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View Full Version : Scourge 4 (Mild Language, Violence)



kinetika
February 16th, 2013, 04:39 AM
I normally don't post my work because I have a specific critique person whom I share this with, but I'm curious to see what other people say. I posted another excerpt somewhere on this site, too, but anyway... I'm still re-writing the start of the story since I first wrote it in a script format because I was going to make it a graphic novel. About four years ago, I started to turn it into a novel format and I haven't gotten to far. I re-wrote about 10 pages of the first book, but I wanted to start "fresh" -- somewhere that forced me to actually create and not edit/re-word, so I chose where I left off: Book 4. This would be the first chapter.

Brief info: The story about an elf woman (Xyrathana Everbrand) who essentially has a "perfect life", and her parents are legends/heroes in the world, but she has existential conflicts with herself and questions her purpose/being. She learns of a demon-possessed sword that has telepathic abilities (on of others), and the story revolves around them and her journey in trying to find her place in the world. There is a whole lot to this story, but I can't really describe too much without it becoming me telling you the actual story.

What I'm posting may not make sense because it's not complete and you have to know the story behind it, but I feel it wouldn't be too distracting since I'm wanting to see opinions on the way I write. I wish I had it all re-written up to this part because I can't really post much of anything since it's the middle of the story. Anyway, enough rambling:






Tree branches swayed calmly in the wind, rustling the leaves that sprouted on their timbered limbs. The sound was melodious, soothing, and had a strange, divine quality to it, but was accompanied with a sense of emptiness. Desolation.

“Xyrathana…,” whispered a voice through the air, its tone feminine and gentle like the soft winds that carried it. Lying on the ground was the young sorceress, unconscious and sleeping soundly in the middle of a large meadow, oblivious to the world around her.

“Xyrathana,” the voice called out to her, again. A slight breeze followed, brushing through the elf’s silky, raven hair. The utterance of her name echoed within her mind, but what had awakened her was a steady buzzing noise that gradually increased in volume, along with electrical sensations that coursed down through her spine, and through her extremities. Even her senses were getting out of comatose. Xyrathana gasped and immediately opened her eyes, squinting from the light. Her vision was blurred and out of focus, and her ears rang. She also had a killer headache, one that felt as though someone were hammering and chiseling away at every side of her skull.

Xyrathana laid on the ground until she came to. Ignoring the pain, and still a bit dazed, she willed herself to sit up, then took a moment to examine her surroundings. She found herself in a vast field bordered by trees, and far off to her right was a mountain range that spanned for miles. The grass stood tall and fluttered freely in the wind, its pigment a healthy green, and it emitted an unusual, magic aura that made it glisten. But the most beautiful, and peculiar, detail of the landscape was the sky. It was red-violet at the horizon then blended into shades of indigo. Hundreds of stars dotted the sky overhead, despite two suns—

Two suns?, Xyrathana thought, stunned by the sight. Clearly she wasn’t on Epithet anymore.

Both suns shined brightly: one small and sitting higher in the sky than the other, burning a brilliant white; the other glowed a cool, magenta hue and was massive—twice the size of Epithet’s normal sun—, and sat just above the horizon, almost touching it.

“Absolutely surreal,” Xyrathana said, enamored by the scenery. She admired the landscape a while longer before finally deciding to get up and explore the area. She hoped that maybe she’d find someone who could answer the questions she had, but at the same time, she thought it might be best to not encounter anything in this foreign place. She felt normal—powerless—here, devoid of not only her magical ability but separated from her new companion, the sword, Scourge. She wouldn’t be able to defend herself, should the need arise, but regardless of her apparent futility, her curiosity wouldn’t allow her to stay put; it just wasn’t in her nature. After all, her curiosity was what got her here to begin with.

Xyrathana kept walking, and the further she moved across the field, the more bizarre this alien world became. Faerie orbs began to manifest and dance around her, and that, coupled with the glistening grass, enhanced the landscape’s already vibrant qualities. She then looked down and noticed a variety of wild flowers slowly sprouting and blooming by her feet, and behind her, more flora had grown where ever she had set foot.

