Crimson Flag Comic Forums
September 01, 2014, 08:38:43 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register Chat  
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
Author Topic: The Four Heroes  (Read 3518 times)
« on: March 16, 2009, 12:25:24 AM »

Posts: 10
View Profile Email
ShazerFox
Crimson Flag Fan
*

Our Great Leader convinced me to post this here.  It's a little story I'm slowly working on, so after I finish posting what I have, expect to see some small updates (hopefully) frequently.  This is about 1/5th of what I have done.  Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated!  This is a first rough draft, so there's lots of room for changes.  Thanks!   Red Fox 
________________________________________

THE FOUR HEROES

Chapter 1:  Tyus


The air hung still, heavy with humidity but sweetened with the smell of pines and wildflowers that bordered the dark beach sand.  The night was calm like most nights on the bay, but even the regular summer breeze was missing this time.  Gone was the rustle of leaves and limbs in the woods.  Only the crashing of the salty waves on the shore filled the silence.

The sky was clear but there was no moon.  The stars and the deep red of the Napron shone brilliantly upon the dark world.

Amidst the rolling waves, a form broke through the water, sliding onto the beach.  Slick and long, fur glistening in the starlight, it pulled itself from the sea and dug feet and hands into the volcanic sand.  Deep, rattling coughs broke the steady crashing of the ocean waves as the creature expelled water through its lips.  Rolling in the sand, it settled onto its back, legs splayed and tail sweeping the sand.  Ten toes wiggled in the warm night air and ten fingers, tipped with small claws, clasped together behind the creature’s round head.

Soon, with heaving chest, Tyus took his first breath of air since the snows had covered the bay.  A smile spread across his short muzzle and his whiskers twitched happily.  The expanse of the stars and the endless depth of the universe on display above him awoke his mind and lit fire in his imagination.

Slipping away from his clan had not been easy this time, but, like always, it had been worth it.
Tyus felt like he was escaping into another world.  Indeed, what little he had seen on land truly was unlike anything in his clan’s city beneath the waves.  In the summer months the bay floor was brightly-lit and lively, full of activity and the busy hundreds of his kin.  It was the time of year when fishing was best, and regular excursions onto land were made for wood and rare treats like berries and greens. 

But when winter fell and clouds blocked the sun and the snow suffocated the land, the wotterfolk kept to themselves, remaining in the water as ice from the north drifted into the bay.  Land food was no longer gathered but pulled from stores, having lost its enticing color and flavor from weeks kept underwater.  Young wotters kept mostly to their homes, deluged with the schooling they were spared during the busy warm months.  Fishing was the only excuse to get out into open water and stretch one’s rudder, but by winter, the best varieties had already moved out into the deep ocean.

Alone in his clan and, he suspected, among all his people, Tyus longed…no, ached…for the sun of day and the stars of night.  The silence of life under water was a deadness to him.  Here, above it all, the murmur of the waves and the whispering of the forest made him feel alive. 

The stars above made him dream.

Minutes passed as he became lost in his own rambling thoughts.  Always, he wondered what they were.  No one in his clan knew.  But, even worse, no one seemed to care.  His curiosity and endless questions had been met with shrugs, blank stares, and even disdain and ridicule.  What sort of wotter wonders about the sky?  A bird might as well contemplate the depths of the sea, or a fish imagine life on land. 

So Tyus kept his secret to himself.  Sure, his family knew about his outings on land, but no one knew the true reason for them.  What little answers could be found in the city’s books were never enough.  Tyus had to see for himself.  He had to experience the air in his lungs, the wind on his pelt, and the vastness of space around him.

Here, his eyes taking in the numberless, inviting, mysterious stars, Tyus could forget the crowded bay and let his mind roam free.  He imagined his body lifting off the sand and rising high into the night sky.  The sound of the waves faded behind him until there was no sound—just stars and the red cloud surrounding him….

Tyus found himself standing on a grassy hilltop.  Below him, endless trees stretched into the distance on all sides.  Mountains, taller than anything he could imagine, rose through the clouds and seemed close enough that he could reach out and touch them.  Snow glistened on the craggy peaks and the wind played through the grass like it were water.

Not a drop of actual water could be seen.

The young wotter’s eyes had never before beheld such an expanse as what lay before him now.
Suddenly, he was walking, following a path that seemed without end.  The dry ground felt good on the pads of his feet.  He let his rudder drag through the dust, savoring the weight of his body and the steady pace of his legs.  For so long he had been held by the sea.  Now, far from any ocean, Tyus felt at home.

The trees surrounding the path cleared and something new loomed ahead.  Closer and closer he came, the thing growing larger and taller.  It dwarfed him.  Its sheer mass seemed to press into the mighty earth and pull the land down with it.  Black like the volcanic rock of his childhood, it nevertheless appeared to Tyus to be a great mountain like he had seen from the hilltop.  Could it be man-made?  Nothing in his finite experiences of life in the bay had led him to believe such a structure was possible….

Tyus jerked awake, his first instinct to slap his rudder and pull at the water around him, but all he got was handfuls of sand.  His breath was coming fast and his heart raced, but before long, he realized it had only been a dream.

But not a nightmare.  Why was he panicking from such a beautiful vision?

Glancing up at the stars, he noticed their positions had shifted quite a bit from before.  He must have been asleep for at least a couple of hours.

Tyus let out a long sigh, wriggling his backside deeper into the sand and relaxing once again.  He turned his head to relieve the tension in his neck, first to the right, then to left...

…and, suddenly, every muscle in his body pulled in one rapid jerk, lifting him onto his feet into a squatting position.  His keen eyes stared ahead far down the beach.  A tiny orange light flickered in the darkness near the water’s edge.

Though he was a water-dweller, Tyus knew fire when he saw it.  It was a small fire, probably used by someone to cook a meal or stay warm.  Whatever its purpose, however, he realized he wasn’t alone on the beach.

Without so much as the tiniest sound, Tyus slipped beneath the waves.

