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Archetype
March 20th, 2012, 01:12 AM
This is what I have so far on my first chapter. Before I get too much further I'm hoping to get some constructive critism. I'm also fleshing out a world as I go with this so it's a slow process.


Chapter One


The young man laid on his back looking up at the night sky. He was on top of a grass covered hill in the center of a field. There was no moon tonight so he could see the stars clearly. He could not remember ever being more calm. A warm breeze tugged at his hair and clothing as he studied the familiar constellations. Every child learned them and The Divines they represented.
The most easily recognized was Rithelm, the Shadowbreaker. He who brought order from the chaos at the time of creation. Rithelm was chief among The Divines and revered by most humans. He was light and wisdom personified. The young man on the hill never was very religious. But he could appreciate the simple beauty of this peaceful night.
But with a sudden intensity the gentle breeze became a chaotic whirlwind. The young man stood, struggling to keep his footing, and saw the trees at the edges of the field. They were thrashing back an forth in the torrent. He imagined someone in agony might thrash about like that.
The wind storm picked up in intensity. It smelled like death. He could no longer keep his footing and fell down the hill. He could not open his eyes against the wind. He held his head down with his eyes shut for what felt like a very long time.
As suddenly as the flurry of fetid wind began, it ended. When he opened his eyes the first thing he noticed was the landscape had changed. What was once a grass covered field surrounded by forest had become a flat, barren, and heat blasted. But more startling than this was what he saw when he looked up. The stars had totally vanished. The Divines were gone. He felt very alone and exposed.
Reality shifted. There was no other way to put it. He was now running down a long stone corridor. The sounds of many bare feet rapidly hitting stone followed him as he ran. He did not know where he was or why he was running. All he knew was that he absolutely had to outrun his pursuers. Glancing back he caught a glimpse of many pale naked forms. Some ran upright while others ran on all fours. He immediately turned forward, not wanting to see anymore. He kept running but the corridor just kept going.
After what seemed an eternity his entire body burned with exhaustion. Still running he spared another glance over his shoulder. The vaguely humanoid forms were much closer. He could see their faces now. Their eyes were sewn shut and their mouths were open far wider than a humans jaw would allow. Sheer terror was what had kept him running. But now absolute hopelessness overcame him. He simply collapsed to his knees unable to go on.
He tightly held his eyes shut. Time seemed to slow to an oppressive crawl. The first things he felt were ice cold hands on his shoulders, back, and neck. Followed by the piercing agony of their claw-sharp nails digging in.


And then they fed.

*****

The nightmare had come again. Ramath Arkor was sitting up on the palette that served as his bed. His worn tunic soaked in sweat as he tried to catch his breath. “Thank the Divines,” he said aloud as he realized his father was not home to be woken by his screams tonight. The last time that happened the man had nearly broken his arm in a drunken rage. Korben Arkor did not like to be up until well after sunup. Or interrupted when he brought home the latest strumpet his pay as a dockworker could afford. Whichever happened to be the case. It was a good thing the man had to work this night to unload a galleon that had arrived late in the day.
Ramath was a slim boy of average height for his fifteen years. His angular facial features and dark green eyes framed by unkempt black hair. He kept his hair long enough to cover the most obvious clue of his heritage. “Half-breed bastard” was among the kindest names he would be called. He learned at a young age that it was best to keep his pointed ears covered. Less chance of attracting attention that way.
The human-ruled nation of Norestead had been at war with the elven nation Tanshilae for over a decade now. The mountainous border between the two nations was a blood-soaked no man's land. Racial tensions were very high. Half-elves like Ramath were shunned on both sides.
It was a war for resources. A massive deposit of Astrumite had been found in the mountains that formed the border between the nations. Astrumite was a highly valued mineral with very unique properties. A person trained in its use could heal the most grievous of wounds, cure most illnesses, or destroy indiscriminately with fire or lighting. The abilities varied from person to person, as did the strength of the ability. Where the power came from or how Astrumite could channel it was not yet understood. Most believed Astrumite was a divine gift.
The sun had not yet risen but he did not want to sleep again. Not right now. He decided to leave the ramshackle house he shared with his father early. He spent most of his time near The Great Library. The city of Kyrune was well known throughout the world for its superior education. Scholars from all across Andorin came to the city's immense book repository seeking knowledge.
In Kyrune it was actually a law that all citizens had to be literate. From the poorest street urchin to the children of wealthy merchants. Citizen's were taught at a young age to be able to read. Instructors were payed to teach children in the various sections of the city. Of course, the wealthy could afford private lessons and would get further education beyond basic literacy.

