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View Full Version : Sins of the Past (Rated M for alcohol references) [1,100 Words]



Canis
March 26th, 2013, 03:50 AM
For your consideration, I give you a short intro to my newest project. Please be as brutally honest as possible if you wish to add a critique. All opinions are welcome. Keep in mind that this was written and then posted, therefore it as rough a draft as there can be. Cheers.

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On a warm evening, just after dusk in the city of Breshon, Turiel stepped through the doors of The Broken Tusk Inn. The smell of the old tavern assailed his senses. The scent, a combination of salty sea air, strong liquor, and musk, though once abhorrent to Turiel, had become a source of comfort for the broken young man. Turiel inclined his head to the bartender, an old orc called Grushnik, just as he did everyday, taking his usual seat at the small table in the back of the common area. Turiel didn’t even need to tell the barwench to bring whisky, she had already sat a glass of chilled liquor in front him.

As he sat sipping his whisky, Turiel surveyed the bar, looking for new faces in the evening crowd. He was always on the lookout for someone who hadn’t heard his stories before. Tales were Turiel’s only means of earning money and he needed as much coin as he could lay hands on. His fall from grace within his order had sent Turiel down a path of self loathing and alcoholism. Even the few dwarves in this coastal town inclined there heads in respect to Turiel’s alcohol tolerance.

Many of the regulars in Grushnik’s bar knew that Turiel had led a life of some note before becoming a drunken beggar so they looked out for him. Many refused to give him money when they knew he was on a drinking binge, buying him food instead and making him eat. Though he never admitted it, in the wee hours of the night when he was alone and sober, Turiel would weep tears of bitter joy at the kindness of these people who had become a surrogate family of sorts. These people, whom Turiel felt privileged to call friends, gave as much as they could spare even though Turiel refused to tell anyone of his life before coming to Breshon. In Turiel’s mind, these friends were angels, sent to protect him in his hour of need. Though at the present moment, Turiel needed to forget more than he needed friends.

Turiel threw back his glass and gulped down the strong drink, sighing in satisfaction as the familiar burn filled his chest. He didn’t even need to raise his hand to order another; the empty glass was whisked away and replaced with a fresh whisky by one of the more attractive barmaids. Had he been another man, Turiel might have made a remark about the sweet scent of lavender that emanated from the young barmaid, or the soft curve of her hips, or the softness in her eyes as she looked upon him with kindness and concern; however, Turiel was no ordinary man. Rather than seeing her as a beautiful woman, Turiel could only see a clear indication of how far he had fallen. To know that there was nothing holding him back from taking this woman as a lover except himself. Years of training to see all people as equals had washed away most of Turiel’s longings for female companionship and seeing such an attractive woman take an interest in him merely sent Turiel down a dark path in his mind.

Grushnik, who had come to think of Turiel as a son, and showed those feelings in the form of free drinks, could see Turiel’s mood change. His face became emotionless as he stopped looking around the bar and looked deeply into his whisky glass. Grushnik had seen that look many times in his life. It was the face of a man who was lost inside his own mind, lost in a hell of his own making. Grushnik, knowing he could do nothing to help Turiel, merely sighed and sent another whisky to the sad young man.

It was a moment before Grushnik became aware of the young woman on the other side of the bar, trying to get his attention. The woman was young, as far as Grushnik could tell. Her long black hair fell in supple ripples over her bare shoulders, her storm gray eyes looking at Grushnik questioningly.

When Grushnik asked what he could help her with, she merely asked for Turiel, explaining that it was urgent that she speak with him. Grushnik felt a moment of paternal protectiveness, a fierce need to protect Turiel from this woman, but he quickly dismissed it as the over protectiveness of an old man and pointed her to Turiel’s corner. She thanked Grushnik and walked away.

Turiel sat in the corner, swilling the last dregs of liquor in the bottom of his sixth glass when he noticed a young woman walk up to the other side of his table. The alcohol had done it’s job, loosening Turiel’s inhibitions enough to allow him to say, “Well met Miss, I am Turiel. If it’s tales you seek, then I am the man to speak with. Please, pull up a seat and allow me to dazzle you with tales of daring and adventure.” Turiel smiled as he looked at the woman who took a seat opposite him, not saying a word as she stared without blinking into Turiel’s eyes.

Turiel’s grin slowly slid from his face as the woman sat there, staring at him as though he was a piece of food; Hungrily staring at him with eyes that seemed to never blink, Barely drawing breath. He knew that something was amiss with this young woman. He had the nagging feeling that, had he not been drinking, he would know what this young woman was because she didn’t seem human. Too many things didn’t add up about her.

As she pushed her hair to one side, Turiel saw it. Dark blue veins spider webbing their way along the side of the woman’s neck. All of a sudden, it clicked. Pale white skin, unblinking eyes, breathing that seemed forced, and a cold unnatural beauty all added together could mean only one thing: vampire.