***

The sounds of rock cracking on rock woke Tyus from a deep sleep.  Peeking an eye open, he could see it was already late in the morning.  Beams of sunlight shown through the cracks in the boards comprising the roof of his tiny stone room.  Rolling over in his bed of fine sand, he saw his mother holding open the reed curtain covering the doorway, rock in hand. 

Tyus groaned inside and closed his eyes.  Again, his mother hit the stone wall of his room with the rock to get his attention.

“It is very late, you know,” she signed with her other hand.  Scorn was evident on her face, but also a bit of concern. 

Maybe she thinks I am unwell.

Tyus barely lifted a hand to speak.  “I know.”  He just wanted to sleep.  What was there to get up for, anyway?

“I would have let you sleep, Tyus.”  She had set the rock aside and was now signing with both hands.  “But your father needs your help today.”

“More fishing?  I thought we had plenty for the week.”  His mother, Dea, shook her head.  “What, then?”

She waved him out of bed with one hand while saying with the other, “I have no idea.  He said you would enjoy it, though.”

Perking up a bit, he sat up in the sand, stretching all four limbs.

Dea smiled.  “I knew you would be interested.  Don’t forget breakfast first.”  The golden-furred wotter then turned and swam off, letting the curtain fall back into place over the doorway. 

Aside from his small room and the one where his parents slept, the house had only one other room.  It was much larger, of course, with a higher ceiling that was more open to let the light in.  Furnishings were sparse.  There was little more than a table for eating, some stools, and a bookcase with a dozen vellum books.  Tyus’ mother had a fairly large salmon sliced open on the table, and was using the obsidian knife to now chop some dry-land greens.  She smiled to him as he settled on a stool, resting his elbows on the table and watching her work.

“A late breakfast for you, too, Mother?” he asked.

“I’ve already eaten.  This is all yours.”  With a wave of her hand, she pushed a water current at the fish and it rolled across the table to him.  Tyus’ bright green eyes went wide.

“It looks like breakfast and supper to me!” he signed quickly, duplicating each word with both hands for emphasis. 

“I had a feeling you would need it today.  Now, eat up quickly.  Your father is waiting at the Point.”

Tyus nearly choked on his first bite of the sweet pink flesh.  After swallowing, he drew in a big breath of water.  “The Point?!  Really?”

Dea nodded.

Meeting his father at the Point meant only one thing: they were venturing into the woods today.

« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 12:34:24 AM by ShazerFox » Logged
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2009, 11:19:55 AM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
"Oh, BLAST."
Posts: 1618
View Profile WWW
Virmir
Administrator
Enchanted Weapons Expert
*****

Yay!  You're posting it!!

I already gave you tons of comments so I'll wait until we get to the new stuff. Gray Fox Wink
Logged

Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2009, 12:45:33 PM »

DessertFox
Guest


Very good read, I hope there will be more.  Happy Red Fox
Logged
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2009, 02:41:27 PM »

Posts: 10
View Profile Email
ShazerFox
Crimson Flag Fan
*

Part 2!

Chapter 1:  Tyus


No meal was ever eaten so quickly in the history of the wotterfolk.  Tyus was out the door and speeding through the water the moment he was done, rudder propelling him forward as fast as it could.  He gained some height over the stone buildings of the city hoping to avoid most of the morning traffic.  Realistically, however, he still found himself dodging people as the city lay not far beneath the bay’s surface. 

After fifteen minutes of hard swimming, Tyus had left most of the city behind and was in relatively clear water.  It was cooler here; the cold water from a stream emptied into the bay nearby.  Just past the alluvial fan at the stream’s mouth the shoreline jutted out into the ocean, forming a point of black volcanic rock and sand. 

Tyus pulled water through his nostrils as he tried to catch his father’s scent.  There was no sign of him.  Quickly, he shot to the surface and peeked out.  His eyes squinted at the incredibly bright sun that he had not seen in days.  The warmth of it on his fur was incredible, however, and he relished in the thought of an entire day bathed in its rays.

He spotted his father sitting on rock, toes and tail-tip dangling into the water.  With a leap, Tyus dove and resurfaced under him, crawling out onto the sand.

Stretching open his muzzle and tightening his chest, he heaved and expelled a lungful of seawater.  After another heave of his body and a couple hard coughs, he drew in a deep breath of cool morning air.  His lungs took from the air just as easily what they needed from the water.  Tyus shook, throwing the excess water from his pelt.

His father, Tyle, hopped down from the rock and walked over to him, a big smile on his face.  “How is your voice?” he asked, using speech rather than signs.

Tyus was taken back for a moment, not having heard his father’s voice in over two years.  He coughed a few more times and cleared his throat.  “Uhhh…fine,” he finally managed. 

“Do you remember the words well enough?” Tyle asked him.

Tyus took a moment to repeat the speech in his mind before he understood completely.  “Maybe. ..not so…fine.  Well.”  With his hands he said, “I need to be up here more to practice!”

Tyle laughed a deep, hearty chuckle.  It was something Tyus had never heard from his father before.  Tyle responded with both speech and sign.  “The clan leadership is sending me to meet with an elder of a land-village today.  They are considering initiating commerce with us.”

“Commerce?” Tyus asked, repeating only the spoken word.

“Yes.  They want to trade goods with us.  For example, we give them fish for wood and metal tools.”

Metal tools!  Tyus was now doubly excited.  He had seen only a few amazing implements from land-dwellers in his short life.

“I like…commerce,” he said, speaking the words slowly, but clearly.   Tyle smiled and gave his teenage son a vigorous pat on the back that almost sent him off balance.  The elder wotter produced from behind the rock a reed satchel that was sagging from the weight of its contents.  Tyus wondered what they could possibly need and just how long the journey to the land-dweller village would be.

Without wasting any time, they set off through the woods.  Too quickly, it seemed, the pines blocked the view of the ocean.  It was a rarity that Tyus had been out of site of the bay, as children rarely accompanied the adults on excursions into the forest interior.  He suddenly felt a bit uncomfortable and exposed—at danger, even—and found himself turning his head often to see if he could catch another glimpse of the grey waters.  Though leaving the water for land had dominated his thoughts recently, now that he was actually doing it, the implications of such a change in lifestyle were becoming clear to him.

