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Ceremony
May 17th, 2013, 07:42 AM
The rain slid off his cloak and garments, the slight tingle of wetness crawled across his face. He was used to water, but not like this. It was gentle and the sound almost relaxed him, the constant sound of drizzle echoing around him. It had been a month since he'd been on the road, he being banished from Ci Za. Since then he'd been traveling to the closest city, where he could start over.

His feet sloshed on the wet gravel road, making small imprints with sand and dirt getting stuck on the bottom his boots. He was hungry and more so tired. But he could not rest, not now... not yet. Shelter was his first priority, next was food. His blood wasn't easily corrupted by sickness, but at this rate it was only a matter of time before an infection took his body.

He frowned as he walked. Why had they thrown him out? He knew the reason, he still saw the mans eyes bursting with his bodily fluid, the blood spurting out of his pores to the crowd that was watching the catastrophe in motion. It was the dead man's fault he was in this mess, but the world around him did not see it that way.

Yas'o moved with a quickened pace, the dreams were coming back, the visions, the chaos, and the pain coursed their way through his skull. Liquid flowing more and more through streams in his mind, he saw the ocean's currents in real time around him, he saw how air manipulated the water, how water and storms eroded the earth, how fire could blacken the sky. He frowned more than he was before, the misery of self pity playing with his mind.

The visions were coming in faster and more erratic than before. The water flowing around him magnified by the gentle rain droplets tapping the his hood. It was thunder to him, his senses heightened ten fold, the sloshing of his boots became earthquakes in the puddles below, the gentle wind becoming a hurricane that attacked his face. He was depressed, but survival was the only thing that drove him to continue.

His prayers were finally answered when he found himself staring at an old shack on the side of the road. Its thatched roof was in shambles,the wood work rotted, and the evidence of decades of abuse from the elements showed in its entirety. On the outside were words written in a language Yas'o couldn't understand. But shelter was shelter.

He moved inside through where the door was suppose to be, the rotten planks creaking as he placed his boots on them. It echoed in his mind, the sounds of rodents and insects crawling under the floor made him cringe as he made his way to a corner of the room. It reminded him of the day a hurricane descended on Ci Za, he winced. He would not think of that day.

He lowered himself to the floor, the wood creaked and yearned to snap as he placed his body down. He was cold, the water having soaked his blue vest and cloak, he could feel that water had crept into his boots and soaked his undergarments. Yas'o was an intelligent man but he was a man born in a different world. A world where he needn't worry about food or how to make a fire. He saw the irony in his needs, he was the opposite of fire, yet he craved it more than anything at the moment.

Yas'o closed his eyes drifting off into the madness that was his subconscious, the howls of souls tearing at his mind.

Light, bright light. Penetrating his eyelids reaching for the back of his skull. He opened his eyes to find it was sunny. Birds were singing, crickets and other insects came to life through the woods outside. The storm was gone and with it did the pain and sensitivity leave as well. Yas'o was unemotional. The only thing he felt was his stomach. It growled at him begging him for food. He had money, Ci Zi money, but what good was that to him now? all he could do with it was throw it in a fountain and make a wish.

He moved to get up, putting pressure on one of the planks with his left foot. The board began to creak and it seemed to almost cry. The wood gave out pulling his leg downward into the floor. His leg dangled below him, suspended in air. He wasn't surprised by the wood giving out, only surprised that there wasn't dirt beneath him. A basement, maybe some food or supplies stowed away.

He scanned the room and before him was a trap door in plain sight. He moved to it, carefully distributing his weight so he wouldn't fall or break another board. He couldn't imagine how he made it in the room the night before without falling through completely, the wood seemed to be almost disintegrating. Reaching the trap door he pulled on it to no avail. It was locked. He began to think about how to remove the rusty lock, maybe with a stone, or perhaps he could maniuplate the water built up inside of it to unlock the pins.
Then the answer came to him.

Yas'o slammed his boot down on the door causing it to break apart into splinters. The boards around it cracked and shifted throwing him off balance and causing him to fall. He landed on the boards with a loud thud. They began to ache in cries of pain and age. Again he found himself motionless, trying his best to distribute his weight. Then another crack came, and then another. Within seconds Yas'o found himself falling.

Surprisingly his impact wasn't as hard as he expected it to be. Or it could have been his adrenaline prompting him to not feel the pain. He pulled himself up, the ground below him wet and damp. His wiped the mud from his face as he snapped back to reality.

"Preatorno," he whispered. Blue light filled his eyes, the glow illuminating the surrounding room... Then he noticed he wasn't in a basement. It was a cavern, hundreds of meters wide and long. Glowing mushrooms were littered across the base of the giant cave. Thousands of stalagmites reached down from above, their constant dripping of water echoing through the cavern.



