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Crimson Murderess. Chapter three. (1 Viewer)

Silen

Senior Member
A scream echoed around the encampment. Marcus turned to look, he saw in the torch light unnatural shadows. He sprinted to his tent, equipped as much of his armour as possible grabbed his sword and dagger, and ran out into the encampment.

What he saw horrified him, hundreds of skeletons clad in dark rusty plate and armed with whatever they could get their hands on were slaughtering his men. Soldiers were being pulled from their tents and ripped apart, screams of death hung in the air. The stench of battle clung to his nasal passages.

He swept into the nearest of the skeletons, beheading it and barrelling its body to the ground. He stabbed another through the chest and cleaved the final of the three in this group, across the waist. He turned to check they were dead, to his horror they weren’t. The bodies arose from the ground in a swift motion and reattached themselves to their lost limbs and heads.

Magic, he thought to himself as he ran towards Elsion’s tent. On his way through, he dispatched all in his way. Though pointless he had not wanted to be caught unawares. As he approached Elsion’s tent the earth began to shake.
Long foreboding footsteps reverberated through the ground, a large creature of bone and welded flesh came from within the tree’s using a fallen trunk as a mace it impaled any soldier that got in its way, to Marcus’s horror the soldiers were still alive. He dove down hoping not to be seen by it. In his mind he felt for the men, they were to be used to club their fellows to death, a bad death.

He pushed himself up, seeing Elsion’s tent splattered with blood. He abandoned all hope of finding his commander. He looked around at the horrors. Hauk was lying bloody and broken at the foot of a small tent. Marcus rushed over to check him; he could immediately tell it was too late. A large portion of Hauks limbs were missing and blood was frothing from his broken jaw. Marcus went to close his Hauks eyes. A horn interrupted him.

A creature clad in black spiked plate was sat atop her steed, a horse of bones and rusted metal, its eyes glowing with a black flame. The creature spurred its mount onwards right towards Marcus. He panicked and fell to the ground attempting to play dead. It arrived at him and dismounted with a swift grace unfitting to the army it commanded. It pulled back its dark hood revealing the face of a murderess.

Flawless grey skin covered her face; crimson eyes sat perfectly level within her skull and crimson hair hung from her head in a long twisting braid. Loch, he thought to himself, but this was unlike any Loch he had seen before. She drew from her belt of vials a small dagger and a glass full of a bubbling blue liquid. She dipped the blade in the glass vial, and then stabbed it ruthlessly into Hauk’s eye socket.

A branch snapped under Marcus’s leg. For the briefest moment he thought he would die. The creature spun on him, gazing down at him. He raised his sword, the creature looked down at him, It shone its white, sharpened teeth at him in a twisted grin, Mounted and rode away into the dark of the forest.

He returned swiftly to Hauk’s fallen corpse. To his horror the corpse began moving of its own accord. From within his muscles seemed to spasm, it twitched and tossed in vain. He lifted Hauk’s chain mail, and underneath the skin of his belly, hundreds of tiny hands were beginning to reach and claw in an attempt to escape his body.

Marcus ran, in fear of Hauk’s corpse and the creatures inside, in fear of the murderess and her hordes of screaming skeletons and in fear of the giant construct of bone. He had to do something. Frustration clawed at him, he thought of rallying what left of his men. He decided to.

He returned to the centre of the encampment, he was about to yell at the top off his voice when a noise erupted from behind him, it was deafening. A beam of black light shot into the night sky. Darkening the stars and drowning out the sound of bone crunching and limbs being pulled from their sockets.

It was silent now. Silent and utterly dark, No footsteps padded in the dark, no light emitted from the smouldering torches. There was no sign of skeletons or giants. The corpses of his men were rotting away; they began to melt into the ground like a corpse in the sun. The murderess had left her banquet.

He fell to his knees and screamed to the empty forest. Frustration and anger tore at him, threatening to rip his sanity in two. Twice he had been ambushed. Twice he had failed his men.
A sharp intake of breath dragged him back into reality he raised his sword and spun towards the sound. One Loch was standing in front of him. Bow aimed at his face, the arrow head digging in to the skin of his cheek.
“What magic is this!” she demanded. “Speak quickly sorcerer!”
Marcus tongue was tied in knots. His mind tried to piece together the happenings, his frustration denied him. From his distressed brain he managed to utter two words.
“Help ... Me....”
 