An old barely familiar spark arced through Turiel’s body, burning away the alcohol in his blood. His voice took on a deeper timbre as he sat up straight, looked the vampire in the eye, and said with an authority he thought he no longer possessed, “State your business and be on your way Nightchild, this town is under my protection.”

The vampire leaned back in her chair, a smile playing about the corners of her lips as she said, “Tell me, Teller of Tales, about the night you fell from grace. Tell me of how you dared to awaken him. Most of all, tell me how you failed, Paladin.”

Turiel was shocked into silence as the vampire looked on and smiled.

Ranji
March 26th, 2013, 12:02 PM
Hooking. It grabs your attention. You've kept it simple and I like that.
Some punctuation errors here and there. Some sentences were unnaturally wrong, such as:

"Turiel’s grin slowly slid from his face as the woman sat there, staring at him as though he was a piece of food; Hungrily staring at him with eyes that seemed to never blink, Barely drawing breath."
"Grushnik felt a moment of paternal protectiveness, a fierce need to protect Turiel from this woman, but he quickly dismissed it as the over protectiveness of an old man and pointed her to Turiel’s corner."

I personally have dealt with HUGE sentences in my writing.

"One thing though. Not with the writing but with certain little issues that I would like to bring up:

"Years of training to see all people as equals had washed away most of Turiel’s longings for female companionship and seeing such an attractive woman take an interest in him merely sent Turiel down a dark path in his mind."

I didn't quite get it. He cannot appreciate a woman's beauty because she was equal to him? I don't know if you meant it that particular way but since I'm a feminist, it is a little offensive. ONLY if it's meant to be that way. Otherwise, I'd love to know the actual meaning of that sentence.

Also maybe the description of the vampire is a bit too clichéd I personally write to bring in new ideas and my friends and companions believe that the 'image' of a vampire is becoming the same. I always imagined vampires ugly though. Just something for you to think about.

Canis
March 27th, 2013, 04:36 AM
First off, thanks for your response. Secondly, the grammatical errors should be smoothed out when I have time to begin editing. Also, I meant no offense, I didn't think it could be viewed in an offensive light, I merely meant that Turiel didn't see women in a romantic way. He sees women the same way he sees men. Lastly, in retrospect, my vampire description is a little cliche but, though I forgot to mention it (my bad), the vampire was an elf before being turned so she would already be beautiful, compared to humans.

Oh, and some of the sentences are just meant to be vague. The reasons will become clear to the reader as he/she progresses in the story.

Once again, thank you for your review. It was much appreciated. Cheers

Gasher
March 29th, 2013, 05:29 PM
An easy trap to fall into, especially when painting your own world, is to give too much exposition. I like that the story opens on action: Turiel strolling into the bar, observing the scene, just another ordinary day but of course as the reader I know its not going to be. And then paragraph three begins:

Many of the regulars in Grushnik’s bar knew that Turiel had led a life of some note before becoming a drunken beggar so they looked out for him.

This sudden exposition takes me out of the story and makes it feel more like a book report. The old wisdom applies: show don't tell. It will be harder to convey the tavern patrons' feelings toward him through showing, but the story will be the better for it. Also, one of the joys for me as a reader is in not immediately knowing a character's social status and gradually understanding it through his interactions. So in that sense, a sentence like this steals the magic for me.

All of a sudden, it clicked. Pale white skin, unblinking eyes, breathing that seemed forced, and a cold unnatural beauty all added together could mean only one thing: vampire.

This part sounded a little silly. Either Turiel is familiar with vampires or he isn't. If he is, then this doesn't make sense. If he isn't, suspicion would be more appropriate in my mind. Eureka moments need to be justified. Like if there's a story about a group of travelers, and one by one, throughout the story, the travellers are dying off, and then at the very end the leader of the group realizes one of his fellow travelers is a vampire, that would be the appropriate time for a eureka moment. Realizing the true identity of a woman you just met in a bar is not.

Right now I'm on the fence with Turiel's character. He's the has-been who has fallen on hard times and is now, whether through serendipity or otherwise, about to be swept up into a plot. It's a standard formula, but that's not to say it's a bad formula. You just need to give us more reason to like Turiel. Breathe some more life into him and show us more of what it's like to walk in his shoes. And lastly, watch the exposition.

Canis
March 29th, 2013, 07:57 PM
First off, thank you for your review.

Secondly, I agree with your displeasure with that particular paragraph. As I read through this piece, time and again I feel like that particular paragraph is out of place. The writing style changes and it seems more forced and dry. I will be working on it.

