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BRSaye
April 21st, 2012, 07:46 PM
Hey guys. This is my first time posting anything for critique, so apologies if I don't do it right. This is the start of a story I've been working on.

When Lilith came too, her hands were dripping with blood. She was out of breath, standing over her father’s body and breathing deep, sagging breaths. Her Faux Shadow was pulsing slowly around her, beating in time with the rhythm of her heart. Six lay dead, her entire family. Her eyes were wild, as was her auburn hair.

The Knight stood not far off. He had not a drop of blood on him. He watched with a disconnected interest, as if it were a movie and not a real life slaughter he had just witnessed.

She looked down at her father’s body, unsure of how she had come here. She didn’t remember the last twenty minutes. From the blood on her hands, she didn’t think she wanted to.

She looked again at the Knight. Lilith didn’t know why he had come. She had only heard stories of Knights, had never seen one in person. But there he stood, in her very home, silhouetted by the setting sun as if he were something out of a story. And he was.

She heard noises from deeper within her house. She took her eyes off the Knight, looking behind her and toward the hallway leading to the bedrooms.
Then everything went black.



Anything would be great! Thanks for the help!

Gravehound
April 22nd, 2012, 12:02 PM
interesting. You paint a vivid picture. I am quite intrigued about this faux shadow.
The only thing I don't like is that it is way to short, even for an introduction.
I can't really say much more without reading more.
Post some more, I will be sure to read it

Cheers Ghound

BRSaye
April 22nd, 2012, 06:01 PM
Thanks for the critique. I honestly didn't feel comfortable posting too much, since I've only been here for a short time. This was a just a little piece I'd started. I'll work on expanding the intro out a little bit and post it back here. Thanks again!

Camden
April 22nd, 2012, 07:03 PM
I like it too! I think if you added in some description of the grisly scene, and the characters in it; the knight in gleaming armor, or modern day swat gear, what do the corpses look like, how badly are they mangled, what can the mc's clothes and posture tell us about her temperament and personality, might help flesh out the imagery and make it a little longer for you. (Unless the scene is part of the suspense) I do agree with Gravehound, a little longer and you'll be set.

BRSaye
April 22nd, 2012, 07:58 PM
Okay. I expanded on the intro. Thanks a lot for the criticisms, they were really helpful. I didn't want to spend a lot of time on the corpses, since it is more about her and the knight, but I did give a little bit more. Also, I'm having a bit of trouble on how to describe what the knight is wearing, though I added there as well. Also, I brought in some parts from later in the story to help flesh out the intro and give some more information.

When Lilith came too, her hands were dripping with blood. She was out of breath, hunched over her father’s body and breathing deep, sagging breaths. Her Faux Shadow was pulsing slowly around her, beating in time with the beating of her heart. Six lay dead, her entire family. Her eyes were wild, as was her auburn hair.

She forced herself to calm down, to slow her breathing. Her Faux Shadow responded in kind. As she calmed, it became nothing more than steam running off her body. She looked around the small house, taking in the scene. She didn’t remember the last twenty minutes. From the blood on her hands and what was left of her family, she didn’t think she wanted to.

The Knight stood not far off. His thick, black body armor was free from blood. He watched with a disconnected interest, as if it were a movie and not a real life slaughter he was looking upon. Lilith didn’t know why he had come. She had only heard stories of Knights, had never seen one in person. But there he stood, in her very home, silhouetted by the setting sun as if he were something out of a story.

This is his fault!

She shook her head. She knew the Rage was lying, was trying to re-ignite itself inside her.

Kill him!

She squeezed her eyes shut. No…not again…

Why not? He let you kill them!

Her hands opened and closed, tiny spurts of her Faux Shadow igniting each time she formed a fist before fading away like smoke.

You know you want to…

Her eyes crept opened. She stepped over her father and took a cautious step towards the Knight. The Knight didn’t react. He remained in the doorway, almost mockingly casual.

See? He doesn’t fear you. We can make him.

She began to walk towards the Knight, her hands still opening and closing, leaving a trail of smoky Faux Shadow behind her.

KILL HIM!

Her hands opened wide and her Shadow burst to life, encompassing her entire body. She seemed to grow as she advanced. Her Shadow screamed with a mind of its own, draining the light from the surrounding room. Soon, it was only the two of them. No house, no slain family. Only the Knight and the Demon. Lilith herself seemed to have faded inside the Shadow, lost to the Rage.