MBNewman

Senior Member
It's interesting. A bit rushed near the end. I'd say add a bit more detail into his suffering there at the end. There are a few cases of a random capitalization that are easy fixes, and a few cases of missing commas. And the line "In his mind he felt for the men, they were to be used to club their fellows to death, a bad death" is a bit confusing. Past that, it's a good action scene. I am curious as to what happens after that little cliff hanger.
 

2pebbles

Senior Member
It flows nicely and conveys a real sense of the brutality of the battle. I think that using the battle to reveal a little more about what is going on inside Markus' head would add to the scene.
 

ktee

Senior Member
This shows great promise, well done. I would definitely want to read more.

There are errors that suggest it needs editing. The main issues are that you jump between sections of the narrative without properly describing what happens in between. Also, this is a battle scene, if you want your readers to connect to the horror of what's happening (and thus the characters experiencing it) you can add a bit more description of the violence - not for the sake of being violent, but to increase the reader experience.

A warning: I give detailed critique :) This is how I was taught at university and is the same way I edit my own work.
Blue are possible changes [or comments]
Red are typos and grammar.

A scream echoed around the encampment. Marcus turned back around to look, and saw unnatural shadows he saw in the torch light unnatural shadows. He sprinted to his tent, equipped with as much of his armour as possible grabbed his sword and dagger, and ran out into the encampment. [is he already equipped with armour? It is unclear the way you've written it. I would suggest "equipped with as much of his armour as possible he sprinted..."]

What he saw horrified him [there is a jump here. I would like to see a bit more description of the encampment as he enters, how far into the encampment did he go before he saw this. Also, wouldn't he hear more than one scream at the beginning if all hi men are being killed? I would expect screaming grunting, metal on metal, crunching etc...

Also, what are light sources? At night you have to always plan what light sources are present then work those into any descriptions. My guess would be some camp fires and lanterns]
, hundreds of skeletons clad in dark rusty plate and armed with whatever they could get their hands on [what does this mean exactly? Give examples. What specifically are they holding] were slaughtering his men. Soldiers were being pulled from their tents and ripped apart [I don't like copious violence, but I also don't like it when violent acts are brushed over too quickly. If you want the reader to feel the horror of this, don't be so casual in your descriptions], screams of death hung in the air. The stench of battle clung to his nasal passages.

He swept into the nearest of the skeletons, beheading it [give more detail of these fights to establish what the skeletons are like. For example "the skeleton brandished it's sword, the weight of the weapon slowing it's strike down and he was able to pivot and slice it's head of" compared to "the skeleton saw his approach and raised it's sword. As he approached he lunged at it, it parried with surprising swiftness... etc..."] and barrelling its body to the ground. He stabbed another through the chest and cleaved the final of the three in this group, across the waist. He turned to check they were dead, to his horror they weren’t. The bodies arose from the ground in a swift motion and reattached themselves to their lost limbs and heads.

Magic [does he need to say this? I would have thought fighting skeletons were the giveaway :) Could it be "this was strong magic"], he thought to himself as he ran towards Elsion’s tent. On his way through, he dispatched all in his way [as someone else said, this sounds rushed. You should elaborate more. Also, what about his men? wouldn't he be helping those still live or at least noting how quickly they were being killed. Another thing, he's killing the skeletons easily but his men are being slaughtered. I think you need to write that the skeletons as fighting back more, being very skilled]. Though pointless he had not wanted to be caught unawares [I'm not sure what this means]. As he approached Elsion’s tent the earth began to shake.

Long foreboding footsteps reverberated through the ground, a large creature of bone and welded flesh came from within the tree’s using a fallen trunk as a mace it impaled any soldier that got in its way, to Marcus’s horror the soldiers were still alive. He dove down hoping not to be seen by it. In his mind he felt for the men [to say this seems unnecessary. I would cut it], they were to be used to club their fellows to death, a bad death. [you don't say where the beast has gone. I think you need to say something like "the creature continued to cut a violent path of bodies back towards..."]