Never before had Tyus walked so much in his life.  He found the unfamiliar movements in his legs and tail causing sore muscles by day’s end.  While swimming, when tired, he could simply drift for a moment and rest his body.  But on land, and especially, up on his feet, his weight needed constant support.  His father took notice of this and stopped for frequent breaks, though it was never enough.

Tyus had mixed feelings about stopping for the night without having yet reached the land-dweller village.  The thought of another day of walking in the morning made his foot-pads ache, but on the other hand, his time on land in new surroundings would be nearly a week-long adventure.

Trees had surrounded the little-used trail for most of the walk, but occasionally as they came over a ridge or passed through a clearing, Tyus was able to catch great views of the ocean—impossibly far below them—and the mountains rising in the distance.  Closer and closer they had drawn toward the jagged range as they progressed, but in the final two hours they had been lost from sight. 

As the trail climbed higher and higher through the woods, Tyus saw new varieties of trees and flowers.  His father had pointed out the ones he knew, but all Tyus could remember was the name of the trees with the white trunks—aspens.  His father did not even have a sign word for them, saying it didn’t exist in their language.

Tyle had tried to keep his son speaking rather than signing during the trip, and Tyus seemed to be remembering more and more of his lessons on verbal language.  He hoped his son would have little trouble following conversations in the land-dweller village.

As the sun slipped behind the trees and the puffy clouds, which seemed to float just out of reach, began to glow underneath with twilight gold, Tyle and Tyus stopped in a grove of aspen trees bordering a meadow.  The short grass was sprinkled with blue, red, and yellow from an incredible variety of wildflowers that grew high in the mountains.  A small pond sat nearby, waters still as the evening air, fed by a tiny stream that meandered through the meadow.

From the satchel, Tyle produced a little fishing net, and they were able to net a few small trout from the pond.  Rather than simply eating them, however, the elder wotter built a campfire and roasted them until the pink flesh flaked from the bones.  Tyus had never before eaten “cooked” fish, as his father called it, but his father said he should try it first as land-dwellers always ate their food that way.  It certainly was tasty, and the warmth of the meal felt welcoming as the evening quickly grew cool.

Not much was said between them as they sat near the warm fire, watching the sky slowly grow black and the stars appear one-by-one.  Though Tyus assumed he had a normal relationship with his father, he had never felt particularly close to him as some boys did, who spoke, joked, and played with their fathers like they did with their young friends.  Tyus had always looked up to his father as an authority figure, holding much respect for his place over the family and his position as a leader in the clan.  Today, he was beginning to realize that his father had always reciprocated that respect.  Though concerned with his late-night escapes to the surface, Tyle had never shown disappointment with his actions nor demanded that he stop. 

Now, as they sat around a campfire in the mountains, miles from the sea, Tyus felt more on an equal footing with his father, as he too would get to play the part of representative of their clan. 

Tyle had pointed out many things along the way that day, filling his son’s head with so many new words that he was sure to forget them all.  Rather than simply providing supper and building the campfire, Tyle had shown his son how to fish from land, how to select the proper wood, and how best to set the kindling ablaze.  Tyus appreciated the time his father was taking with him, sharing knowledge that seemed to have all but disappeared from his clan.

Which raised a question in the young wotter’s mind.  In all his childhood, he could remember only perhaps a half-dozen occasions when members of his clan had made contact with a clan of land-dwellers.  Among those rare occasions, his father had only been involved in three.  Never before, however, did he remember his father having to journey so far inland.  Every time, his father returned home to bed that very night.

How was a man such as his father, who seemed to have so little dealings out of the water, so familiar with the ways of others, and of survival in the wilderness?

Tyus watched his father through the flickering flames, running a wooden comb through his thick rusty fur, shaking off the dust and debris of the day’s journey.  The elder wotter’s whiskers twitched a bit as he hummed some sort of tune—his father had explained the concept of music to him early in the day—the grey fur speckling his muzzle catching the glow of the fire.  Down his muscular chest and belly he went with the comb, carefully smoothing out the nearly-white fur there.  His legs he worked on next, stretching each one with a quiet groan of pain as he felt the strain of the long walk settle into his joints.  Finally, Tyle pulled his heavy rudder around and curled it in his lap, slowly drawing the comb through from base to tip.

Tyus’ first impulse to cleaning away the grime of the land would be to slip into the cool water of the pond.  Never would he have considered such careful grooming of his pelt as his father.

As his eyes moved from his father to the dancing flames, a sudden rush of warmth on his backside made him jump.  Quickly glancing down and seeing the grass wet between his legs, Tyus realized he had made water.  In the ocean, it was something he rarely noticed and had never given thought to.  It had happened twice before that day on their rest stops, but his father hadn’t seen it.  Now, as Tyle noticed his son’s slight embarrassment, he gave him a comforting smile.

“That’s hardly anything to worry about around me,” he said.  “You’ve probably never tried to control it, have you?”

“Control it?” Tyus asked, taking a moment first to decipher the meaning of the speech, then wondering how it applied to him making water. 

“Yes.  In the water, we don’t have to bother with it.  But on land, all land-dwellers must ‘hold it in’, as they say, until the appropriate time.”

Tyus felt his ears go hot with embarrassment.  He wasn’t even sure why it was causing him so much chagrin.

“A land-dweller will leave camp or otherwise visit a place in the village designated for that.  They won’t appreciate it if we simply let it go at will.”

Tyus thought on that for a moment and decided the land-dweller custom made sense.  His only fear was being capable of honoring it.  “I will do my best, I suppose.”

“That’s good, son.  Clothing should help with that if you have trouble.”

“Clothing?” he asked.  His father translated with a sign, but he still remained confused.

