View Full Version : Mongrel

November 12th, 2016, 10:55 PM
Note-This isn't finished, but figure it's good enough to show. Besides, I would like thoughts.

Chapter 1The solemn air hissed out of his lungs as the cold metallic blade pierced his red skin. As white blood drowned his lungs, he stared one last time at his killer, a young woman, only twenty at most with pale white skin and short dark hair. Bright piercing eyes stared at him for a moment, before the world get dark, the sound of pain and death slowly fading away....
She was surprised that she managed to kill such a large man with just a short vibrosword, at least as quickly as she did. The old blade was toeing the line between dull and sharp, through it seemed to be just as deadly as when Emil had first...acquired it. It was a old Thresian blade, coated in black to prevent reflection along for intimidation. It did both purposes well, though she could almost hear the blade crack each time she used it. Having her only close-quarter weapon blade snap off would be...unfortuitous…
Stepping over a corpse, Emil scanned the room for her father. She found him holding a man by the throat, his red face bruised and cut, eyes staring with a embered anger at her father’s masked face.
“Emil” The masked man said “Guard the door”. Nodding without a word she walked out and closed the door behind her. Sliding down the cracked wall until she sat on the wooden floor. Humming, she brought a old brown notebook, the leather cover slowly cracking away.

She began drawing, with a whittled pencil,a castle overlooking a fast forested plain. With great skill and passion, she guided the pencil through the yellow parchment. For a moment for she felt….at peace. The weight on her shoulders had lifted and not even the screams and yells behind her could break her trance. She felt a shimmer of happiness tickle her brain…..

A loud knock broke her high. The real, bleak world crashed through her mental wall and dragged her out from the safety of her mind. Opening the door with a creak, Emil sarcastically smiled “Done already?”. Her father only replied with a nod, a bag over his shoulder. It had a dreadful odor and she was pretty sure there was a red stain on the bottom of it.

Not a single word was said as they exited the musty old apartment, into a small sewer, and finally back to their hideout-a apartment that was somehow even more decrepit, being abandoned long ago. After helping Emil up, through a trap door, her father walked off, placing the bag on a legless escritoire.
Something must be on his mind; Emil thought. It was best to leave him be when he was like this, as Emil had learned. She paced over to a bedroll situated in an adjacent room, a small hole in the ceiling letting in a single ray of light that gave the room a light blue coloration. She didn’t see the point in undressing, knowing that for one, she didn’t have any spare changes of clothes, and two, they were probably moving again soon.

The bedroll was stuffy and almost rock solid, but it was all Emil had, and it was better than nothing. Laying down, she closed her eyes and let sleep take hold.

---Her father seemed to like abandoned places. The warehouse they were hiding out in for the night was large-once tasked with supplying the armies of Coalition of Nine, thousands of workers, paid and unpaid, worked its machinery and readied the weapons of war, centuries ago-but had since fallen of us, a metallic corpse of a bygone age.
A small girl, no older than thirteen, paced about, rummaging through rusted lockers and boxes. There wasn’t anything of us in them. Besides the occasional ancient ration and broken trinket, there was nothing that could really prove useful, except perhaps as a trap or bait. Vaarl did seem to have a strange sense of taste in the food.
And besides, it gave Emil something to do, and helped keep the images of her mother’s lifeless green eyes out of her mind.
“Emil!” She heard her father yell in his deep guttural voice. She didn’t reply, continuing to rummage through through the lockers. All she wanted right now was to be alone, to be in her own little world…
“Emil!” Came another cry. Still, Emil did not move towards him, opening an old food can to see what was inside. The contents were brown and mushy in consistency, and Emil dared not try to do a taste test.
“Come on Emil!”
Sighing, Emil put the can back in it’s locker, the rusted hinges letting out a high pitched creak that echoed through the warehouse. Her ears now ringing, Emil turned on her heel and hummed. The soft soles of her boots made silent thuds on the metallic floor, unintelligible for any eavesdroppers and passing patrols.
Scenes of workmen placing boxes down, conversing about work and family, and working the vast machinery that now laid dormant in front of her, filled her mind as she walked, a small smile came across her pale white face. Through it didn’t compare to the joy of running through the white halls of her mother’s estate, of hiding from her caretakers and daydreaming through the private lectures given by some of the galaxy's greatest teachers.
A high pitch whine caused her to pause mid-step. Shallowing, a yell echoed through the halls
She ran towards an open vent, thanking the stars for her small stature as she went into a prone positioning, facing the vent. Through she could only see the boots of any passer byers, she was safe here. No one would be able to find her, at least...that was what she told herself.
The screams of explosions and weapons fire began to ring in her ears. Swallowing, she didn’t move a single muscle, hoping it would be over soon