He pushed himself up, seeing Elsion’s tent splattered with blood. He abandoned all hope of finding his commander. He looked around at the bloody horrors around him. Hauk was lying bloody and broken at the foot of a small tent. Marcus rushed over to check him; but he could immediately tell it was too late. A large portion of Hauks limbs were missing and blood was frothing from his broken jaw. Marcus went to close his Hauks eyes. A horn interrupted him.

A creature clad in black spiked plate was sat atop her steed [how do you she's female? i think you either include feminine detail in your description or keep her gender ambigous for now], a horse of bones and rusted metal, its eyes glowing with a black flame. The creature spurred its [inconsistent, it was "her" and now "its" I've highlighted them all in green to help you] mount onwards right towards Marcus. He panicked and fell to the ground attempting to play dead. It arrived at him [clunky, need to reword and you need to clarify that she hasn't noticed him. You also need to clarify how close she actually is] and dismounted with a swift grace unfitting to the army it commanded. It pulled back its dark hood revealing the face of a murderess.

Flawless grey skin covered her face; crimson eyes sat perfectly level within her skull and crimson hair hung from her head in a long twisting braid. Loch, he thought to himself, but this was unlike any Loch he had seen before. She drew from her belt of vials a small dagger and a glass full of a bubbling blue liquid. She dipped the blade in the glass vial, and then stabbed it ruthlessly into Hauk’s eye socket.

A branch snapped under Marcus’s leg. For the briefest moment he thought he would die. The creature spun on him, gazing down at him. He raised his sword [he's lying down, maybe "he was trapped on the ground in between the bodies of his own men but raised his sword as much as he could, the tip of the blade pointed up only to [insert] height], the creature looked down at him, It shone its white, sharpened teeth at him in a twisted grin, Mounted and rode away into the dark of the forest.

He returned [you've jumped again. Maybe "pulled himself up [remember he's in armour so this will be difficult] and ran as quickly as he could to..."] swiftly to Hauk’s fallen corpse. To his horror the corpse began moving of its own accord. From within his muscles seemed to spasm, it twitched and tossed in vain. He lifted Hauk’s chain mail, and underneath the skin of his belly, hundreds of tiny hands were beginning to reach and claw in an attempt to escape his body.[this is cool but it doesn't quite make sense. I suggest you take a little longer to describe it]

Marcus ran, in fear of Hauk’s corpse and the creatures inside, in fear of the murderess and her hordes of screaming skeletons and in fear of the giant construct of bone. He had to do something. Frustration clawed at him, and he thought of rallying what left of his men. He decided to.

He returned to the centre of the encampment [if he wants to rally his troops this suggests the battle is still going. You should include a description of what the battle looks like now], he was about to yell at the top off his voice when a noise erupted from behind him, it was deafening. A beam of black light [contradiction. A "black beam of shadow"?] shot into the night sky. Ddarkening the stars and drowning out the sound of bones being cruncheding and limbs being pulled from their sockets.

It was silent now. Silent and utterly dark, No footsteps padded in the dark, no light emitted from the smouldering torches [as I said early on, you need to incorporate the available light into your descriptions of the scene. You've chosen torches, so go back and use the effect this would have on what he could see into your writing. Not all the time, bet every now and again]. There was no sign of skeletons or giants. [The corpses of his men were rotting away ["were rotting" implying he's seeing it happen. But previously you said "utterly black". Therefore he wouldn't be able to see what's happening to his men]; they began to melt into the ground like a corpse in the sun. The murderess had left her banquet.

He fell to his knees and screamed to the empty forest. Frustration and anger tore at him, threatening to rip his sanity in two. Twice he had been ambushed. Twice he had failed his men.
A sharp intake of breath dragged him back into reality and he raised his sword and spun towards the sound. One Loch was standing in front of him. Bow aimed at his face, the arrow head digging in to the skin of his cheek [in the soldier's cheek? Wouldn't he feel this and that would be the prompt rather than a sound].
“What magic is this!” she demanded. “Speak quickly, sorcerer!”
Marcus' tongue was tied in knots. His mind tried to piece together the happenings, his frustration denied him. From his distressed brain he managed to utter two words.
“Help ... Me....”
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
A scream echoed around the encampment. Marcus turned to look, he saw in the torch light unnatural shadows. He sprinted to his tent, equipped as much of his armour as possible grabbed his sword and dagger, and ran out into the encampment.

What he saw horrified him, hundreds of skeletons clad in dark rusty plate and armed with whatever they could get their hands on were slaughtering his men. Soldiers were being pulled from their tents and ripped apart, screams of death hung in the air. The stench of battle clung to his nasal passages.
He wasn't afraid? Why not beat a hasty retreat or sound the alarm for everyone to retreat? The camp feels crowded with enemies to me at this point.

He swept into the nearest of the skeletons, beheading it and barrelling its body to the ground. He stabbed another through the chest and cleaved the final of the three in this group, across the waist. He turned to check they were dead, to his horror they weren’t. The bodies arose from the ground in a swift motion and reattached themselves to their lost limbs and heads.
Here, the camp doesn't seem as crowded as before. Also, it seems rather easy for him to dismantle these enemies. Why couldn't anyone else do the same?

Magic, he thought to himself as he ran towards Elsion’s tent. On his way through, he dispatched all in his way. Though pointless he had not wanted to be caught unawares. As he approached Elsion’s tent the earth began to shake.
I thought it was hundreds in the camp? Did he dismantle that many where he'd not have to be that concerned about watching his back?
Long foreboding footsteps reverberated through the ground, a large creature of bone and welded flesh came from within the tree’s using a fallen trunk as a mace it impaled any soldier that got in its way, to Marcus’s horror the soldiers were still alive. He dove down hoping not to be seen by it. In his mind he felt for the men, they were to be used to club their fellows to death, a bad death.
Now he hides? Why didn't he run earlier when it was more feasible? Why aren't others running as well? If the cause is loss, why fight and died?

He pushed himself up, seeing Elsion’s tent splattered with blood. He abandoned all hope of finding his commander. He looked around at the horrors. Hauk was lying bloody and broken at the foot of a small tent. Marcus rushed over to check him; he could immediately tell it was too late. A large portion of Hauks limbs were missing and blood was frothing from his broken jaw. Marcus went to close his Hauks eyes. A horn interrupted him.
So he's not sure until he rushed over to check Hauk? He did see Hauk lying bloody and broken at the foot of the tent, like so many others earlier.

A creature clad in black spiked plate was sat atop her steed, a horse of bones and rusted metal, its eyes glowing with a black flame. The creature spurred its mount onwards right towards Marcus. He panicked and fell to the ground attempting to play dead. It arrived at him and dismounted with a swift grace unfitting to the army it commanded. It pulled back its dark hood revealing the face of a murderess.
Now he panics? After all he's already seen, he panics now?

Flawless grey skin covered her face; crimson eyes sat perfectly level within her skull and crimson hair hung from her head in a long twisting braid. Loch, he thought to himself, but this was unlike any Loch he had seen before. She drew from her belt of vials a small dagger and a glass full of a bubbling blue liquid. She dipped the blade in the glass vial, and then stabbed it ruthlessly into Hauk’s eye socket.

A branch snapped under Marcus’s leg. For the briefest moment he thought he would die. The creature spun on him, gazing down at him. He raised his sword, the creature looked down at him, It shone its white, sharpened teeth at him in a twisted grin, Mounted and rode away into the dark of the forest.
Was Marcus trying to get up? I can't tell. I thought he was playing dead?

He returned swiftly to Hauk’s fallen corpse. To his horror the corpse began moving of its own accord. From within his muscles seemed to spasm, it twitched and tossed in vain. He lifted Hauk’s chain mail, and underneath the skin of his belly, hundreds of tiny hands were beginning to reach and claw in an attempt to escape his body.
Why? Why is he returning to Hauk's corpse? Why not just run while he has the chance? Hauk is obviously long dead, there's nothing to check I would assume he thought. He didn't check on anyone else's corpse.

Marcus ran, in fear of Hauk’s corpse and the creatures inside, in fear of the murderess and her hordes of screaming skeletons and in fear of the giant construct of bone. He had to do something. Frustration clawed at him, he thought of rallying what left of his men. He decided to.

He returned to the centre of the encampment, he was about to yell at the top off his voice when a noise erupted from behind him, it was deafening. A beam of black light shot into the night sky. Darkening the stars and drowning out the sound of bone crunching and limbs being pulled from their sockets.

It was silent now. Silent and utterly dark, No footsteps padded in the dark, no light emitted from the smouldering torches. There was no sign of skeletons or giants. The corpses of his men were rotting away; they began to melt into the ground like a corpse in the sun. The murderess had left her banquet.

He fell to his knees and screamed to the empty forest. Frustration and anger tore at him, threatening to rip his sanity in two. Twice he had been ambushed. Twice he had failed his men.
A sharp intake of breath dragged him back into reality he raised his sword and spun towards the sound. One Loch was standing in front of him. Bow aimed at his face, the arrow head digging in to the skin of his cheek.
“What magic is this!” she demanded. “Speak quickly sorcerer!”
Marcus tongue was tied in knots. His mind tried to piece together the happenings, his frustration denied him. From his distressed brain he managed to utter two words.
“Help ... Me....”
Although it's all very interesting, I'm not following Marcus' reasoning in this excerpt. Although I enjoyed the sights, I couldn't connect to the character because nothing he did seemed reasonable to me.
 

Silen

Senior Member
"He wasn't afraid? Why not beat a hasty retreat or sound the alarm for everyone to retreat? The camp feels crowded with enemies to me at this point"
He doesn't run because he believes their is a chance they can repel this foe.

"Here, the camp doesn't seem as crowded as before. Also, it seems rather easy for him to dismantle these enemies. Why couldn't anyone else do the same."
The idea is that killing them is not possible, so the soldiers may well slay them all but have them return from the scattered bones to cause mayhem once more. also men will have run away, and skeletons would have given chase.

"
I thought it was hundreds in the camp? Did he dismantle that many where he'd not have to be that concerned about watching his back?"
The ambush is lightning fast and as skeletons lead a merry chase after the fleeing soldiers it becomes a lot easier to leave ones back unguarded, they walk heavily in rusted armor that would give any movement away.

"now he hides? Why didn't he run earlier when it was more feasible? Why aren't others running as well? If the cause is loss, why fight and died?
Others are running, up until the giant arrives the cause can in the characters mind still be won.

"So he's not sure until he rushed over to check Hauk? He did see Hauk lying bloody and broken at the foot of the tent, like so many others earlier."
Blood is still frothing from hauks broken jaw, he died seconds before.

"
Now he panics? After all he's already seen, he panics now?"
If you were a captain in an army you wouldn't flee when theres a bit of gore. The enemy general is supposed to instill fear. She moves faster than any thing he has seen before and has a malice in the way she stabs Hauks recently dead body.

"Was Marcus trying to get up? I can't tell. I thought he was playing dead?"
he is playing dead but you dont get the opertunity in an ambush to make yourself comfy before doing so.

"Why? Why is he returning to Hauk's corpse? Why not just run while he has the chance? Hauk is obviously long dead, there's nothing to check I would assume he thought. He didn't check on anyone else's corpse."
he is closest to hauk out of all of his men. the reason he returned his because of that simple human flaw that is curiosity.

"Although it's all very interesting, I'm not following Marcus' reasoning in this excerpt. Although I enjoyed the sights, I couldn't connect to the character because nothing he did seemed reasonable to me."
I have tried to create a character who has all the traits of a noble commander of men, he prides himself on his skills yet still has the flaws that all humans have. I apolagize if none of this was clear in the writing. perhaps more detail is needed.

I hope this has answered some of your questions and i will take your opinion into consideration as i re-edit this chapter.
 

Silen

Senior Member
ktee thank you for your lovely review, i will be taking this into account when it comes to the third re-write. :D
 

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