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Lordy
July 4th, 2014, 04:47 PM
This is my first piece of work and I thought I would share it. I know I have a long way to go and look forward to the constructive criticism.




Warriors




Lying at the edge of the cliff, I stared out across the sea. My days of standing were behind me. That is why I lay.

A strong wind blew in from the horizon. I could smell and taste the sea salt. I could feel the sea air enter my pores and settle on my bones. My aching, weary bones. I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth. Not long left now. I prayed there wasn't long left. The pain was unbearable and I was tired.

Once I was a warrior, or so I thought. I had stood on this same coastline, where I now lay, defending my homeland from countless invaders from across the sea. I had given all that I had to give, and there was nothing left. I closed my eyes. I knew the end was near.

In the near distance, above the roar of the crashing waves, I thought that I heard the rustling of branches, as if someone approached. My eyes snapped open. There was nobody there. Was I that delirious from the pain that my mind was playing tricks?

I turned and gazed down from the narrow cliff onto the small sandy beach. The whitecaps lapped at the shoreline as the tide began to come in. On the edge of the beach there was a rock. A rock in the shape of a warhammer, as if carved by the God's themselves. I remembered that rock. Somewhere in the deep vestiges of my mind there was a story relating to that rock. It began to come back to me.

Many years ago, when I was a young man, I was stood on the beach with my kinsmen, my brothers-in-arms. On this occasion we were took by surprise by our old enemies from across the Frozen Sea. They must have moored there ship just around the the rock face. Just out of our site.

They were upon us, and the skirmish was fast and brutal while it lasted, and the sand drank much blood. It was one of many, but had always stuck in my mind for one thing. One of the barbarians tried to escape, and I caught him and beat him down. He landed upon the warhammer rock, and I drew my sword and placed it upon his neck. I was about to plunge down and send him to wherever his people go when they leave this world, when I stopped. I stared down in disbelief. He was a boy.He was nothing but a frightened boy, and as I gazed at his tear stained face,I noticed his eyes. They were red, the same colour as his hair. They were the colour of blood. They stared back at me pleadingly, and I removed my sword. A few years older and I would have plunged the tip of my blade into his throat and watched the crimson blood splatter the rock, but I would not kill a child. And so I let him go.

I must have dozed whilst I reminisced. My eyes snapped open. Someone had been approaching earlier, and he was now stood above me.

He was a large, muscular man, flame-haired, which matched the colour of his beard. It also matched his eyes.

I was almost speechless. It was him. The boy with the red eyes. He was now a man.

After all these years we were finally face to face again, only now the tables had turned. He pointed down atme.

"You. I remember you," he said, in a hard, guttural voice.

I nodded my head feebly. I was too weak to reply.

"Over there, on the rock," he pointed. "You spared me." His voice softened.

He gazed down at me. The wind began to howl in from the sea, like a pack of hungry wolves. The light began to fade.

"I have spent all these years trying to find you, and when I do, I discover you like this."

I nodded again.

The pain running through my body began to become unbearable. I knew I had not long left. I didn't want to carry on like this.

"Not the warrior you remember eh?" i managed to ask in a hoarse voice.

"Always a warrior," he replied. "Since that day I have wandered, hoping to find you again. Many things you could have taught me I feel. You taught me that day."

"What did I teach you?" I asked him, genuinely intrigued, despite the pain.

"Compassion," came the reply. "My people, they taught us warriors had no compassion. Compassion was a sign of weakness. They were wrong. That day you shown me they were wrong. That day you shown me the way."

He paused before continuing. "I saw you and your men go through my people in a way I had never witnessed before or since. Like a knife through butter. And yet that day you shown that in a warriors heart there is a place for compassion. That is how I have tried to live my life, thanks to you."

I was truly humbled. We looked at each other for a fleeting moment. He must have known my life was ebbing away.

"I'm not a warrior anymore," I told him. "My fighting days are over."

"A warrior until you die," he replied. "Any savage can plunder and kill. A warrior is more than that. I have spent many years trying to find you so that I culd learn these lessons from you. And I would have done anything for you."

