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Ariel
July 5th, 2013, 11:32 PM
I'm playing around with something here. I don't really know what this is going to lead to but I like what I have so far.

The snow fell thick and fast. Under the rising moon Areon sat in her perch in the tall pine. Sentry duty did not sit well with her, as she had fallen asleep. Her breath steamed as she breathed and she shivered in her leather and fur. A strand of pale blond hair drifted away from her face in the winter wind. A sudden cracking beneath her startled her awake. She jerked and nearly fell from her perch until the rope holding her to the branch stopped her fall. Dangling from the rope she clapped her hands over her mouth at the sight beneath her.

Three dark shapes, their robes and cloaks flowing like smoke moved into the clearing below Areon. She barely breathed with the rope digging into her ribs. She scrabbled behind her with her left hand for her signaling horn. The outpost’s elven guards had excellent ears and her signal horn sang in a pitch higher than a human’s ears could perceive. Still, she knew these were not humans beneath her but Drakken. Her fingers brushed the polished horn and she struggled against the tie that kept it to her belt.

One of the Drakken, smaller than the others, looked up. Fear made Areon’s heart pound. Areon met its eyes and fear flooded her body. Sharp white teeth gleamed in the moonlight. Beneath the black hood she saw glowing, writhing, runes painted around the creature’s eyes. The eyes were milky but seemed to see all. A harsh, guttural tongue flowed from the creature’s mouth. Its companions also looked up.

Areon struggled against her rope for the sounding horn. The horn finally slipped free into her hand and she pulled it around to her mouth. She blew into the horn and the high-pitched sound set the hounds at the outpost to barking. Areon blinked and when she opened her eyes again the Drakken was in the branch directly below her, its face inches from her own. Two tears fell from her eyes and froze to her cheeks.
Areon screamed under the full moon as the Drakken’s fingers touched her temples. Slowly, the deathly-cold fingers squeezed against her temples while the Drakken muttered in its guttural tongue.

When the Drakken moved away glowing runes writhed around Areon’s eyes. Dark blood seeped from her mouth into the white snow in the clearing where it steamed. The runes died and Areon hung from the tree—her signaling horn on the snow below her. The Drakken moved on towards the elven outpost.

Folcro
July 6th, 2013, 07:31 AM
Very well done, amsawtell. It is suspenseful and lucid. Your descriptions are very aesthetic and appealing.

You shortened your sentences a bit later on, I think it might have helped the horror to have made them shorter still. Flashes of imagery to tell the panic and the fear. Then end with the Drakken slowly leaving in a longer, quiet sentence.

Fear made Areon's heart pound. How about just "Areon's heart pounded"? I can figure out why her heart is pounding.

She barely breathed with the rope digging into her ribs. The ropes dug into her ribs. She could barely breath.

A sudden cracking beneath her startled her awake. I don't like the word "sudden."

Areon met its eyes and fear flooded her body. Fear was already flooding her body. It was making her heart pound.

These, along with a few other minor issues which I'm sure you'll catch in your revising held the prose back a tad. But the pacing was very good. A cool, quiet night, a rise to panic, the climax, then the slow victory crawl of the "guttural" villains. A very well structured scene.

popsprocket
July 6th, 2013, 08:16 AM
Nicely written and excellent imagery. It's a bit statement-after-statement, and I'll chalk that up to Folcro's sentence length issue. A few instances either need to be shortened or lengthened to achieve the desired effect.

I'll also applaud the use of a non-traditional race. I could cry with happiness that it wasn't the dwarves or the orcs attacking.

As for where this is going, the story is obviously about the economic break down between the Elves and the Drakken when those pesky Elves put up their import taxes. Right?

Ariel
July 6th, 2013, 12:13 PM
I don't really know. I now have a couple of other excerpts to go along with it in which I've introduced another race and a woman who should have been dead. I have no idea where this is going. Maybe I'm watching too much of "Game of Thrones?" Maybe I'll visit a plot generator.

Thank you, Folcro. I knew the sentences weren't right. I have trouble with my ordering while I write. I think it makes things a little stilted.

And thank you, Popsprocket.

Folcro
July 6th, 2013, 05:42 PM
There's no such thing as watching too much Game of Thrones.

Jeko
July 6th, 2013, 06:04 PM
I found this nicely original - you set a good scene, and use it well. The element of horror, however, was not strong enough for me to class this as horror. For it to be more effective you would have to build up more suspense.

Beginning with the weather is unnecessary, I think. The first paragraph reads better without the first sentence. The last sentence, also, is something I would remove. Until then I had the sense that this was all in Areon's perspective. It might end better if you left the reader to come to the conclusion themselves that the outpost is now under threat.

Overall, this is a very good scene. Tidying it up a little would make it a very enjoyable read, and would make me want to read on.

Ariel
July 6th, 2013, 08:14 PM
Thanks Cadence. I have a revision prepared for this section. I disagree. I think the weather helps to set the scene as peaceful and serene at the beginning.

The Drakken Come

The snow fell thick and fast. Under the rising crescent moon Areon sat in her perch in the tall pine. Sentry duty did not sit well with her, as she had fallen asleep. Her breath steamed as she breathed and she shivered in her leather and fur. A strand of pale blond hair drifted away from her face in the winter wind.
A cracking beneath her startled her awake. She jerked and nearly fell from her perch until the rope holding her to the branch stopped her fall. Dangling from the rope she clapped her hands over her mouth at the sight beneath her. Three dark shapes, their robes and cloaks flowing like smoke moved into the clearing below Areon.

