Let’s create an origin story together!

The Creator of All Things has opened a window to another world—a portal. We cannot step through this portal, but we may reach through with our minds. Concentrating, we see a young woman, Kaia, seated on a bridge of stone and ice, feet dangling over cobalt blue waters.

The Creator has invited us to act as watchkeepers over Kaia and the companions she’ll meet along the dangerous path that lies ahead. We watchkeepers must work together to help Kaia make good choices. Her choices won’t always be easy, and Kaia may rebel against our nudging at times, for she is strong-willed. But together, we can guide her safely through to the story’s end. Will you accept this challenge?

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure novels from Bantam Books, back in the day? If you’re old enough, you probably do—The Cave of Time, Journey Under the Sea, and many more. As a young man, those books pulled me in to become part of the story. Now that I’ve grown up to become a professional storyteller, I’d like you to join me in something similar, but with a twist.

In the Bantam books, the world was set and the chapters steered your path through it. In contrast, the world I’d like you to enter with me isn’t built yet—not fully, not even close. We can build it together. If you go left, so will I. If you go right, same thing. And I promise you won’t fall into a pit or off a cliff. It won’t be difficult. No pressure. All you’ll need to do is make choices and, if you want, post your thoughts. You can be part of the world’s creation, while also guiding a hero and her companions through an origin story for the world’s primary characters—the Lightraider Order. The concept is interactive storytelling. The goal is fellowship and the building out of a world that has the potential to touch thousands of lives.

How it Works
The backstory of this project is coming later in this post, but first, let me tell you how it works. Each month, I’ll write a chapter in this fantasy world, following the steps of Kaia. I’ll give you choices at the end of each post, asking you what Kaia should do next. Based on the most popular choice, I’ll write the next chapter, and so on. Comments will come from the post and the Woodridge social media pages, so be sure to follow those to stay on top of the discussion. We’ll close the comments after three weeks so I can have time to write the next chapter. Together, through Kaia’s eyes, we’ll create this fantasy realm and learn how an ancient order of knights came to be. For some extra fun, there will also be a few illustrations, with time-lapse videos of the artists creating them.

The Backstory
Imagine a world unfinished. To the north, you see frozen islands on a dark sea. Far to the south, you see a line of peaks, impossibly high, piercing the heavens. But in between the sea and the mountains, the world is mostly drifting vapor. Here and there within the mists are patches of finished creation—a town of rogues called Safety’s End, a forest filled with hideous creatures, a labyrinth fortress where the Lightraider Order makes its home. These patches are portions of a fantasy realm called Talania, created for individual Bible study adventures in a 1980s discipleship “adventure learning system.” That Lightraider system had a huge impact on my life and thousands of others, and now it has been passed into my hands to carry forward to a new generation.

The Future
For thirty-plus years the Lightraider world has existed only in the pieces created for a few discipleship adventures. But our goal is to reach beyond the original format into larger stories, games, and more, increasing the reach of the system’s discipleship principles based in the Fruit of the Spirit and the Armor of God. To accomplish this, we must push aside the vapors and fill in the empty spaces of the Talania map. What better way to do that than a church family discovering the world together. Won’t you join us?

The adventure starts soon. Watch this blog and the Woodridge social media pages for the first chapter of The Fountain and the Flame.

James R. Hannibal
Award-Winning Author & Former Stealth Pilot

About James
Former stealth pilot, James R. Hannibal is no stranger to secrets and adventure. He has been shot at, locked up with surface to air missiles, and chased down a winding German road by an armed terrorist. He is a two-time Silver Falchion award-winner for his Section 13 mysteries for kids and a Thriller Award nominee for his Nick Baron covert ops series for adults.

Learn more at https://jamesrhannibal.com/