“What is this place?” she wondered, absolutely awe-struck.

Xyrathana knelt down to pick one of the flowers—a marigold with an orange-red center that merged into yellow edged petals, petals that were still covered with gleaming beads of dew—, then she brought it up to her face. She twirled the flower, gently, between her thumb and index finger. Its elegance captivated her; its innocence a trait she envied—a quality she had surrendered to lost love and adolescence; its purity an attribute she yearned for, but no longer possessed—a virtue forbidden to those whose souls were stained with sin… and hers was far from immaculate.

One of the dewdrops flickered at her, then it slid down its petal until it reached the tip, and there the bead hung—but only for a moment—before it dropped, as if the flower wept for her. Then, soon after hitting the ground, the droplet suddenly transformed into a radiant butterfly and took flight.

“I must be dreaming.” Xyrathana said as she watched the creature fly off into space. The realization brought her to the brink of lucidity, but it was short-lived, eclipsed by a fleeting recollection of her violent encounter with the two vampiric men—the last thing she could remember before waking up here; a memory that not even this heavenly realm could help her forget. Then it struck her: the droplet’s miraculous metamorphosis; the unnatural spawning of flowers; the two alien suns; the ghostly landscape; and the serenity she felt. It all made sense to her now.

“Could I be… dead?”

Xyrathana was distraught, but before she could grieve the possibility of being dead and experiencing some sort of afterlife reality, something—someone, rather—a few yards ahead caught her attention.

The stranger stood at the mouth of the wood, near some thicket, with his back turned to her. He was about six feet tall, had short auburn hair, and wore attire similar to that of what Darec would wear: a “poet shirt”, a frilly cream-colored shirt that he would partially tuck into tight, form-fitting black pants; pants that accented not only his lean and well-toned legs, but his posterior as well, a characteristic of his that Xyrathana loved. An impish smirk found itself on her face, but she didn’t allow the daydream to progress any further and snapped out of the lust-filled stupor. Even though it may look like Darec, she still hadn’t confirmed it was him, yet.

“Darec…?” she said, approaching the stranger, cautiously. “Is that you?”

The man turned around in a slow, blurred motion, adding a dramatic and ghostly effect to his movement, revealing his face to her. Xyrathana’s heart stopped in her chest, and her eyes widened.

Darec smiled at her—the same smile that had captured her love years ago. The expression his face wore was of joy… of content. And his hazel eyes lit up like the stars above. He looked at peace. Happy; happy to see her.

“Darec!” Xyrathana shouted, running to him like an elated preteen girl that had just seen their favorite thespian.

Darec threw his arms wide open and grinned just as wide. Despite all that had happened between them, all the difficulties and sorrow they went through the last few months, they were to be united again…, their love infallible, and that—to be in his arms once more—was heaven for her. Xyrathana ran for what felt like an eternity, every step a mile, but finally, her paramour was just a few feet ahead of her, and when she got close enough, she wasted no time to leap at him, ecstatic and ready to be caught in his loving embrace—

But she phased right threw him, lost her footing, and stumbled onto the cold, rigid ground. Xyrathana turned around, confused by what had just happened. Darec was still standing in the same place, his back to her… still holding his arms open, and—

“No…” she whispered, glumly, spotting a slender, feminine figure off in the distance, coming towards them. Dread quickly sank in, snuffing out every last bit of hope she had to cling to. The figure was too far for her to make out who it was, but she didn’t need her eyes to tell her that; she already knew.

“Not her,” Xyrathana said, voice shaky, lips quivering, and glassy eyed. “Not… her.”
Tera leapt into Darec’s arms—the way Xyrathana wanted to and always had—and he spun her around, romantically. Seeing the two of them, smiling and laughing, in each other’s arms, tore Xyrathana apart, but what really set her off was the ensuing kiss. A dagger thrust deep into her heart.

“No!” Xyrathana screamed, reaching out, helplessly, for Darec. “I— I loved you!” she yelled, tears flooding her eyes and streaming down her cheeks, while the couple continued to embrace one another in front of her. “Why did you do this to me, Darec?”