The rope dug into Areon’s ribs. She could scarcely breathe. Areon scrabbled behind her with her left hand for her signaling horn. The outpost’s elven guards had excellent ears and her signal horn sang in a pitch higher than a human’s ears could perceive. Still, she knew these were not humans beneath her but Drakken. Her fingers brushed the polished horn and she struggled against the tie that kept it to her belt.

One of the Drakken, smaller than the others, looked up. Areon met the creature’s eyes and fear flooded her body, making her heart pound. Sharp white teeth gleamed in the moonlight. Beneath the black hood she saw glowing, writhing, runes painted around the creature’s eyes. The eyes were milky but seemed to see all. A harsh, guttural tongue flowed from the creature’s mouth. Its companions also looked up.

Areon struggled against her rope for the sounding horn. The horn finally slipped free into her hand. Areon pulled it around to her mouth. She blew into the horn and the high-pitched sound set the hounds at the outpost to barking.
Areon blinked. The Drakken was in the branch directly below her. Its face was inches from hers. Two tears fell from her eyes and froze to her cheeks.


Areon screamed under the crescent moon as the Drakken’s fingers touched her temples. Slowly, the deathly-cold fingers squeezed against her temples while the Drakken muttered in its guttural tongue.

When the Drakken moved away glowing runes writhed around Areon’s eyes. Dark blood seeped from her mouth into the white snow below. The blood steamed in the cool air beside the fallen signaling horn. The runes died and Areon hung from the tree.

Folcro
July 6th, 2013, 08:43 PM
Much better--- time for round two!

Her breath steamed as she breathed. Well, yeah. I think this would sound better were you to put it: Her breath steamed as she shivered in her leather (armor?) and fur (coat?).

She jerked and nearly fell from her perch until the rope holding her to the branch stopped her fall. She jerked, would have fallen from her perch were it not for the rope that held her to the branch. She is a clumsy elf, isn't she? No wonder she done got herself killed.

I'm having trouble envisioning this rope... Why is it there? What if an elf needs to get out fast, now they have to untie it? If the only reason is to avoid clumsiness... it all just seems a little strange to me.

One of the Drakken, smaller than the others, looked up. Does it really matter that this particular Drakken is smaller? If not, the prose would flow much smoother without this.

...and fear flooded her body, making her heart pound. How about ...and her heart pounded?

Sharp white teeth gleamed in the moonlight. Unless the teeth were any color than white, it would be important to state the color. Otherwise, by default, most of us will see them as white.

The eyes were milky but seemed to see all. What does this look like? Have you thought about it? Try to describe it. If you can't describe it, chances are, I won't be able to see it.

Areon struggled against her rope for the sounding horn. The horn finally slipped free into her hand. If nothing is going to happen between these two sentences, I would cut the first.

I don't like the new ending. It seemed better framed the first time, though I do agree with Cadence's take on POV as well. A difficult position. How about this--- as she dies, she watches the snow fall on the parting Drakkans? This way, your framing an action scene, a sad scene, with the pleasant weather, bringing it full circle, establishing irony, all while maintaining POV.

Good work so far. You have here something that almost stands on its own.

Jeko
July 7th, 2013, 12:03 PM
I think the weather helps to set the scene as peaceful and serene at the beginning.

I think you set the scene as peaceful and serene without it. The mention of 'winter wind', 'shivered' etc. is enough to communicate the weather without having to typically open with the weather. It downgrades the opening, in my opinion.

I agree with folcro that the ending still needs work.

Ariel
July 7th, 2013, 02:37 PM
This is why I stick to poetry. :)

Thanks, guys. I'm going to let it sit for a while before I work on it more.

Folcro
July 7th, 2013, 09:59 PM
This is why I stick to poetry. :)

Thanks, guys. I'm going to let it sit for a while before I work on it more.

If at first you don't succeed... write poetry. :(

Ariel
July 7th, 2013, 11:20 PM
Folcro, I'm much better at writing poetry than I am at fiction. I was able to recognize this at a fairly young age. I like writing fiction but I'm not passionate about it and I rarely get excited about it.

BobtailCon
July 10th, 2013, 05:27 AM
I like it, I feel like the Fantasy section doesn't get a lot of stories with unknown creatures and elves and such.

Fliss
July 10th, 2013, 08:33 AM
I really like it too. I wouldn't have thought of any of those suggestions myself, they're good points - I've learned quite a bit from this thread. Don't give up with your fiction writing. I love your story so far. Felt genuinely concerned when the Drakken had climbed up the tree and surprised when I realised Areon had died. It's good.

Edited: When I say 'learned quite a bit' I mean in terms of value, not that your work had had been given a HUGE number of suggestions for improvement. I can be clumsy with words!

Ariel
July 10th, 2013, 11:55 AM
Thank you both for your kind words. I think you've all mistaken "setting it aside for now" for giving up. I certainly am not giving up.

That said, I'm sick this week and don't want to do my actual job much less write. I'm thinking about this piece and what I can and will change to make it better.

Again, thank you to all of you who have commented.

Keynine Lox
July 12th, 2013, 05:10 AM
That can also be the beginning of something (new races in fantasy stories always arouse curiosity).
For the skills of my translator in the second sentence i thought the protagonist was sat on a fish...luckly i use it only for some terms.
For the text, nice the sequence of the fall from the tree, and the idea of Runes in Eyes. Very well studied the last part. Not horror at all, but surely frightening.

Ariel
July 13th, 2013, 01:08 PM
Keynine, your comment made me smile. You're right--a perch can be a type of fish. It can also be a resting place or a position. The thing that birds sit upon in cages is called a perch.

Thank you, again, to all of you.