The Chronicles of Tearha: The Number 139 – Afterword

Honestly, I did not know how the 139 Trilogy was going to end while I was writing the first book in the series. It wasn’t until chapter five of In Evening that I even realised it was going to be a trilogy. At that point, I was about to introduce a librarian character, and while I knew who he was, the character was meant to be simply an in-joke for myself and perhaps future readers who would like to look back on the serial after reading upcoming works.

That librarian is none other than The Watcher. And the moment he was set on the drawing board, I knew a trilogy was on. Around that same time, I had created Nadier and Adelaide as a side project. They were characters that I had been developing for over a year, and their backgrounds and personalities, while complete, were not able to find a story to fit in. So I decided to write The Number 139, to find a home for these characters.

And ‘home’ is the theme in this story, which continued the stylus of the rest of the 139 Trilogy‘s focus on ‘family’. Adelaide’s misconception on home being where she lived, Nadier’s insecurity on being banished from his, and of course, The Watcher being so far from where he was.

Surprisingly, one of the characters I had the most fun of writing was Kathleen Ambershey. This took me out of the blue, mostly because I created her to fill in the gap of companion to The Watcher. Fresh eyes on the madman. Her honest nature at the start, and subsequent turn to informed hallucination was one of the most interesting turn in a character I have ever written.

A small trivia on the character and world lore here. In chapter 23, the baby that Nadier spared in his flashback was none other than Kathleen’s great-great-grandfather. In the world of Tearha, particularly on the eastern continents where the story took place, family names are different generation to generation. Each generation down, the family will choose to either remove, add, or replace a letter in the family name, so as to differentiate one generation from the other. So Umbersin eventually became Ambershey.

While the 139 Trilogy will never be my best work, I can look to it with pride. It’s the first trilogy I’ve ever finished. It’s also rare in that the entirety is a connector of tales. There’s a story I’ve yet to write called the Sevens Saga. This trilogy served as both a prequel and sequel to that, and also leads into Tearha, all of which I thought was done in a relatively stand-alone way. Knowing the scale of the entire story, I thought that was quite amazing when I finished writing The Number 139, but that’s just self bragging now.

Compared to the flashy finales of its two predecessors, The Number 139 was always meant to end quietly. For the chronicle, it is the prologue in a long list of stories. For The Watcher’s original saga, it’s summed up as an epilogue. It’s also the last book of the trilogy, so that’s something. An ender and beginner of things.

The Watcher was, from the inception, a character that was built from puzzle pieces. Front, back, left, right, I had no real clue when and where he started. He could have started as Dan (not his full name) in 2009, a character I’ve used on a roleplaying forum. He had a very basic version of the powers he have now, but he never grew much from his story.

It could have been 2008, when a very faint time travelling mentor appeared before the main character of a draft of another story. Maybe it later that year, where I experimented with a story of an escaped science experiment that gave the population superpowers.

Or, it was just four years ago in 2012, when I introduced his character in 139: In Evening. But somewhere along that line, all of these characters fused together, perhaps all along that timeline, they were already they same. I guess that’s also why I always fumble in a gibberish mumble when I try to describe his development.

Whatever the case was for The Watcher, I’m glad he became the character he is today. I’m glad Adelaide and Nadier came up as and when they did, and I’m even more ecstatic that I managed to expand all their stories and person as I had in the story.

Unlike the previous two serials, The Number 139 had been a lot more consistent in terms of attracting readers and votes. While most of my readers for the prequels came after the serial ended, the majority of the readers for this one came during serialization, which, personally, I hope to take it as an improvement.

Like it’s title, Tearha‘s story is a chronicle. There’s plenty of tales to tell, and plenty of adventures to be had. Unlike what I would prefer to write, it doesn’t push the controversial boundaries as much, as I’ve always believed the world needs some simple adventure-romps here and there, so I hope you’ll join me again as I explore this world.

Trilogy Bow-out


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