Wundirfal [fantasy] - Page 4


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Thread: Wundirfal [fantasy]

  1. #31
    @cazann34 -- Thank you for your very helpful input. I reedited it applying some of your suggestions. However, please understand that i have been working hard to ensure this piece, as first person action, stays in present tense. I also rewrote the beginning, which still needs some work, but I like it better than the last one: This one i think flows better and is not as disconnected. Also Dew forms, in coastal area where the humidity is higher and it gets colder faster, from around 11 o'clock to 1 in the morning. So just because dew is formed doesn't necessarily mean it is near morning. I would love for you to reread and tell me what you think.

  2. #32
    This was a very good chapter, meticulously written and very enjoyable to read. A few notes:

    - You have a knack for making images come to life. Work on it! This is something that's neither common nor easy to achieve, so don't lose it, dude!

    - The present-tense-first-person was a very nice touch, but consider whether you can keep writing a novel-length story in this style. After all it's rather more difficult to write than the cookie-cutter past-tense-third-person. I don't think the story would lose much of its glamor in third person POV anyway.

    - Also, don't be afraid to get a bit eloquent. The few times you let your pen keyboard go wild the result was very aesthetically pleasing and it didn't come off as tacky, forced or generally "purple".

    - The way you used the phrase "smoke and mirrors" makes me wonder whether it's meant to be a motto/arc phrase for your story. Consider a 'deceptive appearances' subtheme for your story if it is. Either way, I must say it was a very powerful one-liner.

    So overall, bravo!

  3. #33
    @Michael Tea - Thank you for the encouragement! I'm about 20,000 words in and I'm not even 1/3 though yet, and writing it never gets old. For some reason I think this piece speaks more in first person, more personal maybe? But I'm sticking with the tense and POV for now. Smoke and mirrors was just a random line...Although now that I think about it, it fits the book very well as a sub-theme. I may add it in a couple more places. XD Thank you!

  4. #34
    The sun falls, cloaking the land into habitual twilight, and cicadas hum distantly as we delve farther into the forest. Goosebumps rise when a cool breeze kisses expose skin, and the woods becomes deafening as the nocturnal awake. Without the sun’s heat the forest cools, and the once humid air condenses, building moisture on every exposed surface, causing the forest to become a show of subtly shifting light. Wet leaves glare, refracting the moonlight above, creating a mirage for a spider’s freshly spun web; a Luna Moth, by happenchance, flitters into the inescapable death trap, and below a shrub rustles as a fox dashes after a rabbit in a deathly game of tag. The forest is completely naive of the approach of something much more sinister.

    My ears perk as the sound of footfall approaches just beyond my sight. The situation has reversed itself: the beasts we were hunting are now hunting us. The scratching of jagged claws against the tall sender pines is foreign to the soundtrack of the night and signals that that they are near. My eyes jerk from one point in the darkness to another, following each new alien sound, yet they stay just beyond the darkness. A hand circles in the air, a signals to move together. More footfall approaches us from behind, but they are from no beast; five new warriors join our rank of twenty, a joint force of hunters and guards from the city of Vanf. The scratching intensifies; they are very close now. My eyes return to scanning the darkness, and I spot a silhouette have appears (that appears?) in a moonbeam like spotlight (I think your metaphor is incomplete, might phrase better as “spotlighted in a moonbeam”). A black lion-bear hybrid like creature stands upright, its teeth glowing unnaturally white, and its eyes mad with blood, a Ravuge: one of the races of unnatural creatures. It fades back into the darkness. We hunt them every full double moon; as it is necessary for a hunt to keep the Ravuges numbers down and, therefore, the roads and the city of Vanf safe. The scratches increased in intensity, and grow louder in all directions as we move forward into a half-clearing. They surround us now. I draw my saber quietly dragging its strait (straight) form along so that it teases the tips of velvet grass. The group halts and forms a protective circle when the forest becomes eerily quiet. Suddenly, a bush rustles towards the northern end of the circle, so some the inexperienced guards in the group loosen up and move to investigate the noise.

