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kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 11:59 AM
this topic is to be used for writing short stories, personal stories or just about anything that is writing, personally, i am going to use it to write fictional stories, they can be used by anyone in just about anything except to get me into trouble, they are merely for fun and enjoyment, and not to insult any group ethnic or blond or whatever, if you are * using this topic for that, i have no part in it.

i am going to wait a while to wait for some people to begin posting, then i will begin a chapter by chapter story based off of a pbp game that i had planned but due to complications was unable to do.

and last id like to thank those who contributed to my poll formerly held in this message board, and to anyone who frequents this topic in the future if it gets somewhere. if not...well....cant say i didnt try meh?

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 02:48 PM
well, while im waiting for this to start up or fail miserably, might as well geet something done, this chapter by chapter story is about a samurai wandering through a foreign land and learning the cost of doing so as what he is. ladies and gents, the cost of honor-chapter one

Misty shadows.

Darkness. Always darkness. Though I wander through a land that claims to be of light, darkness follows me everywhere. It follows me through the towns, where I was ridiculed, where I was spat upon, with no power to fight back. It follows me to the Hills, where the natives ambushed me, trying to cleanse my soul of my code, of my Honor. And here, in the most desolate place of this land, the mist covered mount Arr'lotte, I am still followed by darkness. Though there is no seen threat, I can sense it, like one would see yellow eyes glowing in the dark, watching, always watching...my hand crept to my sword, they would not have me, I have done nothing wrong. Alert, I crept higher up the slope, intent on reaching the summit, where it is said there is an oracle,one who would aid me in my quest. yet the shadows, the mist filled darkness remained.... Will I ever be truly alone? No, I will always be among both fellows and foe, it is impossible to do withought both in my path to honor....


thats a short chapter, but its still a work in progress, hope you enjoyed it :) feel free to comment if you like, or feel free to post your own. thats what this topic is here for :)

Wukei
2005-08-29, 03:00 PM
A few suggestions: actual chapters are normally 20,000 words. One paragraph does not constitute a chapter. Try editing your work both for grammar and spelling. No one will want to read your stories if they're not a story, nor are they grammatically correct. One gets tired quickly when reading something that is not written well. It hurts one's eyes.

Leewong
2005-08-29, 03:36 PM
I second what Wukei said.

Also: "suggestive writing." Hee-hee. ;)

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 04:12 PM
i didnt mean it like that....il have to change that.... anyway, i suppose what i meant by chapter was from a paragraph to five withought taking up a whole or half a page.....i have no interest in counting out twenty thousand words.... i dont have the time to sit there and say- 15666, 15667, 15668, 15669, what did you say Bro? o crap where was i?(Its happend 0_o)well, at least people are posting :) i hate criticism, but constructive criticism is alright ( thats where the criticisin helps me fix stuff :) ) oh, and i edited my post a little, tell me if i missed sumthin :)

Leewong
2005-08-29, 04:21 PM
Awww... You took out the "suggestive writing" bit in the title. How sad.

Anyway, most word processing programs will do a word count, but that's not the point of saying "20,000 words." It's a general number to give a length for a chapter. I think it comes out to 10 pages or something (I'm remembering 2,000 words a page, but I could be way off.)

And, uhm... ellipses are three dots, not four? They're also not all that useful in prose. Conversation, sure. It sounds like you're writing free-form string of thought stuff. The run-on sentances are bothersome, though. Distracting.

It reads a little too gothy/melodramatic, but that's just my preference. Makes me think of the angst-ridden teen poetry stuff. But, I also don't much like the stream-of-consciousness stuff when I'm reading a story, so that's that.

Also, if you have the ability to write with proper punctuation and grammar, why don't you try to use it all the time? You'll sound smarter.

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 04:32 PM
if i were to sound as smart as i am all the time, u ppl would be confused by the time i got to quantum physics... and i will get there... after a lot of other confusing theories involving the irelevence of time, and therefore the absence of a spacetime continuum etc etc....and its fun to surprise ppl by goin from seemingly unbright to pure genius....ok, not pure genius but to really smart...especially for my age :P and just to put it out, grammar is my worst subject...

Leewong
2005-08-29, 04:44 PM
Uhm, right. All the physicists I know have a full working knowledge of English and the grammar structure therein, but perhaps they're just well rounded. One babbles about string theory when she gets drunk, but whatever. If you really are that smart, you should realize that the way people perceive you colors the way they react to you, and the only way people have have said perception in a text-based medium is through your words and how you arrange them.

That being said, I can't really give any further critique based on one paragraph. What is it that you're trying to do with this story?

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 04:45 PM
....no idea... never really thought that through....but give me a break lol, im 14.

crimson77
2005-08-29, 04:46 PM
Suggestion:

I think you are going about this whole thing the wrong way. I think that either A. You want to write a story with several authors much like a play by post game but without rules or B. you want to share your stories and read other peoples stories. Here are my thoughts.

Option A: Start a thread in OOC that states something to the effect of wanting to start a storytelling thread and you want 3 or more authors to each write a paragraph building off of the previous work. You also might want to include some sort of basic plot structure. Jumbo the Samurai is going to free a princess in a tower. Then each person writes 500 to 1000 or so words in each post. This would create a situation in which people might respond.

Option B: Write a section of your story and post it in this thread but before you post write about 5000 words so that people actually have something to read. Then after reading your story people might be inspired to write a story of their own (doubtful but possible). Now if you are really into writing and sharing your work you might want to consider a site based on sharing stories like this one (http://www.writing.com/?rfrc=stories.com&rfrt=www) that I found after a quick google search. I didn’t spend too much time looking at it so I cannot vouch for its validity. If you really want to write and share stories then there are places out there that might be a little better suited for your needs.

Just my 265 words.

crimson77
2005-08-29, 04:47 PM
....no idea... never really thought that through....but give me a break lol, im 14.

Your profile says 25

Leewong
2005-08-29, 04:47 PM
....no idea... never really thought that through....but give me a break lol, im 14.

Your user profile says 25. Are you using someone else's account?

Also, being 14 is no excuse. :P ;)

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 04:50 PM
well, i might try one two, or all three of those, but i figure that il wait a little to see if this pulls through, and if it doesnt, well at least i tried, thats what matters, i suppose i could type up an inspiring essay that i have involving the civil war... i got an A + :) heh...i think il go look for that right now....

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 04:52 PM
that was actually an accident, my little cousin was over... and well, its a long story....it involves broken glass grape jiuce and replacing a keyboard...i never bothered to figure out if i could change that... maybe i will now...

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 04:54 PM
what do you know... you can....

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 04:55 PM
now... time to look for that essay...

Leewong
2005-08-29, 04:58 PM
Oh, man...

I remember when I was 14 and thought I was a genius. I must have been really infuriating. Then I went to a really good college and it beat the living smarts out of me. Now I'm just comfortably above average.

So, yeah, not to pop your ego or anything ... no, wait, that is why I'm typing this. Getting A+'s in high school is good, and being interested in quantum at the age of 14 is nice, but you should really learn a little restraint on the whole "genius" thing. It puts people on edge. Just try to be normal for a while. If you're really smart, people will figure that out on their own and will converse with you at your level... or they'll act like total dorks and you can ignore them.

crimson77
2005-08-29, 04:59 PM
Just so you know, it’s not too highly looked upon to post multiple times for just a few words each post. It just fills up the board with nonsense that people have to read through to see your point. The only time that double posting is excepted if is you are posting regarding two different topics and do not want them to be correlated together; then and only then would it be suitable to double post.

Frojoe21
2005-08-29, 05:07 PM
One solution would be to hit the little modify button at the top right hand of your message. That way you dont have to constantly post.

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 05:16 PM
there we go, age corrected, folder found, and now i have a few of my better works, one of wich is a poem being put into a book, so please, tell me what you think.

Into the light

If I flew into the sky
because i felt that i should die,
would you laugh or would you cry
as we say our last goodbies?