“Here, let me show you.”  Tyle rummaged through the satchel and produced a small fold of heavy, brown cloth.  Standing, he shook it out to its full length, revealing short lengths of rope attached to the corners.  Spreading his feet apart, Tyle pulled the cloth up between his thighs, laying the front edge below his navel and tucking the back up under his rudder.  He then tied the ropes together over each hip, and the cloth remained in place.

Tyus laughed at the ridiculous placement of the cloth.  “That is clothing?”

“Aye.  Land-dwellers wear these and other garments to cover their nethers.”

“Nethers?”

Now Tyle laughed and waved a hand to dismiss the word.  “I’ve got one in here for you, too, as we’ll both have to cover ourselves when we reach the village.”  Tyle quickly shed the garment, folding it and replacing it in the satchel.

“But, I don’t understand why,” Tyus said, imagining his own body covered in something similar.  “Is it a custom of theirs?”

“Oh, it’s much more than that, Tyus.  If you and I were to walk into their village as we are, wearing only our pelts, the land-dwellers would become very offended.  It’s a matter of respect and decency to them.”

“Huh,” Tyus mumbled, pondering on that some more.  Surely, his first experiences among the land-dwellers would be strange ones indeed.

“Now, go wash up in the creek while I put the fire out.”

Occupying the bulk of his father’s satchel was a thick blanket, which they used to cover themselves as they lay out on the cool grass.  Tyle quickly rolled to his side and was quietly snoring.  Tyus, however, spread out on his back, staring up at the stars through the aspen canopy.

Only a day had passed, and despite all the new things he was learning about life on land, Tyus felt more at home than he ever had.  His father, especially, seemed to be in his element in the woods. 

Was there something his father wasn’t telling him?

Tyus sighed, watching the grass bow in front of his muzzle.  In the dim starlight and the glow of the dying coals, he reached out and plucked a wildflower, placing the delicate petals against his rough nose and inhaling deeply.  The aroma was like nothing that existed underwater, and it sent tingles down his rudder.

When the journey ended and he was once again standing on the black sands of the bay, toes catching the lapping seawater, could he bring himself to slip beneath the waves without a plan for return?

Logged
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2009, 04:16:15 PM »

Evil Feline Ice Mage
"*Pokes* Mewhahahaha!"
Posts: 736
View Profile WWW
KaiAdin
Moderator
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 3
****

Since my comment probably is gonna be bumped off by the chatting on the shoutbox, I'll just say it here...

The coughing up of water in the first chapter made me gag on the train... I guess I got absorbed into it too much Red Fox Grin (BTW: reading the PDF of the train on the tablet-pc is quite cool, its sorta like using a kindle but brighter [good] and heavier [bad])

Anyway yea, was nice reading what you had written so far! Can't wait for more Happy Fennec

Edit (a day or two later): "Wotter, Wotter!" sorta sounds like the way I say "Water", which I've been told is a weird mix of Aussie and American accents Red Fox Grin
« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 03:42:05 AM by KaiAdin » Logged

* (Kai|MentosKitty) is Fresh and Full of life!
(Kai|MentosKitty): X3
Tvorsk: Kitty - The Mewmaker.
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2009, 02:16:30 PM »

Posts: 10
View Profile Email
ShazerFox
Crimson Flag Fan
*

Part 3 of Chapter 1:  Tyus


Tyle and Tyus greeted the sun with a breakfast of roasted trout and sea greens.  Tyus had never been on land early in the morning, and much less high in the mountains.  A light dusting of frost had fallen over the grass—something he had never seen in the summer months.  The air was still and heavy with moisture, colored by birdsong filtering in from the meadow.

Oh, how his legs hurt from the previous day’s walk!

Every rock and root in the trail seemed to bruise the pads on his feet, and his rudder dragging behind him was only a heavy burden.  His father was light on his feet, walking tall and carrying a smile as if they had just started out.  He carried his tail up off the ground, swinging it side to side with his hips, doing more of that humming and something he called “whistling”, bright green eyes catching all the sights around.

Tyus envied his energy.

In the water, the young wotter could swim circles around his father any day.  Again, he seemed to be much more accustomed to travel on land than his son would have supposed.

Tyus began to wonder….

He kept meaning to ask him every time they stopped to rest, but Tyus was always occupied with massaging his sore feet or taking a drink from his father’s flask.  And, besides, what was he to say?  He did not want to appear foolish or ignorant, nor did he want to pry into something he obviously wished to keep to himself.  As Tyle stood across the narrow trail, leaning back against a tree to rest, rudder coiled around his feet and hands behind his head, he seemed to be taller than ever—infinitely stronger, older, and wiser than his son, who in his fifteen years had never before left sight of the bay.

He was on a new tune—singing this time, using words.  Tyus struggled to understand the meaning of them through the music.  His father’s eyes stared off into the great distance, feasting on the magnificent peaks of the mountains over the trees. 

Tyus scrutinized his father, reading every muscle in his body.  Tyle did not look at the mountains as Tyus looked.  Sure, he relished in the view and took it in at every opportunity.  But rather than being new, or at least, a rare treat to be savored, Tyle looked upon them as he looked upon his family after a day away on business— 

—something appreciated and something loved…something missed, but nonetheless familiar. 

A world estranged, but finally, a homecoming.

That was it.

***

Around midday they crested a rocky, barren ridge.  The wind was strong and cold, but the view, free of obstruction, was breathtaking.  To their right was the great range they had caught glimpses of, framed against the deep blue sky and stretching for miles into the distance.  Even now, from the high ridge, they towered overhead.  Tyle pointed out huge, deep patches of snow and ice that remained year-round, never melting.  He called them ‘glaciers’.  He also explained that trees refused to grow a certain height up the mountain, but that no one knew why.

The land-dwellers called these particular mountains the High Ranges.  Tyle explained to his son that it was customary among most peoples to name the features of the land around them.  Tyus began to wonder how he was going to remember the speech words and the proper names for things all at once.

The great wooded valley before them was bordered on the left by another stretch of lesser peaks.  These did not continue on like the greater range opposite, but gradually sank into the sea of green in the near distance.

