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Jaksken
December 9th, 2010, 04:36 AM
~Just as a brief background about myself, I'm a 16 year old guy in High School. This had been laying around in my computer for sometime and I recently went back and added more and edited it, hoping to use it as a cool Prologue to hook in the reader for the rest of the story. The character here, Ayanar, is not the protagonist and won't be mentioned too much later in the story. Here I try to set a mysterious mood and put the read a little on edge. Tell me what you think and thanks for taking the time to read it ~


Prologue


The long white robes struggled to tangle themselves around his lean ankles as he scuttled down the long stone corridor. When he first came to this place he found it to be warming, like a home, or maybe even a sanctuary, though now it was more like a prison; holding him captive with the knowledge he gained and the growing disgust he felt. He wished he could go back in time and erase the knowledge he had obtained. Then again, it all was for the good of his people that he escaped and revealed the information to the others.
He would be leaving at sunrise and he had to pack his belongings and gather up enough supplies to see him through the long trip back.
He stopped at one of the many tall glass windows lining the hall and gazed out at the night sky. No stars shone tonight, not even the moon, although he was sure it would be beginning it’s decent. He took a deep breath to calm his nerves. There was nothing to worry about; he still had plenty of time.
A shiver crawled up his spine as a cool breeze made its way through a window and down the already cold, ancient corridor. He gathered up his robes and continued down the hallway, his leather-bound shoes making almost no sound. He was almost to his dormitory and was weary to be caught out of his room this late.
He held his hand to his mouth and stifled a yawn. He had never been out of his room at this time of night, in-fact it was forbidden for Novices to be out of their dormitories after sunset. They had strict rules here and made a harsh show of any rule breakers.
As he walked he peered out the windows and watched the faint shadows of the trees and the outlines of the distant mountains. They appeared huge and foreboding and for good reason. No one that he knew of had gone into those mountains and come back to tell what was on the other side, although it was rumored to be a vast waste of uninhabitable land full of dangerous creatures and no civilization. Yet after his experiences in recent weeks, he was not sure what he could believe anymore.
As he turned a corner he barely had time to catch himself as he came face-to-face with one of the Elders.
“Novice Ayanar,” nodded the Elder in a sever tone. Ayanar winced. The old man stood a good head taller then Ayanar and was known for his harsh teaching methods. The Elder used his vantage point to emphasize his penetrating gaze and, along with his cold blue eyes, it was enough to make Ayanar sweat. “What takes you out of your lodgings, at this hour?” The old man’s voice was devoid of any warmth.
“I-I was just helping the b-bookkeepers in the library...” Ayanar couldn’t help keep his nerves from shaking his voice. “J-just on my way to b-bed now, s-”
The Elder cut him short. “No need to play these games with me, Novice.” Ayanar held his breath, fearing what would come next. “You know you are not to be visiting with your fellow Novices...especially those of the opposite sex.” Ayanar’s cheek’s flushed with red but, and to the Elder’s surprise, he let out a sigh of relief.
“Now tomorrow at noon I expect you at my chamber where we will be discussing your punishment.” The Elder finished, eyeing him up and down suspiciously. “Now get to bed before you get yourself into serious trouble.”
The old man watched Ayanar with his piercing blue eyes as Ayanar gave a quick bow and started down the corridor.
The young Novice didn’t even look back as he hurried on, taking as many back passages as he could. Climbing narrow stairs that were meant to carry servants unobtrusively. Ayanar thought it was too bad that they weren’t given their own corridors as well. Still, he encountered no one else as he strode through the broad hallways with their gilded lamp stands and ornate hangings. He quickly made his way to his dormitory, knowing he must be long gone come tomorrow afternoon.