In my last eve of flight,
I shall wonder, are we wrong or are we right?
As i drift into the night
I surrender my final plight,
is this dark or is this light?
I lost track, ive lost my sight.

Every day that we have fought,
sometimes we wonder, is it for naught?
We'll have to live with what we've got,
sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
Look to the things that we have wrought,
as we hear our final thoughts.

Of all the things we can do
we want the things we never knew.
And before these hard times are through,
top of the list, we'll wish we'd flew.

As we fall into the sky,
we sing ourselves a lullaby.
Will you fall or will you fly?
It's time for you to fly or die

On the brink of death we're caught,
we give ourselves a final thought:

Let us fly into the sky,
it is NOT our time to die.
Please dont laugh, no dont cry,
lets take back our last goodbyes.

Let us fly into the light,
and end the everlasting night.

and by the way, im sorry if i gloated a little,ok fine, a lot. but its just me, im a little full of myself, as all teenagers are....and sorry about double posting, but last time i just modified my posts, i made the guy after me seem like he didnt know what he was talking about on accident, so he yelled at me :(

Leewong
2005-08-29, 05:27 PM
Yeah. All teenagers are full of themselves, think they know everything, blah blah blah. Which basically translates to "All teenagers need to have their heads deflated" but that's not my job. I'm probably not going to be a good audience for this stuff, btw. I can't stand the angsty teenager poetry stuff, but I can't stand any poetry, really. Also, I'm deliberately writing bad Mary Sue fanfiction. So, yeah... going to cut myself out of any genuine criticism on your stuff until further notice.

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 05:39 PM
yes, i admit im full of myself, but i know enough to understand some of the basics of quantum physics, and also that a quantum computer is the key to the universe...and is immune to viruses and spywear...and that poem really is going to be in a book...i won a contest :)i hope it comes out soon though..it was supposed to be out weeks ago...maybe it meant next year...(jully/june 2006) said it wus july or june 2005....

crimson77
2005-08-29, 05:48 PM
The start to knowledge is: knowing what you don’t know, and that you will never come close to knowing everything. That is where you must start; staring humbly into the face of knowledge and realizing that in your greatest efforts you may become an expert in one field but never know all the mysteries. You also, at all times, have to remember that you only see farther because you stand on the shoulders of Giants.

Rainia
2005-08-29, 06:00 PM
Wow. I wonder if anyone has noticed that very little of the criticism offered in this thread has been anywhere near constructive.

So what if he has an inflated head and so what if his grammar isn't the best. In my opinion he should be congratulated on being willing to share his stuff. Most people wouldn't have the nerve. Myself included. :P

My best advice to you kyros would be to keep writing. Write anything that pops into your head. You know what they say...practice makes perfect. ;)

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 06:01 PM
that is true(what wyvern said)....for now, but if someone got a quantum computer...am i the only one that would understand its power? a quantum computer could rewrite the very laws of physics, bend reality to its will, do absolutely ANYTHING!!!

oh, and thanks for your support rainia, i did notice, but i felt i shouldnt point it out, it might make them angry...i think they were GROWLING at me earlier.....*laugh* im just jokin

Niasen
2005-08-29, 06:28 PM
Well, as for your first little chapter there, Kinda have to have a bit more context to truly get a good idea about it, but your going to have to keep your tenses straight (its either in past or present tense, you sometimes start switching between the two, I have the same habit and I"m horrible with it. At worst for readers it can be really confusing as to when something happened, at best its just kinda annoying). Also, sometimes just using a bit more detail at what happens to someone in these stories can start getting people feeling into the character if you do it right (use it sparingly, don't overdue it). Basically what i mean is describing a bit more in detail the ridiculing, the dishonor, or the pain this guy goes through, maybe some personal little twist to the dagger in this guys pain that makes people sympathize (otherwise he's just the generic "cursed guy").

The Poem seemed pretty nice, but you might want to change the wording just a bit, the rhyming sounds kinda the same throughout the poem, which can be...well its hard to explain. If you want to truly be happy with your poem, I always do one test: Imagine speaking it to a REALLY bored class thats force read stuff thats usually the same old cliched poem over and over again, and think to yourself "will this poem even make an impact on them." You'll end up erasing a lot, but when you make something it is REALLY different.

And come on guys, lets stay to criticizing his works, not him personally. We all have our quirks, I don't think you'd all like it if we went to your threads and hijacked them to talk about a personality quirk of yours.

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-29, 06:37 PM
well, looks like i have a lot of work ahead of me, and that was just my rought draft on the chapter, its from scratch, i think il do what rich does, and post a new chapter every monday wensday and friday, and edit them until the next post. but, i will also be adding other works that i came up with, like these:-haiku and tonka...longer ones are tonka...

Grass waves in the wind.
whispering soft and peaceful.
it talks of beauty.

Butterflys flutter
stopping to kiss the flowers.
their kiss brings new life.

The solid oak lives,
as does the vibrant sapling
their leaves sway softly,
yet though storms may split the great oaak,
the sapling will never snap

Humans harvest hate,
like a farmer gathering,
it is as a scourge.
whay cant we just get along?
but the wars go on...

Ego Slayer
2005-08-30, 10:15 AM
First off Kyros I think it's great that you're willing to share your work with everyone because there's no way in heck I could ever have the nerve to do that.

Lee, don't assume all teenagers are full of themselves and have big egos. I'm anything but full of myself and I'm 14...

Sneak
2005-08-30, 05:42 PM
Okay, even though off the Games section it isn't a real rule, please...don't post 3 times in a row, especially when you can just edit your post in. *Sometimes it is okay to double-post, maybe even triple-post (although that is stretching it).

And your age is no excuse for anything. *I don't care what the hell your age is. *On forums, you are assumed to be just as smart as how you act. *Age doesn't matter, but your actions do.

Granted, the actual story seems pretty good to me. *The spelling and grammar in the story is better than from most of your posts, and even if it's not perfecet, I'm not bothered much by it. The poem is also okay, although I prefer the story to the poem. The only thing I don't like about the story is that it's a bit short.

Thornwood413
2005-08-30, 09:09 PM
First off, do you think you could give us a description of your mian character? I mean of course it'll come in later but for me personally making your characters the second funnest part of writing.
Basically what I can figure out about him from your description is that he's a samurai (did i spell that right) and possibly emo.

Reason why I bring this up is that a lot of people seem to have problems developing characters (especially in the fantasy genre since there are so many stereotypes to fall back on, and since almost everyone here plays Dnd I would assume that most writers here would write fantasy.)

Personally I'm not to in to writing fantasy myself, if I were to describe mine it would probably be supernatural-horror-action.

kyrosthewonderer
2005-08-30, 11:21 PM
the main character, kiroshi, is an average everyday samurai, he holds strictly to his honour, and he has a past of his parents being murdered when he was 10, strickin with anger and a thirst for revenge, he begaan training in martial arts, later in his life, he saw consequences in all dishonourable acts, fearing such consequences, he joined the ranks of the samurai devoting what was left of his life to honour at 24 yrs old, now, 28, he is on a quest given to him by his shogun, he travels with basic samurai eq, including a katana, and a hair pin :P. he is aprox. 5 ft 7 with dark black hair.

Angry_Bill
2005-08-30, 11:44 PM
I told myself I wasn't going to post in this thread.

I find it very difficult to be constructive and very, very easy to get angry - see it isn't just a clever name. :)

A very important feature of good storytelling is details. I would suggest reading the Giant's articles on Form - specifically what he has to share about texture.

Some things you could add details to:

what is basic samurai eq
what is his full name
what does his hair look like besides dark
the sword
the hairpin
other physical features besides hair color and height

An example::

Kiroshi carries a katana but it is not his father's sword but a poor copy of a true samurai's weapon forged by a drunk smith who had forgotten his honor.

