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Author Topic: The Embers of the Past : Some Backstory and World Building  (Read 11819 times)

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Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past 3.0 - Nishan: Scene I
« Reply #120 on: August 9, 2020, 07:07:11 PM »
I have to say that this excerpt was rather bracing. I liked the warm explanation of the characters. The short and to the point phrasing. The fact that a word censor was not needed for the names. I could visualise each part and didn't have to force a visual. I enjoyed it but remember I'm not a writer so Alienscar will be better able to tune that part. As for art visual, I saw lots of potential.

Thank you, Dread! Don't worry, I have my pencil stored nearby to take notes from Alienscar :). I'm glad that you found the imagery much more natural. I think I was conveying a lot of detail with too much specifics from how I imagined them specifically. Everyone thinks differently however, and imagines more different still. So I think I was actually frustrating the reader by trying to force an image into their minds. I need to capture that balance where a reader will receive a similar mental image that I want to depict, but give the reader enough room to comfortably imagine things there way.

I don't know if that makes any sense lol and there are many more issues I want to address as well. But I think this maybe a decent start?

Time will tell :).
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Embers of the Past 3.0 - Nishan: Scene I
« Reply #121 on: August 10, 2020, 10:31:58 AM »
@Alienscar: Sorry for the much delayed reply. I'll be honest, your feedback here was a lot to take in.

As I have said I am really sorry that I don't know how to help you more. Whilst you think my feedback was a lot to take in it might surprise you that it mostly only concerned the first paragraph from a few of your scenes. If I had more time there would have been more feedback.

Starting to realize what you're saying about the writing and the language itself... these are issues I need to start working on, and combing back the fanciness.

More streamlined language

I hope you don't mind me saying so, but it is not just about streamlining and cutting back the verbosity. Using the correct words, or using words in the correct manner will really improve the enjoyment of your readers. Things like pique instead of peak, from instead of under, impact instead of blow really slow the reading experience.

I could visualise each part and didn't have to force a visual. I enjoyed it but remember I'm not a writer so Alienscar will be better able to tune that part.

I am no writer either Dread. I am just an interfering internet busybody.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2020, 10:38:06 AM by Alienscar »
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Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past 3.0 - Nishan: Scene I
« Reply #122 on: August 10, 2020, 11:11:57 AM »
Quote
As I have said I am really sorry that I don't know how to help you more. Whilst you think my feedback was a lot to take in it might surprise you that it mostly only concerned the first paragraph from a few of your scenes. If I had more time there would have been more feedback.

No worries, it's kind enough of you to leave the amount of feedback you've provided already. Not certain how many others would keep doing this lol ;). Also, it's first and foremost my responsibility to correct these issues. I need to do some work on showing me the right way too, which is why I've chosen to work with an editor. Doing this allows me to see the issues in much more detail, and practice on resolving them.

Quote
I hope you don't mind me saying so, but it is not just about streamlining and cutting back the verbosity. Using the correct words, or using words in the correct manner will really improve the enjoyment of your readers. Things like pique instead of peak, from instead of under, impact instead of blow really slow the reading experience.

I am aware. As I mentioned, there are a number of issues that I'm going to start tackling. I just didn't detail every single issue that needs to be addressed.

Quote
I am no writer either Dread. I am just an interfering internet busybody.

Still appreciated :). In the latest scene I posted for Nishan, I have made attempts to not only scale back the amount of verbosity, but using simpler words instead of more complicated ones. Let me know your thoughts when you have time!
« Last Edit: August 10, 2020, 11:14:13 AM by Myen'Tal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Embers of the Past 3.0 - Nishan: Scene I
« Reply #123 on: August 11, 2020, 12:50:56 PM »
“Gather around me, warriors!” Nishan shouted to the heights of heaven. “Gather around your general and heed my words!”

'Gather around me', 'gather around your general' is essentially repetition. The addition of the word general isn't really required.

I would consider something simpler such as:'Gather around (closer?) my warriors and heed my words' Nishan shouted from his vantage point,

On the fertile banks of the Seventh River, hundreds of men and women heeded his call.


I am really not sure about the imagery you are creating here. I have been in a hangar with less than a hundred people and it is hard to hear one person making a speech. In the open standing high on a hill I struggle to see how Nishan could make his voice heard to hundreds.

Each performed an about-face to watch the commander’s addressal.

It is also hard to imagine that every person in a group of people numbering in the hundreds is facing the same way.

Adressal is the wrong word.

You listen to rather than watch a speech.



Nishan rooted himself on a great hill overlooking his arrayed armies.

This is one of things I would normally ignore as too difficult for me to explain, but 'rooted' isn't used like this.

A midday sun cast his forces out in the verdant fields beyond the Seventh in a shimmering haze.

It might just be me, but this sentence doesn't make sense.

The Scarred Child bellowed into the gust. “Listen with intent!

This is the wrong use of the word 'intent'


A warrior always knows his enemy! A warrior always understands himself! A lesson taught to each of us from early childhood! An army that does not understand itself is not an army at all! It is a herd of sheep, doomed to slaughter!


I think you should remove this. A warriors purpose in life is to kill what they are told to. There is no need for the peusdo psychology.

“Do you know yourselves!? For who are we if not the Children of Carth!? Are we not all sons and daughters of the greatest civilization to grace the continent of Khios!? Are we not all brothers and sisters born into a shared manifest destiny!? Has our ancestors' blood not fed these heartlands for centuries?

I feel like this speech could be shorter as overall this part doesn't seem to add much.


“Do you know your enemy!?” Nishan cried out in askance.


As mentioned before this is the wrong use of the word 'askance'.


“Scarred Child.” A member of Nishan’s command retinue approached from behind.


Another thing I would usually ignore as too difficult to explain, but I think you should drop use of Nishan's nickname. With his name being so short I can't imagine anyone wanting to use a longer version. If he were called scarface, or cyclops I could see why, but Scarred Child is a bit of a mouthful

“Shall we answer these fools with Carth’s wrath?”

This question seems more than a bit redundant considering the rousing speech and the fact they are stood on a battlefield.

Gaze across the field and watch them stand against you!”

Telling his troops to look across the battlefield and watch their enemy is a bit 'flat', or anticlimatic I feel. Also I feel that telling his troops to watch gives a sense that Nishan and his troops are somehow separate from the action.

Something like: 'Look across the battlefield and see how they dare to challenge you.' might work if you keep the speech at this length.

The general gazed across the fields and spotted hundreds of crimson and gold standards billowing in the wind.


The use of the word 'spotted' lends an accidental vibe to this sentence. That is, it comes across as Nishan is surprised to see the opposing army standing in front of him.


The standards were scattered across the forces of the Children of the Sun - thousands strong.

I don't think you need two sentences that refer to the banners. Having said that their are hundreds of banners I would take it for granted that they weren't huddled together.


He noted the gargantuan city on the horizon, positioned safely behind his enemies.

I am not sure about this sentence to be honest and normally I would just ignore it. A city is stationary, but saying that it is positioned safely behind his enemies gives the impression that it has a choice. Also as Nishan is just about to attack it seems odd for him to be thinking that the city is safe. The enemy are stood in front of the city would suffice.


Nishan continued. “For too long, have the Children of the Sun been allowed to prosper within Carth’s lands! Once, we would have called them brothers! They were steadfast against the barbarian hordes… they were resolute against kingdoms both rival and upstart!"


You have made the Children sound very helpful here, so it becomes less clear why they are being attacked.

The sound swelled in volume until it became a deafening barrage of noise

“But what does any of that matter, when loyalty begins to waver!?

A deafening barrage of noise that Nishan could be heard over!



Should we honor those who would show their backs to their betters!?

I am not sure about this sentence. Showing your back to your betters is not an expression that means anything to me. It comes across as if you have misused the phrase 'turn your back on'.




“Sound the horns!” Nishan commanded. “Take to the field! Seize victory from Tu'shik's ruin!"

“Scarred Child.” A member of Nishan’s command retinue approached from behind. “Shall we answer these fools with Carth’s wrath?”

Just to clarify why I think the Carth’s wrath question is redundant.



He understood that there would be no turning back. He understood that every warrior under his command knew this too.


Another sentence I am not too sure about as it isn't really clear to me what you are trying to portray. I don't understand why Nishan would be considering turning back.

I think what you are saying is: Nishan knew his order meant the death of many of his men and maybe himself.


Quote from: Myen'Tal
“Warriors of Carth know themselves and their foes, and these so-called Children of the Sun are no kindred!


Previously Nishan was asking if they knew themselves, now he is saying they do. This makes the speech a bit circuitous and somewhat repetitive.


Quote from: Myen'Tal
Nishan lifted his helmet off his shoulders and allowed his unkempt raven hair to breathe a little.


Why has Nishan removed his helmet just as he has commanded his army to take to the field? It gives the impression that Nishan is relaxing rather than preparing to fight.

Quote from: Myen'Tal
He craned his head to look his lieutenant in the eye. To his credit, the subordinate officer did not flinch from Nishan’s grisly and scarred visage. Nor did he look his commander in the left eye, shut by a permanent scar.

I am not sure about this as it causes me to think too much. Is this the first time that Nishan has met the lieutenant? Nish is called the Scarred Child, so how much of a surprise is it that he is scarred?


Quote from: Myen'Tal
“You might as well, Yervant.” Nishan cackled at his subordinate,

This might just be me, but I don't like the use of the word 'cackle' here. Cackle refers to a shrill laugh, or a noise similar to that of a hen laying an egg.




