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Unread 12-12-2009, 06:28 PM   #1
Green Spanner
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Default A short story I wrote (feedback plz?)

(Story is below, but first an introduction):

So here's the thing.

I'm an aspiring author, one with a fantasy novel already written (currently pending another read-through in order to fine-tune it). I figure I need as much critical perspective as possible, so I'm throwing this short story, part of the intended series the novel is the first of and very similar in style and content, to be torn apart by the ravenous literary critics here.

In essence, this is little more than set up for two books. It might be a bit confusing to read, but rest assured that most of the questions you're likely to have will be answered in the series itself (if I ever get published that is, and assuming you care enough to want answers). Right now, I'm looking more for feedback on my writing ability than anything else.

Please keep inevitable criticism as constructive as possible. For ease of reading, the whole thing will be posted in three instalments.

And so, without further ado, I give you:

A Gentleman's Competition

“It’s just a bird, moron!” sneered Rollim as Calder lowered his sword. The bird stared at him curiously before hopping back into the bushes, mocking him. Calder glared at Rollim, who gave him a nasty smirk in response. Rollim was a dick.

“Silence!” hissed Plesic angrily. “Who knows what lurks in these accursed woods?”

“Birds?” said Calder. Plesic merely turned away in disgust, hurrying to catch up with Yulmen and Laymaar. Rollim and Calder quickly followed suit: they didn’t want to get lost in the trees, and as long as they were with Laymaar, the leader of the Brotherhood, no harm could come of them, right?

Laymaar…

Laymaar terrified Calder. Laymaar terrified the entire Brotherhood. Even Plesic was terrified of Laymaar. If you were to get on the wrong side of Laymaar, you were sure to die in a particularly slow and unpleasant way. And then the worse part…

Just thinking about it made Calder shake. He was a warlock in the Brotherhood of the Demon! He should be beyond fear, a trivial emotion felt by inferior people. The people that would bow to the Brotherhood or be destroyed when their time came!

It was highly unlikely that the time would come in Calder’s lifetime though. He was already in his 30s, and the Brotherhood was still almost entirely unknown to the world, skulking around in the uncharted wilds of Askrytion.

Calder remembered when he had first been joined the Brotherhood. What memories! Not particularly good memories, but memories nonetheless. He had had a choice between carrying on the family trade of being a cheese-monger, or finding his fortune in the uncharted wilds, where Askrytion was trying to permanently settle. He remembered when the Brotherhood attacked the small scouting party he found himself in, and vaguely remembered something about magical potential, which was what stopped them from killing him. So he ‘willingly’ joined them they trained him in the ways of the warlocks, had him give a vow of servitude to Ignicious, and that was that.

Ignicious…the titular demon the Brotherhood worshipped. Was he real? All Calder knew was that the Brotherhood was dedicated to serving him, and that he would one day return and enact vengeance on mankind, who had sealed him away long ago. It was all a load of bollocks by Calder’s reckoning, but he wouldn’t say that out loud. A large number of the rest of the Brotherhood did not tolerate ‘heresy’.

There was Yulmen for example…

Yulmen was loyal to a fault, having memorised the code of the Brotherhood inside and out, and being a firm believer in the whole Ignicious nonsense. He was walking besides Laymaar, acting as an unofficial body guard. Not that Laymaar needed one with his power, but Yulmen liked to feel like he was Laymaar’s favourite. The reality that nobody likes an arse-kissing sycophantic toady was lost on him.

There was not much else to say about Plesic, who was just quiet and had a like of order and discipline that may well have crossed into fetish territory. If any of them were Laymaar’s favourite, it was probably Plesic.

Rollim was a dick. That had already been established.

And so the group of five warlocks were scouting the wilderness for the purpose of…well Laymaar hadn’t told them, but if one were to disobey Laymaar to his face, it was a sure sign that one was tired of life. And not being in pain.

Calder never got tired of not being in pain. It was really great.

The trees kept going and going, until it got to the point that Calder was starting to believe that they were going round in circles. They had left the temple how long ago? He couldn’t remember, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was doing…whatever it was that they were doing.