    “It’s a trap!” One elder hunter calls out. As if on cue, several monstrous dark figures rush out of the vegetation. A mix of roars and screams fill the once stagnate night air. My attention is drawn to the dark looming outline in front of me. I drop and weave; swinging my saber skillfully slashing at the beast while avoiding its massive swinging claws.

    A distinctively female scream cuts the air. I smoothly circle to the front of the beast and slash at its eyes, and in the same movement back around severing its calves causing it to fall forward, paralyzing it temporarily. I take the moment to search through the chaos to confirm my fears. The moonlight illuminates a monstrous figure hovering over a bloody female body. It is Sasha; one of the two female guards from Vanf who have the honor of joining the hunting party. Turning around, I unsheathe my dagger, and thrust it into the back of the neck of the already stunned ravuge, severing its spinal cord, killing it instantly. Already on the balls of my feet I swing around and dash through chaos at Sasha. Her assailant, who is in the process of dragging her limp body away, releases her and turns to face me as I approach. The ravuge crouches down on all four legs and rushes me with its jaw stretching in preparation for ripping my bones and flesh to shreds. I continue without hesitation and leap just as the beast enters my saber’s range. I twist and contort while I gild through the air narrowly escaping its horrific jaws. I land on its back and waste no time swinging my saber at its neck, and in a stroke of luck slice between its vertebrae beheading it in one quick swipe (You might think about breaking this up into several sentences to maintain the quick flow of battle—currently I had to slow down to read it and it made the action seem slow). The beast collapses with a thud, and its head rolls a few feet away. I drag myself away and over to Sasha.

    I check her vitals; despite how bad she looks, her pulse is strong, but her breathing is shallow and weak. I search her body for an immediate injuries and find that the left side of her face is badly bruised; her chest and back-plate armor are pierced and bent on the upper right side where the beast had clamped down to drag her. I lay my now blood decorated saber to the side, draw my dagger, and somehow (this character is using a dagger, there is no somehow to cutting with it) cut the leather straps holding her armor together. Then I carefully removed her from her armor that was serving as a death trap. I pull some cloth out of a first aid pouch on my belt and wrap her shoulder with it.


    I grab my saber and scan the area. The small opening is sprinkled with mangled corpses both human and beast. I spot a group of ravuges circling, like a hungry flock of vultures, the last few survivors on the far end of the opening, but before I have the chance to move, a rustling in the vegetation causes me to freeze. I slip a small hatchet from its sheath and raise it coiling my arm behind my head. Releasing the built up tension, the axe gilds smoothly from my hand slicing end over end through the air and sinks into its intended victims’ skull killing it silently. I spot a mass, limping from a spear imbedded in its side, to my right, and I fling a throwing knife, causing it to charge in my direction; a second throwing knife finds its mark putting the ravuge out of its misery.


    The air grows still and eerily quiet as I glance back to the lone group at the opposite edge of the clearing. I whistle causing the circling ravuges to stop and slowly twist to face the noise. The world slows as everything becomes vivid, sharp and clear.



    A single blade flutters afterglow of the moons slicing the stagnate aura (I don’t know what you’re trying to say here) of dread as two Ravages are slain. Armor glitters (glitters evokes the idea that the armor somehow shimmers or moves—I would try glints) beams of twilight as figures rush past two newly gouged carcasses marking the broken encirclement. Their armor flickers bits of shattering moonlight as they draw quickly and silently to me (You’ve already established this). The blades of grass shed what are the starts of dewdrops at even the slightest touch of the warriors as they wade across the grassy opening and form around me.


    Five? Only five left other than me?! The trance is broken by the utter shock of the question echoing in my mind. I cannot comprehend that out of the twenty-five of us that went out only six remain in fighting shape. They set up a perimeter without uttering a word. Wait, I know these five. I walk over and fill a spot left open for me in the circle. The ravuges had already begun their encirclement of death about twenty steps out. I hold my saber out at each beast slowly passing and creeping closer. Each ravuges’ red eyes search for signs of weakness as they pass. They are ten paces and closing. I ready another throwing knife in my left hand as I wait for the first unlucky beast to make its move.