Bill

Thornwood413
2005-08-31, 03:23 AM
One thing I would suggest is giving the murder of his parents a little more detail and maybe a twist or two. I hate to say that dead parents tend to be a hackneyed plot device (Batman, Spiderman, Inigo Montoya, character in Fable, and about a million others that mostpeople wouldn't recognize). Hell, in my dnd group almost everyone during their transitions into deeper characters made characters whose parents had been killed when they were young (quite hilarious one time we had two of these in the same group, but anyways).

I'm not saying don't include the death of his parents, but definetely try to add some interesting twist to it because people like to read something thats different.

Shiyuan
2005-09-01, 01:05 PM
I haven't been on this forum for a long while, and I have missed it. I'm glad to see a creative writing thread here, and I have decided to try to redirect the direction of this thread back to the original topic: creative writing.

I'm am going to be posting a few choice chapters from my never-to-be finished book, "Walker in the Rain", which I wrote in high school and never got around to working on it since. I hope you can find constructive criticism and perhaps a few things that you like about these excerpts. Not like I'm going to finish this stuff, but it's nice to hear analysis.

So, without further ado, I present the very short opening chapter (WARNING: This is actually present time for the story, but the main character's backstory and who she is will be explained in depth in a following flashback chapter) to "Walker in the Rain":

BTW: This is all already copyrighted by me, my English teacher was a big proponent in getting me to write this stuff, so he helped me get all the legal stuff done as soon as I had it ready. So please don't be stupid and try to steal or plagiarize my intellectual property. ;D




Chapter 1: "Happenstance"




Riley stirred at the sound. It was faint, but years had trained her ears to catch the slightest disturbances, from a fly’s fart to a cutpurse’s slinking in the dark. She made sure her body did not acknowledge the presence and slowly cracked her eyelids open, but only enough to give her a rudimentary vision. In the bruised mesh of night and a dying campfire, she spotted the tentative shape of a slight darkly-garbed figure making its way about her campsite, paying little attention to her while exhibiting a great interest in her belongings. Inwardly she smiled and made ready to give this night pilferer a little surprise.




He couldn’t seem to find anything of worth in these bags, only food and some spare cupru, and that measly pittance wasn’t worth the effort stealing. How could anyone subside on so little money? He didn’t really care, but his curiosity was peaked by this odd traveler who was either stupid enough or confident enough to sleep in the open in the wilderness. Be it, the sparsely wooded meadows were only two tetrains out from the city walls, but that was wild enough for this urban predator. He wouldn’t even be out this far from the city if he weren’t in dire straits. If the Scravers hadn’t staked out Screl as their new turf, then he’d be basking in the good life, where the cattle roamed in crowded herds, idyllic for the wily pilferer. But no, the bloody Machinists had to crack down on the black markets in Eventon and Gamaliel, kicking the Scravers out. Well, the Scravers still needed a place to ply their “trade”, so they headed on down to the River States, where the Machinists still lacked charters, and decided on Screl for their new base of operations. Which meant that all the resident independents had to clear out, for organized larceny was for more profitable than a thieves’ free-for-all. One of those unfortunates happened to be our thief, who continues to grumble about his ill luck. That is, until he heard that familiar “click” freeze the night behind him.

“Good eve, Dominie Thief,” mocked a firm feminine voice, “how do you find my wares this evening, would you like to pay in hard currency or would you like to place the costs on your tab?” A cold piece of metal pressed itself upon the nape of his neck. Our friend cursed his evil fortune with even greater fervor, this time with his tongue.

Riley was doing everything to stop herself from breaking out in stitches. Here she was, holding a man’s life in her hands and all he did was begin to curse and swear at his luck with great profusion. What an odd fellow, mused Riley. And he could also do well with a hair cut. With a perfunctory sniff, she added, and a long bath.

Just as suddenly, the sleek form of her captive blinked into motion. Blinked, as it was the only word she could apply to this man’s speed of action. He was out of her line of sight in a split second, leaving momentarily dazed. Only her reflexes saved her from an incapacitation by a swift fist to her temple. Rolling with the blow, she tumbled across the patched virescent carpet of the glen, quickly bringing her pistol to bear on her assailant as she broke from her roll. The thief’s advantage had been underestimation, but that luck was ephemeral, she gave no second thought as she pulled the trigger. A raucous outburst bellowed through the nocturne wild, stirring beasts from their slumber.

She had missed. The fluid gait of the thief had carried him from the path of the metal ball and into the surrounding copse with mesmerizing speed. It was as if the man had read her mind before she even completed her tumble. That was disconcerting. Riley eased her breathing with a practiced exercise. Before the residual smoke had begun to drift apart in the evening wind, she had mechanically re-holstered her spent pistol and drew its sibling. Her trained eye warily scanned about her. The boreal monoliths surrounding the pond of grass obscured much of the moonlight; Mezo’s – the yellow moon - gaze peeked over the eastern treetops, shedding a much needed lunar illumination. Its rays, however, created a morass of gloom and light as it meshed with gun smoke, which served only to bewilder and frustrate Riley. She silently began cursing herself for her lax in caution.




Well, well, who’s cursing now. The man deftly maneuvered among the bases of the great trees that surrounded the strange break in the wilderness. Never liked the wilds, but these trees make damn good cover. In his hand he fondled the slight heft of his black jack. He watched the woman with curious eyes, circling the glen, not truly understanding why he had yet not taken to flight. He halted his movement as the barrel of the woman’s pistol began to pivot towards his direction. Silencing himself, he stood shock still, a level of self-control gained only through years of experience. The gun’s maw eventually passed over his location and went to rotate the premise again. By now the gun smoke had all but vanished into the air, leaving the man with an unobstructed view of his antagonist. She was a young woman, he estimated her around eighteen years, and of firm build. She was neither especially lithe nor noticeably protruding, her hair short-cropped and her face tanned and quite pleasing, but she was not a physical beauty of note. Her almost universally plain appearance was like a simple, sketched canvas left for the observer to complete with his own palette of colors. However, our thief did not delve further into the possibilities of this woman, as he was keenly aware of his own immediate danger.
He noticed the movement of her free hand as it reached beneath the rear fold of her jacket. His body tensed and the muscles of his legs bunched into a crouch. The night-refined shiver of reflected light betrayed the thin dirk as the woman unsheathed it. Definitely no fool I see, she’s got more brains than most of the other Exalted. In their arrogance, many Exalted often carried only a brace of guns for protection, confident in the near-superstitious fear that many non-Exalted had of firearms. Although, their overconfidence was the rogue’s greatest asset and our thief was no exception.

The rogue thought of using the small, single-handed crossbow he had recently purchased while visiting Screl from a particularly daring smuggler who had managed to make off with some second-line Guild designed weapons. The trinket had cost a hefty amount, and not to mention the considerable “trade tax” that the Scravers demanded from illicit purchases made in Screl. Although he had of course demanded a demonstration and then a personal examination of the item, he had yet to test the contraption on a live situation. Its light weight and clever composite break-apart construction, however, had already won over its new owner, at least partly.

As he reached for the hidden handle within his vest, his now alert ears picked up the muffled footfalls that crept up behind him. Reflex brought his head down just in time to duck under a flash of silver that would’ve taken his head off, rolling away from the following downward thrust by his would-be killer. The girl must’ve seen the shimmer of the flashing blade, as she quickly swung her pistol and fired. A strangled cry escaped from the darkness and both thief and girl watched as a cloaked body tumble forward from the wood.

While he could not see it in the evening gloom, the thief knew that a spreading pool of blood flowed from the wound of the dying man. He had seen it happen before, and always found a strange fascination with its sight. He judged by the gurgling of the death throes of the man that the bullet must’ve struck the assassin in the neck. An assassin, heh, more like a hired thug. There should be more…

His thought was rewarded by the sudden glint of drawn steel in the blackness behind the girl. Before he could stop himself, he heard himself cry out to her in warning. The girl immediately turned about in time to side-step a thrust by the advancing bladesman. With impossible grace, she spun her side-step into an entrancing pivot, circling once and suddenly stopping short to thrust a foot in a near perfectly vertical ascent into the chin of her assailant. Her legs were directly polar to one another, forming an unwavering spire of taut muscle from the earth to the man’s jaw, while her torso jutted off to the side, perpendicular to her lengthy limbs. The thief watched as the cowled bladesman was immediately stricken with the powerful blow and then collapse into an unconscious heap.

