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Akroma
May 29th, 2006, 11:41 AM
Please don't plagiarise, as this is my pride and joy. No offence is intended in any way or form concerning the content of this story. I have tried not to include any unsuitable material for this site but if you find something offensive, please feel free to contact me and I offer my deepest apologies.

This is a story about three parallell worlds - the human world, the demon world and the world of angels. It is about vampires, werewolves, a war and friendship and love. So if all these things take your fancy, read on!

A word of warning - I'm trying to make it into a proper novel-style book so some chapters will be pretty long...but I've put regular breaks in them so it's easier to leave then pick up again when you get tired of reading. The first couple of chapters I also realise aren't that great but please stick with it, I promise it will get a lot better. More action and magic and...well...stuff. Hope you enjoy it!

Just as an edit, quite a lot of people are printing this off to read because it's so long. If you want to do that, Private Message me and I'll send you a printable version because, apparently, if you tried to print from here it would be like 100 pages. My version is only 53 or something...still a lot but if you can do it on both sides...well!






Prologue





The snow falls thickly upon the city of Asperia, fluttering and swirling in the wind like so many feathers. Feathers so white and pure as if from the wings of angels, frozen into those delicate crystalline shapes only my eyes can perceive. They swirl round and round in a whirlwind of controlled chaos to land oh so lightly upon the ground, already forming a deep blanket upon the rooftop on which I stand, unmoved by the wind, unbitten by the cold.


Far below me the streets glitter with the warm welcoming lights of the human world; shops and restaurants, flickering street lamps and the forever passing lights of transport. Transport now so developed that the air is thick with it, like a swarm of mechanical wasps barely avoiding each other. Down below people make their way along streets that wind in sharp angles around their tall sky scrapers, walking fast, lost in a world of their own as they march heavily against the snow, completely undisturbed by the swarming turmoil above them.

Though several hundred feet below me, I hear their footsteps as they crush the fragile stars of ice beneath their feet; their muttered conversations; even the slight jangling of keys in pockets as I block out the consistent roar of machinery. I see a family of birds taking refuge in a congested gutter, now accustomed to this world of metal.

As I watch from my eyrie, I wonder at how much the world has changed since my death. Everything completely transformed from what it was almost seven hundred years ago when I was still alive – a young woman in my mid-twenties. That part of my life I have almost forgotten…almost.

I stand on the brink, looking out at this scar that is Asperia. Once a beautiful and historical city, it is now a slave to electricity like so many others. The old Saints Bridge is broken and the winding cobbled streets lined with old houses are demolished. Nothing historical is left in this world of modernisation. All tradition has ceased to exist.

Still I am glad that the great forests and plains of the continent are left untouched, the extensive cities dotting around it like colossal craters in the earth. The humans quickly realised that without the natural regions, their race would perish. An immense wall was raised around the city and no one now ventures far into the reaches of the wilderness, fearing the unknown that lies within its dark boundaries. Childbirth is controlled. Food is plentiful. And the humans live on in peace within their metal cocoon, still ignorant and unaware of the worlds that live parallel alongside them.

Something awakens inside me. I know that before long I must gain sustenance. I have stood here for too long watching the human world, listening to the soft rain of snow, feeling it brush my white cheeks. Somewhere beyond the walls a wolf is howling. It is time to go home.

For the first time in hours I stir; a blink; a flexing of the fingers. Then I launch myself into the swirling mass of chaos below me. It seems for eternity that I fall, narrowly avoiding high speed aircrafts and vehicles. As if time itself is slowed right down, I see the train intercepting my line of fall, a gigantic centipede of the sky. Vertically driving snow smashes against its windscreen, too slow to avoid its soaring velocity. As it passes beneath me, I reach out a hand and feel the smooth metal sliding underneath my fingertips as it passes by. Then my fingers grasp a handhold and all of a sudden time seems to speed up again.

I am yanked to my left so quickly that it should have broken my bones. But it does not. I hang on tightly as the train veers and spirals through the air, bringing me closer to the Wall. When I am as close to it as possible, I loosen my hold and slip off the vehicle, landing neatly upon another rooftop. The feeling inside me is strong now; I know I must be swift. Here, near the Wall, Asperia is quieter; less people are inclined to leave the warmth of their homes for the bustling night-life at the centre.

A man walks beneath me. He strolls nonchalantly, hands in pockets, whistling softly. His scent is warm and musky, mingled with the slight hint of leather and tobacco; I catch the shampoo in his hair; the salt of his skin; the blood in his veins.

I follow him, moving easily over the rooftops or across the building faces, creeping like a panther; a shadow flowing like liquid night across the hard stone walls. Still several feet above him, I step to the edge of a sheer drop. I look into the black chasm below and jump.

Such a fall would kill a human being, shattering bones in the impact, but I land silently behind the unsuspecting man with the precision of a cat. It is dark here. Very dark. A backstreet between houses. I feel bad for this stranger. But he is one of many; so many.

He is young, still untouched by the cruel lines of time, his body exquisitely built. His scent is strong now, almost driving me to madness, the hunger rising up inside me like a wave. He does not notice my presence until I am swept up beside him, holding him close. A gasp of surprise escapes his lips as I bury my face in his neck, my lips brushing his smooth skin. He struggles but his strength is no match to mine. I press him closer, feeling the perfectly toned muscles beneath his shirt, my fingers entwining with his silky hair. Such perfection in my arms, his warm flesh against me almost too much to bear. He utters a low groan as I sink my teeth into his neck.

Images come to me then. Many images as I feel his life flowing over my tongue, quenching my thirst. His name is Lukas. He works at a restaurant. He has a girlfriend; she is very beautiful. He dreams of being married to her one day and working as a pilot. More images and memories crowd my head and I feel him dying.

As I lower his lifeless body to the floor, I grieve for his family; his lover; his stolen life. But I know he will go to Dantalion to be with Hsaru in that magical world I have yet to see. I both grieve and envy those that I take out of this world…



*♥*


My name is Raven, and I am one of the few vampires left in existence. This is my story; a story of love and of war; of angels and demons; and of the created races. Come with me and learn of my city, my Gods and what happened in the war between the great realms of Dantalion and Naberus. Come with me back seven hundred years ago; back to when I was still alive…and still mortal…

Sephiroth
May 29th, 2006, 02:11 PM
Nothing wrong with that as far as I can see. I absolutely loved the first paragraph describing the snow. I love snow, and the way you described it, you make it seem so mystical.
You have a real talent for description, and I think I'll be a regular viewer to this thread, and hope to help you out in any way I can.

Anarosa
May 29th, 2006, 02:25 PM
vampires and werewolves and demons, oh my!

alright, i watched the wizard of oz very recently

but all kidding aside. this was a great way to start off a story. and i agree about the description of the snow.

if i saw this book in a store and picked it up to read the back cover, this is the kind of book i would buy.

very nice

Anarosa
May 29th, 2006, 02:33 PM
just 2 more things

i love the name raven... but i cant tell if its a she or a he..? eek!

and also i think this is going to have a sad ending...but i hope not.

anyway, good work

Akroma
May 29th, 2006, 07:13 PM
i love the name raven... but i cant tell if its a she or a he..? eek!

Lol, Raven's a girl. I guess I should have put that in somewhere...But I guess you'd have found out on the second chapter :queen: And I wont spoil the ending for you ;)

Thanks for your comments, everyone. It's nice to know that something's going right lol. :mrgreen:

Anarosa
May 30th, 2006, 12:22 AM
no problem. haha its cool, i want the ending to be surprising

oh yeah, and i have this feeling that you are one of those people who has a big thing for anything supernatural. vamps. werewolve. shape-shifters. anything like that. am i right?

if i am, then you are going to like alot of my stories i think...or atleast my characters. haha

any preference for demi-gods? because i have one of those too..

anyway.. enough self-promotion, ive barely even started posting those stories yet.

(but there is a bit in the critique and advice section thats from the one with the god...*wink*)

spannyka
May 31st, 2006, 12:01 PM
Hey,

I love the imagry thats spelt wrong that you've used in the prologue its better than it was originally. Can't wait to see where you are taking this I'll see you soon.
Love you

messianic5
May 31st, 2006, 12:15 PM
Wow! This is great! Your craft of words is wonderful! I agree, this is the type of book I would read. I will be back to read more.

Purple
May 31st, 2006, 01:58 PM
Hey, Akroma, go to illwillpress.com and watch Foamy Fan Mail IX, it might help you.

Chaeronia
May 31st, 2006, 04:55 PM
Dear Akroma,

Your beginning has a strong sense of the aesthetic, the stylistic, something which can be emphasised within the less formal boundaries of a prologue. You exploit this well, and it gives the necessary hook to continue reading on. I enjoyed it a great deal.

Some of your descriptions are a delight:

I stand on the brink, looking out at this scar that is Asperia.

I see the train intercepting my line of fall, a gigantic centipede of the sky.

...a shadow flowing like liquid night across the hard stone walls.

These are highlights amidst a generally well-written and poetic narrative.

You also hint at a potentially very interesting character in Raven. It is clear she does what she does out of necessity; she is not inspired by malice, nor just hunting for sport. She feels guilt for taking life, and this of course suggests a human sensibility, essential for a protagonist. But she is also pragmatic, accepting what she has to do to survive, and therefore not overly sentimental. This is a nice juxtaposition.

As is important with such expressive openings, you mostly avoid the trap of exposition. You show us what she can see, and you don't submit to any clunky explanations of the world at large. This is our introduction to Raven more than it is to the city of Asperia, and your writing conveys this well.

However, in saying this, you do perhaps explain too much to us in your sixth paragraph (Still I am glad...), one which, to me, felt a little forced and out of context with the rest of the piece. And whilst I am being a little critical, there were one or two issues that I would quickly like to touch upon.

Firstly, the opening paragraph, whilst artistically written, left me feeling indifferent. I didn't feel this at any other point in your prologue, but here I couldn't help but think 'style over substance'. So many stories in the fantasy genre begin climatologically, explaining in great and wondrous detail the every day occurrence of precipitation or sunshine. It feels like you are trying a little too hard in your opening paragraph, and it adds little to the story itself.

Secondly, there were just one or two segments of narrative that grated with me:

That part of my life I have almost forgotten…almost.

Vertically driving snow smashes against its windscreen

The use of the 'almost... almost' tool seems a little tired these days. It sounds punchier, and less hackneyed, without the second 'almost'.

The use of 'smashes' as the adverb seems out of place, a little excessive.

These are small things, though, and, of course, merely my opinions (all other reviewers here seem to love the opening, so what do I know?). They certainly don't detract from what is an excellent and enticing beginning. I have no doubt that I would read more, should you decide to post it, and who can ask for more than that?

Kind regards,

Chaeronia

Chaeronia
May 31st, 2006, 04:55 PM
Delete

Chaeronia
May 31st, 2006, 04:55 PM
Delete

aliceedelweiss
May 31st, 2006, 05:23 PM
Nice job there :-) Two projects I have also done before, Vampires and Angels. Of course it was done separately but...oh well.

It was very good :-) written very well, creative, got my attention. I'm really looking forward to reading more. I'm hoping you do a good job with vampires. I'd have to say Underworld (the movies) didn't do much for me at all. I just want to warn you though, try to be mindful of clichés! I didn't see any but, "angels and demons" "angels and vampires" "love and war" its all edging on cliché. I'm sure you've got some really great idea behind it, and I'm not saying I saw anything cliché, I just wouldn't want to see it go cliché at all, not with your writing skill.

Hope to see more soon, good job!

Alice
PS: I hate to push my own writing, makes me feel vain, but you might like some of mine. My vampire piece I took off the forum (I sent it into a contest) but if you want I can PM you work ;-) again, awesome job

TheListenerAndWatcher
May 31st, 2006, 05:31 PM
It was a great Prologue, I enjoyed it very much

Akroma
May 31st, 2006, 08:16 PM
Thanks, Chaeronia for your advice! I'll have a look over the prologue :thumbl: Yeah I guess I wanted to put in a lot of detail at the beginning cos Raven's eyes can see so much more detail than she can write and she likes to sometimes go off on one lol...and she has a really strong appreciation for everything beautiful and poetic. It's how she sees the world :flower:

Alice. I'd love to read some of your work. I'll keep an eye out for you ;-)

Thanks for your comments everyone!

x x x

Man_Of_Truth
May 31st, 2006, 08:28 PM
I must say I really enjoyed the Prologue and I'll be checking all the time for updates. Also if I wasn't a man this piece would probably made me shed a tear, that's how good your description was...

Akroma
June 1st, 2006, 04:36 PM
Ok! here we go! Load you computer desk with snacks and soda and perhaps put a cushion under your bum, cos if you read as slow as I do, you'll be here for a while. But do feel free to breaks, you know make a cup of tea...have some friends round...get a facial...




Chapter 1


I awoke with a flinch to the harsh scream of my alarm. Still half asleep, I reached out an arm, my hand blundering across the bedside table until my fingers came into contact with the “off” button. I then lay still, waiting for my heart to settle back down into my chest before letting myself doze again. The man beside me stirred but did not wake. I looked at him as best I could, with our naked bodies entwined together beneath the sheets, and smoothed away his long black hair, kissing him on the forehead. My prince. My knight in shining armour.

“Honey?” I said softly, caressing his beautifully sculpted face. “It’s time to get up.” He mumbled something inaudible and buried his face into my neck, refusing to rise. I sighed and held him closer, savouring the feeling of his warm soft skin against mine. I rubbed my thumb against his silken lips then tenderly kissed him, a delightful shiver running through me.

A smile tugged at the corners of his lips and Sethis slowly opened his eyes, an intense blaze of blue meeting my dark forest green.

“Morning,” he said in a husky voice heavy with sleep. He then grinned and pulled me closer for another kiss. Still, after six years, he had that power that could melt me down into a helpless pool of wax from a single look; a single word; a single kiss.

“Raven,” he murmured, “my heart.”

I smiled and gave him a squeeze as I held him, my eyes settling on the window and the cloudless sky outside. After a while he disentangled himself from me and looked at my face.

“Penny for your thoughts,” he said, that familiar line making me smile again, always spoken when we knew the other was thinking hard about something. I hesitated.

“I just can’t imagine being without you,” I whispered. His smile did not fade but his eyes became serious and he nodded.

“I just…feel that it can’t last, you know?” I continued. “Like something’s going to happen; something that’ll tear us apart.” Tears came unbidden to my eyes, the sudden emotion of sadness welling up inside me from the thought.

Sethis’ smile was gone now, his intense eyes full of concern. Without hesitation he reached for a tissue and gently soaked up my tears with it, caressing my cheeks and holding me in his secure embrace. “Hey, don’t cry,” he whispered soothingly. “Don’t cry.”

“If something happened to you…I couldn’t live…I couldn’t live without you,” I said. “I couldn’t bear it, not seeing your face; feeling your touch; hearing your voice…And I just know that sooner or later it really will happen. We’ll get old…one of us will die before the other…knowing that I’ll never see you again or you never seeing me again…”

“Sshhh,” Sethis cut through my ramblings. “Don’t think about that. Nothing’s going to tear us apart. I’ll love you forever, ok?” He lifted my face so that his eyes looked directly into mine. “Ok?”

I smiled crookedly and nodded. “Ok.” I felt foolish for getting so emotional on him first thing in the morning. “Sorry,” I added sheepishly.

“Don’t be,” he whispered and pulled me closer. “Besides,” his smile coming back, “I’m going to live forever!” I laughed at his little jest.

“Really! I am,” he protested. “And so are you.” I smiled at the thought, immediately feeling better from his comforting presence.

After a moment he said, “I’ll go make us some breakfast.” Sethis gently released me then got out of bed, pulled on some boxers (left on the floor from the night before), some black jeans and went downstairs. While he was clattering around in the kitchen, I stepped into the shower. The warm water washing over me was refreshing and it woke me up completely.

When I came out of the bathroom, wrapped in my dressing gown, Sethis was standing in front of the door grinning. I knew what he was thinking. Without warning he pulled me into his arms again, his lips against mine, his hands tenderly exploring a way into the silk gown to my bare skin.

“We don’t have time,” I murmured. “We’re already late for work.”

He smiled and continued kissing me. “There’s always time,” he whispered ever so softly in my ear. The dressing gown came free and I was lost, tumbling and falling into a world where there was only the softness of his touch, the fire of desire, the sound of his breathing, and nothing else.



*♥*


Work was chaotic. Several days in the field had left us with a lot of data to analyse. If we were to be conserving Asperia’s wildlife, it had to be done thoroughly. All those statistics and hours of staring at a computer made my head hurt and my eyes tired. Constantly my mind would wander to Sethis. Was he having a good day teaching at the school? I smiled to myself knowing that he certainly enjoyed it. And no doubt I enjoyed working with the environment. But there were those days that really made you want to scream.

But it did put a smile on my face every time I imagined Sethis in a class full of teenagers all arguing about different subjects in sociology. His empathic soul and strong opinions made him just right for the job. Besides, in some respects he will always remain a big kid to me. Just because one gets older doesn’t mean they have to grow up. I laugh to think we’d still be acting like kids at the age of seventy-five! No different than our gambolling little grandchildren! Grinning to myself, I picked up the computer mouse and carried on working.

At last the sun set over the horizon and it all drew to a close. I thankfully burst out of the office block, only to find that it was raining. I silently cursed the weather, drew my coat tighter around me and plunged into the dark downpour. I walked fast, eager to get home to Sethis; a small smile playing on my lips as I imagined him holding me in his strong embrace, stripping me of my wet clothes, and…

Suddenly my phone rang, shattering my dreams. I fumbled around in my bag, ducked under an overhang for shelter and picked up.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Honey.” It was Sethis. “Did your day go ok?”

“Busy,” I replied with a sigh. “I’m so tired. Just on my way home now.”

“Well be careful, my love. You know how dangerous it is walking round the city at night on your own. I just called to say that I’ll be coming home late tonight.” My heart sank. “There are a few more things we need to sort out after the parent’s evening, and then they’re all going to the pub for a drink.”

“Oh…” I said, crestfallen, “well…I know you have to go…good to keep up appearances I guess and it might be a bit rude for you not to...”

“I’m so sorry, Honey,” he said. “You know I’d rather just come home and be with you. I promise I’ll try not to be too late. How about I bring home some Chinese? Dim sum...? We can eat it while watching that film you wanted to see tonight on TV?”

I smiled and said “I’ll be counting down the hours.”

“OK,” he said softly. After a pause he said, “I love you.”

So many times he said this to me but it never lost its meaning. The full force and passion of those three words hit me like an ecstasy in my soul every time. I knew it six years ago when we first started going together, I a young girl of nineteen, he a few months younger.

“I know. And I love you,” I replied, amazed at how a simple phone signal could send a message containing all my heart, all my soul and all my life.

We hung up and I carried on walking.



*♥*


I was five minutes away from our house when it happened: the event that changed my life forever. Our house was a beautiful old cottage on the outskirts of Asperia, surrounded on three sides by lush green forests and rolling fields. I could see our horses grazing in the paddock; an owl hooting softly at the night. Thinking of Sethis, I slowly began to walk up the long tree-lined driveway to our home.

It happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to scream. All I remember was a shadow dropping out of the sky, black cloaks curling around me in the darkness. The white face of a woman filled my vision, her luminescent violet eyes burning into mine; such beautiful yet haunting eyes. Her hair fell like a shower of pure gold around me and fingernails dug into my back as I was held in a grip of steel. I felt her chest rise as she inhaled deeply as if taking in my scent, her lips brushing my skin. Then I felt it. The pinprick of pain in my neck as she bit.

Right at that moment, as her fangs sank deep into my veins, a kaleidoscope of images raced through me. Scenes of my life snapped from one to the other so fast; my childhood; my family; my friends. The images stopped flitting by and one managed to hold in my mind. Sethis. It was an image I had of him when we were in university. I’d just walked into his room. He had suddenly looked up from what he was doing and I was completely entranced just looking at him; his intense blue eyes, his lustrous black hair, the curve of his lips…then he would smile, that infectious expression burning into my mind, the tender look in his eyes filling me with a peace that was calming. I reached out for him, wanting to touch him. Why was he getting so far away?

Suddenly the real world lurched back into focus. I was lying on my back on the hard rock-strewn floor, rain blinding my eyes, drenching me to the bone. Confused and weak, the world spinning about me, I looked around. The vampire had dropped me, distracted by the wound in her breast, a bloodied knife grasped in her hand; a knife like no other I’d seen before. Blood was pouring from the gash in copious amounts, oozing from the horrid hole and staining her dress. Her high-pitched screams seared through my head.

Fear drove me at that moment. Pure, blinding fear. I turned and stumbled away as fast as I could, throwing myself into a trench on the roadside, only vaguely aware of the blood still flowing down my neck.

From my hiding place I witnessed the vampire stand a deadly shower as more knives sank into her, exploding through her flesh before she finally fell to the ground, her screaming body disintegrating before my eyes. Trembling in fear, I cowered in the shelter of the trench. But I could not tear my eyes away. I just lay there and watched as her flesh crumbled away into dust, those violet eyes rolling out of the decomposing skull before melting away into nothing. Even her black dress and cloaks were crumbling away with her until there was absolutely nothing left at all. I was filled with horror and a wave of nausea rose up in my throat.

Suddenly I heard footsteps approaching. I held my breath, the beating of my heart thumping loud in my ears. Three men appeared. At least I thought they were men…I couldn’t be sure. The blinding rain and the confusion in my head showed me three shadowy figures shaped like men, but taller and thinner as if they were wraiths. Their mouths were stretched into gaping black maws and their eyes were no more than empty sockets. The creatures stood around the vicinity where the vampire died, those ethereal knives clutched in their blackened claws. As I watched, a shiver ran down my spine; a dread filling me so completely that it was all I could do to stop myself from screaming and falling into insanity.

Not a word was exchanged between those demons of fear. They just looked on with eyeless sockets, making sure that their prey was truly dead. Then, without warning, they turned and disappeared as inexplicably as they had arrived.

Still shivering, I waited until I was sure they’d gone, and then emerged from my hiding place. As I stood up the floor lurched and tilted, my head spinning. There was hardly any strength left in me and I could barely stand. Soaked to the bone, numb with cold, and trembling with horror, I stumbled towards my apartment.



*♥*


I do not know how I managed it but I found myself at my front door; my beautiful strong dark mahogany door. Holding on to the doorframe for support, my fingernails scratching at the paint, I fumbled for my keys. My hands were trembling violently; I could barely fit the key in the lock. At last the bolt turned and I fell into my cottage, not knowing whether I closed the door behind me or not. No one was home. The place was dark and silent. I staggered towards the bedroom but before I could reach it my legs gave out beneath me. My consciousness wavered and threatened to close.

Sethis! I had to contact Sethis! I had to tell him…but I couldn’t move. My mind was in turmoil. I was too weak…too much blood…Sethis…somebody…

The black curtains fell. I passed into a dream-like haze, the darkness swirling around me, encloaking me, suffocating me. Suddenly an itching started in my skin, spreading through my whole body, slowly getting worse and worse. Soon it was on fire, my very bones crackling like hot embers inside me. Far away I heard someone screaming. Perhaps it was me. I do not know. I felt like needles were piercing my gums. My eyes were burning! God my eyes! My teeth…they were getting longer…sharper…What’s happening to me?! Someone stop this happening to me!

Suddenly, through the pain, I saw faces rise out of the darkness. Faces all around me, grim and stern yet beautiful; their eyes narrowed, their lips set in hard lines. They faded in and out as my consciousness wavered. Some looked normal. Others looked pale…too pale…the white skin too flawless…something wrong with their eyes…all their eyes…too bright…too radiant…they burned into mine as if they could see my soul.

The pain increased and they disappeared into the black abyss. Far away I could hear voices…so far away and fading fast.

“She is already turning.”

“Should we kill her? It seems she is already at death’s door…”

“No…there is something different about this one…I can sense it…no. Let us take her with us. Help her. Gently now. Lorcan, you carry her…”

I felt strong hands lifting me from the floor. A sharp prick in my arm made me cry out but then the burning seemed to lessen a little. One of the pale faces loomed out of the darkness again.

“That should make you feel a little better,” he said. He was barely audible. “Do not worry. We shall not harm you. We want to help you…”

The blackness closed in around me then, and I remembered nothing more.

Man_Of_Truth
June 1st, 2006, 04:55 PM
You have me hooked! They way you write is just amazing! I'll be watching for more...

~Mike~

invid
June 2nd, 2006, 08:43 PM
I have yet to read chapter one, but on the prologue, I agree with Chaeronia's comments, I am no grammar master, but from reading other critiques (really harsh critiques of Dune and Dan Brown's work) I am really aware of the technical aspects of writing at the moment. Something about the flow of the second paragraph seemed to distract me from the story, I can't really put my finger on it other than perhaps it moved my attention from the city below, to the flying aircraft etc, then back down - so that you had to remind me we were looking at 'far below' it is the far below that caught my attention. It feels more like we are going to street level, then back up to the transports, then back to street level - as opposed to looking down level by level until we are at the VERY detailed sounds and details of the people below.

I hope that doesn't come across as overly critical or anything. I am definately impressed and intrigued and look forward to diving into the first chapter!

-invid

myownbeautifuldisaster
June 2nd, 2006, 09:21 PM
hey, errr, i'm getting right into it, so if you could let me know when you've posted more i'd be so grateful.

also hoping to learn from you. x

TE4SE
June 2nd, 2006, 11:52 PM
I agree with the rest of the comments really good start. :)

Anarosa
June 7th, 2006, 10:21 PM
that was great. im really looking forward to more. this sethis guy sounds like a guy out of my dream land. haha just my type. and this story is more entrancing as it goes. im hooked. deffinately.

and im thinking...maybe sethis' little bit about living forever has more meaning than just him being optimistic. at first i thought he was a vamp and was going to try and change her himself. perhaps not....

regardless. this is great so far!

Akroma
June 9th, 2006, 04:16 PM
Thanks for your comments everyone, I'm glad you're enjoying it.

this sethis guy sounds like a guy out of my dream land. haha just my type.
Lol, yeah I'm writing the character of Sethis on my boyfriend *snigger* Ah he's everything to me (I would put a huggy or kissy smily in but THERE ARE NONE!!! *gasp*



Chapter 2

The first thing I remember as I regained consciousness was feeling the softness of a mattress beneath me. Satin sheets lay softly against my skin, which no longer burned, and a feather pillow supported my head which felt unusually clear. I breathed deep and smelt a hint of wood smoke mingled with the scent of antique carpets. Slowly I opened my eyes and looked around me. I found myself in a large room, lavishly decorated with luxurious wooden furniture. The four-poster bed that I lay in had beautiful carvings of what could only be described as naked elf-like creatures, the drapes falling in waves of a translucent dark red.

The chandelier above me was dimmed, casting a warm glow to the room. As my eyes slid to the walls I was captivated by a world of paintings; the half human half horse centaurs, mer-folk with their fish tails sliding through the dark blue waters, white unicorns with silver hooves gliding through the air…even a great white dragon with its elf-rider standing small and insignificant beside it. All these overwhelming artworks were accompanied by an elegant mirror, its silver border beautifully wrought into intricate shapes and patterns. Stretching the length of the white marble floor was a finely woven carpet and a huge fireplace stood set into the wall, already inhabited by warm, crackling embers. For a moment my eyes seemed to be bound to the red flickering flames of the fire. It was so…beautiful! I was enraptured. Never before had I seen something in so much detail.

Suddenly I came to my senses. Where was this? What happened to me? In a great wave of images my memory came flooding back – the vampire, those sinister black phantoms, the white faces…how long had I been unconscious? I sat up, the blood-red satin sheets sliding deliciously over my naked skin as if I were hypersensitive. It felt so smooth! I suddenly caught sight of my arms and gasped. They were white. As white and smooth as paper, flawless in blemishes, wrinkles or wounds. I looked myself over – all white. It was unbelievable. I raised my a hand to my neck and shivered as my fingers brushed two small scars. I ran my tongue over my teeth. They felt different. Two of them had grown longer…sharper…my heart suddenly stuck in my throat.

“Oh God…” I moaned, my voice hoarse from disuse. Or was it from the screaming? Fear rose up in me again, threatening to break out into panic. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself. I had to think straight. Find out what happened and where I was!

Slowly I placed my feet on the cold floor and stood up slowly, expecting to fall over or faint. I did not. In fact, I felt stronger than I had ever felt before. Gingerly I walked over to a large oak cupboard carved with the figure of a knight in full plate armour, tall and stern upon his white stallion. I grasped the great bronze rings and pulled the doors open. The garments that greeted me were black. All of them, yet of good quality – strong and finely tailored.

I tried on some tight fitting trousers, and then looked for something to cover my torso, but all I could find were corsets. They were beautiful but I thought it strange. No one now wears corsets in this day and age and I had never tried one on before. I still had no idea where I was or who these belonged to. Nonetheless there was nothing else I could wear so I tentatively took one out. The last garment that caught my eye was a long, black, leather trench coat. Growing yet more suspicious, I took it and used it to cover my bare shoulders.

On the floor I discovered some knee-high boots. These too were made of leather and shone with silver plates and buckles. Was there nothing else I could put on my feet? But there was not. Reluctantly I buckled them into place and silently closed the cupboard doors. I turned to the full-length mirror upon the opposite wall, and gasped.

It was as if a completely different person stared back at me. A young woman stood in the reflection, wild black hair tumbling around a white face in which two luminescent green eyes glittered radiantly. Her smooth pale lips were parted in an expression of shock to reveal two deadly sharp fangs.

What have I become? What monster have they turned me into? Once again I had to control that feeling of fear, of absolute terror that if I let loose, I would go mad and never be able to control it again.

At that moment there was a knock at the door. I froze, not knowing what to do. I had noticed that windows did not exist here; there was no escape.

“May I come in?” said a man’s voice. “I know that you have awakened.” His tone was not forceful or hostile. Rather it was soft and calm; soothing to my distressed mind; kind even. I swallowed hard and steeled myself.

“…yes…you may enter…” I answered uncertainly.

The door opened and a man stepped in. I saw immediately that he was one of them…or rather I was one of them…the same white skin, smooth without age, clad in luxurious black clothing. He was tall and attractive; beautiful even; with his elven-warrior face, black hair and his tall fine structure. At first glance he looked terribly young – not much older than I! But then I looked into his eyes and I was lost, tumbling through an endless spiral of time, memories, and countless joys and pains endured through long years. I quickly looked away, embarrassed and insignificant in front of so much wisdom, but the luminous blue of his eyes still left their imprint in my mind before they faded.

“I see you have found the garments we constructed for you,” he said softly in that calm, melodious tone of his. “I am afraid your other clothes were ruined beyond repair and we discarded them.”

I said nothing. It all felt too surreal like a dream that did not make sense. Was this really happening to me? What did these creatures want?

“I know how you must feel,” he said after a pause. “Afraid. Confused. But I assure you I will not harm you. I have come as a friend. To help you.”

I stood silent for a long time. Then at last I wrenched up the courage to speak.

“What happened to me?” My voice was trembling and I could not look at him in the eyes.

“One of our kind was…hunting you,” he said hesitantly. “She intended to…”

“Kill me,” I interrupted.

“Yes. Try to understand we never intended it to be like this…so awkward…so hard for you. We almost never turn anyone; not until they are ready. Not until they know what they are getting into, and these are few. But when we went to find the unfinished victim of our murdered sister, I sensed that you were…special. Something told me that we had to help you make the change. That you would be able to…help us. For four days we have protected and aided you through the change, here in this underground mansion where we dwell.”

Understanding and belief finally dawned on me.

“I am a vampire,” I whispered. “I was supposed to be killed…but now I am a vampire…” My mind was spinning and I clutched one of the posts of the bed for support, the room twisting around me. I felt a hand gently grasp my arm as I sank onto the bed. A well of emotions was bubbling up inside me – shock, anger, sadness, confusion…

“Who are you? Where am I? What where those terrible demons…?”

Out of the swirling mist that had covered my vision, a pair of intense eyes, stern and hard, came into focus.

“Stay away from them. They were once human but are now slaves of Naberus. They will kill you on sight without hesitation regardless of your intensions. They are The Marekk and they know of our weaknesses – arghanium, fire, sunlight…the only substances deadly to us. If you ever come across one, kill him. I swear it they will do much worse to you.”

“Arghanium? The metal…?” Too many things were running through my head. “What is Naberus? Kill them…? Where am I…?” Panic was beginning to have control over me. My heart was hammering inside my chest and I was breathing fast. Anger was boiling up inside me and beginning to leak through the steel bars that had tried to contain it.

“You almost killed me,” I said shrilly, my voice trembling with rage. “You think better of it, turn me into a monstrous creature, and you expect me to join you?! To help you?!”

My voice was steadily rising, the constraints on my anger breaking until I was screaming at this man…vampire…as he stood there, face emotionless and still. Or did I see a hint of sadness in those inscrutable eyes?

“I had a life!!” I cried, my voice becoming hoarse once more. “I was happy!” Tears were welling up in my eyes, and to my growing horror they were tinted with blood. “It was my dream! I had the perfect job! A beautiful house! A loving boyfriend!!” Suddenly I gasped then broke into a river of tears, trembling and sobbing hopelessly. “Oh God…Sethis…God…”

Four days! They would think I was dead by now – especially as I had left a trail of blood through the house, a pool of it glistening red upon the floor.

“Damn you…” I cursed in a shuddering whisper. “Damn you to Hell…”

Through my tears I saw him standing there, that vampire with the eyes like abyssal pits of time. He did not move towards me but said in a soft voice,

“I am sorry. I never meant for it to be this way…”

I closed my eyes and swallowed hard, desperate to bring some composure to my quaking body and mind. “What is your name?” I asked in a low voice, my head seething with my anger.

“Lexan,” he whispered, a hurt tone in his deep voice.

“Lexan,” I said, finding the name bitter on my tongue. I looked up and glared at him directly in the eyes even though they made me tremble. “I will never join you!”

With those last words I stood and, with a burst of energy, swept past him and out of the room. I kept running, expecting to be chased, though when I looked back there was no one in sight. All I saw before me was a long corridor leading to another and another and another. Panic once again grasped me as I realised that I had no idea where to run. Turning corners at random, I blundered through this rich underground manor, with its beautifully decorated rooms and wide passageways lined with paintings and suits of armour. I met no one.

All of a sudden a great spiralling flight of stairs appeared before me. At a glance they seemed to run straight down the middle of the house and I took them, running upwards and upwards, never stopping, never tiring. Blinded by my tears, I barely noticed the many vampires I ran past. A brief glance showed them looking up in surprise, their eyes burning like colourful flames in their beautiful faces. At one point I must have imagined seeing an enormous grey wolf lying at the feet of a red-haired woman, its head snapping up as I sped past, its eyes burning gold.

I reached the top of the stairs and stopped, gasping for air. I was alone in a great hall of marble. Where were the doors out of this colossal coffin?

I scanned the white marble walls of the hall. No doors. I imagined that any minute those vampires were going to come bounding up the stairs after me. They did not. Suddenly an idea came to me, an idea that sprung out of pure desperation. I approached one of the many columns and knocked upon the cold surface of the stone. Nothing. Running to another I did the same again. Solid stone. I ran to another, a cry of despair escaping me. Praying hard, I knocked again.

My heart gave a leap as I heard the sound that deemed it hollow. Then I saw it: it would have been invisible to the human eye but my senses were improving and it caught my gaze – a thin slice in the stone, too round and perfect for it to be part of its natural grain. I pushed it and, just as I’d hoped, an opening appeared in the column. I quickly stepped inside. The doors closed and I was encased in absolute darkness. The slight feeling of vertigo in the pit of my stomach told me that I was going up and before I knew it, the doors had slid open and I found myself in a quiet alley behind a popular night club: The Sanctuary. I looked behind me and was faced with a smooth brick wall. The doors had closed. I had escaped.

Anarosa
June 10th, 2006, 03:39 AM
oo nice. he sounds hot too. and lexan is an unbearably cool name. i like it. this is just my kind of story.

lucky you, miss ' my boyfriend is a god ' haha .

im liking this more and more. and i adore your style

keep it coming

jimmycracker
June 10th, 2006, 08:37 PM
I liked the prologue quite a bit. I'm usually not too big on heavy description... but I just have to get into it and sometimes I like it, like now. B+ for the prologue.

The next chapter... the dialogue in bed between the guy and the lady, very very unnatural. "I love you, I can't live without you, etc etc"

What if we just heard her thoughts (about her fear of their separation) and there was a subtext of dialogue to go along with that. Hell, even her thoughts could be subdued a little (ie. i have this sinking feeling in my chest, but eh... I really don't want to think about it, it's too uncomfortable).

Akroma
June 11th, 2006, 12:31 PM
The next chapter... the dialogue in bed between the guy and the lady, very very unnatural. "I love you, I can't live without you, etc etc"


Well, that's a bit amusing, since the conversation is, line for line, a transcript of a conversation I had one night with my boyfriend. The words are very slightly different, but the expressions and theme are identical. I wonder if this means I have unnatural conversations? :wink:

jimmycracker
June 11th, 2006, 08:48 PM
I guess that's what it means. I don't think most people are that open. They show their love more than they say it. Perhaps you're different. Nonetheless, it still didn't feel right to me.

Anarosa
June 12th, 2006, 12:54 AM
i kindof agree with jimmy...kindof.

i dont have any real problem with the way you have it setup now. but it is alittle bit forward. maybe if you started it out abit more tentatively. instead of just blunt -these characters are in love- right in the begining. one of my favorite parts of romance in books is the actual process that leads up to them being in love. you could just do something more laid back. or sethis could do something for raven that shows his love.

but then.. i probably wouldnt have even thought about it at all had jimmy not brought it up. it really didnt take away from the story for me at all.

and you are the writer. you're the only one who knows your plan

i trust you

Akroma
June 12th, 2006, 02:49 PM
Well...don't you lie in bed with your bf/gf and talk bout things like that? I mean...they can afford to be forward and completely in love! They've been going out for six years! They know each other through and through. Well...I thought it was nice anyway :-( even if no one else liked it.

I guess that teaches me to put personal stuff in a story. It's not a story of them falling in love, it's a story of what happens to their love through the changes. Mmm...can't please everyone I guess.

Anarosa
June 12th, 2006, 09:54 PM
whoops. i forgot about the knowing each other for 6 years part. and it still pleases me. and i still think its adorablly endearing. i didnt really think about the story being about what happens to their love. thats why i thought it was odd to be so abrupt. but now i get that they have an intense background before this story even starts.

i think it should be left as is, b/c if you are going to be doing as the changes in their love then it makes alot more sense to have them be in love in the begining. i think i was just confused as to where their love was going.

thanks for clearing that up

btw. i think you should marry your boyfriend. idk how old you are but he sounds like a keeper.

and putting true life experiance into a story makes it more real

so i change my mind. ive got all the facts. if you changed it now it would alter the whole effect of the story, and thats not something i want to happen

i really love this story. post more soon!

Akroma
June 12th, 2006, 11:45 PM
*tries to find a smilie that portrays happiness, with happy tears and fails miserably* Ah! I'm touched! I love you, Anarosa! Yes I think I will marry him *wink wink* Though perhaps in a few years time lol I'm only 19!

Glad the story's making more sense now! :-)

Anarosa
June 13th, 2006, 09:10 PM
anytime akroma, anytime.

hehe. i know..they should have more versital emoticons around here

Chaeronia
June 14th, 2006, 04:19 PM
I can’t help but feel a little deflated with the first chapter; it seems rushed and formulaic in comparison to a flamboyant and intriguing prologue. I agree with Jimmycracker in that the dialogue was turgid, somewhat forced. The love between Sethis and Raven is something you obviously want to accentuate, so that we can empathise with Raven when she comes to lose it through her transformation. But I think you try too hard, to the point where the dialogue becomes sickly sweet.

“I just can’t imagine being without you,” I whispered.

“If something happened to you…I couldn’t live…I couldn’t live without you,” I said. “I couldn’t bear it, not seeing your face; feeling your touch; hearing your voice…

“Sshhh,” Sethis cut through my ramblings. “Don’t think about that. Nothing’s going to tear us apart. I’ll love you forever, ok?”

For me, this is just too much; it cloys the palate. Like Jimmy says, it feels unnatural.

Also, in this section, Raven’s testament that their blissful happiness cannot last is too obvious, too portentous. You basically beat the reader over the head with the notion that it’s all going to go wrong. And soon!

Which was another problem I had: the pacing. I couldn’t help but think it was rushed, as if you just couldn’t wait to get to the point where Raven is changed. This obviously would be an exciting thing to write, a fiery, emotional crux to dig your literary teeth into, but, for me, it arrives all too quickly. You don’t really expand on your character before you write about her life-changing experience. This means there is a lack of empathy, as the reader has little chance to become interested in her. And if there is a lack of interest in her, then there will be a lack of interest in what happens to her.

Maybe, also, this is why your dialogue seems too forced: it seems you are using the obvious dialogue to quickly ascertain the loving relationship between Raven and Sethis, so that you can then get onto the real business of writing plot and action. That may not be the case, but it is how it feels to me.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that there is a lack of subtlety.

You certainly have the ability to write well, and some of the flourishes so apparent in the prologue are evident in the opening chapter. But overall, in my opinion, it doesn’t stand up to the promise initially shown.

I have yet to read the second chapter, but I will try to get round to it soon.

Kind regards,

Chaeronia

Akroma
June 14th, 2006, 09:55 PM
Well I guess it starts abruptly because when people read things like this online then I think they get easily bored. If you don't drag people in at the start then you lose them for the rest.

I read the Black Magician trilogy by Trudi Canavan, and the first half of the first book was unbearably slow and heavy going; but since it was on paper I could stick it out to the excellent bits. I wanted to avoid that slow start, but maybe I've made it too "thrown in the deep end" instead. If it was a novel rather than something I was posting online then I'd expand it, but I'm unsure of how to do so and still keep a sense of pace to it.

Any tips from anyone?

Ace
June 14th, 2006, 10:33 PM
Write faster, dammit. :grin:

Chaeronia
June 15th, 2006, 08:40 AM
It is just as easy to be bored by plot-driven action then it is to be bored by scene or character-setting narrative and dialogue. Action doesn’t necessarily mean a hook for the reader, especially when this action is so important, happening to the main character, and is shown to us before we are able to get a proper sense of what the main character is about (but, importantly, after we have been given a hurried synopsis of the MC’s life that is not sufficient). We know the action is important but there is a lack of care because of the way the writer has forcibly tried to inject too much meaning into too short a space previous to it. The overriding feeling, for me, is one of contrivance.

One tip I have might sound like a contradiction at first. What about introducing us to Raven with the scene of her transformation, starting with the line: I was five minutes away from our house when it happened? It’s a good opening line, a good hook, and you can go straight into the action. The crucial difference is that it removes the aforementioned contrivance by sidestepping the scenes with Sethis and, if written well, the action can continue the aesthetic feel started so well in the prologue. Backstory - such as the relationship with Sethis - can then be shown through flashback narrative, or merely as standard narrative.