“Why!” she whimpered. “Answer me… please.”

Darec didn’t hear her. Or he just didn’t care. The only thing that mattered to him was his fling with Tera—not the damaged, seemingly unsalvageable relationship he had with Xyrathana. And she couldn’t stand it. She couldn’t stand the fact another woman stole away her man, that this same ‘man’ allowed it to happen, and did so behind her back without so much as a warning, or the decency to call their relationship off, before getting intimate with this whore.

He cheated. The words gnawed at her brain. He cheated on me!

Xyrathana balled her hands up into fists so tight, she nearly dug her pointed nails into the soft flesh on her palms, and trembled with a rage and agony so intense, her mortal body could hardly contain her distressed, wistful spirit within anymore. It sought— No, it needed vengeance.

The surroundings around her changed, reflecting her turbulent mood. The trees’ bark withered and cracked, and their leaves decayed and shed off the branches. The trail of exotic flowers shriveled up and turned to weeds, and the grass slowly yellowed with each gust of wind that combed it. The once beautiful, red-violet and indigo sky darkened with thick, rolling grey clouds. Light flashed soon after, followed by a roaring ‘Clap!’ that shook the valley… but no rain fell.

“Well,” said a rasp voice, infiltrating and disrupting her thoughts. “What are you waiting for?”

Lying in front of her now was her sword, Scourge, and she could feel the ruby at the base of the blade glaring at her—glaring at her very soul; quietly, yet loudly, suggesting its offer to her. She didn’t know what frightened her more about the demon sword: its sentience or its ability to intrude her mind whenever it pleased.

“Do it,” the sword ordered, as the couple twirled in blissful glee, paying no mind to the brewing storm overheard, nor the emotional turmoil within Xyrathana.

“Kill them!”

The words tickled Xyrathana’s ears and incited her vengeful thoughts, but her murder-lust wasn’t sated… it desired more. Much more. She looked at Darec and Tera, then back at the sword. A drop of rain hit the ground—almost on cue—and without a second thought, she acted.

“Damn you!” Xyrathana cursed, her adrenaline surging. “Damn you both!” She grabbed the sword, got off the ground, unsheathed the blade and threw its scabbard aside, then charged at Darec and Tera in a blinding fit of rage, sword held low to her side until she got to her targets. The first swing came, usually the one thwarted by doubt—but no regrets came behind it… only a strong, unadulterated expression of indignation.

There was no turning back.

A flurry of rain assaulted the land, as did Xyrathana’s relentless attack on her victims. She struck them numerous times, every swing done so in an efficient and fluid manner, each strike more exhilarating to her than the last. Blood splattered in the air, mixed in with rain.

“Yes! Don’t stop!,” Scourge urged her, reveling in the violence it had wrought through its wielder. “Don’t stop!”

Murder had become more than just an act to her—it became an art. Like a painter used her brush, Xyrathana made every stroke as clean and crisp as possible... their fleshy bodies her canvas. And even after her victims lay, lifeless, on a pool of their own gore, she continued to slash and hack away at them. Laughing… and laughing… and laughing. She was possessed. Then, suddenly, the murderous rush started to subside, her high gone just as quickly as it had come. Rage soon became horror. Her laughing turned into bouts of angry screams and sobs, until, finally, her furious barrage ceased, leaving both of her victims unrecognizable with severed limbs and deep cuts on their torsos—but only Tera was beheaded. Xyrathana dropped Scourge and fell to her knees. Her hair and face were soaked with blood, and her outfit was drenched in her victims’ gore. The rain had stopped with one last flicker of lightning, but the gloom overhead remained.

“What have I done…,” Xyrathana said, looking at the maimed corpses, knee-deep in remorse. “What’s wrong with me? I—” The words froze on her lips.

“Murderer…”

Xyrathana sprung to her feet, startled by Darec’s ghoulish utterance of the word. The creature looked back at her, blankly, but she knew the voice was his.