"Would you still do anything for me now?" I managed to ask. "With me like this?"

He gazed down and slowly nodded his head.

"Yes," he replied, although his voice lacked conviction. He knew what I was going to ask of him.

"End it for me."

He looked away and shook his head.

"Please, ask me anything but that."

He looked down and placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. The sea began to edge closer to the cliff face down below. He was quiet for a moment.

"Look," he said. "I know a man, steeped in the knowledge of herb-lore. I can take you to him. I will carry you. It's not that far."

I slowly shook my head.

"There is nothing no-one can do for me," I told him. "I've tried to live the life of a fearless warrior. Lying here, at the mercy of vagabonds and animals, isn't how I choose to live. A warrior is also a man of his word."

I let the last sentence linger.

The flame-haired man from across the seas looked down at me as it dawned on him what I had just said.

'A warrior is a man of his word.'

I had wanted to know if he was still prepared to do anything I asked of him. He had replied yes. Now it was time. I watched him slowly draw his sword. The end was near.

He placed the tip of his sword over my heart and took a deep breath. I knew it was hard for him. It was to be a relief for me.

He gazed down at me. I gazed back up.

He thrust down.

My blood sprayed into the air as the sea crashed into the rocks.

The tide had finally come in.

jacyee34
July 4th, 2014, 07:40 PM
You have an interesting premise here, Lordy. I like the idea of a once powerful warrior, now a feeble old man at the end of his life, meeting the child he'd once spared all grown up. I also liked many of your descriptions, especially in the final few paragraphs. I loved your last line!

However, I have to say that overall the whole thing felt sort of...clumsy. The transition between the old man on the cliff and the battle flashback felt clumsy, not smooth. Also, it just seemed a bit too coincidental that just when he was remembering the battle where he saved the boy, who should just so happen to appear all grown up? If you ever re-write this you may want to expand it so that when he meets the boy it all seems more plausible. One more thing, there are quite a few grammar/spelling/punctuation errors, but a careful read through should be able to spot most of those.

You said this was your first piece, right? Most of the things I pointed out above will probably sort themselves out as you gain more experience writing fiction. It may also help to study the works of your favorite published authors to see how they handle things like transitions, pacing, etc.

Lordy
July 4th, 2014, 10:00 PM
You have an interesting premise here, Lordy. I like the idea of a once powerful warrior, now a feeble old man at the end of his life, meeting the child he'd once spared all grown up. I also liked many of your descriptions, especially in the final few paragraphs. I loved your last line!

However, I have to say that overall the whole thing felt sort of...clumsy. The transition between the old man on the cliff and the battle flashback felt clumsy, not smooth. Also, it just seemed a bit too coincidental that just when he was remembering the battle where he saved the boy, who should just so happen to appear all grown up? If you ever re-write this you may want to expand it so that when he meets the boy it all seems more plausible. One more thing, there are quite a few grammar/spelling/punctuation errors, but a careful read through should be able to spot most of those.

You said this was your first piece, right? Most of the things I pointed out above will probably sort themselves out as you gain more experience writing fiction. It may also help to study the works of your favorite published authors to see how they handle things like transitions, pacing, etc.

Hi Jaycee

Thanks for the feedback, advice and for taking the time to read it. Really appreciate it. It seems clumsy to me as well. I banged it out then went through it again making some changes and it still didn't seem to run smoothly. I'm going to take your advice on board and hopefully see an improvement. Thanks once again.

InspektorF
July 4th, 2014, 10:53 PM
It is a good first effort, it just needs a bit of polishing up. I also like the ending. It was simple yet strong and fit the story well.

Lordy
July 5th, 2014, 08:09 PM
It is a good first effort, it just needs a bit of polishing up. I also like the ending. It was simple yet strong and fit the story well.

Thank you InspektorF. Appreciate the kind words/feedback.

JosephineRinaldi
July 8th, 2014, 04:48 PM
Ello Lordy, this was a good first piece. I have a few suggestions; some of the sentences and dialogue is a bit choppy. Was the intentional? Try to avoid using the same word when describing something it can become redundant. But I did enjoy how you ended it, very fitting for a warrior.