By the Gods, that girl’s body is as dangerous as any edge. The rogue looked to the body of the now still assassin lying nearby, with a bullet lodged somewhere in the dead man’s throat. Completing his previously aborted attempt to draw his crossbow, he turned his senses to everything besides the girl. With his free hand he drew out a thin dagger from his boot. Cautiously he began to circle the perimeter of the clearing, searching for new attackers. His boots’ padding and his personal training made his movement all but impossible to detect by ear. Yet this strange girl here somehow heard me… bah, I’ll get to her later. As he considered that oddity, he realized that somehow one of the bladesman had found him in the silent evening. This just gets worse and worse…




Riley spun out of her kick to flash the dirk in her hand across the throat of her would-be assassin, fanning a brief, airy splash of blood as she severed the arteries there, all in a single motion. A wheeze escaped the grinning wound as the assailant attempted to utter a death cry as he collapsed to the grassy earth. Before his body hit the ground, Riley already sped towards the whirling thief, who had so unexpectedly called out in her aid. She spotted the bladesman as he closed in on the larcenous stranger, only to bring herself to a full, graceful stop as she watched once again with a curious admiration for the thief’s incredible deftness and speed.

The attacker was undoubtedly skilled with his blade, and thrust his weapon in conservative, closing arcs, leaving no opening for the thief to strike back at. Yet, matched against the thief’s supple agility and infuriatingly calm demeanor, the each sinuous stab missed its mark, and the bladesman found himself abruptly halted bodily with a sudden full-body press initiated his intended victim after an irate thrust extended itself a bit too far, and allowed the rogue to duck under the sword arm. Suddenly standing only a breath apart from each other, the assassin had the piece of mind to draw a dagger with his offhand, but Riley flinched involuntarily at the odd, violent “whuff” sound she heard escaping from the bladesman as his eyes unexpectedly enlarged.

Riley could only wonder for a few seconds as she watched the cloaked figure’s eyes grow glassy and his body begin to drop limply before she heard the telltale footstep on grass behind her. With the added sound of the foot twisting and grounding into the earth, combined with the fact that slashes made too obvious a swishing noise for assassins to prefer their use, she once again quickly side-stepped the predicted thrust, and while stepping back with one foot and pivoting slightly, she deftly flipped her pistol in her grip, whipping it in a backhanded motion with the butt of her weapon at her opponent. To his credit, the man dodged the blow and with two-hands, brought his blade back and towards her from its extension in a draw-cut motion, only to be foiled by the dirk held reverse-gripped in the other hand. As their blades touched, Riley held only for a moment to feel his blade slow from her parry, and then she merely continued the motion, fully turning to face him as she stepped past him and she slid the dirk from the assassin’s edge to on top the flat of his blade, and glided her dirk across its surface, down its length, and across the wrists of his gripping hands. He screamed once before she brought her blade about again backhanded, driving her dirk deep into his meaty neck, sucking the bellow from his lips and out of the perforation in his throat with a bloody gush as she pivoted one last time to pull out her blade.

Scanning the area near her as she turned from the dying man, she concluded there were no more assailants, and then she heard the thief cry out, and peering into the wood, she saw that he was pinned down by two more men, seconds away from being fatally stabbed by a drawn dagger. She spun the pistol grip and butt back into the palm of her hand, and pulled the trigger as its barrel wheeled up to target the one with the dagger. A loud, resounding boom soared aloft the evening air as the dagger-wielder jerked up shock still, and then slumped over on to the struggling thief. The other man, eyes narrowing as Riley holstered her pistol, apparently did a quick reassessment of the situation and hastened off the still pinned rogue, making to disappear into the wood. Riley lightly tossed the dirk into her good hand, and threw it with a determined grace into the wood after the escaping assailant. A gratifying crunch of dead leaves answered her effort, and Riley nodded perfunctorily to herself as she made her to way to the gargled sounds of her odd, adversarial companion.

Pulling the body off of him, she noted that the assassin was well-muscled, and could have easily killed the thief with his bare hands if he had had the time to do so. Her rescue however, was reciprocated by a new stream of invective from the most ungrateful thief, as he cursed the assassin and the awful smothering he has just experienced. Seeing that the near-death encounter had not changed her newfound ally’s demeanor one bit, she chuckled sardonically and she shifted the corpse back onto the surprised and protesting thief. Walking back to her belongings, she held a secret smile as she busied to pack her belongings, listening to the stressed, but gradual efforts of the thief in dislodging himself from the offending body. Slowly, she allowed herself to drift into the rhythm of cleaning and packing, and a single idle thought popped into her head:

What an odd dream I was having tonight…

Starla
2005-09-01, 01:41 PM
This is a lullaby I made up as a teenager and my son loves to sing it with me. If you know "This Land is your land" the tune is pretty similar:

Dancing Stars
Dancing Stars
In the sky
shining bright

They sing to me
They sing so sweet
They love me so
My dancing stars

The moon is full
It shines so bright
It shines for me
and dancing stars

Dancing Stars
Dance for me
Sing a dream
Just for me

And in my dream
I will dance
For shining moon
And dancing stars

But in the morn
When I awake
My dancing stars
Will dance away

But in the night
When I'm asleep
I'll dance away
with Dancing Stars

Shiyuan
2005-09-01, 09:23 PM
As I had previously stated, a follow-up chapter to the one I had just previously posted is in order. This one gives a little more of Riley's backstory. However, it is much too large for one post, so I am hacking it into two parts. Enjoy:



Chapter 2: "A Backwards Glance" Part I





Shadow stretched and yawned as it laid its vastness across cobbled streets, hard-stocked buildings and other members of the urban ilk. It tenuously fingered the tatters of moonlight that managed to pierce the black-clouded veil of the storm roiling above. The windy buffeting of rain and the occasional flashing of lightning followed by thunder were but the meek remnants of a once rollicking and furious maelstrom. Having traveled great distances and subdued great tracts of land, it had just then began to falter as it crashed against the gates of the expansive metropolis below. Blown in from the western body of water known as the Blue Vast, the tumultuous force of wind and water only gave citizens idle cause to stay indoors and wait out the weather. But higher into the depths of the sky, wrapped tightly in the embrace of the storm, loomed a chipped and heavily bulwarked spire of sickly contortion. A single point of light syncopated in the alternating torrents of rain. The luminance emitted from a single window that resembled a bright, gaping wound slashed down the throat of a poised serpent. Beholden inside was the diminutive contour of a young girl and the bent shape of an aged and wizened man.

"Why must I go?" The disappointed and regretful words of a somber little maid of no more than twelve years were heavy with a demand for an answer.

"Because my starling, I am quite old, and I need my rest," lightly chided a voice laden with wry humor.

“Yet I would not be a bother,” stated the girl, her tone incredulous and spoken with a maturity quite uncharacteristic for a child of her years, “we both know what you are avoiding to say, yet you ask me to leave, as if it will spare me anything, I know, and I do not think there can be a feeling any worse.”

At this, the elderman’s eyes grew distant, and he peered quietly somewhere into the distance behind the girl child. Only after several moments of drawn out silence did he speak again in a voice laden with the labor of the old: “Oh there is something worse, my starling, a feeling that one cannot describe, you must simply trust me in this.” The elderman seemed to go deeper into himself, delving, searching, his lips moving, but without a sound escaping.

The child could feel the cold settle in around her and the elderman, and she shivered, not quite sure if it was a draft from the weather outside, or something else entirely. She did not press on, and deep down, she knew he was right.