He waited until she was almost on him. She went for his heart, hoping to end the fight in a single, vicious strike. But he was a Knight. His life was for moments like these. His years of training, his years of harsh living, his time spent in the Wilds, where few ever returned.

The fight was indeed ended in one blow. But it had come from the Knight, not Lilith.

In a single motion, he side-stepped Lilith and pulled his own weapon free of its scabbard. The Katana was a heavy weapon, and its full weight was behind it as he brought the hilt down on the back of Lilith’s neck.

She immediately collapsed, landing face first just outside the doorway. Her Shadow blew out, like a torch in a storm. The Knight rolled Lilith to her back with his boot. He knelt down, bringing their faces close. For a moment, he only looked into her eyes, seeing the Rage inside her.

“You’re weak,” he said. “Clumsy.” A smile. “But we will change that.”

Camden
April 22nd, 2012, 08:29 PM
Firstly, very nice additions.

Only a couple of comments. I'm assuming the text in Bold is her Shadow talking to her. I would make sure the reader knows it's the shadow. (Also, italics are additions as examples for describing scene without losing your main focus, and a correction for redundancy)

Her eyes crept open. She stepped over what was left of her father and took a cautious step moved cautiously towards the Knight. The Knight He didn't react, He simply remained in the doorway, almost mockingly casual. (Why almost? The Knight does seem to mock her - at least to me, kind of his appeal! :) )
From the depths of somewhere she dare not tread, a voice rose inside her, eerily shrill yet hauntingly beautiful. ...See? He does not fear you. We can make him...

(These are just suggestions btw, don't let someones suggestions change how you feel your writing style is, and the example I'm giving is just an example not necessarily what you should do. I would also not us contractions with the voice, this should help the reader separate the voice even further from human. The statement in bold, I don't know if it's actually called anything, but I find using these kinds of descriptive contradictions of sorts, forces the reader to really think about what "eerily shrill yet hauntingly beautiful" would sound like and thus pulls them further into their own imagination. Setting up how the voice sounds to the girl, and using the ellipsis (...) in the beginning will free you from having to use them later. So later on you can just put ... text ... and the reader will know who's talking and what they sound like.)

I would also take out "But it had come from the Knight, not Lilith." Show don't tell - especially if you're about to tell it anyway. :) The reader will soon find out who won.

I don't know how to really explain this, but the last text “You’re weak,” he said. “Clumsy.” A smile. “But we will change that.” seems too broken up. An example might be better.
"You are weak, clumsy." He said as a slow grin stretched across his face, his eyes did not smile. "But, we will change that." I can tell you want to convey a somewhat drawn out dialogue between "You're weak" and "Clumsy" so the way I put it might not be what you're going for, but if you expand a little upon the nights demeanor before and after dialogue, it won't feel choppy and will also help to build the Knight in your readers mind without having to use long drawn out descriptions.

Also, as far as the armor. Is there anything special about the armor? Is it an inky slick blackness which betrays his knightly title, is it solid steel with no gleam, no shine, no frills just protection? Think about the properties of the armor, think about how the darkness or light play off it's color or it's material. That might help with forming a description you like.


Very good! I'm excited to see this story progress.

BRSaye
April 22nd, 2012, 09:47 PM
Thank you for the detailed critique. It was very helpful, not only on the parts you mentioned, but also expanding out other sections as well. I will continue on and post up some additional content when I get further along. Thanks again!

abuistrago
April 22nd, 2012, 10:18 PM
I wasn't too crazy about the first introduction. The additions make me not only understand where this is going but it makes me want to keep reading! I loved the last part. "But we will change that" It grabbed me right then and there. Nice!

Nevermore
April 22nd, 2012, 11:43 PM
I love the way you capture emotion so vividly, and I'm rather fond of your initial set up of mystery. Very, very nicely done. I believe you second draft fixes all the flaws I saw with the first draft.

Skodt
April 22nd, 2012, 11:59 PM
Just a general question to get a better grip. What era is this taking place in?

Other then that seems generic so far. Not bad, but generic. Nothing stands out as gripping reading. I mean to say that in that introduction I didn't get a feel for the characters. Kind of reminded me of a anime, and would have worked if I had visuals, but without more description I feel it's a little lacking visual depth. Also like another poster here said, you should tell who the voice belongs to. Although that gripe could be included in more description.