Sethis is obviously a key component to Raven’s transformation, as it highlights what she has lost now she is a vampire, but you are too obvious, too quick, in showing us this. By starting with Raven’s change, you are still able to show this yearning she must feel for him. Perhaps she stalks him, perhaps she has a desperate need to feed from him because of their emotional link. Perhaps she wants to make him one of them. If so, all the backstory can be shown to us through her thought process, and her cavernous sense of loss can just as easily be portrayed.

The key is this: the reason for the ‘I love you Sethis/it’s all going to go wrong, Sethis’ dialogue at the beginning is to establish Raven’s relationship so that when she loses it it’s a huge blow to them both. Empathy is created for the protagonist, drawing the reader in. I would therefore be tempted to expand on this, add more subtlety - more words! - or I would kill it altogether and start with the action. The action scene suffers because of what has gone before it, so, for me, this is what needs to be worked on - expand or erase!

Of course, this is all just my opinion so you are welcome to tell me to go away and do something ungodly to myself...

You mention the Black Magician trilogy: I started to read this some months back but I became so bored by it after 150 pages I threw it aside. Was this because of a lack of action? Certainly not. It was because her writing is stilted, not helped when her themes are so hackneyed. Her characterisation is thin; her action scenes lack emotion and flair. On the other hand I am currently reading Kay’s Tigana (for the second time), where a hundred pages can go by without a scene of supposed 'action', but because of the way he paints his characters and displays their emotions, their thought processes, it more than substitutes for this. The way he moulds his characters is his action.

Anyway, that is long enough. I hope I’ve been of some help.

It would be interesting to hear other peoples’ opinions in more detail.

Kind regards,

Chaeronia

Akroma
June 16th, 2006, 11:28 AM
You mention the Black Magician trilogy: I started to read this some months back but I became so bored by it after 150 pages I threw it aside.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!! You MUST pick it up again! I admit the first book is slow to get in to but once you get onto the second book and then the third, you WILL NOT be able to put it down! This trilogy is one of my favourites in the whole world! Pleas try and pick it up again. I cried like a baby at the end lol.



Chapter 3

I watched as the sparkling spout of water burst forth in a mass of shimmering stars and jewels, whole galaxies cascading into the opaque depths of the fountain’s pool. The city square.

From The Sanctuary I had broken into a run, tearing down the streets, not caring where I was heading. Lights of houses and shops flashed past me, snatches of conversation and hearty laughter faded in and out of my sense of hearing, exclamations as I pushed past surprised people – people that were heading home to families; pets; lives.

I do not know how long I was running for but I found myself in the city square, gasping for breath and alone in the night.

I now dipped my hand into the clear water, breaking the tight, undulating surface, ripples spreading out from my fingers like shock waves. I felt the cool water slipping through my fingers, caressing my hands as the droplets fell slowly across my skin like a thousand tears. I raised my face and looked at the still statue of the Mermaid, her young face drawn in an expression of longing, a yearning for someone she could not reach. Her well sculpted form lay seductively across the rocks while her tail disappeared into the bubbling waters of the fountain. Did she too hate what she was? Did she long to be human, this girl frozen in granite?

I sighed and stared up at the stars. Already I could feel myself growing stronger, my senses sharper. Where could I go? Home? Never – I would never let Sethis see what kind of deformed monster I had become. The sorrow welled up inside me as I imagined his horrified face as he backed away from me, his revulsion so strong I could almost taste it. Would I never see him again? Never hold him, kiss him…tell him that I love him…

The tears were already falling down my cheeks, choking in my throat. He would think I was dead by now for certain. He will have to move on…find someone else to love…carry on with life without me. And I without him…

Then, sitting there next to that sparkling fountain, I cried. I completely let myself go and cried long and hard for a lover harshly torn from my heart, from my life, the waves of grief washing over me, shaking my body and twisting my soul. And all the while the little mermaid remained as still as ever, also to mourn for eternity.

It was getting late by the time I stood up and left the demi-fish by her watery grave. A hunger had started up in my stomach that gradually got worse until I started to feel quite weak. Hiding my white face and luminous eyes behind my black mane of hair, I bought a bottle of water and a sandwich from a 24-hour corner shop. But when I put the food to my lips, it tasted of nothing as if my tongue had no taste buds. Quickly I tried to swallow it but it stuck in my throat and I choked, my stomach heaving until I’d spat the tasteless lump out of my mouth. Shaking, I took a gulp of water and, this time, threw up onto the pavement. I stared in horror at what I had spilled onto the floor: Blood. Blood the vampires must have forced down me these past four days to sustain me until I regained consciousness.

I did not notice that two men had come to my aid. One had kindly tucked his arm under mine to support me, the other asking if I was alright, until he saw the blood splayed out on the floor and exclaimed,

“Jesus, she’s throwing up blood! We have to take her to a hospital!”

The scent of their living flesh filled my nostrils like a driving madness, almost too much to bear. I could hardly control myself, my body was screaming for sustenance.

“No…” I cried, trying to fight them off. “You don’t understand…let me go…!”

But still they hustled me down the street, trying to calm the poor, sick young lady, who was going into shock.

“Please! Listen! For your own good…”

“Hush now, dear, we’re almost there.”

I could not contain myself any longer. I could see the very vein pulsing with blood in the man’s neck closest to me, sticking out slightly from beneath the skin. My body ached for it, to just clamp my teeth onto his throat and suck the life out of him; the blood…

“NO!” I screamed and broke away from them, running as fast as I could against the driving hunger. Weakened as I was, I could still run, and I stumbled down a dark street, my trench coat flying behind me.

My head was reeling; I could not focus properly. Suddenly something crossed my path – a cat; a stray that was covered in dirt and mud and sewage. Patches of its fur was missing and its eyes were a milky yellow. My body took over my mind and, before I knew what I was doing, I had the mangy thing in my hands, struggling and hissing uselessly. I was squeezing it so hard in my frenzy that I heard its little bones breaking as it screamed dreadfully in my grasp. But I did not let go. I could not. It was so warm against my skin, its little heart racing wildly in my head, becoming irregular and pulsing hard.

I brought the cat up to my face. My mind was screaming for me to stop, but my body would not obey me. The greasy, dirty fur touched my lips and I wanted to recoil in revulsion. Instead, I sank my teeth into its flea-infested neck.

Relief flooded my system as warm blood flowed into my mouth and down my scorching throat, my aching muscles relaxing and my body becoming stronger again. I couldn’t stop. I pressed the creature closer to my mouth, breaking its neck as I sucked harder, so much blood pouring out of such a small thin body.

Only when it was totally drained and stone dead did I come back to my senses. I threw it down in a wave of disgust, a surprised cry escaping my lips. It lay unmoving, a mass of matted fur and shrunken flesh, its head bent at a sickly angle to its shoulders, various bones here and there protruding from its bald patches.

“No…” I moaned. I could still taste the fresh blood in my mouth; still feel the hair prickling my lips. I wiped them furiously, desperately trying to get rid of that horrible feeling, my fingers scratching at them until they bled.

Feeling barbaric and repulsed, I ran away from the emaciated corpse.



*♥*

This must have been the longest night of my life. It seemed to never end. But at last it started to draw to a close and a twinge in my senses told me that dawn was coming. The sun! Did Lexan not say that the sun was one of our weaknesses? I looked around frantically, trying to find a dark place. A dark place! Where on earth would there be a completely dark place during the day?! I could see the sky getting dangerously light. To the human eye it was nothing, but I saw it – the subtle greying of the horizon that meant dawn would soon break out. My skin was tingling with the heat. Anxiously, I searched my mind for a place I could go. From the depths of my memory I dredged up an image of the old ruined cathedral in a disused part of the city. Breaking out into a run, I made my way to that holy place.

By the time I reached it, looming up dark and sinister before me, my skin was burning on my face and hands. Stumbling through the wreckage of broken pews, ivy-covered walls, crumbling floors and shattered windows, I looked for a trap door. With the growing light I had trouble focusing and I searched the floor with my cracked and bleeding hands. At last my fingers crushed against a cold iron ring connected to a thick slab of stone. Screaming from the pain of my boiling blood as the grey dawn reached for me, I summoned all my strength and gradually started to lift the heavy concrete block. Hinges groaned, stone crumbled and still I pulled for my life. Any minute the sun’s rays would shoot out from the horizon and disintegrate me to ashes and dust. The gap was getting bigger as I heaved, the dark, dank smell of tombs creeping out of the hole and filling my nostrils. I felt like my hair was burning, my flesh bubbling upon my sizzling bones. At last I hurled the concrete slab aside and threw myself into the gaping black hole, my body crushing against a spiral of stone steps. I fell, tumbling and twisting down into the black chambers, the smell of earth enclosing me. All figment of light was swallowed up and cool darkness welcomed me.

I hit the bottom and lay there, shaking from the near experience of being burned alive and the pain of my broken bones and bleeding skin. I had survived. I had found darkness. Weariness overwhelmed me then and I could feel unconsciousness closing in. Just before a deep sleep took me, my last thoughts were of the sky breaking out high above me. The light, the colours…all unfolding in its natural beauty. But I could no longer be part of that world – that beautiful world of greens and blues and reds…

Out of my control, the darkness closed in and I gave myself to the black abyss descending upon me, a deep sleep rendering me unconscious as if I had not slept for days.

Anarosa
June 16th, 2006, 06:12 PM
oo that was good. i deffinately cringed at the cat part. i love cats. even icky ones. but still, better than a human. thats pretty good control on her part since it was the first time she fed. most probably wouldnt have been able to fight it. write more please....!

Akroma
June 27th, 2006, 05:53 PM
Chapter 4


As the next night brought me to life, I felt the cold stone floor beneath me, dusty and damp, the stairs rising to my left. With my mind already crystal clear and my senses sharp, I picked myself up from the floor and dusted off my clothes. I was surprised to find my broken bones healed and no pain assailed me.

My second night of being a vampire had dawned and I had no idea of what I should do. Where could I go? I still did not know what all the dangers were or how to live as a vampire. I knew I needed help but who was there that could possibly aid me?

I thought of those other vampires in that huge underground mansion. Lexan and his timeless eyes, the magnificence in his posture and voice; a glimmer of hope sparked in my mind but I extinguished it immediately. I could not go back. They were monsters. Murderers. They would not accept me back. Not after I ran away. Nonetheless, I could not stay in a crypt for the rest of my life, so I mounted the stairs to meet the rising moon.

A clear night greeted me as I emerged from the ruins, the stars winking in the sky and the full moon shining radiantly from his infinite throne. I looked down at my hands, expecting to see burned flesh and scars, but no – they were as white and flawless as ever. My body had completely healed during the day. My mind, on the other hand, felt just as broken as ever. Despair overruled all emotion. I felt purposeless…confused…

With no clear idea in my head of what I was going to do, I began to walk. My feet took me back to the heart of the city but they did not stop there. They kept going as if they had a mind of their own and, in a daze, I followed through every street they took me. Even when that dreaded hunger rose up inside me, I did not stop. I was like a mindless husk prowling the streets. Only when the hunger was too strong did I stop. I knew I had to drink. But what? Suddenly something caught my eye. I tried to dismiss the thought as soon as it came to me but once again I was driven to the very edge of insanity by my body’s need to survive. My mind was thrown into that same inescapable cage as the night before and I grabbed at the creature, my hands closing around something wet and slimy.

In all my life and all my horrors, I never experienced anything so loathsome. My fingers trembled as my body said yes but my mind was screaming helplessly, no, no, no… It was a rat, large and fat. I could not stand it. My very soul was reeling but it was inexorable. As I bit into its sewer-stinking flesh, faeces smearing my lips, the tears poured down my cheeks and my sobs went unheard in the night. This is what I have fallen to. This is how I am going to spend the rest of my miserable life…the rest of eternity. As I reached for another rat, I cried helplessly in despair; in disgust; my dignity and pride shattered.



*♥*

Dawn approached once again, and I crept back down into my little hiding place beneath the cathedral and let the darkness swallow me up. For the next few nights I just wandered in such a daze, walking aimlessly in sorrow and grief until the hunger took control of me once more and I killed. I took the life of rats, foxes, cats…anything warm blooded. But never a human.

Nevertheless one thing did pierce the steel wrapping of depression – my senses. As the nights progressed, my senses became sharper; stronger. I found that I could hear the chatter of a rat in an underground sewer thirty feet away; I could smell the warm, organic smell of coffee brewing in a café two streets parallel to mine. But my sense of sight was most astounding as I grew accustomed to the night – I found myself reading a book over someone’s shoulder fifty metres away; I stood for hours in the tower of my cathedral staring at the rain, the beauty of the falling droplets streaking down through the abyss and smashing onto the rocks below to shatter into a million shards, or to join the pool of rippling water. I watched them drip like molten glass off leaves or run in dotted patterns across the painted windows. It warmed my freezing heart and set my mind at peace, if only for a little while.

Then on one fateful night as I continued my solitary confinement in my cathedral, watching the rain and lightning tear through the skies, I heard running. It was a man, breathing hard and shielding his face from the driving storm, running right towards my ruined abode. He stepped into the shelter, drenched and dripping wet, and sat upon the floor, gasping for air and waiting for the gale to pass.

I watched him curiously from the shadows. I could hear his strong heartbeat slowing down to a regular rhythm as he caught his breath and calmed. Shaking the water out of his short hair, he looked around. Through the gloom I could see his handsome face, his strong hands mechanically sweeping the wet hair from his eyes. His sodden t-shirt stuck to his skin and I could see the hard curves of his torso, his muscles flexing as he picked up a broken piece of stained glass and examined it. I smelled his flesh, his scent rising up to me warm and earthy and I closed my eyes, taking it in. Unintentionally, a tremble ran down my spine and my lips parted in a sigh, a warm tingling feeling washing over me.

The rain outside stopped and he rose to leave. The night was still early so I followed him out, walking silently behind him. I do not know why I did but it was as if something drew me towards him. He led me back to the main streets of the city and he disappeared into a tavern, greeting his friends and apologising for the late arrival. Patiently I waited. Only two hours later he emerged again and I resumed my pursuit. Why was I following him? What was it I wanted?

Something to distract me from this living hell, I thought. Something to take my mind off the depression…this life of misery and suffering… An image of Sethis brought a flash of guilt through my conscience but I suppressed it with an effort. He was out of my league now. Out of my life. He will find other women… Before the anguish came over me again, I concentrated on my quarry.

The man guided me through many streets and winding roads, staggering and wavering a little as he walked. Soon we found ourselves alone in a quiet part of Asperia, the bustle of the crowds left behind us. In that dark side-street behind various blocks of flats, I made myself known to him. I stepped out from the shadows, blocking his path, making him stop short as he suddenly saw me.

“Where did you…?” he said, surprised, the alcohol confusing his mind and clouding his senses.

I said nothing to him. Seductively I approached him, drawing close and pushing him against the wall.

“Who are you..?” he mumbled, somewhat captivated by my pale skin and luminescent green eyes.

“A hallucination,” I whispered in his ear, feeling the smooth skin against mine, that earthy, masculine scent filling my mind.

He did not resist. Perhaps if he had not drunk so much or if he had a shred of dignity, he would of, and I would have let him go. But, alas, his body betrayed him to his fate. He wanted me. And I knew it.

He was so close, our lips barely touching, but I stopped. That feeling of guilt weighed me down again as my heart still belonged to Sethis. How could I even have thought of casual sex? No. I was too loyal to him. I was about to pull away when, suddenly, the man leaned forward and kissed me, unwittingly sealing his doom. The taste of his lips obliterated my thoughts and the vampire inside me awakened. His strong hands reached for me and pressed me closer to him, caressing me roughly. A moan escaped my lips as I ran my fingers over the curves of his muscles; his arms; his jeans…

Suddenly the hunger rose up inside me like a tidal wave. I tried to fight it but it was blocking my mind, erasing all reason. His scent was so strong, his heart beating against mine. I buried my face in his neck, his vein pulsing against my lips. Tantalisingly, I licked his flesh, the taste of his skin making me tremble. I could feel his hands beneath my shirt; tugging my trousers…

I could stand the torment no more. Pressing him harder against the cold stone of the wall, I bit deep into his neck, his cry of pain drowned out by the rush of blood. Pure ecstasy flooded my senses as the warm, sweet blood flowed over my lips, quenching my thirst and sending every nerve in my body on edge. Never had I tasted anything so blessedly sweet, so satisfying. My fingers dug into his neck as I sucked harder, his gasps and moans barely heard over mine.

At last I felt his life diminishing and the flow of blood slowed before stopping completely. My eyes flew open as I came around and I dropped the man in a surge of shock and horror. His corpse lay like a twisted, shrunken mass of skin, bones and hair; a disfigured heap of newly slaughtered flesh.

What have I done?! What have I done?! A cry built up in my chest and I let it loose, screaming in the night at the darkness; at myself; at the world.

I’d killed him! I’d killed him! Oh God…

My mind was on the edge of panic. I did not know what to do. Turning frantically, I wondered at which direction I should escape. I was about to run when I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. I realised I was not alone. Staring at me from the shadows, as still as a painting, was a huge black wolf. Fear caught in my throat as I took in its size, its silver eyes shining sternly from its solemn face. Yet something about those eyes disturbed me…

Before I could figure it out, the great beast took a step towards me and sat down, looking me squarely in the eyes. A voice sounded in my head though my ears heard nothing, nor did the great wolf move; but I knew it was she that had spoken.

<Well met, Raven. I have been watching you. Come. We have many things to speak of.>

Anarosa
June 28th, 2006, 03:36 PM
eeeeek write faster akroma!

im really really itching to see who this new character is. a werewolf obviously. am i right? at first i thought, hmm maybe sethis. but no, you said it was a she. is lexan going to be returning, i kinda liked him.

uh oh, bad raven. human blood. oh well, i forgive her.

hurry!

FollowingShadow
June 29th, 2006, 04:48 AM
I have many little things in your chapters I'd love to fix, but I think they would be better mentioned by a professional. I admire your writing talent. I wish I could write fantasy like you. Only not so... girly. Smacks slightly of chick lit, but also of cyberpunk, so I read on. I daresay you had in the prologue an interesting hybrid of genres: neo-fantasy.

Delectable stuff.
-FS

flower617
June 29th, 2006, 09:01 AM
different but good. great work

Anarosa
July 1st, 2006, 06:57 PM
write faster, damn you

Akroma
July 10th, 2006, 04:56 PM
Hey everyone,

I'm really sorry I haven't been posting lately but things have been a bit "woah!". I've just moved house, started a new job and I don't have internet yet so you're just going to have to bear with me. The library only gives me a sick amount of time on the computer, and that's if you're lucky enough to GET a computer! Hope everyone's ok! Enjoy the Summer

Akroma!

Anarosa
July 17th, 2006, 11:03 AM
meep. i miss this story. im getting a new laptop soon! yay. i hope you like where you are living now.

Akroma
November 16th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Blimey!!!

I can't believe I haven't written anything since July!!! How bad am I? JULY!!! That's 4 months ago! Thing is, I've been busy with uni and all since October, and during the summer my muse just totally left me! It's gone! I really want to start writing again but...I can't...

Maybe I'll have to force myself. Get another few chapters down. I mean, who needs sleep anyway huh? Hell I don't. I'll just keep telling myself that. Write, girl! WRITE! Who on earth am I talking to anyway?! All my readers have probably forgotten me. *sigh*

Well...here's hoping my muse comes back.

Hope y'all are ok!

Akroma. The angel of wrath!! lol

mashowasho
November 16th, 2006, 03:12 PM
I haven't forgotten you!

please come back soon :(

PAGEMASTER
November 16th, 2006, 05:10 PM
Just read the four chapters, very well created, the characters feel so lifelike with the way you described them. You describe your surroundings equally as beautiful. This story has sucked me in and now just like the others I hunger for chapter five.

I especially loved the emotions you've given her, a vampire with a conscience, what will they think up next ;) its well written, it has the features every story desires, evil, love, the fear of what is happening, the uncontrollable hunger for blood, also loved the way she avoided humans by feasting upon other creatures.

Every chapter makes you want more, the ending to each leaves you asking questions of what happens next and until those questions are answered readers will no doubt wait impatiently.

I hope you're enjoying your new home and job and I wish for you to gain the internet soon for I am now eagerly awaiting chapter five. Good luck and get back into the writing habit soon :thumbr:

P.S. Loving the signiture ;)

Akroma
November 27th, 2006, 11:43 AM
OK PEOPLE I'M BACK!!! I've written you all the next chapter! It's quite long but gets you more into the culture and plot of the story. So, I hope you enjoy!



Chapter 5


I just stood there in a confusion of thoughts and emotions – terror, incredulity, uncertainty…the human side of me said that this was beyond all reason; all reality…


“What are you?” I said, my voice barely a whisper. She did not answer. Those bright silver eyes continued to cut through my calm appearance and delve deep inside of me as if she could see the panicking, crying, pathetically terrified shadow of myself hiding away in the corner of my mind; a corner I was trying to suppress in front of this great beast. At last her voice sounded in my head once again.


<I am a werewolf…a shape changer, if you will. But this is not where I want to begin. Just know that I mean you no harm and come as a herald of peace…a friend...>


I noticed a mist had started to close in. I could feel its cold wetness as it swirled around us, but most of it seemed to concentrate around the wolf until I could not quite focus on her anymore. All I could see of this strange and mythical creature was a dark shadow. Suddenly the mist dissipated and blew away into nothing and, standing where the black wolf had been, was now a tall young woman. I stared in disbelief, words choking in my throat and my limbs heavy as lead.


She was dressed in similar garb as the vampires – black to blend in with the night, her long leather coat shifting with the wind. With a slight unease I noticed two long, intricately crafted blades strapped to her back and a glint of a gun beneath her coat. But her face showed no hostility, nor did her stance. I even had the presence of mind to think her as beautiful – her long dark hair falling in waves and curls around her slender face so well structured, her pale complexion as flawless as mine but not so starkly white. However, just like me, her eyes gave away the immortal soul beneath the skin. The same eyes I had seen in the face of her wolf shape – radiant silver that showed wisdom beyond her appearance. I stood in awe, staring at this strange person standing before me.


Suddenly her face softened and broke out into a friendly smile, a childlike playfulness flickering in those timeless eyes – those eyes so full of solemnity, yet had not forgotten how to laugh...so unlike Lexan who seemed to be swallowed up by the pain of years past.


She offered her hand, still smiling, and said to me now in a human voice,


“My name is Keenar. Please, I can help you. I can answer all your questions and tell you much more. As I said, I mean you no harm and come as a friend. Will you give me a chance...to help you?”


I studied her face; her open smile; the outstretched hand. I thought of the whole ridiculousness of it all, that this should happen to me, that these creatures do exist...I thought of how easy it would be for her to just kill me right now; slice my head from my shoulders with one stroke of her sword…


Slowly, I took the offered hand and looked at the part lupine creature that wanted to be my friend.


“Keenar...tell me what to do.”



*♥*



The smoke billowed in the air and the smell of alcohol was heavy in the room. Keenar had led me to a backstreet tavern where we could sit and talk. It was dark and stuffy in here, full of shifty characters and odd faces – a place we would undoubtedly blend in. She sat before me, eyes unwavering as she looked at me, casually gulping on a tankard of beer. Unlike my host, my eyes could not sit peacefully in one place, flickering like a candle at the other occupants; to the creature sitting in front of me; to my lap.


“Aren’t you going to drink your beer?”


I blinked. Confused, I stared at the mug on the table before me. The yellowish brown liquid bubbled at me calmly, waiting to be picked up.


“I-I can’t,” I stammered.


Keenar rolled her eyes and gave an exasperated sigh.


“You’ve got to pretend,” she whispered out the corner of her mouth. “Some humans are actually sensitive to what goes on around them, unlike most of their blind species; so unaware of things happening outside of their little world. If you don’t play along, they get suspicious.”


With my eyes wide and my face an expressionless mask, I reached for the mug and pretended to take a sip. Keenar just shook her head and took another swig of beer. She regarded me silently for a few minutes then asked,


“Do you believe in God?”


I looked up at her again and stared. Was this a joke? No, her face was dead serious. What do I say? What did she want to hear?


“I…no I don’t to be honest.”


She studied me for a while longer then eventually looked down into her near-empty tankard.


“Well he exists so you might as well start believing in him.” She said this so matter-of-factly as if she were commenting on the weather that I was taken aback. As I did not say anything after that she looked up at me and, to my slight annoyance, she looked rather amused. As if she was enjoying perplexing me.


But her mirth did not last. Her face became serious again and her eyes hardened.


“Look,” she said quietly. “Much of what I am about to tell you will seem so implausible as not to believe. But try, Raven. Because I swear, by all the angels in Dantalion, that what I speak is the truth.”


I realised that my hand grasping the tankard of beer was going white at the knuckles and was hovering somewhere between the table and my chin. I slowly lowered the cup onto the wooden surface then locked my green eyes with the silver of Keenar’s.


“Alright,” I whispered. “I will listen. Tell me about your world.”


For hours I sat listening, letting Keenar’s voice pierce through me and take me to a reality I never dreamed existed. And the name that stood out above all was Hsaru.


Hsaru – the creator of the universe; of Asperia; of mankind. His realm, Dantalion, exists alongside the realm of this earth. Two alternate planes, side by side, completely unknown to the oblivious human beings who blunder through their short, pointless lives. There, in Dantalion, are angels. And there, Hsaru dwells.


“A long time ago, the angels would walk this earth, communicating with the many races that flourished in that age; even Hsaru himself would appear at times of great need. But now…” Keenar closed her eyes and shook her head. “Now the sightings are getting less and less and the angels walk upon this plain no more. The humans; they have lost faith. They have become blind and foolish – warring among themselves, destroying the very planet their lives depend upon; so wrapped up in their concept of money and machinery that they have become greedy…” She stared at her mug as if it had done her an unforgivable sin.


“Most humans now,” she whispered bitterly “have no souls. Most humans…when they die…there is nothing more. Their bodies crumble; and they are forgotten. So worthless are they that most of this rotting race will never see Dantalion.”


Keenar paused, here eyes staring desolately into space with the glazed look of one living in a past age so far gone that all that was left of it resided in her mind’s eye.


“We all used to have souls…every one of us…and even the most unworthy miscreant had some part of The Gift…even if it was very small…”


“The Gift?” I tried so say, but all that came out of my throat was a dry rasp. I licked my lips and repeated the words. Keenar looked at me with her piercing gaze which, to my horror, was filled with tears.


“The Gift, Raven…what you would call in your language…magic.”


My heart was beating hard as if I’d been running. Was she serious? Humans could do magic? Why was there no record of this? How was it possible? Seeming to read the questions in my head, Keenar continued.


“Everyone was born with the ability to do magic – some stronger than others. But magic seemed like such a mundane word to describe it. So all called it The Gift. Those who were especially strong in it grew to become great sorcerers and druids. Clerics and paladins of Hsaru were also exceptionally Gifted. And do not think that only humans had this ability. Hsaru created many more races…but humans always had the shortest life-spans. They always grew faster and spread quickly, soon overtaking all the other great races until…” Keenar looked sick. “Until humans were all that was left.


“I remember…in my mortal years before I exceeded my given life-span…that there were the Elves. Dwarves there were also. Halflings were less common in my time and Centaurs never liked to mix with the great races, though often spoke with the Elves who were more in touch with nature. There also existed merfolk but they kept to themselves in their under-water cities. It was all so…wide and endless and beautiful. But no more. No more do you see Sphinxes, or Dragons, or Pegasi. No more… and soon even The Gift started fading…people were being born completely without it. Everything made by magic began to break, even documents in libraries centuries old at last began to crumble and disappear, forever taking spells and incantations with them.”


Tears were slowly falling down her pearly cheeks now, and I sat in silence, torn between believing her and discarding the information as some elaborate hoax. Either way, I was rooted to my chair, my hands gripping the table so hard that the wood was groaning.


“I was born with The Gift,” she whispered through trembling lips. “Exceptionally more than most. But I did not realise it until…until Galahad…my other half. But it started fading too, along with everything else. And now, though it still resides within me, I find it harder and harder to cast spells, and more and more exhausting. Unless The Gift is strong, using it takes a large amount of energy.”


Keenar paused. “I am wandering off track,” she said and wiped away the tears, sitting up a little straighter. She looked at me then shook her head, a smile twitching at her lips. She reached over and took the full tankard of beer that I was not going to touch and finished it for me.


“Come,” she said. “Let us stretch our legs and get some fresh air.” And without waiting for me to agree she stood up, threw some coins onto the table and nodded thanks to the barman.


It was a clear night as we walked side by side down the river. Although there was no moon, the stars shone bright in the inky blackness of infinity above us. I looked over at Keenar and took in her finely sculpted visage, her almond shaped eyesand the way she walked – so light as if she were walking on air. Then I saw an ear emerge from the dark mass of hair and gasped. Only in movies had I seen ears like these, elegant and pointed just like…


“You’re an Elf?” I gasped, unable to stop myself. Keenar smiled slowly.


“Half-Elf,” she said softly. “My Father was a Human cleric. He fell in love with my mother who was also remarkably Gifted. They were…killed in a battle. Long ago.”


Silence fell and we resumed walking. I was finding it hard to take all this information in and still so many questions were running through my head.


“So…where do Vampires and Werewolves fit into all this?” I ventured.


“Ah,” said Keenar. “Vampires and Werewolves. They are two races made by Hsaru. As were Elves and Dwarves and Humans. But a little different. We could reproduce as all mammals do, but also through poison. The poison that resides in our teeth and also, in my case, claws. The person then bitten or scratched by a werewolf or vampire would inexorably then become one. But it is rare that one turns this way. The poison is deadly and kills most victims, unless they are already dead. Those who wish to undergo the transformation are taking a great risk. Some do not survive it. Others do, yet only through careful vigilance and care from us. You, to the relief of all, pulled through. Lexan wanted you to join us, he had a feeling you were special…” She faltered at the look on my face.


“I know you have already spoken with him,” she said quietly. “I know that it did not go well. But believe him when he said he never meant for it to be this way. We could not let you die. And we cannot go against our nature! The Hawk was made to feed on the mouse. The lion was made to feed on the antelope. We, werewolf and vampire, were made to feed on the human. Yes, we can eat other things, drink other blood, but we cannot survive long without the blood of a human. I don’t know why, and it’s hard because they think and feel so much, but it is unstoppable. You felt it yourself this night.”


I could not deny it. Though it felt like a long time ago now, I could still remember the force of the longing I felt. How wonderfully blissful it was to feel the hot blood quenching my thirst, strength running through my veins. I realised my heart was beating fast from the memory and my breath had quickened.


“You do understand,” said Keenar softly. “And I appreciate a Vampire has it harder. You cannot walk in daylight like I can, or eat and drink food humans can, though admittedly we cannot survive on it either. And we can change, at will, into the shape of a wolf. But we are alike in that we need human blood, we cannot grow old or die from age, and we still have a little of The Gift within us. Yes, even you,” she said as I gave an audible gasp of exclamation.


“And the reason we are so alike is because Hsaru made it that way. The first Vampire and Werewolf ever to walk the planet were brothers. So alike in voice and appearance that none could tell them apart except that one could change into the body of a wolf and one could not set foot in the sun. Made long after the humans, yet in that magical age that seemed like a dream compared to now, they began to seed a race of their own. Just like the Centaur, the Elves and the other great races, they were creatures of the world, made by Hsaru – a work of art that he could look down upon and walk amongst, and be proud.


“Yet, as Lexan will have told you, we are not without weaknesses. Beware the sun; it will kill you within seconds. And starvation can kill any living being. But most of all be wary of arghanium. It is a precious metal but enough is found to make weapons. This has been done since the first human was killed. They understandably feared and despised us. Always we were hunted and killed for what we were. I sometimes wondered why Hsaru made us so…but no creature is without weaknesses. Not even Hsaru himself, I believe.


“But our strengths are many. Any wound sustained from anything but arghanium will heal quickly and without scarring. Our senses are incomparable and our Gifts…well, you shall see once you have learned to master yours. Though they are faded, their uses are still invaluable.”

I was so wrapped up in this torrent of history and information that reality had all but gone out the window. But I realised that, no matter how convincing or sincere she seemed, she could still be lying to me...


“How do you know me? Why were you watching me?” I asked, suspicion rising inside me again.


“When you ran from the mansion, Lexan did not chase you. He wanted to earn your trust. To let you choose whether you want to come back or not. He sent me to watch over you; to protect you and offer my guidance. We will not force you to come back. But just know that we are there with open doors. You are our sister now – one of us whether you like it or not. And we believe that any member of the family should be helped when help is needed and shown unconditional love and respect in the coven. There are so few of us now…so few. We need to look out for each other.


“Come, Raven,” and she smiled now, the solemn grimness lifting from her voice. “It’s a gift! Any human would beg to have what you have! You have not even begun to explore your skills or live like a proper Vampire of the night. But when you do, it can be the most amazing and enjoyable thing in the world...If you want it to be.” She was suddenly serious again, looking at me intently with those silver eyes. “You have to accept who you are to truly enjoy your existence of an immortal. We can help you. But it’s you that has to accept our help.”


“You’ve lead the horse to the water but it’s the horse that has to drink it,” I mumbled to myself.

She nodded.


“I’ll think about it.”


“At least come back to the mansion. Get cleaned up; sleep in a proper bed...”


“No,” I interrupted her. “I’m not ready. But I said I’ll think about it.”


Keenar sighed and nodded again.


“Of course. I am sorry. This is all new to you and must be quite a shock. You need time to think.” She then fell quiet and pressed me no more.


When dawn was drawing near, we made our way back to the ruined cathedral. Like a big sister I’d known all my life, she made sure I would be out of the light and looked around the gloomy tomb with a concerned look in her eyes.


“Are you sure you want to spend another night here?” she asked. I gave her a look and she dropped it with a raise of her hands.


“Are you going to leave me now?” I asked her.


“No,” she said quietly. “I’m here to protect you am I not?”


“Protect me from what, though?” I asked with unease. “Why all the weaponry?”


“The hunters,” she said quietly. “They watch us and kill us when we’re off our guard. Also humans may discover you in the daytime and expose you to the sun.”


I shivered at the thought.


“You better lie down and try to get some sleep,” she said.


I nodded and she turned to make her way back up the stairs. I stared after her for a few minutes then sat on the cold stone floor thinking of the events of tonight. And Keenar – could I really trust her? I told myself I should keep up my guard. If she wanted to, she could easily expose me to the sun during the day or kill me while I slept. But on the other hand she seemed so serious and open in her answers to me. I so wanted to believe everything she had told me...to even think her as a possible companion.


Somehow I felt better knowing she’d be watching over me.

PAGEMASTER
November 27th, 2006, 01:55 PM
Welcome back Akroma, I'm glad to see chapter 5 of this piece up, very enjoyable. You explained the situation so brilliantly that its starting to make me question if maybe there is darker worlds on our planet featuring werewolves, vampires, magic, elves, etc... Chapter 5 ventured deeper in the storyline and not only did you explain things so clearly that the excitement in this story doesn't fade for even a second. Very well explained, a great read and I cant wait to view chapter 6 when its written.

riversource
December 4th, 2006, 09:04 PM
Woop! Raven, hurrah!!!

Loving the new version, much more intense and poetical, the descriptions in this one are even better and i didn't think that was possible! Sounds like things are going to get pretty complex so i'd better pay attention!

Toodles!
xx

Akroma
December 8th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Ok, I'm not that good at writing action scenes but let's have a go...



Chapter 6

I turned the pages of my book, careful not to break the crumbling parchment in my hands. I had found it in the corner of the cathedral; half burnt away, the ink already faded into nothing. But I could read it still. To my eyes, the imprint of letters on the page was legible enough as I sat on my windowsill, listening to the rain outside. The bible I was reading was old – very old. It was all I could do to keep it from crumbling to dust where I sat. I had never read a bible before. But still, it had no mention of those magical days Keenar had described to me. But the miracles…if The Gift truly did exist to this day in some shadow of it’s former self, the miracles could hold an inkling of truth…

The sound of a disrupted stone on the cathedral floor made me raise my head. Keenar stood in her wolf shape, her great shaggy black fur scattered with droplets of water. A large raw steak was hanging from her mouth.

“You’re back,” I said.

<I never really left,> she said quietly. She shook herself off, padded up to where I was sitting and lay down beside me, her huge wolf head resting on her enormous paws.

<Have you made your mind up yet?> she asked as she took a great bite of meat.

I gave a sigh and closed my book.

“Not really,” I said. I looked down at her and had the sudden urge to bury my fingers into her soft warm fur; to stroke her head. But I did not dare. Her intense silver eyes were unnerving and her teeth were frighteningly long and sharp.

“Where did you get that anyway?” I asked.

<A butcher thought I was an overly large dog and threw it to me as he was closing which was kind of him. But anyway, it has been three days! Surely you have some idea by now. Look, if you decide not to join us, you’re going to have to find a better place to live. You cannot live in the ruins of this decayed hole for the rest of your existence! Just because you’re nocturnal does not mean you can’t live normally!”

I was about to say something back but a flutter of wings broke the silence and we both looked up to see a very large, very wet bird come tumbling into the cathedral. It landed on one of the rafters and glared down at us, preening its feathers furiously. It was as jet black as the night, unusually large for it’s kind and at first I had mistaken it for a bird of prey.

“It’s a raven!” Keenar said quietly, staring up at the bird with her luminescent eyes, her wet nose twitching.

“I know,” I said. “He lives here. I’ve seen him now and then soaring about the place. I catch him rats and mice sometimes and leave him their carcasses. But he’s not brave enough to take anything from my fingers yet.”

I reached over and took a strip of meat off Keenar’s steak. Holding it out to the raven, I called to him. Seeing the offered food, he floated down and landed a good distance away from us, eyeing the raw flesh with the piercing gaze of his black eyes. Hopping a little closer, he gave a loud “caw”, imploring me for it. I threw it to him and he wolfed it down ravenously. I took another strip and held it out to him again. This time he came right up, snatched the meat out of my fingers and hopped away again to devour his prize. I looked at Keenar and she nodded to replace a smile she could not form with her wolf muzzle.

<He’ll never settle for worms now!> she said.

I laughed. It seemed strange hearing the sound of laughter – I hadn’t heard it for a long time and it made me feel better.

Suddenly there was a streak of black and I realised that the raven had landed on the steak and was pecking at it hungrily. It made both Keenar and I jump. Keenar snorted at the raven irritably, got up and deposited herself further away.

<Birds> she muttered. <The little thieves.>

I laughed even harder, the tension and darkness melting away, a flame rekindling in my heart.

When the raven was full, he hopped onto my knee and gave a soft “caw” of appreciation.

<Looks like you made a friend,> said Keenar, not unkindly.

I smiled at her then looked down at this huge black winged creature still standing on my knee. I reached out a hand and stroked it softly, feeling the silk feathers beneath my fingers.

“Hi,” I whispered. It cocked its head at me, its black eyes staring thoughtfully into mine as if it heard my voice and understood.

“I’m a Raven too.”



*♥*

The moon had already risen high in the sky as we walked down the streets of the city. Both Keenar and I had already fed and were looking for somewhere to go to pass the time. I was starting to accept what I was, but never will I feel wholly untroubled as I feel the life draining away in my human victim and think of all the people that would be scarred by the loss. Never. Even if it were meant to be.

We never killed together, Keenar and I. Always we would go our separate ways, hunt, and kill our unfortunate victims. She never spoke of it either after that first night in the back street pub, and I never asked her. I understood. It was something not to be shared.

As we ambled carelessly down the bustling streets of the city, Keenar chatted incessantly about little small-talk things – music, films, politics...things I had felt detached from in the recent surreal events of the past two weeks. Two weeks! It felt like an age since I was mortal! But I saw now that it was all needless detachment. It was as Keenar said – just because I was nocturnal didn’t mean I had to act like an animal. Live normally! The good thing about cities is that they never sleep anyway.

In the short time I was in company with Keenar to this point, I was already beginning to warm to her. Something in her character made me feel as ease in her presence, a sense of benevolence radiating from her. I even began to feel that I could trust her. She still puzzled me though. Keenar seemed to have two sides to her personality – sometimes I would have thought that she was not a day older than twenty – lively, ready to smile, talkative and fun to be with. But at other times she would be silent, her stern and distant expression giving away nothing in her mind. A touch of authority and wisdom would come into her voice and, at these times of apparent conflict, her eyes gave way to that same timeless abyss that betrayed her age. It was at these moments when the true half-Elf would shine through the modern appearance, and I would be wrenched back into the realty that all she’d told me was real. Her nobility and the deep passion in her voice just made me feel that a great warrior dredged from a magical past was standing before me.

But tonight her eyes were bright and bubbly, the conversation pushing on to favourite film actors. I remember now with a smile her telling me of a whole variety of preferences from William Masterson – the actor in Shakespeare’s first production of Macbeth in the early 1600s, to the dreamy Hugh Jackman in the latest X-Men movie. As I said, I was becoming rather accustomed to these bizarre circumstances.

“So how old are you...if you don’t mind me asking?” I said at one point. She seemed to stop short at the question looking bewildered.

“I…I don’t know...older than recorded history I guess…a little over two thousand years. You stop counting after a while.”

I stared at her open-mouthed. I could not even begin to comprehend what it would be like to live that long.

Suddenly Keenar stopped short and I heard her breath catch in her throat. Her eyes were scanning the buildings and I saw, to my anxiety, the silver of her eyes begin to flicker as if a fire was lit behind them.

“What?” I whispered. “What is it?”

“Hunters...” she growled, barely moving her lips. With a slight nod of her head, she indicated a building across the street.

Slowly, I looked in the direction she was glaring, and searched the walls. There! Something black was skimming up the face of the building then disappeared over the top.

“I thought you said they were human!” I said, slightly alarmed.

“They are,” she whispered. “He is on a zip wire of some sort – military technology. But we are faster and more agile – no need of technology to travel.”

“What are you saying? That we can climb up walls?!”

“Have you ever tried?” she said back, a wry smile forming on her lips. Then suddenly, “Get down!!”

With instant reflex I dropped to the floor. In the corner of my eye I saw Keenar reach back, pull out one of her long crafted knives and deflect a metallic blue bullet aimed for my head in one fluid movement. It happened all so fast and the next minute I realised she had grabbed me and we were running down an alley, heading away from the public and towards darkness.

As I looked back, two figures dropped out of the sky and the sound of rapid gunfire tore through the alley. Silver bullets were ripping up the air around us as we ran and smashed heavily into windows, bins lining the streets and even exploded into brick walls, spraying us with dust and debris.

“Keep running!” screamed Keenar, giving me a shove forward. I saw her stop and swing round to face the onslaught of bullets, pulling out her own gun, her knife poised in the other hand.

“Keenar!” I cried, going back for her.

“Just go!” she insisted, glaring fiercely at me with those silver eyes, now lit up with anger and rage.

Another shower of bullets whipped through the air and I dropped to the floor, the terror tight in my chest. I heard the metallic ringing of Keenar’s knife as she deflected them all, sending them crashing into the sides of the alley. Then, raising her own gun, she fired off a series of explosions that shook the very air.