Quote from: Myen'Tal
who bowed apologetically after glimpsing his face. “Enough bowing, boy, you’re a member of the Scarred Child’s retinue. You bow only before the senate and the standard of Carth.


This is a strange reaction and I find the issue you have created concerning Nishan’s scars to be 'odd'. Are people not meant to look at Nishan? Does everyone bow if they accidentally look at him?
 

Quote from: Myen'Tal
Teach these zealous fanatics a lesson in humility instead!


Why do they need to be shown how to be humble? What is that they have done to indicate they are arrogant?

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“They shall learn that their Solar God shall break as any other weakling deity before the barrage of our cannons!”

Something like:'They shall learn that not even their God can save them from our onslaught.' might be simpler and easier to understand.

For their God to break under the barrage it would have to be there.

A weakling deity is unnecessarily descriptive and slightly confusing. By adding the word weakling you have diluted what you were trying to imply. That is, you are implying that the cannons are only good enough against weak things. Do God's have a physical presence in your universe?


Quote from: Myen'Tal
Yervant erected himself and slammed his chest with a mailed fist.


This is not how 'erected' is used. Erect means to lift up, or set upright. 'We erected a flagpole'

Quote from: Myen'Tal
“Your command is my oath!”

Your wish is is my command is a well known and understood phrase. I am not so sure your version is as easy to understand. An oath is just a promise or a statement. 'I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth...' for example. I am not sure that a command can/should be turned into a promise.



Quote from: Myen'Tal
He turned to the signal bearers on the river bank. In one hand alone, he lifted Carth’s standard for them to see.

In one hand alone is unnecessarily descriptive as 'one hand' already describes something singular. I get the impression that you are trying to say that Yervant is strong, but that message doesn't come across clearly enough if that is the case.

Quote from: Myen'Tal
Several minutes after the signal bearers executed their duties, a blistering volley erupted from the fifty bombards arrayed across the fleet’s port side.

I am not sure about your use of the term 'bombards'. You have been calling them cannons up until now, so I don't see a good reason to change to such an archaic term.


Quote from: Myen'Tal
Nishan turned his gaze toward the fleet of Cogs anchored on the Seventh’s vast waters. Several minutes after the signal bearers executed their duties, a blistering volley erupted from the fifty bombards arrayed across the fleet’s port side.


This might just be me overthinking things, but I think you have let your knowledge of modern warfare seep into your writing.

A cog is a particular type of ship that was popular until the 14th century. Cannons firing from the broadside of a ship didn't become popular until the 16th century. Whilst a mortar (bombard) could be used they fired forward rather than broadside and wouldn't be used on a single masted cog.




Quote from: Myen'Tal
The whistle of cannon shells hurtling overhead quickly dissipated out of earshot.


Again this might just be me overthinking things, but the first naval cannon capable of firing explosive shells didn't appear until the 19th century. Also I think this could be another example of modern thinking creeping into your writing as I don't imagine a low velocity cannonball made much of a sound.



Quote from: Myen'Tal
Before the first ranks of both armies could clash into one another, the earth heaved and erupted beneath Tu’shik’s armies. Nishan could not even wager a guess as to how many Children of the Sun were torn apart from the volley.


Shells of a calibre that would make the ground heave and could be launched from a ship definitely didn't exist in medieval times.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2020, 03:42:12 AM by Alienscar »
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Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past 3.0 - Nishan: Scene I
« Reply #124 on: August 19, 2020, 01:44:37 AM »
Sorry for the late reply, been working on moving into the new home. I am currently working on this and will hopefully have an update soonish :).
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Dread

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Re: The Embers of the Past 3.0 - Nishan: Scene I
« Reply #125 on: August 19, 2020, 11:04:59 PM »
Yup. Moving into a new house too. Everything is topsy turvy. Got some of my gamestuff over to the new house tonight.

Haha, yes Alienscar, I understand. If I can see it in my head with no fog, it works. If this was drawing, I'd go nuts with suggestions.
"Burning thru the universe in search of peace only brings more war. Peace is an illusion, war is reality, that is the way of things"

                            Farseer Gol'Istria of    the Morea Nebula craftword

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Offline Myen'Tal

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The Embers of the Past: I - Offering
« Reply #126 on: October 2, 2020, 07:30:01 PM »
I

Offering

    A ghastly breath of stale wind coursed through the labyrinthine tunnels beneath the Southern Wastes. The nameless girl caught the tell-tale scent of spilt blood and decay carried upon its gentle current from the old mining shafts. Through the half-collapsed entrances into the Emerald Mines, a pleasant rush from hidden underground rivers echoed through the vast, lightless caverns of the Royal Den of Vipers - Surannir to the masters of these barren wastes.

    The nameless girl would often journey on the treacherous routes through notorious criminal dens, simply to come rest by the long-forgotten tunnels near the underground river feeding the underworld haphazardly integrated into the mine that once thrived in this place.

    In silence, she watched what precious sunlight crept this far into the caverns refract against the streams that coursed deeper than even the mines could venture. It was exceedingly little, but the refracted light dancing on the tunnel walls brought some small and merciful measure of solace that was all but void in the depths of the Royal Den.
 
   Before the cleansing waters that she could not reach, a desperate, nameless girl contemplated on how her day had descended into peril on one of her foolish whims. She had played a henchman of the Obsidian Vipers for a fool in a skewed game of dice.
 
   Her prize, several pieces of copper and an offer for less than savory work. His own prize, The nameless girl’s contract to take up less than savory work and slave for the Vipers for the rest of her life in misery and solitude.
 
   Of course, the nameless girl had not tampered with the dice - a game for children who had entered the wrong arena. She had tried her hand to earn the coin and let the Viper win as she expected. It was the roast pieces of meat that he popped into his mouth on occasion through the game’s duration that murdered him.

    The nameless girl had done as she was asked, and sprinkled her employer’s newest created poison -dubbed the Black Rot - across the entire skewed pig. She had poured a goblet of the vile stuff down its gullet too when no one had bothered to even watch over it being cooked.

    The Viper she had played the odds against wretched, vomited, and writhed from the midday bell to the lightless onset of the evening dusk. What the nameless girl had not planned for, was the celebratory feast the Obsidian Vipers hosted for their victory of being the greatest thieves’ den in the Royal Pit. A score of Vipers across various ranks of their family spectrum were slain that night as well.

    Threatened and infuriated, the Vipers thirsted for vengeance and sallied forth to scour the four corners of their territories in search of the vermin that had bitten them.

    They hacked through their own flea-bitten serfs and prostitutes first, uncaring of who they uncovered and dragged out of their hovels, so long as evidence existed of a rat having crawled through the area. The tortured screams of the dying scattered hordes of the meek and terrified like an inferno uprooting all life in a forest.

    What surprised the nameless girl as she heedlessly forged her escape through every cracked open nook and hidden crevice of the Den and that of the Emerald Mines, was the lightning speed the Vipers surged out to corner her. Soon, as she neared the underground rivers where she had always found haven, the frenzied screams of chemical induced rage soon drowned out the pitiful suffering of their victims.

    It was only a matter of time before they had sped ahead of her to spring their ambush…

~***~

   ‘Oh amphetamine parrot.’ The nameless girl wheezed, exhausted from the constant pursuit. ‘amphetamine parrot - amphetamine parrot - amphetamine parrot!’
 
   She charged onward and heedlessly hurled herself through every cracked open door into the homes of the impoverished, only to leap through gaping holes in their walls back into the twisted maze of the Royal Den of Vipers. She had tossed their dining tables and leveled decrepit bookcases to stall her pursuers for the briefest pause.
 
   The nameless girl had no choices left. She had no leads, save only a direction. She had no solace of a definite, safe card to draw and play. If she was shunned and turned away from the only refuge, she would be fed directly into the hands of the V-
 
   A rickety wooden door not even several steps away from her burst open with such force, she had to slide under the slab of termite infested wood as it flew off its hinges.

A lean figure of dark caramel skin, garbed in black leathers and fiery robes emblazoned with gold - stormed down the stairs toward her even as the nameless girl ground to screeching halt in the muddy grime.

The Obsidian Viper rattled with furious laughter as he reached out to seize her.

She twisted in his reckless grip on the scuff of her collar, tearing the fabric of her rough-spun clothes. A glimmer of steel cut across the damp and oppressive atmosphere of the lower depths. Rolling into her captor, the dagger hidden in her clothes tore a bloody slice across the Viper from cheek to the tip of his ear.

The chemically induced street thug reeled from an explosion of pain, one hand cradled over his right eye. The nameless girl pounced and buried the blood slick dagger to the hilt in the Viper’s throat, and twisted for good measure before resuming her flight.

Several voices ushered into earshot - so near their breathing echoed through the cavern she hurtled down at full-tilt. The sound of their footfalls giving urgent pursuit hastened her to the height of her limits. Whistling pierced the murky depths, culminating in the vicious impacts of javelins striking the earthen rock all around her.

The nameless girl descended further into the depths until the oppressive night thickened into a nigh impregnable abyss - void of any glimmer of the sun or moon. She reached out with bloodied, grasping fingers for any purchase so that she could find her way forward.

The Vipers hounded her in their relentless chase, somehow gaining on their prey. Her pursuers chortled and screamed constant, blood-curdling threats, hurling their javelins whenever they were convinced of their aim.
 
   A spark ignited in the darkness. An intense fiery glow that caught the nearby shadows aflame. An incredibly brief flicker, near enough that she could reach out and grasp its warmth. As swiftly as it came, the candle of light was snuffed as if robbed of fuel. The nameless girl tried to arrest her loping speed, instead slipping into a slide through the unstable mud flows on the cavern floor.
 