Within a short time Ayanar’s cramped chambers looked like a state of chaos. The drawers were pulled out of his dresser and robes and clothes had been strewn all over the stone floor. He’d prepared a small rucksack, which was lying on his small bed, full of the bare necessities. Food and clothes. That was it. Where he was going and what he was leaving required him to travel swiftly.
Zij, his most trusted friend out of all the other Novices, had insisted he take her with him and, no matter how much he wanted to comply, he couldn’t. Although he had strong feelings for her he felt they had, in part, finalized his decision to leave without her. They had talked about it and he had managed to persuade her that he would come back if he could. No. When he could. He didn’t know how he would do it but he was sure that once he got the means to return for her he would.
When they discussed his departure they had only formed a loose plan for his trip. He didn’t quite know where he was going or how far it would take him. The one thing he did know for certain was that he had to leave. He believed it was no longer safe here. He had stumbled upon information he was not yet ready for. Even though it had been a few weeks since he learned about it, he just didn’t want to accept it. In fact, he didn’t think that he would ever be ready to totally accept it.
This information no Novice besides Zij and himself knew. Only the Elders and their closest assistances knew. Only they kept these secrets and Ayanar wanted no part of it. Sure, if he kept his head down and nose out of anyone’s business he may have become an Elder one-day where he would may have formerly inherited this horrible knowledge. Though, if he wasn’t chosen to be an Elder and had to face the Graduation he would be-NO! There was no need to think about what he already knew, plus the thought of living as an Elder absolutely disgusted him. He had to leave.
He shook his head, as if trying to empty it of those terrible thoughts. He quickly finished gathering the few clothes he would take with him and stuffed his old traveling cloak on top of the other clothes. He didn’t want to wear it whilst leaving lest another Elder stopped him again. There would be suspicious questions that he didn’t think he could answer.
While checking to make sure he had enough food packed an odd scratching noise and a quite metallic click broke the silence of the room. Ayanar’s skin began to crawl with surprise and fear. He stopped what he was doing and strained to listen for some clue of the origins of the sound. Nothing. Must have been the mice, he told himself. There was no end to those creatures here. The building was ancient and seemed to take in those vermin like refugees. He knew that mice had long ago dug holes through all of the walls. Some went from room to room and it would often seem like the mice followed one about. Ayanar had noticed this especially after mealtime when the scent of food was still on oneself and crumbs might fall from some of the more careless Novices’ robes.
Sighing with relief Ayanar walked over to his window. There was only one small window in his whole room, and most of the time it was kept closed by his thick wooden shutters. This kept the cool morning chill out of his chamber and, what he thought, the unnecessarily bright light of the sun.
He unlatched the shutters and opened them a crack. He peered outside. The world was still shrouded in darkness and he couldn’t help but envy all those that were still sleeping peacefully tucked away in their beds. He could start to see the tops of the great evergreens outlined by the weak light. It would soon be morning and he had to hurry. He wanted to be gone before sunrise.
With no more time to spare, he quickly closed the shutters and hurried over to one of his cabinets. He opened one of the drawers and took out more of the foodstuffs he had “taken” from the kitchens the previous day. A few loafs of bread, preserved jelly, dried meat, and of course his waterskin. He stuffed these items into his pack and was almost ready to leave. He took one last gaze around the room to see if he forgot anything. His eyes fell on the dusty old tome lying on his small wooden desk.
The mysterious book was ancient looking and appeared as if a harsh wind would blow all the pages from its bindings.
Ayanar had been fascinated with reading since he was a child and upon his arrival here he spent all his free time studying ancient texts. This was why he took a job (when he wasn’t busy with his studies) helping the bookkeepers organize the Great Library. When someone would return a book they had borrowed to the main desk, he would help return it to its proper place on the shelves.
One evening Ayanar had been working late and was about to leave when he saw a few books lying on the main desk. He tiredly picked a few up and started sorting them to their shelves. He was almost finished when he came across a big mysterious looking book. It was ancient in appearance. Its cover was made from fine black leather that had begun to crack with age. Ayanar examined it hoping to find a title or some identification on what section of the library to return it to. To his surprise, there was none. This was not totally out of the ordinary. Ayanar remembered that many biographies and diaries of most of the deceased Elder’s were kept in this fashion. He opened the book hoping to find a clue as to which this one was written about, but to his grave surprise, this was no normal diary.
Ayanar shivered, bringing his mind back to the present. The horrors he had read in this book had been terrible, enlightening, but terrible. The book had been confusing to him. Full of secrets lying hidden in a thick fog. Patiently waiting to be discovered. He had learned many things from the ancient tome. Many of which were bewildering to his mind and soul. The one thing that remained clear to him though, was that he had to leave.
He slipped the tome into his sack and carefully tied it up. He made sure to clean up his room so there would be no traces of his hasty departure. This would give him more time to get a larger distance between him and this place.
Ayanar gave the small chamber an almost fond last look. He had good memories of this place and had spent the last few years of his young life here. He felt he had belonged. But, oh, was he wrong.
He turned to the door and headed out. His hand gripped the cool brass door handle and twisted. It didn’t budge. Probably just stuck, he thought. He twisted it again and again to no avail. A sudden realization hit him like a punch to his face. It was locked.
He’d seen locks on the doors in the ancient building but no one ever used them. In fact, he didn’t even know anyone who had keys. It was a seemingly peaceful place, so no one found uses for them. The fact that his was now locked was not good, not good at all.
He shoved the door again and again hoping against hope that the ancient wooden door would fall off its old iron hinges. Yet no matter how hard he shoved, it just wouldn’t give in. He paused, rubbing his sore shoulder while his worst fears rushed to the front of his mind. What if the Elder that stopped him early had been suspicious and locked him in to make sure he did not return to the girls dormitories where he had been meeting with Zij. He ran his hands through his hair, a cold sweat forming all over his body.
Ayanar threw his rucksack onto his bed and began kicking with all his might at the door to his room. He had to leave tonight; he could not stay here any longer. No matter how hard he kicked or shoved the door stayed put. He began scratching at the wood around the door handle, hoping he could knock it out. Hoping he could escape. His fingers began to blister and bleed. The realization of the panic made him stop himself. This was not a time to lose control. He had been preparing to leave for weeks but how could he be such a fool, saying his farewells to Zij and risking being caught out in the middle of the night. And right before leaving as well. He had been careless.
All of the sudden he could hear footsteps coming from down the corridor outside his dormitory. By the sounds it seemed like several people were coming towards his room. Ayanar realized he must have alerted them while he was banging on the door and making a commotion. His nerves got to him and he started shaking and sweating uncontrollably. The room began to blur as his heart started beating like a drum. He looked around the room for a way out. The window! He ran over and unlatched the shutters, but it was in vain, he couldn’t even fit his head out if he tried. He felt like a deer finally cornered by its hunter after a long chase. The room began to blur together before his darting eyes. And he knew. He was trapped.
Ayanar quickly shoved his dresser against the door, hoping to keep whoever was out there out as long as he could. He lifted his small bad and hurriedly leaned it against the dresser. He had to escape. He feared what they would do to him if they found the book in his room.
There was a click and he knew that they had unlocked his door and were trying to get in. There was now shoving from the outside and his old dresser creaked with the strain.
Ayanar ran to his rucksack and ripped it open, throwing out his clothes and getting to the book. He knew he must hide it but where? There was nowhere in his small room that they would not search. He was trapped.
With a loud snap! the dresser finally gave way and the old door opened a crack. Ayanar stared in panic. He clutched the book tightly to his chest, feeling his heart beat faster and faster fearing what he knew would come next.

wilbur4c
December 12th, 2010, 02:36 AM
You write very well, especially considering your age (I'm not being patronizing - you write well for any age) My only criticisms are the number of adjectives you use. I'm not much of a fantasy reader so it could be genre specific but using double adjectives like 'long white robes' and 'long stone' corridor - especially in the same sentence - is a bit plodding. I would imagine all robes are long, and corridor's too - it's in their nature. There's a few cliches in there too 'skin crawled' etc.

Adverbs are not needed either. If someone is disgusted there is no need for them to be absolutely disgusted, or a deer finally cornered - just cornered. If you want to explain emotion of other facets think of better ways - adverbs are telling words, try and show don't tell.

My only other comment, and again this may be genre specific, why a prologue? In many genres prologues are considred no-no's by editors and publishers. There are far better ways to put background into a story than explaining everything in a prologue and many readers just skip them (if you haven't got the rest of the story yet you are not going to know what is necessary background and what isn't anyway) Most books with prologues make perfect sense without them.

But keep writing because you certainly have some flair for it.

Jaksken
December 12th, 2010, 07:26 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I've already cut down on some adverbs that seemed unnecessary during an edit I did yesterday.

The reason I did a prologue is because the story will follow a different character who eventually comes across this sanctuary and I just wanted to give the reader some background and an exciting seem to get them hooked. Where I want my introduction of the protagonist to be more of an introduction...I sort of got the idea from Robert Jordan and others that I've read.