“Why did you murder us…?” Tera’s headless body grabbed her by the ankle with its single remaining arm. Xyrathana gasped and yanked her leg back, freeing herself from the zombie’s grasp. Darec, too, began to stir and move about. He was missing his bottom half, and only had half of an arm left, but his face was still mostly intact. Tera, on the other hand, looked the most grotesque: she had one arm, both her legs were severed, she was split open from the belly to the lower part of her chest, revealing entrails, and her head lay a few feet behind Xyrathana… missing its top half. And yet, it still spoke.

“Murderer…”

“Murderer…”

They kept repeating the word in a ghastly tone, while they inched their way closer to Xyrathana, reaching for her feet. Horrified, she screamed, turned around, and tried to run away…

“Belzin…? Traven…?”

Dumbfounded, yet again, by the inexplicable, Xyrathana’s former masters were standing right in front of her, their faces expressionless and their gaze condemning her. She felt a tug at her ankle—Tera grabbed her leg, again—and she kicked the zombies away from her, then turned her attention back to the archmages.

“Help me, masters,” she pleaded. “Please!”

“Why should we help a murderer like you?” Belzin said, denouncing her.

“You didn’t show them any mercy,” Traven added.

“I… But…” Xyrathana stammered, trying to explain herself.

“Speechless, are we?” Belzin interjected with an uncharacteristically brash tone.

“Guilty!” Traven blurted out in adjudication.

“No!” Xyrathana objected. “It was an accident— I didn’t—”

“Guilty!” Both mages decreed, in unison, cutting her testimony short.

“Guilty!”

Tera grabbed hold of Xyrathana’s leg and started to pull herself up her pant leg, while Darec groaned and moaned at her feet, extending his half-cut arm up at her; grief etched on his gaunt face. The lament in his eyes impacted her in a way that felt as though he were transferring his pain to her. An immense sense of misery overtook her, and it made her want to kill herself.

Xyrathana shrieked and kicked the zombies off her legs, then bolted past her former masters, bursting between them. Flight was her only option, now.

“You can’t run forever!” Belzin yelled out to her.



* * * * *





I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope to have the second half of the chapter posted within two weeks.

Circadian
February 17th, 2013, 06:35 PM
Well this was certainly interesting. I could picture this in my head perfectly for all the detail you added. It was certainly creepy by the end. Did this actually happen or is it supposed to be a dream? It has a bit of a surreal quality to it, but having no knowledge of prior events, I don't know all the rules to the story.

There are a few minor adjustments I'd like to point out.


Lying on the ground was the young sorceress; unconscious and sleeping soundly in the middle of a large meadow, oblivious to the world around her.

Saying that she was "unconscious and sleeping soundly" is redundant. You can drop one or the other of those and still get the same meaning.


She hoped that maybe she’d find someone that could answer the questions she had...

"...she'd find someone who could answer the questions she had..."


The man turned around in a slowed, blur motion...

"...in a slow, blurred motion..."


“Darec!” Xyrathana shouted, running to him like an elated preteen girl that had just seen their favorite pop star.

"...who had just seen her favorite pop star."


Dread quickly sunk in, snuffing out every last bit of hope she cling to.

This reads awkwardly. Try "Dread quickly sank in, snuffing out every last bit of hope she had to cling to."


“What have I done…,” Xyrathana said, looking at the disfigured and maimed corpses, knee-deep in remorse.

Another redundancy. Disfigured and maimed mean about the same thing.

I think your descriptions, while written in great detail, could be tightened up in a few places. I noticed that some of your sentences are really long; these could be cut down to size or split into more than one sentence. Phrases such as "felt as though someone were hammering and chiseling away at every side of her skull" and "the landscape’s already vibrant and enchanting qualities" feel a bit full. Also, you use quite a lot of semi-colons and dashes, some of which are unnecessary.

But overall, this was a well-written piece and has me intrigued. Just keep working on it and it should turn out rather nicely.

~Circe

LamentableBard
February 18th, 2013, 03:01 AM
Your writing flows nicely and your description is great. Love the sound of this strange paradise Xyrathana finds herself in that can seemingly change on a whim. I have a soft spot for inanimate objects that gain sentience for some unknown reason so I'm loving Scourge, even if all it wants to do is kill, kill, kill! :razz:

One or two minor niggles that leapt out at me:


“How surreal.”