   The spark ignited once more before combusting into a flood of flameborne light. She raised her hands in pitiful defense of being reduced to cinders as the flames crashed over her body. An explosion without warmth to the flame whipped and lashed, but could not scorch her. The surprised screams of her pursuers, more from sudden terror than actual death, became snuffed out of existence as quickly as the flameborne explosion withered into nothing.
 
   She did not realize that her eyes were shut until the roaring in her ears dissipated. Quivering hands removed themselves from where they latched onto her face as a makeshift shield.

    She flicked open her eyes, then forced them shut from the acrid smoke wafting from burning braziers on ancient vine coated walls of weathered, wet slick stone. Crystalline waters streamed through ornate drains near to overfull from an underground river’s gentle falls. Her eyes followed a cobblestone walkway that ran straight to a great set of doors carved from onyx. Ancient calligraphy, drawn and crafted from pure silver, was inlaid across the polished stone.
 
   A clattering of armored footfalls approached hesitantly from behind, their confidence and surety challenged by fear of the unknown.

    ‘Encircle her.’ One of them commanded.  'The Royal Viper would glimpse this wretch before we put her down. Don’t stand so idly! Do your damn jobs!’
 
   The Obsidian Vipers scurried to obey their master, but their eyes continued to steal glances around their enigmatic surroundings.
 
   ‘Don’t just gawk at her, fools!’ Their commander encouraged. ‘Seize her!’

    An armored boot kicked Voshki across the temple and sent her clattering to the stonework with a sharp yelp. Another several kicks forced her to double over on her side in pain. Scarred, mutilated hands seized her by the arms and pinned them behind her back. She felt the heated burn of rough rope being pulled tight across her wrists.

    A morose voice like that of a sullen widow crept out of the dark behind the gang of Vipers.‘What’s happening out here?'

    The Viper nearest the source of the voice scrambled forward with an open palm raised.
 
   ‘Halt!’ The Viper screamed furiously, but behind the facade, the nameless girl detected a note of superstitious terror. ‘Return back the way you came, hag! This doesn’t involve you..’
 
   ‘Are you jesting?’ Another Viper arched his brow. ‘Skewer this whore and let’s move on.’ He hawked and spat in the direction of the mysterious voice.

    Their commander began to issue orders. ‘Faris, guard the girl! The rest of you, encircle our heroic woman here and silence her protests.’
 
   The Obsidian Vipers unsheathed their weapons in unison, all manner of wicked blades laced with dark crimson venom. They stormed forward as one unit to corner the patch of darkness where the torchlight could not touch.
 
   ‘Offerings for the Lady of Misery and Sorrow.’ The voice proclaimed in low undertones. ‘Join the Black Descent then, cowards.’

    The mere mention of the Black Descent threatened to snuff the flame of the braziers for the briefest moment. The nameless girl jumped as any nearby traces of light wavered momentarily. To their credit, the Obsidian Vipers seemed resolute in their confidence.

    ‘Enough…’ The grizzled viper commanding his band of subordinates gestured toward the hazed outline of a woman eclipsed by shadow. ‘Break this be-atch limb by limb. Bring me the head when you’re done.'
 
    One thug charged and caved in the skull of the insubstantial figure, dispelling the illusion with a brutal hack of his club. None noticed their leader's  severed head tumble from his shoulders until it smacked the ground with a wet thump.
The remaining vipers whirled around and regarded the corpse where it had fallen in place on its knees. A frozen chill breezed by each of them as they readied their weapons for another assault.

Two of the Vipers sprung forward, war cries on their lips as they closed the gap between them and their foe. The woman neatly lifted her slender blade and parried a reckless hack of a nicked, tarnished weapon. Her physical form seemed to meld into the shadows as she stepped around the vicious swing of her other attacker.

The spiked club gripped in both of his gloved hands cleaved harmlessly through the dissipating shadow, only to crush in the teeth of his comrade who had charged in with him. The brutality of the blow obliterated the Viper’s jaw and knocked him out of consciousness the moment he collapsed onto the cobblestone path. One of his comrades mercifully ushered him from the mortal plane.

‘Three souls.’ The woman coalesced between them and answered with two flicks of her wrist.

Another victim's weapon clattered to the ground, an urgent hand over his ruptured wound where his heart rested. The bruiser with the gore-slick club staggered and wheezed out a long, agonized scream as his torso began to fall apart.

‘Begone from this place.' The woman demanded of the three remaining souls standing frozen in place, seized by horror. ‘The Black Descent was not meant for your souls.'

The Vipers heard her command and scrambled to obey. The Obsidian Viper by the name of Faris considered the nameless girl in his grasp. He did not think long before relinquishing her and joining his comrades to vanish into the dark.
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : II - Sacrifice
« Reply #127 on: October 4, 2020, 08:56:37 PM »
II

Sacrifice

My Dearest Mentor & Master, Shoushan,

I’ve never ceased counting the days since I’ve escaped the Black Descent and the horrors of Surannir. Dawn shall break within the next several hours and mark the nine-hundred-and-sixty-seventh cycle of sun-and-moon across the horizons of Khios continent that I've seen. I’ve wandered this continent for nearly three years, commandeering a disparate band of mercenaries through the endless wealth funneled from your pockets and into my coffers.

‘Three years of ceaseless strife since I’ve tread this earth with the light of the sun beating down on my skin. The bandit clans have come to live in fear of my Black-Bane Kindred. Innocents are quick to flee with their families toward safer horizons when they see our Wailing Widow Banners billowing in the  distance. I’ve scoured entire battlefields for a scent of my prey, and struck them down before departing without another word or violent blow needlessly.

‘Times have been rough for the Black Bane, Zeroun. No matter how many trials we endure. No matter how many rivals and would-be enemies we leave rotting in these arid sands… stronger enemies rise up and pose new challenges for us to overcome. I know the names of the five hundred who left Surannir behind with me. I still remember the four hundred and twenty four buried in the dirt with the discarded weapons of their foes carved their backs. 

‘The Children of the Sun harried us from the Khoisan Heartland, where the Dominion of Carth reigns over the center of the known world.  In truth I am glad that we were forced away from that place, for it is a war-torn nightmare on the verge of utter collapse as internecine warfare rages unabated between the splinter factions that have arisen there.

‘I now find myself in the northern realm of Old Myria, in the Black Solitude Forests… where the Crescent Bridge leaps the gap over the Drake’s Chasm and terminates before a solitary, forlorn tower.

‘I swear on my oaths that if I survive this one last task… I shall cease aggression and negotiation with all of these foreigners and return home, back to Sukhan and dreaded Surannir. Perhaps it is a pit of royal vipers… but it is the pit that I grew up in. It is home more than any other opulent castle or palace that I’ve ever seen or enjoyed.

    See you soon, Shoushan and bid greetings to your disciples on my behalf,

    Yours into eternity,
    Voshki


~***~
Distant lightning bristled in the bellies of dark thunder clouds on the horizon. A cacophonous crack of thunder sundered the midnight skies and a great deluge descended from the heavens. A howling northern wind coursed out of the Black Solitude Forest Voshki had left behind over the ancient bridge.

Ceaseless rain fell into the Drake's Chasm several kilometers beneath the bridge's arch. On the road to the city of Annahir stood a solitary tower that blocked entry into the highlands beyond.
 
         A shiver crept into Voshki's bones as rainwater began to soak through her hood and black leather armor.
She studied the forlorn tower in front of her. It seemed more a noble's retreat than a token watchpost. She raised her voice in challenge to the tower's guardian.

'Arshavir!' Voshki shouted. ''Arshavir, you coward! Come forth and face this challenger!'

Voshki waited out in the open rain for what seemed like an aeon onto itself. She lifted her head the merest fraction as the oak door that led into the moss-coated stone labyrinth of the old watchtower was pushed aside. Once a thin ring of light shining through the gaps in the door-frame, the torchlight within the watchtower itself became a bright gateway as an unfamiliar figure emerged and stepped out into the storm.

Becalmed and patient as the sage, the lone guardian reverently shut the way into the watchtower and then locked the doors behind him. Voshki peeled her eyes and watched Arshavir pivot on a heel, then stride down the watchtower steps with a confidence that had her green with envy.

She considered the Annahir Immortal as burning pyres hidden along the ancient bridge made his laminar armor shine like polished obsidian. Unsullied chain-mail filled each perceivable weak point in his suit of armor. Lavender silk robes fluttered where the mail and laminar came to an end on his person.

Voshki lifted her gaze to meet the hollow sockets within the Immortal’s crimson plumed helmet. She pushed one leather gloved fist through the folds of her black cloak until the Crowned Prince - her wicked long spear - was unveiled in the smoldering light of the pyres.

In that moment, the Immortal unsheathed a scimitar that glimmered like luminescent sapphire. He broke out of his calm stride and charged heedlessly forward. Voshki could feel his armored footfalls make the ancient and mossy cobblestones beneath her boots quake. His impressive speed belied the bulk he armored himself in. As her combatant stormed forth to answer to her challenge, a thickened damp mist coalesced around them.

Voshki screamed with the effort of her rapid lunge to draw first blood. Crowned Prince thrust home to pierce and shatter the Immortal’s heart, but each of her seven quick paced strikes was answered with an effortless parry of her foe’s scimitar.