    A subtle breath turns heavy as new winds whistle across the landscape. The world of nightlight (different but I like what it evokes—seems serene—perhaps that feeling is out of place in the midst of a fight scene?) dulls as looming clouds quiet the once radiant starry sky. A sense of horror creeps onto the land as twilight fades to unknown blackness. My feet shift unconsciously fighting the terror sinking deep into my bones brought by uncertainty of the dark. Red eyes full of rage glow, like rubies, which silently circle creating a trance of impending death. Clouds break, allowing the largest moon to illuminate the world below, if only for a moment. My heightened senses slow the suddenly lit world. Massive paws push off the earth tossing wet grass, sparkling in the limelight, like confetti at some grand jubilee, as a Ravuge breaks formation and charges on all fours towards me. I smoothly sidestep left flinging the knife from my off-hand; the sleek curved blade sails through the air, and sinks into the charging ravuge’s shoulder causing its left front leg to fail. The strait straight form of my saber shimmers as it slices through the outstretching right paw that now spits bloods from the newly dislocate (I am not aware that veins can be dislocated) veins. I thrust into the beast’s side hitting a rib, but the pressure changes as the top third of the sword shatters from the connection. The beast recoils from the blow, rolling to its side, and tries to regain its footing; an arrow whizzes and connects with one of the beast’s hind legs, and it falls to the earth with a thud (Same as above. You might try breaking this into shorter sentences). I walk over to the beast, prop my leg against its heaving chest, and struggle to thrust what is left of my saber farther into the howling ravuge’s chest until the jagged tip reaches its heart.


    I jerk the sword out revealing its broken, useless shape. My eyes dart to the right. A child’s jigsaw puzzle (this is one jigsaw puzzle I would not let my children play with!) made of butchered ravuges is strewn before a massive blood splattered claymore. Behind the behemoth of a sword in a full blown steel suite (suit—suite is a group of rooms) of armor, with the exception of the helmet, is one of the three captains of the guard; Eays. A distinct yelp shifts my focus left to find a young man, in brownish color light armor, plunging a long sword into the chest of a whimpering ravuge. Shou is his name, and in a short staccato movement he pulls the blade from the beast. I turn my body so that the remaining three come into view. Opposite of me on the south side, and more towards the center of the group than the rest, stands a beautiful menacing female figure, Asa. Asa’s windswept, waist long, chestnut brown hair flows freely (I’m being nitpicky but it is obvious you don’t have long hair. It gets into your eyes. It’s hard to fight with it and it would be an easy handle for anything to grab and drag her with—I know this is fantasy and the female character with long flowing hair is a basic) as her eyes, ever watchful, search for even the slightest movement; her fingers poise, on a half drawn bow’s string, ready to let a deadly arrow fly precisely to its mark. Left of her, a short man in light armor holds a halberd and two sheathed dirks at his waist, and to the right of Asa, on the southern side of the group, a short man—a bit shorter than the man on the left—in standard plate armor holds a spear and a shield in the shape of a coffin; they are Dubane and Rakue of the Dunob family. I look so different compared to them: wearing old tattered, leather dress armor, a black clay mask with white teardrops around the eye-holes, a belt sagging at my waist, and physically weaponless.


    The moment passes and the world plunges yet again into pitch black. The thumps of paws softly landing on the grass quietly fade into the distance. The sound of the muffled footfall completely dissipates by the time the lazy clouds clear the moons, and light returns to the dreadful scene. I kneel, wipe the fresh blood off the blade on the moist grass, and sheath the broken saber. My hand reaches to the medical pouch on my belt, and pulls out a notebook and four pins. Flipping through the pages I find the parchment, rip it out, and pin it to the ground. I struggle to pull my left glove off as the sound of blades sinking into flesh, finishing off resilient ravuges, fills the night. I unsheathe my dagger, and prick my thumb with the tip, drawing warm blood. I place my thumb on the bottom of the rune filled circle written on the parchment, and whisper, “Fáthḱ-suhkˈ zhatum”.