---Chapter 2Her eyes slowly opened, a ray of light beating down them, stinging her piercing green eyes. With a groan, she pushed herself off the bedroll, stretching her arms. Opening a small crate inside was several rations packs encased within a tin tomb, Emil imagined if they were sentient, that they would be calling her their savior right now, the light that will destroy the darkness of their world.
Chuckling, she grabbed a ration a opened it. Even good gods need substance, and this ration would be her ambrosia. The ration, a solid slab of yellow paste, was dull yet sweet. The two wanderers had run across the rations after a Imperial Army supply truck was turned over by members of the local crime syndicate-The Rising Suns she believe they were called-and quietly borrowed a box as the purple plasma bolts flied through the night sky. It would last them a few weeks, a month if they were conservative with their meals.
The hiss and clicks of a pistol being put back together echoed through the empty, hole-filled halls of the apartment as she patrolled through the halls. Her father no doubt, doing his hourly check up of his equipment.
“I got someone” He said as she entered the room. Raising an eyebrow, Emil let out a devious smile.
“A real one?” She said snidely. Her father shot her a stare, not breaking his gaze for several, long, seconds, before letting out a small laugh.
“Yes” He finally said, placing his pistol down on the table and taking out a small, circular holoprojector. Pressing a button, the holo image of a green women-a Milla-appearing. Her rugged features and aged appearance implied to Emil that she was a former slave. The Milla were one of the first races enslaved by the Ragon, their once resplendent worlds standing in the way of Illgoth’s conquest.
“Ila, former slave turned crime lord of the Risin’ Sun’s, wanted for murder, anti-social tendencies and disruption of anti-Goth propaganda. She’s been workin’” He chuckled.
Looking the women over, Emil bit her lip. She oozed green and deceit to her, her eyes giving the impression that would sell out her own mother for a quick credit.
“When do we leave?” She asked. Her father grunted something, his eyes looking away. He opened his mouth, but only a sharp “Uh” came out.
He scratched his bald head “Listen ‘ere Emil...if this chinka isn’t a scumbag and can actually get us to the Republic….” He inhaled, trying to figure out how to say this. He was never one for speeches.
“Be wha’ever you wan’ to be. I dan’ care wha’ it is-A dactor, a artist or even a gaddamn ballerina” His Cortusian accent was coming out in full force as he looked at her pleadingly, his face low and gaunt.
Emil chuckled. “I can be barely understand ya, dad”. Her father shook his head, chuckled and then smiled.
“You’re a smart girl, you got what I meant” He added, patting Emil on the shoulder and squeezing reassuringly. Turning on his heel, he grabbed his large, cumbersome pistol by the hilt and pulled it into the hip holster on his right hip.
As he began to walk through the door, Emil clicked her tongue.
He turned with a eyebrow raised, Emil holding her left arm nervously. After what seemed like hours, she spoke.
“What is the Republic like?”
His eyes narrowed for a second, before looking past Emil, then outside. Awkwardly shuffling his feet, he finally gave an answer.
“Better than ‘ere”

Chapter 3Oh, the despair in the air was great, almost drowning Emil’s mind with dread. The slums of Vardook were a place of lost hopes and broken dreams, of forgotten artist and of families torn apart. Slavery was one of the backbones of the Ragon economy, next’s to military might and spice. Entire generations of families, from the Milla, Fevori and Cala races, were damned to a life of servitude because their families lived their lives in the way of the Ragon Empire’s conquest.
The dirty, cobbled streets were crowded, the mass of bodies almost suffocating Emil. If it wasn’t for her father’s large and intimidating stature, she would feel lost and claustrophobic right now, but her father seemed to know his way through the crowds.
They were heading to an abandoned noble’s estate that once belonged to a House that’s name and story was wiped from history. Damnatio Memoriae, it was called, were all records of a traitorous house, person or organization were wiped from Imperial records.
“Please sir, just a few-” A Fevori women, her black hair slowly falling away, strain by strain. Father interrupted her mid-sentence, bringing out a purse of credits and placing it in her outstretched hands. He said nothing, not even breaking his casual stride. Emil followed suit, nodding to the women, who mumbled something before running off.
The rest of the journey was, as expected, uneventful. Besides the occasional patrol, the Imperials Enforcers tended to keep away from the slums, and in the rare instances where they did, was simply to check up on the slave markets to ensure everything was proceeding smoothly-and to beat someone.
Despite the Empire’s claim that Imperial Worlds were more secure and orderly, corruption was rampant among the Enforcer Corps. Anyone with credits could buy out an entire sector worth of Enforcers, ensuring they were free to do whatever they may please.
Perhaps that was how Ila managed to set up shop in the former nobles estate, and not have to worry about raids. Men and women obviously criminals by the way they dressed,in striped tracksuits and weapons at ready, stood at the various entrances into the estate. Guarding was too nice of word to describe what they were doing. Most of them seemed to be high, staring into space and fidgeting in place.
Corvas. Emil shuddered at the thought. To think such small, and pretty, crystals could so easily destroy lives….
“Hmm….” A man hummed, Emil looking up to see his purple eyes looking her up and down, examining very contour of her thin frame.
“A little to regal for my taste but-” He began, a sly grin molding on his green face, before her father abruptly stood in front of her, staring daggers into his very soul.
“Go right in” He cooed, gulping as he opened the door into the main hallway of the estate. The white paint was beginning to peel off the walls and most of the furniture was gone. It mostly guards and addicts banging their heads on the wall and fidgeting, one seeming to be ripping of the skin above his lips.
Wincing, Emil followed her father, who held her by the arm and staring at any who dared to approach. Though she didn’t like being ‘protected’ by her father, she understood that her father was doing it more for him then her. She was the one beacon of light in his life, and he wasn’t gonna let it be doused without a fight.
A man waved for them to follow him into an aerary, filled with heirlooms that had yet to be found and destroyed. Unlike the rest of the estate, the aerary looked like it hadn’t aged a day. In fact, Emil almost thought the room was colored by gold, before realizing it was just the tint of the Varian wrapped lamps.
Some the objects glowed with fluorescence, Beyonder artifacts. Whether they were from the old occupants or Ila had brought them into either be sold or cannibalized for parts, Emil didn’t know nor particularly care about. But they were...stunning, in an otherworldly way.
“Welcome” A whispery voice said, the two turning their heads towards it’s source. The green skinned women leaned on a leathered armchair, legs lazily resting on the right arm.
“Sasko and Emil, I presume?” She licked her lips, placing a cigarette holder on her black lips. Sasko nodded, a vowel beginning to form on his lips, before Ila shushed him.
“Let the women speak” She said, adjusting herself into a more professional posture, feet on the floor and back straight, a sinister smile coming across her face. The sound of leather gloves tightening made Emil jump, before Sasko sighed, his eyes motioning for Emil to continue.