Voshki weaved around the broad warrior’s sheer bulk, his laminar so thick that the bone-cutting force of her thrust into the small of his back merely shoved him forward even as he hurtled past her.

The Annahir Immortal pivoted suddenly on the ball on his foot and caught Crowned Prince in the midst of an arced swing meant to lop off his head. He cast the long spear aside and charged in for the fatal blow.

Voshki already had a hand on the hilt of her handheld crossbow. She had leveled her aim so subtly, her hand still hidden behind her cloak. She pulled the trigger and heard the bolt loose with a sharp whistle.

The Immortal cried out - the bolt obliterated his right eye and rocked him off his feet with such force that he was cast backward onto the bridge. A sharp crack punctuated his fall.

Voshki did not have to command any of her own warriors. Four lean men clad in raven black leathers stepped out of the shadows and approached the Immortal even as he tried to desperately find his feet. One spear thrust through his right thigh pinned him in place. Another blade hacked through the meat and bone of the Immortal’s sword arm. A crossbow bolt to the chest sprawled him out upon the blood-slick cobblestones.

The remaining raven-clad warrior glanced briefly in Voshki's direction. He tore away the Immortal’s proud helm, breaking the wooden bolt lodged in the right eye and drawing out a shriek of pain. The rogue seized the immortal by the strands of his hair and cut open his throat with a jagged slice of a poison-laced dagger.

‘Well done.’ Voshki inclined her head in acknowledgment. ‘Black-Bane Kindred, move out!’

‘Tough bastard…’ Faris kicked over the Annahir Immortal’s corpse. He did not smile at the sight of the Immortal sprawled face-first in a pool of crimson rainwater. ‘Pompous bastard was miserable by the end of all that.’

A young woman of dark chestnut skin and lustrous falls of braided obsidian hair emerged from out of the shadows with the rest of the Black Bane Kindred - Voshki’s infamous band of clandestine sell-swords. A belt filled with various flasks and crossbow bolts was slung over her left shoulder. In her right hand was a hand-held crossbow. Her left hand cradled the hilt of a wicked dagger sheathed on her hip.

‘Hey.’ Anoush called out to Faris and snapped her fingers in his direction. ‘Show some respect to your enemies. It's an ill omen.'

Faris pitched his head back and rattled a mocking laugh. ‘Truthfully, whenever I wish a woman to rebuke me on matters of war, she’d be more than welcome to prove the bite behind her words.’ 

‘Faris.’ Voshki spared a brief glance over her shoulder from where she stood by the watchtower’s oaken entrance. ‘Goad Anoush again and I’ll have you tossed over this bridge. I’m certain you’d appreciate such a merciful death over the one that Old Myrian received. You believe the males under my command would follow you? You’d be gravely mistaken after they realize you’d never be able to pay them a silver coin in return for their loyalty.’

Faris spread his arms wide and made a deep bow of surrender. ‘Your command is my oath, Voshki. Anoush understands that I only jest about her abilities. I respect her, yourself commander, and every woman in this unit like they were siblings of my own blood.’

‘Enough.' Voshki rolled her eyes. ‘Get over here and breach this watchtower!’

‘Commander?’ Faris rushed his fingers through his kept raven hair and sighed. ‘Arshavir has been this bridge’s sole guardian for the last eleven years… in spite of his ferocious reputation-” Faris gestured to the maimed corpse splayed out on the bridge’s stone brickwork behind them. ‘He has fallen. Never shall another man of his like return for the rest of our days. Let the watchtower stand here abandoned till it collapses in upon itself.’

Voshki dangled a bloodied key from its iron-linked chain. ‘Always make a decision with certainty, my Second. All I know in this moment is that Arshavir locked the entrance behind him, so that no soul may enter but he. Something tells me that avoiding this tower would be some nuisance for us in the end. I’d rather secure the tower and ensure our lives remain unspent on the break of another dawn.

‘So fall in and let us storm through this place. Do your damned job instead of barking out bad jests! Come on, gather around me! I want this watchtower breached and anyone hidden within put to the sword! No survivors! No witnesses! One simple mistake shall betray us all and ensure our failure! So heed my words!’

The Black Bane readied an assortment of axes and approached the oaken doors of the Forlorn Tower.
« Last Edit: October 4, 2020, 09:01:48 PM by Myen'Tal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : II - Sacrifice
« Reply #128 on: October 6, 2020, 12:18:55 PM »
Just wanted to go ahead and update this as I've realized that I have not yet.

So Chapter I  II - neither are finished yet. I'm kind of experimenting with building blocks in different sections of the story, and it's really helping me put together Voshki's arc as opposed to forcing myself to flesh out the story in a straight line.

I wanted to share these updates so that people are given a feel of where the story as a whole is headed - and to show that this isn't dead by a long shot.

Thanks.
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Dread

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Re: The Embers of the Past : II - Sacrifice
« Reply #129 on: October 6, 2020, 06:18:06 PM »
Glad to hear. Gonna try to read it thru the next few nights.
"Burning thru the universe in search of peace only brings more war. Peace is an illusion, war is reality, that is the way of things"

                            Farseer Gol'Istria of    the Morea Nebula craftword

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Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past :Descent
« Reply #130 on: October 9, 2020, 11:17:17 PM »
Ara watched the fire bleed from the skies as evening began to fade into dusk. Only a golden crown of light lingered over the Autumn Realms of Old Myria, set to fade beneath the horizon briefly afterward. He gazed out over the paradisaical hills and felt abandonment fester in his heart like the creeping shadows of the night.

Mustaphen stood proud on the heights of the Ardent Vigil, reverent in the constant watch he shared with Ara. The Black Wolf of Annahir combed his leather-gloved fingers through the stallion's proud obsidian mane.
Voshki had never returned.

Ara had swallowed his insurmountable pride and confessed to the Black Bane’s commander that he came to care for her more than anything he had ever desired. On that fateful night, curled up with him beside the campfire and isolated from the rest of the world,

Voshki had whispered her love into his ear. Ara remembered. He had smiled genuinely for the first time in the bleak years after his childhood. For once his celestial light seemed to burn brightly for him as opposed to it’s constant eclipse in the light of rivaling stars. He had not only accepted the Ashen Cobra’s lure,but had fallen for something he once thought a charade. Then he shared her love by the fireside.

Voshki had departed in silence on that same night for the Southern Wastes. Her desire to confront the cruel past had forced her back in the direction of more familiar shores. Somewhere in the Southern Wastes, Voshki would find the answers she sought - a collection of keys held in the palm of her enigmatic master’s hand. Shoushan’s concealed truths would unlock the chains that ensnared the Ashen Cobra’s heart.

Ara studied the horizon with a stoic gaze, but grief and concern consumed him from within beneath the surface. He had guessed right. That he was but a pawn in the cruelest of divine comedies. The Gods ever remained fickle and quick to punish his mistakes. They neglected and denied him of his good deeds, all committed in the act of begrudged penance. Perhaps, he considered, that they found him wanting because the penance was not given freely.

Ara could not bring himself to withdraw from the Vigil's flames. He had waited from sunrise to sunset and knew that nothing would change the fate forever sealed for him.

Voshki would not return and Ara found himself abandoned once again.
A soft rhythm of iron-shod hooves clattering along the Fall’s Road greeted Ara from a brief distance. The last rays of the evening dusk withered and the stars began to settle in the night sky. He watched the road ahead of him with peeled eyes, but failed to make out anything through the encroaching dark, but the soft glow of torchlight.

Ara forced a weary greeting out of his mouth, punctuated with a sigh of resignation.
‘Jumanah guide your way traveller.’

A familiar voice pierced the gentle dark, striking Ara through the heart enough to make it skip a beat. ‘And I bid you safe travels by moonlight, stranger. Say, you watch the eastern horizon as if someone you truly cared for has vanished in the lands over yonder, never to return to you?’

A gale of relief whipped through Ara and washed away the dead weight of his guilt. He felt his dark veil of grief suddenly crack and splinter, until hope welled up in the core of his chest. He felt himself smile genuinely again for the second time.

Ara shrugged, visible in the burning light of the Ardent Vigil's eternal flame. ‘Is the thought of my grief truly so incomprehensible? The woman I cared for ventured into that distant horizon, silence being her only parting gift. Do you think it foolish that I came to the first place that we crossed paths, in hopes that she’d be here?’

Voshki considered Ara’s questions in silence, before uttering an answer. ‘Don’t be foolish. I’m certain she believes that you’ve proven the truth of every word shared between the both of you. Perhaps, this woman will turn away from her black fate in the  south, for it is a cruel and unforgiving land that will certainly swallow her whole.’
Ara nodded. ‘Did you speak with your master then?’

Voshki continued her approach until moonsilver came to rest at the foot of the hill Ara kept vigil on. She answered. ‘I could not bring myself to face Shoushan. I could have drawn the Crowned Prince against her, but that would be like striking down my own mother.’

Ara kept an air of stoniness about himself, and fought hard not to sour at the mention of Shoushan’s name. ‘Even though you know of the Black Pacts she’s sworn? Or of the bleak fate she’s handed all of your kindred?’’

Voshki inclined her head in affirmation. ‘Blind vengeance won’t shatter Shoushan’s hold on the Black Descent. She is the Guardian of the Gate, Alastrine’s Hound… Striking her down in the black pits of Surannir would only be like breaking another illusion.’

‘An illusion?’ Ara arched his brow, though he knew Voshki could not see it. ‘How can you be so certain that your master is not truly in the Royal Den, if you never ventured there since you left with the Black Bane so many years ago?’