Please critique it with ferocity.

Higurro
May 18th, 2013, 01:00 PM
Ferocity eh? Right, you asked for it pal!

It's not clear how the name "Ci Za" is pronounced. This may not be a problem for some, but I find wondering about it interrupts the flow slightly. Use of phrases such as "start over" and "real time" are firmly routed in contemporary culture, and as such might look misplaced, depending on the story. Use of things like the ellipsis before "not yet", the word "slammed" and the dreaded apostrophe-in-a-fantasy-name (See exhibit 1: Yas'o) can make writing look naive, even if it's not. I'd personally avoid them at all costs, but of course, this is entirely up to you. Just on the apostrophe, you might consider Ci'gazze from The Subtle Knife. That's a contraction of Cittagazze, which as far as I understand is Italian for "magpie city", so in that case you can see the apostrophe is legitimate. It would be interesting to know if Yas'o is a contraction of two other words, and if so, what they are and why.

Also, plot devices like dreams/visions can look a little cheap unless there's good reason for them. And there may well be good reason here, but it's as well to be aware that some people will want to read something more original. Again for the description of the man dying: it's needlessly violent and carried absolutely no emotional weight. It's thrown in there casually and I would have thought it should make Yas'o feel a little more than a mild and confused annoyance.

On the other hand, the plot seems interesting, and it sounds as though there's a lot more of it hidden away below the surface. I didn't like the suddenness of the shift from walking to storm to hut to cavern, but taken more carefully, with focus on building and maintaining tension, putting us in Yas'o's (you see the problem!) mind through reference to sensory impulses (fear, desolation, the bitter smell of the hut, the moment of spine-tingling wonder at the cavern etc) would be great here. You start to do it with the storm, giving us a lovely sense of its ferocity, and again when he wakes I thought "Light, bright light. Penetrating his eyelids reaching for the back of his skull" did exactly what it needed to (although I might have made it one sentence).

Yes, so basically, I'd recommend re-writing it. That may sound harsh but it's not at all. On another run through you'd know what you were looking for. You'd know what to give the reader, what little hints and sounds and smells to feed in. The pacing would be better, as would our empathy with Yas'o. I think it could be top drawer stuff with some serious polishing.

Gargh
May 18th, 2013, 02:17 PM
Hope this helps. This is what I would do to tidy it up. Sorry it's a PDF but I used Word to edit it and then when I tried to paste it into the comments box the formatting went that would track the changes I made... won't be making that mistake again!

As far as the name goes, Try Ya So.

Gargh
May 18th, 2013, 02:31 PM
This would be it with all the changes accepted...


Tempest


The rain slid from his cloak and garments, a slight tingle of wetness crawled across his face. He was used to water, but not like this. It was gentle and the sound almost relaxed him, the drizzle echoing around him. It had been a month since he'd been on the road after being banished from Ci Za. Since then he'd been travelling with a single purpose, to make it to the next city and start over.

His feet sloshed along the wet gravel road, making small imprints. Sand and dirt stuck to the bottom of his boots. He was hungry and, more so, tired. But he could not rest, not now... not yet. Shelter was his first priority, next was food. His blood wasn't easily corrupted by sickness, but at this rate it was only a matter of time before an infection took his body.

He frowned as he walked. They should not have thrown him out but he knew the reason. He still saw the man's eyes bursting with his bodily fluid, the blood spurting out of his pores towards the crowd that was watching this catastrophe in motion. It was the dead man's fault he was in this mess, but the world around him did not see it that way.

Yas'o moved with a quickened pace, the dreams were coming back, the visions, the chaos, and the pain coursed through his skull. Liquid flowing through streams in his mind increased, he saw the ocean's currents in real time around him, he saw how air manipulated the water, how water and storms eroded the earth, how fire could blacken the sky. He frowned deeper than before, the misery of self pity playing with his mind.

The visions were coming faster and more erratically than before, the water flowing around him magnified by the rain droplets tapping at his hood. It was thunder to him, his senses heightened tenfold, the sloshing of his boots became earthquakes in the puddles below and the gentle wind became a hurricane that attacked his face. He was depressed, but survival drove him to continue.

His prayers were finally answered when he found himself staring at an old shack on the side of the road. Its thatched roof was a shambles, the wood work rotted, and evidence of decades of abuse from the elements showed in its entirety. On the outside were words carved in a language Yas'o couldn't understand. But shelter was shelter.

He entered where he thought the door was supposed to be, the rotten planks creaking as he placed each boot down. It echoed in his mind and the sounds of rodents and insects crawling under the floor made him cringe as he made his way to a corner of the room. It reminded him of the day a hurricane had descended on Ci Za and he winced. He would not think of that day.