Caught in the bowl between the two, fed by countless streams carrying runoff from the snow, sat a shimmering lake.  It did not appear to be too large, though Tyus had a hard time judging from such a distance.  The color of it was quite different from that of the sea—a deep, translucent aquamarine that the young wotter’s eyes had never before beheld.

They paused as long as they could to take in the view, but the cold wind was almost too much to bear.  Quickly they descended down the opposite face toward the valley and lake below.

Once out of the wind and under the protective cover of the pine woods, Tyle instructed that they should stop and get dressed.  He removed both cloth garments from the satchel and tied his own around his hips.  Tyus put his best efforts into several attempts before getting the thing on tight enough that it did not sag in the rear.  He felt his ears go hot with embarrassment at the thought of how he looked in the ridiculous clothing.  Despite his father’s assurances, Tyus worried the land-dwellers would laugh at how he fit into the clothing. 

“Don’t worry about it, son,” his father kept trying to say.  “Soon you will forget all about it.  Just think, only a couple more hours to go till we arrive!”

Tyus smiled a little at this.  They were close to the village!  Despite all his fears, he was genuinely excited to see where and how the land-dwellers lived.

“I do worry about…well….”  Tyus could not get past the embarrassment to say it aloud.

Thankfully, his father knew exactly to what he was referring.  “You’ll just have to watch yourself.  You’ll feel it if it starts to happen.  Just try to, how do I say it?  Try to stop it if you can.”

Tyus’ eyes went wide.  “How do I do that?!”

Tyle could only laugh.  “I’m sure you will figure it out when the time comes.  Now, let’s get moving so we make it there by the evening meal.”

***And a bit of a teaser from Chapter 2: Keep Monolith of the High Ranges!***

Miles and miles away, over the High Ranges and among their eastern-most peaks, far from the sea, loomed large the silent guardian of Black Pass—Keep Monolith.  Seemingly carved from the very mountainside itself, dark stone like a void under the bright morning sun, its four spires rose high into the clear alpine air.  Banners at each corner, each of a color to represent the Four Lords, whipped loudly in the chilly wind.  Little else could be heard outside the courtyard walls but them and the creek that trickled through the edge of the evergreen woods.

As a courtesy, Frank touched ground outside the main gate and rapped on the banded pine door.

His yellow eyes followed the towering main gate up to the spires above and to the dancing standards. 

One verdant.

One  golden.

One crimson.

One azure like the icy waters of the high land.

To the first he bowed his head and whispered words of affection.

With a squeal that echoed off the nearby craggy peaks, the great gate of Keep Monolith swung open.  Two guards, both wolves in full armor, wielding pikes, stood in the entrance to meet the visitor.  Frank spread his arms, bowing his reptilian head, long tail extended, and unfurling leathery wings in the traditional greeting of the Mid-Highlands.  He wore nothing more than a deerskin kilt and belt, from which two pouches hung that carried what little the dragon had brought with him.

Frank approached the two guards, giving his name, origin, and purpose to the most senior of the pair.  He actually looked up into the wolf’s eyes, who quickly verified his visit.

The gate was shut and Frank set off on foot to cross the courtyard to the Keep proper.

My, how they grow ‘em tall here, these days!

Logged
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2009, 02:16:17 AM »

Resident (Human) Analyzer
"Your friendly local Human Representative"
Posts: 236
View Profile Email
Lopez
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 2
***

Interesting. Thank you VERY much for making the race obvious to us. In many stories we get very wrapped up in confusing words for races, but the "wotters" especially help my imagination.

You're using a veeeeeery close third person on Tyus, so I can see how you're tempted to go to fourth-wall breaking. Tyus seems to be a bit too comfortable with the audience, with all the questions he asks. You might consider altering his questions to conclusions. I know this sounds a bit abstract, but many writers who I've talked to view question-asking in third-person close, and thought-intrusion as weak writing. Not my opinion, but other, verifiable sources', ((People who have actually, you know, studied this.))

As with any story, for strong writing: "SHOWDON'TTELL!" In this paragraph:

Quote
Not much was said between them as they sat near the warm fire, watching the sky slowly grow black and the stars appear one-by-one.  Though Tyus assumed he had a normal relationship with his father, he had never felt particularly close to him as some boys did, who spoke, joked, and played with their fathers like they did with their young friends.  Tyus had always looked up to his father as an authority figure, holding much respect for his place over the family and his position as a leader in the clan.  Today, he was beginning to realize that his father had always reciprocated that respect.  Though concerned with his late-night escapes to the surface, Tyle had never shown disappointment with his actions nor demanded that he stop. 

This is all telling, through thought-intrusion. This could be very interesting if you could show this, rather than simply reveal Tyus's relation with his father. Here, you simply tell the readers: "Tyus thinks this about his father." Okay, this is nice, but it's kind of boring. How can you SHOW that Tyus thinks this by his actions TO his father? FOR EXAMPLE: In the early part of the story, you might have mentioned that Tyus responded to his father's request without hesitation. This already shows that he has great respect for his father, so that sentence is kind of unneccesary. Now, how do you SHOW that Tyle reciprocates the respect? He stopped and slowed down when Tyus became tired. So that sentence is unneccesary too. Then how can you SHOW that "Though concerned with his late-night escapes to the surface, Tyle had never shown disappointment with his actions nor demanded that he stop."? A VERY interesting way to do this would be at the beginning of the story. Tyle catches him sneaking out, and though he looks like he has his eyes closed, he does a very discreet "be careful" sign to Tyus.((There are much, much, much simpler ways to do this, but this scene just came right to my head, and I thought it was interesting.))(((EDIT: If you want to do this, this is what first-person is for. Which is why I looooooove first-person perspective. It's really under-rated. Present-tense is really under-rated too.)))

Therefore, through all these things, you have SHOWN these aspects rather than telling them to you readers. Sometimes telling is unavoidable, in a setence here and there, but when you have an entire paragraph of telling, it's usually just taking up space.