There's nothing wrong with the dialogue itself and you do go on to describe Xyrathana's wonder at her new surroundings in the following paragraphs but as an opening reaction, I thought this fell a bit flat. It seemed almost deadpan after the beautiful description in the preceding lines.


“Darec!” Xyrathana shouted, running to him like an elated preteen girl that had just seen their favorite pop star.

This line seemed really out of place in relation to the fantastical world of your narrative.

Like I said, minor niggles that haven't already been mentioned. I hate to be so picky, but there wasn't a whole lot wrong with this in the first place! =P~

kinetika
February 19th, 2013, 03:06 AM
I appreciate the comments and input, and I will take the suggestions into consideration.

Circadian: I do tend to write redundant sentences, and spend most of my time trying to fix those, but I guess I still missed a few lol. The overuse of em dashes and semi-colons is probably one of my worst habits. And yes, it is a dream. My main character has several profound dreams, but I think this one is probably my favorite. I myself have incredibly vivid and symbolic dreams, and it's an aspect I put in my story because it adds to her existential crisis. There are a lot of things I add into the story--substance use, altered states of consciousness, and philosophy (existentialism and metaphysics)--to give it a more realistic feel and not just the typical struggle of a hero. Why I disguise all that into a fantasy setting is beyond me, but most of what I do is subconscious.

LamentableBard: I'm still trying to experiment on how to make the story a fantasy that can have the themes of a traditional fantasy, but at the same time have a modern theme that can make it relate more to our world. So if you, or anyone else had any suggestions on how to do that, I'd be grateful.

I'm also glad you liked the sword. Its background is as detailed and thought out as any other 'living' character in the story, and perhaps deeper. Book 1 details its history and how it came to be, but I tell it through the eyes of one of its first owners. You see it, as well as Xyrathana, evolve throughout the story, and I really enjoyed writing out their dialog with each other. Like I said in my initial post, I wish I could post it out from the beginning, but I'm re-writing it and what's before this is not as well-written because I wrote it several years ago when I still was learning how to write... so there are some plot holes, among other things, that need to be fixed. Plus, I felt like I was getting nowhere and starting where I left off (Book 4) gave me more motivation to write.

LamentableBard
February 21st, 2013, 03:07 AM
I think the whole appeal of an inanimate object that somehow gains sentience is just how alien that objects agenda is. I mean its a given that a sword would want to kill; it's a weapon and that is its purpose but I think the real draw for me is thinking perhaps it has a motive for its actions apart from the obvious. After reading your excerpt for instance, I found myself wondering if Scourge had a reason for wanting Darec snd Tera dead? Perhaps it was trying to shake Xyrathana from a dream that so clearly distressed her or maybe it was acting for clearly selfish reasons? It could simply be because it loves killing and is covetous of it's current reader but rest assured, I would be hooked until the big reveal.

As for my earlier criticism; it just felt odd mentioning something as modern as pop stars in the midst of such a fantastical world. If your world has pop music then it's not such a stretch at all. If not, you could easily edit the line to something more fitting the bounds of your world such as "...like an elated youngling who had just seen her first *insert magically rare creature here*" That would still capture here excitement and joy without wrenching the reader from the writing.

That's just an example, I am by no means telling you how to write in any way and the line itself may be fine when taken in context with the rest of your novel. As I said, it's a credit to your writing when I have to pick at one small sentence like that.

kinetika
March 10th, 2013, 05:28 PM
I'm not finished, but this is the rest of the dream/nightmare, and it's all I'm going to post. It came out okay, but I'm sure there are places I have to fix/redo. The thing I'm not too sure about is if I put too much dialogue, since it is a dream... but I have had dreams myself that had about as much talking as this. And I've also had dreams seem so real I woke up confused whether or not I was still dreaming. I'd probably have to go back to one of the dream forums I use to frequent, to get an opinion on that subject, though. I also edited the original piece. It didn't change too much, though.









