in-real life.
That never happened, but as I was going to RuneFest, I asked Mod Gambit if I could just pick it up from him. I did, but it turns out Gambit had given the wrong prize; rather than an engraving of "Song of the Elves", it was an engraving commemorating the staff who helped make Old School Mobile! While trying to find Gambit again, I ran into Mod Roq, who said there were only 50 of these when I asked him what the prize actually was. So we got that sorted out, and it now sits beside my desk. -- SpineTalk 04:16, 17 July 2020 (UTC)