Eventually, the elderman seemed to recollect himself from his memories and refocused his eyes upon the girl child. After several moments, he looked out of his window, and sighed: "Ah, to be saying goodbyes on such a dreary night, this is not how friends should part, but unfortunately I have no say in this matter.”

His silver mantled head turned to face the rapidly sinking expression of his diminutive companion. “I have shown you all a person can show another, and I now put my confidence in you to carry on your lessons without me."

"But, I will miss you." The child's voice cracked.

"Aye, and I will miss you most dearly my starling," soothed the elderman, although his own tone was tight. "You are the daughter of an Exalted, which means much will be expected of you, and your brother. But beware expectations, for they will come always dressed in the finery of flattery; living up to them is a gift that should not be given lightly.”

"Yes, I know,” answered the girl sullenly, “I wish you could stay, I want you to stay, please..."

"Wishing or wanting--" interrupted gently the elderman.

“‘Gets you nothing without doing," finished the girl.

"Very good," chuckled the grayed one, “always the incisive mind.”

The girl’s reply was quick and piqued: "Considering my teacher?”

"A very cunning young woman..." came the wry retort.

The child’s face screwed up in perplexity.

“Something you should always remember, although the teacher may teach, it is up to the pupil to learn what is proffered,” at this the elderman placed a gentle finger on the child’s brow, “you are as much your own teacher as I.”

He watched the murk in her eyes drain away, revealing the knowing glow of understanding. He loved to watch this cognition, despite the silliness of the idea; he couldn’t help but smile at the sight of that wondrous glow in her eyes. But after an interval his lips stiffened once more, and his grey eyes grew glutted with guilt.

“You are a cunning young woman indeed, and when you eventually come to realize how truly very little there is to know, that is when you will begin to learn.”

Curiosity seized the child’s face: “What do you mean by that?”

The elderman merely smiled widely and tapped her upon the forehead with his first two fingers, signifying that she had asked a good question. “That, is for you to discover.”

Her face grew contorted in bewilderment. “I ask you a good question, and you give me a poor answer!” Her vexation was clear.

The elderman shook his head at something that crossed his mind, and after a great silence, he spoke again with great gravity: “Aye, as it should be, starling. A good question usually means you will not receive a good answer.”

“And why is that,” demanded the girl.

“Because, starling, a good question is a question that picks at the things we hold to be inviolate, a question that we often avoid answering because we fear its repercussions, and because simply, sometimes we did not expect it.”

The girl seemed in thought, and then asked, “How was my question a good question, then?”

“Because often children your age often just nod and feign understanding at the words of an elder, merely to get past a subject they could not conceive,” the elderman then spread his hands before the child and continued, “You on the other hand, called me on my baffling words, and so I do not give a proper answer because I have none.”

The girl’s face was perplexed, “you mean you don’t know what you said yourself?”

The elderman responded with a sly grin, not giving the girl a clear idea of the context of his following word, “no.”

“Then why did you bother telling me that then,” asked the child.

The elderman’s eye twinkled and he permitted himself a small secret grin, “it is an old phrase, passed down from my granda to me- and yes, I had a granda,” exclaimed the elderman comically in response to the child’s suspicious stare.

"The reason why I do not know the answer to your answer, is that it is different for each person that asks that question. To each of us, it has held a new meaning. It’s quite funny, that a phrase as old as it is, continually finds new applications in this day and age."

Here, however, the elderman’s expression grew solemn, and his tone, somber: “Indeed, it is so old; it is literally a relic, a relic from a different time.”

Curiosity seized upon the child again, “from what time?”

At this, the elderman sighed heavily, and paused before answering: “From an age now buried under layers of soil and ash, where our ancestors were masters of land, air and sea, and nearly the great Void Beyond.”

He knew by this time, he had his charge transfixed with curiosity, her face the image of attention, and continued, “It is in fact a phrase translated from the old tongue of those ancestors, the Amelione-Evar, a language known today as Old Evarillion.”

“The Sent-down Ones...” murmured the shocked little girl.

“We, for pride or folly, are the progeny of the very same Evar that now live out their lives in bondage to the other races and are forced to wear the degrading anguissine.”

The little maiden shuddered once as she recognized the word. A garment worn by those under servitude, the anguissine was a stiffly ribbed vest with a rigid metal-laced collar, the metallic parts which are all bound with a length of sash that had one end running out an orifice in the back of the vest, near the collar. With a strong tug of that sash, anguissine would constrict mercilessly, sometimes enough to crush a person’s ribs and force those same ribs to pierce their innards. It was a cruel and monstrous thing, devised by the savage Guyric after they claimed countless many of the captured Evar as spoils of dominion.

The man noted the recognition in his charge’s features, and with a reluctant pause, continued: “We are not wearing those disgusting devices now because our ancestors were wise enough to swallow their pride and skulk among the victors, biding our time.”

The girl was dead still and for a moment, the elderman believed she was more solemn than he, but finally she broke the unnerving silence. “But Granda… that doesn’t make sense, Da had told me that we come from the Rylek of the Far Reaches to the east.” Her words were measured and steady; the calm belied the flurry of thoughts that hurled through her head.

“I know what your father told you, he lied, and don’t blame him because I told him to. It is true that our ancestors sheltered with the plains dwellers after the fall of the Evar, but we are not of their blood, starling, no, we are the remnant of a once great House of Evarillion, the Savram, refugees from the chaos that followed the World Storm.”

“Indeed,” continued her grandfather without missing a beat, “our ancestor, Balthanes Savram, fled the razing of the City of Mirrors, Mesaaniel, by the Guyric traitors.” The girl remembered from her grandfather’s stories that House Savram had been the Executor House for the Sovereign House Mandraeg, who held the governorship of Mesaaniel. “I remember the tale passed down from my granda: old Jaerd Mandraeg had opened the gates to the Guyric in hopes of being spared for his compliance, the fool got his balls handed to him for his reward. His wife and young daughters were sent to the common soldiers for amusement, and his twelve-year old son was given a blade and forced to “gentle” himself in order to preserve his own pitiful life. The Guyric leader, Vashan de Ange, sliced open Jaerd’s innards and adorned himself so that they appeared as ghoulish necklaces. He then went to Jaerd’s ravaged wife wearing the skin of her husband’s face over his own like a perverse mask. She was said to have gone mad, and Vashan kept her by his side as a toy to satisfy his pleasures.”

“And where was Balthanes throughout all this?” A tiny amount of skepticism escaped from the child’s voice, which trembled subtly.

The elderman smiled dryly. “Balthanes escaped only by fortunate circumstance, he and his immediate family were on a Tour of Graces, a safe distance away from the city when it was taken. Only his younger brother Malthus died at the fall of Mesaaniel, slain in the battle that had raged through the streets once the Guyric resorted to violence after Jaerd let them through the gates. Balthanes had the wisdom to forsake the use of his Evar name and lay low as Guyric, Avuni, and Othic troops roamed the newly conquered region. A wandering band of Rylek traders who risked their observed immunity to factional conflict took him and his family in and sustained them through the entirety of the Foundering.”

The child’s eye widened and an epiphany flew from her tongue: “And the World Storm destroyed any of the evidence that would’ve eventually allowed the Guyric to find them …”

At this, the elderman clapped his hands once and smiled brightly, only to gradually somber down and continue his tale: “And then the World Storm struck; the triumphant Guyric-led rebel army celebrating at Sacraveshaal, the capital of Evarillion, was caught in the sudden fury of torrents of flaming ash. To a man, with the exception of Vashan de Ange and a few other rebel leaders, the rebel army was buried beneath the unrelenting darkness that rained from the sky, its triumph forever preserved in the embrace of death. Balthanes understood that his world was dead, and that a new one was on the verge of its birthing, but he also knew that he could not let an entire people and civilization be erased from the annals of history, so he reminded his family and subsequent descendants in the way of the shara, to remember and recall their heritage. Each generation thereof strove to preserve our people’s ways and language, while keeping a sensibly low profile. Your father is one of the few exceptions, attaining the rank of Exalted is a grand thing, starling, but is still a risky thing.”