‘Shoushan is my master, Ara.’ Voshki shook her head, her voice grave. ‘I’ve always glimpsed her hidden truths, even though I never understood them. I know now that I’ve never truly laid eyes upon her. My guess, is that she awaits us in the endless chasm of the Black Descent, where the souls of my kin dwell in purgatory.’

Ara hawked and spat at the thought. ‘I’d normally say that any Sukhanite damned to that place is more than welcome to remain there -’

‘Ara.’ Voshki bristled.

Ara continued. ‘Yet if the gods truly wail for these lost souls… if they point their fingers in rage at the treacherous demon in their midst… should they desire judgment on those who shirk the cycle for limitless power and immortality, then I won’t deny them their chance at absolution. It is a great coincidence that Zesiro delved into that chasm to escape retribution.’

‘Listen, Ara.’ Voshki demanded. ‘Before the schism between my master and I, when I remained her greatest disciple, Shoushan revealed the location of the Black Descent to myself and only myself. You don’t have to follow me into that cursed labyrinth. I won’t ask you to descend onto that house of evil. I remember well that Alastrine marked your soul for greatness. There’s little need for you to risk your immortal fate for a woman who abandoned you for the eastern horizon.’
 
  Ara barked out a laugh. ‘I’d follow her into the blackest depths willingly. To unravel the dark pact that shall doom all of Khios with its fulfillment. Neither shall we descend alone....’
 
   Voshki sighed audibly. ‘Do you think any of those fools will listen to either of us?’
 
   ‘Yes.’ Ara answered. ‘My elder brother shall hear us out. The others already have an idea of what sacrifices must be made to defeat our foes. Zesiro is the nemesis of all of us. We shall decide together where we shall venture to fight her.’
 
   Voshki kicked her mount gently in the flanks. The milk white stallion spurred itself into a gentle trot up the Fall’s Road’s sharp incline to the summit of the Ardent Vigil. Ara watched her approach, till her eyes glimmered like polished emerald in the firelight and her breath brushed over him like a honeyed breeze.
 
   Voshki sighed with a brief shrug.  ‘A conversation for when our merry band of rogues, priests, and wayward warriors assembles once again… Where are you camped?’
 
   Ara gestured further north and west. ‘’On the outskirts beyond Grand Damira’s walls, in the Crescent Fields where the Alabaster River bends further west.’
 
   ‘Where your father was slain?’ Voshki regarded him with a morbid curiosity. ‘You decided to camp on a battlefield?’
 
   Ara brushed aside his own thoughts of mourning and managed a brief smile. ‘Would it frighten you to know that the site of his grave brings me some solace?’

    Voshki scoffed. ‘A hero’s grave should serve as an inspiration for anyone, even more so for his descendants. I thought it would have brought back un-cherished memories. And that is not how you should remember a man like Azat.’
 
   ‘Is it not?’ Ara answered, as grave as the night’s haunting quiet. ‘You did not know him well, but Azat always use to say to Aslan and myself, ‘Never take up the sword my sons, unless you’re prepared to wield it for the rest of your lives.’ I don’t think I ever really understood the meaning behind his warning until now. Decades of ceaseless conflict finally convinced Azat to settle and begin our family, but not even in solitude could he ever find true peace from the horrors that stalked him.

    ‘Aslan and I were his great pride, but I’ve always known that the thought of what we’d become after growing up in the shadow of his legacy, haunted him just the same. I asked him upon a day if he thought that everything he’d sacrifice - for Realm and Queen, was worth the seemingly unbearable weight of the consequences…
 
   Ara’s weakened smile broadened with no small measure of pride. ‘Azat gazed out toward the Crescent Moon and laughed at my ignorance. Yet I could tell that he found great amount of solace in the question I asked him. He merely spoke these words to me:
       
     ‘Blood is the heart and soul of a warrior.
 
  ‘His sword is the manifestation of his wrath.
   
 ‘His armor a bastion of his courage and faith.
   
‘His technique is the honed intellect of his mind.
   
 ‘The command of his master is his sworn oath.

    ‘And a warrior’s oath is his honor in the eyes of the gods.

‘It is by fate’s decree that a warrior shall be asked to offer up all of these aspects of himself.

‘Without this sacrifice, all civilization is but embers to be scattered on the wind of oblivion.

‘You’ll soon learn, Ara, that there is no justice in this world, save for what only the strong care to provide.

‘Your justice shall be meted out on the edge of your sword, and judgment executed by your own will.

‘You shall learn upon a day, my son, but not today..’


Ara barked out sudden laughter, then quickly sobered. ‘I never thought about those words ever again in my life… till I came across the site of his unburied grave, somewhere in the heart of the Crescent Fields. He taught me a lesson that he intentionally never taught me till after his death. That a man should never take up the sword, unless he is prepared to wield it for the rest of his life, lest justice and judgment fail him. It’s a never ending spiral of consequences, isn’t it?’

Voshki inclined her head in agreement. ‘Such is the way of mortals and the lives they eek out upon this earth. Impermanence and violence is our destiny, till the gods decide they’re tired of our amphetamine parrot and rescue us from ourselves. Whether that be by cleansing or salvation, they care not. Our immortal fate is the gentle dark of the void. I think the gods must seldom open their gate for less than a quarter of the foolish souls hurled against them.’

‘Hmm…’ Ara pondered aloud. ‘I wonder if Azat often thought the same. He was never religious either… but even he seemed changed in his middling years. I wonder if you and I shall always think this way till the end of our days?’

Voshki grinned wolfish at him. ‘Show me something worth believing in and perhaps you’ll be surprised.’

‘Come.’ Ara gestured in the direction of his camp. ‘It’s not an ideal location, my camp is on a hill that overlooks most of the battlefield. You shall feel haunted if you watch the field beneath the moonlight. But at least it’s peaceful.’

Moonsilver trotted to join Mustaphen’s brief journey down the Fall’s Road in the direction of the Crescent Fields. Ara lifted his gaze toward the crescent moon glimmering in the night sky and could not help but feel Azat’s strength and fortune shower down on him from the heights of the heavens.

His immortal fate remained uncertain, but it was a damn sight better than the certainty it was before...
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : Penance
« Reply #131 on: October 14, 2020, 08:18:02 PM »

Voshki inhaled a shallow breath before she snapped back into the waking world. Awareness seized hold of her and she sat upright in a satin emerald gown. She was damp with sweat from her own nightmarish dreamscape.

A sudden pain flared in her broken nose where her fingers  grazed the bloodied bandages wrapped there--someone had corrected it. Scars, gashes, and cuts too burned within their stitched over wounds.

Voshki cursed. She desired to hunt Azat down and bleed him. Memories of what had happened last night came rushing back to her mind in fragments. She recalled Faris' ignoble death - his horrifying screams when he was reduced to nothing more than ashes and blackened bone.

Her mind pieced together a recollection of the Black Bane slaughtered with ruthless precision. Of the Annahir Immortals luring them into the heart of their lair to strike the mortal blow and put down the Sukhanite sell-swords once and for all.

Azat had accomplished his mission for the Immortals. For Old Myria.

For the first time in her second life, Voshki had failed Shoushan and the Ashen Cobra. She had failed the Black Bane even further - and now their lives were extinguished. She wondered if their immortal fate would be to join the Black Descent till the end of time.

Voshki swallowed the hard lump in her throat and shook her head. A fate well deserved in exchange for a lifetime of immorality and anarchic violence. The thought still made her heart race with terror, but she forced it out of her mind's eye.

She made to clean the beads of sweat off of her brows when her hand hit an invisible barrier against her own volition. Voshki ripped her arm back toward her person in an effort to break the iron-linked chain clasped around her wrist. The nightstand by her bed squealed as it was dragged on the alabaster marble floor so loudly that any servant or nobleman would scream in fright.

A rough and grizzled voice familiar in the subtleness of its mocking tone announced itself.

A quiet wheeze of cackling laughter betrayed Azat's presence where he lounged on a cushioned chair near the doors to the chamber.

'Don't bother, girl.' Azat suggested. 'You'll break your arm in twain before you before you free yourself.'

A furious rage welled up behind Voshki's hawk-eyed stare. 'Had I a moment longer when we fought, then I would have silenced you forever.'

Azat reclined into his chair and plucked the pipe out of his mouth. A steady stream of acrid smoke streamed out of his lips with a sigh of resignation. 'You should know - that all your Black Bane kin that journeyed here with you are all dead. The Lady of Misery and Sorrow can keep their souls in the infernal chasm she dwells in.'

The Immortal of Annahir waved briefly and servants hidden in the chamber's dark swathes scurried to open the blinds and three balconies afforded to this one room. 'I won't offer half-truths -whether friend or foe… You've not many options left and your time in this world is rather fleeting.'

'Then I shall embrace an honorable self-sacrifice.' Voshki was unable to control the spike in her own volume. 'For the Black Bane mercenaries… Your immortals could not stay my blade that fated night I slit the Autumn Queen's throat.'

Azat regarded Voshki with a grim sneer and shook his head in deliberate motions. 'Oh, did you think it was so simple? You slit someone's throat, of that everyone is certain.
Hazan's own twin is the victim of your attempted regicide.' He shut his eyes as if the thought made his head ache from the implications of the political fallout. 'You can imagine that she is not content that you're here, breathing. Neither are the One Hundred Families. Neither are the Annahir Immortals, who you've bled more than you had any right to.'

Azat considered his own words with a wolfish grin. He spread his arms in a grand gesture that folded back onto himself. 'You live by my grace alone... you're fortunate that I'm honored enough that any of them would listen to an old wolf like myself. Anyone lesser and they would have drawn and quartered you.'

