View Full Version : The Boy with a Brass Arm

2010-09-07, 12:21 AM
I've been thinking about this story for about sixish months now, but it hasn't been since I've began attending college that I've been able to actually type this tale out. It has gone through several iterations already, ranging from the main character becoming the ruler of a magitek empire to his life being a lonely one forever.

It is a tale of one teenage boy, who lives in a world where magic is prevalent, but technology is on the rise, and his ability to blend the two. It deals with love, loss, friendship, and being able to harness energies from the realm of the arcane to infuse metal with magic. I will take comments, criticisms and everything in-between with an open mind. Here it is, the Boy with the Brass Arm:

Chapter One, Nightmares:
Nathaniel gasped for breath as he awoke from his nightmare. It was the same one, just like all the rest. His parents, at the end of an infinitely long hallway, were calling to him in pain as the flames licked their bodies. Even if he ran as fast as he could, he would never make it to them.
He wiped the cold sweat from his brow, and got out of his bed, and turned to his near-empty bookshelf. All of his books were consumed in the same flames that took his parents, took his arm, took everything he ever held dear in this life.

No, not everything. He still had her.

He took down the picture of his parents and held it for what seemed to Nathaniel for an eternity. Tears streamed from his face, hitting the glass of the picture frame.

“Why’d you have to go?” he quietly muttered, misty-eyed to himself “Why’d you leave me here all alone?” It had only been three weeks since the accident, and his wounds, both emotional and physical, weren’t even beginning to heal yet. He rubbed the stump of his left arm, severed at the elbow. He had cut it off with one of his father’s swords during the fire. His arm had been trapped, and he had only seconds before death took him.

After many hours of self-pity and mourning for his family, meandered into the commons of his new abode, the clock tower, and began to chew on some bread that he took from the pantry on his way down.

She will be arriving soon he thought as he ate, and began planning out the day ahead you should really get some decent clothes on… “You’re right” he said to himself, this time out loud “I don’t want to be sloppy for her”

Nathaniel raced back upstairs and pulled a clean pair of clothes out of his drawers. Almost as soon as he could start to put his pants on, he heard the rasping of knuckles against his door. “She’s here!” he shouted with excitement as he rushed to put his shirt on over his head and rush down the stairs to answer her call.

In his haste, he stumbled and fell, causing quite a commotion as he tumbled forward. Not feeling the pain, as his sorrow had melted into joy, he quickly got up and rushed the last twenty feet and quickly opened the door. As he did, sunlight shone through and he saw the face that always cheered him up when she came.

“Hi Nathan!” she said with a cheery smile, shining just like, or because of, the sun behind her “How are you?” Nathan, at this point gasping because of running and falling and running some more, regained composure and with a bow replied, “Hey Sylvia, I’m doing just fine!”

But Sylvia knew better. She saw that his eyes were red and puffy, from crying, with deep shadows underneath them. “You’ve been missing them, haven’t you?” she said as she came in at Nathan’s beckoning. “I-ah…Y-yes, I have been” He said as the pain began coming back “I had the nightmare again…”

When he said this, he fell to his knees, and Sylvia rushed and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Hush now” she said with a cheerful, but breaking, voice “It’ll be okay, just hush now” He sobbed on her shoulder for a few minutes, and she consoled him with her words and hugs.

He was ecstatic at the thought that he had a friend like her, to help him out in this disaster. She was his greatest friend, and had been for most of their lives. She was the daughter of royal servants, and his father was the royal blacksmith. When her family moved into the servant’s housing next door to his house, they were the only children, and so had free reign to have as much fun in the servant’s grounds as possible, and they did.

But that was a simpler, happier time. One where Nathaniel came home to hug his father when he came back home from work and his mother had a nice meal every night. The pain crept back in for a few moments, but was quashed by his overwhelming love for Sylvia. She was more than a friend now, she was a comforter, a person who could help him cope. And perhaps, one day, the woman he would marry. He loved her so much, but never told her a word of it.

After some time on the floor, he got up, hugged Sylvia, and sat down in a chair. “Thank you” He said to her with a smile on his face, and even redder, tear-filled eyes “Your words mean the world to me” Sylvia smiled, and sat down next to him. “Now, what do we want to do today?” she asked him, and then coyly added “Since we’ve gotten crying out of the way”

“Jerk” Nathaniel said with a sarcastic tone. The boy looked at her with a purposeful, painstaking gaze. She was so beautiful, and he was so…average in comparison. Her hair was an earthy brown, and her eyes looked like two deep blue pools. She was beauty. He, on the other hand, had, muddy brown hair, hazel eyes, barrel of a body, and no arm.