“Da knew all this and he still embraced public office?” Immediately, the child’s eyes widened.

Recognizing her trepidation, the elderman followed up his previous words: “Your Da is in danger only if he does something to gather too much of the wrong person’s attention. However, I do fear for him, as you know your Da is a willful and outspoken man.”

“Yes,” her cherubic eyes took on a comical attempt at gravity, “much like his own father,” at that, her grandfather cringed a bit in chagrin, “but I will have to watch out for him…”

“You know, starling, you’re taking this remarkably well for one your age, especially considering the nature of the revelation you’re facing.” That was an understatement if there ever was one, thought the elderman.

“Am I?” The girl didn’t know exactly how someone should be taking what she was being forced to confront. Her grandfather looked at her with great pity, understanding the emotions that she was trying to comprehend.

The pity was soon replaced by self-loathing, he had taken too long to tell her this, and yet had told her this much too early. The dear little imp of a child that he so loved had once again managed to wrangle more time from him. He was only reassured by the fact that after tonight, all would be clarified for her. After. The thought hammered at his skull. He wanted to keep her close just a moment longer, just a moment. But he knew that that moment would lead to another moment, and inevitably up to the very moment of he dreaded her witnessing. He must get her away now, before he wouldn’t have the heart to.

The silence now had reigned for more than a short period of time.

“Starling.”

“Yes?” His granddaughter’s response was empty of inflection, almost numb.

“You must leave now, starling…”

Her silence broke then, and her tears then ran freely. “Granda…”

He could only nod brokenly and embrace her. He felt her tiny body quiver as more tears shuddered from her. He did not know how long he held her there, but finally he gently detached her from him and stepped back to look upon her once more.

“I love you, Riley, I always will.”

A dulled nod answered his words.

“Remember that when it seems no one is there to watch over you, to look to the Counselor’s Star.”

“Your star, Liosar,” she stifled a sob. He nodded and smiled.

“Yes, do you remember your star?”

“Minsar, the star of the Wanderer.” A small smile prevailed on her face in spite of her attempt to suppress it. Her grandfather had expected it, he knew her too well. Nothing pleased the child more than to answer a question correctly. His lips thinned into a joyous, if bittersweet, crescent, in return.

Now is the time to say goodbye, old boy. Let her go, let her go.

“As much as I wish I should never have to say this, starling, I must bid you good bye…”

She nodded once and her face became resolute.

“Good bye, starling…” He watched emptily as the child turned about and walked away, knowing that she never spoke those words he was so put out to speak.

And then she was gone.

"Look to the star … Riley…" spoke the elderman with a ghost of his voice, and turned about to face the center of his bedchamber. Spartanly decorated and furnished, it was a spacious circular vault mostly occupied by bookshelves and cabinets. Taking in a final view of his home for countless years, he made his way slowly to his old wooden-framed bed off to one of the sides of the chamber. With tremendous care he sat himself upon the bed and allowed his head to drop down as he searched himself for memories of the past, and found holes in his recollections.

"It has begun,” he sighed. "Riley..."

Deeper he delved into his own mind and calmly dissembled his memories. He accelerated the transference by consciously detaching blocks of his mental data to be sent off as his own life force faded. It seemed endless, a thousand years of lives lived, every thought tucked neatly into his head, hidden until accessed by him for any particular purpose. Silently he hoped his granddaughter would learn to handle them all. Then came the knowledge he had kept hidden deep in the bowels of his mental fortress; a secret that had been passed down through every scion of his family blood, to him and now to Riley. Unlocking the restraints of a cerebral cell within his mindscape, the image surged forth. A face stood before his third eye. The face of a man, pale and wan in death, with glossy sightless eyes stared into the nothing. Pulpy caked blood stained his face, dark and malevolent in its crimson. The elderman grimaced as he summoned the image to him, and unleashed its contents, setting the still frame into motion, like a film. Gritting his teeth, he concentrated and willed himself into the world of the dead man.

Shiyuan
2005-09-01, 09:24 PM
Chapter 2 Continued: "A Backwards Glance" Part II





Captain Sav Seventeen looked upon the face of his deceased sergeant with a mingling of pity and despair, drowned in resignation. Sergeant Kor Thirty-Five had been an able leader, a staunch disciplinarian, and above all a fierce warrior, much like his patron saint, Kor the Sentinel, who died over two hundred years before. He performed as well as a triarch was expected to, his level of genetic purity deigning great deeds to be done by his hand. Alas, his deeds ended here, dead on a backwater world, defending primitives from their own stupidity.

Not entirely their stupidity, thought Sav Seventeen, there are also the Godspawn. Yes, he knew that no stone wielding savage could’ve laid low a warrior such as Kor Thirty-Five, nor even a lowly centurial incarnation. As close to his original incarnation Kor was, the sergeant was a tiger among housecats. No, it was the damned Godspawn that felled the doughty soldier. The still bodies of thirteen Veshar Flesh-Shapers attested to the prowess of the fallen trooper. Sav Seventeen counted exactly three remaining squaddies among his decimated squad of an original ten men. He accounted that each of his remaining comrades bore their personal assault modules, functioning inversion-rifles, one extra phase-fusion device, and several tesseractal grenades. He himself wielded only a singularity blade, useful only in the trained hands, suicidal in the hands of the unschooled. A weapon reserved for the puissant warrior and the calculated thinker, and someone who must also exhibit a near inhuman grace. All of these qualities were apparent in Sav Seventeen, as expected of his lineage.

Sav Seventeen was an incarnation of the infamous “Warlock King”, the powerful Presence wielder, cunning combatant, and military genius who had held together the remnants of twelve war-torn sectors during the early centuries of the Ascension War when the Godspawn threatened to overwhelm the far-flung galaxy-spanning empire of the Ascendancy of Man. King Sav, as his wards had begun to call him, was in reality Sav Husseyn, a commander-general of the Ascendancy, who like many other human commands had been unexpectedly cut off and effectively stranded at their positions when the Gods’ Counterstroke swept through the Milky Way in the form of endless waves of artificial life-forms created for the purpose of annihilating the Ascendancy: the Godspawn. Unlike many others, General Sav managed to stave off the worst of the invasions with martial ingenuity and unbelievable power in the Presence. For this successful resistance, Sav was later Sainted by the Ascendancy and his genetic remains (only saved with considerable contention between the Ascendancy and Sav’s family) were stored and filed away for research and probable reincarnation.

Reincarnation, it was a euphemism, what the Ascendancy called cloning, even then a highly controversial word. Indeed, the whole terminology of Sainthood and their patronage was merely a grand deception for the careful and meticulous cloning operation that the military arm of the Ascendancy ran. However, to the Ascendancy’s dismay, the ability to use the Presence did not always gestate true, for while the nuances and manners in which that wondrous power could be wielded were known, its origins, its rational origins, could not be explained through science or reason, only theory.

Sav Seventeen was among only three incarnations of Sav Husseyn who could utilize the Presence to any great effect. His consummate skill in its use was due to his natural affinity and talent, but largely to his incarnate residual recall, or IRR, a scientific anomaly, where he was privy to some of the memories and thoughts that his predecessor had once possessed. No scientist could explain its occurrence, but its existence was undeniable. Sav had unlocked more of those recollections than others, and he suspected that it had more to do with the Presence than the cloning process that the Ascendancy scientists believed. He needed all the tactical acumen of his patron saint right now, with a mere three men, stranded on a hostile planet - a human planet, but a pocket of humanity that had evolved far and away from the members of the Ascendancy – and with limited gear. They were a hardy breed, their world having a higher than normal gravity and sporting lower oxygen and higher nitrogen atmospheric levels than would be comfortable for humans from Earth-class planets. But Sav Seventeen, Kor Thirty-Five and others like them were all exceptional humans, products of the ultimate human experiment. The uncomfortable situation of this planet bothered him not at all, for every aspect of his physical make-up had been enhanced to make him that much more effective. His super-efficient lungs drew double the normal human amount of oxygen from the air he breathed, requiring him to take only a few breaths to keep his body in full capacity where common man would be panting lightly. He could run for miles and not even become winded, needing his second wind only after twenty miles of sustained jogging. His muscles and skeletal composition were also greatly augmented, allowing him to perform physical feats beyond the ability of even a world-class athlete who was naturally born. His senses, sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell, were all above the par of men and even animals. He was the perfect weapon of the Ascendancy, intelligent, powerful and completely human. He was one of the Reincarnated, humanity’s brightest hope, and its darkest secret. Every tenant of the Ascendancy called for the glorification and sanctification of the human condition, its inherent variety and limitless potential, everything that cloning stole from the race of Man.