'A great coincidence.' Voshki grimaced. ‘Your sorrow seems borne more from your headache than loss, so perhaps you speak to the truth of the matter. I’d imagine Hazan’s demise would have led to your self-imposed exile otherwise.’

Azat's vicious sneer deepened. 'I've no endless chasm to hide in like the Black Descent. Unlike yourself, when  I am cornered, I simply cut down what stands in front of me. I would not be the commander of the Autumn Queen's personal retinue in either case if your words were even near to truth.

‘Your entire mission is a failure. Your kin died on our swords for nothing. The Queen's sibling  died on the end of your spear for nothing. All of my brothers and sisters in the Immortals that stood against you and died - all for nothing.

'It was a pointless act of terror on a scale I've rarely seen here in Annahir or all of Old Myria. You must've stood to gain some substantial wealth or divine gift for your success, I’m certain. Now you gain nothing in defeat. And I am left with an entire band of dead sellswords - save for one young girl with the heart of a lion and the mind of a wolf...'

Voshki scoffed. 'I've nothing to say to you, Old Myrian. You may as well grant Hazan's wish and strike me down. You'd stand to gain some measure of retribution that way.
Torture me if you'd like. I can tell that it'd haunt you for the rest of your days. That would grant me peace and contentment with what little life I have left in this world.'

Azat leveled a sidelong look in her direction, lost in contemplative thought. After a brief pause, he stood - then made to stride through the chamber door.

'Our servants shall help you choose your wardrobe. Get dressed, then you’ll meet with me somewhere more appropriate and beyond prying ears. They shall guide you onto that place when you are ready. For now I take my leave. In the meanwhile, contemplate and reflect on all that I have said. Once you've truly chosen your next course of action, I shall be able tell if speaking with you was a folly or a good investment of my time.'

Azat crossed through the silver-inlaid oak doors and shut them with a deafening report.

Voshki watched the doors close shut and cursed herself. She'd never give into despair, but she had no desire to stubbornly walk into her gruesome destiny either. Azat seemed so certain that his words would persuade her into betraying hidden knowledge. She knew little of the man and more importantly, his intentions with such information.

Voshki considered her predicament and realized that perhaps the choice Azat had offered was merely an illusion of promise.
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Myen'Tal

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Ara gently opened the door into the lonesome cabin. He was greeted at once by a rush of fireborn heat that breezed through the fabric of his dark robes. The mind-numbing spell of the autumn cold was lessened from the hearth’s crackling flames, but not entirely dispelled. He stood upon the stairway leading back into the world outside, and considered shutting the door to leave Voshki alone for the night.

Ara stood fixated between two worlds of bright light given warmth and that of the gentle comfort of the night given the biting wind of the cold. He searched the cedar wood floors of the cabin for her.

He did not see any sign of Voshki.

Lured by his own urgent curiosity, Ara entered into the abandoned house and shut the door behind him. Had she already fled the moment Ara had turned away from her? He was foolish enough to leave her to her schemes for an entire cycle of sun and moon to acquire food for both of them. Now she could be leagues apart from him, in any direction.

Voshki’s voice wafted over the soft crackles of the hearthfire. ‘You search this cabin as if frightened that you’ve lost something.’

Ara suddenly realized the burdensome weight of the young venison slung over his back. He noticed the way the deer's haunch cringed beneath the intense grip of the fingers on his one good arm. The Black Wolf gently closed his eyes, inhaled deeply, and visibly relaxed his entire frame.

Ara shrugged. ‘I thought you had fled when I wasn’t looking. Would have been smart of you, if you desired to escape the Autumn Realms unnoticed. I’m the last weapon of the Queen that can hold you to justice.’

Voshki was curled into herself away from the hearth, tucked away in an obscure corner dimly lit in the flickering orange glow. She teased Ara with a mocking chuckle. ‘You’re the latest pawn she has thrown to the wolves, if she decided to hold me accountable through you. I had a mind to follow you into the woods, track you whilst you scrounged around for any merchant with supplies in his storehouse.. I could have slit your throat and not bother myself with watching you choke on your own blood. You would be long departed from this world and I’d be on my way to home, hearth, and freedom in the gentle dark of the Royal Den.

 'Perhaps I've grown soft, Ara? If Old Myria has taught me anything, is that I've underestimated how far justice can reach out and touch someone, fatally.'

Ara watched Voshki’s cold gaze search his own, cornering him with the glower of a dormant predator. His eyes wandered ever so subtly over Voshki's slender body. As quickly as the thought of her unique beauty crossed his mind, Ara cast it aside.

Ara managed a faint smirk and nodded. 'You've learned something from Azat's countless lessons. Good, no harm in understanding knowledge meant to keep one hale and alive in this harsh world.'

Voshki inclined her head in agreement. 'He's a renowned warrior and a survivor. He understands that one must live one's life by cheating
Alastrine at every turn. Never cease moving through the cycles, always keep your wits about you, and master any tool to strike down mother death in all of her guises. Lest she catch and ensnare you, then devour you mind, body, and soul.'

Ara shrugged, then laid the venison down on the floor. 'How unfortunate for this deer that he had no such philosophy to live by. I'll take him into the shed-'

Voshki interrupted. 'Leave it for a moment.' She chuckled again at him. 'You're still shivering from the cold outside.'

Ara blew out a breath and considered the dead venison for a moment, then glanced down toward his numb and subtly quivering fingers. A sudden aching oozed into his bones from carrying his game the entire way back to the cabin.

He noticed Voshki's searching eyes upon him. He knew she could see every vulnerability within his stance. He felt her eyes touch upon every weak point in his body. No doubt assessing what a simple game it would be to kill him where he stood.

          Ara realized that something about the Ashen Cobra made him aware that his concerns were for naught. At least for the time being.

         Ara took a seat before the hearth,  respectfully distanced from the assassin. 'The winter will be ferocious this year. Autumn has not yet passed, but the northern winds already bite to the bone.
 
          'The fell weather arrives with Zesiro's intrusion on Khios, as that half-blood zealot priest -Kendal, was it- forewarned.'

           Voshki sighed, a blissful affirmation as if she had only half heard Ara's words. She gracefully picked herself off the couch in the obscure corner and took her place on the fine fur rugs in front of the hearth, so near that her breath breezed down his neck when she shifted to look him in the eyes.

            Voshki curled into Ara, pressing her clothes and dark caramel skin into his own. Where her breath had breezed down his neck before, it now streamed passed his collar and onto his chest.

           Ara realized that she had sat far enough from the hearth that she felt cold to the touch.

            Voshki's eyes peered deep into his, the deep veined emerald of her irises transfixed him. Ara knew he should have moved away, that a hidden dagger beneath his ribs would seal his fate.

            Yet try as he might, Ara could only lose himself within the emerald dream of Voshki's gaze.

           Only her next words brought Ara out of her reverie. 'Aslan told me the demon raked your arm with her ghastly talons. Said you may never be able to hold a shield again?'

            The mere mention of his wounded arm shattered his reverie and brought him crashing back into reality.

            Ara turned his gaze away in frustration, recalling his elder brother having to aid him just to even lift a simple buckler.
 
          Ara could not conceal the disappointment in his voice. 'The demon cleaved through my shield, which I had raised in my defense. She shattered it, then raked my arm with her cursed talons to the bone with every finger… how should I have known that she could fight with such inhuman strength?'
     
        A sharp tremor of pain raced up his wounded arm from the touch of Voshki's fingers around his wrist. Before he could ask, she was already peeling back the sleeve of his robe.

            She paused before unveiling the wound. 'Do you mind?'

      Ara considered her morbid fascination with a mild distaste, but relented with a sigh of pain and a brief nod.

*Scene to be continued... maybe*
;)
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Dread

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MAYBE! Well let's just talk about that... anyhow, like the imagery but think they were wrapped up in front of the fire a little to quick. I like the trust goes both ways scenerio but maybe a bit more before the fire scene. I see it playing out in my minds theatre so good job.
"Burning thru the universe in search of peace only brings more war. Peace is an illusion, war is reality, that is the way of things"

                            Farseer Gol'Istria of    the Morea Nebula craftword

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Offline Myen'Tal

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MAYBE! Well let's just talk about that... anyhow, like the imagery but think they were wrapped up in front of the fire a little to quick. I like the trust goes both ways scenerio but maybe a bit more before the fire scene. I see it playing out in my minds theatre so good job.

Thanks, Dread.

So I'm not certain if I mentioned this, but these all scenes from different chapters and none of it is in chronological order at all. It's actually a new method I'm trying to start with the creation of important pieces of the book, then filling in the gaps between those moments, and so-on until the entire novel is created.

Plus, can't give everything away 8).

That's the reason though that it may have seemed a bit quick for Ara and Voshki to start reacting to each other in the way that they are. Once this version of Embers comes nearer to completion, I'll have a much more developed arc in this area (and pretty much any other arc that I've touched on so far).

Thanks for reading, friend :D.

I also made a few passthroughs on the scenes I've written so far. I just haven't applied them to the posts in this thread yet.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 01:13:00 PM by Myen'Tal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : Baptism of Fire
« Reply #135 on: November 1, 2020, 05:36:44 PM »
About to cross the hallmark of 1/4 of 100,000 words. ;D

Sirius - the Golden Sun in the heavens, reached its zenith in cerulean skies over the Isle of Irothis. A thick mist rolled onto the shoreline from the Black Sea. An endless cycling of the waves came crashing through the translucent white shroud.