Other then that it's good practice. I am also sure that once a chapter develops you will be showing your own direction. Would like to see a full chapter before going into it to deep.

BRSaye
April 23rd, 2012, 12:56 AM
I've gone through the intro again, fixing most of the flaws that were pointed out. The third iteration had very minimal changes, so I don't think it's necessary to post a third time (unless you guys think so, I'm still new to the forums).

I'm still working on the next section, and will hopefully be able to get a full chapter's worth up soon.

Gravehound
April 23rd, 2012, 08:36 AM
Good job! Expecially like this part:
'She seemed to grow as she advanced. Her Shadow screamed with a mind of its own, draining the light from the surrounding room. Soon, it was only the two of them. No house, no slain family. Only the Knight and the Demon.'

A few points to pay attention to however. You talk about a knight, yet he wields a katana... If you first talk about a knight you instantly picture him with a sword, yet when you mention the katana, involuntarily it switches the whole picture around into a samurai. In my opinion a knight with katana don't mix under any circumstances.
Also when you describe the knight in his armor you should mention wether he is wearing a helmet or not. He clearly isn't as he smiles at her but you don't know that till the end. It might be a good idea to describe his face the same time as you describe his armor.

Can't wait to read more
Cheers GHound

BRSaye
April 29th, 2012, 10:08 PM
Okay, here is the a bit more. I reposted the beginning, since I changed it in a few key ways. There is also some more added onto the end.

When Lilith came too, her hands were dripping with blood. She was hunched over her father’s body and breathing deep, sagging breaths. Her Faux Shadow was pulsing slowly around her, beating in time with the beating of her heart. Six lay dead, her entire family. Her eyes were wild, as was her auburn hair.

She looked around the small house, taking in the scene. She didn’t remember the last twenty minutes. From the blood on her hands and what was left of her family, she didn’t think she wanted to. She forced herself to calm down, to slow her breathing. Her Faux Shadow responded in kind. As she calmed, it became nothing more than steam running off her body.

The Knight stood not far off. His thick, black body armor was free from blood. He watched through the thin slit in his helmet with a disconnected interest, as if it were a movie and not a real life slaughter he had just witnessed. Lilith knew why he had come. She’d heard the stories of Knights, though she had never expected one on her doorstep . But there he stood, in her very home, silhouetted by the setting sun like something out of a story.

Then she heard it, the voice she had only since heard in her darkest nightmares.

This is his fault!

She knew it was the Rage speaking to her, finally trying to free itself from her dreams. She couldn’t let it.

Kill him!

The color started to fade from her vision. She squeezed her eyes shut in protest. No…leave me alone…

Why? He let you kill them! He watched. He enjoyed it!

Her hands opened and closed, tiny spurts of her Faux Shadow igniting each time she formed a fist before fading away like smoke. The voice seemed to pick up on her weakening spirit. It returned again, calmer this time.

You know you want to…

Her eyes crept opened. Her vision was now colorless, only shades of gray. She stepped over her father’s mangled remains and made a cautious move towards the Knight. He didn’t react, didn’t show any fear. He remained in the doorway, mockingly casual.

See? He does not fear us. We can make him.

The Rage was so convincing. So…true. She began to walk towards the Knight, her hands still opening and closing, leaving a trail of smoky Faux Shadow behind her.

KILL HIM!

Her hands opened wide and her Faux Shadow burst to life, encompassing her entire body. She seemed to grow as she advanced. Her Shadow screamed with a mind of its own, draining the light from the surrounding room. Soon, it was only the two of them. No house, no slain family. Only the Knight and the Demon. Lilith herself seemed to have faded inside the Shadow, lost to the Rage.

He waited until she was almost on him. She went for his heart, hoping to end the fight in a single, vicious strike. But he was a Knight. His life was for moments like these. His years of training, his years of harsh living, his time spent in the Uncharted, where few ever returned.

In a single motion, he side-stepped Lilith and pulled his own weapon free of its scabbard. The Knight’s broadsword was a heavy weapon, and its full weight was behind it as he brought the hilt down on the back of Lilith’s neck.

She immediately collapsed, landing face first just outside the doorway. Her Shadow blew out, like a candle in a storm. The Knight rolled Lilith to her back with his boot. He knelt down, bringing their faces close. For a moment, he only looked into her eyes, seeing the Rage inside her. For the briefest of moments, he let his compassion show.

“You are out of control,” he said. “But we will change that.”