This was my chance. I was up and running before I even knew where I was going, racing blindly through the thin, winding streets of the city. How many were there? Were they on my tail?

Something black suddenly dropped out of the sky in front of me. My raven!! Just as the ground came rushing up to meet him, he opened his wings and skimmed effortlessly through the air, shooting ahead and cawing loudly, his black eyes meeting mine for a split second. Without stopping, I tore after him. I felt like I was in a huge labyrinth, running wildly round corners and claustrophobic streets, always keeping my winged guide in sight.

I was being chased! In the corner of my eye I saw a blacked masked figure jumping the rooftops above me. Something silver whistled through the air, narrowly missing my face as it clipped my cheek. It was only a small cut but I felt like it had ripped a gash in my face, the arghanium making my flesh burn. I suppressed a cry and carried on running as the knife sank harmlessly into a door frame behind me.

More of the terrible hollow whistling behind me told me that five more knives were slicing through the air, their blades cold and sharp as they curved cruelly, smiling a wicked grin as they came for me. Tears of fear and terror flooded my eyes, running helplessly, the whistling growing louder as I awaited the bite of their blades. I could not stop them. They were unavoidable.

I saw some of them shooting past me as they missed by millimetres, tearing gashes in my clothes. Four of them were driven into the concrete. One of them hit home.

I felt the dagger sink deep into my back, the blade sticking into my flesh to the hilt. The pain was unbelievable, consuming me, obliterating all else until all I could feel was the knife embedded in my spine. The feeling in my legs suddenly snapped off and they gave out beneath me as I screamed and screamed. Through the pain I saw a bolt of black feathers and the sound of someone else’s screams reaching my ears. They seemed high up but fading fast. Black softness brushed my face gently and I opened my eyes a little against the agony to see my raven standing beside me. His talons were covered with blood, tendrils of flesh and optic nerve hanging off his claws, a shrunken eye-ball impaled upon one of them leaking a clear, viscous fluid. My raven. My dear beautiful raven.

My mind was wandering, the pain calling on a darkness that was growing upon me, dimming my eyes. My legs…I couldn’t feel my legs…

“Raven!”

I recognised Keenar’s voice. There was a pause as she examined me.

“I have to pull the dagger out ok? It’ll keep destroying you if it’s left in.”

She closed her hand around the leather bound hilt.

“Hold on,” she said quietly.

She pulled. I screamed. Blood gushed out of the wound as the knife withdrew. Keenar clamped a hand over the hole and pressed hard, trying to stem the flow. The pain lessened a little and I managed to open my eyes briefly to see Keenar staring down at me, a concerned look in her eyes. She suddenly looked away and cocked her head, listening to something.

“They are surrounding us,” she whispered. “And I’m out of bullets.”



*♥*


I listened hard to the approaching footsteps. The footsteps that bore our doom. Slowly, cautiously, they were edging closer and closer. Then I could see them: black shadows emerging from the darkness. They had formed a ring around us. There was no escape.

The masked figures stopped a few meters away their weapons drawn and ready, the cold light of arghanium shining through the darkness. Keenar stood over me, glaring at the circle of hunters, a knife in each hand. She stood firm, but I could hear her heart; her breathing. She was afraid.

Right then I knew I was going to die. Fear took me and I grabbed onto Keenar’s leg, clinging to it for my life. She did not pull away.

“I don’t want to die!” I whispered. “I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!” I just kept repeating it, my face turned away from those horrible weapons that would rip me to shreds.

Keenar looked down at me, tears welling up in her eyes but still she stood firm. I knew I was being a coward. I knew I should face my death as she was doing, but knowing that in a matter of minutes you would no longer exist, it does things to you. It makes you cry pathetically and desperately, it makes the fear overwhelm you; it makes you want to scream as your skin goes creeping across the floor. All I could think about were those sharp blades; the arghanium bullets. I would soon be feeling the cold metal slicing into my flesh. And I couldn’t even attempt to run or defend myself.

“I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die…”

“I’m sorry, Raven,” Keenar whispered.

Then a new voice cut through the fear and pain. It was a woman’s voice, harsh and demanding. It seemed to seal our fate.

“Kill them.”

My blood ran cold.

The figures began to close in on all sides. I heard Keenar muttering in a strange language, her hands moving in an elaborate pattern, and all of a sudden she thrust out her palms and a ring of fire erupted around us. Through the roaring of the flames I heard exclamations of anger and surprise as the Hunters were blocked from view and no way to reach us. Keenar fell to her knees beside me just as all hell broke loose.

The hunters fired madly with their guns, showering us in a hailstorm of arghanium bullets. But none hit us. It was like they were bouncing off some invisible shield. I looked over at Keenar; her face was strained and her body was shaking, her palms still thrust outward from where she kneeled on the floor.

“Help…,” I heard her whisper almost inaudibly. “…help better arrive soon…”

Bullets were starting to hit the dirt around us and I knew the enchantments were fading. I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain in my spine and waited for the end.

Suddenly there was a cry of fear and my eyes flew open. The flames had vanished and there, amongst the Hunters was a figure – a dark shadow moving like liquid night, so light and agile, his staff whistling as it struck the Hunters around him.

Lexan! Far superior to the clumsy humans around him, he dispatched them one by one, weaving in and out of them like an uncatchable wind, the blades of his staff killing swiftly and silently. Hunters were screaming and running for their lives; lightning was tearing up the sky and striking people as they fled; men fell shrieking as they erupted in flames.

The turmoil spun around me like a bad dream. I looked to Keenar but she had fallen to the floor; her eyes were closed. She couldn’t be dead…

And there was my raven, his talons raking at the eyes of the enemy; Lexan, the avenging angel, the wrath of his eyes so terrible that all around him avoided looking into the blue fires of his gaze. It swam around me, a dizzy haze until I felt like I was going to be sick. Then the night closed in around me and I remembered no more.

PAGEMASTER
December 10th, 2006, 05:47 PM
When I write action in my stories to me its as if the pace quickens, I personally think you done an excellent job with the fight scene, I found the first part of this chapter to be a little false, the raven arriving, Keena returning with the meat, the ideas are great its just I think you should play about with the wording of them a bit but just like at the end of every chapter I'm still hooked and eager for the next.

Akroma
December 15th, 2006, 01:26 PM
Thanks, Pagemaster. I'm glad you're enjoying it and I like reading your replies. Not so many people read my story much anymore :sad: I agree, the bit with the raven does sound false lol. I'll have to work on that but at the time I couldn't be bothered. I just wanted Raven to have an animal companion (apart from her family of werewolves lol) and some sort of big black bird would be cool. But yes it is a bit strange from the rest of the story!

Right! Chapter seven's a long one...I might have to post it in two parts...we'll see. And we're getting ever closer to chapter 9!!! The most exciting chapter so far in my opinion lol.



Chapter 7


When I opened my eyes, I found myself gazing up at a familiar ceiling. Yes. I remembered the pattern work of Celtic designs and angelic figures. I was back in the underground mansion of the vampires, surrounded by warmth and luxury.


As before, a fire was crackling pleasantly in the grate and I vaguely wondered where the smoke came out. I realised that I was washed and fresh and I curled my toes happily around the sheets, enjoying being clean again.

And I was alive! The scenes of that last night flooded back to me and I remembered the battle between us and the hunters.


I gasped. Didn’t I loose the feeling in my legs? I was sure my spine was broken! But with growing excitement and happiness I was actually curling my toes and flexing my legs as normal!


I sat up and looked around my room. Yes…my room now. It was the same as it was the first time I awoke to it but for one addition. A thin black iron stand had been attached to one of the walls, the delicate filigree work curling in mythical shapes like a black wisp of frozen smoke that issued from the wall. And upon it, standing comfortably with an air of dignity, was my raven!


It saw me and fluttered over to land on my bed, hopping around as if it was excited that I was awake. I gently stroked the soft black feathers.


“You are a special creature aren’t you? You seem to understand things from more than just instinct: companionship, danger…and I even feel that you understand me sometimes…but that’s just silly! You are, after all, just a bird.”


The raven’s black eyes met mine and I saw a mischievous light in them, as if to challenge me to the fact that he could not understand all I said. It frightened me a little bit, the intelligence of this creature. But I also felt good having him with me for I knew that he would never leave me.


Suddenly the door opened and in came Keenar. She saw me and almost dropped the clothes she was carrying.


“You’re awake!” she said, a smile breaking out onto her face. “You recovered fast! We were expecting you not to wake until at least another couple of days!”


She came and sat in a chair beside me, dumping the bundle of clothes on the end of my bed and shooing away my raven.


“Give her some space, Talon!” she said.


Looking indignant, he fluttered away and landed on the headboard, ruffling his feathers.


“Talon?” I enquired.


“I started calling him that after the fight and it just stuck! He followed us all the way down here, can you believe it? I think he’s grown a liking for you.”


“I’m so glad you’re alright,” I said. “Back in the fight…I was sure you were dead…” I looked down at my lap, all feeling of elation now gone.


Keenar nodded in understanding. “Like I said – it is hard now to perform magic. I held it for as long as I could. Without Lexan we would have died. He is much stronger with The Gift than I.”


I nodded. I remembered the lightning and the fire. It was terrible, but also set a spark of excitement burning within me. Did I have The Gift? Could I one day summon lightning?


I smiled inwardly then indicated the clothes she’d dumped on my bed.


“All washed and mended,” she said, getting up. “Now; let’s have a look at you.”


She inspected the wound in my back, which was now no more than a thick scab that would soon scar over.


“Unbelievable,” she whispered.


“What?” I asked.


“Wounded by arghanium and still you healed so well! How are the legs? Any feeling in them?”


“I can move them like normal,” I said, showing her.


Her face was a complete mask of awe and surprise. The fact that my broken, half dissolved away spine had regenerated so quickly was unheard of.


“Special indeed,” she said quietly, smiling.


I was still stiff and shaky as Keenar helped me out of bed, passing me my newly washed and mended clothes. I felt I could probably manage a walk and she said she could introduce me to all the other members of the family.


“They’re all really eager to meet you.” She paused for a moment. “That is…if you are willing to stay with us.” She gave me a hopeful expression.


I looked at her and a slow smile broke out onto my face. “I think I can get used to the place.”


Then, unexpectedly, Keenar reached over and drew me into a tight embrace. A warm glow flared to life inside my chest. It felt good to belong to a family again and friends by my side.


Just as I was walking out the door, Talon flew over and landed on my shoulder, his claws gently gripping the folds of my leather jacket.

“Oh, you want to come too?” I asked, a little surprised that he would stand on my shoulder. He didn’t answer but fluffed his feathers up a little. I laughed and joined Keenar in the candle-lit corridor.


She took me up and down the great spiral stairs, showing me all the rooms and halls of the hideout, introducing me to various people as we came across them. It was so much more immense than I had imagined! Aside from the main stairs, there were several winding passageways and steps that lead to unknown places, and thousands of rooms great and small so that I had to concentratehard to remember the plan of this great underground mansion. And it wasn’t just stone walls with dark passageways either. It was as if I was in an aristocratic castle – marble floors, luxurious carpets, expensive and old paintings hanging from the walls…it was a palace down here. Everywhere was lit up by warm, bright lighting, chandeliers hanging from the biggest rooms, fires crackling pleasantly in grates. The furniture was of the most quality mahogany and silk draped all the sofas and beds. It was such a beautiful place that my breath was stolen away.


Most of the west wing was bedrooms and living quarters. The east wing was the training area and also the weaponry, which stocked thousands of guns, swords, bows and staffs all in racks, row upon row of them. Down the middle, around the main spiral stairs was the library. A thousand shelves of books old and new from ancient journals to the latest modern novels! Then right at the top of the stairs was the white marble hall of pillars leading to the world of the humans. Just in case intruders breached this section, there was a great titanium iris that would close and seal off the main stairs, keeping the mansion below safe from harm. I also had the feeling that various wards and enchantments had been woven into the iris. Strange as it was, I could feel the ripple of magic around that place, already recognising the sensation.


Going back down the main staircase, Keenar lead me down a side passage to a large steel door. Taking the handle, she slid the door aside and a draft of cold air greeted us.


“This is the store room where we keep back-up stocks of blood for injured family, or if we need to stay down here for long periods of time.”


Stepping into the huge refrigerator, I saw shelves and shelves stacked with bags of blood. A male vampire was checking the stores and preservation dates of the blood, carefully arranging them in their boxes. As he turned, he smiled at us and offered his hand to me.


“Raven, this is Crow. He looks after the stores and back-up stocks of blood,” said Keenar.


Feeling nervous and a little afraid of meeting all these vampires and werewolves I shook his hand.


“That your raven?” he asked, indicating Talon.


I nodded.


“Maybe I should get a crow,” he laughed good-naturedly.


I smiled. How could I ever have thought they were evil, heartless beings? Yes they had to kill to survive, but they were created that way. Humans killed each other all the time – and not even to survive; to gain some petty piece of land or control over a country.


As Keenar lead me away down more passageways and stairs, we came back to the west wing of the mansion, stopping outside a door of someone’s quarters. Keenar knocked softly and a quiet voice bade us enter. Coming into the room, a woman sat on the bed with a thick, ancient book in her hands. Looking up, I saw that she had a beautifully dark complexion that reminded me of hot sun and exotic lands. Her almond shaped eyes were a mix of greens and browns and, though sparkling with the smile she gave me, they did not shine so radiantly as ours. I also noticed that she did not have the fangs so either she was a werewolf or a human. But she did not seem like a werewolf…


“Hi,” she said, rising to greet me. “I am Lylas. You must be Raven.”


I nodded and returned her smile. Then, awkwardly, I said, “You are neither vampire nor werewolf…”


“Well noted,” she smiled. “I am actually half vampire and half human. My father was Kahno, a vampire and close cousin to Lorcan and Lexan. He fell in love with my mother – Shahira, and I was born.” Seeing the surprise in my face she said, “Please, sit with me. Let us tell each other all about ourselves! It has been a long time since I met a new face here and I’m sure you have many questions that need answering.”


I smiled and sat down on the bed with her. Talon left his post on my shoulder and fluttered over to land on a dresser, inspecting himself in the mirror.

Keenar grinned and said, “I’ll leave you two to talk. Raven, Lylas is an important member of our group. It is imperative that you get to know each other, you’ll see why. I’ll come and get you later.” She nodded at Lylas politely then slipped out of the door.


“So you are half vampire and human?” I asked her.


“Yes. After my mother had me, she wanted to stay by my father’s side forever, also as a vampire. But when I was barely a child, and my mother still a human, she was…killed by dark creatures. Evil creatures. And my father…he was captured trying to defend her and died before he could ever break free.”

A dark look had come into her eyes and her voice had faded into nothing but a whisper.


“I’m sorry,” I offered. I didn’t know what else to say.


She nodded. “But I will have my revenge. Apart from Lexan and Lorcan, our two leaders, The Gift is strongest within me. I will be teaching you how to reach it and use it to your advantage. My abilities also help me stay undetected, which is why I have the job of spying upon the enemy.


I nodded in understanding and a new spark of admiration formed inside me.


“It must be very hard for you,” I said. “All the concentration involved. One mistake can cost you your life and I heard that spells are harder to cast now that The Gift has been fading. You are very brave to be doing such a thing.”


She blushed and looked at the book on her lap. “Thank you,” she said quietly.


“What are you reading?” I asked, indicating the book lying open in her lap. It was old and hand written, the spidery flow of letters scrawling across the pages.


“Oh, that’s my father’s journal,” she said, closing it gently and placing it on the bed beside her. “Lorcan found it and thought I’d like to have it.” She smiled gently. “In many ways, despite how young they look, they are like the ancient fathers of this family. Lexan and Lorcan lead us but also love us as their own children. Indeed…we are their children.”


“What do you mean?” I asked.


“I trust Keenar told you of the beginning? Of the two brothers that were first created – one wolf and one vampire?”


“Yes.”


Her silence filled me with a sneaking suspicion. Then it suddenly dawned on me.


“Oh God…Lexan and Lorcan…they are those two brothers?”


She nodded, confirming my assumption. I just sat, mouth open, struck dumb by the very thought. Lexan the vampire – the first and oldest, a memory spanning through nearly the whole of time’s existence until now and still carrying on! And Lorcan – the great werewolf! Of course! Both so alike that one could hardly tell them apart! I was a fool not to have guessed.But just the thought of being in the presence of such beings!


“Incredible,” I whispered.


She smiled at my stunned features.


“Do not think on it. It will turn your mind upside down and have you spinning out of control,” she laughed. “Let us talk of other things.”


I nodded and thought of the question that had been burning inside me for a while.


“So…vampires and humans can…couple?”


“Yes,” she nodded. “Though it is rare. There are certain…difficulties when mortals and immortals fall in love. One will live forever and the other…well; they will eventually grow old and die. They can be bitten and so the couple can remain together forever but, as you know, there are two sides to this way of life. The blessing of wonderful powers, of immortality…and the curse of killing humans each and every night. Would you want to put that upon someone you truly love? As to those who do accept it, some can live through the change and yet…sometimes they are lost through the process. It is a hard bargain. You have to be strong.


“Being born from a human mother and vampire father, I have inherited traits from each. I have your sense of sight and hearing and a little of your strength. The good thing is I don’t have the thirst for blood. And I have the gift of immortality.


She looked solemn at the last remark.


“I can’t think which is better. Living until the end of time and becoming sick of life and watching the world crumble, or dying after such a short life span? Both immortality and mortality has its advantages and disadvantages.” She paused then continued to answer my question.


“Vampires and werewolves can also become lovers…through their human forms of course,” she added, giving a short laugh. “Though in human offspring they receive traits from both the mother and father, between vampires and werewolves it’s different. In the human appearance they will have traits from both parents. But in terms of the race, they cannot be both vampire and werewolf. They will either be one or the other. This is the case of many members of the family here. Crow, I trust you have met, is a natural born vampire. And his brother, Jarleth, is a natural born werewolf. You understand?”


I nodded my head slowly. “Yes, I understand now.” Then I laughed. “I’m sure a genetics scientist would have a field day here!”


A soft knock at the door interrupted our laughter and Keenar appeared.


“I’m sorry to break up your conversation but the two brothers have requested a meeting with Raven,” she said.




*♥*

Akroma
December 15th, 2006, 01:29 PM
OK that was the first part. There are two more parts to chapter 7 but I'll let people read through this bit first before I post more. Don't want people looking at it and thinking of the length of Lord of the Rings and giving up. (Not that anyone should give up on Lord of the Rings!! And this story doesn't even come CLOSE to that masterpiece!)

PAGEMASTER
December 15th, 2006, 02:28 PM
Well dont worry about me losing interest in this story because I'm well and truly hooked. I'm impressed with the way this is coming, your storylines expanding, the way you're describing the vampires and werewolves is a new approach and a believable one at that. And I have to say I'm enjoying the new look onto the vampires and werewolves genres, the way they can conceive together, including humans, the fact that they're kindhearted and in fact the good guys. A very well done.

The problem I have though, I also enjoy the pet raven, and the joke about Crow mentioning maybe he should get a pet crow, but one thing I didnt like, I know Raven has senses but she seemed sure that the pet raven wont ever leave her? I'm feel as though instead of her saying it in the story that it should be shown that it wont leave her side throughout the story.

Either way impressive stuff, keep it up and I'm looking forward to the second part of chapter seven and even more so to the so called exciting chapter nine :thumbr:

riversource
December 15th, 2006, 06:16 PM
No one could bored with this! A little swamped in their own work maybe :-? , but never bored! Yay, expanding character base and details of the world!
Get on with it already so i can read something new!!!! :wink:

:D

Akroma
December 29th, 2006, 01:56 PM
Oh no!!! What happened to my chapter headings?! They're all...BORING! What happened to the lovely spidery curly letters? Oh I hate it when the forum changes formats. And sometimes my signature doesn't work :(

Oh well it's quality not fancyness of writing I guess...ready for the next bit of chapter 7? It's mostly talking and no action but it's got to be done!





Chapter 7 continued...




Walking down the corridor with Keenar, I noticed that we were heading for the east wing: the training area and weaponry. I must have looked a little confused because Keenar placed a hand on my shoulder.


“Lexan and Lorcan are training at this time. I am taking you to see them now because it’s a spectacular sight to witness. No one here can match their speed or strength.”


Excitement bubbled up inside me but I also felt nervous at the prospect of meeting them. Such legends, I would not know what to say or how to act. And besides, the last conversation I had with Lexan was not exactly on friendly terms.


The grand double doors loomed up ahead of us, etchings of some sort of ancient language flowing across the grain of the wood. Keenar went forward and pushed the doors open, revealing a cavernous room beyond. Stepping through, I could see rows and rows of armaments all standing in racks against the wall. Soft straw matting lay on the floor, lanterns hung from the ceiling and banners hung on the walls with all sorts of symbols and paintings of legendary warriors, magical arts and inscriptions of all languages. In the middle of the training hall was a vast open space, and in this space stood two figures. Many people were sitting or standing on the sides, watching the fight with excited eyes, cheering from the entertainment or focused intently upon the moves with the will to learn. Pressing closer, Keenar weaved her way through the various watching vampires and werewolves and brought me to the front where the view was clearer.


What I saw made my heart catch in my throat and I caught a level of awe and respect resonating through the room from everyone.


There was Lorcan and Lexan, looking more alike than ever, their black hair wet from the sweat, their deep, timeless blue eyes set with hard concentration and yet calm with discipline. Their young, angelically angled faces were stern and schooled to betray no emotion, the strong jaw-line set in resolve.


And how they moved! Like a pair of supple tigers, they swerved around each other, blocking, attacking and dodging each other’s weapons perfectly in exact timing. Like liquid power, these two ghosts seemed to flow so smoothly through the air, hugging close to the floor or gliding through the air in swift movements, faster than the eye could see. I was spellbound.


Their bare feet moving in time across the straw woven mats; the loose-fitting black trousers to give maximum movement of their legs; the droplets of sweat clinging to the skin of their bare upper bodies; it was all mesmerising. It was like the two brothers were engrossed in a beautiful, deadly dance where one wrong move could end in death.


Lexan, as I witnessed that night of the battle, wielded his double-bladed staff with both hands, twirling it in complex sequences hard to catch hold of that would slice open anything exposed to it. But Lorcan saw them all, deflecting them perfectly with his two swords, curved in the styles of the east. His hands moved in more ways I thought possible, the blades swinging with deadly precision, slicing through the air.


Every muscle responded to each stroke, the contractions rippling across their bodies like waves of power to be released through their hands and movements as they continued their somewhat tribal dance.


“Aren’t they amazing?” Keenar whispered in my ear.


Nodding, I swallowed a lump that had formed in my throat.

Looking closer, I saw that numerous scars etched their bodies everywhere I looked. Invisible to the human eye, the vampire in me could see them – thin lines that were almost unnoticeable marking their perfect frames. You couldn’t see them unless you were looking for them, but I suddenly realised there were hundreds! So faint on the pale skin where the whip lashings upon their backs; the long cuts on their arms; the old wounds on their chests, the small trace of scarring tissue where ribs had been broken and protruded through the flesh. And still, after all these years, their frames still kept the healthy radiance of the young and untouched.

The sorrow of Lexan’s eyes flashed in to my memory again and something stirred deep inside me. How many battles have they seen? What pains have they had to endure? How many dying screams of tortured souls have they heard and had to live with for the rest of their immortal lives? Memories, so many memories! Memories that would never fade or die as human memories do. No, our experiences are remembered for the rest of eternity, kept and restored in the finest of details that will never fade. We will never be granted the mercy to forget. As I realised this, a shiver ran through me, knowing that for all the time I lived, my memories will come back to haunt me in my sleep. I only hoped I did not have to see the evil times these two brothers before me have had to witness.


The session soon came to an end and the brothers bowed to each other in respect, carefully sheathing their weapons. The crowd slowly dissipated and returned to their own training. I noticed that the other vampires and werewolves kept an unspoken respect around the two and composed themselves as seemed fit before their leaders, all gossip abruptly ending if they approached or passed nearby. Many inclined their heads in a gesture of acknowledgement and politeness, and I was hardly surprised. Their very presence seemed to be worthy of it. But not fear. Never a sense of fear. These two looked after their family well, a deep bond never to be severed united us all down here, and I was becoming a part of that bond. As that thought entered my head, I felt a giddy rush of excitement rush through me and gratitude for the warm welcome they had given me; their ready openness.


A nudge from Keenar yanked me out of my thoughts and I realised that she was leading me towards the pair. As we walked across the training mats towards them, stopping now and then to say our greetings to various people, I saw Lexan and Lorcan making their way to the side where they had left various items of clothing and belongings. Perhaps it was because I was staring at them that I noticed it, or because my eyesight was better than I thought, but I saw Lexan’s eyes narrow slightly and his lips grimace in pain as his left leg buckled a little into a limp. It was so slight that I wondered if I had seen it at all. Then Lorcan placed a hand on his brother’s shoulder, concern darkening his eyes, but Lexan shook his head. He straightened himself, hardened his gaze and continued walking as normal.


Curiosity and concern rose up inside me, but embarrassed and unsure at what I’d just witnessed, I averted my gaze to the floor as the gap between the two leaders and I rapidly decreased.


“Lexan, Lorcan. May I present Raven at your request of a meeting?” Keenar said, inclining her head towards the leaders of the pack.


A smile tugged at the corners of Lexan’s mouth as he looked at me.


“I believe that I have already had the pleasure of a personal introduction,” he said to Keenar, but never averting his gaze from my eyes. “You are welcome, Raven,” he then said. “Do not be afraid. I hold no grudge against your departure. Please be at ease, you are part of this family now.”


This time he did smile and I was reassured. Again, his tone of voice was deep and quiet, soothing as if he were speaking from a dream, yet serious and powerful at the same time.


I nodded at him, not knowing what to say and too filled with awe to utter any sound. Lorcan then smiled at me and said,


“Many a time have I aided you before, Raven, though I doubt you will remember.” At my look of confusion he added, “You were unconscious at the time. However I am pleased to see that you are well and I can now meet you in a proper introduction.” To my surprise they both bowed towards me.


Keenar nudged me again, indicating that I should say something.


“I am deeply honoured to be accepted by such noble men,” I said timidly, averting their piercing eyes.


I felt my face grow hot at their looks of amusement and they indicated for me to follow them. We exited the training areas and made our way back to the west wing, Keenar keeping in step beside me. I looked at her and she nodded in encouragement.

Akroma
December 29th, 2006, 02:06 PM
Darn these 20,000 word limits lol.





Chapter 7: the last bit...





As we walked, I tried to catch traces of a limp from Lexan’s left leg again, or any expression of discomfort, but I did not. His feet hardly seemed to touch the floor as he walked, his long strides confident and easy. I started to think I’d imagined it.


As we came to the deepest floor of the mansion, the style seemed to change. Instead of the modern furnishings and electric lighting, there were flickering candles that lead the way down stone corridors, wooden doors with intricate carvings upon them of trees and beasts, and ancient weapons hanging upon the walls as ornamental decorations in this dark lair. I felt like I had walked into a completely different era. Just when I thought we had been walking forever, we stopped in front of a pair of black wooden double doors.

One side had a carving of a vampire, baring his fangs and wreathed in darkness. The other side was a carving of a wolf in the well-known image of the creature howling at the moon. The doors opened before us to reveal a large chamber like some sort of guest room. Old luxurious chairs surrounded a low table made of glass, a fireplace crackled pleasantly and the carpet beneath my feet was old but soft. The whole place had an ancient, musty smell that was surprisingly pleasant. Shelves and shelves containing crumbling leather volumes covered the walls, strange ornaments of past times sat on the mantelpiece and hung on the walls. Stacks of paintings occupied a corner of the room and candles shimmered everywhere. But the things that most caught my eyes were the swords. There were dozens of them all hanging on the walls, upon the mantelpiece, lying around on tables...the blades were all different, cut into all shapes and sizes, some of them plain, others lavishly decorated with jewels but all of them beautiful.


The room was not cluttered or dusty in any way...just pleasantly old and containing many possessions. Lexan indicated a chair and, still staring around the room, I slowly lowered myself into it, the velvet brushing against my hands. I noticed two doorways cut into the opposite wall with stairs leading upward to which, I assumed, were their bed rooms. Resting upon silver holders on the mantelpiece were Lorcan’s two swords and Lexan’s bladed staff.At first glance the blades were made of steel, but there was something strange about them. They seemed to be emanating a faint red light that at first I thought was a trick of the eye. Then suddenly the numerous symbols etched into the blades burned into life a fiery red only for an instant, as if knowing they were being watched,and I knew that there was something special about these weapons.


“They are as old as we are,” Lexan’s voice cut into my thoughts and I realised that he and Lorcan were seated opposite me and that Keenar had gone. Lexan was holding a glass in his hand, sipping casually on the dark red drink within. I realised that I had one too and for politeness’ sake I picked it up and raised it to my lips. I almost gasped as the liquid touched my tongue. It was blood, as I’d expected, but warm and sweet, different to what I had ever tasted before. Lorcan looked mildly amused from the surprise on my face and a thin smile curled his lips. He explained that it was in fact the blood of a common rodent from the mountains but who’s blood was deliciously sweet, a substance added to prevent it going cold and clotting – a substance discovered through Crow’s magical abilities and alchemy.


I wondered how we could tolerate the non-blood substance, but before I could phrase the question, Lorcan provided the answer.


“Anything can be ingested by you vampires if diluted enough with blood. Just as arsenic is toxic to man, diluted enough times with water it can provide a formidable medicine.”


I nodded in understanding and took another sip. Lorcan himself, I noticed, drank from a glass of ordinary wine. Unlike us, blood was not a necessity but part of his purpose. He could enjoy other such tastes and, shamefully, I felt a pang of jealousy.


Nevertheless I was surprised to find that I did not feel the burning, urging hunger I felt while hunting. Just a pleasant satisfaction like a sip of wine at a party though you are not really thirsty. I relaxed and felt a little more confident in front of the two daunting figures.


“Keenar told me about Hsaru...Why…” I hesitated. “Why did he make this world?”

Pleased at my curiosity, he nodded in acquiescence and sat back in his chair, pausing for a moment to consider his words.


“When first sent to live on this earth, we knew what we were; the purpose of our existence and that Hsaru made us.”


“And what is that purpose,” I asked quietly. Many people spend all their lives finding the answer to this question. Why do we exist? What is our purpose?


“Many would be disappointed,” said Lexan, as if reading my mind. “Angry, even. And I can understand if you feel the same. But I have long accepted what I am and what all this…” he indicated the world around him “…was made for.”


“And what is that,” I asked again, feeling nervous.


“It is merely for Hsaru’s pleasure. A hobby,” Lorcan said simply. “He is only a God because he cannot die, he has powers greater than all who live on this earth, and he has an astounding gift to create life; to create us.”


“This Earth is a work of art,” continued Lexan. “…or was in the early ages…”

I stared at them, my eyes wide. That was it? Because some magical creature wanted to make a living sculpture?


“However, Hsaru did make one mistake,” Lorcan said softly. “He fell in love with his creations. He feels that we are his children and, in a way, he is right. He gave us our very lives and it is only fitting that we would be willing to give them up for him. He could have ruled this place like a tyrant, but he did not. He let his creations think for themselves, go their own ways and make their own choices. He is grateful to those who believe in him, and leaves alone those who do not.”


“Ah but those who do wholly believe in him and follow his ways,” added Lexan “are granted an immortal soul. And when they leave this earth they will ascend to the planes of Dantalion to live in paradise for the rest of eternity.”


To my surprise Lexan’s voice had gone a little acidic at this last statement and I looked up to see him staring bitterly at the blood within his crystal glass. Lorcan looked compassionately to his brother then answered, in a low voice, my questioning expression.


“We have not seen Dantalion. Sometimes we think we never will. We cannot allow ourselves to be killed as we have a family to look after. But we cannot die…and therefore never ascend…”


He raised his eyes to mine and I saw a weariness in them that made me feel guilty of my earlier jealousy.


“But let us speak of other matters;” he said “the real reason why we needed to speak with you. It is unlucky that you should live through these dark times…and there is no way to put it gentler but…we are in the middle of a war. And we need your help.”


This news hit me like a blow to the face. It rendered me speechless. I looked from one face to the other for some hint of jest but both were stern and unsmiling. In fact, they looked tired and grim.


“A war…between whom?” I asked once I had found my tongue again. Lorcan looked at his brother and Lexan sighed, taking a deep breath.


“There is another God, Raven. One just as powerful as Hsaru…or even more so. His name is Vorrac. You must trust me when I say he is pure evil. He and his own creations work to undo all Hsaru has made…including us. So we have become soldiers in this war in an attempt to destroy Vorrac and his army, before they destroy us. They know our weaknesses and all their weapons are wrought with arghanium. They too can wield magic. So you see…we need all the help we can muster.


“We used to have the Elves, the Dwarves, the Centaurs…every species made by Hsaru opposing the darkness that was spreading. The Humans, when they were strong with sorcerers and wizards, made up a great part of that army. But now…now the humans are weak and useless, the other great races have all but died out, and we are all that is left, along with Hsaru’s help and the help of his angels…


“But it has been a long time since Hsaru last contacted us and his angels come less also. Something is happening but we are yet unaware as to what it is.” Lorcan paused for a moment, deep in thought. Lexan took over the narrative.


“There are many beings you must be wary of, Raven. The Hunters, you have encountered already. Mere humans with no magical talent but with sheer force of numbers on their side. These people have sided with Vorrac, their hearts turned black from his visions of grandeur and lies. These too have grown immortal souls, but not the white spirits that ascend to Dantalion. These souls are black and ugly and will descend only into the realms of Naberus. This is where Vorrac dwells; another plane of existence alongside that of this world and that of Hsaru’s. I guess you could call it…Hell. And from here spring forth all manner of Demons and horrors beyond your worst nightmares.


“The night you were bitten…what did you see? What killed our sister?”


“They…” I cleared my throat and wet my lips “…they looked like men…but dark and taller and thinner…almost as if they were made of shadow itself. And their faces…” I shuddered at the thought of those gaping mouths like tears in fabric, the dark empty eye sockets…


“You have seen the Marekk,” Lexan whispered softly. “Human souls from Naberus; twisted and tortured, now servants to Vorrac and his Demon lords. Admittedly they are the easiest creatures to banish back to Naberus, but they can still catch you unawares. Just as they did your maker. We are at our most vulnerable when feeding, remember this. The moment a victim’s blood touches your lips, you can think of nothing else; are aware of nothing else. This is why you must make completely sure that you are alone. Which brings us to a strict rule all vampires and werewolves must abide by – never feed in public in front of human eyes. It is imperative that you remain unseen, your powers hidden. If you do not take caution with your actions you will find the city’s police after us, or even worse, The Hunters. Do you understand?”


I nodded. I was starting to feel afraid again, and disturbed with the information they were telling me. But I knew it was real – I’d seen the Marekk with my own eyes and witnessed the cold efficiency of the Hunters. A part of me did not want to get dragged in to this war, but another part of me felt grateful for my new gifts, and if such an evil existed, I wanted to be part of those who destroy it. I took a deep breath. If I was going to be of any help I needed to know as much about my opponent as I could.


“What else should I be vigilant about?”


Lexan and Lorcan both smiled at this, seeing my resolve as my acceptance of the family.


“Gargoyles,” said Lorcan. “Though not as you know them. Their appearance is like to bare human skeletons with the exception of their bones being black and skeletal wings protruding from their backs. Their teeth are razor sharp and they all carry deadly long knives. Though they are no bigger than a small child compared to us, they fly in swarms. Our only safeguard against them is water; their bones will dissolve in it. But if you manage to get one on its own, a blade will do.


“These gargoyles also do not like daylight. When the night ends, they will either go back to Naberus or blend into the nearest stone wall of a building. Here no water or light can harm them, and we cannot simply go round destroying the architecture of Asperia.”


“Demons there are also,” Lexan continued. “These are powerful in magic and much harder to kill but they are few - Vorrac does not have the gift to create as Hsaru does. No, his “gifts” lie in destruction. They lie in wars and floods and hurricanes, in torture and pain and death.


“The most powerful Demon of all is Varik, and it is she that leads the human movement called The Hunters. It was she that gave the order to kill you that night when you were wounded and none but the strongest of us have faced her and survived. You see…to wound her would be to wound yourself.”


I started at this piece of information. “What do you mean?” I asked. “That no one can kill her?”


“Not if they wanted to live to tell the tale. If someone, somehow, managed to kill her, they too would be drawn into death. Even if you injure her, something inside you will drain away – some sort of energy; your happiness, your will to live…something. We are not sure what. But many who have stricken her in the past did not live long after.”


My heart was beating fast as the two brothers fell silent. Their expressions were unreadable but their eyes were full of sorrow. Lorcan shook his head as if to clear it and spoke again.


“I caught you glancing at our weapons. What is so special about them, Raven? Why do they seem to give off a red glow one moment and look utterly innocent the next? It is because these blades were crafted in Dantalion – the only weapons that can cut demon flesh, banish the Marekk, and smash the bones of the Gargoyles. The Angels mix their blood with the metal and the grip is bound with Dragon hide; the result is weapons imbued with magical properties, each one is blessed by Hsaru himself.


“If you truly wish to take up this burden and join with us in this time of need, then stand, and choose the blade that will guard you and serve you through this war.”


I sat in the chair breathing hard, the moment of choice upon me. But I had already made up my mind. Slowly, I got to my feet and walked purposefully towards the array of swords. I reached out a shaking hand, my fingertips brushing the draconic leather, and gasped as I felt the subtle ripple of magic. Closing my eyes I let my fingers gently sweep over each of the swords until I felt it; a rush of strength and intoxicating magic rushing into me. My fingers had locked tight around the grip and every breath I took was tinted with the power and warmth that was flooding through me. Opening my eyes, I saw that my chosen companion was a beautifully crafted katana, the symbols upon the metal blazing with that same wrathful fire.


Looking up, I saw the brothers standing before me, a small smile on their faces.


“So this is your chosen sword. Or at least the sword has chosen you,” said Lexan. “It is a fine match and may it serve you well in battle.” Both vampire and werewolf now placed their palms upon it and closed their eyes, uttering a quiet prayer of thanks and blessing to Hsaru. When they were finished, they opened their eyes and placed a hand on my shoulder.


“You are part of the family now,” said Lorcan. “And though you come to us in this time of war, may you find happiness and friendship within this house.”


“Go now and rest,” said Lexan. “Take time to adjust to your new surroundings and heal completely before we start your training.”


I had almost forgotten about the dull pain in my injured back. I nodded politely to them both, thanked them then took it as a cue to leave. As I closed the door and started making my way back up the stairs, I heard Lexan say quietly to his brother,


“It was foolish of me to join you in training today, Lorcan. The wound in my leg from Varik has not yet properly healed from when we rescued Keenar and Raven. Curse her; she almost had my leg off ...”


Their voices grew too far away for me to hear the rest. I knew what I had seen was real. I did see him grimace for a split second. But then fear gripped my heart. If Lexan could not even escape Varik uninjured, what could I do? I shivered. Clutching my katana tighter to me, I raced up the stairs, eager to find Keenar.

PAGEMASTER
December 29th, 2006, 04:01 PM
Your style of writing and storytelling continues to amaze me, even though this chapter is practically just conversations its as equally as exciting as the action, you've discussed the variety of dark enemies, very well I might add, you still have me hooked and no matter how sometimes I find long chapters offputting, this I just couldnt stop reading until the end, I'm so excited to see chapter 8 and the future events that will take place.

Your characters are so well described, each containing their own personality, their way of thinking, acting, the names you chose for them are wonderful as if the name itself holds a mystery.

Keep up the excellent work :thumbr:

Akroma
January 5th, 2007, 03:12 PM
Allrighty then, it's been about a week since my last post so I think we should get rolling with Chapter 8 don't you? Thanks, Pagemaster, for keeping up and still liking it. You're my rock! Riversource, I hope work isn't bogging you down too much. And I hope you like the birthday present I sent you ;-)



Chapter 8


I stood, poised and ready, the sword gripped tightly in my trembling hands. When would they come? Will I be fast enough? The blindfold itched my eyes but I pushed it away and concentrated. Fear gripped my chest in a vice as I forced my breathing to be steady, though it was coming in ragged gasps.


Listen, I thought to myself. Concentrate! Listen hard! I did. Silence. The suspense was too much. I was as taught as a bowstring. I was supposed to be calm and disciplined but I could feel the edge of panic threatening to surface.


Suddenly I sensed a change in the air currents behind me and a faint whistling sounded in my ears: the sound of knives slicing through the air towards me. My acute hearing picked up five different disturbances in the air. Five daggers. They were closing fast and would meet their target before I could utter a word. All this ran through my mind in a millionth of a second and, in pure instant reaction, I raised my sword over my head, brought it behind my back and felt the smash of the first knife as it rebounded off my blade. Half turning, I felt the air shift on my cheek. In a fluid movement, I brought the sword up to my face and felt the resistance of another knife deflected. Now facing the onslaught, I parried two more blows, my eyes still blind to the world. It all happened so fast, in less than a second. Which was why I missed the last dagger.


The whistling was too loud – it was too close and my sword was not fast enough. In a split second after deflecting the first four, I felt the fifth slip into my side and pain erupted through me, though it was nothing compared to the pain I felt when the arghanium dagger cut into my back. Back then I thought I just wanted to die.


Crying out, I dropped my sword and fell to my knees, vaguely aware of a voice crying, “Halt!”


Strong arms caught me as I sank to the floor and thin, delicate fingers removed the blindfold. It was Lexan. My eyesight readjusted to the training room around me and Keenar standing over me looking worried.

“Just hold still,” said Lexan quietly in my ear. Lorcan kneeled beside me and carefully pulled out the steel training knife, pressing his hand on the wound. At once my body started to heal itself and the pain lessened to a dull ache.


“Well done!” Keenar said. “You blocked four out of five. I can’t believe you’re progressing so fast!”


I sat up, the wound already fading, and gave her a snort of dissatisfaction.


“Yeah, four,” I said. “Not five.”


“Oh come on,” Keenar said dropping down beside me. “This is only your first time with proper knives. It’s harder than wooden corks. It took you six days to progress this far. When I was in training it took me two weeks! And just wait until you start with bullets! But your eyesight and hearing rates are becoming alarming and...” And here she dropped to a whisper, “many are thinking you will soon be equal matches to Lorcan and Lexan! Well...strength-wise anyway. But so far the skills and using the Gift, well...”


She smiled and gave me a wink.


“Who knows? Maybe even in skill. One day,” she added.


Feeling a hand on my shoulder, I looked up at Lexan. He smiled at me.

“Well done. Your reflexes are exceptionally strong. But enough training for today. Tomorrow we’ll give knives a rest and see how you’re doing at your sword fighting, ok?”


I nodded and he walked away. Keenar stood up and offered me her hand.
I took it and she helped me to my feet.