-J.R.

Canjul
July 11th, 2014, 02:42 AM
If I had to guess, I would say this was a piece born of a single powerful scene that stuck in your head one day and which you wanted to present to others, imparting it with the same emotional resonance it holds for you in your mind's eye. If I'm correct, this is an admirable sentiment and I'm happy to say that in my opinion, you've succeeded rather well. Hell, even if I'm wrong the work is still of a high quality.

It's scene that would truly realize its potential if it came at the end of a novel or even a more developed short story, but even without such build-up or character development you manage to paint a vivid picture and a melancholy atmosphere. The sea is perfect for this and a great many other stories, loaded as it is with symbolism and imagery, and you harness its nature as an ancient timekeeper. The tide comes in, the tide goes out. Days give way to seasons, and seasons to generations. A few lines of description really jumped out at me...


I could feel the sea air enter my pores and settle on my bones.

Is a beautiful one, although admittedly my trypophobia (Don't Google it, you'll be happier) spoils it a little for me personally.

In terms of concept and setting, it's very Conan the Barbarian though with rather a Norse flavour. Haha, don't suppose you're a fan of Skyrim? In all seriousness, I enjoyed some the subtle world-building, with references to gods and the casual cultural conflicts that arise between warring peoples ("...and send him to wherever his people go when they leave this world").

I honestly don't know whether the story takes place in our world or in some fictional fantasy land, but I find this ambiguity lends the story an almost ethereal quality, like a fable or a fairytale.

I feel that the negative points of the story stem chiefly from the fact that it seems to have been conceptualized as a scene and little else beyond. While this means that the immediate scene on the beach is well thought-out and has a strong central message, it leaves the flashback seeming forced and clunky by comparison. While brief, it is also the densest part of the narrative and consequentially doesn't flow as naturally as the rest of the tale. It breaches the quiet, dreamlike pace of the scene. Perhaps you could play on the old warrior's ailing senses and slightly delirious state to play the flashback as a dream rather than a memory. This would maintain a more stream-of-consciousness flow and be more emotionally-directed, which I feel is appropriate.


I remembered that rock. Somewhere in the deep vestiges of my mind there was a story tied to the skeletal basalt knuckle that jutted from the sand. But my neck was as weary my mind and my head ached as I struggled to remember. Perhaps if I lay my head on the sand...just for a moment.

Then I saw myself, young and strong. My limbs were stout as the trunks of oaks and quick as the whips of ash. I saw this same beach, it sands unchanged, the tides unbroken. I saw...no I recalled...invaders. A small landing force. The foe was met and I had just the time to see myself roar a cry of defiance before joining the fray. Even in my dreams, my eyes were weary and could not follow the blur of carnage and glory for long. They dropped, to watch the sand drink blood. It was a soft whimper that drew them up again, a choking breath that reached forward through the years and rent my old heart, even now.

I was within myself again, my powerful arm pressing a sword against the throat of...a boy. A child, a mere stripling. Eyes as red as his flaming hair, red as blood and broken hearts. How could they send this poor, crying babe to fight us? How could they be so cruel? I was careful, as my sword lifted to point the boy towards his boat, not loose a tear in sympathy.

I woke then, with tears in my eyes. The light had changed, the tide had moved closer and a figure approached over the level sands...

Still, despite that lengthy suggestion (Haha, sorry! Ran away with myself a bit), this a beautifully realised scene and rather impressive for a first work.

Blood Brother
Canjul

Amo
July 18th, 2014, 11:52 PM
Like most works I have discovered on this, website, this one was very good, I liked the setting and overall story.
I myself am not a very experienced writer either, but one thing I can say is in one way or another I heard a lot of stories,(as in I've seen a lot of shows/anime, played a lot of games etc.) and as far as story telling goes this a superb piece for a first shot. Keep up the good stuff and I hope to read more from you in the future!

And here again is Canjul, with an extraordinary critique! haha!