The sign language is very interesting, and it's a nice abstraction on what underwater language would be like. Normally, I would just say "pitch/tone based," but it's nice how you describe the various aspects of the language, ((Double-signing for emphasis, combination speech/sign on land.))

The main area of conflict in the story has yet to be revealed. You're in kind of a lull now, so I'm axious to see what happens next. You've established the setting, now you're going to break the setting somehow. Perhaps the visit does not go well? Perhaps Tyus gets captured? Perhaps the world becomes devoid of water? Um....I don't really know. As I said, can't wait to see what happens next. The visit is where the action's really going to pick up.

RRRRRREEEAAALLLY sorry if this sounds scathing, it's just I try to offer constructive criticism sometimes and I tend to go overboard. Keep writing! I can't really analyze much until you post your next few parts. I'll be waiting until then!

« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 02:18:43 AM by Lopez » Logged

...but that's just my opinion, so don't let it bother you too much!
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2009, 12:48:48 AM »

Posts: 10
View Profile Email
ShazerFox
Crimson Flag Fan
*

ThankyouThankyou Lopez for your great comments.  Me and Virmir have already had quite the discussion on the third-person perspective in the first chapter, and I don't really think we came to much of a conclusion, other than trying to not worry about it too much now and just get the parts written.

I'll let you in a on a little secret that might make the writing style in this chapter make more sense.  Tyus is not the main character of this story.  He is one of four equally-important characters that have not yet been introduced.  So, when each is by themselves in the beginning here, I want to really get close and "get inside their heads" and hear their thoughts.  I would love to show more relationship with Tyus and his father like you said, but, to be honest, Tyle might make only a brief appearance after this chapter.  The story is not about Tyus and his individual experiences, but will soon be about the Four Heroes and their journey together. 

So, here, I want to give each character their "personal time."  If Tyus is lying in bed with thoughts running through his head, I want the reader to hear them because the setting will move away from his home.  And likewise with each character as they get introduced.  I want to be close to each on occasion so you can get a sense of where they've come from and what is in their past that has made them who they are, but the story will go forward into uncharted territory.  In this chapter, the reader is very close to Tyus, just like the reader is very close to Frank and Adirick in Chapter 2 and Elie in Chapter 3, and so on.  But once these characters start mixing and you get a room full of people, that's going to have to end, and development will have to rely more on description like you've mentioned. 

I hope that helps explain my reasoning behind writing like this with him.  Now, in light of that, have I used the thought-intrusion too much, or is there a better way to do it?  Like I said, I mostly wanted to get it on paper before really worrying about the particulars, so now is the time for that  Happy Red Fox

You're going to see a few more characters introduced in coming chapters.  Everything will be going along fine, and then something strange will begin to happen--something that no kingdom or people, tongue or tribe will be able to ignore or hide from.  What is it?  Who are the Four Heroes, and what is their quest?  Stay tuned  Happy Red Fox



Logged
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2009, 08:42:30 PM »

Resident (Human) Analyzer
"Your friendly local Human Representative"
Posts: 236
View Profile Email
Lopez
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 2
***

I may have to restate this, but oh well, *coughshowdon'ttellcough*

Now that I've read your explanation that Tyus is not the main character, it all makes perfect sense, now! But it doesn't help anyone else who wants to read your story. You can't add footnotes saying "Hey, readers, guess what? Tyus isn't the main character!" (unless you're writing a book in the style of House of Leaves((shiver))) Therefore, you telling me the answers doesn't help the reader who doesn't have you holding their hand. Again, the rule that seems to apply to everything, "Show, don't tell."

When I read your story, everything that I read led me to believe that Tyus was the main character. Firstly, you open up the story with him in personal introspection. Secondly, you use a tight third-person lock on him at all times. Thirdly, you intrude into his thoughts. Now, these things are all fine if you want to SHOW that Tyus is the main character, but that's not what you want to do.

Therefore, all that I have to go on that Tyus is not the main character is the title. And people usually don't analyze titles all too well, including myself.

If you don't want Tyus to be the main character, you need to find a way to SHOW that Tyus is not the main character. Don't just tell me Tyus isn't the main character. Show me Tyus isn't the main character.

In your story, you want to lock into each of the character's minds to give you a better perspective about their personalities. I think this is a wonderful idea. Most stories involving hero combos tend to either lock into the perspective of one character, or present a vague idea of all the characters. For example, in the first case, the other side-characters simply become extravagant side-kicks, and in the second case the reader feels no connection to any character at all. You're trying to achieve a tough balance, and I respect that.

In fact, I recently played a video game with your same story style in mind. You wouldn't believe it, (don't judge me,) Sonic Adventure(DX).

In Sonic Adventure, as evidenced by the "choose your character" screen, you play as six different characters in viewing the story: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Gamma, and Bigs (UGH). You play as each of these characters, and they act as lenses by which to view the over-arching story. However, SA handles this method incorrectly,(Well, the gameplay too, but that's a development for another day,) which I would like to point out for you.

The specific problem in SA is that the characters are just...LENSES, as I said before. Except for two of the characters, Gamma and Tails, none of the characters have depth. They have no conflict, and no real resolution. You can argue that Knuckle's story has resolution, but it doesn't. He goes back to where he was at the start of the story. Even though there was "conflict" (he had to go retrieve the pieces of the master emerald after it was shattered) he didn't change at ALL in the story. He just goes right back to defending the emerald as he was at the beginning of the story. It's just a uroborus, a neverending circle. Which is pointless for a story, since he is just a LENS.

Tails, on the other hand, represents an actual story-line, even if it is cliched. At the beginning of the story, Tails qualifies his existence (and his value) on his relation to Sonic. This is SHOWN by the fact that his levels are "competitions" with Sonic to get the chaos emeralds. (Thank you, showdon'ttell.) Now, Tails never SAYS that he qualifies his existence based on Sonic, (........okay, he does. But going beyond that.......) but this is his initial characterization. However, throughout the story various things happen to show his development.