“Get cleaned up, grab your coat and let’s get out of here for a while,” she said. “I know we’ve already been out to feed, but just because I’m a wolf doesn’t mean this place doesn’t make me feel claustrophobic!”

I laughed and nodded, saying I’d meet her in the top chamber in half an hour.


I wondered back to my room and Talon greeted me with a friendly nip. Throwing my training robe onto my bed, I stepped into the shower and let the cascade of hot water scour me clean. I was thankful that the steel training weapons didn’t leave scars or else I’d be riddled with them. I never ceased to be amused the following morning when where there was a scab I’d find it perfectly smooth as if nothing had happened.


I quickly dressed, put on my black trench coat and ran a comb briskly through my hair. I smiled at my pale reflection in the mirror, a sight I had quickly got used to. My green eyes seemed brighter than ever and I briefly thought how cool it would be if I died my hair dark blue. But I dismissed the thought. Finally I picked up my sword, the scabbard concealed beneath my coat.We were not going to look for trouble but no one left without a weapon.


As I rushed out the door Talon fluttered over and landed on my shoulder. Keenar was waiting impatiently beside one of the columns and soon the three of us were out on the street in the cool night air, Keenar as a wolf once more and Talon circling above us on his broad black wings.


<Let’s run!> said Keenar, her black shape already loping off without me. I sighed and shook my head, tearing after her. I had to put up with her wolfish craves a lot.


We ran through the city, enjoying the speed, the wind whipping through our hair…or fur in Keenar’s case. Dodging unsuspecting people, our speed making us almost invisible to their slow senses, we endeavoured to keep the code of not showing our powers to the human population. All they saw of me was a fleeting shadow passing with a swift breeze. I laughed in exhilaration. It turned into a game: me chasing Keenar through a bustling city of people that seemed to be half dead!


Oh there are definitely good things about being a vampire! Running down the alley, I saw Keenar just ahead of me, a sheer wall looming up in front of us. But we did not slow. Suddenly Keenar was in human form, running full tilt at the wall. She took a mighty leap, landed on the brickwork, and positively flew up that vertical wall, grasping with her hands and feet. Looking back, she laughed and continued up.


I followed suit, flying up the wall after her. I did not think where to put my hands. My fingers found every nook and cranny faster than my eyes could see them. Keenar, at the top, pulled herself up and over and in a split second, what used to be the receding tip of her coat, was a black bushy tail zipping out of sight.


I landed on the balcony and saw a great black wolf leaping rooftops. Grinning to myself, I tore after her, catching up with her, and threw myself at her speeding bulk. We rolled together then ground to a halt on the roof of a block of flats.


“Why are you so excitable anyway?!” I asked as we sat there panting.


<Galahad’s coming home tomorrow night> she said in my head.


“Galahad?” I looked puzzled. “You never told me about him. Who is he?”


<He is my companion since the beginning> she said quietly, suddenly serious again.


“From the beginning? From before you were bitten?” I asked. I was amazed.

She nodded. She seemed to be thinking hard about something, as if she were about to tell me something painful.


<He was…a slave to a rich sorcerer. He and the other slaves were made to fight as a form of entertainment. He was one of the best fighters they had. But he had to keep his true nature a secret. Yes, he was a werewolf. It was only a matter of time before they found out, though for a long time he hid it well. But when the truth was exposed, he was to be killed.


<I was working there…after my mother and father were killed I did not know what to do. I needed to get money somehow. And there, in that place of hell, we first saw each other. It was literally love at first sight. But when they found out what he was, I could not let them kill him.


<That is when I discovered the Gift inside me and how powerful it really was. I broke him out of his cell and we escaped together. Not long after that I made the biggest decision of my life. I told him that I wanted to join him. To be with him and stand as his companion by his side for the rest of eternity, doing what he does. I couldn’t bare the thought of growing old and dying while he went on without me, young and strong and being with another woman in years to come. I couldn’t. And he could not bear the thought either. And so he made me. He is my sire and my lover; my soul mate from the beginning and he will be until the end. >


Keenar paused and she smiled at her own words. It was not like her to talk of such things. But I knew that her love for him was unconditional, I could see it in her eyes; secretly enjoying the intimacy and romance that comes with two lovers who complete each other. Though I knew she’d never admit it. I smiled back at her, happy that she had such a companion. Eternity can be lonely. Very lonely.


<So there we were, two wolves on the run in the midst of a great city, alone and vulnerable. That’s when we decided to seek out other kin. For years, Galahad and I travelled every inch of the world, just the two of us, stealing away on ships, running for miles in our tireless wolf forms across deserts, forests, wilderness and cities; through snow, scorching heat, pouring rain...it was an adventure! Hopeless and tiring at times...but I had Galahad by my side every day and keeping me warm every night as we slept. He gradually helped me develop my skills and master my changes, and to kill quickly and painlessly our chosen victims.


<Time passed us by and we witnessed many things in the world – wars, battles, the great birth of technology...the fading of magic…many things. And we moved with the times, the fashions, the language...it was one of the best ages of my life. Just he and I and the world at our feet, passing us by like a movie or a fleeting dream.


<We found many of our kin on the way, giving us counsel and offering us settlement, but we always moved on, our search for kin turning into a lust to see more of the world.


<But everywhere we went there was danger. We were always being hunted, either by the local folk or the evil forces of Vorrac and his minions. We would be safer as a bigger group, and when we came to this city through our travels, we met Lexan and Lorcan, and decided to stay. And here we still are. This city has been our home for nearly three centuries and now we know every nook and cranny > she laughed.


<However, we knew of a great risk settling here. Wherever Lexan and Lorcan were, so would the centre of the Hunter movement: Varik. But they always say, you kill the snake and the followers will fall. So we decided to join the battle and finish the corruption of Vorrac at last. But it wasn’t as easy as we thought. For three centuries we tried to finish it, but killing Varik was as difficult as a mouse killing a hawk. We never got closer to our goal and to this day she still lives. What bad luck that you should live here and get dragged into this war. But let’s not talk of that now. Let’s talk about Galahad some more! >


We stayed on the rooftop a little longer, laying on our backs and staring up at the stars while Keenar, excited again, babbled on about her mate. When the sky began to lighten, we headed off home. I called for Talon just before we descended, but he did not come. I didn’t need to worry about him. He will come back when he chooses. I stepped into the hidden doorway after Keenar. Though happy for my friend, I couldn’t help feeling a little miserable; a loss that I’d been denying from the beginning. But I knew if I did not bury it, it would consume me in despair and I would never surface again. And so I pushed it back down, deep into my mind where I could not see or hear it. The echoes of the name Sethis once more silenced under my will but for a little while longer.

riversource
January 5th, 2007, 05:44 PM
"He is my sire and my lover; my soul mate from the beginning and he will be until the end."

Oh, you old romantic you! :D Yay, Galahad's coming! Love the way this is going, the running across the rooftops bit was hell cool! ;-)

I did love my pressie, thanks! He's standing next to the computer as i type this! Hope everything's going well for you and i'll write ou a letter asap!
x

mashowasho
January 6th, 2007, 03:56 AM
Hey there -

I've read the first four chapters of your work. All I can say is - if these are supposed to be the "bad" chapters, I can't wait to get into the rest!

Someone commented that the story had a slight "chick lit" feel to it: I agree, but I also say bravo! I don't see why all fantasy stories have to be for boys under 15. I must say, this all sounds very exciting, what with the menagerie of vampires, werewolves and demons... you sound like a girl after my own heart.

keep up the good work!
:thumbr:

PAGEMASTER
January 6th, 2007, 05:55 PM
Just read chapter 8 and still amazed at how beautifully you write. Such impressive material, I'm so eager to see whats going to happen, especially when Galahad arrives.

I actually feel sorry for Raven, not having the love of her life by her side.

The training part, superb.

I just hope that Talon is alright and returns to Raven's shoulder soon ;)

Good stuff. Very impressive :thumbr:

mashowasho
January 7th, 2007, 01:44 AM
caught up on the rest of your stuff. pretty good! i also liked the scene where they were running through the city - very exciting! :thumbr:

Akroma
January 12th, 2007, 12:42 PM
Thanks guys, I'm glad you're enjoying it. That's why I post really - to get criticism but for poeple to also enjoy my work. It keeps me going, knowing that someone somewhere appreciates it. Sometimes I just want to give up because it's easy to get into the mentality that it's crap and no one wants to read it. That it's just a waste of time and that I'll never finish it. If this someday gets published, I'll be the happiest person in the entire world - a dream come true!

Thinking of starting another story too but...I think I should finish this one first or my brain will become too crowded with places and people plots and university and I'll just lose my thread if not my sanity. It's gonna be set in the world that Raven's in now, but in the old days when magic ruled...before Keenar was born. It'll probably smack of Lord of the Rings but almost every fantasy story does. One of my main characters is a Druid - wipe the long white beard, white robed old figure from your minds right now. He's young and dashing ;-) and very in touch with nature. He can commune with animals, shape shift into...something...but they also have access to all those impressive spells like calling down lightning and fire, and...other spells I wont spoil the surprise. And they are good trackers and fighters.

Anyway, I better crack on and post the last bit of Chapter eight if the word limit permits, then we can get on to chapter nine! It's the most exciting chapter i've written but I don't vouch for the quality. Like I said, not so good with action or gory details.



Chapter 8 continued...



“Galahad!” Keenar leaped up from the chair she was reading in and threw herself into the arms of a man that had just stepped into the library. I waited politely as he swept her up in his strong arms, kissing her and holding her tight.

“Keenar,” he whispered, his handsome face buried in her hair. “I’ve missed you.”

She was about to reply when he kissed her again, long and deep. I looked away in embarrassment until Galahad set Keenar down and they were coming towards me.

“Honey, this is Raven, our newest member of the family. She’s still in training but her senses are unusually strong. I can never sneak up on her anymore!”

Galahad smiled and shook my hand. “How do you do,” he said politely, inclining his head. I smiled back, muttering something in response.

He was a tall man and, like every werewolf, lean and muscular with broad shoulders and strong limbs. His skin had a slight tan to it, indicating he’d been somewhere hot, and his long black hair fell in dreadlocks around his handsome face. But, as always in every immortal, the eyes were astounding. They were not the deep blue of Lexan’s, nor the luminous forest green of mine. Keenar’s silver eyes were unique, piercing and haunting. But Galahad’s eyes were as black as the night sky, large and even more haunting than Keenar’s. But they were not cold and empty. Rather they were warm and full of affection, though alert and wary at the same time. And like all of us, he was dressed in black, the long leather trench coat worn with travel. He turned back to Keenar.

“I’m going to get cleaned up, ok?”

She nodded and he gave her a peck on the cheek before flashing me a friendly smile and disappearing down the great spiral stairs.

“He seems like a nice guy,” I said, unable to keep a straight face.

She punched me playfully on my arm then started to follow him. “I’ll see you later?” she asked.

I nodded and waved her away. Still smiling and shaking my head, I replaced my book on its shelf and chose another. Having finished the evening’s training, this was my time to relax and do anything I pleased. I had not fed yet but I did not yet feel like going out.

I read for a while longer, gradually falling into a doze, until my growing hunger woke me. I sighed, replaced my book and made my way down to my room. As I passed Keenar’s quarters, I heard the splash of water from the shower and the passionate sounds of two people making love. I hurried past, a smile breaking out over my face as I cursed my acute hearing.

Reaching my room, I threw on my coat, took my sword, and made my way to the hall of columns. Selecting the closest doorway to the surface, I ascended to the land of the living. This hatch took me up to the night club we owned above the mansion: The Sanctuary. I emerged from the hidden doorway behind the bar and experienced an explosion on my senses. The loud music battered my hearing and filled my head with the sound of metal. Flashing lights and accessories kept pulling my gaze and the smells of alcohol, perfume and human sweat filled my nostrils. Pushing it all away as best as I could, I nodded to Alaric who managed the place as he served drinks behind the bar, and made my way to the doors. The people parted before me, still dancing; oblivious to my presence, and closed in again behind me.

Stepping out into the streets, I let the sounds and smells of the city wash over me. Breathing deeply, I caught the small subtle scents mixed amongst the smell of human life. The coffee bar over the next block was making their limited edition mint hot chocolate again. The restaurant down the street had burnt a pan of stir-fried chicken. The green freshness of the park a mile down the road touched my senses as a natural relief from the city’s polluting fumes. I opened my ears over the rush of traffic and heard the soft breathing of a sleeping tramp across the street. Someone was practising for an opera piece on the top floor of the music studios. Over in the park, a leaf fluttered to the ground and slid onto the grass.

I closed my eyes and stretched my senses abroad, listening to my instinct and allowing my hunger to guide me through the city. Turning right, I began to walk away from the mansion slowly and almost leisurely, taking my time. After a while, I found myself walking in the rich suburbs where large houses with long drives and stretching gardens stood dark and sleeping, their gates closed and locked.

I made my way to a telegraph pole and, quickly and silently, I climbed up, my muscles flexing like a black panther leaping up a tree. The telephone wires were taught from the cold and, as I perched on top, I gazed down at the silent houses like a hawk. Taking a step forward, I balanced easily on the wire and lightly ran across it as if I was weightless. I passed several houses, concentrating on that twinge of hunger, but also that twinge of shame and guilt.

As I passed over the roof of a redbrick house, the walls laden with climbing ivy, I froze in mid-step upon the wire. Crouching low, I listened hard. Eight different rates of breathing reached my ears: eight people in this house. Five of them were under ground level – servant quarters. Three of them were on the upper floors: two together in one room and one by itself. Silently, I jumped down onto the tiled roof and swung down onto a windowsill. But when I looked through the window, my heart began to thump in my chest and I almost felt sick. My hand was gripping the window frame too hard and the paint was crumbling beneath the pressure. I made myself loosen my hold.

A child of about five years old lay in the bed. She was holding a teddy bear close to her and sleeping fitfully.

I cursed to myself, turned to leave, and found that I was sliding the window open and Slipping inside.

What are you doing?! I screamed at myself, but I was already approaching the little bed and kneeling down beside the sleeping child. She was so young, so soft and innocent. But I felt it. She was ill. I could sense that her life was already failing from the incurable disease within her. She would die anyway. With tears rolling down my cheeks and hating myself, my lack of willpower, I reached out a hand and stroked her silky hair, her soft cheek. At my touch her eyes fluttered and slowly opened. Seeing me beside her, her eyes widened in fear and she drew her teddy closer, recoiling away from me. I smiled to soften the effect of my hard eyes and said quietly,

“Do not be afraid.”

Slowly the fear drained from her pale face and she slowly sat up, looking curiously at me as I continued to kneel on the floor.

“Am I dreaming?” she said sleepily in her innocent little voice.

“Yes,” I lied. I did not know what else to say or do. I just sat there. My strength was quickly fading and my breathing became a little more difficult, but still I made no movement.

“Are you a fairy?” she asked me.

“I am,” I whispered.

“But where are your wings?”

“I don’t have any,” I replied, my whisper becoming even fainter.

A frown creased her little brows but her eyes began to flutter again. I slowly got to my feet and sat facing her on the bed, like a mother about to read her child a story.

“I don’t want to go to sleep,” she mumbled. “I keep having bad dreams.” She looked up at me with wide shining eyes that were glazed with tears. I stroked her cheek again and put a strand of hair behind her ear.

“But you must,” I said. “I’ll help you go back to sleep. I promise you that there won’t be any nightmares. Instead, when you wake up, you will be in a beautiful place. There will be lots of angels with wings, big fluffy clouds, candy bars and all the toys you could possibly wish for.”

As I continued talking to her about nice things, her eyes slowly closed and I took her in my arms, cradling her and stroking her soft hair. Tears fell from my eyes and landed on her plump cheeks.

Why can’t I pull away? Why am I doing this?

Using the last of my strength, I bent my head towards her little neck. The tiniest scratch was enough and I drank her dry, trembling and sobbing as I did so, her body growing heavy and lifeless in my arms. As she died, I withdrew but held her close, still stroking her hair, as if I were a mother that had killed her own daughter.

The night grew old and I laid the little girl back on the bed, tucking her in and placing her teddy beside her. She looked peaceful as if she was just sleeping, and I grieved for her parents and what they will wake up to in just a few hours.

With a heavy heart and feeling utterly appalled with myself, I closed the window behind me and ran back across the telephone wires. I did not wait to climb down the wooden pole but leaped off the taught wire and struck the road with my fists on landing.

“Damn it!” I screamed at the sky. I kept on screaming and I kept on pounding the road with my bare hands as I kneeled there. I felt like my anger was taking over me. Not until the sky began to get light and I realised that I was in danger of being caught by the sun did I finally stop.

The concrete before me was now a small crater of dust.Feeling bitter, I made my way back to the mansion as the stars disappeared and the sky turned from black to a lightening grey.

Why?! Why a life so young?! Was I so weak as to not be able to control my own cravings?! It stewed over and over in my head. I was a monster. What I was…this power…it was a curse and a blessing at the same time. Keenar’s words came back to me: we cannot go against our nature… it’s hard because they think and feel so much…

When The Sanctuary was in sight, I suddenly realised that the sun was rising. As quick as I could, I found the nearest hatch and threw myself into it, thankful for the darkness as I descended. I felt ashamed. So ashamed as the tears blinded me.

Stumbling out into the hall of pillars, I moved down the stairs and made my way to the west wing, my head reeling. Rounding a corner, I almost walked into Keenar and Galahad that were heading out to get some breakfast.

“Raven!” said Keenar, surprised and startled at my sudden appearance. She looked at my face and read my expression of anguish. “What’s wrong?”

“I killed…killed…a child…a little girl…” I sank to the floor. What had I done? I can’t believe what I’d done… Galahad reached out an arm to steady me, a concerned look in his eyes.

“Oh Raven…” said Keenar, her expression sorrowful and understanding. “Everyone has had to go through it…it is terrible. You need to learn to control your hunger. We all have to. But it takes time and before you master it…things like this will happen.”

“I’m a monster,” I whispered.

“No you are not...”

“Nothing will convince me otherwise,” I spat, my voice trembling.

I heard Keenar sigh and turn to Galahad.

“Let’s get her to her room. Only time can heal this one.”

I felt Galahad pull me gently to my feet and guide me to my quarters. Keenar was wrong. Time would not heal it…dull it maybe…but this I would always remember. I resolved to control my hunger whether it was the last thing I did.

PAGEMASTER
January 12th, 2007, 01:57 PM
The druid idea sounds intriguing, and if its anything like Raven every sentence of it will be an enjoyable read, but for now I agree with you that you should stick to finishing this; one of my many faults is I tend to get bored with one of my stories and attempt to start a fresh one.

You can actually feel the sorrow Raven feels; the poor child; I've enjoyed everyone of your chapters so far and as always cant wait for the next. Especially after reading your note before starting chapter eight about chapter nine being the most exciting piece you've written. Dont however speak bad of your action and gore writing because so far they've been very well written as well as fun to read.

Basically your story so far is great ;)

riversource
January 13th, 2007, 09:46 PM
Aww, poor Raven! Way to make your readers teary! :sad: Very well done though. You really got the conflict in her across with the italics. I thought that the action was done splendidly :thumbl: .


Galahad sounds lovely! Passionate love-making in the shower eh? :wink:

Anarosa
January 15th, 2007, 05:19 AM
oh my god you finally got back here. haha sorry it took me forever to realize you were posting again.

i miss ravens human.

he needs to reappear. because i dont want her to get swept away and forget about him. it almost happened to me once and i was comtemplating a little thing between lexan and raven.

but then i was like, AH! what about the love of her life?!

so yeah, and also. amazing.

i love this story. seriously.

also, i love talon.

and i was afraid in the beginning that keenars friendship was going to seem false, but you pull it off very well, and im starting to really like her.

now hurry up and post again.

=]

Akroma
January 18th, 2007, 04:28 PM
Here we go here we go here we go... This will take quite a few posts to get chapter 9 all down...it's 16,353 words all by itself!! I'll try and find some suitable breaks so it flows properly between posts...hmmm...



Chapter 9


I walked far among the dusty book shelves, the flame of my single candle flickering as I raised it to read crumbling spines. Finding a book that alerted my interest, I carefully pulled the volume from the slot and settled down into a chair, placing my candle beside me on a rickety old table. With the orange glow flickering brightly and shadows dancing around the dusty library, I absorbed myself into the fragile pages.

Being a few chapters into the novel, I heard footsteps approaching. Looking up, I saw Galahad moving casually towards me. As his dark eyes met mine, he smiled and said,

“Mind if I join you?”

I shook my head and he settled into a chair beside me, the candle throwing shadows on his angelically masculine face.

“Where’s Keenar?” I asked him.

“Gone hunting for a bit. She’ll come back soon and we’ll all go out?”

I nodded, slipping a bookmark into the book and placing it on the table next to the candle. All else was darkness. I had not bothered switching on the lights. I preferred it like this with my solitary flame casting warm flickers of light onto the walls. It had been a week since Galahad first arrived and we were gradually getting to know each other. He was friendly and ready to smile, but I knew that there was a lot to himself that he hid away; something of his past that shadowed his eyes, pulled some of the joy out of his smile and maintained a faint crease on his brow.

“So,” I said conversationally. “Keenar told me how you met…”

I realised right after the words came out of my mouth that I’d said something wrong. His eyes darkened and I remembered Keenar telling me that he’d been enslaved by an evil sorcerer. I silently cursed myself for my lack of sensitivity.

“Yes,” he said quietly. As if reading my mind he said, “I was a young man of twenty at the time. They’d put me in an arena and throw all manner of beasts in my path for me to try and evade, all for the entertainment of one man and his guests.

I sat in awkward silence. Why did I just have to blurt things out?

“You might as well know,” he whispered, but not unkindly. “Everyone else in this place somehow does…besides, when you truly befriend a person it is best to wholly know them…”

I looked into his eyes and relaxed as they bore no sign of insult or malice. It prompted me to ask the next question that formed in my head.

“Were your parents werewolves too or were you turned?”

“No I was born a natural. Both my parents were wolves but...they were murdered. Hunted down by the village people and killed before I was fourteen years old.”

“Oh,” I mumbled, embarrassed and looking down at the floor. “I’m so sorry.” I was silent for a while, it seemed a respectable thing to do, but curiosity got the better of me.

“So what happened after that? Did you already know how to turn into a wolf?”

Galahad looked at me long and hard.

“Give me your hand,” he said finally.

Confused, I tentatively held my hand out to him. He took it in both of his, gently pressing his fingers against my palm. Then the most miraculous thing happened. It was like he was sending pictures into my head where I saw everything he saw, felt his emotions and heard everything that touched his ears. It was like he was playing me a recording of his memory. Startled, I pulled my hand back.

“I’m sorry,” I uttered. “I was just surprised...”

“It’s alright,” he whispered, gently taking my hand again. “I will not harm you. Close your eyes.”

I did as he said and once more I saw through his eyes, a little boy of eight years old being held by a young woman. Young? No, she looked young but her eyes were the colour of amethyst, glittering radiantly down at her son.

The house was a little cottage in the countryside – well built and cosy. In the next room, his father was carving something out of wood using ordinary tools – an indicator that he was not strongly Gifted. He too had black hair and Galahad’s dark eyes.

The sweet voice of his mother filled my ears as she told him all about vampires and werewolves, the young boy listening intently to every word.

“But Mummy, when can I turn into a wolf?” he asked, tugging at her dress.

“Not until you’re grown up, my little angel. The ability comes with the turning of manhood, as does the craving for human blood, so you have some years to wait. In most ways we are luckier than Vampires…we are able to walk in daylight, taste common foods and not have to learn to kill before we are adult. A vampire child needs to learn very young. They will feed off their parents until they are about five years of age, and then have to obtain their own prey. But don’t be such an eager little cub. The first changes are painful to endure as the body must get used to the switch between human and wolf. They will be uncontrolled as well. You must learn to bind your will to the change until you have complete control of it.”

Fear began to surface as the young Galahad realised what he inevitably had to go through. Now he was feeling not so excited and he shrank into his mother’s embrace.

“But do not worry, my son. Soon you will find it easy and painless and we will be here to help you.” She gave her boy a squeeze and set him on his feet.

“What if a Vampire bites a Werewolf, Mama?” Galahad asked.

“Nothing happens, my dear. You are forgetting what I told you already. We are immune to each other’s poisons. And you know that mixed couples can have both races of children. A Werewolf mother can easily raise a Vampire child. Now go and help your father with the new chair for your room. Enough questions for tonight.”

Pictures then flitted past my eyes, too fast for me to see, and then settled again at a different point in time. A violent scene raged before my eyes: fire burned the beautiful cottage to ash and men ran around shouting, brandishing pitchforks, scythes and blades, long arghanium daggers hanging from their belts.

Galahad was hiding behind a pile of logs, his small limbs shaking with fear, tears pouring down his cheeks. The hands that gripped the wood pile before him were growing white at the knuckles as he clenched his fists. A high wall of fire surrounded the clearing they were in, the woods beyond stretching out into the heat of day lush and green compared to the roaring flames and stifling smoke. There was no way out.

Galahad watched as the mob of farmers and village people surrounded his parents, a black wolf and a grey wolf. Suddenly the two wolves lunged, fighting out of desperation for their lives. But there were too many against them. Too many. And some of them were much stronger in The Gift than the small boy’s parents.

Galahad saw his father struck down by a pitchfork then stabbed repeatedly, over and over again with those cold blue daggers until he was nothing but a bloody mass of black fur and shattered bone. Galahad’s scream of horror was drowned out by the roar of the flames and the cheer of the village people as his father’s body crumbled away into dust and blew away with the wind.

His mother, human once more, stood facing the mob, a sword in each hand. The slaughter was terrible as she cut down all that dared approach her. But she was losing. For every man brought down, two would take his place. It was only a matter of time. At last someone impaled her with a steel spear and she fell, screaming as they twisted the blade inside her. Galahad clamped his mouth over a clenched fist to keep from screaming again and bit down hard until he tasted blood. He watched helplessly as one of the men fell upon her and began to tear the garments off her body. She screamed and struggled but they gave another twist at the spear in her side.

Galahad closed his eyes and clamped his hands over his ears, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not block the sounds of her screams as they forced themselves inside her again and again. It seemed to go on forever as Galahad kneeled there, hands still tight over his ears, whimpering prayers escaping his trembling lips. Then, all of a sudden, silence. Slowly he brought his hands away from his head and peered around the side of the wood pile, just in time to see the last traces of his mother crumbling to dust.

The farmers did not look for him. Perhaps they did not know of his existence. The man with the steel spear extinguished the fire with a sweep of his hand and a mutter of incanted words, and the village people left as quickly as they arrived, disappearing amongst the trees carrying their dead or injured members, smiling wickedly despite the carnage.

Galahad did not move from his hiding place. His body trembled so much that he could not stand and he just lay curled upon the hard ground, sorrow and anger flooding his mind and coursing through his veins. Hours passed and eventually he stumbled to his feet. The aftermath of chaos lay all around him, the fire in the cottage burned out and extinguished from the rain that had started to fall.

With legs as heavy as lead, he walked towards the place his parents had just been moments before. Inside he felt hollow, so empty and cold, the pain too deep to describe. Kneeling before the ashy ground, he picked up their charred remains, feeling the dust slip through his fingers. The rain began to pour harder then, drenching him to the bone and washing away what was left of the ashes. He seemed to kneel there for hours weeping fresh tears onto the grass. He wanted to say a prayer, some words of comfort or farewell. But the words would not form on his tongue. He tried again but, for all his efforts, he could not speak.

He felt lost. Alone. Angry and scared. But he knew he couldn’t stay here. The grief seemed to make him feel physically weak but he climbed to his feet. Taking his mother’s swords, the symbols of Dantalion glowing a sorrowful red, he wrapped them up in a length of dirty cloth. With the weapons strapped to his back, he walked away from that ruined hilltop, a boy not yet fourteen whose soul had already been shattered.

The images before my eyes then flashed like a kaleidoscope. Galahad managed to fend for himself, using the skills his parents taught him to fashion a bow and arrows to hunt deer and rabbits to cook. Neither of his parents were very Gifted and neither was he, but his father taught him well in the means of survival - he knew which berries were safe to eat and his strong senses helped him to avoid meeting anyone. At the age of fifteen he stopped on his travels at a village and settled there a while, working with a blacksmith. He needed the money to buy clothes and other things he could not make himself, and found a new belt to hold his mother’s swords.

It was in this village that he met another boy, much the same age as Galahad, whose name was Lanec. He too had recently lost his parents and the two bonded quickly, coming to love each other as brothers.

But there came a time to leave the village and for Galahad to carry on his travels. He needed to find others like himself. But Lanec would not part from him. He wanted stay with him and travel as his companion. And though Galahad refused, he persisted.

“I have things that I rather you not find out or get involved in,” Galahad said to him upon the night before his departure.

“But my brother!” protested Lanec, feeling stung at these words. “You know you can trust me with anything. Anything! Please don’t leave me here! Friends must stick together. I can help you.”

“No,” Galahad whispered softly. “You cannot help me. Not with this.”

Lanec looked deep into his friend’s eyes. He felt hurt that he did not trust him, and was concerned for his wellbeing. When Galahad first came to the village, he looked haggard, the pain on his face unmistakable through his guarded expression. In those early days he did not speak. He had forgotten how. People shunned him for his solemn, quiet ways and feared the look in his haunting eyes, full of hate and anger. But Lanec seemed to see through the dark appearance and, with a little patience, Galahad became friendly towards him. The two boys communicated well despite one being mute and gradually Galahad found his voice again, Lanec teaching him to speak once more.

But now, after all they hade been through together, Galahad was leaving him. He could not let that happen.

“Please,” said Lanec quietly. “Tell me what is going on? What have you been so afraid of all these years?”

Galahad looked at him then, his gaze hardening as he made his decision. Reaching out a hand, he touched Lanec’s forehead and sent out a series of images, showing him everything he knew about the races of werewolves and vampires, how his parents were really killed and what was in store for him later. It took all of a split second and Lanec fell back as if he was pushed. Lying on his back in the dirt, he looked up at Galahad with wide eyes and breathing hard with fear and shock.

“Now do you see?” whispered Galahad. The fear in his friend’s face was more than he could bear and he turned away, a familiar look of pain in his eyes.

“Wait!”

He felt a hand grasp his arm and he turned to see Lanec beside him, determination in his eyes.

“You have never done anything to hurt me or anyone! You are my friend, Galahad,” he said. “And it shall always remain so. Nothing can change that. Nothing.”

Tears were rolling down Lanec’s cheeks and the hand gripping Galahad’s arm would not let go. Looking into those black eyes, he was surprised to see that Galahad too was weeping.

The following morning when the world was grey and misty, the sun not yet risen, Galahad set off upon his travels once more, a young man of seventeen riding astride a black horse, two swords glinting in the half-light. And with him, riding by his side, went his faithful brother and companion.

They decided to go to Trelise – a dangerous risk but a better chance to find more people like himself. It was the closest big city and Galahad had always wanted to see it. Once more the images flitted quickly past my eyes, skimming over the days of travel, their arrival in the beautiful Trelise, and the time spent searching for kin, Galahad becoming more and more urgent as he felt his time was drawing near. But things did not go as planned.

Galahad and Lanec were sword training together in a hidden back street when they were stumbled upon by a slave trader. Marking them as good potential workers, he gathered his team and paid them to capture the two men.

“Wait...” said Galahad, suddenly still and listening hard.

“What is it?” whispered Lanec, who had stopped in mid-strike at his command. “What can you hear?”

But before Galahad could reply, an arrow whistled through the air heading straight for Lanec’s arm that held the sword poised above his head. As quick as lightning, Galahad reached out a hand and snatched the arrow from the sky before it could pierce his friend’s wrist. Men were pouring into the street from both sides and soon they were surrounded, swords and spears levelled at their throats.

“Do not resist,” said the trader. “You will come with us or we will kill you.”

“Slave traders,” whispered Galahad through tight lips. They had been warned about this band of scum. They captured people young, often small children, whether they were homeless or not, and sold them for high prices to rich and powerful lords where they were made to work. It was criminal of course but they always evaded arrest.

Galahad had a sinking feeling that they were all powerfully gifted. Silently he cursed his inability to wield magic.

“No!” cried Lanec beside him. “We are free men! We shall not be taken!”

And with that he lashed out at the man closest to him with a spectacular fork of lightning that exhausted most of his ability. Galahad cursed him for his rashness and drew his swords, protecting his friend’s back. But he knew it was a fight they could not win. Someone was paralysing their release of enchantments with a potent blocking hex and a screaming was filling his head, shattering his concentration. Lanec took a blow to the head and dropped his sword, falling unconscious. Galahad caught him before he hit the floor, suffering a slice in the ribs as he lowered his own weapon.

“Stop this!” he cried, afraid for his friend’s life. “We surrender! We will go with you.”

He saw a slave trader give the signal to halt and the screaming abruptly stopped as the curse was lifted, although Galahad’s head now felt as if it was splitting. They pushed his face roughly into the dirt and out of the corner of his eyes he saw the glint of metal chains. For a heart stopping moment he saw a bluish glow and thought they were made of arghanium but realised, as they were clamped tight around his wrists, that they were only enchanted. As the metal touched his skin, he felt his mind go numb and his eyes begin to close.

No! Fight it! Don’t let it put you to sleep…

But resistance was futile. The world was swimming now and Lanec seemed to be fading from his sight.

Akroma
January 18th, 2007, 04:30 PM
Here we go here we go here we go... This will take quite a few posts to get chapter 9 all down...it's 16,353 words all by itself!! I'll try and find some suitable breaks so it flows properly between posts...hmmm...darn this 20,000 character limmit! I'm 585 characters too long of my first part!

Akroma
January 18th, 2007, 04:34 PM
Chapter 9


I walked far among the dusty book shelves, the flame of my single candle flickering as I raised it to read crumbling spines. Finding a book that alerted my interest, I carefully pulled the volume from the slot and settled down into a chair, placing my candle beside me on a rickety old table. With the orange glow flickering brightly and shadows dancing around the dusty library, I absorbed myself into the fragile pages.

Being a few chapters into the novel, I heard footsteps approaching. Looking up, I saw Galahad moving casually towards me. As his dark eyes met mine, he smiled and said,

“Mind if I join you?”

I shook my head and he settled into a chair beside me, the candle throwing shadows on his angelically masculine face.

“Where’s Keenar?” I asked him.

“Gone hunting for a bit. She’ll come back soon and we’ll all go out?”

I nodded, slipping a bookmark into the book and placing it on the table next to the candle. All else was darkness. I had not bothered switching on the lights. I preferred it like this with my solitary flame casting warm flickers of light onto the walls. It had been a week since Galahad first arrived and we were gradually getting to know each other. He was friendly and ready to smile, but I knew that there was a lot to himself that he hid away; something of his past that shadowed his eyes, pulled some of the joy out of his smile and maintained a faint crease on his brow.

“So,” I said conversationally. “Keenar told me how you met…”

I realised right after the words came out of my mouth that I’d said something wrong. His eyes darkened and I remembered Keenar telling me that he’d been enslaved by an evil sorcerer. I silently cursed myself for my lack of sensitivity.

“Yes,” he said quietly. As if reading my mind he said, “I was a young man of twenty at the time. They’d put me in an arena and throw all manner of beasts in my path for me to try and evade, all for the entertainment of one man and his guests.

I sat in awkward silence. Why did I just have to blurt things out?

“You might as well know,” he whispered, but not unkindly. “Everyone else in this place somehow does…besides, when you truly befriend a person it is best to wholly know them…”

I looked into his eyes and relaxed as they bore no sign of insult or malice. It prompted me to ask the next question that formed in my head.

“Were your parents werewolves too or were you turned?”

“No I was born a natural. Both my parents were wolves but...they were murdered. Hunted down by the village people and killed before I was fourteen years old.”

“Oh,” I mumbled, embarrassed and looking down at the floor. “I’m so sorry.” I was silent for a while, it seemed a respectable thing to do, but curiosity got the better of me.

“So what happened after that? Did you already know how to turn into a wolf?”

Galahad looked at me long and hard.

“Give me your hand,” he said finally.

Confused, I tentatively held my hand out to him. He took it in both of his, gently pressing his fingers against my palm. Then the most miraculous thing happened. It was like he was sending pictures into my head where I saw everything he saw, felt his emotions and heard everything that touched his ears. It was like he was playing me a recording of his memory. Startled, I pulled my hand back.

“I’m sorry,” I uttered. “I was just surprised...”

“It’s alright,” he whispered, gently taking my hand again. “I will not harm you. Close your eyes.”

I did as he said and once more I saw through his eyes, a little boy of eight years old being held by a young woman. Young? No, she looked young but her eyes were the colour of amethyst, glittering radiantly down at her son.

The house was a little cottage in the countryside – well built and cosy. In the next room, his father was carving something out of wood using ordinary tools – an indicator that he was not strongly Gifted. He too had black hair and Galahad’s dark eyes.

The sweet voice of his mother filled my ears as she told him all about vampires and werewolves, the young boy listening intently to every word.

“But Mummy, when can I turn into a wolf?” he asked, tugging at her dress.

“Not until you’re grown up, my little angel. The ability comes with the turning of manhood, as does the craving for human blood, so you have some years to wait. In most ways we are luckier than Vampires…we are able to walk in daylight, taste common foods and not have to learn to kill before we are adult. A vampire child needs to learn very young. They will feed off their parents until they are about five years of age, and then have to obtain their own prey. But don’t be such an eager little cub. The first changes are painful to endure as the body must get used to the switch between human and wolf. They will be uncontrolled as well. You must learn to bind your will to the change until you have complete control of it.”

Fear began to surface as the young Galahad realised what he inevitably had to go through. Now he was feeling not so excited and he shrank into his mother’s embrace.

“But do not worry, my son. Soon you will find it easy and painless and we will be here to help you.” She gave her boy a squeeze and set him on his feet.

“What if a Vampire bites a Werewolf, Mama?” Galahad asked.

“Nothing happens, my dear. You are forgetting what I told you already. We are immune to each other’s poisons. And you know that mixed couples can have both races of children. A Werewolf mother can easily raise a Vampire child. Now go and help your father with the new chair for your room. Enough questions for tonight.”

Pictures then flitted past my eyes, too fast for me to see, and then settled again at a different point in time. A violent scene raged before my eyes: fire burned the beautiful cottage to ash and men ran around shouting, brandishing pitchforks, scythes and blades, long arghanium daggers hanging from their belts.

Galahad was hiding behind a pile of logs, his small limbs shaking with fear, tears pouring down his cheeks. The hands that gripped the wood pile before him were growing white at the knuckles as he clenched his fists. A high wall of fire surrounded the clearing they were in, the woods beyond stretching out into the heat of day lush and green compared to the roaring flames and stifling smoke. There was no way out.

Galahad watched as the mob of farmers and village people surrounded his parents, a black wolf and a grey wolf. Suddenly the two wolves lunged, fighting out of desperation for their lives. But there were too many against them. Too many. And some of them were much stronger in The Gift than the small boy’s parents.

Galahad saw his father struck down by a pitchfork then stabbed repeatedly, over and over again with those cold blue daggers until he was nothing but a bloody mass of black fur and shattered bone. Galahad’s scream of horror was drowned out by the roar of the flames and the cheer of the village people as his father’s body crumbled away into dust and blew away with the wind.

His mother, human once more, stood facing the mob, a sword in each hand. The slaughter was terrible as she cut down all that dared approach her. But she was losing. For every man brought down, two would take his place. It was only a matter of time. At last someone impaled her with a steel spear and she fell, screaming as they twisted the blade inside her. Galahad clamped his mouth over a clenched fist to keep from screaming again and bit down hard until he tasted blood. He watched helplessly as one of the men fell upon her and began to tear the garments off her body. She screamed and struggled but they gave another twist at the spear in her side.

Galahad closed his eyes and clamped his hands over his ears, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not block the sounds of her screams as they forced themselves inside her again and again. It seemed to go on forever as Galahad kneeled there, hands still tight over his ears, whimpering prayers escaping his trembling lips. Then, all of a sudden, silence. Slowly he brought his hands away from his head and peered around the side of the wood pile, just in time to see the last traces of his mother crumbling to dust.

The farmers did not look for him. Perhaps they did not know of his existence. The man with the steel spear extinguished the fire with a sweep of his hand and a mutter of incanted words, and the village people left as quickly as they arrived, disappearing amongst the trees carrying their dead or injured members, smiling wickedly despite the carnage.

Galahad did not move from his hiding place. His body trembled so much that he could not stand and he just lay curled upon the hard ground, sorrow and anger flooding his mind and coursing through his veins. Hours passed and eventually he stumbled to his feet. The aftermath of chaos lay all around him, the fire in the cottage burned out and extinguished from the rain that had started to fall.

With legs as heavy as lead, he walked towards the place his parents had just been moments before. Inside he felt hollow, so empty and cold, the pain too deep to describe. Kneeling before the ashy ground, he picked up their charred remains, feeling the dust slip through his fingers. The rain began to pour harder then, drenching him to the bone and washing away what was left of the ashes. He seemed to kneel there for hours weeping fresh tears onto the grass. He wanted to say a prayer, some words of comfort or farewell. But the words would not form on his tongue. He tried again but, for all his efforts, he could not speak.

He felt lost. Alone. Angry and scared. But he knew he couldn’t stay here. The grief seemed to make him feel physically weak but he climbed to his feet. Taking his mother’s swords, the symbols of Dantalion glowing a sorrowful red, he wrapped them up in a length of dirty cloth. With the weapons strapped to his back, he walked away from that ruined hilltop, a boy not yet fourteen whose soul had already been shattered.

The images before my eyes then flashed like a kaleidoscope. Galahad managed to fend for himself, using the skills his parents taught him to fashion a bow and arrows to hunt deer and rabbits to cook. Neither of his parents were very Gifted and neither was he, but his father taught him well in the means of survival - he knew which berries were safe to eat and his strong senses helped him to avoid meeting anyone. At the age of fifteen he stopped on his travels at a village and settled there a while, working with a blacksmith. He needed the money to buy clothes and other things he could not make himself, and found a new belt to hold his mother’s swords.

It was in this village that he met another boy, much the same age as Galahad, whose name was Lanec. He too had recently lost his parents and the two bonded quickly, coming to love each other as brothers.

But there came a time to leave the village and for Galahad to carry on his travels. He needed to find others like himself. But Lanec would not part from him. He wanted stay with him and travel as his companion. And though Galahad refused, he persisted.

“I have things that I rather you not find out or get involved in,” Galahad said to him upon the night before his departure.

“But my brother!” protested Lanec, feeling stung at these words. “You know you can trust me with anything. Anything! Please don’t leave me here! Friends must stick together. I can help you.”

“No,” Galahad whispered softly. “You cannot help me. Not with this.”

Lanec looked deep into his friend’s eyes. He felt hurt that he did not trust him, and was concerned for his wellbeing. When Galahad first came to the village, he looked haggard, the pain on his face unmistakable through his guarded expression. In those early days he did not speak. He had forgotten how. People shunned him for his solemn, quiet ways and feared the look in his haunting eyes, full of hate and anger. But Lanec seemed to see through the dark appearance and, with a little patience, Galahad became friendly towards him. The two boys communicated well despite one being mute and gradually Galahad found his voice again, Lanec teaching him to speak once more.