He lowered himself to the floor. The wood creaked and yearned to snap as he placed his body down. He was cold, the water having soaked his blue vest and cloak and he could feel that water had crept into his boots and soaked his undergarments. Yas'o was an intelligent man but he was a man born in a different world. A world where he needn't worry about food or how to make a fire. He saw the irony in his needs; he was the opposite of fire, yet he craved it more than anything at the moment.

Yas'o closed his eyes drifting off into the madness of his subconscious, the howls of souls tearing at his mind.

Light, bright light, penetrating his eyelids, reaching for the back of his skull. He opened his eyes to find it was sunny. Birds were singing and crickets and other insects came to life through the woods outside. The storm was gone and with it the pain and sensitivity left too. Yas'o was unemotional. The only thing he felt was his stomach. It growled at him begging for food. He had money, Ci Zi money, but what good was that to him now? All he could do was throw it in a fountain and make a wish.

He moved to get up, putting pressure on one of the planks with his left foot. The board began to creak and seemed almost to cry. The wood gave out pulling his leg downward into the floor. His leg dangled below him, suspended in air. He wasn't surprised by the wood giving out, only that there wasn't dirt beneath him. A basement meant maybe some food or supplies stowed away.

He scanned the room. Before him was a trap door in plain sight. He moved to it, carefully distributing his weight so that he wouldn't fall or break another board. He couldn't imagine how he made it across the room last night without falling through completely, the wood seemed to be almost disintegrating. Reaching the trap door, he pulled on it to no avail. It was locked. He began to think about how to remove the rusty lock. Maybe he could use a stone, or perhaps manipulate the water built up inside of it to unlock the pins.


Then the answer came to him.

Yas'o slammed his boot down on the door causing it to break apart into splinters. The boards around it cracked and shifted, throwing him off balance and causing him to fall. He landed on with a loud thud. The boards ached under him with cries of pain and age. Again he found himself motionless, trying his best to distribute his weight. Then another crack came, and another. Within seconds Yas'o found himself falling.

Surprisingly his impact wasn't as hard as he expected it to be. Or it could have been his adrenaline prompting him to not feel the pain. He pulled himself up, the ground below him wet and damp. His wiped the mud from his face as he snapped back to reality.

"Preatorno," he whispered. Blue light filled his eyes, the glow illuminating the surrounding room. Then he noticed he wasn't in a basement. It was a cavern, hundreds of meters wide and long. Glowing mushrooms were littered across the base of the giant cave. Thousands of stalagmites reached down from above, their constant dripping of water echoing through the cavern.

Higurro
May 18th, 2013, 02:33 PM
I'm not too sure about Ya So myself because I'd keep expecting "Ya, So what?". What about just Yaso?

Ceremony
May 19th, 2013, 05:21 AM
Yaso sounds good haha, if I think of something better I'll definitely change it.

@Higurro, thank you for the critique, it is much appreciated. You've given a lot to think about about. I like how you told me to make the reader more emotionally connected to Yaso and since reading it over I got a better understanding of what you're talking about. You've given me sound advice and I will be referring back to you post as I continually write the story.

@Gargh I can't believe you took the time to edit the entire piece. Much obliged sir and it sounds a lot better than it did.

Thanks again guys,

ceremony

Mieksta
May 22nd, 2013, 09:05 PM
I liked it, you kept the story moving very well. The other guys corrected just about everything that was wrong.

OLDSOUL
May 23rd, 2013, 03:25 AM
Psychedelic story, man.

Sargon of Akkad
May 23rd, 2013, 03:59 PM
The other critiques on this have covered the technical details, so I'll just add some thoughts I had while reading this:


1. There were too many "he"s. IMO, putting "he" or "his" at the very beginning of a story strikes me as, and I am trying to be bluntly honest, a bit amateurish. We don't know who 'he' is yet, we don't know his name or anything about him. I realise that saying 'he' is supposed to add mystery surrounding the character we are being introduced to, but I personally find it jarring and difficult to enjoy.


2. The descriptions of his environment were very good.


3. Don't change the names. It doesn't matter if someone can't figure out how Ci Za is supposed to be pronounced, it doesn't matter if someone thinks Yas'o sounds like 'ya, so?'. There is a lot in a name, and these names are remarkably effective in making me, the reader, think that this is a very, very foreign place. I don't know what to expect, and that's a good thing.


I would read more of this.

AlexJames
June 15th, 2013, 06:17 PM
I would change the names. In my experience, difficult-to-pronounce names irritate the reader. Not only are they a chore, they often come across as pretentious.