Tree after tree passed her by, wrapping and contorting around Xyrathana like oaken serpents; the stamping of her hurried feet coarse ripples in the dour stillness. Canopy grew thicker, and more dense. Thin beams of moonlight broke through the heavy foliage, dimly lighting the haunted paths ahead. Moisture gathered in the air, conjuring up a thick mist, diabolic in nature, and her presence attracted eyes just as fell. Incoherent voices whispered in all directions… gossiping amongst themselves, and snickered unpleasantly at her blight. Doomed souls condemned to this place or a mind stricken with madness, she knew not which, and she didn’t care to know. All that mattered to her was putting as much distance between her and the monsters she left behind.

Thud!

Xyrathana clipped a foot on a rock protruding from the ground and fell to her hands and knees. The ground was moist and muddy underneath her, and she could hear someone nearby trudging through the slush… approaching her. Panting, and gasping for air, she quickly looked up and saw the silhouette of a woman standing before her. The mist cleared just enough to reveal the newcomer’s identity.

“Auriel!” Xyrathana exclaimed, overjoyed at the sight of her childhood friend.

“Shut up.” Auriel barked.

Xyrathana was caught off guard by her friend’s hostile retort and said nothing. Whatever this… thing is, surely wasn’t the same cheery, meek person she knew.

“Just look at you,” Auriel scolded, “Pathetic!”

Xyrathana stared at her, dumbstruck. What could she say, or do? She’s experienced enough already, and she knew she was at the mercy of this doppelganger, whether she accepted it or not.

“Are you happy with what you’ve become?” Auriel asked her.

“What do you mean?” Xyrathana replied, finally, at a loss.

“See for yourself.”

Auriel took a step back, and a mirror materializes in front of her, allowing Xyrathana to look unto herself: Scarlet-colored eyes, skin milky white and that of a corpse, and those fangs… those horrible, vampiric fangs!

“That can’t be me,” Xyrathana said, in disbelief.

“Wasn’t becoming the Dark Mistress—the Chosen One—enough for you?” Auriel decried with a glare just as critical. “But a vampire, too?”

Xyrathana rose to her feet and put a hand on the cold mirror, still stunned by the unfamiliar reflection of herself.

“Honestly,” Auriel said, “how much further do you intend to fall from grace?”

Of all the things Xyrathana had experienced—the subtle onset of depression, the heartbreak, the murders, taking the sword from its prison, and abandoning everything, and everyone, she cared about—this by far had to be the worst reality. All she wanted was adventure, to see distant, far off lands, both forbidden and mystical. She wanted power, power that she could wield for the sake of good and all that was ‘just’. She wanted fame, fame like that her parents had and enjoyed. She wanted to be a role model—a heroine of the ages, whose exploits would be sung in song. But most of all, she wanted to be loved, to have someone stand behind her on this grand journey of hers: to support her; to guide her; to protect her; to make her laugh; to hold her on those cold nights when a blanket just wouldn’t suffice; to make her feel significant; and to one day look back and reminisce, together, on the glory of it all.

Her vision… her dreams… they were gone—all of it!—lost to this hideous creature she saw in the mirror before her. She had become a monster, yet a part of her liked what she saw. She had become the ideal archetype of the “Dark Mistress”: the embodiment of suffering… a symbol of death. A wry grin crept onto Xyrathana’s bleak face, and she let out a demented chuckle which soon evolved into a maniacal laughter.

“I’ll go as far as it takes,” Xyrathana stated, haughtily. Then she thrust an arm through the looking glass, shattering it, and grabbed Auriel by the throat. “And I don’t intent to stop any time soon. Not for you… not for anyone!”

Auriel smiled back at her, in satisfaction. “That… That’s exactly what I wanted to hear,” she said, harshly, in a breathless tone.

“NOW KILL ME!”

Xyrathana was confused by her friend’s unusual demand, and hesitated.

“C-Come on,” Auriel coughed, “kill me… COWARD!”

Angered, Xyrathana put her other hand around Auriel’s tiny neck and closed her hands around it like a clamp.

“Ti-Tighter!” Auriel spat, forcing the word out of her constricted airway.