But now, after all they hade been through together, Galahad was leaving him. He could not let that happen.

“Please,” said Lanec quietly. “Tell me what is going on? What have you been so afraid of all these years?”

Galahad looked at him then, his gaze hardening as he made his decision. Reaching out a hand, he touched Lanec’s forehead and sent out a series of images, showing him everything he knew about the races of werewolves and vampires, how his parents were really killed and what was in store for him later. It took all of a split second and Lanec fell back as if he was pushed. Lying on his back in the dirt, he looked up at Galahad with wide eyes and breathing hard with fear and shock.

“Now do you see?” whispered Galahad. The fear in his friend’s face was more than he could bear and he turned away, a familiar look of pain in his eyes.

“Wait!”

He felt a hand grasp his arm and he turned to see Lanec beside him, determination in his eyes.

“You have never done anything to hurt me or anyone! You are my friend, Galahad,” he said. “And it shall always remain so. Nothing can change that. Nothing.”

Tears were rolling down Lanec’s cheeks and the hand gripping Galahad’s arm would not let go. Looking into those black eyes, he was surprised to see that Galahad too was weeping.

Akroma
January 18th, 2007, 04:37 PM
Chapter 9 Pt. 1 continued...



The following morning when the world was grey and misty, the sun not yet risen, Galahad set off upon his travels once more, a young man of seventeen riding astride a black horse, two swords glinting in the half light. And with him, riding by his side, went his faithful brother and companion.

They decided to go to Trelise – a dangerous risk but a better chance to find more people like himself. It was the closest big city and Galahad had always wanted to see it. Once more the images flitted quickly past my eyes, skimming over the days of travel, their arrival in the beautiful Trelise, and the time spent searching for kin, Galahad becoming more and more urgent as he felt his time was drawing near. But things did not go as planned.

Galahad and Lanec were sword training together in a hidden back street when they were stumbled upon by a slave trader. Marking them as good potential workers, he gathered his team and paid them to capture the two men.

“Wait...” said Galahad, suddenly still and listening hard.

“What is it?” whispered Lanec, who had stopped in mid-strike at his command. “What can you hear?”

But before Galahad could reply, an arrow whistled through the air heading straight for Lanec’s arm that held the sword poised above his head. As quick as lightning, Galahad reached out a hand and snatched the arrow from the sky before it could pierce his friend’s wrist. Men were pouring into the street from both sides and soon they were surrounded, swords and spears levelled at their throats.

“Do not resist,” said the trader. “You will come with us or we will kill you.”

“Slave traders,” whispered Galahad through tight lips. They had been warned about this band of scum. They captured people young, often small children, whether they were homeless or not, and sold them for high prices to rich and powerful lords where they were made to work. It was criminal of course but they always evaded arrest.

Galahad had a sinking feeling that they were all powerfully gifted. Silently he cursed his inability to wield magic.

“No!” cried Lanec beside him. “We are free men! We shall not be taken!”

And with that he lashed out at the man closest to him with a spectacular fork of lightning that exhausted most of his ability. Galahad cursed him for his rashness and drew his swords, protecting his friend’s back. But he knew it was a fight they could not win. Someone was paralysing their release of enchantments with a potent blocking hex and a screaming was filling his head, shattering his concentration. Lanec took a blow to the head and dropped his sword, falling unconscious. Galahad caught him before he hit the floor, suffering a slice in the ribs as he lowered his own weapon.

“Stop this!” he cried, afraid for his friend’s life. “We surrender! We will go with you.”

He saw a slave trader give the signal to halt and the screaming abruptly stopped as the curse was lifted, although Galahad’s head now felt as if it was splitting. They pushed his face roughly into the dirt and out of the corner of his eyes he saw the glint of metal chains. For a heart stopping moment he saw a bluish glow and thought they were made of arghanium but realised, as they were clamped tight around his wrists, that they were only enchanted. As the metal touched his skin, he felt his mind go numb and his eyes begin to close.

No! Fight it! Don’t let it put you to sleep…

But resistance was futile. The world was swimming now and Lanec seemed to be fading from his sight.

Akroma
January 18th, 2007, 04:42 PM
Sorry, I didn't want to leave it there in the middle and I only had a little bit more of the first part to post. I have NO idea what I'm going to do when I have to post parts that are like...3,766 words long! I'll think 'o' somethin...leave you hanging in the middle of some action scene more likely lol. ;-) It's funny 'cause Chapter 9 is like a short story within a story. It's Galahad's story within Raven's if you haven't figured lol. And some of Keenar's back story I guess...

riversource
January 18th, 2007, 08:39 PM
If the folk that killed Galahad's parents could weild magic does that mean that they're vampires/werewolves too? Or the enemy? Or am i being dim?
Poor young Galahad seeing his parents die! :(
It's a stupid word limit :???: post more chapters now now now!!!!

PAGEMASTER
January 18th, 2007, 10:58 PM
Supurb chapter Akroma, shame about Galahad's parents, really depressing but we have to have moments in our stories that toy with the readers emotions, and you do it so well, its amazing how much your story brings the characters to life, so much it gives us readers mixed emotions. Your a great writer, and this story is so much fun to read.

I'm worried for Lanec's safety though, since theres been no mention of him up to date I'm sure you gave him a send off or perhaps thats just what you want me to think ;) Ever way he seems like such a loyal friend (brother) to Galahad.

mashowasho
January 19th, 2007, 04:59 PM
Wow, character backstory! whoop!
Yeah, i think it's really great that other characters have their own stories to tell. It really gives the story more depth, you know?

And such a sad story too! Seeing your parents get killed... 'tis an awful tale indeed!


Galahad seems like such a nice guy.

Rynash
January 19th, 2007, 05:01 PM
hey njust lyk to say wat a brilliant story it has gripped me lyk a book hasnt before if ya want to publish ull have no problem:P

Rynash
January 20th, 2007, 12:40 AM
More more more plz post next bit it is driving me insane.

Akroma
January 21st, 2007, 12:10 PM
Wow! People are liking it then lol!

In the past (during Keenar and Galahad's time) everyone was born with some sort of magical ability. Most people's gifts were basic and weak but some were strong in the gift and few became powerful sorcerers. And as everyone knows "with great power comes great responsibility" so some people abuse their gifts, and others put them to good use. Power is not dangerous. It's whoever wields the power that is dangerous.

Throughout time, magic has been failing and falling apart, and machines have begun to take over. So in Raven's time, hardly anyone now is born with the gift and, even if they are, they don't know how to access it or use it because this must be taught...unless you get so stressed and have a mental breakdown and it kind of takes over and kills everything around you...

PAGEMASTER
January 21st, 2007, 01:05 PM
Nicely said Akroma, now onto the next chapter ;)

Rynash
January 21st, 2007, 09:39 PM
I'm extremely impatient so please hurry with the next bit lol

mashowasho
January 22nd, 2007, 01:03 AM
yup, the old "technology is the new magic" issue.

Man, it's so tragic.





Wait a minute. I forgot! Magic doesn't exsist. There goes my crazy mind for ya. :-D

I suppose it's like... movies are the new books. Don't let books die!
I'll shut up now.

PAGEMASTER
January 22nd, 2007, 01:05 PM
You heard her Akroma, dont let the movie industry take over, write god damn it write! Write until your ink turns bloody lol

The more of this I read the more my mind tries to contemplate on what could happen. The first mention of Lorcan was gonna be the easily irritate one without any patience for Raven, but as well as Lexan they're both warm and welcoming. During the chapter between Galahad and Raven, when you mentioned she stared into his dark eyes, I thought something else was going to happen between them two.

Thats what I love about this story you've given it so many angles and can take it to a variety of places that no matter what happens you still keep me hooked, entertained and surprised :thumbr:

Akroma
January 22nd, 2007, 05:21 PM
OK OK!!! Lol. The next bit then, and since this is quite a short bit of chapter 9, I'll post again very soon...depends howlong it takes for people to read and stuff...



Chapter 9 continued...
The first thing Galahad felt when he came to his senses was a cold stone floor beneath him. The air smelled damp and he guessed they were underground. Somewhere close to him someone was breathing slow and deep. Opening his eyes, he saw that he was in a cell and, to his relief, Lanec was with him still asleep.

Galahad went to where they’d thrown him on the floor and kneeled beside him, picking him up off the cold hard ground. He noticed that a bracelet had been fixed onto each of their wrists. He thought this odd, but when he tried to remove it, it would not break. Instead it lit up a bright blue and he realised that their Gifts were enchanted; they could not be used. The bracelet was imprisoning them mentally just as much as these cell walls were physically. He gritted his teeth in frustration and brought his attention back to his friend.

The gash in Lanec’s head was not too deep but was badly swollen. Tearing off a strip of his own shirt, he wet it in a jug of water in the corner of the chamber and bathed the wound. His friend’s eyes fluttered open at the touch of cold water and he tried to sit up.

“Sssh,” whispered Galahad. “Just relax. You were knocked out pretty hard.”

“Where are we?” said Lanec in a hoarse voice.

“I do not know.”

There was a pause and Galahad continued to dress his friend’s injury.

“You could have escaped...” said Lanec after a while. “You could have left me and made a run for it. Why did you not? Why did you stay with me?”

“Because you are my brother, Lanec! I could never leave you to die. Someone has got to watch your back.” Galahad’s lips curled into a wry smile that quickly disappeared again. “But when the time comes…when the wolf inside me breaks free, I do not know what will happen.”

Lanec sat up and looked at his friend.

“But I will be here to help you.”

Galahad nodded and put a hand on his shoulder. “You must be careful.” Suddenly Lanec noticed the wound in Galahad’s side.

“You were hit?”

“It has closed up already,” he said softly.

“Ah...of course...sorry...” Lanec put a hand to his own injury and rubbed it in annoyance. Galahad laughed and patted him on the back.

Suddenly Galahad felt a presence behind him and turned around. There, behind the bars and holding a tray of food, was a young girl much the same age as he. She had an Elven appearance and startlingly silver eyes in contrast with her long dark hair. She was the most beautiful creature Galahad had ever seen.

Only in dreams do you see women like this.

“I…I brought you something to eat…” she stammered and pushed the tray through a hatch in the door. Her clothing was ragged, barely covering her skin, and she too wore the restrictive bracelet.

“Thank you,” he said softly, finding his tongue after an awkward silence. He waited for her to meet his eyes. “Who are you?”

She blushed under his intense gaze and he felt a swooping sensation in the pit of his stomach. “I am Keenar. And…what is your name?”

“Galahad.”

“Galahad?” The sound of his name was sweet on her tongue.

“Can you tell us where we are?” he asked her. The light in her eyes dimmed and the corners of her mouth drooped slightly.

“My master, Lord Rakos, has bought you. This is his manor house.” Her voice dropped to a soft whisper. “You must be careful, Galahad. Both of you,” her eyes flickered to Lanec. “Rakos is a powerful sorcerer. But…he does things in this house that are…terrible. Terrible and evil…and his riches and influences let him get away with it!” Galahad noticed she was trembling. “He…he summons things he should not, and makes his slaves fight them just for entertainment.” A feeling of dread had appeared in Galahad’s stomach. “You…you were bought solely for this purpose.” She looked at Galahad with an unwavering stare. “I feel that you are good men; caught in the wrong place at the wrong time…not the everyday homeless criminals the slave traders sometimes bring in. I…I do not want to see anything bad happen to you. Be careful.”

Keenar’s eyes were shining with tears now. She turned to leave but Galahad reached through the bars and grasped her wrist. “Will I see you again?” It sounded foolish even to his ears, but he needed to know. He needed to understand that she was not some dear figment of his imagination.

“I don’t know,” she whispered, shaking her head. “They all die…they always die…” And she tore her hand from his grasp and ran up the stairs and out of sight.

Galahad sank back onto the floor, more troubled that ever.

“He summons things?” said Lanec, a note of panic in his voice. “What kind of things?”

Galahad shook his head. “I wager we will find out soon enough.”

Rynash
January 22nd, 2007, 05:38 PM
grr i h8 it when things are to short but that was amazing love it need more soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PAGEMASTER
January 22nd, 2007, 06:03 PM
First mention of the young girl I assumed it was Keenar, I have a strong feeling Lanec will fight to his death and Keenar and Galahad escape together. I love chapter endings like these, making you want more, to see what happens next, to wait impatiently for the next sentence of words. Chapter Ten! Chapter Ten! Chapter Ten! ;)

Akroma
January 22nd, 2007, 08:10 PM
Woah woah woah! Hold your horses mate! Chapter nine is Loooooonnnggg! We haven't got half way through it yet! lol. Ok ok I'll see if I can post the next bit tomorrow.

Rynash
January 22nd, 2007, 10:10 PM
thx I LOVE UR WORK!!!!KEEP IT COMING

riversource
January 23rd, 2007, 01:12 AM
Woop! More more more!! =D>

Poor young Keenar, Galahad gonna be all chivalrous and rescue her? Eh? :-D

Yay! Keep it up Akroma, getting better and better!!

mashowasho
January 23rd, 2007, 01:30 AM
OMGz :shock:

Yay Keenar and Galahad meet! It's all starting to come together! I'm getting really excited now, it's like I know what's coming but yet have no idea what's going to happen... keep it up! =D>

Akroma
January 23rd, 2007, 02:41 PM
Might have to post this bit in two parts...I don't want to have to separate it but it's far too long for just one post...Sorry if you get tired of reading all this at once on screen...





Chapter 9 continued...
The next day their fears were realised. A guard came and lead them up the stairs into the most lavishly decorated house they had ever seen. The ceilings were high and the rooms broad, fountains bubbling in the centres and all was spotlessly clean. Gazing in wonder, the two men were pushed into the great hall where a torrent of noise met their ears.

The room was colossal in size and was built like some sort of arena. Rich men and women sat on tiered steps that surrounded a large pool of water, and all began talking loudly as Lanec and Galahad stepped into the room.

“At last! The slaves have arrived!”

The deep commanding voice belonged to a man dressed in lavish dark robes and was sitting comfortably in a balcony seat overlooking the pool. Galahad realised that this must be Rakos. He had a snake-like appearance about him and long sharp nails on his bony hands.

His spirit gave a leap as he saw Keenar standing beside her master holding a silver platter of fruit. Her almond eyes locked with Galahad’s and the sorrow he saw in them made his heart ache.

“Prepare the prisoners,” ordered Rakos. Galahad felt a guard give him a shove and his eyes were torn away from Keenar’s. He and Lanec were taken to the edge of the pool and stood on opposite sides. The crowd had fallen silent and, looking down, he could see something on the floor of the pool. It looked like some sort of miniature maze. But before he could get a proper look, Rakos gave the command and Galahad felt himself being pushed forwards.

The water came rushing up at him but, instead of feeling the cold splash of liquid, he felt himself hit hard stone floor. Confused, he looked about him. Walls; nothing but hard grey walls on either side of him in the shadows. Fear began to grow in his chest. The maze…he and Lanec have been pushed into the maze…

Galahad looked up expecting to see the shimmering barrier of water above him and the leering faces of spectators, but there was only darkness. His heart was beating fast now and the silence pressed in on him. Taking a deep breath he took a step forward. He had no choice but to find a way out of this absurd game.

Wandering down the passageway, he came to his first junction. Which way should he turn? To the right there was a faint light; to the left, nothing but darkness. He immediately chose the right. The light began to grow stronger and seemed to flicker as if a fire was casting it. Increasing his stride, he rounded a corner and felt a blast of heat that threw him back. Shielding his face with his arms, he sought the source of the light. When he realised what it was he gasped.

A fire elemental was trampling towards him, a great fist already swinging down to crush Galahad’s bones. A cry of horror escaped Galahad’s lips as he rolled left and heard the stone floor cracking from the impact. With the agility of a cat he sprang to his feet and instinctively reached for the Gift within him, searching for words of water and quenching, but with a jolt of horror he realised that he could not reach the magic. The bracelet tight around his wrist glowed maliciously up at him.

Cursing, he threw himself forward to avoid another blow from the fire elemental and rolled into a dimly lit chamber. Frantically he looked around for some sort of weapon with which to defend himself and almost cried out with relief as he spied a sword clutched in the hand of a statue.

He ran to the stone figure and squeezed the hand holding the sword. It crumbled away easily to his werewolf strength and he grasped the weapon tightly. The elemental was now closing and Galahad raised the dusty sword, ready to fight. The fire beast was not daunted and swung another burning fist at his victim. Galahad fell to one knee, avoiding the flames, and swept his sword forwards. The blade came into contact with the back of the beast’s legs – it sank through the fire and hit the black rocky core with a crack. The impact jarred Galahad’s arms but he kept the momentum and sliced across the back of its knees with the deafening screech of metal upon molten stone.

The elemental roared with fury and slammed its fist forward at Galahad who barely managed to raise his sword to protect his face. The force threw him into the air and he landed on his feet, sweat pouring down his skin. Again and again he slashed at the creature but the sword did not seem to be having an effect. His muscles were beginning to ache and he could smell burned hair.

Glancing around the room desperately he noticed that there were several cracked and misused urns lying about. Hope flickered somewhere inside him and he made to run towards one when suddenly the elemental roared and a column of flames erupted from its gaping mouth. Galahad dived out of the way but not before his shirt caught fire. It burned right through the material to his skin and he cried out as he ripped it from him. Ignoring the pain he found himself next to one of the clay urns and smashed it frantically.

This time he did cry out with relief. There, amongst the broken shards, glowing a bright blue and white, was an ice arrow. He snatched it up feverishly and began breaking all the other vessels collecting as many arrows as he could while evading his pursuer. At last, as the elemental bore down on him, Galahad found the bow. But just as he fitted an arrow to the string, he felt flaming hands grasp his waist. The pain of his burning flesh seared through him and he felt himself being thrown through the air once more. Concentrating as hard as he could, he twisted and pointed the bow at the creature as he fell and released the arrow moments before he hit the ground.

Galahad rolled onto his feet and immediately began firing arrow after arrow in quick succession at the beast. It was roaring in pain now, doubled up in agony as the ice pierced its molten flesh. Galahad felt no mercy. His assault was relentless. As the sixth arrow sank into the fire elemental’s open mouth it gave an ear splitting cry and its fire immediately extinguished, the rocky core falling and shattering upon the ground as it died.

Galahad’s heart hammered inside his chest; never before had he faced anything like this. He sank to the floor and rested briefly, staring at the remnants of the elemental. He suddenly thought of Lanec and got to his feet again. Whatever else was in this maze Lanec was facing it alone. He did not even have Galahad’s strength or keen senses to help him.

But he is a good fighter and has a sharp mind. He will be alright.

Nonetheless, they’d be safer together so Galahad picked up the bow and sword, and collected all the remaining arrows he could find. Taking a deep breath and keeping his senses on alert, he pushed forward once more.

Every corner he turned was a frightening suspense, never knowing what beast or manner of sorcery he would meet. But the passages were deserted and the silence was starting to press in on him in the darkness. Panic was bubbling just beneath the surface and his breathing sounded fast and shallow to his ears.

Just when he thought he was about to go mad from every passage looking the same, like some never-ending nightmare, Galahad came to a door. Placing an ear to the wood, he listened hard. Nothing. Either the room beyond was empty, or something was lying in wait for him. Grasping the handle, he turned it as silently as possible and slowly pushed the door open.

The room was empty but for a lone figure lying on the floor. Galahad stopped dead and the sword nearly fell from his grasp.

“No...”

The figure was Lanec. His eyes were closed and he looked like he was sleeping but for the pool of blood spread about him. His chest was not moving.

Galahad stepped forward, a look of utter horror on his face.

“Lanec?”

He did not stir. Galahad reached his friend’s side and kneeled beside Lanec’s prone body.

He cannot be dead…he can’t be…

He reached out a hand to touch Lanec’s face, but the moment it came into contact with the cold skin, Galahad gave a gasp. Slowly he looked down and saw three blades sticking out of his chest. Blood…his blood, was running down the metal that seemed to have burst out of Lanec’s body. But it was not Lanec any more. The face had changed shape so that two bulging eyes were staring up at him and the mouth was stretched into a grotesque grin. Comprehension dawned in Galahad’s eyes but too late.

The shape-shifter retracted its blades and a spurt of Galahad’s blood came with them.

“Once again,” it said in a dry rasp as it watched Galahad double over in pain, gasping and groaning as precious blood flowed onto the floor, “an unsuspecting slave falls to the Morphling!” It gave a laugh that was distorted by its leering mouth.

Galahad tightened his grip on the sword and gritted his teeth against the pain and dizziness.

“I’ve not fallen yet.” And he brought the blade crashing down onto the Morphling’s deformed face. Its brown blood splashed over the floor to mix with Galahad’s and the laughter was abruptly silenced.

Akroma
January 23rd, 2007, 02:46 PM
Chapter 9 continued...


Galahad cursed as he crawled away from the mess. His wounds were not healing as fast as they were supposed to and he was losing a lot of blood. One of the blades had pierced his heart and the pain had been excruciating, but though it was already beating strong again he still feared he could die if the wounds did not close fast enough.

He came to another door and dragged himself onto his feet. Immediately the world spun about him and he fell against the wood, grasping the handle for support.

If there’s anything dangerous through here I’m dead.

But it was either go back the way he came or carry on through this lone door. He could be so close to escape! Gasping for air and losing his footing slightly, he pushed open the door. What he saw made him fall to his knees again in despair.

A water elemental regarded him interestedly. When she made no move to attack him he felt a shred of hope return.

“Do you know what it is I am guarding?” she said.

Galahad focused his eyes past the shimmering blue creature and saw a vial full of a sparkling liquid upon a pedestal. It shone with many colours and it seemed to give off its own white light. Galahad would have laughed if it would not have hurt. He felt a brief thanks to Rakos for giving the slaves some sort of chance in this absurd game, but it was gone the minute he thought it.

“It is a healing potion,” he said almost inaudibly. His head was pounding now and he could feel his senses slipping in and out of focus.

The water elemental smiled.

“And you may have it. All you have to do is answer a simple riddle. Get it right, and you live on. But get it wrong, and I shall kill you. Understand?”

Galahad nodded weakly. The elemental’s smile widened.



“What does man love more than life?

Fear more than death or mortal strife?
What do the poor have, the rich require,
And what contented men desire?
What does the miser spend, the spendthrift save,
And all men carry to their graves?”




Galahad’s mind was reeling but he focused on her words. The answer came to him so suddenly that he thought it surely must be wrong.

“Nothing,” he whispered. The elemental’s eyes flashed dangerously.

“What did you say?”

“The answer,” he said hoarsely “is Nothing.”

To his utter relief the water elemental bowed and disappeared with a shimmer of up-falling rain, revealing a clear path to the pedestal and the healing potion. With his limbs feeling as heavy as lead, and blood pumping from his wounds from the movement, Galahad crawled up the few steps to the pedestal. Coughing blood out of his lungs, his fingers closed around the crystal vial. His hands shook as he tried to remove the cork, accidentally cracking the neck of the bottle and cutting his lips as he tipped the liquid down his burning throat.

Falling back against the steps, he lay there as he felt a kind of euphoria sweep through his body and banish the pain. The flow of blood stopped, the wounds knitted together to form scabs and a little strength began to course through his veins once more.

Galahad got shakily to his feet and took up his sword and bow again. One more mouthful resided in the vial and he re-corked the broken bottle neck as best he could and slipped it into his pocket.

Keep going…it is all you can do. Just keep going…find Lanec and get out of here.

But Galahad could not help thinking, what if there was no way out? What if they were meant to stay here for as long as it took for them to die? The thought was not a comforting one.

He strode on and soon saw a flickering light ahead of him once more. Was it another fire elemental? Drawing the bow and nocking an arrow to the string, he crept forwards. Rounding the corner he found himself in a large chamber lit with numerous torches in brackets. In the midst of this chamber was a large dark pool, the water so still that it looked like a mirror.

Would this be the way out? If he jumped in, would he be transported to the surface? Or would he be eaten by some huge beast that dwelled in the black waters? Throwing caution to the winds, he drew the arrow back and fired it into the murky depths.

For a moment nothing happened. Then suddenly four long tentacles erupted out of the water and whipped towards him. Galahad did not pause to swear but turned on his heel and ran full force for the door. Something cold and wet wrapped around his leg and he fell, dropping the bow as he struck the floor. Drawing his sword, he hacked at the tentacle with all his might, but suddenly there were more of them wrapping themselves around his arms, around his other leg... With a mighty pull they lifted him struggling and slashing into the air, then plunged back into the pool taking Galahad with them.

The icy water hit him like a thousand needles all over his body and he was momentarily stunned. The tentacles were tightening their grip and he bit his lip to keep himself from crying out and losing precious air. Being what he was, he knew he could hold his breath for close to an hour, but he knew that whatever he was fighting down here was not intending to let him live that long.

Sure enough, out of the gloomy depths, a hideous mouth rose up to greet him. It was big enough to swallow him whole but Galahad, with a heart stopping wrench, could not help but notice the rows and rows of long sharp teeth. Panic started to surface and Galahad slashed at the tentacles binding him more and more frantically but they would not relinquish their hold on him.

At the last moment when the creature’s head was level with Galahad, the tentacles released him and the dagger-like teeth came slicing down to sever his flesh. In a burst of desperation, Galahad thrust his sword upwards and felt it sink into the soft roof of the monster’s mouth, some of the long teeth driving into his arms. The creature roared and tried to pull away but Galahad held on and thrust the sword in deeper, ignoring the pain as the movement caused the teeth to slide further into his arms. At last he wrenched it out and saw the beast sink back into the dark depths of the pool, the water turning red around him with his own blood.

Not waiting for it to return, he swam to the surface and hauled himself out of the icy water. His arms were in agony but the wounds had already stopped bleeding and he ignored them as he strode to the next passage, eager to be rid of this place of Hell.

He came to a corner of the maze and stopped. Something was just around the bend breathing hard. He felt chilled to the bone and was shaking violently, still dripping from the pool, but he gripped his sword as quietly as possible and took a deep breath. Drawing on his courage he swung round the corner and levelled his sword at the figure’s throat. Just at that same moment, the figure had chosen to do the same and Galahad found his own throat at blade tip.

It was Lanec. The two men stared at each other, one dripping wet and shaking with cold, and one pale and white, shaking with fear. Neither of them lowered their swords.

“Galahad? Is that you?” Lanec’s voice was trembling.

“It is,” he said, surprised to find his own voice unsteady. “But how can I be sure that you are Lanec?”

Lanec looked paler, even sick. His sword hand dropped a notch.

“I…I made you those boots when we went travelling…” Without warning his sword clattered to the floor and his legs crumpled. Galahad rushed forwards and caught his friend as he sank to the floor.

“What happened?” whispered Galahad, suddenly afraid.

“Giant spiders…” He felt Lanec’s body shudder. “Got bitten…there was an antidote… couldn’t answer the riddle. There are elementals in here… And goblins…bands of angry goblins…”

As Lanec murmured on, Galahad fumbled in his pockets for the last of the healing potion.

Please let it still be there…please…don’t let it have smashed…

His fingers closed around the cold smooth glass of the vial and he breathed again. It was not meant for poisons but at least Lanec, instead of dying, would only feel sick.

“Here, drink this,” he said as he drew out the cork with numb fingers and brought the vial to Lanec’s lips. Lanec drank it thankfully and his body stopped shaking. A little colour returned to his face and he was able to sit up without Galahad supporting him.

“Come on,” he said, struggling to his feet. “We need to find a way out of here.” Galahad nodded and followed his friend.

It was not long before they came to a door neither of them had been through. Clutching their scavenged weapons, they pushed it open together. The hall that was beyond the door was immense and, shimmering at the far end, was a portal. It was unmistakeable from its yellow bands of light that spiralled up from the floor and the two men were sure that this was the portal that brought them to the surface and out of this infernal dungeon. The only problem was the horde of animated corpses standing in their way.

“Zombies,” said Lanec fearfully. “We’ll have to fight through them.”

Galahad nodded but didn’t say a word.

“What happens if you get bitten by one?”

“You bleed.”

The corpses were standing still, their rotting flesh hanging off their bones as they watched the two men. Galahad raised his sword, narrowed his eyes, and walked purposefully towards the yellow light of the portal, Lanec by his side. The moment his feet entered the room, the corpses burst to life and rushed at the pair, jellied limbs squelching and bones rattling. Swinging their swords, Galahad and Lanec cut a path through the dead.

The stench made Galahad feel physically sick as he severed limb after limb. All around him was putrefying flesh, eyeballs rolling out of sockets, arms hanging by mere shreds of muscle, the crack of bone upon twisted bone…. grotesque faces grinned at him, even as the heads rolled across the floor, every direction he looked. Fear and panic began to grip him and numb his mind, adding to his already numb body. They kept on coming, more and more, closer and closer as they surrounded the two living souls in the hall. Soon they were fighting out of bare desperation as claws tore at their skin and teeth bit into their flesh. It was chaos. It was a nightmare. Galahad was soaked in a cold sweat as horror after horror reached out for him with skeletal hands; mouths open in silent screams spewing blood. His feet kept slipping on the carpet of gore beneath him and the crack of shattering bones and squish of flesh was too much to bear for his finely tuned senses.

Just as Galahad thought that they would be overwhelmed, paralysed with fear and eaten alive, the portal suddenly appeared by his side and he almost wept with relief. Grasping Lanec by the arm and giving one last defiant swing at the corpses, he summoned the last of his strength and jumped through the swirling bands of light.

Bright light stung his eyes and a torrent of cheering battered his ears as Galahad re-appeared at the pool’s edge in Lord Rakos’ manor. Exhausted, beaten, and still filled with the horrors he had so narrowly escaped, he sank to the floor shaking. He did not care that people were watching him, or that tears were falling down his bloodless cheeks. He was alive.

Lanec was kneeling beside him, his face buried in his hands. After reappearing, he had fallen onto his knees and thrown up. Galahad reached over and grasped his shoulder.

Rakos was saying something but the words did not register in his mind, and then hands were grabbing him and roughly dragging him out of the room. Soon he was shoved back onto the floor and he vaguely recognised the cell he had found himself in just hours before although it seemed days ago now.

He heard Lanec being pushed into the cell with him but he did not open his eyes; he couldn’t. He just lay where they’d dropped him and felt the heavy blanket of sleep smothering him, the darkness closing in until, blissfully, he saw nothing, heard nothing, and felt nothing.

riversource
January 23rd, 2007, 03:34 PM
Oh, very intense!! And you said that you couldn't write action, pfft. Doesn't sound like much fun for poor Galahad or Lanec but they're tough, right? I like the whole detailed world you're creating and all the creepy stuff in it!

I'm in the process of writing a proper letter to you.

x

PAGEMASTER
January 23rd, 2007, 04:52 PM
Very exciting, very well written, very thrilling action, very gory scenes, very creepy characters making me want to read very much more.

Chapter Ten! Chapter Ten! Chapter Ten! :lol:

...or are we still on chapter nine :scratch:

Rynash
January 23rd, 2007, 06:09 PM
AMAZING MORE MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Akroma
January 23rd, 2007, 06:37 PM
Chapter Ten! Chapter Ten! Chapter Ten! :lol:

...or are we still on chapter nine :scratch:

LOL!!! Hahahahahahahahaha! hee hee... ah, still on Chapter 9, bub. We got a looong way to go! Sorry I just found that insanely funny, I don't know why. Must be tired. Had a long day of lectures and science practicals and now I'm sitting in the computer room waiting for my Chinese Lesson that starts at 6...until 8! Then I have to cycle home in the ice and snow and dark and...I'll shut up now...

Yes I'm tired, what's your point?!

Rynash
January 23rd, 2007, 06:42 PM
hey if i can ask what course r u taking????

Akroma
January 23rd, 2007, 06:58 PM
Environmental Science. It's....ok I suppose. I mean...I feel quite strongly about human tearing up the world and destroying everything and killing each other and eventually killing the planet and therefore themselves and...I shall stop rambling now. But it's true and Humans are incredibly incredibly STUPID!!! Why does every person in power have to be STUPID????!!!!!

Calming down...

I'm just trying to do my part. Climate change...why soil and trees and...things that aren't man-made are so important...animals...nature...how we really SHOULD be moving on to renewable resources and stop tearing up the world for oil and coal...humans are just one big problem. We grow and spawn and spawn and spawn and spawn like an infestation of fleas lice yuckiness cancer worms EVERYTHING!!!!! AND DESTROY WHATEVER IT IS WE'RE LIVING ON!

Writing is good. Reading is good. Movies are good. Escapism is very very very good right now....

I'm not crazy really...just bored and tired...but don't you worry about that. Be happy! Read! Write! Watch movies! Be with friends! Friends are good.

PAGEMASTER
January 23rd, 2007, 07:21 PM
hey if i can ask what course r u taking????

After the way she was laughing I would've said a mental course :shock:


We grow and spawn and spawn and spawn and spawn like an infestation of fleas lice yuckiness cancer worms EVERYTHING!!!!! AND DESTROY WHATEVER IT IS WE'RE LIVING ON!


I see what you're saying, we have to kill everyone :twisted:

Wasnt this how Hitler started :lol:

Just messing Akroma, be careful on that ice ;)

Sparx
January 23rd, 2007, 09:04 PM
I just read the prologue can i have to say, that was brilliant. Im automatically hooked. I'd definently read on after that prologue. I'm going to read the later chapters when i have time and post my feedback. But from what i just read, its going to be an amazing story.

Akroma
January 25th, 2007, 12:22 PM
Chapter 9 continued...





Galahad awoke slowly to the sound of a voice. It was a woman’s voice quiet and smooth, almost a whisper. He felt something soft being wrapped around his arm and tender fingers upon his skin. Keeping his eyes closed and his breathing steady he listened to the voice and realised, with a shiver that was not unpleasant, that it was Keenar. How had she got into the cell? Was he dreaming?

But as he felt her soothing hands upon him he did not care. All he wanted to do was lie there with his eyes closed feeling her body close to his and listening to what she was saying.

“…and I could not believe it when you stepped into that portal and appeared. Both of you! No one has ever played the game and survived…until you…Galahad.”

Another tremor ran down his spine.

“Rakos was pleased. You put up a good fight and passed all the challenges. The quick deaths and poor fighting from the previous slaves was becoming tiresome for him and his guests.” She sounded bitter. “Why? Why does he insist on these gruesome games? You know what he will do? He will create maze after maze for you to entertain him with until…until…” She paused and he heard a stifled sob. “I’ve seen all the slaves die in his absurd game. Too many of them and I don’t know how many more I can stand to watch. But always he wants me there…wants me beside him. I do not think I can bear to watch you again. When the Morphling caught you in its trap I thought…I thought you were dead also…”

Galahad could feel her hands shaking and hot tears falling upon his chest and his heart ached for her. He wanted to reach out and hold her, to comfort her. Never before had he felt like this – so impulsive and protective.

Slowly he opened his eyes. She was kneeling on the floor beside him, her face buried in her hands. Sitting up, he reached out a hand and gently touched her shoulder. Keenar gasped and looked at him with wide eyes.

“I thought you were asleep!”

Galahad said nothing but looked intently into her eyes, concern evident in his features. He drew closer to her and tenderly brushed a tear away with his thumb. He felt her heartbeat quicken at his touch.

“I am not going to die,” he whispered. “We will find a way out of here and escape this mad sorcerer. We are not going to die like rats in a cage. I won’t let that happen.”

They were so close now that he could feel the heat of her body, the air being exchanged between them. He saw her eyes slowly close and he did the same, a feeling of euphoria sweeping through him as their lips brushed softly, and then melded. A flame of desire kindled inside him then ignited his whole body as he held her close, her tender lips caressing him, her tongue brushing tantalisingly against his.

The kiss seemed to last an eternity. When they broke apart she no longer had tears falling down her face and a new light had come to life in her eyes. No words were passed between them and they looked at each other for a long moment until Galahad said, without breaking eye contact,

“How did you get in here?”

Keenar looked down at her lap where several bandages lay with a bucket of warm water and a bloodied cloth.

“Rakos requested I bind your wounds. He wants you back in fighting order for the next games. Not that your wounds needed binding but…” she faltered with a loss of what to say.

“I heal very quickly,” he said, afraid of where this conversation may lead. He did not want to see that look of horror on her face as he saw on Lanec’s when he revealed his true nature.

He looked towards his brother and found him sleeping fitfully not far away. Keenar had cleaned the blood from his skin and bound his wounds but, Galahad realised with a pang, that his complexion was still a little pale and sickly.

Lanec twitched and a moan escaped his lips. Galahad moved to his side and placed a reassuring hand upon his shoulder.

“All is well, we are safe,” he whispered, lying to calm his friend. Lanec stopped mumbling and lay still, his breathing becoming deep and steady. Galahad sighed. Nightmares were going to become a regular part of sleep from now on. He looked up at Keenar but she did not meet his eyes.

“I know what you are,” she whispered suddenly. Galahad stiffened.

“I do not know what you are talking about,” he lied. Keenar ignored his remark.

“When they brought you in, the slave trader handed Rakos two swords…” Galahad’s heart missed a beat. “I have only seen swords like that once in my lifetime. Very few humans know about them…or are granted permission to wield them. Only those in the service of Hsaru see weapons such as these.” She looked at Galahad who kept his face impassive though his heart was beating hard. Keenar continued.

“Rakos has no idea what they are. He has hung them up in his rooms because he likes the shape of them, but cannot see the hint of red…the swords do not light up for him. He does not know who you are.

“I, on the other hand, was born of an Elf mother and we, as with the dwarves and a select few humans, use these same weapons to fight against the threat of Naberus.” Galahad involuntarily flinched at the word. He knew what she was saying was true. He was a fool not to have guessed that she, being half Elf, would not recognise the swords.

“You are not an Elf,” she said. “Nor a Dwarf. Are you one of the few humans that know? One of the few that realise all these elementals and beasts and creatures that plague the earth and which Rakos summons are all from a different plane of existence and made by Vorrac himself? I do not think that even Rakos truly understands what he is doing.

“But when I saw you in that arena, you moved too fast and were too strong to be a mere human. If you did not wear that bracelet disrupting your Gift I would have thought otherwise. But even without magic you survived, Lanec too. You must have taught him much. But still he was slower, weaker; had you not found him he would not have got through that sea of corpses.

“So what were you? The only other species’ that fought alongside us – Vampires and Werewolves. You are not a Vampire that is evident enough, which leaves one last option.”

Galahad was defeated. He could not lie to her, not when she knew she was telling the truth. A bitter taste was in his mouth and he stared at the floor.

“Yes,” he whispered. “I am a Werewolf. Now are you satisfied? Now you know the truth you can fear me like every other human in existence, or feel disgust with what I am, or even run to your Lord Rakos and tell him he has a Werewolf living in his dungeons.”

To his surprise he felt Keenar draw close and raise his head with a gentle hand so that their eyes locked.

“You forget,” she whispered, hurt in her eyes. “I am Half-Elf. I know what you truly are and that your hearts are pure. Humans know you only as creatures of darkness and fear; creatures of murder that must be killed quickly.” She drew closer so that their lips were barely touching and whispered, “But they are blind, and I am not human.” Galahad’s thoughts were obliterated as he felt her lips against his once more, firm, yet at the same time soft and yielding.

“I was always fascinated as a child,” said Keenar breathlessly as Galahad held her, “with Werewolves. When I was very small I witnessed my mother talking to one. He was so…handsome and strong; every girl’s dream. But he was also kind and…and noble…My mother told me many things about your race.”

“What did you think of our thirst for human blood?” Galahad asked a little bitterly. Keenar fixed him with a serious gaze and held it for a while.

“It is how you are made. I do not begrudge the Hawk for eating the rat.”

“And what about that beast with the many tentacles that almost ate me? It was how he was made.”

Keenar nodded. “He was made by an evil God with ill intentions, whereas you were made by Hsaru, and his intentions are always good.”

Galahad could not believe his ears. The woman of his dreams was in his arms and kissing his lips and for one blissful moment he forgot where he was and who they were. Then Keenar pulled away from him and regarded him for a moment.

“How do you satisfy your craving for blood? You are locked in a cell.”

Galahad shook his head.

“I am only twenty years of age. I have yet to gain the ability of changing my shape and the thirst for blood. When the time does come, my Mother once said that the changes will be uncontrolled – that I have to bind my will to the change. I also have to learn to control the lust for blood so I do not go biting anyone who crosses my path.” He shivered. “To be truthful it is not a time I am looking forward to. But that is a thing I will deal with when it comes. Let us hope that I will be far away from this place when it does.”

The sound of footsteps suddenly broke the conversation and Keenar jumped up and hastily collected her bucket and bandages. The door to the dungeons opened with a bang and a guard came down the stairs holding a bunch of keys.

“Are you finished?” he asked Keenar.

“Yes,” she answered. “I am done with these men.”

The guard nodded and unlocked the door, allowed Keenar to step out, then locked it again. She began to make her way up the steps when the guard said,

“Lord Rakos would like to see you in his chambers.” Galahad noticed a look of fear pass fleetingly over Keenar’s face but then it was gone.

“I will attend to him once I dispose of these,” she said, indicating the bucket and cloths in her hands. The guard nodded and followed her up the stairs and shut the door.

Galahad was gripping the bars hard, the knuckles going white. He’d heard the subtle tremor in her voice, the way she tried to hide the shaking in her hands. What did Rakos do to her that made her so afraid of him? Many thoughts ran through his mind, all of them making the anger bubble up inside him stronger and stronger. He looked at the bars of the cell but not even he could break them. Frustrated he sat down beside Lanec and waited for what was to become of them next.

The day passed them by and there was nothing to do but sit or pace in the cell. Lanec awoke and they talked for a while but hours later they could think of nothing to say and sat in a mutual silence. There was only one small window high up the wall that let in little light, and Galahad wondered if he would ever see the sun again.

At one point the dungeon door opened and his heart leapt at the thought of Keenar, but it was only a cleaning slave come to empty the chamber pot in the corner of the cell. It was just as well because Lanec had thrown up twice again and it was starting to smell bad.

Night fell and Lanec had managed to fall asleep but Galahad sat with his back to the wall wide awake. He could not stop thinking of Keenar. Where was she now? What had Rakos wanted with her?

He looked to his brother who was once more twitching in his sleep, his breathing irregular. Galahad sat beside him and rested a hand on Lanec’s arm, suddenly feeling how cold it was. He was thinking on Keenar so much that he failed to notice his own body growing numb. Cursing the cold stone floor and lack of any blankets, he tried to rub some warmth into his friend, concerned that the cold was doing nothing to improve his illness.

Hours passed and Galahad’s eyelids began to grow heavy. He too was shivering now and he wondered how Lanec could sleep at all. Suddenly he heard the sound of a door creak open and the light of a candle flickered into sight. His heart beat fast as he realised it was Keenar and he got stiffly to his feet, running to clasp her hands through the bars.