A small minority of the Exemplars had long suspected the existence of the project but were torn between upholding the values of the Ascendancy and slowly be destroyed by superior technology, or face the reality of war and surrender of piece of their humanity in order to survive. Only a few had spoken out, and even then only during the clandestine meetings of the Exemplar, far from the prying ears and eyes of the Lay, that immense population of the human race to have yet fulfill a sufficient amount of their potential to earn the mantle of the Exemplar. In any event, the bloc of militarist Exemplar who ran the Ascendancy’s military wing often shouted those who spoke out down. Support from the fence-sitters was minimal and paid often in lip service, when paid at all.

Sav chuckled numbly to himself, here he was, stranded on a hostile alien world, and what was he doing, contemplating politics! Idiot, came the thought, heavy with self-deprecation. Putting himself to task, he turned to his three surviving squaddies.

“What is the approach pattern of the incoming Veshar Whips? I pick up five definite bodies on the far-seer, but the transmission link is fuzzy, I can’t make out their exact formation and equipment. To be honest, I find it hard to believe that the Godspawn haven’t knocked out our satellite yet.”

The squaddie on his right, Corporal Magrav, did not bother to speculate with his commander: “Enclosure Pattern Three-Eighty, they’re sticking to the brush and coming in steady… I think I can make out flayers in both of their hands. Black Whips, sir?” Black Whips, the elite of the Veshar light fighter caste. Dual flayer tendrils bespoke weapon mastery, or incompetence. Sav did not even give the latter a thought. Light armor, zero stopping power against assault modules, Sav calculated, but also provided a wide range of motion. Veshar were fast, Whips were faster, Black Whips didn’t even register on the radar.

“I suspect so, let’s fall back, maintain withdrawal velocity and lock up with those at the forefront with the inversion rifles and let loose when they’ve just finished a directional pivot. They know our weapons’ abilities; they’ll keep on the sway to avoid inverting bullets. Resort to assault modules only when they close within melee range, shots at any other range will be easy for them to evade.”

Sav sheathed his singularity blade and began a quick, practiced backpedal that would’ve left even a forward-facing running Lay in the dust. His eyes darted everywhere, capturing every detail as it flew past him. As an afterthought, he checked for his men. All three kept pace with him, although at a less than obvious strain. Satisfied, he turned himself about in a split-second switch step that escaped the recognition of normal vision. He would guard the van as his squaddies maintained rear survey.

A shiver in the foliage before him gave away the ambushing Veshar warrior long before the Godspawn itself realized its quarry was upon it. Sav neatly unsheathed his sword and decapitated the hapless creature, returning the blade to its odd black scabbard, all in one graceful motion. Cries went up as the death trauma rippled through the Veshar communal link that Sav knew they all shared. The landscape around them came alive with furious shudders as Veshar spilled from all across the terrain to exact vengeance on the retreating humans. By now, Sav heard the death throes of the Veshar behind them as his men began to loose inverting slugs upon them. Serrated Daggers of Sholimkar, the sharp, rough calf-high grass that was indigenous to this region, scraped against his boots as he leaped through the vegetation. He brushed aside or just ignored sprawling valgun bushes, thorned adalsam vines, hurgiss ferns and dodged around massarahd trees, known as Flayer Willows among Sav’s men. They fled not through woodland, but an odd collection of plants that grew in seemingly sporadic patterns throughout the savannah-like lands that he and his men traveled in. Their original purpose here, in Sholimkar, was to study the human tribes here and see if they could foster any support here against the Godspawn and their vengeful deity. None proved useful. The Senanzi, the most powerful of the human tribal nations here, scoffed at defying their Storm-Maker, their name for the powerful being that ruled this planet as a God. Their ochre-skinned warriors drove Sav’s men from their territory, and then dispersed to spread word of the strange-looking heretics to the other tributary tribes. Sholimkar was lost to them.

But they still had allies among the quiet Afarin, the little tribe that dwelt among the rocky highlands and mountains that separated Sholimkar from the rest of the continent. They were an unpretentious people, simple and dedicated to survival. Their warriors were well-respected by all neighboring peoples, as the Afarin, though small, have accumulated many victories in battles against those who wished to take advantage of the seemingly weak tribe. All of their odd, silvery-haired members practiced a peculiar and mesmerizing form of martial art known as Alik-Saar, which impressed even Sav and his men for its effectiveness. An Afar armed or unarmed was equally deadly when well-trained in Alik-Saar, the style that sought to imitate the combat techniques of the Mavalik, a strange but magnificent bird-like scaled creature that fought with a deadly, almost mantis-like posture, famed for its unreadable motions. To battle with a Mavalik was to play with one’s life, as there was no way any sane man could predict where the creature would strike, and how. Alik-Saar strived to do just that, and succeeded tremendously. In fact, it was reputed that only members of the Afarin’s Arkhans, or tribal war council, could enter mortal combat with a full-grown Mavalik, and have a decent chance at surviving, perhaps even winning.

And it was the Arkhans that Sav sought now, as he and his men retreated through the landscape. He knew they had to make it out of this hellish place and into the mountains, where the mystic Afarin would grant them shelter and aid, or else even he and his men, Reincarnated or not, would not live out the week…





A stab of pain in the elderman's left shoulder stirred him from the vision. He reentered reality groggy and disoriented, robbed of a controlled, smooth transition by violence. He looked upon his shoulder and saw blood already staining his white tunic and the gray robe draped over it. The cut was deep, but not enough to be fatal. Immediately the elderman tensed, and strained to focus his vision upon the blurred shape loitering on the other side of the room.

"Who dares to threaten me," The elderman rasped venomously at the intruder. The air took upon an audible hum, and an electric atmosphere pervaded.

"The old weirder speaks..." replied a cold, humored baritone.

A vicious grin spread across the elderman's face.

"Ah, I had been oh so discontented at the thought of possibly of passing before testing my mettle against one of you. All that training would've been for nothing."

“Truly, Renly Buirisma Savram, that would’ve been a dull life indeed,” came the humoring reply, laced with venom.

Renly shook his head once, and with his senses finally collected, he saw now who, or what, he faced. There were two of them, the man leaning against the wall, while a smaller form stood in the shadows. The outline of the foremost culprit in the starkly lit section of the wall was striking. Tall, broad shoulders, lengthy and limber limbs fleshed out the powerful frame of Renly's object of examination.

The man was dressed in a fashionable vermillion long coat, popular among the Cadicci. From beneath the gaudy fabric protruded deep blue frills at the neck and cuffs. His cold ice-blue eyes gave no hint of emotion while a sickening grin cracked a bright white crescent across his face. He had a handsome face, as his kind were wont to wear. Long golden locks fell down to his shoulders with a platinum shock trailing a path from above the right brow to the very tip of his hair’s length.

No wonder he's escaped notice until now, he looks like a bloody perfumed fop! Renly growled and stood up from his bed, only to pause in awe as he took in the second form. She had stepped out into the light as he was monitoring the man, and appeared in the least innocuous, if he had not scented the reek exuding from her. His heart skipped a beat. And then he gave a low distraught moan as he saw the bloodied dirk in the hand of the little girl. Her eyes were so brown, so seemingly full of light and hope, but he realized it was but another mask.. But her short brunette locks framed such a gentle face. But... but... A snarl possessed his face as he swung to face the older intruder.