* * *

Lilith awoke with a shudder, hoping it had been another dream. They were coming more frequently now, nearly every night. Sometimes she’d even woken up with bloody scratches along her chest and arms.

But one look at her blood-stained hands confirmed her fears. The reality of what she’d done came flooding to her and she strangely felt no sadness. She felt nothing, and that nothing scared her more than the Rage inside her.

She looked again to her hands and noticed for the first time the shackles. She was sitting on a stone floor, her back propped up against a similar stone wall. The shackles were secured to the wall behind her. It was dark in the cell, the only light coming from the moon through a thin slit of a window near the top of the cell.

“My name is Lazarus,” a voice said. “We only have a few minutes.”

Sitting on a plain wooden stool just outside the rusted iron bars of the cell was the Knight. He had taken off his helmet, though the rest of his armor was still in place. His dark hair was short and disheveled and his face showed three days of stubble. A set of three, jagged scars ran from behind his left ear and across his cheekbone.

“Your Rage will try to take over again, and you will not be strong enough to resist.”

She stared at him in disbelief. He didn’t seem to notice.

“You have a chance to redeem yourself. A chance to prevent this from happening again.” He paused. “When the Rage speaks, you must resist. You can’t-”

“Why,” she asked, interrupting his speech. “Just…just kill me. It’s what I deserve.”

He stared back for a moment. “It is,” he agreed. “But neither of us want that.“

“I do.” She stood to her feet and walked towards him until her shackles pulled taut, stopping her in the middle of the cell. She lift her head and exposed her neck. “Do it.”

“You don’t want to die. You want an escape. You want control of your life again.” He paused and held her gaze. “You want the dreams to stop.”

Her head lowered. “How do you know what I want?”

“We have plans for you, Lilith. If you are strong enough to fight the Rage, strong enough to live, we can give you something to live for.”

“I don’t want what you have.” She returned to her place on the floor. “I know what your plans are, why you’ve kept me alive. I’ve heard the stories.”

“Then you know why I can’t kill you, why you must fight.”

“I don’t want to fight. I want to die.”

Lazarus rose to his feet, holding his helmet at his side. “We will see.” He turned his back to the cell and walked off into the darkness.

She stood to her feet as he left. “Don’t leave me here,” she screamed. He continued to walk away. “Stop!”

With the word, her vision changed, like a veil had been pulled over her eyes. The world became black and white. The only color was the Knight as he walked away. He was a crimson red.

Kill him!

She knew what was happening, knew she was losing control again. But she had no fight in her.

KILL HIM!!!!

Her arms pulled tight on the shackles.

RIP THEM FREE!!! KILL HIM!!!!

Her Faux Shadow exploded to life, engulfing her in ghastly, pale flames. The small stool where he had been sitting blew down the hall, landing beside Lazarus as he walked away. Lilith shrieked loudly, her Shadow echoing the call. With one clean jerk, she broke the shackles and stormed towards the bars.

Lazarus stopped and turned back. He stood in the hallway and watched as she pounded at the bars. He knew they would hold. Lilith was not the first to be imprisoned here, and it was doubtful she would be the last.

He heard footsteps. The Knight Commander, Sir Victor Elecita, was soon standing beside him. Victor was much older than Lazarus. His long, gray hair reached down to his shoulders. His face, though aged and wrinkled, still held the strength of his youth. He normally wore the same slick black armor as Lazarus had on, but was tonight dressed in a plain black robe with red trim.

“That was fast,” Victor said.

“She is…exceptionally angry.”

He glanced at the Knight before turning back to watch Lilith. “How did it go? At her house.”

“I was too late. She had already turned.”

“There was nothing you could have done different,” he said, though there was little comfort in his voice. This was beginning to become a regular occurrence. “And when she saw you?”

“She knew why I had come.”

“A knight in his imposing armor standing at your doorway can only mean one thing to a teenage girl.” Victor picked at a loose string on his robe. “I assume that is when she turned on you?”

Lazarus nodded.

“The house?”

“Burned, as usual. Her family was given a proper burial.”

“As they should. We cannot lose ourselves. Our jobs are not pleasant ones, Lazarus.” Victor sighed, putting a hand on Lazarus’s still-armored shoulder. “But, I will leave you to your work.”

And Lazarus was alone again. Alone to watch it play out. When it was over, he would leave. Whether Lilith left with him was up to her. He bent and straightened the stool. Sitting down, he waited.