“Galahad you’re freezing,” she gasped as they made contact. “And your lips are blue! Here, I brought you some blankets.” She bent to push them through the bars but Galahad did not let go of her hands.

“Why are you hiding your face behind your hair?” he said softly. Keenar stiffened.

“It’s nothing,” she said.

Galahad reached out a hand and gently brushed her hair back. His heart stopped beating.

“Gods, how did this happen?” he whispered.

A large bruise was forming on one of her delicate cheekbones. Upon the other cheek were long deep cuts. Galahad saw an image of a bony hand with long nails hitting Keenar’s beautiful face and he felt white hot rage surge through him. Her lower lip was even bleeding from evident teeth marks. He swallowed hard and clenched his fists to stop himself shaking.

“Rakos,” he growled.

Keenar nodded and a solitary tear rolled down her face. He embraced her as best he could through the bars and gritted his teeth as he felt her back slick with blood from the claw marks.

“Keenar,” he whispered her name. He wished he could take her far from here, take all of her pain away, kill the man that did this to her; kill Rakos. He felt helpless locked in this cell, able to do nothing.

“I must go,” she said finally.

Galahad nodded but he hated himself when his hands left her bruised body. He didn’t know what to say. All of a sudden he had lost his voice again. Keenar turned to leave.

“Keep warm,” she said. “And look after Lanec.”

Galahad nodded and watched Keenar disappear into the darkness, a heavy weight in his chest. He bent and picked up the blankets. They were old and rough but warm and he pulled one over Lanec then wrapped one about himself.

We have to get out of here he thought. But as the night wore on, he could think of nothing that would help them escape and soon he fell into a troubled sleep where women were being raped by corpses then thrown into pools where they were eaten by creatures with gaping mouths and teeth as long as knives.

PAGEMASTER
January 25th, 2007, 02:46 PM
Chapter Nine! Chapter Nine! Chapter Nine! hehe. I'm glad their feelings are growing stronger, I fear for Lanec though with death comes great material. Poor Keenar, cant wait to see what happens next :D

Rynash
January 25th, 2007, 05:42 PM
Absoloutly fantastic need MORE MORE MORE!!!!!!

riversource
January 26th, 2007, 02:46 PM
Aww...i hate seeing Keenar all vulnerable and scared, make her strong already, pleeeeeeeeeeeease! You're doing great building up their relationship and their feelings.
Got a bit of a thing against rats today though haven't we? :? Lol, as usual, looking forward to the next installment!

Akroma
January 26th, 2007, 03:37 PM
Aww...i hate seeing Keenar all vulnerable and scared, make her strong already, pleeeeeeeeeeeease!

Trust me, Keenar's gonna kick ass! You just wait! I know she seems like a bit of a weed so far but she's been through a lot, you know. And man, do NOT underestimate this girl! There's a lot more to this Half-Elf than meets the eye...kinda like this girl called Jenny I know...

mashowasho
January 26th, 2007, 05:32 PM
DAMN IT DAMN IT STUPID INTERNET DIDN'T SAVE MY LONG AND DETAILED POST!

Anyway, that whole maze scene was amazing. The bit with the morphling really had me on edge... that was crafty!

Your riddle was really good too. Did you write that yourself? I tried to come up with my own answer, but only got so far as "love" or "money", neither of which made sense. Oh well. Then I just got bored and looked at the answer. Incidentally, Galahad seemed to know the answer pretty easily. Maybe he'd heard it before too.
I thought it was a bit convenient to have a health potion in the middle of the maze seeing as the Rakos is meant to be a big baddie; but I guess it's a way of keeping his slaves alive for longer so he can torture tham more! mwahahaha...

The squiddy thing reminded me of the Kraken from Pirates of the Caribbean, and the zombies... well that was a lovely gore-fest. Well done.
Also, the bit with Galahad and Keenar was really quite touching. I love to see a romance blossoming. This whole thing could be a story in its own right!

Keep it up my friend.
:thumbr:

PAGEMASTER
January 28th, 2007, 04:19 PM
Trust me, Keenar's gonna kick ass! You just wait! I know she seems like a bit of a weed so far but she's been through a lot, you know. And man, do NOT underestimate this girl! There's a lot more to this Half-Elf than meets the eye...kinda like this girl called Jenny I know...

Cant wait to see what you have in store Akroma ;)

MiloDaePesdan
January 29th, 2007, 07:52 AM
'Lo, Akroma.

I don't normally read first-person POV stories. And good God, you've written a lot. Works for me. I'm kinda out of reading material at the moment. (Though I can't really stand prolonged lovey-dovey scenes. Not my cup of tea; the number of romance or romance-themed novels far outstrip fantasy and sf. Ugh. I prefer outright warfare.)

I'll try to point out a few nits as I read along. This is from the prologue:


Still I am glad that the great forests and plains of the continent are left untouched, the extensive cities dotting around it like colossal craters in the earth. The humans quickly realised that without the natural regions, their race would perish. An immense wall was raised around the city and no one now ventures far into the reaches of the wilderness, fearing the unknown that lies within its dark boundaries.

So far, you've imparted information about this world very well. But this paragraph jolted me. Second sentence. You deviate from present/future tense into past tense. It does not flow, and it feels like an infodump. So it's short, but an infodump's a dump. Rephrase it, i.e.

"Without these natural regions, the humans would perish."

Third sentence. Same thing.

"An immense wall surrounds the city and no one now..." and so on.

Otherwise, I think your prologue is as close to perfect as it can get. ;)



By the way, have you seen Angel Sanctuary or read the manga? It's got that feel to it, but with a much happier ending for the main character.

Akroma
January 29th, 2007, 06:15 PM
Hey cool, thanks Milo. You're right, I'll have to go back and change that. I see what you mean about the love stories and stuff...but I'm a girl and most girls live for stuff like that lol. But it's not just love, I'm trying to get a lot of action in there too...and the ending of this collossal book (if I ever get there) is actually 'outright warfare' as you put it lol.

Thanks for the crit! And I'll look into Angel Sanctuary!

Akroma
January 29th, 2007, 06:23 PM
Chapter 9 continued...

Hours turned to days. Days turned to weeks. And still they were stuck in that little pocket of Hell in the city of Trelise. Twice more Lanec and Galahad were made to walk in Rakos’ little game, and twice more they barely escaped with their lives. How much longer he could stand, Galahad could not tell. Their skin was pale from seeing no sunlight and they were getting thinner and thinner by the day. Dark shadows had appeared permanently beneath their eyes and their faces no longer looked youthful but drawn and haggard. The only thing that stopped Galahad from just giving up was the thought of letting Keenar and Lanec down. While they were alive, nothing was going to stop him from getting through that maze. Nothing, or at least that is what he thought, until the day he changed shape for the first time in his life.

It happened late one night while the manor was silent and sleeping. Lanec was deep in a dream where a horde of skeletons were trying to pull him down into a pool of blood, when he was suddenly woken by a cry. Jumping up from where he was lying, immediately awake, he saw Galahad writhing on the floor and groaning in pain. Fingernail marks glistened on the walls and similar marks in red covered his body.

Lanec ran to his friend’s side and tried to comfort him in some way, trying to still the convulsions that wracked his body. But there was nothing he could say or do to help with the pain. Holding him down, he prayed that it would pass quickly; not knowing how long he could withstand Galahad’s strength and fearing someone will hear the cries and come to investigate.

Suddenly Galahad’s eyes flew open and Lanec gasped to see the anger in those black, fathomless depths. A force hit Lanec square in the chest and he was thrown across the chamber, hitting the far wall. Galahad, screaming, rose to his feet and grabbed the bars of the cell and shook them violently, every muscle in his body straining as Lanec watched in fear. The bars creaked but held firm against the captive. Galahad let out another cry of anguish and fell to his hands and knees, the black of his eyes spreading until there was no white left, but a black hole filled with hatred, wrath and rage.

Suddenly it seemed to Lanec that Galahad was no longer there but a great black wolf stood in his place. He blinked a few times and his vision cleared so that he could see that indeed a wolf was there, panting and growling, its hackles bristling with uncontrollable ferocity. Frozen with fear, Lanec sat backed against the wall, eyes wide and keeping as still as possible. But the wolf shape did not hold for long and soon Galahad was himself again, collapsing onto the floor and gasping for breath.

Cautiously, Lanec crept towards him. His friend lay still now, eyes closed and his breathing shallow.

“Galahad?”

No response. He placed a hand on his shoulder and found Galahad trembling, his skin covered in a cold sweat. Grasping a blanket from the corner of the cell, Lanec wrapped him inside it, holding him in his arms to try and warm him.

“Lanec...” Galahad’s voice was almost inaudible.

“I’m here. It’s alright.”

“Are you hurt...?”

“Sssh. I’m fine. It’s okay. Be still.” He felt Galahad grow heavy in his arms as he fell asleep. Lanec, however, did not go back to sleep, he was too shaken.

“So…it has begun,” he whispered to himself. He knew that the following days were going to be difficult and someone was bound to find out what was going on. He just hoped that Galahad could master the change quickly before they were made to step into that infernal maze.

The following day found Galahad feeling much the same as he always did, if not a little shaken and sore. He managed to get through the day without anything out of the ordinary happening but, as night fell, he felt something different rising up inside him.

He was sitting with his back to the wall in a state of half-sleep and wondering if they would ever walk free again when he looked over at Lanec and saw him drawing pictures in the dirt with the sharp end of a stone. A new sense touched his mind and at first he was confused as to what it was but suddenly realised, with a shock, that he could sense Lanec’s body heat. What shocked him more was that he felt drawn to the warmth, somehow attracted to it. Doubts crossed his mind. Lanec was like a brother to him, he should not be feeling this way. They had been through much together, yes, but Galahad was sure that he had never been attracted to a man before.

Then he thought of Keenar and relaxed. This feeling was nothing like the passion or lust or protectiveness he felt towards her. But then what was it?

He took a deep breath to clear his mind but he could smell the warmth; could hear the strong pounding of Lanec’s heart; the rush of hot, flowing blood…

“Galahad?” Lanec had looked up and had a concerned expression on his face. “Are you alright?”

Galahad did not answer. He just continued to stare at Lanec, breathing a little too hard for someone resting, and a glazed look appeared in his black eyes. Lanec got to his feet and took a cautious step towards his friend. Was he about to change shape again? Looking back over his shoulder he saw that the dungeon was empty, the door closed. He returned his gaze back to Galahad and gave a start as Galahad’s face appeared centimetres from his own. He did not like the look that was in his eyes.

“Brother, what is wrong?” Lanec’s voice shook a little.

Without warning, Galahad bared his teeth which were changing, to Lanec’s horror, into long sharp wolfish fangs, and lunged for his neck. Lanec raised his arms to protect himself but Galahad was too strong and he became pinned to the wall, Galahad’s teeth so close he could feel them against his skin. It took all of Lanec’s strength to prevent those teeth from piercing his neck and he knew he could not last indefinitely.

“Galahad, it’s me!” he screamed. But it was as if he were fighting with another man.

“Galahad!” he yelled again, desperate now. “I’m your brother!” and he punched him hard, the stone in his hand tearing a great gash in his face.

The pain seemed to bring Galahad to his senses and he looked at Lanec with horror.

“Oh Gods,” he whispered, backing away, holding his head in his hands. “God what am I doing? They warned me…they warned me about this…” He was shaking his head, trying to clear it, and backing away into a corner mumbling inaudibly.

“Galahad…its ok…” Lanec took a step towards him.

“Stay away!” Galahad shouted and recoiled from his friend, sinking into the corner. Lanec felt helpless. What could he do? Nothing. He thought of the rats in the dungeon but none of them ever went near the captives. Capturing one would be impossible. If Galahad did not drink any blood, what would happen to him?

He can have mine…

Lanec’s fear evaporated as his resolve hardened. He was terrified when Galahad had attacked him but now that he made the decision himself he was not afraid. Finding the stone still clutched in his hand, he raised the point to his arm and, with one quick motion, sliced a gash into his skin. Blood flowed to the surface and he slowly walked to where Galahad was curled in the corner semi-conscious, his shaking hands gripping the bars. Lanec kneeled beside him and put his bleeding arm near Galahad’s lips.

“Drink it, Galahad,” he said.

“…No,” he whispered, barely moving his lips. His head was reeling with the smell of fresh blood.

“Just do it,” said Lanec forcefully. “You do not have a choice.”

Galahad could take it no more. Using every shred of self discipline he had inside him, he made sure that not one of his teeth touched Lanec’s skin as his lips closed over the wound and blissful hot blood flowed over his tongue and down his throat. The ecstasy hit him like a drug and his body welcomed it with open arms. But with this feeling came images unbidden from Lanec’s mind, terrible frightening images that Galahad could not stop as they flashed before his eyes. Scenes of corpses grabbing with broken fingers at him, great beasts with hides made of the heads of its victims, the endless dark and silent passageways…

Somehow Galahad’s mind managed to surface in the drowning waves of images and he tore his mouth away from Lanec’s arm.

“Enough,” he gasped, his confused mind trying to focus on reality. “You need it…you need your strength if we are put back in that place…”

“But you’ll die if you don’t keep drinking,” said Lanec.

“No…it will keep me alive…for now,” whispered Galahad, feeling far from satisfied, fear freezing his heart when he thought of what would happen if they did not get out of here soon.


I think another two posts after this one and we'd have got through Chapter 9! Blimey! Better start writing chapter 10 then!

Rynash
January 29th, 2007, 06:37 PM
that was totally brilliant i thought he was gonna killl lanec fantadtic more more more when are you posting more???

Akroma
January 29th, 2007, 06:57 PM
Woah! Hold thine horses, kiddo! Eager Beaver lol. I'll post soon don't you worry. I think I'll be posting the last two bits together...like I do sometimes... because it really will be leaving you in the middle of something and I'm not that harsh lol. Darn these character limits.

Are you getting quite attached to Lanec, then? He's alright...a good man...very loyal to Galahad.

mashowasho
January 29th, 2007, 07:01 PM
OOh, that was too short! Very nice intense snippet there.



I see what you mean about the love stories and stuff...but I'm a girl and most girls live for stuff like that lol.
w00t!

PAGEMASTER
January 29th, 2007, 08:32 PM
Chapter Nine! Chapter Nine! Chapter... Deja vu :clown:

Their bond breaking due to the inner beast of Galahad, trapped in a cell with his loyal friend, yet unsure of what he's capable of, poor Lanec, he's a true friend, I thought he was a goner for sure. Breath Sean Breath :lol:

As always great stuff :thumbr:

riversource
January 30th, 2007, 12:01 AM
Aaaahhhhhhhhh........all the tension and drama and emotion in such a short chapter!!!! Lanec sounds like such a good friend/brother to Galahad, pleeeeeeeeeeease don't make Galahad kill him that'd just be horrible! I mean it, there could be tears!

More more more more!!!

PAGEMASTER
January 30th, 2007, 06:20 PM
Lanec sounds like such a good friend/brother to Galahad, pleeeeeeeeeeease don't make Galahad kill him that'd just be horrible! I mean it, there could be tears!

Do it Akroma :twisted: then you'll have taken control over your readers emotions MUHAHAHA

AtlanteanTapir
January 31st, 2007, 04:53 AM
Just finished first chapter brilliant i say

good everything!!!

(TOTALLY OFF TOPIC)you play magic, akroma? it might be a bit obvious (avatar and name lol) u know planar chaos coming out in a few weeks?(DONE)

mashowasho
January 31st, 2007, 09:36 AM
By the way, have you seen Angel Sanctuary or read the manga? It's got that feel to it, but with a much happier ending for the main character.

How is it like Angel Sanctuary? Isn't that the one with the wierd incest?

MiloDaePesdan
January 31st, 2007, 02:53 PM
1.) Somebody gets dragged into something they don't want to do.
2.) There are vampires and angels and demons. No werewolves, though.
3.) It's romance. (The incest is, if you take it on the surface, is incest. But its kinda complicated because the souls reincarnate, and they were not family way back then in the beginning.)
4.) There's a war going on.
5.) There are three connected worlds.
6.) Its got drugs.

The thing is, this story deviates enough from it--and the 'X' anime--that it's different. Way different. Its just the world/settings feel similar.

Quilldancer
February 1st, 2007, 05:04 AM
Dear Akroma

I really love this story! I’d thought I’d caught up, but you’ve posted more! Whoohoo! Lexan and Galahad are particularly fascinating characters. I don’t know what advice I can offer to help you improve you writing – like so many here, I just don’t feel qualified! For me, writing is a predominantly “feeling” thing.

I do have one question though – don’t worry, it’s asked purely out of curiosity. Is “Raven” her birth name or the name she adopted/was given on becoming a vampire? Maybe I’ve missed it, but I didn’t see it mentioned. Either way, it’s a beautiful name (as is Lexan).

Gee, what a help I’ve been.

Cheers!

Quilldancer

Rynash
February 1st, 2007, 04:54 PM
Come on i no it taxing when writying but this is too godd plz HURRY!!!!!!

Akroma
February 2nd, 2007, 02:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by riversource
Lanec sounds like such a good friend/brother to Galahad, pleeeeeeeeeeease don't make Galahad kill him that'd just be horrible! I mean it, there could be tears!


Do it Akroma :twisted: then you'll have taken control over your readers emotions MUHAHAHA

Do you really think I can do such a thing?! To my own characters! They're my babies! lol. And just think how Galahad would feel if I killed off his only friend and brother in the entire world! They've been through so much together I can't separate them now! ;-)


(TOTALLY OFF TOPIC)you play magic, akroma? it might be a bit obvious (avatar and name lol) u know planar chaos coming out in a few weeks?(DONE)


Indeedy I do! In fact, it's out today!!!! Woot! I actually went and bought a whole box of boosters today (to share between three of us) and a fat pack. Oh, and I got a model of Kiki-Jiki absolutely free cos the guys at the store had it for seven years and were sick of it lol. Couldn't believe my luck! Hopefully I'll get a Damnation...a red Akroma....*sigh* Don't worry I'm not too fanatic about it. I like to play occasionally and the artwork is fabulous! The quotes are pretty funny too.


Is “Raven” her birth name or the name she adopted/was given on becoming a vampire?


Glad you're enjoying it, Quilldancer! Always a pleasure having new fans! "Raven" is actually her birth name, as is everyone else's names. I thought a world where everyone has cool and strange names would be nice!


Come on i no it taxing when writying but this is too godd plz HURRY!!!!!!


Alright!!! Here it is! You're gonna make me late for my practical, you know! I hope you're happy!!!! (because I really really want to do something with chemistry ;-) )

Akroma
February 2nd, 2007, 02:07 PM
Chapter 9 continued...
The days crept by and Galahad’s health slowly got worse. He would only drink a little of Lanec’s blood at a time and no matter how much Lanec pressed him, he would not listen. The changes kept happening at random and it was only a matter of time before they were caught. Thankfully luck had been on their side – the changes only occurred at night when the manor was silent and sleeping and they had not yet been forced into the maze. If only they could find a way to escape. The guards were already getting suspicious and Lanec did not know how long the story of Galahad falling ill was going to last.

Lanec was right. Their luck ran out.

Keenar came down to the dungeon one morning and a guard let her into the cell and locked it behind her. Lanec stood up from where he was sitting on the floor.

“Lord Rakos has sent me to find out what it wrong with Galahad,” she whispered as the guard left the dungeon to resume his post. “He wants to have you fighting again.” Her eyes flickered over to where Galahad was lying facing the wall and a look of pain passed her face. “Have you thought of any ways to get him out of here? I have tried everything! There are no invisibility potions in his store and his guards are far more Gifted than the three of us combined!”

Her voice was shrill and bordering hysteria. Lanec placed a calming hand on her shoulder and motioned for her to speak more quietly.

“You have a lot of freedom to walk about the manor, have you tried simply sneaking off the premises and running away?” asked Lanec.

“Of course I have!” she said. “You cannot leave! It’s the bracelets.” She twisted at hers with frustration. “Every door leads you to a different room in the manor, and another, and another…I came to the great double doors in the hall which I know lead outside but I just found myself in a different room again. It is some sort of enchantment and I cannot break it!”

She shook her head. “We’re stuck here,” she whispered. Her eyes flickered to Galahad once more. There was a long silence.

“Give me the stone,” she said. Lanec hesitated. “Give it to me,” she said more forcefully and held out her hand.

Lanec slowly drew out the stone and placed the cold hard object in her hand. Her fingers closed around it and she moved towards Galahad. Kneeling beside him, she gathered him into her arms. He was white and covered in tiny droplets of sweat, his breathing shallow. His eyes flickered open for a moment then closed again. Keenar took a deep breath, her wavering uncertainty hardening into resolve, and she placed the cold edge of the stone onto her arm. She sliced down. Pressing the cut to his lips he began to drink, too weak to pull away. She felt thoughts sliding through her head like water and watched them slip by, the memories dredging up feelings and emotions from the past. Suddenly the images changed and she let out a cry as she saw Rakos in her mind’s eye, his skeletal hands ripping her skin, the snake-like face close to hers, his hot putrid breath filling her nostrils. She hated him; hated him with a passion; hated the way he forced himself inside her, the way he used his dark magic against her…

She wrenched her wrist away from Galahad’s mouth and the images stopped. He gasped for air, his eyes open wide, yet focused on nothing. The blackness of his iris’ were already taking over the whites as his eyes changed into the fathomless black holes that were filled with all the anger in his heart.

But Keenar was not looking at him. She was looking at a dark figure standing beyond the bars of the cell and fear gripped her chest and froze her lungs. Rakos returned her fearful stare with a gaze that brought heroes crashing to their knees.

“I…despise…werewolves,” he uttered, his commanding voice trembling with rage. A dangerous red glint flashed in his eyes and a vein pulsed madly in his forehead. He gestured with his hand and Keenar felt a force pull her towards him. She braced herself to slam into the bars but she passed right through them and a bony hand grasped her wrist like a vice.

Galahad was on his feet, the years of anger and hate bottled up inside him igniting. A spasm of pain rippled through him and he doubled over, falling onto his hands and knees that were suddenly great black paws. The wolf threw itself at the bars, its fangs dripping, its barks shaking the dungeons while Rakos stood rigid and immobile, his face an expressionless mask. Guards came running into the prison and stared in terrified silence at the raging wolf, uncertain what to do.

“Take them,” Rakos ordered, indicating Galahad and Lanec.

Galahad felt the unbearable pain hit him again and looked at his hands in confusion. Fingers were forcing themselves through the paws and hair was melting away into flesh. He was changing back to human form but it was different…slow and erratic as if it were forced. Rakos grinned and Galahad realised with a jolt that he was manipulating the change through sorcery.

Once he was fully human and rid of his long teeth and claws, the guards spilled into the cell. Lanec and Galahad fought with all their might but they had not one chance against the guards who were both well armed and gifted. Galahad could feel his strength draining and the steel blanket of rage was fragmenting, no longer lending him the blind power he needed. Lanec beside him fought strong and fierce, driving several guards back and attacking Rakos himself with nothing but his fists.

“Damn you!” he screamed at that impassive face. “Damn you to hell!!”

Rakos’ nostril slits flared and he sent a blast of power out that threw Lanec against the wall and pinned him there. The wave spread throughout the dungeon like a ripple and Galahad felt a crushing force pressing him into the floor as it rolled over him. Most of the guards had managed to throw up hasty shields but even some of Rakos’ own men were rendered immobile by the spell.

Galahad could do nothing. He could barely breathe for the force that held him crushed into the floor. The guards were upon him in seconds and he felt the cold touch of shackles being clamped mercilessly onto his wrists as his arms were drawn behind his back. The pressing weight lifted and Galahad saw Lanec fall, hitting the stone floor hard and deep red blood rupturing from his mouth.

“Lanec!” Galahad screamed, but it sounded weak and distant. He struggled against his captors but to no avail. The remaining guards picked Lanec up and half dragged, half carried him away. Galahad too felt rough hands grasping him and pulling him towards some unknown destination.

The world was spinning around him. Finally they were being sent to their death. But he did not want to die. He could not believe what was happening. It was unreal, this whole world inside this mad Sorcerer’s house was unreal, like a terrible dream he could not wake from. The anger was burning him up inside but the darkness that was encroaching upon his mind was greater. Fighting to stay conscious he looked for his friend but could not see him. They seemed to be going deeper underground into a chamber that was far below the dungeon, the air becoming thick with cold and damp. Galahad’s very bones seemed to be saturated with it and he shivered uncontrollably. But that was not the only thing that made him shiver. He could smell it in the air…the thick cloying odour of blood…and death.

Suddenly the walls opened up and Galahad found himself inside an immense chamber. A gasp escaped his lips. All around him crackled the surging power of binding spells. The air was so thick with it that he could taste it on his tongue like a bitter metallic tang, and being held prisoner by these binding spells were every manner of demon and beast that Rakos had conjured from the depths of darkness. Undead lined the walls, their shackles glowing and crackling a blinding white. Golems struggled inside their ethereal restraints, elementals screamed their defiance, huge jaws gnashed their bloodied fangs and razor claws raked at the air.

Galahad felt sick, his heart growing cold as his eyes swept the chamber. All around littering the stone floor lay pieces of what once were people. Torn bits of flesh and ragged limbs scattered about the beasts, some fresh and just recently dead, others spawning maggots and rotting into a soft pulp. And standing in a beam of light in the middle of it all, was Rakos, a twisted grin upon his snake-like face, a wild glint in his eyes.

Galahad’s blood was boiling with anger, imagining the screams of innocent people being torn apart and eaten alive; their lives ending in a brutal moment of violence and agony. The thick smell of blood was not helping either, making his head spin and his starved body crave the warm dark red liquid of life.

I am no better than these Demons then…

“Bring him.”

The guards gripping Galahad pulled him forwards towards the middle and threw him on the floor. His shackles were removed and new bonds were tied to his arms and legs, anchoring him to the floor. A figure kneeled next to him, also chained to the ground and shivering, his head in his hands. Galahad felt a stab in his heart.

“Lanec,” he whispered. His friend raised his head and looked at him with empty eyes bereft of all hope. Lanec’s own blood was smeared across his face.

“Brother...” Lanec said hoarsely. “Don’t let them kill me. I don’t want to die! Please! Please don’t let them kill me! Not like this…”

Galahad felt helpless, the horror of what was happening to them gripping him in a vice so that he could barely breathe.

“Lanec...” But a commanding voice cut through his words.

“Now I know why you lasted so long in my little world I created for you,” Rakos said. His twisted grin faded and his eyes locked with Galahad’s, a greedy light shining in the red depths. “But now I know what you are, I will have the pleasure of killing you myself.” Rakos turned away and paced around his magic beam of light, flexing his long skeletal fingers. An image of those fingers upon Keenar’s torn skin flashed in his mind and an involuntary growl escaped his lips.

“I have only ever killed one like you before,” Rakos continued “a vampire. I understand that your race and theirs are deeply linked. I had some tools made of arghanium especially for the occasion and I do believe the time has come for me to use them again.” The wide grin broke out on his face again and he laughed at the look of horror on Galahad’s face.

“However, the best shall be left for last,” and his gaze swept over Lanec. Galahad’s stomach gave a twist.

“No!” he burst out. “Leave him alone! I am the wolf; your quarrel is with me. Do not harm him I beg you! Do what you will with me but let this man go.”

Rakos’ grin broadened. “I think not. He has seen too much, and being such a close friend of yours it is fitting that you should watch him die.”

Galahad lost all control then, cursing and screaming till his voice was ragged, and pulling at his bonds till they cut into his wrists and drew blood. But there was nothing he could do. Nothing. Beside him, Lanec was frozen with fear, his savage breathing loud in that huge chamber, and a wet stain spreading through his trousers as he shook.

“Hold out your hand,” Rakos whispered, his voice trembling with excitement. Lanec did not seem to hear him, his eyes wide and staring as they flickered to Galahad for help.

“I said: Hold out your hand!” Rakos screamed and clenched his fist. Lanec’s arm moved and extended out. It was shaking, making the chains rattle, and Galahad knew that Lanec was fighting the sorcery that was manipulating him. But he was not strong enough. He watched in horror as Lanec’s hand opened and the fingers spread wide.

“No…” Lanec moaned. There was a terrible snap that made Galahad flinch and Lanec screamed as the three bones in his little finger suddenly broke. Rakos’ laughter was shrill as he gestured again, breaking all the bones in the next finger. Lance’s screams were terrible, the pain inflicted upon him disfiguring his voice and Galahad’s head was filled with them, curdling and shrieking. Soon Lanec’s hand was a mangled mess and he clutched it to his chest moaning and whimpering before Rakos made him extend the other.

Galahad’s eyes were flowing with tears, the bonds cutting deeper into his wrists as he cursed Rakos with every ounce of his being. He wanted to grasp that grinning face and tear it off his skull, to rip it apart and make him suffer for what he was doing to Lanec; for what he did to Keenar; for what he did to him.

The Sorcerer made a slashing motion with his hand and a streak of blood erupted from Lanec’s chest. He made the gesture again, higher up, and a gash opened up across Lanec’s face, ripping away his eyes. Galahad felt sick as his brother screamed and screamed, the gore dripping into his broken hands from where his eyes were supposed to be.

“Stop it!” Galahad cried. “Stop it for the love of God!” But Rakos just laughed and continued to weave his savage spells.

Galahad’s head was reeling. He could not believe what his eyes were showing him. And yet they showed him everything – every tiny detail that not even Rakos could imagine to see. He heard the subtle sounds of ripping skin, the bubble of burning flesh, the rushing of spilled blood...he was powerless to block it out.

Galahad lay on the floor, flinching at every sound and weeping openly, too weak to struggle any more; too filled with horror at what was being done to his companion.

“Enough,” said Rakos as a cruel smile curled his lips. “Let the Leviathan have him.”

“Oh no...” Galahad moaned. The guards cut Lanec’s bonds and hoisted him up. Galahad looked for the very last time into his friend’s face, now twisted with anguish and unspeakable pain. But Lanec could not return that last glance. His eyes were gone.

“I’m so sorry,” Galahad whispered.

The guards bearing Lanec approached a monstrous amphibian-like creature with teeth so long and sharp that its own mouth was oozing with black blood. Its long claws clicked impatiently as it smelled fresh meat and it tugged at the crackling bonds.

“Gods, no…” Galahad squeezed his eyes shut, praying that death would come swiftly, his nails digging deep gouges into the floor. He heard the guards throw Lanec’s body to the beast; heard the twisted screams filling the chamber; filling his head; filling his heart. Then silence. Sudden blissful silence as merciful death wrenched soul from body in a single prick of time.

Galahad kneeled on the floor shaking and crying. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t breathe. The world spun around him and he suddenly threw up, his stomach muscles clenching into a tight knot.

“And now,” said the deep voice, the voice he wanted to silence forever with a crunch of cartilage rings with his bare hands, “the real fun begins. Find Her. Bring her here.” Rakos’ eyes swept over to Galahad. “She should witness her wolf’s last moments of life.”

Keenar! No, do not let her see. Don’t let her see… But as Galahad’s blurry vision swung to the doorway, two guards were already pulling her into the chamber. Her eyes looked fearfully around her and settled on the Leviathan and Lanec’s fresh remains. Her eyes widened in horror. Half of Lanec’s face lay upon the floor, the jaw still open in a twisted scream. Keenar sank to her knees, her mouth opening and shutting but no sound coming forth, her face streaming with tears. At last an anguished moan escaped her lips as she grasped her head in her hands.

“There there, my dear,” said Rakos. “Everybody dies. Just think how fortunate you are to see this dog one last time before he leaves you.”

“You monster!” she screamed as the guards held her down. “Damn you! You will pay for this. You will pay!”

Akroma
February 2nd, 2007, 02:12 PM
Chapter 9 The Last Installment!!!

Rakos merely chuckled as he drew from his robes a small black box and kneeled in front of where Galahad lay on the floor. Galahad’s eyes just stared at the ceiling, empty and unfocussed. He had no strength left; no hope. The end would come and he could not stop it. As if in a distant dream, he saw Rakos open the box. He was saying something but the words were somewhat muffled. He lifted out of the case something long and thin and shiny. A needle. There was a blue tint to the metal. Arghanium. Someone was screaming. It was Keenar. Keenar…

Suddenly blinding pain cut through his mind and he saw Rakos holding his arm in a grip of steel, the needle being pushed into his flesh. Everything else was obliterated and all he could think or feel was the pain. It felt like the metal was dissolving his flesh, like fire was burning inside his arm, melting his very bones. The needle was left inside his arm and another one was pushed in. Someone was screaming. This time it was him.

Suddenly his arm was released and he fumbled at the needles, yanking them out of his skin. The pain lessened immediately and he managed to open his eyes. Rakos was still kneeling before him but was looking at something else, an expression of shock on his reptilian features. Galahad turned his head in the direction of the sorcerer’s gaze and his heart stopped. It was Keenar.

She was standing with her arms spread wide, an electrical green orb surrounding her, flashing and crackling with power. A savage wind seemed to whip the room and her hair flew wild with it. Such an expression of anger was upon her face that even Galahad felt afraid and her eyes were turning white as the moon. The two guards that had held her were smouldering on the floor next to the shattered remains of a Binding Bracelet.

“How can this be?!” uttered Rakos, still frozen above Galahad. He opened his mouth to say more but there was a blast of magic and a blue wave of sorcery spread throughout the room. Everywhere chains began shattering. As it rolled past the demons their binding spells flickered, then crackled to nothingness. Galahad’s own bonds were torn to shreds and the bracelet binding his Gift crumbled into a million pieces. Hope sprang into Galahad’s heart then, and relief flooded through his veins. But only for a second. Then the whole chamber was filled with chaos.

Beasts and demons, free from their restraints, began tearing the chamber apart and spilling the blood of every living creature present. Some turned on each other. Some turned on the guards. Others came after Galahad.

Galahad stumbled to his feet and blundered through the pandemonium, narrowly missing swiping claws and the clash of swords, the air thick with spells. The doors flew open and more guards came running to join the battle. Using the last of his strength, Galahad grasped a guard from behind and sank his teeth into the soft flesh of the neck before he could be blasted away.

Blissful hot blood flowed into his mouth and he drank deep, feeling his strength returning and the world coming into focus as his senses stretched. He dropped the dead man and made a hasty roll as a pair of jaws flew down to meet him. Muttering a spell, he threw a strong shield up around him and sought Keenar amidst the fray.

There she stood, magnificent and terrifying inside her orb. Those that came too close to her shield were burned and blasted away in green forks of lightning. Her white eyes seemed to stare into nothingness as her savage spells filled the room. There was a crash and Galahad’s two swords blasted through one of the doors. The enchanted blades began to slice guards and demons down of their own accord and the inscriptions glowed a fiery red as if the blades were happy to spill the blood of demons once more.

All around him guards sprang into flames, beasts dissolved into a whirlwind of molecules that blew away, demons were wrapped in shadow and unsummoned, and the two swords cut through flesh like a wire through cheese.

How is Keenar doing all this?

Galahad began to feel afraid. His shield was being buffeted by the strongest magic he ever felt and he did not know how much longer he could hold it. Keenar could end up killing them both with the power she was wielding.

Soon the last guard fell screaming in a rain of acid and Galahad looked about him, his feet covered with the red carpet of flesh and blood. Where was Rakos? Did he escape?

A whimpering noise made Galahad wheel around and there, cowering in a dark corner, was Rakos himself.

“Please…” Rakos pleaded with Galahad. “She has blocked my powers…I cannot find my gift…please help me…help me.”

Galahad stood and said nothing. He did nothing. He watched as smoke started to issue from Rakos’ skin and he looked at it in horror.

“No…no!”

Small blisters began to form, and then his skin began to flake and peel away as if some invisible fire were burning him. His screams pierced the chamber but Keenar was relentless. He continued to slowly burn in front of Galahad’s eyes until there was nothing left but a charred husk on the floor. But Keenar did not stop. Her orb crackled as bright as ever and the whirlwind of magic was immense. The very walls began to crumble around them and Galahad’s shield was thinning.

“Keenar!” he cried above the roar of power. “Keenar stop! It is finished.”

She seemed not to be able to hear him. His shield wavered and a little sorcery leaked through, burning his skin.

“Keenar, it’s Galahad! Stop or you will kill us both. We are free now!”

Her stony expression wavered and some colour swirled into her eyes.

“Galahad..?”

Suddenly the magic stopped abruptly and the orb vanished. The walls stopped crumbling and Galahad’s two swords clattered to the ground. Keenar’s eyes fluttered, and then closed as she fell sideways. Galahad caught her as she sank to the floor. She did not move.

“Keenar?” He shook her softly but she did not wake. Her breathing was shallow and her heartbeat fluttered. Galahad held her close, his arms tight around her.

“We are free,” he whispered into her ear. All was silent. Nothing stirred.

Gathering his swords, he lifted Keenar up into his arms and carried her out of the chamber without looking back. The manor was deserted and the great double doors loomed before him. He extended a little magic and they began to open outwards, bright sunlight he had not seen for weeks, possibly months, got stronger as it filtered into the room and bathed them in its warm glow. It hurt his eyes and burned his skin but he stepped out onto the fresh air and breathed deep. He looked down at the woman asleep in his arms and smiled for the first time in months. They had escaped, they were alive, and they had each other. A stab of pain in his heart told him that Lanec should have been standing smiling beside him and he hoped to Hsaru that he was safe in Dantalion. Feeling shattered and broken, Galahad walked away from that place of hell and lost himself in the city of Trelise.

The images stopped.

I suddenly became aware of my surroundings. The dusty smell of the library. The feel of Galahad’s hands as he released mine. I opened my eyes to see tears flowing from his, and I realised that I too had been crying.

I felt like I had just witnessed a whole entire lifetime, that somehow I expected to be sitting years into the future from when we first started. But I was surprised to find that only five minutes had passed since Galahad first walked into the room. It was so real. I had seen what he’d seen. I’d felt his pain…but it was always distant as if…as if it was not mine to feel.

Still wrapped up in his story, I sat there in silence for some time until Galahad said,

“Keenar is the one that saved me. She saved me from that pit of hell. She saved my soul from the weight of sorrow. She saved my sanity, as I would’ve surely been driven mad from the things I saw that night. And she saved my life.

“We left it all behind us. We started a new life together, pushing the bad memories away and starting afresh. We helped each other to stand on our feet, gave each other something to live for, gradually getting through the pain and the nightmares that lingered after. I don’t know what I would do without her.”

Galahad paused, his black eyes staring off into the distance.

“If she dies in this forsaken war,” he whispered, “everything that is left of me will die with her.”

We both sat in solicitous silence, the flickering flame of the candle casting dancing shadows upon the walls. Soon the sound of footsteps could be heard coming towards us and Keenar appeared from out of the gloom.

“There you are,” she said. “Are you two ready to go out?” She stopped as she sensed Galahad’s mood. Concern passed over her face.

“Are you alright?” she asked quietly.

Galahad stirred, coming out of his thoughts, and smiled up at Keenar.

“Yes, I’m fine,” he said, reassuringly. He rose to his feet and wrapped her up in his embrace, kissing her on the forehead. “Let’s get our coats.”

He slipped his hand round hers and they went to get their things.

“Meet you upstairs in a minute,” Keenar called over her shoulder.

I made my own way down to my room and thought of all that Galahad had shown me. So now I knew his past. How hard it must be to live with these memories so clear in his mind. But though I had witnessed them, these memories were not mine to bear and already the horror was fading as I stored them away as just another story like the books I read or the films I saw.

Picking up the pace, I hurried to get my things.


I suppose I better start writing chapter 10 now. But first.....PRACTICAL!!!

MiloDaePesdan
February 2nd, 2007, 02:53 PM
Damn it, Lanec died. And that's a fitting end to one sorceror--he crumbled to pieces! Mwhahaha--

Ahem. Uh, get on with the main story! ;)

PAGEMASTER
February 2nd, 2007, 04:56 PM
I suppose I better start writing chapter 10 now. But first.....PRACTICAL!!!

Screw practical, chapter ten [-o<


Do you really think I can do such a thing?! To my own characters! They're my babies! lol. And just think how Galahad would feel if I killed off his only friend and brother in the entire world! They've been through so much together I can't separate them now! ;)

No instead you just allow his fingers to be broken and his face ripped off before being fed to a creature. I like the way you think :twisted: hehe


I felt like I had just witnessed a whole entire lifetime, that somehow I expected to be sitting years into the future from when we first started.

I feel like I've spent a lifetime rooting for chapter ten :lol:

Such a wonderful piece, even though I knew he and Keenar were going to survive, I still had fear for them. Poor Lanec, I thought he'd be killed seeing as I stated earlier theres no mention of him in the earlier chapters. This whole set of nine chapters so far seem like a magic, how great they are to how wonderful your story is. Keep at it for all of your fans happiness :thumbr:

Rynash
February 2nd, 2007, 05:08 PM
OMG tht was brilliant MOR MORE MORE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol

Quillpen
February 3rd, 2007, 02:06 AM
neat

Quilldancer
February 3rd, 2007, 04:37 AM
Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was her birth name, but wanted to make sure. And I totally agree with your choice to give all your characters “cool and strange” names! (Says she whose protagonist is called “Troy” … hmm – it just happened … I think he chose his own name). I don’t know why, but for me the names are one of the most important bits.

On your banner, you say that your first few chapters are botched. I’m never sure about giving advice – I’d hate to make someone feel despondent about their work, even though I know we all need to learn! But if you could tell me what you aren’t happy with in those chapters – even if it’s one or more vague things – I could try to think of some ideas to help you improve them. If you want to, of course – it’s just an offer! Maybe it could help others give you ideas as well.

Cheers,

Quilldancer

mashowasho
February 3rd, 2007, 12:10 PM
Damn you Akroma you made me f*cking CRY. :cry:
I also stopped breathing during the last post.


Don't ever, EVER make me do that again. Because if you do I might forget to breathe again and than I'll be dead AND WON'T BE ABLE TO READ THE REST OF YOUR STORY.

:shock: That is what I looked like after I'd finished reading. No word of a lie.

PAGEMASTER
February 3rd, 2007, 01:12 PM
:shock: That is what I looked like after I'd finished reading. No word of a lie.

What, yellow with no nose, no hair and no body? :lol:

Akroma
February 3rd, 2007, 09:37 PM
Ahh, you guys make me laugh.

Wow, hey it actually made you cry, Masho? Awesome! I mean oh no! I mean that's cool but...it's bad...*carrys on digging her own grave* Well I'm glad I managed to pull at your emotions. Every good story does. Oh and if you didn't like that...you might not want to read the end of this story...I'd hate for you to suffocate in front of your computer on my account! Because that's so unfair! You can't put that on my conscience! ;-)

Yeah...I often feel yellow, hairless and bodiless. I'm so glad I've found others like me with the same problem....

PAGEMASTER
February 3rd, 2007, 09:42 PM
Oh and if you didn't like that...you might not want to read the end of this story...I'd hate for you to suffocate in front of your computer on my account! Because that's so unfair! You can't put that on my conscience! ;-)

Yes a depressing ending \\:D/

Now onto chapter ten my good friend.

mashowasho
February 4th, 2007, 02:06 AM
Yeah, I basically cried over Lanec's awful, awful death.