Xyrathana tightened her grip, piercing Auriel’s delicate skin with her sharpened nails. Blood oozed out, and she pressed down on Auriel’s trachea with her thumbs, slowly crushing her windpipe. But then she paused, and slightly loosened her grasp. Her conscience broke through her insanity, once more, injecting its final dose of doubt into her warped mind.

“K-Kill me, dammit!” Auriel commanded in an attempt to redirect Xyrathana.

Though she knew this creature wasn’t truly her friend, Xyrathana still questioned why she was doing it. Was it worth it? She asked herself. Is the pursuit of power worth all this? Is it worth taking all these lives?

“Are you… Are you second guessing yourself?” Auriel ridiculed, amused by Xyrathana’s sudden inner strife. “Why would you? You have nothing to lose. You’ve killed two, already. No one would take you back; you’re irredeemable. So what’s one more life to you?”

“Murderer.”

The word was a slap to the face, and the smugness Auriel gave her when she said it irritated Xyrathana far more. Disrespectful little wench. Who does she think she is making slights at me. Me—the Chosen One! “I’m the one in control,” Xyrathana shouted, saying her thoughts out loud, “not this insolent girl whose fate is literally in my hands!”

“Think-think-think. Talk-talk-talk,” Auriel chuckled. “You might as well kill me with your words, because this whole strangling thing just isn’t working out for you; you haven’t the stomach for it.”

“Shut up, you bitch,” Xyrathana cursed, taking the bait, and tightening her grasp on Auriel’s neck. “I tire of you; I tire of this senseless place; and I especially tire of this stupid game of yours.” Anger surged through her arms and down to her hands, and she squeezed Auriel’s neck as hard as she could. “You want to die? Then so be it!” Bones cracked under the pressure of her grip and she choked Auriel until her head flopped about like a rag doll, then she tossed the lifeless body to the ground.

“You got your wish,” Xyrathana said with gritted teeth. “And by the gods, I am no murderer. You, and the others, forced my hand!”

A faint laughter came from the presumed corpse of Auriel.

“Butcher… killer… murderer. Take your pick; they’re all the same.”

Xyrathana looked at the ‘corpse’ with widened eyes. Auriel lay face down, her head turned to Xyrathana, and was breathing laboriously.

“So why…” she coughed. “Why continue to deny what you are?”

“I’m not what you say I am,” Xyrathana refuted. “I didn’t mean for all this to happen. One thing just lead to another.”

“Nonsense!” Auriel coughed once more. “Accept what you are and what you’ve done.”

“No!”

“Yes!” Auriel rebutted. “For your sake, and for the sake of everyone you know. Rid yourself of that guilt… lest its laden fetters drag you down depths darker than the deepest voids of the hells themselves! And there…,” she took a moment to catch her breath. “There you will see unimaginable things—actions done that you thought incapable of carrying out.”

Xyrathana listened, attentively, intrigued… and slightly horrified by Auriel’s words.

“You can still see the light from where you stand,” Auriel said, reassuringly. “Remove your binds and reach for it. Turn yourself in, and return that damned sword.”

“I’ll not give that blade up,” Xyrathana said, on reflex, “it’s rightfully mine, and no one else shall have it.”

Auriel suddenly appeared just inches in front of Xyrathana’s face, unscathed, and her eyes glowed a supernatural red.

“Then accept what you are, and quit groveling,” Auriel roared in a demonic voice, then she backhanded Xyrathana across the face and knocked her to the ground. Scourge then phased into her right hand, and she threw it at Xyrathana, impaling the blade into the ground next to her.

“Take your sword, and regret nothing. Shed no tears for those claimed by your wrath… and lust. You are a murderer, and a murderer is what you chose to be; embrace this fact.”

Horrific imagery of violence and gore flashed before Xyrathana. Shrill screams, and laughter marked with a sadism that made even the devil cringe. She saw images of herself slaughtering Darec and Tera, and of her butchering her friends and loved ones with disgusting enthusiasm. She hacked away at the fresh bodies of her victims—bodies too maimed to identity. Blood spattered. She tore through tender flesh, ripping out the succulent organs housed inside, and she feasted. She feasted on the innards like a starved harpy. And when she was finished, she took her bloodied hands and smeared the gore down her bloodied mouth, down her sylphlike neck and onto her chest, and she groped her breasts and moaned as though it sexually gratified her.