“You soulless monster, she is but a child!"

"As is your granddaughter, old one..." A sneer slithered across the man's face as he stared down the elderman before him, "...yet, you saw no qualms about making her into a weapon of your own. This is a war, old one, and there will always be casualties. Perhaps she is better off as one of us, as you could imagine the horrors she'd go through if she were to be just another one of our toys."

The elderman stiffened, hatred burning in his eyes as he attempted to give a fearsome look.

Such a feeble thing, mused the man in the red coat.

Renly seized the Presence.

Not so feeble anymore. No more toying. Time to kill this elderman. The Cadicci suddenly lost all composure as his eyes distilled and an oily blackness enveloped each eye, iris and white both disappearing into pools of darkness. The grin transformed into a predatory snarl complete with canines. The color drained from its face as its skin metamorphosized into a wan cadaverous white, with pulsating blue veins mapped across its surface.

Renly felt a momentary ripple of fear, but his training had paid off, as he felt a soothing calm descending upon him as he melded himself with the Presence, accessing its power.

Those pulsating membranes, to better sense the Presence, just as Damodellain had told me. Well then, Damodellian, let’s see how good of pupil I really was. Renly merely raised his hand to beckon the beast, but within him power surged like a riptide, threatening to pull him under. It took everything he had to keep himself aloft. Then the morphed Cadicci began to approach, but not without first pausing momentarily.

"Shima, find the Heir of Sav, see to it that the child does not live to maturity. Go, now!" The girl nodded once and stared into the eyes of Renly Buirisma Savram one last time, seeing the sadness in his once-gentle eyes, almost... feeling...

Then, with disquieting fluidness and speed, the corrupted child known as Shima left the two mortal enemies to embrace their destinies.





Riley ran on and on through the pounding rain. She didn't know how long she had been running, but she knew she was close to home. Home, with dad and Ramal. Home, away from granda, away from death, away from pain. She remembered her last sight of the tower before the curtain of rain hid it from her eyes. It was bent more than ever; parts of its structure had already gave way, beams and mortar collapsing as the force that held them gradually weakened. As granda was dying, so was his tower, and everything within. She couldn't discern between her tears and the drops of rain anymore, and she didn't know if she still cried or not. It did not matter. All was lost, the light from the tower gone. She felt so alone, she needed to get home.

Rounding a bend, she gathered herself together, and got her bearings. She was at the fringe of the walled city limits. A single gate lay in her path. The soldiers who were on duty were nowhere to be seen, no doubt warming themselves somewhere in the confines of a nearby parapet. A wide thoroughfare stretched out to the horizon beyond the limits of metal bars. A distracted look took hold of Riley features. The archaic-looking rusted gate with its equally ancient stonework walls was a faint reminder of the city's past glory, before it was laid siege to and razed during the infamous Punishing Wars. Within moments, she was outside the confines of the outer city and in the immediate countryside. It didn't take much to gain access through the outer gate, as Belmond was long a defeated city, only its inner walls being guarded by what few regular soldiers the once proud city-state had left. Even then, the Exalted and their kin opted to live without the confines of the old city, choosing rather to bask in the natural beauty of the open country. Long it has been since Belmond has seen war, and all agree that it would be best if it never came again.

A succession of increasingly extravagant estates flanked both sides of an extensive length of the road. Each estate in itself being at least forty acres, Riley's father owned one of the larger ones, the Wenderre. She would have to walk about five miles down to the manse she called home. She was already late, and it was raining, so any thought of catching a coach to her place was out of the question. As she stood pondering, a sneeze as such to be heard through heavy rain broke her from her musings. She immediately crouched and moved off the road. Watching from a small distance, she saw nothing, until she began shivering and sneezed herself, a rather loud one at that. But a louder sneeze answered in response.

Out of the pelting water and night trotted a gangly adolescent range beast. It must have escaped from one of the other estate’s stables, thought Riley. Their loss. Not knowing whether it was male or female nor caring so, Riley approached the poor thing. It snorted in a humorously pathetic attempt at appearing threatening, but shook itself vigorously in a futile attempt to shed the heavy droplets beading in its thick coat, distracting itself long enough for the object of its suspicion to quickly close the distance between them. At first, the beast seemed as if it were going to bite, but Riley cooed at it gently and was ably to lay a single, gentle hand on the length of its snout, and after some caressing and coaxing, managed to get it calm down.

Soon, whatever the young range beasts initial intentions were, it seemed to give an ironic, low purr as it allowed Riley on its back. She wasn't very heavy, and the beast found that it wasn't encumbered much so it snorted happily at its new friend. Riley smiled and sneezed, patting the creature’s shaggy little mane in agreement. Wonderingly, Riley tapped her heels into the little beast's flanks, and got the desired reaction. In a moment of two, a girl and her beast mount trotted on down the road, towards a home now both new and old.

As she pulled her mount into an open field with a single road carved through its expanse winding towards a manse in the distance, Riley smiled wanly. She was home. The muscled young range beast purred weakly but joyously as it felt the warm emotion flowing from its rider. The entire incident in finding her new companion had caused Riley to momentarily forget about her granda, but not long. Dismounting, she led her friend over to the family pens and found it a fresh den in which to rest. After fetching it a feed bag and thoroughly rubbing it down, she left the stables and started her way up the paved pathway leading to her front door. The rain shrouded anything beyond seven feet so she didn't bother to pick a flower from one of the qesai bushes along the walkway, as she usually did in an unconscious ritual of homecoming. The low sound of the bellows pumping informed her that her father was still up and working, on some blade or another. Reaching the front villa, and feeling her way past table sets and chairs, she finally reached the front door and gripped the ring, rapping it against the door three times. After several moments, the door opened and her father's manservant, Dedrik, welcomed her home, and began to busy himself with her drenched garments. He toweled her down considerably and then placed her nightgown on the bench beside the entrance and turned his back as she removed her wet clothes. After she told him she was done, he turned about, scooped up the soggy pile bundled at her feet and disappeared in a hurry, no doubt to the laundry. She yawned as she made her way to her room, passing her father's work chamber door and checking in on her infant brother Ramal as he slept soundly in his bedroom, unaware of anything but the thumb he sucked on.

Later that night, as she tossed and turned with nightmares, Riley awoke in a cold sweat. She couldn't sleep peacefully ever since the entirety of the impact of her grandfather's death hit home. She had sobbed for a considerable time, sending away Dedrik as he came knocking at her door to inquire whether his mistress was alright. After came the silence, the irrevocable silence, until now. The world had been muted while in her state of hysteria, but now everything was clear again. Once again she heard the bellows of her father hard at work. Then came the sound, the horrible din. The night came alive with a resounding boom, as if a great explosion had occurred far off in the inner city. It came only once, and then the rhythmic gushes of the bellows returned, her father undisturbed from his work. Da usually hears everything, thought Riley, and yet he's still working. Maybe it was just something I thought I heard, because people start to hear and see things when they don't get sleep don't they? With no other explosions to contradict her logic, Riley settled back to a deep, troubled sleep.

HempRope
2005-09-02, 11:15 AM
Man, Shiyuan, I don't think I have ever seen a post of yours under 1000 words!

This stuff looks good, but I haven't gotten around to reading it thoroughly. I'll get back to you if I do...

Wukei
2005-09-02, 11:18 AM
I have...he did the "pics of posters? possible?" thread..deffinitely under 1000 words.

You're doing good, guys (though I refuse to read poetry, sorry...hate poetry...loathe poetry...and I'm so damned good at it >.< )

Vindemiatrix
2006-07-28, 03:20 AM
@ ^^^: Very nice. I only skimmed it (12:00...ugh.) and it reads pretty well. It's also actually interesting, which is a plus.

@ ^: Wow...that sucks.