Fallow
March 22nd, 2012, 11:41 PM
This is quite good. I'm interested in the protagonist already. A half-breed elf living among bigoted humans, with an abusive father is a really strong foundation to build upon. An issue I see with chapter one is that, considering the nightmare is recurrent and painful for Ramath Arkor, (As, no doubt, are memories of his father's drunken abuses.), he seems to spend too little time worrying about them. I think you make the leap from nightmare to backstory a bit too quickly. And one other thing-

". . .was a divine gift. The sun had not yet risen but he did not want to sleep. . ." One specific thing I'd like to point out is that, when you use "he" in the second sentence, who you're talking about is vague. You switched from explaining Astrumite to talking about Ramath, so you should consider referring to him by name again.

nathanmb
March 23rd, 2012, 12:28 AM
Yeah, I can't really give you that much of a feedback for it aside from saying it is a pretty good piece of literature.

itsraining
March 23rd, 2012, 06:39 PM
Other than what Fallow pointed out... it's a great piece!

The creatures scare the living bejeazes out of me! And I'm so wanting to know more of what these things are! Are they mutilated elves? Mutilated humans? Is this what becomes of men and elves who use this Astrumite? Very, very interesting!

I would like to know a little more background of this nightmare though. When he started having it? What he thinks of it? You know, the things people think about when they wake up from reoccurring nightmares. However, LIKE reoccurring nightmares... you get bored of thinking about them, which might be what he's doing? I'd like to know what he researches in the library! Is he trying to figure out what this dream means?

LOVE IT! I'm begging for more! :D I think this could be a very​ interesting piece! Thanks for sharing it!

Archetype
March 27th, 2012, 11:03 PM
I'm glad some people enjoy what I have so far. And thanks for the advice!

I will definitely continue with this and add some more detail. I am trying to make Ramath seem jaded to the nightmare, as well as the abuse he gets from his father and the rest of the city. I'll try to make that more clear. :)

Fallow
March 27th, 2012, 11:19 PM
Good. But when you make that clear, don't just tell the reader about how Ramath feels. You have to show them- show them how people avoid Ramath, make thinly veiled insults, how shop owners charge him higher prices for things than their purely human customers, etc. Make Ramath's feelings towards his father visible when they're together. Things like that. Best of luck. ;)

Archetype
March 31st, 2012, 07:57 PM
Alright I'm posting everything I have so far again. I kept the nightmare scene the same but made a lot off changes to what happens when Ramath wakes up. Also I went back and read what I had before a few times and it started to feel like I was reading a manuall or something. I was beginning to try fitting too many details about the world into one chapter. I realized I should let the details come as they come and let the situations speak for themselves. I also added a little bit of grim prophecy for some foreshadowing. Hope you enjoy it. :)



“He was the afterbirth of creation. The shadow cast by the divine light.
The dead will be his slaves and the light will fade at his coming.
He is the stillborn god and his passing will scar the world.”
- Unidentified Adept of the Azure Order