The violent bursts of phantasmagoria had Xyrathana in utter shock, and she couldn’t help but scream.

“This is what you are. This is your reality. Accept it.”

Abrupt silence, and everything faded.










I think the whole appeal of an inanimate object that somehow gains sentience is just how alien that objects agenda is. I mean its a given that a sword would want to kill; it's a weapon and that is its purpose but I think the real draw for me is thinking perhaps it has a motive for its actions apart from the obvious. After reading your excerpt for instance, I found myself wondering if Scourge had a reason for wanting Darec snd Tera dead? Perhaps it was trying to shake Xyrathana from a dream that so clearly distressed her or maybe it was acting for clearly selfish reasons? It could simply be because it loves killing and is covetous of it's current reader but rest assured, I would be hooked until the big reveal.

As for my earlier criticism; it just felt odd mentioning something as modern as pop stars in the midst of such a fantastical world. If your world has pop music then it's not such a stretch at all. If not, you could easily edit the line to something more fitting the bounds of your world such as "...like an elated youngling who had just seen her first *insert magically rare creature here*" That would still capture here excitement and joy without wrenching the reader from the writing.

That's just an example, I am by no means telling you how to write in any way and the line itself may be fine when taken in context with the rest of your novel. As I said, it's a credit to your writing when I have to pick at one small sentence like that.


I'm a little surprised you could pick all that out, with just a small mention of the sword. Yeah, it does have its own agenda, and even it was influenced by the wielders it was with, which ultimately creates its personality. At the start, you see it as a savage blade, only wanting to kill and destroy (which are attributes that you see every so often), and though the sword is possessed by a demon, that demon lost its memories/consciousness when it transferred its soul into the sword, upon its death. It's like a newborn at its very beginning, but since this is Xyrathana's story, I don't really show too much of that. I do, however, touch on its history and how it came to be. The very beginning of this series starts off with the sword's creation. If I ever complete this, though, then I'll definitely go back and write out the story of Scourge and Jorik Velanti (the first wielder), which is added into the first novel of this series, since I want my readers to get a sense of what Scourge is like... and the way I establish its character there should make people want to know more about the sword. What Xyrathana reads about the sword is completely different to what she meets, though, because like any human being, its wisdom increases with its age and experiences. And that experience and knowledge is passed onto her, through their conversations.

Scourge has its own existential problems, like Xyrathana, but not to the extent of her own. And if I ever write the other stories on Scourge's first two owners, you'll notice how different it interacts with them compared to Xyrathana. Their bond, in my opinion, is far stronger than the bond Scourge makes with its previous two owners, and I explain that as the story goes on.

I changed the pop star thing to "thespian". Not too sure if that is an improvement or not, and I'm still trying to find a way to modernize the story because I want the story to be a fantasy that can relate to our own world. I want higher tech than what is typically used in the fantasy genre, but I don't want to go steampunk. I may have to, just not use the whole Victorian/sci-fi attire that comes with it. I do have an airship in the world, but I'll deal with that when the time comes.

My worldview is the reason why I want to do the modernization, since I believe there are numerous worlds out there like our own, and who knows what kind of things go on in them and what kind of lifestyle they live in. One world could be super intelligent and lack spiritual belief, and another could be highly spiritual and in touch with higher beings because they have discovered ways to travel into those domains, while the highly intelligent civilization is so deeply immersed with its machines and technology that it never reached that plateau or bothered to explore the subject. This story and world is existing in the same universe as the one our own planet resides in; however, the year on Earth is in the 2270's - 2280's.

I guess you can say the setting is more of an afterthought, because I feel that I just made up a story/plot line and dressed it up in a fantasy setting. I have a lot, but I probably need to sit down one day and just write out lore and setting, only. A friend of mine said what I'm doing is similar to what Tolkien did with his world... and I'm not sure how to take that comment.