Ara readied himself, his stance poised for combat. His bare feet sifted through granular sands, soaked through by the endless tides. He listened to the rhythm of the waves crash onto the beach.

Golden sunlight gleamed in his eyes, so intense that he needed to rest them behind the shadow of his own shield. He gently shut them, listening for the moment to unleash the serpent’s bite.

A subtle sound of wet sand crushed underfoot warned Ara before the keen cry of a sword cleaved through mist and air. Ara pivoted on his left foot and side-stepped a hacking blow.

Eyes opened against the light, Ara parried a fluid counter with his steadfast shield arm. He lashed out, his practice sword grazing his opponent on the shoulder.

‘Decent, brother!’ A familiar voice roared with laughter. ‘Better than your last strike!'

His elder brother's shadow fell across his peripheral vision.

Ara’s world became a whirlwind from the tackling charge that followed. A great city built in the reaches of mountainous Irothis came into view before his gaze lifted skyward.  As he landed on his back, his eyes settled over the deep sapphire waters of the Black Sea.

Ara squeezed his eyes shut from the blinding light of the sun. When he next opened them, Aslan stood triumphant over him.

Ara recalled how familiar the gleam in his elder brother's amber eyes seemed to be. Almost as if standing in front of a sheet of glass. His short raven black hair - a balance between kept and unkempt, matched Ara’s.

Aslan loomed over him like a young lion reared up on its hind legs. He stood poised to strike Ara down should he attempt to come back to his feet.

Ara heaved up a thick spray of sand with the rim of his shield instead, forcing Aslan on the back-foot. He scrambled out of his makeshift grave of coastal sand. A particularly strong wave crashed upon him in that moment, almost planting him back into the earth again.

Ara struggled against the foaming waters threatening to pull him back down, but managed to remain afloat until the moment the wave broke altogether.
 
   Aslan had already recovered from the spray of sand, already locked in the motion of striking his younger brother square in the neck.

Ara slid through the wet sand away from the rapid lunge. Aslan stormed forward with a flurry of quick-paced attacks. Ara parried half of them with his shield and denied the others on the length of his wooden sword. Before his elder brother could change the pattern of his attacks, Ara pounced in the moment his opponent retracted his sword.

Ara lunged and thrust the unsharpened edge of his sword into Aslan’s chest directly where his heart rested. Aslan surprisingly did not shirk from the blow, unfrightened of losing to his younger brother for the first time. The moment before the strike hit home, an invisible force seized the practice blade in Ara’s hand and snapped it in twain like a child’s toy.

Ara realized that Aslan had discarded his own sword to arrest Ara’s winning blow. The practice sword was sundered in twain, the strength behind the breaking force enough to turn Ara’s momentum away from Aslan and straight into the largest wave he had seen that morning.

The curling wave smacked Ara square in the chest and threw him off his feet. Pulled under the foaming waters, Ara cursed himself mentally as the wave broke and receded back into the sea.
 
   Ara did not realize he had his eyes screwed shut until the waters had completely receded from the beach. He gently opened them to find himself sprawled back first amidst the endless sands of the beach. Once more, Aslan stood over him, triumphant, but with an apologetic smile on his face.
 
   Aslan shook his head and shrugged. ‘You just had to leave one opening before you finally struck me down… and of course I must survive to maintain my reputation. Sorry, brother, but I applaud your effort. You came nearer to triumph that time than any other practice bout we’ve had.’
   
 ‘amphetamine parrot…’ Ara sighed, then chuckled mildly. ‘My triumph stolen by an uncaring wave.’
 
   Aslan chuckled with him. ‘Face it brother, you defeated yourself. Like you always do when you’re facing me. You overthink fighting me too much.’
 
  Ara suddenly jerked himself upright as a gentle wave broke over his ankles. ‘How does a wolf overthink fighting a Lion? Father was right to grant you that name on the day of your birth, brother. You’re indomitable. I’ve never seen any other youth even come near to defeating you.’
 
   Aslan cracked a knowing smile at him. ‘If you cannot find a way brother, there may be no other I know that ever will.. There must be renowned warriors out there with a keen interest in my coming of age… if my younger brother cannot find weakness in my form, I’d wager they could. I need someone I trust who can defeat me, so I can continue to learn and not become complacent. Lest these foreign challengers defeat and perhaps strike me down where I stand.’
 
   Ara shook his head. ‘I wouldn’t want that for you brother, no matter how much I’d like to see you humbled. I shall match your skill one day, I swear on my honor.’

    Aslan nodded. ‘And still you hold greater skill with sword and shield than any would-be rival of mine. I’ll be honest, you’re still my chief competitor despite your record. Keep trying, I know you can do it.’

Azat, their father of legend, called out in the authoritative voice of a mentor with a lesson in hand. He approached his only sons, wrapping a hand around either of their shoulders to pull them into a close embrace. ‘Ara, my lone wolf. Your elder brother speaks to the truth of the matter.

'Your elder brother’s strength has always been his martial prowess and unmatched courage. It has always been your strength, Ara, to discern truths from foolish falsehoods. That is equally important in methods of combat, battle, and warfare as much as the skill one wields their weapon of choice. You need only a little more practice to put that to your advantage when you couple both aspects to become a great warrior.’

Ara shook his head. ‘What falsehoods would gain me victory over a lion?’ He gestured toward Aslan with a point of his chin. ‘It’s an impossible task, father.’

Azat bellowed with laughter, then shook his head. ‘Lesser warriors with brittle minds will often think that of someone physically imposing. Contrary to what they may think about their impressions extending their lifespans - it is quite the opposite.

‘Ara, a warrior can never better himself and become greater by shirking from challenges. You should be honored, my youngest son, for you’ve been granted the harshest trial of all. Upon a day, I believe that you will exceed even Aslan. You need only awaken that hidden potential, that spark of divinity within you that was granted by your mother…

‘Though Aslan defeats you with impunity… I always have only seen you rise, then strike again. You’ve more endurance and perseverance than any youth I’ve seen. Only Aslan would have more if he did not exert himself to the limits of his ability, mind, and body again and again.

‘... but enough of my ramblings. How about one more bout, before we break for a meal?’

An unfamiliar voice called out from farther inland, on the outskirts of the great granite sprawl scattered over the mountains in reply. ‘As good of weather as any for the practice of swords and physical strength. Is it not as any of you would say?’

Azat released his grip on his sons and all of them turned to address this mysterious voice. Ara searched the outskirts of Irothis for the voice’s source. His hazel eyes halted upon a slim figure, garbed in warrior robes of obsidian, burgundy, and crimson. The nameless warrior waited patiently with his hands behind his back, half leaning on the pillar of a great arch that led farther into the city. His face, obscured as it was by distance, was hidden underneath the shadow of a white cloak.

Aslan arched his brow in the stranger’s direction. ‘Do you know this one, father?’

Azat shrugged and contemplated, but his features were locked in a morbid grimace. ‘Ara… Aslan… return home, back to the manor.’ He commanded suddenly. ‘Do not fear, I believe I know this man… an old friend from bygone days. But I must speak with him and alone, if you would.’

Aslan clapped Ara hard on the shoulder. ‘Come brother, let father and his acquaintance have their peace… though it will only bring dark tidings, I’d wager.’

Azat swiveled his head in Aslan’s direction. ‘Stop belly-aching and go home. Dark tidings come to us all, Aslan, it matters not the time or day, or the frequency in which they occur. One day you shall understand that for once.’

‘Alright, alright!’ Aslan sighed. ‘Ara and I are leaving.’

Ara did not protest or refuse, but left his father alone on the shores of the Black Sea. Aslan and him raced back to the manor overlooking the Western Straits from the high cliffs of Irothis.

As home drew ever nearer, Ara felt a sinking suspicion well up in his chest that his father had not heard the last of this strange visit.
« Last Edit: November 1, 2020, 05:38:02 PM by Myen'Tal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : The Sworn Brotherhood
« Reply #136 on: November 9, 2020, 08:40:22 PM »
So just an update on how the manuscript is looking so far.

I have scheduled the third first chapter critique for The Embers of the Past since I've truly started on it.

I'm happy to announce that not only was my editor very pleased with the progress that was made, she seemed seriously impress with a lot of the changes!

The Chapter that she reviewed was the 'Offering' - Voshki's introductory chapter.

To give a brief quote from her 5 page report - 'You have made some serious improvements with the first chapter of The Embers of the
Past—so much that you’ve catapulted your story from being “fraught with too many murky
details,” as I said in my previous first chapter critique, to now being a major success.'

And that, my dudes, has me stoked. I've made a lot of changes and corrections across the entire manuscript so far- and it's sitting around 27,000 words. So far I have high hopes for The Embers of the Past. My goal is to get it through the editing process fully sometime next year.

That aside, I might try and post the latest version of 'Offering' so you guys can see what's changed in the meantime.

Without further ado, though, here is another snippet from - from another chapter: The Sworn Brotherhood.

~***~

Galerider galloped across the alabaster fields beyond the Crescent Valley Pass. Mounted on the scale-mail barded steed, Azat’s cries rang out over the cacophony of armies gathered for war. The Commander of the Annahir Immortals shouted encouragement to thousands of Old Myrian warriors gathered from every corner of the Autumn Realms.

‘Gather!’ Azat cried out to any within earshot of the front ranks. ‘Gather your courage, men and women of the northwestern lands! Grab  your shields and gird your armor and swords!’