“Yes” She said after a moment, stepping forward, arms behind her back, hands locked together. Ila leaned forward, taking the cigarette holder off her lips, grey smoke floating off it’s white leaves.
“Uh….yes we are the two….you agreed to help” She said, pausing. Speaking wasn’t her forte, nor was it her father’s, but he had...charisma behind him. A unshakable confidence and way with words.

November 24th, 2016, 05:15 PM
So far you have my interest, but truth be told, this feels like an early draft. There are a number of small mistakes or "clunky" sentences that gut wrenching over with a group of well intentioned friends would help get fixed.
Such things as: Chap 3 3rd sentence ..."next to military might and spice..." That sentence seems to me to need a good deal more fleshing out. That is , obviously they are throwing their military might around and dominating people, but the Writer can't assume that what is clear in his/her mind is clear on the "paper"....Also you throw "spice" out there. What spice? Why is it prized? What is it good for? You can "see" it, I'm certain, but so far I can't.

A short while later in a sentence beginning: "Please Sir..." "Her black hair falling away strain by strain...Should that be strand by strand? And where does it fall? To her shoulders? To the ground?

It's worth more effort, certainly, but ATM it needs it. Re read, re work, re write. This is what my early iterations look like so I "get" it. Best of luck going forward. Z

Harper J. Cole
November 25th, 2016, 12:11 AM
Hi there Cpkeyes,

I think that you set the scene well here in terms of world building and the personalities of your two leads. There are some issues with the language, as the previous reviewer mentioned.

One good tip that I've been given is to avoid using the same word twice in quick succession, unless for deliberate effect. Here's a couple of examples ...

The solemn air hissed out of his lungs as the cold metallic blade pierced his red skin. As white blood drowned his lungs, he stared one last time at his killer, a young woman, only twenty at most with pale white skin and short dark hair.

Her eyes slowly opened, a ray of light beating down them, stinging her piercing green eyes.

Another issue is that you use adjectives before nouns a lot. These are a necessary part of speech, of course, but can rob your prose of richness if overused. Let's look at your first paragraph again, noting the adjectives ...

The solemn air hissed out of his lungs as the cold metallic blade pierced his red skin. As white blood drowned his lungs, he stared one last time at his killer, a young woman, only twenty at most with pale white skin and short dark hair. Bright piercing eyes stared at him for a moment, before the world get dark, the sound of pain and death slowly fading away....

That's a lot of adjectives. Some of them you might be able to get rid of, e.g. you don't need to say that the woman is young if you're also mentioning that she looks twenty at most. For others, you could dress them up a bit by using more elaborate language, e.g. "short dark hair" could become "a dark screen of hair", or you could even say "her hair a flash of night" if you wanted to get a bit poetic.

I hope that some of this has been helpful.


M.R Steiner
December 19th, 2016, 12:08 AM
Hi CPKeyes,

I had a chance to review this piece, and while I feel you got the overall theme and intentions of showing without telling right. I have to agree and say it feels a little clunky at times, heavy on description that breaks the flow of your writing.

however it is an interesting prospect, a sort of fantasy, 'last of us' vibe I found, or maybe 'empire of the sun' with a fantasy vibe. either way I still found it good despite the handicaps others have mentioned. I feel a redraft is in order. and when you do please message me so I can see the progress :)

next draft please space out your writing more, I got lost a couple of times. I shall return.