For example, his plane is an important symbol. Note how at the beginning of the story his plane crashes. This is due to his lack of confidence in himself. In addition, when he goes to fly the Tornado (Sonic's plane!) he can ONLY take off after Sonic has hopped on. But then he becomes separated from Sonic and has to go on his own. In this time he develops his own sense of self-value. This is shown by his new plane. He finds an emerald for it to power, and takes off, showing that his value alone sustains the plane's sense of flight. At the end of the story, he fights Dr. Robotnic all by himself, showing that he has obtained a new sense of self-worth beyond what Sonic can grant him.

Developed. That's why I worry about your current mini-story's lack of...conflict that he has with his father.((Conflict doesn't always need to mean disagreement.))

If Tyle isn't a main character, why waste all this time on him? The big question is this, "How does Tyus's relation with his father in the current situation influence him as a character?" I currently don't see much development in his relation with his father. Therefore, all this could be shortened down to "It was a long hike up to the village. Tyle helped Tyus, and taught him much about what life was like in the village."

BAM! DONE! If you're not going to develop a conflict with these two characters, just ignore their relationship.



OKAY! I KNOW! THAT WAS KIND OF OFF TANGENT!

...hm...where was I...

OH! RIGHT!

"How do I show that Tyus is NOT the main character, and that this is a sub-story, without taking out the narrative style that I like so much?"

There is only one way I know how to do this. Make a section of your book GoW style.

GoW stands for Grapes of Wrath. If you haven't heard about this book, find a copy and read the opening chapter. Anywhere, local library, sneak a peak from the bookstore, just do it.

This book is famous for its "Intermediary" chapters. This main story is about the family as they struggle through the journey westward during the Great Depression. However, it is not REALLY a story about the family; it is a story about the Great Depression. Therefore, how can it say this while still telling the story of the family, as PART of the Great Depression.(Tyus as PART of the team of Heroes?)

The Intermediary chapters are written in biblical-prose style. They have no quotations, all speech must be inferred from the text. They show the overall feel of the book, (For example, the first chapter describes how all the farmers looked on as they kept planting year after year, and all their crops dried up.) They do not mention the family. This shows that the book is not about the family's trials and tribulations, but about the character of the Great Depression. If you threw in a section, not long, just two or three paragraphs, about the over-arching feels that you want to achieve later on, then it would clue the readers into the fact that Tyus is NOT the main character. I once wrote a story using this technique, placing a section of GoW at the beginning of every chapter. Therefore, even though I was following one character specifically, I let on to the fact that there was a whole 'nother perspective aside from his that we could never truly understand, (which was important for the ending.)

Other than this technique, I don't how you could keep your style and still show that Tyus is not the main character.

In conclusion, as always, "Show, don't tell." You don't need to let me in on the little secret, you need to show me the little secret.

...

Lastly, bear in mind my perspective is slightly skewed due to the fact that I read so many short stories, and it is slightly difficult for me to grasp novels as well as I do SS. So, see my perspective through the lens of someone who thinks your novel is a short story.

Double lastly, SORRY IT WAS SO LONG! I JUST HAD TO KEEP WRITING. >.< I'll try to make it shortener next time.

KEEP WRITING! DON'T BE DISCOURAGED.

Good luck. o.o I really need to find more effective uses of my time than writing reviews longer than the stories I'm reviewing.
Logged

...but that's just my opinion, so don't let it bother you too much!
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2009, 12:00:01 AM »

Posts: 10
View Profile Email
ShazerFox
Crimson Flag Fan
*

And here we go again!
Even though the next 3 chapters are mostly written, I've been doing some ironing before posting here.  Also, I just suck at keeping up with forums  Red Fox Wink

_________________________________________________

Chapter 2, Part 2

Granite paved the yard between the main gate and front entrance of the Keep.  Gardens on either side blocked most of the bustling activity of the corrals, shops, taverns, and milling crowds that existed during the summer months between the Keep and the outer wall.

On either side of the main entrance, raised upon pedestals beside the stairs, stood the Four Lords, cast in marble.  They were twice the height of a man, regal in splendor, but somehow humble like the mortals who walked among them.  Lady Spring, a young otter in a flowing dress and flowers crowning her head, stood nearest the entrance on the left.  Lower, in front, was Lord Summer, a fox in hunting garb with a bow and quiver, paired with Lord Autumn on the right, a bear with a bushel of corn and a wide smile.  Last was Lady Winter, a dragon in a high-collared coat, holding a sword in one hand and a thick book in the other.

Frank’s bright eyes lingered on Lady Spring as he walked past, giving her a nod before entering the Keep.

He came into a grand lobby, nearly empty of furnishings to accommodate the many feet that crossed its polished floors each day.  Tall glass windows brightly lit the room all around, contrasting heavily with the near-darkness of much of the remainder of the great stone castle.  Two great hallways split on either side of a grand staircase, running in opposite directions.  The ornate tapestries, chandeliers, and sconces that decorated the first floor of the Keep gave the impression of a structure much larger and much more regal than what the place truly was.  In reality, the two great hallways ended not too far from the lobby, passing little more than a chapel, galley, and travelers’ quarters.  These public spaces were modest amenities, hidden away behind the illusion of grandeur.

The upper floors were even worse.  The armory, library, and living quarters of the permanent residents were far more humble and fitting for the Keep’s real purpose: defense of the critical Black Pass that gave access to the Northern Highlands.

What amenities and touches of luxury the remote Keep had owed their presence to its age and the clout of the defense’s director, Scott McCrae.  Here, in the wilderness, tucked into the mountains nearly a hundred miles from the nearest city of any repute, Scott McCrae commanded the fortress that stood as a symbol of the united lands south and north of the High Ranges.

No one people controlled Keep Monolith.  As one of the few joint ventures of otherwise divided clans and kingdoms, it gave hope to those who saw a future in unity among the Highlands.