Azat cast his gaze down the organizing ranks of the Old Myrian forces. Scarred men and women of the Silver Shields - grizzled veterans of several campaigns, amassed on the front-lines. Archers formed rank after rank on the higher hills overlooking the vast mouth of the Crescent Valley.

Cavalcades of Knights and light horses raced on the flanks of the great muster. A silver and raven black host that glimmered like a tide of shadows even in the midday sun. Banners and pennants fixed to their pristine lances shone in the bright sun as onyx and alabaster. A golden lion clawing a crescent moon was emblazoned on every standard.

The heraldry of the Autumn Queens stoked a fierce pride in his heart. Even the lowest of the militia cried out their exaltations at the merest glimpse of Old Myria's royal coat-of-arms.

‘Courage for your families!’ Azat took a hand off the reins to gesture across the ranks. Unfamiliar warriors screamed his name like a war cry, beating their weapons across their shields or raising them toward the dawn. ‘Remember the oaths you took, for Queen and Kingdom! Old Myria and Annahir!’

Galerider rode like the wind itself down the lines of the Old Myrian army. They eventually reached the banks of the Alabaster River, the crystalline waters shimmering with sunlight.

The Annahir Immortals arrayed themselves for battle on the banks where the river bended. The Autumn Queen’s personal retinue numbered in the several hundred. Old Myria's highest honored elite held an aura of martial prowess and grandeur in spite of their insubstantial quantities.

Azat raced to meet them on the river bank, only to reign in Galerider to a swift halt where he felt the expectant gazes of all of the men and women under his command. He glanced over their pristine and shining formation and the host of weapons and distinct round shields carried in each of their hands.
 
  ‘Immortals!’ Azat shouted. ‘What an assortment of steel you’ve gathered before your commander! Swords and spears, maces and gladiuses… it matters little what weapon you’ve chosen for the purpose at hand, so long as you have mastered the art of killing with it.’
 
   ‘Our Queen has spoken. Her command has issued us forth from the halls of Ember Hearth. Our only mission is to see Old Myria triumph in the Crescent Valley against the Dominion of Carth! An alliance of barbarians and religious zealots! A coalition of the deprived and the oppressed - all enslaved to fight for the execution of their master’s will!
 
   ‘You’ve all banished their ilk from our fair land in years long passed. You’ve heard the war cries that honor this petty tyrant! They call him the Firstborn of man! That he is the Sun-Caller of the Heavens! A child of the sun itself! That he is God-King of the Dominion of Carth!
 
   ‘Brethren… what God-King chains and whips his own, so that they may fight for him by fear of his command alone? What Firstborn of mankind was born into this life with nothing to his name, but some backwater city built in the heart of an arid wasteland? What Child of Sun would darken this land with zealotry so blind and fanatical, that those enslaved to its dogma would mistaken it for freedom and enlightenment?'
 
   Azat watched his Immortals nod their heads in silent agreement. In their eyes, he could see their desire burn hot to scream their defiance and curse the god-king’s name. Yet such was their discipline that not a single soul amidst their ranks interrupted their commander.

    Azat called out with grim finality. ‘I say this man is no God over any slave that builds his empire for him! He is no master of Old Myria! And today we teach him a vital lesson in humility.'

Azat unsheathed his sword with a keen cry. He lifted the illuminated blade so that it caught the rays of the midday sun with a sheen. ‘For Queen Hazan, Annahir, and the Autumn Realms! Ride with me to glory and victory! Our swords shall not cease until this God-King and his entire army is trampled into the earth of this valley!

'Onward, Immortals!'

Galerider did not need a command, but spurred off in the direction of the greatest battle of Azat’s time. A rolling thunder of cheers erupted from the Immortals as their ranks sallied forth to give battle.
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Embers of the Past: I - Offering
« Reply #137 on: November 10, 2020, 05:27:22 AM »
OFFERING

Quote from: Myen'Tal
A ghastly breath of stale wind coursed through the labyrinthine tunnels beneath the Southern Wastes. The nameless girl caught the tell-tale scent of spilt blood and decay carried upon its gentle current from the old mining shafts. Through the half-collapsed entrances into the Emerald Mines, a pleasant rush from hidden underground rivers echoed through the vast, lightless caverns of the Royal Den of Vipers - Surannir to the masters of these barren wastes.

 
Due to your phrasing I can't determine if the girl is inside the tunnels, or stood outside an entrance.

I find 'ghastly breath' and 'gentle current' to be at odds with each other.

A 'cavern' is a large cave, which implies something natural. 'Mines' implies man made.

'A pleasant rush from...' is an incorrect use of the word rush. 'The sound of rushing water...' would be correct.

Is it 'Emerald Mines' or 'Royal Den'. I find the use of two names for the same place confusing.


Quote
The nameless girl would often journey on the treacherous routes through notorious criminal dens, simply to come rest by the long-forgotten tunnels near the underground river feeding the underworld haphazardly integrated into the mine that once thrived in this place.

'Treacherous routes' implies a path that is known, so I find that this then clashes with 'long-forgotten'


   
Quote
In silence, she watched what precious sunlight crept this far into the caverns refract against the streams that coursed deeper than even the mines could venture. It was exceedingly little, but the refracted light dancing on the tunnel walls brought some small and merciful measure of solace that was all but void in the depths of the Royal Den.

Refract doesn't mean the same as reflect, which is what you seem to be describing.

Overall I find the first three paragraphs too repetitive. As they all mention tunnels, mines and underground rivers it is like I have read the same passage over and over, just written in a slightly different order.
 
 
Quote
Before the cleansing waters that she could not reach, a desperate, nameless girl contemplated on how her day had descended into peril on one of her foolish whims. She had played a henchman of the Obsidian Vipers for a fool in a skewed game of dice.

Why can't she reach the waters?

Just two paragraphs down you explain that the game wasn't fixed, and also that it wasn't whimsical. This contradictory content makes for a difficult reading experience.
 
 
Quote
Her prize, several pieces of copper and an offer for less than savory work. His own prize, The nameless girl’s contract to take up less than savory work and slave for the Vipers for the rest of her life in misery and solitude.

There is no need to add 'misery and solitude'. Being a slave for the rest of your life is enough of a description.
 
   
Quote
Of course, the nameless girl had not tampered with the dice - a game for children who had entered the wrong arena. She had tried her hand to earn the coin and let the Viper win as she expected. It was the roast pieces of meat that he popped into his mouth on occasion through the game’s duration that murdered him.

A game for children! This is a dice game being played by hardened criminals for slaving contracts. It doesn't sound childlike to me.

Entered the wrong arena! I have read this a few times now, but I am still not sure what you are trying to say.

Quote
The nameless girl had done as she was asked, and sprinkled her employer’s newest created poison -dubbed the Black Rot - across the entire skewed pig.


Skewered, not skewed.

Quote
She had poured a goblet of the vile stuff down its gullet too when no one had bothered to even watch over it being cooked.

To me this premise does not make a lot of sense. A whole pig is generally roasted whilst it is horizontal and skewered through its mouth. This alone would make it hard to pour anything down its throat. On top of that though is that once dead its throat, being a complex arrangement of muscles, will have collapsed.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 07:29:07 AM by Alienscar »
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Honestly Alienscar, we get it... you dont like painting!

Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : End of Thread Announcement
« Reply #138 on: November 10, 2020, 07:36:57 AM »
Hey Alienscar, just going to let you know that the vast majority of the stuff you're critiquing is outdated.

Also, while I have made a few passes on this material that I haven't posted. Please keep in mind that none of this has gone through the actual editing process, it's first draft material.

EDIT:

Honestly, I think I've reached the point where I'm going to cease updating this thread. The journey I've taken across the length of The Embers of the Past has been a very positive one for me. I think I've learned a lot of important lessons from both friends, critics, and editors.

Sharing The Embers of the Past on this forum however, has been kind of a double-edged sword. I never expected to receive a lot of feedback, and I appreciate the time of anyone who has given feedback because it's something that's helpful and voluntarily done. However, I feel like the last several months, I've just been getting torn down repeatedly with little or no positive things to take away from it.

This kind of led me into a rabbit hold of chasing issues instead of working on an actual book. Worst part is that I don't feel I've gained much for all the weaknesses pointed out in quite some detail.

I *assume* that I've reached almost 11,000 views on this thread because some readers perhaps enjoyed what they were reading, in spite of the flaws within the text itself. If that is the case, I hope everyone who feels some investment in this narrative will continue to patiently wait for the arrival of the novel.

It'll still quite a road ahead, but I'm hoping to get Embers through the editing process fully sometime next year. The cost of doing that is not small by any means, so I have to focus on completing every aspect of the story, one step at a time.

I also still plan on having a website built, a digital map drawn, some extra art created, and cover art done up too. This adds to the expense further, but you receive from an investment what you put into it.

Once I have any of these things, I'll come make an update. Until then, take care of yourselves, folks, and always, thanks for taking the time to be a reader :).
 
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 07:23:35 PM by Myen'Tal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Embers of the Past : End of Thread Announcement
« Reply #139 on: November 11, 2020, 05:54:55 AM »
However, I feel like the last several months, I've just been getting torn down repeatedly with little or no positive things to take away from it.

Well, as the person that has left the majority of the feedback, I have to say sorry that I have made you feel that way. I have said many a time I wish I that I could have helped you more and that is still true.
Quote from: Starrakatt
"Russ, get your work done or you won't see your damn console for the next month!"
Quote from: Cavalier
Honestly Alienscar, we get it... you dont like painting!

 


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