View Full Version : Vargulf [Writing; An excerpt?; P.E.A.C.H]

2010-06-05, 08:50 PM
Author's Note
A chapter for my novel, or maybe it's own short story, that I'm fiddling with. Comments would be appreciated.

SPACE"What did you have to show me, Bardulf?" The speaker, a figure clad in shining metal armor over fur clothing with a deep satin cloak, looked out over the snow-covered plain with a slight shiver. A gloved hand reached up to remove her cloak's hood and reveal her light gold hair to the morning rays of the sun. She was beautiful to the right mind-set, but most people saw her hawk-like nose, her broad cheekbones and sharp jaw as being masculine traits. The hand traveled back to her side and brushed the pommel of her belted on sword.

Cold air buffeted Liuflr's face with a icy relentlessness that caught her by surprise. Her eyes widened slightly at the feeling, and for but a moment she wished to re-don her cloak's hood. A quiet hiss escaped her lips, and it drew the attention of the man at her side. He turned toward her, but said nothing. He ran a hand through the thick mop of short-cropped red hair crowning his head. A oft-seen smile directed at no one particular crept up, and before he knew it he wore a grin like a boy half his age. He patted the thick fur clothing he wore, pointed toward her own set and spoke jovially.

"Oh? The lady's forgot what it's like to be cold, has she? Too long in the south, methinks. Maybe you should have become a farmer's wife and gotten used to sitting around in a warm house with a fire."

His remark garnered no response, as Liulfr did not turn those cold gray eyes toward her companion. Several seconds passed, and he let the comment die in the cold morning air. The two walked on without speaking, the only sound being made was of their weapons clinking and clanking with each step. Liulfr had been a soldier her entire life, and wearing that blade somehow comforted her. It was heavy, nicked in places and sheathed in old ratty leather, but none of that mattered. It was her fang, something inseparable without a fight. It had been her father's, his father's before him and it would belong to her child. A burst of cold wind caused Liulfr to pull her furs tighter, and she turned toward the man beside her.

"Bardulf", she said with obvious irritation, "need I remind you that it's winter? And that winter is cold?". In response, Bardulf threw up his hands and smiled. "Yes, yes. It's just up ahead."

Minutes pass and the pair eventually come to a small wooded area. Tall, bent and leafless tilias created a haunted atmosphere within the woods. Beneath those bare twisted limbs lay a criss-crossing web of shadows broken only by the occasional stump, warren or animal den. The many creatures that called the woods home had long since fled for warming climates or went into their winter sleep cycle. Liulfr snorted at the empty woods.

"Is this it then, Bardulf? You have brought me so far from camp and the soldiers to show me an empty wood?" Bardulf shrugged, rubbed the back of his head and shifted weight to his left leg. The move showed off the blade he wore on his back parallel to his belt. Liulfr raised an eyebrow at that. "Bardulf? Have you taken to wearing your sword like an Imperial? I know a few men in camp adopted the style, but..."

Bardulf's face became an unreadable mask then. His eyes softened, his smile vanished and in it's place sit a look of regret twinged with pity. Liulfr's words trailed off, then the rustle of movement within the woods drew her attention. Three hunched human forms, bearing armor and blades drawn, stepped into sight from beneath the snow and shadows. "I'm sorry, Chieftain. I... A few of the boys wanted to defect. To sell you out. I went along with them", Bardulf's voice was hurried and pleading, "but I convinced the Imperials not to kill you." Liulfr's blade sang as it was drawn. A deliberate sign of defiance on her part, the roar of a warrior unwilling to die quietly.

She stared at Bardulf then, seeing both the man standing before her and the boy she had known all her life. The same boy whose mother raised her as if Liulfr were her own. That boy she would have loved, if a chieftain was allowed to show that. "If you come quietly", Bardulf continued, "the Imperials say they'll let you come in as a citizen! We could stop running and fighting and finally live in peace!" The three shadows moved aggressively, showing off furs matching those of her tribe's and unfamiliar swords. The stubby, thick and dull blades common to the Empire. Their fangs were blunted like proper house-dogs, nothing like the wolf they hunted. Bardulf spoke quickly. "Please! List--"

SPACEThe traitor had been cut off, quite literally, by the woman's blade. In a flash the woman clad in gray fur fell upon her former friend and effortlessly sliced open his belly. His body made a sick ripping sound as she slid once shining steel across his unarmored gut. He fell to his knees while gripping his stomach as if to hold in his intestines. Wordless movements of his jaw were accompanied only by guttural groans, and even they were quickly silenced once she kicked his chest. The Imperials broke out into a full run now, but stopped dead ten feet from her.

Their prey stood over the body of her childhood friend. She crouched low like a wolf, with her blade slick with his blood and nothing but cold hatred in her eyes. She raised the blade high, then brought it down to tear out the man's throat. Blood splattered and tainted the once pristine snow as the action simultaneously executed her friend and cleaned all but the tip of her sword. A low growl is her only statement. With her fang freshly removed from her friend's body, she spoke to those domesticated dogs with her own. They would find only death here.

Nonetheless, those men had orders. Six swift steps brought them within closing distance, and a scant few seconds saw two men dead. Their prey had stepped into their assault, met the first man with a solid blow to his throat. Before he had a chance to collapse she had shoved him aside, and straight into one of his friends. The third man swung toward her head quickly, but found only air. She had ducked down and used the momentum of throwing his friend to dodge his swing. A wet ripping sound brought his attention down to the blade piercing his left lung. She spun, tearing her blade free of her first victim and putting herself face-to-face with the pair on the ground.

The remaining Imperials scrambled around while desperately trying to stand up and fight. The fang that had claimed two lives flashed downward, piercing a second Imperial's stomach and slashing the third Imperial beneath him. Luckily the man on the bottom had moved just enough and came away with only a gash on his arm. He stood with gloves heavy with blood, gripped his sword and shivered. He looked at her with eyes wide, vainly hoping to catch her next movement and stop the impending death he feared would come.

Liulfr dragged her blade downward until it hit hipbone, then jerked it free and stood to face the man before her. He was young, fresh-faced and didn't even look to be shaving yet. Her eyes drifted toward the dead men at her feet. One still gasped, clutched his chest and desperately tried to hold in the shredded remains of his lung. The other completely still with his still-warm blood spilling out onto the snow. This was why she was chieftain, not because of her father, his father or his father's father. But because she brooked no threat to her position or to her place. No one in her tribe stood on the same plateau as her.

The boy dropped his blade and fled. Cold gray eyes followed him for a time, then a smile graced her lips as she quietly gave chase.

2010-06-06, 04:49 AM
I like it. A lot. You know how to spell and punctuate, and you've got an interesting story, so you're pretty much set.

A couple of points, however: several times I noticed that you worded something a bit strangely or just used an overly complicated phrase, which made me read the sentence again to understand what you mean. I also didn't really like Luilfr's name, just because I have no idea how to pronounce the 'lfr' on the end (no vowels :smalleek:), which again made me stop and reread.

Other than that, however, I think it's very good.

2010-06-06, 06:08 PM
I also didn't really like Luilfr's name, just because I have no idea how to pronounce the 'lfr' on the end (no vowels :smalleek:), which again made me stop and reread.

Liulfr is pronounced like Lee-wolf(specifically Li-oo-la-eff). An Old Norse name meaning shield-wolf.

A couple of points, however: several times I noticed that you worded something a bit strangely or just used an overly complicated phrase

Could I get any specific examples on that? I'm trying to simplify, and it'd be very helpful.

2010-06-07, 01:45 PM
I wish I could give you a specific example; it's kind of everywhere because it's just your writing style. I guess the first paragraph was the one that stood out to me the most: it's at the beginning, so I wasn't really expecting that complexity of sentences and I had a bit of trouble visualizing what was happening.