Soon, they arrived at a clearing. Laymaar suddenly stopped.

“We will stop here and rest,” he said, “but not for long.”

They all obeyed, making sure to not get too comfortable, lest they not be ready to move when Laymaar decided the rest was over. There was no telling what he would do to them if they showed any sign of weakness…

There was a slight rustle from the trees surrounding them.

“Did anybody else hear that?” asked Calder shakily. Rollim chuckled.

“More birds, Calder? Careful, they might get you!”

“Shut up you two.” Said Plesic.

“I really did hear something…” said Calder dejectedly. Plesic sighed.

“Is it so hard to believe that there may be animals lurking in the bushes?”

“Look, I know what animals sound like, and what I heard was no…”

“Enough.” Said Laymaar without turning round. The rest of the group went entirely silent.

Calder knew he would do best to drop the subject, but as they rested, he saw shadows moving through the trees. It’s just an animal, he thought to himself, biting his lower lip to prevent its humiliating trembling. When he joined the Brotherhood, he thought he was going to get power and adventure. What he got instead was hanging around in a dank temple, living in fear of both his malicious superiors and opportunistic inferiors, the latter of which knew that the only way to advance in rank was with a knife, a back, and a liberal application of one to the other.

He had wanted to conquer his fear, and show all those who had mocked him who the real cowards were! Now he was living in more fear than ever…

But all he had to do was not show it, not step on anybody’s toes and keep his guard up and he could at least survive each day. Not the best life, but was really that much worse than being a cheesemonger?

Seriously?

There was another rustle, closer this time.

“You must have heard that! Plesic, tell me you heard that!”

“I’ll tell you no such thing. Now shut up. Forever if possible.”

There was quite an audible snap of a twig, followed by another rustle. Plesic seemed to notice this time, and thought for a second.

“Ok, I think I believe you now…” he whispered. “That did not sound like an animal…”

“Don’t tell me you’re listening to wet-knee over here?” said Rollim.

“Wet-knee? What does that even…?”

“Shut up! You’re disturbing master Laymaar!” shouted Yulmen in a way that wouldn’t disturb anybody ever.

“We’re not alone, Yulmen.” Replied Plesic. “Can you hear that? There’s something out there…”

Rollim opened his mouth.

“Not an animal.” Said Plesic.

Rollim shut his mouth.

“Are you afraid, Plesic? You know that fear is not to be tolerated in the Brotherhood! Why shouldn’t I take my blade and…”

“We’re not alone.” Said Laymaar without turning around. This was enough to convince Yulmen and Rollim, and the five of them began to crowd together. One by one they drew their swords, preparing for whatever was out there.

There was a terrible pause, filled with silence. Not one of them let their guard down for a second.

Eventually there was another rustle, louder this time. Whatever was out there was bearing down upon them.

There was another pause for seemingly no other reason but to build up a bit more tension.

Suddenly, a shape emerged from between the trees: a man. As he stepped into the light of the clearing, Calder managed to get a good look at him: he was dressed in somewhat archaic looking armour, bearing a shield in one hand, whilst his other hovered at his scabbard. Most of his head was covered with a strange helmet that obscured his features, leaving only his face below the nose uncovered.

What got Calder’s attention, however, was the skin. It was sickly pale, almost white with a hint of green to it, patterned with red scars and blotches. It was the kind of skin that would not look too out of place on a corpse.

Corpse.

Suddenly Calder thought of the soul-batteries that Laymaar used to store magical energies for an unknown ceremony that he called ‘the Ritual’: every single one of them innocent people that the Brotherhood had killed, whereupon Laymaar used his most unnatural magical ability…

He raised them from the dead. He used his powerful necromancy to make them into walking corpses, fully aware of their predicament, but bound to his will, whereupon he chained them to the walls of the temple the Brotherhood occupied. They would be periodically blasted with magical energies, turning them into little more than magic-storage devices. Their screams of anguish and agony echoed around the temple all day and all night.

And this man that stood before them seemed to be one of them.

Undead…
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I'm a riter! Please feed my back. (For serious you guys)
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Last edited by Green Spanner; 12-16-2009 at 06:31 AM.
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