While the two shared a chuckle, Nathaniel wasn’t laughing on the inside. He was formulating a plan. He was thinking things through, and devising ways of getting what he most desired: Sylvia’s hand in marriage. First, an Arm. Then, a Dowry. But first, the arm. But that could wait, he had plans already, a picnic at the park to get rid of the memories.

“A picnic sounds wonderful” Sylvia said as she helped Nathaniel up and gathered the food, drink and basket for it. They talked together as they strolled towards the city park, a beautiful and scenic place where almost every kid plays at, at least once anyway. Some people stared at Nathaniel’s stump of an arm. Some shook their head in pity, some muttered under their breath. More than a few mothers had to put a hand over their child’s mouth to stop them from asking questions that would embarrass the parent. But Nathaniel didn’t mind. He wasn’t caring at all what others thought, only what Sylvia thought. And Sylvia didn’t judge, so he wouldn’t care.

They at last reached the iron gates of the park, and lazily walked in. They found the usual spot, a little secluded hill where they would be almost certainly at peace, and began to eat. Though Nathaniel hadn’t eaten much in the past couple of weeks, he was certainly not as hungry as he would have been. Sorrow filled his belly now, and pain was his drink of choice. But he endured, kept a stiff upper lip in public, just like his father taught him.

“The view is beautiful up here” Nathaniel said to Sylvia “I hope today will be a peaceful one…” She just smiled as she had food in her mouth. Nathaniel laid back onto the grass, and watched the clouds as Sylvia ate. Sometimes, he would muse at the shape of a particular cloud with her, and other times just rambled about life. She didn’t mind listening, and thought it was helping him cope. And it was, actually. The more Nathaniel gabbed about silly things like the state of magic in the world, the less he felt pain.

And after a few hours of talking and eating, the two decided to pack up and leave. As they left, a couple of kids their age were walking by. They were snobbish upper-middle class by their clothes, and didn’t care much for anyone around them, especially the pair walking past. A few of the boys in the group made cat calls, some made fun of Nathaniel’s lack of an arm, and still others told them to shut up, lest they get a talking to by their parents. “Just ignore them” Sylvia said to Nathaniel as they walked on by. “I will” was all that Nathaniel said as they kept going, amidst the whispers of their peers.

Let them talk he thought to himself they aren’t going the places I’m going, and that’s straight up… The two arrived back at the clock tower, and stopped at the door. “It was a good picnic Nathaniel” Sylvia said with a smile, and hugged her friend “Thank you for taking me” “Y-your welcome” Nathaniel sputter in a content yet slightly embarrassed voice. As she walked away, he closed the door behind him, and sighed. Another missed opportunity to declare your love to her the voice in his head told him with a sneer, which was replied with a “What do you know?” from Nathaniel.

He couldn’t tell her yet, they were still young, and he didn’t have enough money for a dowry. In fact, he didn’t have enough money for just about anything, enough for food and clothing, but that was it. The King paid for his stay in the clock tower, and the furnishings, but that was about it. He couldn’t do anything with his hands, as he only had one. This little fact was presented by the voice in his mind quite vividly. Just watch Nathaniel thought to himself I won’t be in that boat after this…


The one thing I don't need to be reminded about is commas before and after quotations. I know all about that, but I prefer not to use them. It's always been a pet peeve of mine, and I'm sorry if you're nit-picky about them. I'll try my best in the future to make sure they're there.

Samurai Jill
2010-09-11, 04:29 PM
This is just a first impression, but you might want to... uh... I dunno, spend more time building up to moments like this? Maybe lay more groundwork in terms of setting, character introductions, general colour. It may come off as a tad melodramatic.

2010-09-15, 07:59 PM
Thank you for telling me something about it. I will indeed be building up my characters' backstory, the setting, etc. in the next chapter. I've actually thought of a million ways to begin this story, including having it set a few years prior. Unfortunately I found it to be rather boring that way, so the second chapter is where I ended up putting it. As for Melodramatic, It'll get better.