It was not always so, however.  Over the centuries, the black walls had changed hands countless times.  Though now, in kinder days, when the garrisons saw little battle, there was always a threat lurking from roving bandits from the eastern deserts.

Thus, Frank climbed the stairs of the symbol of Highlander future.  In his dreams, he imagined a great nation rising from the fractioned peoples straddling the great mountains.  Perhaps, in a few centuries more, true progress could breathe an incredible life into the Highlands and the world as a whole.  Mankind, as one, could rise from the muck of muddy streets and look to greater things.

As they had done before.

He rounded a corner and nearly toppled over two guards, dripping with ale and slurring through dirty jokes and laughter.

Definitely a sign of peaceful times….

Frank crossed a hallway passing by several doors leading to residents’ quarters, the clicking and scraping of his talons and tail on the rough stone floor the only sound to be heard once the rowdy guards were left behind.  A staircase, seemingly forgotten at the lonely end of the hallway, veiled in heavy shadow, spiraled up into the northeastern tower of the Keep.  Frank ducked his head in and made the long ascent, passing a look-out post along the way.

The spiral staircase ended on a narrow ledge before a heavy wooden door.  Frank peered back down the stairs he had climbed.  The height was unsettling in such a small space.  A fall down the center of the tower would be fatal, for sure, with no room to spread his wings to catch himself.

Why Scott’s tower always made him uneasy he could never understand.

The man was more than a brother to him.  They had known each other for so long—been through too much to remember together—that Frank really thought of Scott as simply his other half.

In truth, he should have probably looked up to Scott more like a father, but that time in their lives was far, far in the distant past. 

Lately, as they had pursued separate interests, Frank and Scott spent increasingly more time apart.  They kept regular correspondence, but life’s demands seemed to always pull them in different directions.  But, no matter how far the distance or how long the estrangement, Frank always found himself here, on this landing, preparing his nerves to knock on that door.

But this time the excitement was gone.  His anxiety stemmed from something altogether different.  Frank realized this may be the last knock he ever made on Scott’s door.

His leathery knuckles barely made a sound on the ancient pine.

A full minute passed before Frank heard muted shuffling on the floor from inside.  The latch clinked, the hinges squeaked, and the old wood groaned as it was moved from its place.

The smile on the old dragon’s face was infectious, and Frank couldn’t help but return his own toothy grin.
Logged
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2009, 08:12:28 PM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
"Oh, BLAST."
Posts: 1618
View Profile WWW
Virmir
Administrator
Enchanted Weapons Expert
*****

By the GODS... that is the most horrible avatar I've seen in my entire life...

Oh, right, story... continue on. Gray Fox Wink
Logged

Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2009, 08:18:53 PM »

Resident (Human) Analyzer
"Your friendly local Human Representative"
Posts: 236
View Profile Email
Lopez
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 2
***

I'm going to try to keep this as CONCISE as possible,('tis my bane).

What you've told me:

Scott is a (old)Dragon
Frank and Scott are great friends, but don't spend much time together.
The Keep is..........(Description)
"Definitely a sign of peaceful times…." (((A bit redundant. The previous line showed me this already. Not only that, but...)))
..."Though now, in kinder days, when the garrisons saw little battle, there was always a threat lurking from roving bandits from the eastern deserts." (((So now you've both shown and told me this a grand total of three times.)))((((Not counting a show overall on how the garrison, even though in a crucial location, lacks combat experience. So this is 4 times overall. Be careful.))))
"Why Scott’s tower always made him uneasy he could never understand." (I don't understand either. Why don't you enlighten me?)((On a more subtle note, this sentence feels like it was written in Chinese. Object-Subject-Verb: {Why...uneasy}{he}{could...understand}. As interesting as it sounds, perhaps the English variation of Subject-Verb-Object: {He}{could...understand}{why...uneasy} might be better suited.


What you've Shown me:

Frank is a Dragon(You never say that Frank is a Dragon, but by the reader sees there is not other possible definition)
Frank is both claustrophobic and afraid of heights.
...(Really long paragraph on Dragon's wings as nerves).........
The Keep is an intellectual center as well. It has a library. Hm...interesting...
((IMPORTANT)) You choose to use strict-physics environment for your dragons.(Yes, flying up to the top of the keep is cool, but not exactly energy efficient.)

The Best Show:

"Frank’s bright eyes lingered on Lady Spring as he walked past, giving her a nod before entering the Keep."

Awesome. The four races are much more in harmony than I thought. Rather than obviously nodding to Lady Winter, the Lord of his own race, he nods to the otter. Why? Because these four races do not depict beauty merely as their own race. Therefore, there is a lot of interconnectedness between the races.

What I predict will happen next:
Some great disturbance
No more peace.
Save the world!

I look forward to the next installment! Happy Red Fox


Logged

...but that's just my opinion, so don't let it bother you too much!
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2009, 08:25:55 PM »

Posts: 212
View Profile
Pontos
Moderator
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 2
****

By the GODS... that is the most horrible avatar I've seen in my entire life...

Oh, right, story... continue on. Gray Fox Wink
Haha, i find it hilarious.
And no, it's not the most horrible avatar you have ever seen for sure. If you read ANY other forum on the net, you surely have seen something worse Fennec Fox Grin

At first I though it was Elton John, but Shaz told me it was someone else (can't remember the name...)
Logged
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2009, 08:31:46 PM »

Evil Feline Ice Mage
"*Pokes* Mewhahahaha!"
Posts: 736
View Profile WWW
KaiAdin
Moderator
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 3
****

Pon I think It's one of the chars form... ghost whisper? or Medium?

Logged

* (Kai|MentosKitty) is Fresh and Full of life!
(Kai|MentosKitty): X3
Tvorsk: Kitty - The Mewmaker.
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2009, 08:34:07 PM »

Posts: 212
View Profile
Pontos
Moderator
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 2
****

Pon I think It's one of the chars form... ghost whisper? or Medium?


Nope, it's a singer. He is playing a guitar, just not showed in that cropped avatar Happy Fennec
Logged
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
 
Jump to: