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legendhunter
January 27th, 2012, 03:48 PM
Oceans of the forsaken

Chapter 1: Wounds of old and new

Orlando Blanchard, a name that has been feared on the seas for hundreds of years, the captain of pirates that was said to drink the very blood of his victims. Legend has it that his very presence destroyed light itself, that even the greatest monsters of the ocean feared him. Just who this monster of a man, if he even is a man; no one truly knows.

But deep down in the ocean where no man has ever laid eyes, there lived magical people known as mermaids. These mermaids love bright colors and create wonderful music. There was one mermaid however named Azura, unlike the other mermaids she had black scales on her finned tail, and dark brown hair. She was made fun of in schools because she wore make up on her tail and colored her hair bright colors so maybe she could fit in with everyone else. She fell in love with a merman one day and got into a romantic relationship with him, but the merman was ashamed of being with Azura because of her black scales and dark hair, so he only showed love to her in the dark.

Meanwhile aboard the ship of Orlando Blanchard, the pirate looked into the mirror as he shaved; but there was no reflection. Orlando instead saw the silhouette of a woman he once had. He could not remember her name, he could not remember the sound of her voice, and he could not remember her face. It was only the silhouette that he could remember. He remembered the words “I love your hair” so he kept it long and tugged at his hair the way she would tug it; to bring him comfort.

Chapter 2: The truth hurts

In the kingdom of mermaids Azura was content with only having love in the dark, but she was still sad that she could not love in the light. Her voice was the most beautiful of all the mermaids, but because she had so much sadness in her heart she could only sing songs of woe. She became saddened that her songs were not appreciated by the people.

Azura’s lover was pushing her farther and farther away, she did not know it but when he said he was studying for school, he truly loved someone else. Azura did not know that he only came for the wonderful food she made; she did not know with the money he saved eating her food that he bought beautiful jewelry for another. When the time came that she learned the truth it was too much for her to bear.

She pulled out her dark hair, and scraped off her black scales. She asked the merman she loved so dearly if she loved her now that she wasn’t dark haired and black scaled anymore, but the merman looked at her as if she were a freak and hit her in the face with a cleaning tool. Azura swam up to the surface not caring anymore if fishermen would be her death; she just wanted the suffering to end.

Chapter 3: Waiting for brighter days

Meanwhile, Orlando Blanchard pillaged cargo ships leaving the gold for his crew and only caring for the blood of the passengers to feed his vampirism. His animalistic nature was the only thing he could find happiness with, the adrenaline he felt of chasing his prey, the hunger that was quenched with drinking the spilled blood. His powers of illusion made it possible for his ship to attach to ships without detection, and slowly but steadily his powers over the mind would drive the passengers into a frenzy; making it look like the ship was inflicted with cabin fever.

Orlando began to miss sunlight as he relaxed in his tub of water that night, sure there was still the light of fire that could survive in his presence and the light of the moon, but they just weren’t the same as the light of the sun. He remembered the beautiful flowers that would bloom in the sun, but he could not remember the color of the flowers so he just imagined them in black. Perhaps one day he will be able to find a way to lift the curse he thought, because then he could feel the sun on his skin again.

He heard a cry out in the distance, a cry of a woman weeping. Orlando got out of the tub and put some clothes on to go investigate where the crying was coming from, and out in the distance he saw what looked like a woman with no hair and a fish tail for legs crying on a broken plank of wood. He called to his crew to lower the anchor, and that he was going to use a row boat to bring the woman to the ship.

Chapter 4: A little bit of sunshine

As Orlando rowed closer to the woman on the floating plank he saw that her tail was bloody, normally this would entice his vampirism but he had already fed for the day so only his caring human nature was left. He wanted to help this beautiful being that he saw in so much agony. Orlando picked up Azura, and let her weep on his lap as he rowed back to the boat.

Orlando placed Azura in the tub that he rested in, and prepared fresh sea water for when he would drink the blood from the tub to satisfy his vampirism the next day. For now though he just wanted to make sure this half woman half fish was okay. He got her some bread and some juice, and she took to the hospitality well but still was sniffling.

As Azura finished up her meal she looked to Orlando in fear yet at the same time in comfort. “There is nothing to be afraid of, I promise.” Orlando licked the tears from her face and let her head rest on his chest. Azura started to relax as she heard the steady beating of Orlando’s heart, and slowly fell asleep.

Chapter 5: Your teeth

The next morning Azura awoke in a clean tub of sea water, and the bleeding on her tail had stopped, but all the scabs made it hurt to move too much. Orlando came down with her breakfast, and sat beside the tub so he could hold her hand “Are you feeling better?” Orlando asked looking deeply into her eyes.
“It just hurts allot to move, why are you being so nice to me? So you can eat me later?” Azura asked.
“No, I do not plan to eat you. I plan on nursing you back to health so you can go back to your home.” Orlando said sincerely
“But I don’t want to go back home.” Azura wiped her nose.
“Why not? Aren’t there people that love you there?” he placed the food plate on a stool beside her hand. She stayed quiet looking down. “Oh no, you ran away from home didn’t you?” He brushed his own hair to the side worried that he upset her.
“Please don’t throw me back in the ocean; I want to feel safe like I did in your arms last night.” She said with a tad of begging in her voice.
“Do not worry; I’ll keep you here as long as you want. Do you want to talk about why you ran away?” He asked.
“No.” she turned her head towards Orlando “Just hold me, like you did last night.” Azura folded her arms. He did what she asked to be done.
“My name is Orlando, what is your name?” he asked as he held her.
“My name, is Azura Rome. What is your last name?” she said in relaxation.
“Blanchard, Orlando Blanchard.” He smiled.

“You have such sharp teeth.” Azura whispered as she gazed at his smile.
“Oh, I, please forgive me.” Orlando covered his mouth.
“Forgive you for what?” Azura tilted her head still looking at Orlando.
“Well, I am something called a vampire. It’s a curse that can be put on a human as punishment for delinquency to a priest.”
“What is so bad about being a vampire, that you call it a curse?”
“It is a curse, because in order to survive I need to feed on blood once every day.” Orlando looked away from her; not wanting her to see the sadness in his eyes, as he was remembering how the curse was received.
“That is interesting.” She smiled.
“Interesting?” He looked back at her in complete surprise.
“Yes, it’s interesting. What kind of delinquency to a priest did you commit?” She asked.
“Well it wasn’t actually me, who committed the delinquency. It was a woman I once knew, I took the curse for her, so she could live her life normally.” Orlando whispered slowly.
“I’m sorry.” She looked into Orlando’s deep brown eyes.
“Do not worry; it was a long time ago. I’ve been able to live this long, I can live for another thousand years if I must. I am just looking for a cure to my Vampirism, I wish one day to become human again.” He said not being able to help looking at her beautiful green eyes.
“You know, we mermaids have a magical voice. I could cure you of this curse.”
“Really?”
“Yes, I could do anything with my voice.” She smiled, being absorbed into his eyes. Orlando saw a twinkle in her eyes, a twinkle that reminded him of the stars in the sky.
“The stars, don’t you see them. They are so beautiful.” Orlando smiled at her again.
“But I can’t see any stars.”
“But I can see them, especially the stars in your eyes.” Orlando said as his eyes continued to hypnotize Azura.
“Your eyes, they feel like they are hypnotizing me; it’s scary because you’re looking at me like you want to eat me, but for some reason I like it.” Azura’s plump lips started to tremble, as she got closer to his face and looked at his lips. Orlando could feel her need to kiss him, but he was not ready yet, he wanted to kiss her as well but he just couldn’t.
“I, need to tend to my crew. I will be back with your lunch at a later time.” He stood up and walked out on deck. Though he didn’t mean to, he left Azura disappointed.

Chapter 6: Your voice

A few hours later, Orlando came back with a freshly caught fish, and some more juice. Azura looked at the fish, and saw how it was the favorite fish of her merman lover, and remembered how her merman lover had used her. When Orlando placed the fish and the drink onto the stool next to her, he could see the anger and resentment in her face as she stared at the fish.
“Is something wrong Azura?” Orlando asked with concern. Then abruptly she tossed the fish plate, drink and stool to the side. His eyes became wide open, as she turned around and started to cry. “What is wrong Azura?” Orlando tried to comfort her with a hug from behind, but she slapped him and then continued to cry. “Please don’t be upset, what did I do wrong?” he got on his knees and looked at her. A tear started to form by his eyes; it was unbearable for him to not hold her, and to not know what was upsetting her. “I can’t help you unless you let me.” Orlando got up from his knees and started walking for the door.
“Wait!” Azura called out to him. He stopped and turned around.
“I ran away from home, because I live in a place that dark hair and black scales is seen as ugly. I tried to find someone who loved me, but there was only a merman who was willing to love me in the dark. In reality all he wanted me for was for the food I made him, and that fish was his favorite.” Azura explained.
“Show me Azura, in her fully healed form.” Orlando whispered, and then all of a sudden Azura’s scales seemed to grow back and her dark brown curly hair formed around her face. Orlando took a moment to look at her and then said “Break the illusion.” And Azura’s hair went away, as well as her black scales. “Look at me.” He said sternly, and she obeyed. “When I look at you, I see a beautiful soul in your eyes. The beauty of your soul overcomes your physical state no matter what it may be; you’re just as beautiful to me bald and with no scales, as you are with your hair and scales.” Orlando grasped her chin to keep it in place, and then kissed her. “If it was possible for sunlight to exist in my presence, I would love you in the light.” Orlando kissed her again, and then bit her neck gently. Azura felt his sharp teeth, but his bite sent tingles through her body and she smiled as she began to vocalize.
“You have shown me, something new and something dark, like me. I can see that in your heart you’re just like me, misunderstood by our exterior, but beautiful inside! Rest my darling, rest right here with me, and when you wake your curse will be gone!” Orlando fell into the tub next to Azura. “I will love you with all my heart, your eyes so dark and deep, they pull me in and let me land! Right there on your heart! I see a man of wisdom, a man of love, a man of truth. All these things are just the beginning of who you are, I know.” She kissed him and he fell asleep.

Chapter 7: Happily ever after

As Orlando woke he found that his hair was being played with, and Azura’s ear resting against his chest; listening to his heart beat.
“I am human now, I can feel it; I can live my own life now.” Orlando realized.
“Do you want to live on the land again?” Azura said trying not to sound like she really wanted him to stay with her.
“No, you said you can do anything with your magical voice. Can you turn me into a mermaid? So I can live my own life with you? And make love with you in the light?” Orlando asked.
“Yay!” Azura threw her arms around him “It will be a pleasure.” She smiled. And so Orlando left the ship to one of the best of his crew, and took a rowboat to the middle of the ocean so she could turn him into a merman. Even to this day Orlando and Azura are in love with each other, just yesterday Orlando wrapped his arms around her as she looked into a mirror brushing her hair and they both said in unison “Aw! We look so cute together!” And then they laughed and she looked to him, and he knelt down to kiss her.

Higurro
January 30th, 2012, 10:07 PM
I really like the way you describe the mermaid Azura, but I thought that Blanchard's vampirism was introduced too suddenly, almost as a throwaway comment. The chapters are exceedingly short, though this isn't a problem in itself (Brian Jacques, who sadly passed away last year, started his first book, Redwall, with some chapters of less than a page in length), but here there seems to be relatively little that separates one from the next in terms of content. Perhaps you could have the whole lot as one chapter, for simplicity's sake, or introduce some defining motif or theme to each (only a suggestion).