*shudders*




By the way, who's going to see Blood and Chocolate when it comes out?

MiloDaePesdan
February 4th, 2007, 09:48 AM
Well I'm glad I managed to pull at your emotions.



You didn't pull. You played it like a violin.

Now I'm gonna go hide before I get pelted for that cliche. ;)

PAGEMASTER
February 4th, 2007, 04:35 PM
By the way, who's going to see Blood and Chocolate when it comes out?

I wanna see that, but doubt my gf will want too :( just because I made her jump a few times by grabbing her ankle when I saw a rat run past, made out I saw something in the cemetary she gets all silly about it and never watches another horror film with me :lol:

mashowasho
February 4th, 2007, 06:36 PM
Heh, I guess I'll take my faithful cinema buddy with me. We went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire together in an empty cinema and amused ourselves by playing a game which involved punching each other and shouting "Snape!" or "Karkaroff!" whenever either character appeared on screen.
Since then, it's sort of been a tradition to go and see the latest films together, preferably at a time when we can make the most noise.
Yes, I am one of those annoying cinema people who talks all the way through if I don't like the film within the first five minutes. :-p

Akroma
February 5th, 2007, 01:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mashowasho
By the way, who's going to see Blood and Chocolate when it comes out?


OOH!!!! MEMEMEMEMEMEME! Just saw the trailer and it looks cool! Yay for werewolfy chick flicks! And from the makers of Underworld - it's gotta be good!! Awesome!

PAGEMASTER
February 5th, 2007, 05:48 PM
What about 'the number 23' starring Jim Carrey, anyone planning on seeing that, I wanna :D

No movies for you Akroma until you have chapter ten finished :tongue:

Rynash
February 5th, 2007, 05:50 PM
yeah what pagemaster says

Akroma
February 6th, 2007, 09:31 PM
No movies for you Akroma until you have chapter ten finished

](*,) Awww...ok...if you say so...to be honest I haven't started it yet :sad: Too much going on at the mo. Just flunked my Chinese test, my 16 month old nephew just came to visit and sucked all my energy out of me, my lectures are a drag and my muse seems to have gone on holiday. I said it wasn't allowed holidays but it just stood there and went [-(

But I'll try and get something down so if it's not that good, I apolagise. It's a boring chapter anyway. Having a break from the action...Raven needs some time to rest and sort out her feelings for Sethis and this whole Vampiring business. But don't worry, she'll soon be off on adventures of her own, with her faithful friends Keenar and Galahad and...someone else....

Sounds like something off Postman Pat...:-k

PAGEMASTER
February 6th, 2007, 09:39 PM
Raven needs some time to rest and sort out her feelings for Sethis and this whole Vampiring business. But don't worry, she'll soon be off on adventures of her own, with her faithful friends Keenar and Galahad and...someone else....

Even when describing the chapter you still make it mysteriously exciting.

Every chapter has a meaning to the story, even slow action ones, and if anyone can make it a good'n, I believe its you.

Rynash
February 9th, 2007, 05:16 PM
sounds good HURRY UP!!!

Akroma
February 12th, 2007, 05:09 PM
OK, I'm in a bit of a dilemma (however you spell it) here, guys! I need you to tell me which poem you like best! Because I'm going to include one in Chapter 10. here are the two poems:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die

Mary Frye

Or do you think this one's better?

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti

Rynash
February 12th, 2007, 05:12 PM
the first one i think

MiloDaePesdan
February 12th, 2007, 05:15 PM
Aye, Mary Frye's! There's something of a resonance in that poem with your character Raven. It defines her. ;)

Cefor
February 12th, 2007, 05:40 PM
Yea, Mary's poem sounds the better :D

Just to say, I read your story from the beginning the other day. And what an amazing read! Really want to read the rest, and i'm glad i've read enough to be able to post and not sound out of date lmao!

Keep up the Excellent work Akroma!!!:D:D

Cefor

PAGEMASTER
February 12th, 2007, 08:03 PM
First one Akroma ;)

Akroma
February 15th, 2007, 01:26 PM
Really? The first one? Well, ok. I guess it does suit her character in an ironic kind of way...I don't know I'm having a bash at writing my own now lol.

Cefor, thanks for sticking it out, man! Glad you're enjoying it! I always appreciate new readers. I know my story's getting kind of epic...

Akroma
February 15th, 2007, 01:37 PM
Heh! Akroma's now RED!!! Instead of the Angel of Wrath, she's now the Angel of Fury!! hehehehe! No...that's not evil enough...MWAHAHAHAHAAAAA! Better artwork too. Her wings are AWESOME and she's got some cool spear thing! And flaming hair!!!! Sorry I'm a bit of a pyromaniac...I spin fire...

PAGEMASTER
February 15th, 2007, 06:31 PM
Sorry I'm a bit of a pyromaniac...I spin fire...

You just concentrate on spinning words into chapter ten missy 8)

Coltonskinner
February 15th, 2007, 07:23 PM
you hadd me at All origin..and I never stopped reading...plz get on Laptop or computer, lol the only reason I wrote my Werewolf story is cause I read yours :P....stupid die hard christian mom made it so i can't write on it anymore *sniff* But yours blows mine out of the water and when u make this a book I want ur siggy peeez!.....I love fire also...ice = boring but fire! You can burn yourself!

riversource
February 15th, 2007, 10:12 PM
But as Galahad’s blurry vision swung to the doorway, two guards were already pulling her into the chamber. Her eyes looked fearfully around her and settled on the Leviathan and Lanec’s fresh remains. Her eyes widened in horror. Half of Lanec’s face lay upon the floor, the jaw still open in a twisted scream. Keenar sank to her knees, her mouth opening and shutting but no sound coming forth, her face streaming with tears. At last an anguished moan escaped her lips as she grasped her head in her hands.










:pale: :pale: :pale: :pale:

*sob*
Lanec? Oh, how could you?!

I know i've dropped terribly behind but i'm back and trying to catch up! looks like i've got a lot of reading to do! This just keeps getting better and better (and you just keep getter meaner and meaner to your poor characters!)

spannyka
February 16th, 2007, 09:41 PM
hey nats,
Just wanted to say hi i'm so behind on this i'm sorry its been really busy here, I will try and catch up soon just thought i'd say hi how things at uni? Be gd to hear from u it has been ages. Hope to hear from u soon
Anneka

Akroma
February 19th, 2007, 06:05 PM
Ok, everyone!!! The first part of Chapter 10 is finally ready!!! I decided not to use any of those poems in the end lol. Tell me what you yhink, I had a bit of trouble with it..



Chapter 10


The dim lights of the restaurant filtered down, casting a warm glow upon the diners, the crystal glasses splitting the light into all colours of the spectrum. An orchestra played calm, relaxing music in the background, and smart waiters in coat tails went about their business serving expensive food.

Galahad, Keenar and I sat around a table, engaging one another in small talk and taking in the many sounds and scents. We had gone to see a movie beforehand but I had found it dull and mediocre. Critiques had called it the most thrilling film of all time, a new rage spreading throughout the world; to me it was nothing compared to what I had just seen in Galahad’s mind. The horror still lingered and I too could not get Lanec’s screams out of my head. The memory was not even mine.

I glanced over at Galahad. He looked good enough for any girl to die for in his dinner suit and tie. His mouth was split into a grin as he shared a conversation with Keenar and his eyes sparkled every time they met hers. Nothing in his posture or expression betrayed his past or the emotions locked inside him, so much stronger and potent that what I was feeling now. How could he carry those undying memories with him for all these thousands of years? How could he live with them?

They had already ordered and the dishes arrived promptly upon silver trays and white cloth. I ordered nothing, as usual, and pretended to sip on a glass of wine. I was used to this by now, all but forgetting what it was like to have a sense of taste. Instead, I enjoyed the pleasures of food through my sense of smell, the rich aromas of good recipes giving me a sensation almost like taste, but not quite. Not quite.

Keenar was talking about the film. I listened for a while, her words surrounding me and washing through me, but my mind drifted away again to the night outside and the cold open air.

After a while I decided to excuse myself. Keenar looked at me quizzically but did not protest. Our heightened senses make us sensitive to the moods of others. I was once surprised to be able to feel the happiness radiating out from someone; or the sorrow. I felt it like black tendrils of shadow curling outwards from the core, killing joy like cancer.

She knew I wanted to be alone.

“We’ll see you back at the mansion,” she said.

As I rose to leave she suddenly gripped my hand, her silver eyes locking with mine.

“Be careful.”

I nodded and smiled at her in reassurance. Galahad rose to his feet as I vacated the table, a faint light of concern in his eyes. With a slight shake of my head that said my uneasiness was not of his doing, I left the two lovers to their meal and stepped out into the night.

It was clear and crisp, the stars shining brightly from the dome of infinity above me. I walked casually down the city streets, not really heading anywhere in particular, my boots making no noise upon the stones of the pavement.

City life swirled around me: the loud, polluting vehicles of people rushing from A to B, oblivious to anything but their own lives; snatches of music from a thousand blaring stereos; smells of restaurants and pubs. The world rushed around me like a dream on fast forward - people speeding through their short, quick lives as I slowly walked my way through eternity.

So, as I always did, I pushed it all out of my head and retreated inside myself where there was nobody else. The sounds faded, as did the enticing smells and flashing lights. But things came unbidden out of the mist, images and feelings I had tried to suppress. And an aching was in my chest where it had not been before. Yet in my heart I knew that it had been there all along, just denied and denied until it had learnt to shadow itself. But now, after all the fear; all the changes; all the toil and adrenaline through training, it chose to unveil itself. Like an old wound that still hurts long after the scar tissue has faded, it made itself known. I knew exactly what it was and, instead of pushing it away, I embraced my pain.

The subtle sound of wind rushing through feathered wings brought me out of my reverie. Looking up, I saw a black shadow circling high overhead. Lifting my arm, the shadow spilled the air from its wings and came to land gracefully on my sleeve, claws digging into the leather.

Talon hopped up my arm and came to rest upon my shoulder, rubbing his head against my pale cheek. I smiled at him and continued walking.

“Why is it that we feel emotions so much more acutely than mortals?” I whispered to him after a while. He did not answer.

“You could wait a lifetime for a wound to close but it will only gape wider. Why is that, Talon? Why can we never forget anything, doomed to remember every little detail of pain in our lives? Why does it grow inside you like a black hole until you are filled with it?”

I looked at Talon and he just stared back. He had no answers for me. Something was reflecting in his black eyes and I looked closer. It was a tombstone.

Looking around me I realised that I had walked clear out of the city and was standing alone in the last place I wanted to be: the cemetery. The grounds stretched for as far as the human eye could see, eerie and foreboding. Tombs, statues and gravestones glinted pale and ghostly in the moonlight, scarring the landscape with markers for a thousand dead bodies. Mist swirled around my feet and drifted amongst the tombstones, damp and chill in the night air. The silence was heavy.

Shivering a little, I turned to go back to the city, but something stopped me in my tracks; a thought that provoked a peculiar feeling. Instead of carrying on, I turned towards the cemetery gates. They loomed before me, riddled with climbing ivy and sharp brambles, the black cast iron curling in ghostly shapes. Pushing them open, I stepped into the swirling mist, so like to spirits trying to wrap themselves around me, curling around my legs and caressing my cheeks.

The silence was complete as I moved slowly amongst the various statues and tombs, some smooth and white, others overgrown with choking weeds, the stone crumbling away. Not even Talon ruffled a feather. But despite the creeping feeling twisting up my spine, it seemed like a place of peace. Peace for those lying in their final rest in the earth…but sorrow for the living that were separated from them.

I continued my walk, admiring the beauty of the statues, the many stone angels that lined the leafy path and the gothic gargoyles leering from their frozen positions. Suddenly something caught my eye that gave me an uneasy feeling inside. It was a gravestone of expensive white marble, still new and unsullied by time. On top of the stone lay a marble angel, face buried in her white arms in sorrow and mourning, her wings spread out and glittering into the night. The stone folds of her gown looked so real and soft, tumbling in waves over the plaque and collecting on the floor. It was so beautiful, so smooth and white that it took my breath away.

With tears running down my face, I ran my fingertips over the delicate wings, the folds of her robes then, kneeling before the grave, over the deeply engraved name in curling letters that burned into my mind.



Raven Vekkaun



3791-3816



If I should die, and thine side leave,
Think not to grieve, thine tears restrain.
I still draw breath within thine heart.
With thee, a part, my soul remain.
Thou knowst these lips shall no more kiss.
Mine hand thou miss upon thine cheek,
To clasp mine figure close to thee,
No more to see the eyes thou seekst
For I am changed. I ride the air,
A fire’s flare, the falling rain,
I’m with thee still in every breath.
Think not of death. Feel no more pain.
I’m waiting for thee, for the end,
To both ascend, thine hand in mine.
Heed these words that I impart:
My love, my heart, lives still in thine.



Such a feeling of strangeness came over me as I stared at my own grave. Strangeness and sorrow. How hard it must have been for Sethis to bury an empty casket.

Sethis. Memories of him flooded back into my mind and this time I did not push them away. I let every single one of them surface and, with them, the raw intense feeling of a love lost. Fresh tears filled my eyes and I cried for him; a phantom crying for the living that it deserted.

I missed him. I missed him so much. And there it was, that feeling that had been plaguing me since the beginning. I just never dared to admit it. How I longed for the feel of his arms around me again, his soft kisses, the sound of his voice…the courage gained by being loved deeply and the strength felt by loving deeply in return.

I do not know how long I sat there staring with tearful eyes at the white marble grave with my name on it, the beautiful mourning angel crying with me, the poem’s haunting words. I had always wanted a white angel over my tombstone…and Sethis had remembered…

The mist continued to swirl around me, the moon slowly sinking in the sky. Still I sat, staring with vacant eyes as my thoughts pulled me deeper into myself.

Suddenly I heard soft steps crushing the dew soaked grass behind me and my senses snapped back, alert and wary. But I was not alarmed. By the wheezing breath and the sound of clinking metal, I knew it was just the old priest with his lantern doing his nightly rounds. Grave robbery was not uncommon in Asperia.

“I am sorry,” he said quietly behind me. “It must be very hard for you, not knowing what happened to the body…” I felt a comforting hand upon my shoulder.

After a respectful pause he spoke again.

“Are you perchance acquainted with a young man…I have seen him at this grave many times…long black hair…blue eyes…”

My throat closed, my heart pounding in my chest.

“They were lovers,” I whispered hoarsely. I heard the priest sigh behind me.

“Oh my. Oh dear,” he muttered. “Terrible…just terrible…poor lad…”

I swallowed hard. “Is…Is he alright? How does he look?”

“Not too well,” he said softly. “I do not doubt that he will soon be following her. Grief is a powerful slayer…”

I slowly stood up and turned to face him, the lantern casting a pale light over my white face, my green eyes shining like fire through the darkness. Talon glared at him intently, his black wings flaring.

The priest’s eyes widened in fear and surprise and he stumbled back from me, his trembling fingers closing around a sword pendant, a symbol of ‘The Lord’, hanging round his neck. “God…” he uttered. “Who…what…”

“I am not going to hurt you,” I said softly, raising my hands in a sign of peace. “I just want to know about the man you described…can you tell me about…please, calm down…”

But the old parson was not calming. He was now trembling, whimpering as he sank to the floor before me, praying.

“Listen, I’m not from the devil! I’m not going to harm you! I…”

But he was shrieking now, screaming a jumble of words, his eyes large and bulbous in his gaunt face, terror leading him to the brink of madness. I knew if I tried to reason with him any longer the old timer would have a heart attack. So I did what I was best at: I disappeared.

I turned and melted into the darkness from whence I came, leaving the terrified old parson standing alone with his lantern and breathing heavily. After a few moments he crossed himself several times and staggered away, moving on.

Akroma
February 19th, 2007, 06:08 PM
Continued...

I made my solitary way out of the cemetery, stopping now and then to read inscriptions or to admire the stonework. Talon spread his wings and rose into the blackness of infinity, circling high above me, a black silhouette against a million stars.

Reaching the gate, I turned to take one last look at the mist entwined world of stone angels and gravestones; bare twisted trees standing amongst them like bent mourners.

Suddenly something caught my eye and I squinted into the swirling grey droplets, my heart pounding in my chest. My mind tried to justify what it had just glimpsed – a trick of the light? The ever deceptive fog? But looking closer I knew it was no hallucination.

Something was in the graveyard with me. Something other than the frightened old parson. The mist cleared for a moment, a window through which I focused all my senses, and there he was. My heart stopped in mid-pulse and I ceased to breathe. Time itself halted in mid breath; the Earth ceased to move.

The Angel faced a freshly dug grave. He did not see me; just stood there bent in sorrow, silver tears falling from his beautifully chiselled face. They fell like droplets of stars and, where they hit the earth, delicate white flowers sprouted from the grass and raised their pale faces to the moon.

He was tall; taller than any mortal man. Lean muscles rippled across his slender form giving him a powerful countenance, and yet he looked delicate at the same time as if he would smash into a thousand fragments if he were to fall. The hue of his skin was a dark grey that was strangely appealing, the sheen upon his bare torso making it look as soft as satin, and his hair the colour of silver falling in long irregular locks about his face and shoulders. His leg attire was black as the night sky and his bare feet hardly seemed to crush the grass beneath him.

But what took my breath away most was his wings. They were not white as I expected them to be, but more a soft grey, shadowed with the darker greys and browns as the great, broad feathers overlapped each other. And they were vast; huge wings that sprouted from his shoulder blades and stretched out into the darkness around him, a span so large as to ride the skies with the swiftness of a thousand eagles. My heart ached inside me from the sheer beauty, and tears came unbidden to my eyes.

He flexed his wings so that they unfolded and swept up in an arc of majestic power, the soft silken rub of feathers against feathers sounding in my ears. The colours glistened in the moonlight, the dark wings stretching and giving a few beats of the air before folding once again.

I gasped in wonder. He was enchanting, a faint light emitting from his presence. I looked to his face and saw that it was twisted in an expression of anguish and sorrow. I felt like my heart would begin to bleed.

Suddenly the Angel stiffened, sensing something…as if he could hear my heart pounding in my chest or feel my eyes burning into his skin. Then he turned…and looked directly at me. His tear-filled eyes shone a bright grey within his angelic face and seemed to pierce my soul, his silver hair stirring in the slight breeze.

I stood as still as stone, hardly daring to breathe lest he disappear or I awake from some strange dream. Speech formed on my tongue yet died on passing my lips. It seemed an age we stood staring at each other, the mist swirling around us, his wings a vast shadow around him.

His lips then moved, as if speaking words, and I heard a soft, deep whisper that sounded almost like music in my head.

“Henala coratus Dael-ereth. Nif degithan a Hyn i serf na baret en na Dhaelas.”

Confused, I shook my head. His language was none that I had ever heard before; beautiful and strange…I opened my mouth but before I could speak he spread his magnificent wings and rose into the air. Within seconds he was amongst the stars and the more I tried to focus, the harder it became for me to see him until…he was gone. I was standing alone in the swirling mists, blinking stupidly and breathing hard from my held breath.

Dazed and overcome, I turned and walked heavily towards the cemetery gates. Then, through the shock, excitement bubbled up within me. Breaking into a run, I leaped the wall guarding the perimeter and headed back to the mansion.

Rynash
February 19th, 2007, 07:03 PM
bravo that was very good now get on with the next bit looks good HURRY HURRY WIUTH THE NEXT PART BEFORE I GET BORED LAST TIME I NEARLY DIED

PAGEMASTER
February 19th, 2007, 08:55 PM
Just when I think I know whats coming, say for instance: the person behind Raven turns out to be her husband you completely trick my mind and take me down a different route, I love that :D And I love this story. Your poem by the way, wonderful ;) Keep up the excellent chapters.

Quillpen
February 20th, 2007, 02:18 AM
I'll read chap ten tommorow. As it is my eyes are falling out my head from staringt at the computer for so long. You might want to make chapter ninen two chapter just a thought. It might seema little out of place being to long in your story.

spannyka
February 20th, 2007, 04:44 PM
hey Akroma,

Just to give u an update i'm up to page7 part way through chapter 9, I just really should be doing a lab report so i'll be back to finish this soon. I love the style in this and I love the slight changes in the plot this way round it seems to work a lot better, it expalins things a lot better. This is defrinetly a lot better than the non edited version and Keep going, because it is really really good. So keep up the good work and you'll be hearing from me sonish

Spannyka

Quillpen
February 21st, 2007, 12:07 AM
Yeah! finished chap ten! this story is so cool. I can't wait for more.By the way i know this doesn't halp you in any way...Keenar sounds like neenar neenar boo boo. As in what smal children comtimes do. I like her name anyways though.

spannyka
February 22nd, 2007, 02:40 PM
Hey Akroma,
I loved the back story to Galahad, was very actioned packed, and very emotional, you discribed Lanec death so well I really emphasised with him. The seeing her grave was very powerful, symbolic deth and the angel whats that got to do with things, but also was very powerful. Twas very mysterious. I have to say Akroma this new version is much better than the old verion the world and the back story and the fight just seems to flow better, than the old style, and it also gives it more originality having the old creatures and the magic and stuff. This is very great story and please write more. I will endevor to keep up with it this time.

spannyka

Carrson
February 23rd, 2007, 05:53 AM
One of the best things i've read yet.
Thank you for showing me this, it's brilliant.

killned3
February 23rd, 2007, 06:51 AM
From what I've read of your book, you are an excellent writer.

However, I don't know if posting something you're so proud of is the best idea . . . you may tell people not to plagiarize, but in the end it won't stop whoever wants to. There's risk here, especially since your piece obviously has talent written all over it.

Just my opinion. Nothing more. :]

PAGEMASTER
February 23rd, 2007, 10:37 AM
From what I've read of your book, you are an excellent writer.

However, I don't know if posting something you're so proud of is the best idea . . . you may tell people not to plagiarize, but in the end it won't stop whoever wants to. There's risk here, especially since your piece obviously has talent written all over it.

Just my opinion. Nothing more. :]

As much as I'd hate to admit it, killned3 is right. Maybe its best for you trying to have this published when finished and if all works out post on here that its for sale, I know I'd buy it in a heart beat.

Rynash
February 23rd, 2007, 04:50 PM
ye what page master says

Akroma
February 25th, 2007, 11:53 AM
Hmmmm...I guess you're right,guys. But it'll be AGES til i finish this book. Uni keeps getting in the way lol. And I'd like to keep posting it on the net but....I really don't want anyone to steal my ideas and then get their book published before mine :-( that would be bad. Not sure what to do bout that... *sniff sniff*

PAGEMASTER
February 25th, 2007, 12:21 PM
Hmmmm...I guess you're right,guys. But it'll be AGES til i finish this book. Uni keeps getting in the way lol. And I'd like to keep posting it on the net but....I really don't want anyone to steal my ideas and then get their book published before mine :-( that would be bad. Not sure what to do bout that... *sniff sniff*

Can a book be published if people can look at it for free? Just consider these ten chapters like a little teaser, making readers want to buy the book and believe me you've got quite a few of them. I wish you all the luck in the world Akroma.

Rynash
February 25th, 2007, 01:04 PM
or you could make a website that requires a password to get in and give it to some trusted people only a suggestion

PAGEMASTER
February 25th, 2007, 01:11 PM
I cant see why any self respecting writer would want to steal a story as such. I could never attempt to have publish something that wasnt mine, I'd feel like I was cheating my writing ability.


or you could make a website that requires a password to get in and give it to some trusted people only a suggestion

I'd still recommend not posting anymore at all on websites.

Rynash
February 25th, 2007, 01:33 PM
ye i suppose you make sense pagemaster BUT THIS STORY IS JUST SO COOL! anyway like pagemaster says finish chap 10 and leave it as teaser and tell us when book is published

PAGEMASTER
February 25th, 2007, 01:50 PM
ye i suppose you make sense pagemaster BUT THIS STORY IS JUST SO COOL!

Exactly how I feel :lol: I would prefer Akroma to post all the story here too but this is in her best interest and at the end of the day her decision. Let it go, there will be other stories hehe ;)

Rynash
February 25th, 2007, 02:06 PM
NO!!! oh well yeah nit is in your intrest akroma make the book then tell us stat but i will say one thing your story is better then most ive read

Akroma
February 27th, 2007, 01:31 PM
Aw you guys are so sweet! I really want to keep posting on here though...it's what keeps me writing! And it will be a very long time before I finish the book because I have so many projects in for uni, I'm trying to learn Chinese, I need to go to work and I still need to have a social life lol. People are just damn evil, I shouldn't have to worry about people plagiarising (however you spell the blasted word!) I'll think of something...I could keep sending you my posts in a private message to each of you lol. I dunno...there's probably an even shorter word limit on those and I'll just clog up your in-boxes.

PAGEMASTER
February 27th, 2007, 02:18 PM
I could keep sending you my posts in a private message to each of you lol. I dunno...there's probably an even shorter word limit on those and I'll just clog up your in-boxes.

But can you really trust either of us? I think the best bet is for you to quit uni, not bother about work, social life pfft you got us now, spend all your time writing until you get the damn thing finished and published :tongue: :lol:

Rynash
February 28th, 2007, 05:19 PM
YEAH WHAT PAGEMASTER SAYS!!!!! but seriously its in ur best intrest maybe u could tell basic plot?????? then give us free copy when it is published

Cefor
February 28th, 2007, 05:39 PM
Or maybe, if it is in MS Word format.... send it to them via e-mail..... and me of course! :D:D:D

Cefor

PAGEMASTER
February 28th, 2007, 05:55 PM
Free copies. I'd rather have the most people pay for it as I can :lol:

riversource
March 1st, 2007, 10:31 PM
Hey, what do you know, i caught up! :thumbr:

Ignore this lot, post more! (Or snail-mail it to me!) I want to know what happens! Come on, i've been waiting over two years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [-o<

Did you watch Nightwatch? Innit great?

PAGEMASTER
March 1st, 2007, 11:30 PM
At this rate Akroma will be P.M'ing the entire forum :lol:

Rynash
March 5th, 2007, 07:07 PM
err akroma r u goin to write more and post??

onyxprop
March 5th, 2007, 07:22 PM
I just joined and read the story with which i think it might be too late in posting. As much as i don't like vampires this one actually kept me reading even though i was thinking great now i'm going to get a nightmare. You have a poetic way of putting things. Wouldn't mind reading an ebook version of the whole thing.

Akroma
March 8th, 2007, 05:56 PM
I'm sorry, guys. I think I will carry on and post here but at the moment it's the last two weeks of term and I have 5 projects/essays to hand in so I'm afraid I've given the Vampire and Werewolf population a rest. You know, let Raven recharge her batteries - go to a beauty parlour and get a facial, perhaps grab a fit dude from The Sanctuary and get laid, brush up on her art skills... ;-)

Don't worry it'll be the Easter break soon - 5 weeks of working in a dumb supermarket full of the local village idiots and revising for 5 exams...like that's ever going to happen, so I'm sure Raven will be back on her feet in no time and having lots of adventures!

Riversource, I have seen Nightwatch! It's absolutely awesome and the photography in it's amazing! I'll have to remember to send it back to you! When are the other two films coming out? It's part of a trilogy isn't it?

Heya, Onyxprop! I'm glad you enjoy it! No nightmares yet? Darn, I'm not trying hard enough ;-) Just kidding, I wouldn't want to inflict a nightmare upon anyone. I love you're avatar by the way! Oddly enough I've just set the same picture as my desk top! lol. But Riku kicks ass. I've never played Kingdom Hearts myself because I don't have a console but I've watched too many videos on it on youtube to know what it's about....and really really wishing I could play it lol cos it looks absolutely amazing!

Well I guess I better give you guys a little bit more just to keep your appetites up but the rest is still on paper...I'll have to type it up sometime...



Chapter 10 continued...

The darkness enclosed me and I felt the slight feeling of vertigo in the pit of my stomach as I descended. The doors opened and I stepped out into the hall of pillars, urgently clattering down the spiral stairs. I suddenly came to a halt as a dark figure burst out from behind a book shelf.

“Scaron!” I gasped, my heart pounding from the sudden shock. “You frightened me. Do not jump out at me like that again!”

The young werewolf before me grinned and started giggling, doubling up in childish laughter at the jest of it, a rare accomplishment sneaking up on the great Raven!

Scaron was not like a normal werewolf. Lylas had warned me of this, her being his cousin and the only family he had. He was coming on eighteen years old, his body already taking on the characteristic lean and muscular form of the immortal, but his mind would never be like ours. He was a child inside, and would always remain so, his brain unable to develop any further. Had he been a mortal, he would surely be dead before he had reached sixteen. I looked at this boy, just as tall as I, as he laughed with innocent pleasure and my reaction to his sudden attack, his thin brown hair getting in his eyes.

This was not the first time Scaron had sneaked up on me. He’d done it several times before in fact, though most of the time he was unsuccessful. I could always hear his giggling. Despite my urgency, I smiled and put my hands on his shoulders.

“Scaron,” I said quietly. He looked up at me but could not keep a straight face, a grin breaking out on his lips after a moment of struggling to keep it hidden.

“Why don’t you go and play with Crow? Or Jarleth perhaps, I know he is up in the club…you find me in a bit of a hurry and I have no time for games right now.”

The grin on his handsome, yet slightly dirty face immediately fell. Disappointment filled his simple eyes and he tugged on my coat.

“But you promised,” he said, his tone so much like a boy’s but deep like a man’s. It had taken time to get used to it. “You promised! No breaking promises. You shouldn’t break promises.” My heart sank as he stood looking at the floor, shuffling his feet. “Lylas says it’s bad,” he added after a pause. “Bad, bad…promises…” he mumbled to himself, picking something from his nose and scrutinizing it seriously.

I felt so sorry for him. He was like a little brother to me and I loved him like any big sister would. I tenderly brushed his hair out of his eyes and touched his cheek which brought the smile back onto his lips.

“Listen,” I said to him. “I just need to talk with The Brothers and then I’ll come and play with you, ok?”

Scaron thought about it, and then decided it would suffice, nodding slowly. He took my hand and shook it, like two children making a secret pact. “Later,” he confirmed. “Later,” he repeated again.

“Now run along and see if you can stay out of trouble.”

He nodded and grinned again, making his way back down the stairs. Suddenly he stopped as if forgetting something, and came back to give me a little kiss on the cheek, then hopped down the stairs again, his laughter trailing behind him as I heard him yell with glee, “Ah, I scared you! I scared you, Raven!” his giggling making me smile. Shaking my head I carried on down. Talon flew ahead, probably to Alaric who always kept a few scraps of meat for him in his room.

I found Keenar and Galahad in the training halls. Both had a sword in each hand – two blades each, sharp and glinting wickedly. As I entered, I noticed that the swords Keenar possessed were those of Galahad’s mother. The two figures were moving together in sleek, swift fluidity, two shadows amongst a whirlwind of gnashing knives and swirling blades. But, like Lexan and Lorcan before, they complemented each other perfectly, every blow anticipated and blocked or nimbly dodged. The perspiration gleamed on their skin and their evocative eyes were set in concentration.

I stood on the side and watched quietly, careful not to interrupt the intense dance that they were locked in. Sooner or later one of them will win and I waited patiently, wondering who would emerge the victor.

Suddenly Galahad swung his leg round the back of Keenar’s, their swords still flashing, and pushed her backwards, Keenar’s eyes widening in shock as she fell. Galahad caught her with one arm and, in the same instant, pressed a sword to her chest, the sharp point inches from her breastbone. It was instantaneous, a sudden direct halt. One moment they were a tornado of knives, the next they stood as still as statues in a blink of an eye. A mischievous smile curled Galahad’s lips.

“Looks like I win,” he said.

Keenar raised an eyebrow, the same mischievous look in her eyes.

“Oh really?”

Confusion passed over his face and he looked down. There, sure enough, was one of Keenar’s swords pressed between his legs, much too close to his manhood for his liking. He looked back at her, the grin now replaced with an awkward tight-lipped expression as he cleared his throat. Now it was her turn to grin, a roguish smile forming on her lips as she subtly slid the blade enticingly up his leg and pressed the point against him.

“You cheeky devil,” he growled, his lips curling into a snarl and he leaned in to kiss her. Their lips locked together and they seemed to forget the blades pressing against each other, Keenar held weightlessly in his arms.

After a while I cleared my throat. The kiss was broken and I looked down at my feet as they straightened up, sheathing swords and looking a little embarrassed.

“Raven,” said Keenar, blushing slightly, “we thought you were out. Where did you go anyway?”

“That’s not important,” I said urgently. “Listen, I saw an angel!”

Keenar and Galahad suddenly stopped. Both looked serious now, listening intently.

“What?” said Galahad incredulously. “You saw an Angel from the other plain?!”

I nodded, trembling with excitement. “Not only that. He spoke to me!” I relayed the angel’s words to them, trying my hardest to recall that strange language.

“But what does it mean?” I asked.

“I know the language but you’re better off speaking to Lexan and Lorcan,” said Galahad.

I nodded.

“Yes I was on my way to see them when I bumped into you two. I shall go there now. They’re in their rooms aren’t they?” And before they could answer I was halfway out the door.

dead bunny
March 8th, 2007, 11:10 PM
wow... I mean wow.
I just had the oppertunity to read chapter ten and I have to say, that was amazing! That was so... intimate and just simply real. I have something in the works concerning angels as well, but your story takes the cake.
People won't plagerize you, when your this great at relaying a story in detail, you've earned that respect. keep up the good work.

Quillpen
March 9th, 2007, 12:00 AM
Yeah! that was awesome.I wish i had some of you're skill. I'm better at talking than imagery. Bad Quill bad.

onyxprop
March 9th, 2007, 04:27 AM
I wouldn't want to inflict a nightmare upon anyone. Douglas Clegg emailed me in reply telling me he prefers that his books give nightmares that way he knows he's done his duty. Yeah yeah, it's all because I told him I wouldn't buy his Priest of Blood book because it has vampires in it (of course I just bought it, last week!:scratch: haven't read it yet though. Probably won't. I don't read books or watch movies for that matter with vampire skits that are extremely violent)
lol, anyways, do you have a website I can visit? to see what other work you've done?;-)

Akroma
March 9th, 2007, 01:14 PM
do you have a website I can visit? to see what other work you've done?;-)

To be honest this is the only story I have ever written! I started it when I was seventeen and it's been three years in the making. That last bit I just posted is the last bit of the story I wrote a year ago, I've just finished re-writing it because the old version was crap. This one's much better - more plot and magic and the characters are more fleshed out. All the posts after this is coming straight from my head - stuff I've always thought about but never got onto paper. I've spent so long on this it's my baby lol.

But I do have some ideas for a story after this one - set in Raven's world but way before the magic began to fade, before Keenar's time. Lexan and Lorcan wll be making an appearance of course but it won't be about Vampires or Werewolves. More about this Druid and his apprentice.

Rynash
March 9th, 2007, 10:17 PM
nice me lyk need more stat!

Quillpen
March 9th, 2007, 11:25 PM
That would be a cooli dea. Just don't let a new story take away your time from a current one.

Tirisyil
March 10th, 2007, 12:55 PM
Congratulations Akroma, you just made yourself a new fan.

I just spent a very enjoyable half hour or so reading the first ten chapters, and damn, I'm impressed.

Please keep posting here? Im hooked already...

mashowasho
March 10th, 2007, 01:30 PM
Well done Akroma, your writing is top notch as always. I wondered if there was something I'd missed when you started name-dropping, but then I really felt for Scaron. *hugs*
I especially loved the mini fight scene between Galahad/Keenar. Galahad was gonna get netured! XP

Aterinâ„¢
March 10th, 2007, 05:58 PM
Well I just now finished Chapters 1 - 10. My opinion......................fantastic:thumbl: I especially love the way the story is so descriptive, it's almost like I'm actually there looking at the objects\people your describing. I love stories that do that; gives me a much better mental image thus making it easier to read. I kinda have to agree with the posts that talked about the copyright issue though; it is very possible someone might try to steal it. You might wanna think about getting a copyright on it which is about $45 I think (don't hold me too it), but compared to the money you could make if you published it, that's nothing. So good work Akroma, and I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future (either being in posts or bookstores :profilel:)

Dan101
March 11th, 2007, 06:43 PM
I read your prologue and a few early chapters, and I must say they are wonderfully written! :D Im a big fan of angels and demons and vampires, and I look forward to continuing onward in your book! One thing I must say about the prologue: I absolutely loved your description of Raven feeding on the young man, about how he had a family and his girlfriend. I loved it! It made me feel so sad for him. You had me hoping he wouldnt die, thats how well you delivered that character. :D

I think you have a great story here, and should definitely look into getting it published!

Rynash
March 12th, 2007, 11:46 PM
Akroma i am dieing of boredom i need the next bit NOW!!!!! at least tell me when u think u will post it

Cefor
March 13th, 2007, 09:55 PM
Aww, keep up the excellent work Akroma!!!

Cefor

Akroma
March 14th, 2007, 02:12 PM
Ok,!! ok here's the next bit! I haven't had anyone to proof read it or anything so it may change if sentenses don't make sense or if Lorcan says something silly...It's mostly talking but enjoy!






Chapter 10 continued...



I stood facing the wolf and the vampire. Their frozen expressions stared back at me through the grains of wood, never changing and ever vigilant. I too stood unmoving before the doors of my Leaders’ chambers.

As I had progressed through the mansion, my excitement had ebbed away to be replaced by nervousness. By the time I had reached my destination my heart was pounding and my hands shook as I raised a fist to knock upon the entrance. The sound echoed down the deserted corridor; candle flames flickered.

I waited but no answer bade me enter. I raised my hand again and an unseen gust of wind pushed the door open a crack. I hesitated a moment then reached out a hand and pushed it wider, stepping inside with bated breath.

At first glance the lodgings seemed to be empty, but my eyes were drawn to the fireplace and there, lying upon the rug, was a wolf the size of a bear. Its long grey fur looked as soft as silk, and I longed to stroke it but did not approach the sleeping beast. I turned as quietly as I could but, before I could reach the door, silent words formed in my head.

<Leaving so soon?>

I turned to find Lorcan’s long muzzle pointing up at me, his blue eyes wide and alert. Words died on my lips.

“I…I…”

<Come, sit with me by the fire> he indicated with a point of his black nose. I dared not defy him.

I seated myself on the soft rug next to his imposing bulk, feeling the warmth of the fire wash over me. I closed my eyes and breathed a long sigh, feeling my body relax. When my eyes opened, Lorcan was studying my face.

<Is there something on your mind?>

I nodded and considered my words carefully.

“I found myself in the graveyard tonight.” He nodded, encouraging me.

“I am not certain of what I saw but…”

<Go on.>

“I think he was an Angel.”

If Lorcan was surprised, he gave away not one shard of his emotions.

“His skin was dark grey, his hair and eyes silver…” My heart was beating fast again, just remembering his magnificence; the look in those eyes… “His wings were beautiful.” It was all I could say. No words could fully describe what I had seen. The room was silent for a while before Lorcan spoke.

<His name is Orias, Angel of the Moon. I have not seen him for many centuries.>

“Angel of the Moon?”

<Indeed, there are many different Angels. K’rana, the Fire Angel, has blazing red skin and hair that falls in flames about her fierce face. The feathers upon her wings are gold and red as if woven from leaves plucked from the boughs of autumn. She is a fair sight to look upon.>

His eyes had gone distant and I did not interrupt his train of thought. I wondered if the Angel of Fire and the Lord of Werewolves ever had anything between them.

Lorcan shook himself, his grey fur rippling in waves down his body.

<What was Orias doing in a graveyard?>

“I wondered the same thing. He was standing at a grave…and weeping. Why would that be?”

The wolf’s eyes softened.

<It is no rare thing when immortals fall in love with mortals. She must have been someone remarkable to capture the heart of an angel.>

“Then…surely once she died she would have joined him in Dantalion?” I was confused. “Keenar told me that most humans no longer have immortal souls except for the few that do some great good in their lives; those few who manage to ascend.”

Lorcan nodded.

<This is true. But not all reach Dantalion. Vorrac prides himself in stealing souls. Even the purest of hearts can be taken and twisted; tortured and mutilated into another Demon of his army of Darkness. Any amount of time in the realm of Naberus can crack even the strongest souls. No-one survives long down there as they break your soul in ways unimaginable to the living.>

His lips had curled into a frightening snarl revealing rows of sharp white fangs. The hackles on his back were bristling ever so slightly. I shivered.

“So…this person whom the angel fell in love with…you think their soul was intercepted in its ascent and taken to Naberus?”

<Yes. Or the soul was destroyed altogether.>

“But what can destroy souls?” I asked, alarmed.

Lorcan’s eyes slid to the Katana by my side. I followed his gaze. The sword, so innocent in its black scabbard, now looked foreboding. I drew out the blade and the symbols glared at me, already aflame with red light.

“These swords destroy souls?” I breathed.

<Indeed, Raven. What else could destroy the creatures of Naberus? Demons, the Marekk…they are all souls corrupted and twisted in the dungeons of hell. And Vorrac’s own creations – we cannot allow them to flee back to him after their physical bodies have been shed. Their souls must be destroyed; consumed by the blood of Angels. Fortunate for us, they have not yet found a substance in Naberus that can do the same. They cannot destroy our spirits, only our bodies. Just pray to Hsaru they don’t take your soul.>

“So it is only the Angel’s blood that can consume spirits,” I said, my eyes wide.

Lorcan nodded. <They themselves, who live in Dantalion, have no souls. If they are destroyed, there is no essence to carry on their existence. There is nothing. Life ends and they remember nothing more.>

“Why does Vorrac not capture the Angels and force their blood into their weapons?”

<It has been attempted before but Angels are stronger than they appear and have great magical abilities. Also, servants of Naberus cannot enter Dantalion. Hsaru keeps his borders well protected. Not even Vorrac himself can break those defences. Naberus has no such borders. That land is ruled by chaos and anarchy and anyone who dares enter those lands will not come out again unchanged, if they come back out at all. Once you are caught, it is over. Your soul is theirs for the rest of eternity.>

Despite the heat of the fire I felt cold and began to shiver. Lorcan rose to his feet, his head towering far above mine, and padded closer. I became surrounded by warm soft fur and smiled at him gratefully. His musky earthy scent filled my nose and I ran a hand through his shaggy pelt.

<These are dangerous times, child, but have courage. We are together in this never ending war, and together we shall see it through.>

Warmth spread through my body and I relaxed. The wolf looked down at me with kindly eyes and I met them with renewed hope.

“Can the Army of Darkness use our weapons against us?” I asked.

<No> Lorcan assured me. <Remember, each weapon has been blessed by Hsaru himself. Any hand that would touch this blade with evil in their hearts would instantly perish.>

I sat in silence for a while, letting all that was said sink in. Suddenly I remembered the strange language that Orias had used and asked Lorcan about it. As I relayed the message, I felt his body stiffen.

<It is the language of the Angels. If you had started your lessons with Lylas, you would know a little of it. It is the language of magic and is used for incantations for spells, but Lylas will explain.>

“What did he say?”

Lorcan hesitated.

<A vision has been seen. Something nefarious is coming, but what, the Angels cannot say. Troubled times lie ahead and a major clash between the forces of good and evil has been foreseen.> Lorcan shook his head. <Which side will emerge the victor, none can say.>

The wolf looked down into my startled face.

<Talk to Lylas. It is time you discovered your Gift.>

Coltonskinner
March 14th, 2007, 05:04 PM
Akroma!!!!! I wuv ur story! I'm soooo happy you've been writing on it for so long :P I rlly can't wait for more! I can feel my 13yr old mind BOTTLING itself...ya u know when you think so hard ur mind gets trapped like in a bottle?...yah...no NE ways...Continue on with ur story!

*edit* ...I am frieking out right now..I posted that after I read the Prolouge but then I read all you have...WOW! I am so amazed..This is DEFINETELY somthin I would read again AND again! I read The Priest of Blood..good Vampire story..If I could have a book of YOUR story RIGHT now instead of it..I would b a VERY happy person. If you EVER EVER EEEEEEEEVVVVA get this published (whitch it WILL if u finish) I will buy this RIGHT when it comes out and add it to my collection!!!!! I'm so amazed someone who is not even a published author can write sooo well! this is hands down the BEST story I have read on the net..The whole reason I even started my lil ol werewolf storie is cause It would keep ur story fresh in my mind. (cause of the fact it has vamps and werewolves..) The ONLY thing (not a big deal though) Is that I like it when Werewolves look kinda human but they are HUGE And furry WITH uncontrollable fury :) lol but your Werewolves are excellet! This story has probably changed my whole outlook on the net :P I am looking forward to your story! My 13yr old mind cannot TAKE this pressure! If you ever do leave this as a teaser...I will cry looong and hard lol. I will b checking this thread daily for your next chapter! (Is there a hall of fame for the best stories here?? If there is..UR #1!!! Unless theres some old forgotten thread with a better story..But I highly doubt it Well Thats all I wanted to say so peace! (I'm also a pyro bwahahahahha) and write more PEEEEEEZ!!!

Akroma
March 15th, 2007, 02:08 PM
Woah, man! Go on any longer and you'll have to give my ego a huge squash down!! Wow I'm so glad you love it. It means a lot. Don't worry I think I will be carrying on and posting it here, plus easter's coming up so I can get into a writing frenzy lol. I have so many ideas running through my head that they're all written down on bits of scrap paper, reciepts, napkins...lol. Always write down your ideas. The story's gonna get darker and darker with lots of deaths and stuff so it could get exciting ;-)

cat_smh
March 15th, 2007, 04:13 PM
:shock::shock: More. Must...have...more!!
This is really good, and I mean really good, definately good enough to be published (in fact, please finish it right now and publish it because I don't think I can possibly wait another second to find out what happens! :wink:). It might be an idea to get copyright though, because a story of this standard should be protected.
But please keep on writing. Now. This very second. Please? :mrgreen:

Meryum
March 15th, 2007, 06:00 PM
Very interesting. I'm a vampire nut so I think I'll enjoy this. There was one typo, you wrote "grieve and envy" instead of "grief and envy" right before the final paragraph. I look forward to more!!

Quillpen
March 16th, 2007, 12:56 AM
Yay! additions have been made!Wait when did Raven go from being kidnapped to talking to a werewolf?

Akroma
March 16th, 2007, 12:56 PM
Yay! additions have been made!Wait when did Raven go from being kidnapped to talking to a werewolf?

Kidnapped?! Raven would never let herself be kidnapped! What is this newfangled notion you speak of? Would you like me to kidnap her? lol. All that's happened is she's seen this Angel, astounded she runs home, finds Keenar and Galahad in a particularly wierd position :shock: then goes to find Lorcan and Lexan to tell them of this Angel. Dear girl I shall have none of this kidnapping in my story [-(

Jolly McJollyson
March 16th, 2007, 03:04 PM
Ok, I'm going to sleep now, but before I go, I'll say this: I think the piece is overly cinematic, which is a common characteristic of the genre, but an irksome one nonetheless. I'll explain more fully when I wake.

mashowasho
March 16th, 2007, 04:20 PM
Nice as always, Akroma. Um... what can I say that hasn't already been said? I can't remember if I mentioned it already, but I find putting werewolf speech in <pointy arrows> a little strange to read. But that's all I guess.

Quillpen
March 16th, 2007, 10:51 PM
I am very pathectic in deed.I got the story confused for about 2o minutes with Nosferatu. it is also about vampire and apprentice.

Aterinâ„¢
March 18th, 2007, 04:48 AM
As usual, another well written piece. Keep up the good work. ^_^

mashowasho
March 18th, 2007, 11:11 AM
I am very pathectic in deed.I got the story confused for about 2o minutes with Nosferatu. it is also about vampire and apprentice.


XD

Akroma
March 19th, 2007, 10:17 AM
I think the piece is overly cinematic, which is a common characteristic of the genre, but an irksome one nonetheless.

I guess you're right. The thing is I see everything in my head as if it was a film playing...and then I write what I see...It's the only way I can get people to see what I see I guess...If you have any tips on how to make it better they'll be greatly appreciated!

PAGEMASTER
March 19th, 2007, 01:29 PM
First of all chapter 10 is an amazing piece, the way you described Galahad and Keenars training, the inner joke, nice. Raven seems to somewhat fear the two brothers, Lorcan and Lexan. Good, shows your characters still have emotions, and even vampires and werewolves demonstrate fear. Your new character Scaron seems like a barrel of laughs.

Secondly you mentioned your new idea about druids, I'll say this to you, after Raven you sure you can master another masterpiece? ;)

Coltonskinner
March 19th, 2007, 05:05 PM
heh about my other post I was a lil intoxicated :P (not that I didn't mean it I just could've used some better words)

dead bunny
March 19th, 2007, 10:33 PM
](*,)Yes, that did sound somewhat like an out of it statement.
I feel like smiling {high on life}

Recomendations:
Coltonskiner's story is really good with a lot of depth and shows promise. Also, if you look at Cadaver's "the horror of satan", it to has quite a bit of potential.
:cheers:

To Akroma: Your story is going AWESOME! Kick butt, 5 stars no doubt.=D>

Wow, that was all so random.
PS " I discovered smilies!"

:-D

Jericho's Downfall
March 20th, 2007, 01:52 AM
cadaver's story is only 4 lines long though...how do you see potential? i just a base for a story

edit: i read it over...it is decent, it's got potential for a story if it is beefed up a little

Jericho's Downfall
March 20th, 2007, 01:55 AM
i read the first part of the Raven prologue about snow up until the i am not moved by the wind and unbitten by the cold...i got chills (the good kind)...AMAZING

mikhalt
March 21st, 2007, 08:02 AM
I am quite fond of the idea of vampires etc in the story love how is is done :)

Cran
March 21st, 2007, 04:58 PM
Akroma: The thing is I see everything in my head as if it was a film playing...and then I write what I see...It's the only way I can get people to see what I see I guess...If you have any tips on how to make it better they'll be greatly appreciated! That is my experience when writing fantasy also ... like a movie, only one in which I can climb inside, pause for detail, change perspective when required ... and return to completely change a scene that didn't work after all ...

I have absolutely no tips on how to make it better ... I concur with the majority here, and look forward to a completed hard copy which I will then add to my library ... though it shall first take pride of place on my bedside table - reading from a screen is such a chore, I find ...

Akroma, at the beginning of this thread, you made a point about plagiarism and using names ... would it disappoint you to know that some of the names you've included have already been in published works?
Galahad is the obvious one ...
but also Raven?
and Asperia?

Raven: Swordmistress of Chaos was published quite a few ago, and Raven is the name of the main character. I forget the author (all of my books are still packed in cartons from my recent house move), and Asperia as a place name rang loud bells as soon as I saw it, though as yet I cannot place the source - my feeling is that it was in a science fiction story rather than a fantasy.

There may be others; some are certainly similar, but that in no way detracts from the originality of the story as far as I am concerned.

Good luck with your studies, and please don't stop sharing your wonderful imagination ...

Coltonskinner
March 21st, 2007, 06:30 PM
awwwww that was a low blow Cran now she might have to change the name from raven! then where will her little pet go? Where will the city? THE LAND?! THE WORLD!!!!!!! AHHHHH *Cough* *Cough* sorry about that...But I'm still waiting for the next installment...not patiently though lol

Akroma
March 25th, 2007, 01:35 PM
at the beginning of this thread, you made a point about plagiarism and using names ... would it disappoint you to know that some of the names you've included have already been in published works?
Galahad is the obvious one ...
but also Raven?
and Asperia?

Yeah, I mean some of the names are pretty normal...like Galahad and Raven as you say, it would be silly to claim them as my own! Galahad was a knight on the round table and there are loads of people/characters called Raven lol. I just found out the other day that 'Hsaru' is from Diablo and where's 'Asperia' from?! I thought I was clever and made it up all by myself :( Oh well. Great minds think alike eh? I just didn't want anyone to start writing a story about a band of vampires and werewolves called Raven, Galahad, Keenar, Lexan and Lorcan lol.

Cran
March 25th, 2007, 08:12 PM
I just found out the other day that 'Hsaru' is from Diablo and where's 'Asperia' from?! I thought I was clever and made it up all by myself :( Oh well. Great minds think alike eh? I just didn't want anyone to start writing a story about a band of vampires and werewolves called Raven, Galahad, Keenar, Lexan and Lorcan lol.
Fair enough ... :)

I haven't found which story I'd read that has Asperia as a place name - as I said, I think it was sci-fi rather than fantasy (and all of my sci-fi and fantasy are still in cartons) ... one of those stories (either novel or short story) where humans had colonised a number of worlds ...
I thought at the time the name might have come from that Latin phrase:
per aspera ad astra ... or something like that ...

Akroma
April 24th, 2007, 07:54 PM
Ah, man! Pushed to page six! That really means my muse has left me! lol. Well I hope I'm not ancient history just yet. Was kind of busy for the five weeks over easter and now I'm trying to get through a week of constant exams. Not good. Then after that 5 solid weeks of lab sessions and field trips and 3 projects to write! Ooh my life is so exciting right now!

But hopefully once the exams are out the way, I can push the university degree aside and work on more important things...LIKE RAVEN, DARN IT! I will get it published...I will...

Rynash
April 24th, 2007, 09:42 PM
Finally i thought you had forgotten about your story:( but i was wrong YAY:)

PAGEMASTER
April 25th, 2007, 11:35 AM
I rarely come online much anymore, when I do its mainly to see if you've posted something. I was also getting worried you wasnt gonna post anything further.

Good luck with your exams and stuff!

Akroma
April 30th, 2007, 01:55 PM
Tadaaa!!! The next bit of Chapter 10!!!


Chapter 10 continued...
Lylas studied me with her almond-shaped eyes.

“Can you feel it?” she asked.

I shook my head, not knowing what I was looking for. We were sitting in a domed room near the training quarters, a specially designed arena for practicing magic. The walls glowed in waves and ripples of blue light – some kind of sorcery that would absorb escaped magical energy and protect the building beyond. A large fireplace, big enough to fit ten people, sat dark and silent in one of the walls.

“I will cast a blocking spell to see if you notice anything different.”

She gestured and muttered a few words in the language of the Angels and all of a sudden I felt as if a whole piece of me was missing. It was wrong; disturbingly wrong. Lylas laughed at the look on my face.

“So you do have the gift! Being reborn a Werewolf or Vampire usually gives the individual a spark of Magic.”

I nodded and felt greatly relieved as she relinquished her spell on me. Something about being able to access that store of magic I’d never noticed before was warm and reassuring. No words could describe how it felt to have it caged off and out of my reach.

“You did that so easily,” I said. “Cast a blocking spell, I mean.”

“You were unaware and open to my sorcery,” she explained. “If you had been shielding and resisting my hex it would have been much harder. It also depends how strong the mage is. If the one I am cursing is far stronger than I, he could easily break the hex before it touched him and disperse my magic.”

I nodded.

“In order to process that potential magic into spells, you must do a lot of studying,” said Lylas. “You have to learn the language of the Angels, the different gestures and patterns, and take your mind to a new level of concentration. When you are adept enough you can omit the words and gestures and just use your mind. Like this.”

There was an explosion in the fireplace as flames roared to life. I reeled back in surprise but Lylas did not even flutter an eyelid.

“Ok, that was cool,” I said. She smiled and extinguished the fire with an almost lazy wave of her hand.

She reached behind her and produced a thick crumbling tome. She placed it before me and opened it to the first page.

“Study this and you will be shaping your magic in no time. Within this tome are incantations, their meaning in the Common tongue and the gestures that complete the spell. I can help you with pronunciation but you have to feel the magic. You must shape it with your mind and release it through your hands.”

I drew a deep breath. It was a daunting task but I was ready to learn.

“To start off we shall try a simple spell for fire. There is just one word you need utter and that is kielek, the word for fire. At the same time you must draw the symbol for fire in the air, like so,” and she showed me a simple gesture with her hand. “Then you must focus your mind on an external object and direct your spell at it.”

I took a deep breath and focused on the fireplace.

“Kielek,” I said whilst drawing the symbol in the air, and I felt a rush of warmth flow through my arm and tingle my fingers as the invisible sorcery left my hand. Sparks flew off the charred logs and tiny flames rose to flicker for a moment before they guttered and died. Though my attempt had paled in comparison to Lylas’ explosion of flames, I sat in shock of the conjuring I had just completed. My eyes wide, my mouth hanging open and my arm still outstretched, I could still feel the tingle of sorcery on my fingertips.

“I really have magical power inside of me…” I whispered.

Lylas smiled.

“And you will only become better at using it. You must feel it with your heart,” she said. “Summon it with all your soul; concentrate upon the heat and the flames.” She nodded in encouragement.

I focused my will once again on the fireplace and concentrated with all my being on shaping my Gift into fire. My mind seemed to go into a trance and suddenly I could feel the heat, feel the flicker of the flames as they danced inside me; that elemental force rising like an electrical ball of energy ready to burst out of my outstretched palms. My fingers traced the symbol in the air as if they had lives of their own, and as my tongue formed the word that completed the incantation my mouth burned and blistered with power. A searing pain lanced down my arm as if my bones had turned into white hot metal and the fireplace burst into flames, an explosion so intense that we were thrown back. The wall was swallowed in a roaring sheet of fire, the carpet curling under the inferno.

Lylas’ reaction was instantaneous. She stretched out her arms and cried out in a commanding voice that filled the dome with reverberating echoes. At once I felt the icy blast of a blizzard as a whirlwind roared to life within the underground arena. Driving ice and snow battered my face and the flames were immediately quenched of all life. The wind died and I was left huddled on the ground cradling my burnt arm, my lips and nose bleeding from the force of my power. Flakes of snow clung to my black hair and stuck to my eyelashes.

“Are you alright?” Lylas asked.

I nodded. My wounds would heal.

Lylas breathed a deep sigh and sat back down before me. A warm breeze filled the air and melted the ice around us, drying our clothing as the water evaporated in wisps of steam. I looked to the fireplace and found it as it was before, glowing blue and without damage. I swept my eyes back to Lylas and found her studying me with a hard gaze.

“That was some display of magic,” she said quietly. “You may have more potential than we thought.” Something surged up inside me at her words that made me want to laugh and dance at my new-found gift, but I just nodded, barely managing a smile with my burnt mouth.

Lylas reached out and gently laid a hand on my arm. She closed her eyes and was silent for a while.

“What are you doing?” I asked as best I could, slurring badly.

“Assessing the damage…” she mumbled. “Healing you a little through magic…” The pain began to lessen until it was nothing but a dull ache, but the skin still looked badly scorched.

“Lorcan is the master of healing in this house,” she said. “But I think you will be alright.” She removed her hand and gently placed her fingers on my lips, closing her eyes as she sent her magic flowing into me.

“I did not expect your spell to be so powerful at this stage,” she said, her eyes still closed as she concentrated on healing me, “but there is something you must learn if you are to continue casting spells at this magnitude.” She opened her eyes to look squarely into mine. “And that is control.”

I stared in silence, waiting for her to continue.

“The spell can be powerful, yes, but if you do not control how it leaves you and contain its force, it can consume you. Magic is a dangerous weapon, not just for your foe but for you as well. The more powerful the conjuring, the more control you must have upon it else it burst from your body and kill you within seconds. This is why we use our hands. It lets us use our arms as channels for the magic and our minds subconsciously compact the flowing force so it may travel safely through our fingers. Only three people I know have released a force that has radiated from every aspect of their body and survived. Two of them are the leaders of this coven. The other you know well.”

My eyes widened as I realised of whom she was talking. Lylas nodded.

“Yes, Keenar has managed it once; down in that dungeon in Trelise. But she had gone into a frenzy and has no recollection of how she did it then. She has tried since but at great cost to her life each time.” Lylas paused, as if she was going to add something else, but then she just smiled and said, “Enough training for today. You should rest and heal your wounds.” She helped me to my feet and picked up the heavy tome.

“Read this,” she said. “It will explain everything and help you in controlling your power. We will meet in a few days to see how you have progressed.”

I nodded and smiled with my renewed lips. Taking the book with my good arm, I turned to leave but stopped short.

“So…why use ordinary weapons? Why not use sorcery all the time if it’s so powerful?”

Lylas regarded me for a moment.

“Using magic, especially in this day and age, tires you quickly. Not only does it draw from your potential Gift but it draws on your body’s energy. In combat it is best to reserve your energy at all costs. You are no use to anyone when you cannot even have the strength to flee your pursuers.”

I nodded in understanding.

“Concentration is also an issue but can be overcome. In the heat of battle the mind can be in turmoil and casting a spell amidst distraction is a whole different matter entirely. Also, other people are not as strong as you, Raven. Your powers are indeed promising but the only other adept mages apart from me are Keenar, Lexan and Lorcan.” Her eyes slid to the katana by my side. “Our weapons, as you know, have other properties. Sorcery cannot destroy a soul. Mutate it, yes, but not destroy it. Nothing is stopping the evil spirits from fleeing back to Naberus and gaining new bodies. The soul must be destroyed and only the weapons blessed by Hsaru, mixed with the blood of angels, can do that. Keep all this in mind the next time you find yourself in combat.”

I thanked Lylas for the lesson and exited the dome, heading towards my room, determination already bubbling up inside me as I itched to open the book and begin reading at once.

Rynash
April 30th, 2007, 04:05 PM
THAT WAS AMAZING I LOVE IT!!!!!! YOU TRULY ARE A MASTER!!!!!
MORE MORE MORE!!!

Coltonskinner
April 30th, 2007, 07:42 PM
awwwwwwwwwwww I want moreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee =P hmmm
Maybe if i re-read ur entire thread everytime theres a new post I'll use more time......hmmmm

Azmakna
April 30th, 2007, 09:08 PM
The snow falls thickly upon the city of Asperia, fluttering and swirling in the wind like so many feathers. Feathers so white and pure as if from the wings of angels, frozen into those delicate crystalline shapes only my eyes can perceive. They swirl round and round in a whirlwind of controlled chaos to land oh so lightly upon the ground, already forming a deep blanket upon the rooftop on which I stand, unmoved by the wind, unbitten by the cold.


i think it should be a colon after 'feathers', its a fragmented sentence. white, pure and angel feel very clichéd when brought together like this. swirl, round and round, whirling? tautology. surely a contradiction in terms, although i know what you mean.





Far below me the streets glitter with the warm welcoming lights of the human world; shops and restaurants, flickering street lamps and the forever passing lights of transport. Transport now so developed that the air is thick with it, like a swarm of mechanical wasps barely avoiding each other. Down below people make their way along streets that wind in sharp angles around their tall sky scrapers, walking fast, lost in a world of their own as they march heavily against the snow, completely undisturbed by the swarming turmoil above them.

this just feels a little awkward. a good vision but not quite realised. you can't wind in sharp angles.

Though several hundred feet below me, I hear their footsteps as they crush the fragile stars of ice beneath their feet; their muttered conversations; even the slight jangling of keys in pockets as I block out the consistent roar of machinery. I see a family of birds taking refuge in a congested gutter, now accustomed to this world of metal.

semi-colons? rethink this sentence... 'congested' is usually associated with traffic not gutters


As I watch from my eyrie, I wonder at how much the world has changed since my death. Everything completely transformed from what it was almost seven hundred years ago when I was still alive – a young woman in my mid-twenties. That part of my life I have almost forgotten…almost.

is 'almost' needed here?


I stand on the brink, looking out at this scar that is Asperia. Once a beautiful and historical city, it is now a slave to electricity like so many others. The old Saints Bridge is broken and the winding cobbled streets lined with old houses are demolished. Nothing historical is left in this world of modernisation. All tradition has ceased to exist.

you could tell us a bit about the history


Still I am glad that the great forests and plains of the continent are left untouched, the extensive cities dotting around it like colossal craters in the earth. The humans quickly realised that without the natural regions, their race would perish. An immense wall was raised around the city and no one now ventures far into the reaches of the wilderness, fearing the unknown that lies within its dark boundaries. Childbirth is controlled. Food is plentiful. And the humans live on in peace within their metal cocoon, still ignorant and unaware of the worlds that live parallel alongside them.

if no-one ventures out then the perspective should be from the city, so it should be more like: 'fearing the unknown that lies beyond the cities boundaries' this doesn't benefit from being broken up. it could easily be one sentence repetition


Something awakens inside me. I know that before long I must gain sustenance. I have stood here for too long watching the human world, listening to the soft rain of snow, feeling it brush my white cheeks. Somewhere beyond the walls a wolf is howling. It is time to go home.

unclear image: rain pours, snow floats


For the first time in hours I stir; a blink; a flexing of the fingers. Then I launch myself into the swirling mass of chaos below me. It seems for eternity that I fall, narrowly avoiding high speed aircraft and vehicles. As if time itself is slowed right down, I see the train intercepting my line of fall, a gigantic centipede of the sky. Vertically driving snow smashes against its windscreen, too slow to avoid its soaring velocity. As it passes beneath me, I reach out a hand and feel the smooth metal sliding underneath my fingertips as it passes by. Then my fingers grasp a handhold and all of a sudden time seems to speed up again.

semi-colons. repeated image, perhaps simplify or think of something new. this sentence starts off passive and end up active. try to avoid words like: as if, seems, appears, almost, as much as possible. can't see this at all. an unnecessary word followed by an awkward description. repetition of 'passes'. 'all of a sudden' feels a bit young for this piece, wouldn't suddenly have done?


I am yanked to my left so quickly that it should have broken my bones. But it does not. I hang on tightly as the train veers and spirals through the air, bringing me closer to the Wall. When I am as close to it as possible, I loosen my hold and slip off the vehicle, landing neatly upon another rooftop. The feeling inside me is strong now; I know I must be swift. Here, near the Wall, Asperia is quieter; less people are inclined to leave the warmth of their homes for the bustling night-life at the centre.

why should here? how can a train veer and spiral? is 'spiral' your favourite word :).


A man walks beneath me. He strolls nonchalantly, hands in pockets, whistling softly. His scent is warm and musky, mingled with the slight hint of leather and tobacco; I catch the shampoo in his hair; the salt of his skin; the blood in his veins.

softly is redundant here.


I follow him, moving easily over the rooftops or across the building faces, creeping like a panther; a shadow flowing like liquid night across the hard stone walls. Still several feet above him, I step to the edge of a sheer drop. I look into the black chasm below and jump.

you need a better description here.


Such a fall would kill a human being, shattering bones in the impact, but I land silently behind the unsuspecting man with the precision of a cat. It is dark here. Very dark. A backstreet between houses. I feel bad for this stranger. But he is one of many; so many.

there are a few clichéd images in this piece like 'cat' and 'panther'


He is young, still untouched by the cruel lines of time, his body exquisitely built. His scent is strong now, almost driving me to madness, the hunger rising up inside me like a wave. He does not notice my presence until I have swept up beside him, holding him close. A gasp of surprise escapes his lips as I bury my face in his neck, my lips brushing his smooth skin. He struggles but his strength is no match to mine. I press him closer, feeling the perfectly toned muscles beneath his shirt, my fingers entwining with his silky hair. Such perfection in my arms, his warm flesh against me almost too much to bear. He utters a low groan as I sink my teeth into his neck.

if you are going to use a metaphor be sure its original and also be sure it is needed at all


Images come to me then. Many images as I feel his life flowing over my tongue, quenching my thirst. His name is Lukas. He works at a restaurant. He has a girlfriend; she is very beautiful. He dreams of being married to her one day and working as a pilot. More images and memories crowd my head and I feel him dying.

baring in mind that the previous scene was sensual, this sentence feels staccatoed in comparison and i feel it should continue on naturally from the paragraph above.


As I lower his lifeless body to the floor, I grieve for his family; his lover; his stolen life. But I know he will go to Dantalion to be with Hsaru in that magical world I have yet to see. I both grieve and envy those that I take out of this world…




*♥*


My name is Raven, and I am one of the few vampires left in existence. This is my story; a story of love and of war; of angels and demons; and of the created races. Come with me and learn of my city, my Gods and what happened in the war between the great realms of Dantalion and Naberus. Come with me back seven hundred years ago; back to when I was still alive…and still mortal…

all in all, a very good read. __________________

Neidermeyer
May 1st, 2007, 02:33 AM
I have been waiting for something like this for quite some time now. Great description, love the material. keep it up...I wanna read more.

Akroma
May 2nd, 2007, 12:20 PM
Glad people are enjoying it! Cheers for the tips, Azmakna!

I'll get Chapter 11 down as soon as I can but to be honest I'm in a bit of a writer's block...I know what I want to write...it's just getting it down that's the problem, if you know what I mean. Plus I spend far too much time playing PC games than is good for me lol.

PAGEMASTER
May 2nd, 2007, 07:47 PM
Your work continues to amaze me, if this story sold I dont think there will be one disappointed customer. Your suspense is magnificent. Even when the story is going through a slow pace I'm still hooked. Wonderfully written. Cant wait to see what happens next.

riversource
May 2nd, 2007, 09:43 PM
Raven that i haven't read! Woot!!!!! Very nice introduction of the magic, very Abhorsen! :grin: Great to see that you're still going at this, got to worrying you'd stopped!
love love love riversource ;-)

Danny77
May 8th, 2007, 05:07 AM
So I first read the prologue many moons ago, tho I never critiqued it. But as you have done so to one of mine...I always return the favor.

BUT, since this has been up for much time, would you like me to start my critiques from the very beginnings? Or were you more concerned with later chapters?

Akroma
May 8th, 2007, 09:04 AM
Hey! Thanks for the offer but you don't have to crit it if you don't want to. I mostly post on here for people to read and enjoy, but if you want to crit then feel free on any part of the story you want! I understand that Vampires and Magic aren't everyone's cup of tea, and it is getting pretty long so don't force yourself if you feel you can't take anymore lol. Thanks :razz:

Danny77
May 9th, 2007, 04:05 AM
Didn't critique the prologue, but know that I certainly enjoyed it.

Chapter 1 critique:



“Sshhh,” Sethis cut through my ramblings.
I could be wrong, but I think that comma should be a period.

“Besides,” his smile coming back,
Came back, I beleive.

pulled on some boxers (left on the floor from the night before), some black jeans and went downstairs.
Either this is wrong or sounds wrong. But something needs to be inserted in here...possibly a comma after jeans?


“OK,” he said softly. After a pause he said, “I love you.” So many times he said...
Repetition of said.


I was five minutes away from our house when it happened: the event that changed my life forever. Our house...
Rep of house. 'away from home' will remedy this.

his intense blue eyes,
Might just be me, but this is the third time his eys have been described as 'intense', and as for me things like that get annoying after the second time within the same chapter.

his lustrous black hair, the curve of his lips…then he would smile, that infectious expression burning into my mind, the tender look in his eyes filling me with a peace that was calming.
Too much description...for me anyway. There's already been enough of this fluff to instill into the reader her love for sethis, and how he looks. Too much is too much...but it could just be me?

I witnessed the vampire stand a deadly shower
huh?

Even her black dress and cloaks were crumbling away with her until there was absolutely nothing left at all.
'Absolutely' is unnesessary. Make it go vamoose:)

As I stood up the floor lurched and tilted,
Lurched is one of those words that is only good in small doses. As you've used it a couple paragraphs earlier, I'd change one of them.

I fell into my cottage,
Earlier you said described it as a house near the country, then apartment, now cottage. Not that cottage and house are much different, but the apartment thing gives it a sort of identity crisis. What is it?


The black curtains fell. I passed into a dream-like haze, the darkness swirling around me, encloaking me, suffocating me.
The last half a dozen paragraphs really drag on here. All this confusion, description of confusion, more confusion, and more of the same description is...well boring. I think it would be much better shortened up.

grim and stern yet beautiful;
Comma after stern.


their eyes narrowed, their lips set in hard lines. They faded in and out as my consciousness wavered. Some looked normal. Others looked pale…too pale…the white skin too flawless…something wrong with their eyes…all their eyes…too bright…too radiant…they burned into mine as if they could see my soul.

The pain increased and they disappeared into the black abyss. Far away I could hear voices…so far away and fading fast.
More of the same as before mentioned. Maybe get faster to the point with this as well?


“She is already turning.”

“Should we kill her? It seems she is already at death’s door…”
Rep of 'already'.

There's a lot listed, but know that they are mainly nit picks. You write well, especially in your descriptions (though often times I think you tried too hard, and added one too many adjectives for my taste). Overall this was good. Like I said, maybe ease off some of the adjectives, and write less about emotions and peoples eyes;)

Akroma
May 14th, 2007, 11:40 AM
Sorry I haven't posted for so long. This is one of those chapters where you sit at your computer for three hours staring at the screen and only end up writing three sentenses. I've never tried writing a mage duel before so it proved quite problematic but hopefully you'll enjoy it anyway!



Chapter 11


The blackness was all around me, pressing in, blocking the air to my lungs. My body was chilled to my very bones and I could barely feel my limbs as I kicked at the water around me.

Swimming; forever swimming in the black ink that obscured all direction, not knowing whether I was going up or down or across this wide expanse of nothingness. My lungs began to burn and my mind screamed for that shiny barrier, the gateway to air and life and wind and trees…but there was nothing, only water ever pressing upon me, covering my mouth and nose, relentless in its lack of oxygen.

I’m never going to make it, I realised. I will die in this black lake. No one will find my body and revive me. I will just decompose, my body falling to pieces until there is nothing left to revive…

In my last attempt for life, I kicked furiously in the direction I thought must be upwards, but there was still no light. My lungs were crying out in agony but I could not give them what they sought. The last bubbles left my lips and the feeling of my body began to slowly evade me as the void crushed the life from my starved carcass.



*♥*


I awoke from the dream with my heart pounding in my chest. I was still surrounded by blackness but was reassured from the feel of satin sheets beneath me and hearing the creek of the old mansion walls. I lay still for a while, waiting for my heart to settle down. The dream was coming more frequently now, almost every night since I first experienced it a few weeks ago. I had yet to tell anyone of it.

My inner senses told me that it was not yet nightfall for a few hours but I knew I would not get back to sleep. Sighing, I sat up and stretched. Reaching within myself, I took a little of my power and threw it towards the fireplace. It roared to life with dancing flames and lit the room with an orange glow. Three months since I had begun to master the arts of sorcery I no longer had to verbally say the incantations for most spells. Smiling to myself, I got out of bed and walked to the shower. A wave of my hand and a flex of my will closed the door behind me.

Walking throughout the house, refreshed and fully awake, I found a black wolf coming down the spiral stairs and waved to it.

<You’re awake early> Keenar observed.

I shrugged. “Couldn’t sleep.”

She padded over so I could give her a good scratch behind her ears. She then lifted her head so I could scratch her chin.

“Shouldn’t you be getting Galahad to do this?” I asked, trying not to smile. This time it was her turn to shrug.

<Want a sparring match in the arena?> she asked.

“I was hoping you’d ask that,” I said, grinning.

Keenar reverted back to her Elven form and we walked together through the quiet mansion to the Dome, which was where I spent most of my time within the past few months. Sorcery had become a great part of my life and I could hardly imagine that I lived for so long without it.

Within the Dome Keenar and I stood facing each other, waiting to see who would strike first. The glowing walls of the arena distracted me a little but distractions were expected in the field.

Sudden movement! I hastily threw up a shield and I was pushed back a step as Keenar’s spell battered my defences. I launched my own counter attack, forming the spell through sheer force of will, and a coldness grew in my hands. Flinging out my palms I unleashed a volley of icicle shards that flew with deadly precision towards my opponent.

Keenar’s mouth curled into a smile and she raised her arms. Quicker than the eye could see she traced a series of complicated gestures and a stream of words left her lips. Just as my conjured shards reached her outer shield a wall of flames engulfed them and they disappeared in a great hiss of steam. A flex of her will then sent the inferno sweeping towards me in a great wave that would crash over my head and drown me in a sea of fire. There was no time to react.

I strengthened my shield and stood fast as the impact crushed me to my knees, my eyes seeing nothing but the glare of flames. I was blind to my opponent and the sorcery was unrelenting. The power buffering my shield was colossal and, as my shield began to waver, a stab of fear struck my heart. Frantically I poured more magic into my defences but I knew I could not shield forever and sooner or later I would break. I had to do something and fast.

Closing my eyes I concentrated on holding my shield while at the same time new words formed in my head and flowed from my tongue. Frantically I gestured with trembling fingers, knowing that one wrong move would be enough to disperse my efforts. With a gasp of triumph I felt the spell complete and at once the flames surrounding me were gone. I stood and a smile came to my lips as I saw Keenar battling with another vampire. In fact, she was an exact copy of myself that had appeared behind my opponent and distracted her, forcing her to relinquish her spell upon me. Keenar’s strikes were having no effect upon the conjured illusion.

I exerted my will upon the weapons rack on the wall and pulled two swords from their sheaths. Using my mind I sent the swords slashing and dancing towards Keenar. Just before they swung into her shield, I gave the sorcery controlling my clone a little flavour and watched my illusion give a knowing laugh at my opponent before twirling on the spot and disintegrating into dust. Keenar’s eyes widened as she realised she was being fooled and turned to face me, but she was too late. The swords struck her shield and it almost broke before Keenar pulled herself together and poured more magic into her defences. Before she could react further I clasped my hands together and concentrated my sorcery between my palms, slowly pulling my hands apart as I spun a web of pure electrical energy between them. When I could hold the blinding, crackling power no more, I threw it at my opponent. It struck Keenar’s shield with explosive force and she reeled back from the blow. I hit her again and again, relentless in my attack, her shield weakening almost to the point of breaking.

Just when I thought I had her, an ear-piercing screaming filled my head. My concentration shattered and my spells dispersed, the enchanted swords clattering to the floor. Keenar was smiling; her spell’s pitch ever going higher in my mind until I thought my head would explode. I could not think, could not act. I screamed and fell to my knees as the assault on my mind grew louder. My shield was flickering on and off erratically.

Through the pain in my head I saw Keenar prepare for the final strike – a power strike that would win her the duel.

Summoning the rest of my strength and using all my will and concentration left to me, slowly and miraculously my own power strike began to grow in my hand, defying Keenar’s spell. Keenar saw my resistance and acted immediately, throwing her sorcery at me. At the same time I released mine and the two collided in an explosion of green light and we were thrown to opposite sides of the room. The screaming in my head ceased and I wasted no time in conjuring a second power strike, the green orb leaving my palms in a torrent of energy that struck Keenar before she could react. The orb shattered around her and radiated out in waves that became absorbed by the walls of the dome. Another was still forming in my hands when I saw an arm shoot out from the smoke and a red orb blossomed in the air. I immediately dispersed the spell – Keenar had admitted defeat.

I stumbled to where Keenar sat on the floor and collapsed beside her, both of us breathing hard and utterly exhausted. All my strength was drained and my system was flooded with adrenaline. Keenar gave me a sidelong glance and laughed, shaking her head, too weak to say anything. I smiled and concentrated on getting my own breath back.

The door of the dome opened and Jarleth and Crow appeared, Jarleth holding his head in his hands.

“That was some duel!” said Crow, giving me the thumbs up.

“But ease up on the power strikes, Raven,” Jarleth said, rubbing his temples. “I almost couldn’t hold Keenar’s safety shield at that last strike.”

I nodded. “Thanks for being our inner-shields, guys. Lexan doesn’t let anyone train anymore without having one. It’s a good thing you were around or else we would have had to settle for a game of cards.”

The two brothers laughed and helped us to our feet.

“Well it’s a rare thing that Crow gets up early,” said Jarleth. “The Vampire usually sleeps in until midnight and wastes half the darkness! If you ask me he needs to get his lazy ass out of bed this early more often.”

“Well excuse me but the Werewolf keeps going to sleep at four in the morning so he can wander around in the daylight with half-dead humans,” Crow retorted.

“Hey! Some of us actually like to make a living rather than fighting all the time with beasties from Hell,” said Jarleth, trying to keep a straight face. “I just happen to be good with people. The Sanctuary makes good money for this place and working with the blood drive during the day keeps our emergency stocks up. Eh? Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it, Manager of the Freezer?”

Crow laughed and pushed his brother away. “Alright alright, I suppose you’re not a total loss.” I ducked as Jarleth swung a blow at Crow.

“Hey!” interjected Keenar, her mouth twitching. “Act like men, not boys! You’re two-hundred and twenty-seven for crying out loud!”

“He might be,” said Crow. “I’m only two-hundred and nineteen!”

I rolled my eyes. “Come,” I said to Keenar. “Let us leave these two siblings to battle it out.” I offered my arm and she took it, lifting her nose to the two brothers.

“Excuse us,” she said snootily. I snorted loudly trying not to laugh as she pulled me down the corridor.

“You’re welcome!” Jarleth called after us.

Rynash
May 14th, 2007, 09:08 PM
holy crap tht was ace and u said u had problems i am still addicted!!!!

Quillpen
May 15th, 2007, 01:24 AM
keep it up! By the way you might want to mention inner sheilds being there earlier in passage.

Akroma
May 15th, 2007, 10:12 AM
might want to mention inner sheilds being there earlier in passage
Yeah I thought about that but couldn't think of a way to get it across. I thought there was more suspense this way, making the reader think that they were unprotected and so there was more risk...God forbid Keenar or Raven die in a duel! lol But yeah you're probably right :-)

Quillpen
May 18th, 2007, 12:42 AM
Call Keenar sheild her " outer sheild" so that it is more clear. You don't have to go into detail until, you want to and the passage is more understand then way it sounds now.( basically like keenar and Raven are trying to kill each other for fun):smile:

Rynash
May 18th, 2007, 04:12 PM
lol

mashowasho
May 18th, 2007, 08:59 PM
Wow, that dream was creepy. I wonder if it was foreshadowing something... ? :D

By the way, I think not mentioning the outer shields until leter isn't a bad a idea, otherwise the fight isn't as exciting becuse readers know there's no chance they'll get hurt. But it's up to you. It was a good fight, too. Good balance between who had the upper hand at different times, etc. :thumbr:

Valzar
May 22nd, 2007, 03:21 AM
That was great! :thumbl: I read all the way through it today, and I have to say, I am utterly amazed! =D&gt;

revelation_22-20
May 22nd, 2007, 03:57 AM
Can I start off with a negitive comment? Rather a comment, generally speaking, about fantasy that doesn't branch off from the realistic world: I hate it. But this, this is well wrought. I love the way you begin with the snow, giving it a fantasical tone to lead on with but you're still describing something so many of us understand. Great beginning, Akroma!

spannyka
June 7th, 2007, 12:36 PM
hey Nats,

how are you? I hope you are well I'm sorry I thought you had stopped posting on here but I will endevour to catch up soon sorry about being rubbish take care

Akroma
June 9th, 2007, 05:54 PM
Hey, everyone. Sorry I'm really doing a bad job of getting this story down aren't I? Wow I haven't posted anything in..like months!!! It's just that Easter was busy as hell and my last term this year has been a neverending barrage of lab sessions and projects. But the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter and my last two projects are in for this coming friday....then on that weekend I'm going to see MEGADETH!!!! And that'll be in London.

After that I have an entire four months of summer holiday until my last year of uni starts in October! So during that time I'll hopefully get my muse back and get this story out!!!

Hope everyone's ok and enjoying the sun!

Foreman1984
June 9th, 2007, 06:00 PM
your a bit like me, have little or no time, then loads of time once you finish uni! Very interesting story, iv read the first 3 chapeters and enjoyed them very much. You clearly have a talent fro writing =D>

Nefieslab
June 9th, 2007, 08:43 PM
ok. i'll be frank. i haven't got the time to read all of this (sorry about that but i really am busy) so i'll just ask what i want to know. only two questions,
Who is the evil ones out of Vampires and Werewolves?
Who are evil/good out of Angels and Demons?

mashowasho
June 10th, 2007, 05:00 PM
Who is the evil ones out of Vampires and Werewolves?
Who are evil/good out of Angels and Demons?
I think vamp and weres are both good in this story :P
I dunno about angels/demons yet though...

jtassinaro
June 10th, 2007, 05:39 PM
I haven't read it all yet but what I have read I've enjoyed very much. It reminds me of the Underworld movies which are my favorite movies! I'm excited to see where this goes!!

spannyka
June 15th, 2007, 10:15 PM
Hey nats,

I like how yu have developed the world and the magic its very cool I thought the duel was well written but agree that the inner shield thing should be mentioned earlier maybe u coulhave a bit in the opening paragraphs about how they were walking to the magic room and bumped into row and his brother or something like that. I thought the magic duel was well written and you've shown how raven can now lok after herself am just wondering whats going on with the big battle buti'm sure u will reveal that in gd time. Another couple of brillinatly written chapters. I hope your assignements are going well and look foward to reading more.

Anneka

Akroma
June 25th, 2007, 11:16 AM
Blimey it's been ages since I posted here!!! Sorry, guys this term's been REALLY busy! Exams, stupid projects, and even though I've been itching to write more I've just had no time.


Who is the evil ones out of Vampires and Werewolves?
Who are evil/good out of Angels and Demons?

Well, let's see...all the Vampires and Werewolves are good...at the moment, and they worship and were made from a good God "GOOD GOD!!!" called Hsaru. They are at war with Demons and scary gribbly things from Hell (or Naberus) and they are made and ruled over by the bad God Vorrac!! Yay for cliche!!! So Raven and her trusted buddies, Keenar and Galahad, get to fight monsters and keep the evil forces that are trying to take over the world at bay.

Raven has also just become an adept in sorcery so now she can kick butt along with Lexan and Lorcan - the clan leaders. Woot!! And now that I have four months of summer holiday I get to write MORE!!!! We get to find out more about Raven's lover, Sethis, we finally get to meet some big bad uber Demons, our brave night-stalking adventurers get to go on a quest to find a lost God, and at some point they will be wandering round the fiery and twisted streets of Naberus itself!!!

Ooooh yes I have it all planned out! MWAHAHAhahah!!!!!!

But first I need to go and sleep. SLEEEEP!!!