I t's something like three and a half years, since me and my sister first got connected to the internet. Where I was happy to click and browse, searching for pictures, cheats and song lyrics, my sister had an altogether different idea.
She wanted to create something to put out there, and she set out reading our only HTML manual from cover to cover, and started from scratch, creating the X-Shrine, a site that was dedicated to her favourite TV show of the time, The X-Files. She used this site for a vehicle of her own stories, which she had written to amuse both me and my cousins during the holidays. This wasn't the first time my sister had put pen to paper, or rather finger to keyboard, she had done many times before, perhaps most significantly when she wrote her first Zelda fanfic, for herself, and me, her bratty and annoying sister.
I enjoyed it, and she gave me my first taste of proper writing, allowing me to write any scenes which contained my own characters, Skoll and Aspete(originally Astpete...or Atspete?) or Ganon. She claimed she could not write fight scenes, so my limited talents were employed for such a use, and it grew from there.
On her next fanfiction, and X-File story with a Latin name, I was again asked to assist in any parts containing the bad guys. Despite my sister's claims that she can't do bad guys, I know really it was just a tactic of hers to get me to actually write(although only God knows why!). For the next story, another X-Files fiction, which this time mixed other elements, I actually came up with not the plot, but an idea of which to start the story off. It could only go down from here for me!
My sister proudly printed every last page of these fictions, stapled them together, and even created quite impressive cover work for them, which we then read in turn between me, my sister, and our two cousins. Although Juliet would probably now shun her earlier efforts at writing, I certainly don't, and believe they are as good as they were the first time we read them (although I do cringe at any bad guy bits, that I happen to have typed!). Juliet posted these efforts on her X-Shrine site, and then came the excitement of Zelda V, and we both turned back to my sister's first 'book' with fondness.
I'm not sure of the order of things to come, but I do remember that as me and my sister shared a room for the first time in years, we excitedly put together a new plot, taking elements from her first fiction, and patching them onto new ideas. And so was born 'The Dark Empowerment' which, looking back, could have been so much more, but yet was never anything less than what we had originally intended. I was thrown back into the familiar role of 'bad guy' sequences and any battles that might occur, whereas my sister concentrated on telling the plot in a way perhaps only she can.
Impressed with our achievement, my sister eagerly submitted the story to every site she could, including the infamous Zelda HQ, only to be ignored. I remember around this time, writing an extremely angry letter (I was only 13, it was angry for me back then!) to the arrogant bosses of the site. I can't remember exactly what I said, but I accused them of monopolising all things Zelda, and suffocating the rest of the community with their so called supremeity (only in less impressive words I'm sure). The X-Files was now off air, and with Fox's obsession in closing down as many X-File sites as possible, my sister decided to turn her hand to something new, and that something new was Zelda.
North Castle was therefore born, named after the royal home of Zelda 2, which I would wager is probably my sister's favourite game (probably because she was better than me at it...for once! j/k). She already had her little painted map, and numerous pieces of artwork, although regrettably, she no longer owned her first piece of Zelda artwork, which won her a Nintendo Hotline pen and certificate. Not only that, but she had our fanfiction, which we had enjoyed reading as well as writing, we only hoped to give other people the chance of reading it and hating it, or perhaps even liking it.
She wisely knew she wouldn't be able to compete with ZHQ with its exclusive screenshots and so on, so she decided to make a site which would post other fans work, work that may have never been seen otherwise up until that point.
So, it's been two years since then has it? It hardly seems like it, my sister has held posts at TGL, and Zlda.com as the fanfiction editor, but she has the infinitely more impressive title of webmaster, which I must admit, she deserves. Several times Juliet has tempted me to create my own website, she made me a 3rd Rock from the Sun site, which I neglected and ignored...and it was only until more recently, that I got off my lazy hide and listened to my sister for once as she instructed me upon the finer points of HTML. I started my own Ultima site, which is still not suitable for viewing (there's a button on this site somewhere...avoid it like the plague!), but perhaps one day, I'll have something that is as good and as special as North Castle. Although I highly doubt it :)
I'd just like to say a massive thanks to everyone who has supported my sister over the years, you'll never know how much she appreciates it. But it is I who wants to thank her. She taught me everything I know about writing and the internet, as well as anything else worth knowing. I have progressed from 'bad guy' sequence girl, to full time co-writer, and I never could have done it without her. I think writing keeps us both sane, although it has the tendency to drive us a little insane at times. Since our first fully fledged collaboration on 'The Dark Empowerment' we have written many other stories, not all just Zelda. Let me count on my fingers and toes folks, I'm gonna need it...I can count at least 16! Wow, where did all that come from? 10 Zelda fanfics, 3 Star Fox one's, an X-File fic (still unfinished...come on sis! It's your turn to write!) and perhaps my sister's pride and joy, her Luigi fanfic (Hey! It's your turn again sis!). That's only fifteen right? Hmm...oh of course, my fave of the lot, our Indiana Jones masterpiece, which I truly think it is, it probably contains some of our best writings ever! But that's just me. That is our only fanfic that isn't on the net, apart from 2 other of our Zelda fictions, which you're all just going to have to wait for(if you really want to)...Perhaps my sister should start a new site? An Indiana Jones site! To put up our story! What? Looks like that's something I'm going to have to do by myself :)
Thanks again to all North Castle regulars and newcomers alike, I may have never contributed much to the site itself, but I certainly helped in driving my sister insane, humming and hahing as she carefully inputted those lines of HTML, so perhaps, if she'll have me, we can collaborate on a few more projects yet.
Well, I'm off to read my sister's first efforts at fanfiction, while she can't stop me...and, oh I almost forgot...
Happy Birthday North Castle!!!
P.S. Special thanks to the Lobster, you know who you are ;D Oh, and one more thing...Juliet, don't you ever let me monopolise any Zelda stories again! And I mean it!!!
Saturday, 15th July, 2000
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