It's great to see a vampire who is cultured, deadly and powerful (unlike certain newer versions too obvious to mention), but you move over him way too quickly and how he finds Azura. If it were my story I might be tempted to turn the first two chapters into something more poetic; a narrated intro to the story. (I feel from the way it's written that it's tending somewhat to this as it is.) and then start the main body of the story in chapter three with him in the bath. A bit more character set-up and description of the ship should be held here.

To give a more interesting insight into the characters try introducing Blanchard (good name by the way) as strong, handsome, devilish etc and how he feels trapped or stifled without sunlight. This would show his state of mind, perhaps unguarded, exhibiting hubris or even a perverse prelapsarianism (don't forget the bath is a symbolic place of vulnerability, artistically, with paintings like the Death of Marat etc) and his reaction when hearing such beautiful singing would be all the more revealing.

I feel that sentences like "...he just wanted to make sure this half woman half fish was okay. He got her some bread and some juice..." let the mood down slightly by being too colloquial an modern-sounding.

"It’s a curse that can be put on a human as punishment for delinquency to a priest." I actually laughed out loud when I read that. Whether that was your intention or not, I'm rooting for the guy already.

I thought chapter six was a bit weaker, on account of Azura acting psychotic, rather than injured, and Blanchard completely falling apart in a rather spineless manner. In addition there seem to be some rather laboured points about inner beauty and prejudice which could be inferred. Chapter seven seems to be more of the same. I was expecting it to lead on to some complex relationship. Blanchard has too much brutal past and reputation to act that way without, at the very least, serious internal conflict. How would he look to his presumably bloodthirsty crew, for example?

The ending seems a bit fairytale-contrived to be believable, but I think chapters one to five give a solid start to work on. If you're not planning to do any more with this then fair enough, but if you're after feedback to build on then I would suggest scrapping the rather saccharine final chapters and seeing where else you can take the thing, because there's really a lot of potential for a cracking story here.


Apologies for writing "prelapsarianism" by the way. It's a new word I've just learnt and I was keen to try it out.

legendhunter
February 2nd, 2012, 01:36 AM
Thank you for all the advice Higurro but I just wrote this and rushed it on purpose because it is a valentines present to my girlfriend, she wanted to write a story about vampires and mermaids but couldn't come up with a concept for it. I wrote this just so she could have a concept of how she could make a vampire and mermaid story herself, There are subliminal reasons for why everything is the way it is in the story. I made the part where she was taken advantage of by the male mermaid and how Orlando saw the goodness in her because I wanted to show her that unlike her ex I wouldn't take advantage of her and I'd just love her for her. I put the part where she sang Orlando to sleep because I wanted to show her how much I appreciated that she sang me songs over the phone until I fell asleep almost like singing lullaby's to me. I made the story fairy tale like because she likes fairy tale like endings so I wanted to make it a happily ever after story with me and her, me as the vampire and her as the mermaid. And there is allot of conversation in there that is very similar to conversation I've actually had with her, so I wanted to put in the story things she would remember us talking about and things she would remember me telling her. The thing at the end where they looked in the mirror and said "we look so cute together!" actually happened with me and her, just it happened when we first got together. I made it short and to the point because that's all I needed to do to get the point across, a story short and simple story that got across that I love her and a story that she could use to inspire herself to write a story of her own.

With the story I guess you could say I wanted to get across that I would love her regardless of if she went insane on me or not, and that I would care for her no matter what, because I'd see inside at who I truly love.

Higurro
February 2nd, 2012, 11:50 AM
Admirable sentiments, but why request critiques?

legendhunter
February 3rd, 2012, 02:48 AM
Because I wanted to see how intelligent people would take the basic outline of the story concept I made. You seem intelligent and liked the basic outline of it, just suggested that I add more detail to it and make it longer; which my girlfriend can do that. Thank you Higurro for making me positive that the Vampire Orlando isn't just another of those lame vampires in today's version of vampires, I was trying to steer away from that and instead steer towards something more awe inspiring.