Chapter One: The Nightmare


The young man laid on his back looking up at the night sky. He was on top of a grass covered hill in the center of a field. There was no moon tonight so he could see the stars clearly. He could not remember ever being more calm. A warm breeze tugged at his hair and clothing as he studied the familiar constellations. Every child learned them and The Divines they represented.
The most easily recognized was Rithelm, the Shadowbreaker. He who brought order from the chaos at the time of creation. Rithelm was chief among The Divines and revered by most humans. He was light and wisdom personified. The young man on the hill never was very religious. But he could appreciate the simple beauty of this peaceful night.
But with a sudden intensity the gentle breeze became a chaotic whirlwind. The young man stood, struggling to keep his footing, and saw the trees at the edges of the field. They were thrashing back an forth in the torrent. He imagined someone in agony might thrash about like that.
The wind storm picked up in intensity. It smelled like death. He could no longer keep his footing and fell down the hill. He could not open his eyes against the wind. He held his head down with his eyes shut for what felt like a very long time.
As suddenly as the flurry of fetid wind began, it ended. When he opened his eyes the first thing he noticed was the landscape had changed. What was once a grass covered field surrounded by forest had become a flat, barren, and heat blasted. But more startling than this was what he saw when he looked up. The stars had totally vanished. The Divines were gone. He felt very alone and exposed.
Reality shifted. There was no other way to describe it. He was now running down a long stone corridor. The sounds of many bare feet rapidly hitting stone followed him as he ran. He did not know where he was or why he was running. All he knew was that he absolutely had to outrun his pursuers. Glancing back he caught a glimpse of many pale naked forms. Some ran upright while others ran on all fours. He immediately turned forward, not wanting to see anymore. He kept running but the corridor just kept going.
After what seemed an eternity his entire body burned with exhaustion. Still running he spared another glance over his shoulder. The vaguely humanoid forms were much closer. He could see their faces now. Their eyes were sewn shut and their mouths were open far wider than a humans jaw would allow. Sheer terror was what had kept him running. But now absolute hopelessness overcame him. He simply collapsed to his knees unable to go on.
He tightly held his eyes shut. Time seemed to slow to an oppressive crawl. The first things he felt were ice cold hands on his shoulders, back, and neck. Followed by the piercing agony of their claw-sharp nails digging in.


And then they fed.


*****


The nightmare had come again and Ramath Arkor woke up screaming. There was always the same peaceful beginning. Followed by the violent and malodorous plague wind. And then the same frantic chase down the endless passage. Followed by his inevitable death as he was eaten alive by the cadaverous things from the shadows. Night after loathsome night for months this ghastly dream been coming to Ramath. He knew having this same recurring nightmare night after night was not normal. He thought it must have some meaning. However by this point, after the initial shock wore off, he had given up trying to make any sense of it. The nightmare simply was, and would continue to be.
Ramath was a slim boy of average height for his fifteen years. His angular facial features and dark green eyes framed by unkempt black hair. He kept his hair long enough to cover the most obvious clue of his heritage. “Half-breed bastard” was among the kindest names he would be called. He learned at a young age that it was best to keep his pointed ears covered. Less chance of attracting attention that way.
Ramath was trying to get comfortable again on the pallet that served as his bed when the door to his tiny room crashed open with a loud bang. It shook the walls of the ramshackle house. “This is the last time boy!” shouted Ramath's father.
Korben Arkor was a big man. He always reeked of cheap ale and salty sea air. His skin was tan from many long years as a dockworker, and it looked tight on his wrinkled face. And right now that face looked furious indeed. He grabbed Ramath by his worn burlap tunic, ripping the collar, and hauled him off of the pallet. “Every gods damed night with yer hollerin'! Ya know I don't like ta be interrupted when I bring home a lady!” Korben shouted.
Korben backhanded Ramath across the mouth with his fist, cutting Ramath's lip and sending droplets of blood flying. Ramath thought about fighting back. But every time he had even attempted to defend himself against his father it always resulted in greater pain and the occasional broken bone. Ramath just kept his arms to his sides, not looking Korben in the eyes, knowing his father's rage would soon be spent.
Korben then slammed Ramath into the wall. He would have a bruised shoulder on top of a broken lip now. Ramath caught a glimpse of the woman his father brought home. She was standing in the other room watching. She also had a slim build, an angular face, and pointed ears. Her hair was a deep red and she would have been called pretty if she didn't look so drained. Half-elves were not treated well in the human nation of Norestead. Especially not in the capitol city Kyrune. Here they were second class citizens. Norestead had been at war with the elves of Tanshilae for longer than Ramath had been alive. Racial tensions were high and half-breeds often wound up in positions like this young woman. Whoring out her body to men like Korben Arkor, who had a taste for the exotic. Ramath supposed that's how he must have been born. To an elven mother he never knew.
Korben grabbed Ramath by the hair and dragged him to the outside door. “Yer sleepin' outside tonight!” he bellowed as he tossed Ramath out into the damp night, slamming the door shut behind him.