    The paper glows neon green as the black inscribed runes start to turn ember red. The air stills before exploding in an outward whirlwind. The burst of air subsides, and in its place a steady, dull hum confirms the magic is creating a force field that surrounds the clearing.


    I exhale letting a sigh gently cross my lips, and try to swallow the feeling of dread growing inside my chest. I have never seen a group of ravuge of this size naturally, nor had them retreat after they have attacked. Someone, most likely a mage, is controlling them. The knowledge one must have of the firsts’ language to do so is powerful and unknown to me, even as a Magi. This situation, with so many dead and the fact that I am weaponless, may be beyond me with my limited capabilities as a Magi. The mage will be back before dawn, and he or she will not be alone.


    The better part of the next hour was spent collecting the bodies, or what was left of them, and transferring them to a treeless section of the clearing where the grass was shorter. There I began to assess and treat, with magic if possible, the various injuries. Unfortunately, I did not have the adequate medical supplies, or their injuries are too severe to be healed by my level of magic; nevertheless I manage to save five out of the sixteen. The others keep themselves busy by collecting all the arms and tools from what is left of the incapacitated in a pile.


    I begin to lay out everything usable I have left: a dagger, thirteen pieces of cubed half foot notebook paper, a piece of black chalk, and the two small throwing knifes I salvaged. The realization that I had nothing feels suffocating, so I undo the leather strapping of my mask and lay it to the side. I take deep breaths, trying to allow myself to think, when a hand pats my shoulder, “We have to send someone back to Vanf. We can't sit here much longer,” Eays said.


    “None of you alone could make it back to Vanf alive,” I utter, “Even if you made it past the beasts. There is a mage out there,” I signal towards the woods with my hand, “controlling the beasts.”


    “Think he’ll show?”


    “No doubt,” I look down to what is left in front of me, “but I don’t have much to go on.”


    My experienced mind, trained over hundreds of years for constant battle, begins to race. Insight occurs as I stare at the bleak materials, and my mind begins to weigh the pros and cons of each idea. I finally settle on one with the most versatile response that still gives me a much needed advantage. I jump to my feet without saying a word and begin to walk away.


    “Care to fill me in,” Eays calls out slyly.


    “Smoke and mirrors,” I sarcastically call back.


    “Smoke and mirrors,” Eays echoes under his breath, and scoffs lightly at the remark.

    This has real potential. I like the descriptions and how they seem fresh—especially the phrase “a subtle breath turns heavy as new winds whistle across the landscape.” I want to know more about the characters and the world just from this bit. Other than what I have marked there are a few problems with tenses, run-on sentences or sentences that are just too long and paragraphs that are just never-ending. Breaking up your paragraphs and parsing down the description in battle will help it to read smoother and make it easier to tackle.
    Also, for the first two thirds of this I wasn’t sure how to imagine the character—at the end I still don’t know the character’s name. This is a serious oversight. I should know this character’s name. As is, I just don’t care if he lives or dies—there is nothing for me to identify with, no reason for me to be invested.

  5. #35
    This has real potential. I like the descriptions and how they seem fresh—especially the phrase “a subtle breath turns heavy as new winds whistle across the landscape.” I want to know more about the characters and the world just from this bit. There are a few problems with tenses--i think present-past may serve you better--run-on sentences or sentences that are just too long and paragraphs that are just never-ending. Breaking up your paragraphs and parsing down the description in battle will help it to read smoother and make it easier to tackle.
    Also, for the first two thirds of this I wasn’t sure how to imagine the character—at the end I still don’t know the character’s name. This is a serious oversight. I should know this character’s name. As is, I just don’t care if he lives or dies—there is nothing for me to identify with, no reason for me to be invested.

    For examples on writing great action in first person try reading some Kim Harrison. It's a bit chick sci-fi but it reads well.

    Also, so you know: strait is a body of water. Straight is the word you want.

    Edit: I had some comments within the story and some punctuation markers but it didn't format correctly.
    Last edited by Ariel; December 11th, 2012 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Didn't format correctly

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