As for the eureka moment, I meant to convey that Turiel's desperate need to escape his past means he has suppressed the training he received as a Paladin. The purposeful suppression of his training to recognize vampires on sight coupled with his heavy drinking before the vampire shows up means that Turiel did not readily recognize the woman as one of the undead. Only when he was confronted with the final puzzle piece, the blue veins that stood out sharply against snow white skin, did he recognize her for what she is.

I have been working a lot lately so I haven't been able to turn my attention back to this work but a cleanup is coming. Let me clarify one thing before the edit: the vampire was an elf before being turned, so she is supposed to be beautiful.

Vampirism does not grant the afflicted party with unnatural beauty, it merely softens the ugliness of the poor soul being turned and preserves it until the vampire is made to taste true death.

Lastly, my idea is to make the story a prolonged flashback. So, rather than the prologue taking place before the story, chronologically, it will take place after the events of the book.

Once again, thank you for your time and opinion. I will try to work on the problems you illuminated. Cheers.

Canis
March 29th, 2013, 08:50 PM
Here is another excerpt from the book, this time a fight scene involving a band of highwaymen (thieves) and the party Turiel travels with. I plan on dropping it in wholesale somewhere in the book. I hope this gives you a better understanding of what Turiel was before the prologue. Cheers.


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Turiel dispatched the first thug with only his knife and skill, daring any of the other thieves to challenge him. His intimidating display had the desired effect. The highwaymen gave Turiel a wide berth and instead engaged his companions. Turiel felt a moment of concern for the safety of his companions but quickly dismissed it as Standing-Bear picked up a highwayman and broke his back.

With his concern dismissed, Turiel turned his full attention to the leader of the highwaymen: a brutish giant of an orc. The orc, who announced himself as Korogeth, smelled strongly of blood and whisky, the fur of his cape matted with a mixture of the two. As Turiel watched, one of the highwaymen attempted to flee the battle but was stopped by a bone crunching blow from Korogeth’s hammer, killing the thug instantly.

Turiel felt the familiar touch of righteous anger sweep through him as he loosed the bindings on his longsword. He took a step toward the orc and was blocked by a goblin doing battle with the masked one, Temerith. Turiel paid the goblin only enough heed to loose his blade and, in a single fluid motion, slice the goblin’s throat. Turiel didn’t even spare a glimpse for Temerith as he stepped over the goblin and began jogging towards Korogeth.

Korogeth then took notice of the paladin. Laughing, he said. “Come then, pretty human, let me bash your skull in with my hammer and bathe in your blood.” Korogeth readied his weapon and took an offensive stance, readying to strike the paladin when he came in close enough. At the Orcs taunt, Turiel began to sprint towards him, his longsword trailing behind him.

As soon as Turiel was in the orc’s reach, Korogeth swung his hammer with all the force he possessed, meaning to kill the paladin as he had killed the cowardly highwayman. To Korogeth’s surprise, his hammer found no purchase against the paladin’s body. At the last moment, Turiel dropped into a spinning crouch, slashing Korogeth’s unprotected legs. Korogeth screamed in pain as he fell to the ground, grasping at his calves as they gushed with brackish blood.

Turiel stood without haste and turned to look at the orc. Kicking the hammer out of Korogeth’s reach, Turiel pointed his blade at the orc’s throat and placed his heel upon the orc’s chest.

Their eyes met and Korogeth stopped screaming. He smiled without humor at Turiel and said, “Why do you pause holy man? Kill me while you can. Show the world how good and righteous you are by taking yet another life.” The orc chuckled as he tried to unnerve the stony faced paladin.

Turiel allowed the orcs words to wash over him but paid no heed to their meaning. He held the tip of the longsword at the orcs throat and said, "Highwayman, you have attempted to take my life as well as the lives of my companions. You have forced my companions and I to kill many of your fellows. Do you deny your sins?" In response, Korogeth spit on the paladin, as best he could.

Grasping the hilt of his longsword more firmly, Turiel raised it and said, "I will cleanse you of your sin, Korogeth, that you may be made anew in the afterlife. You will be baptized in a flow of your own life blood and the sins you have committed against this world shall be forgiven you by the great god Shinjun."

Korogeth attempted to grab the paladin's legs, trying anything to get away. His attempts at escape were in vain. Turiel plunged his blade into Korogeth's throat. As the orc began to bleed out, Turiel bent down, his hand aglow with divine energy. He touched the orcs forehead and said, "May you find forgiveness in death's embrace." He then released the energy into Korogeth's body which immediately began to blacken as though it were burned.

Turiel pulled his sword free of the dead highwayman and turned to see the rest of his companions gathered together, the remaining thieves dead at their feet. Half of the group looked at Turiel with either respect, trepidation, or a mixture of both. The rest looked at the paladin's handiwork. The eyes of all of the group eventually found their way to Korogeth's face where the ghost of his last silent scream was still seared on his face. Turiel then began to pray for the dead.