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Author Topic: Re: The Embers of the Past : A Crimson Blizzard - 2nd Edition - Complete  (Read 15684 times)

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Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Embers of the Past : The Lantern's Flame - Scene IV Finale
« Reply #180 on: January 7, 2021, 11:29:52 AM »
Just a few of the stand out features in Lantern Scene 4

Quote
Ara snapped out of the dream - motionless. His amber eyes fluttered open in search of clarity - to anchor himself amidst an impregnable dark. He heard the distant thunder of the Black Sea's waves break on the shores of Irothis. A night wind streamed through cracked open windows and filled the Zakarian Manor with soft lullabies.

 A pillar of eerie moonlight spilled through glassine windows overlooking the city of Irothis. Beyond the moonlight, the mountain reaches were ablaze with civilization now dormant for the night. 

For me the start of this scene is slowed by conflicting imagery. Is it 'impregnably dark', or is the room lit by moonlight? Also 'distant thunder' and 'soft lullabies' clash with each other, as do 'ablaze with civilisation' and 'dormant'.

Something else that confuses the start of this scene is the incorrect use of the words flutter and clarity.

The word flutter means to make a series of quick delicate movements up and down or from side to side, so for me it doesn't represent a manner in which a person would open their eyes. I would suggest writing hesitantly, or maybe reluctantly instead.

Clarity refers to the quality of being clear and easy to understand, see, or hear. It doesn't refer to how clearly you can see. For example, the Lord of the Rings film had a razor-sharp clarity.

One other thing that confuses me when I read this passage is your use of the word glassine. What do you think the word means? It doesn't mean glass like, or even refer to anything made of glass,  so I am left confused as to what you are trying to say.

Quote
Ara realized that he had fallen asleep and dreamt of the fateful hours that had altered his life forever. 

I would suggest that this paragraph is redundant as you have already established that Ara has awoken from a dream at the very start of this scene.

Quote
The warmth of his dream began to fade. Yet the memories of murder and bloodshed - vivid and horrifying as the day he had experienced them - remained. 

For me this paragraph contains conflicting imagery again. The expression 'the warmth of his dream' suggests a pleasant experience, but this conflicts with 'murder and bloodshed'.


Quote
Ara could not bring himself to return to blissful sleep.

Again this seems a bit conflicted as how can Ara be described as returning to blissful sleep when has just woken from a nightmare.

Quote
He climbed out of bed and navigated his pristine chambers in the dark by heart. This time he remembered himself, and gently nudged open the door and stepped out into the flickering orange light of braziers lit along the Eastern Wing’s walls.

In the context of the preceding paragraphs the phrase 'This time he remembered himself' doesn't mean anything and its use leaves me puzzled.

Quote
Ara gracefully swept toward the end of the balcony and leaned heavily on the rail in front of him.

'gracefully swept' seems an odd phrase to use to me. Gracefully means to move in a smooth, relaxed, attractive way, and  'swept' means move swiftly and smoothly. None of this seems apt for a person that is trying to clear his head of a nightmare.

Quote
I considered declining her offer, but after the atrocities Nishan and Jaleh committed here, I always knew that neither you, Aslan, or myself could stay much longer. 

Seven years is a long time, and is too much of a contradiction for the 'not much longer' statement.
« Last Edit: January 7, 2021, 04:33:46 PM by Alienscar »
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Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : A Dominion of the Mind - Scene II
« Reply #181 on: January 7, 2021, 03:02:59 PM »
EDIT: Finished implementing all the changes from each of my sources of feedback. Went back to each respective scene in The Lantern Flame and A Child of Sun and Moon and updated each post to the latest version.

Thanks, Alienscar!

Good points again, will definitely make changes to reflect them.


Shoushan watched the evening skies fade into hues of midnight black. An endless ocean of stars glimmered in night's shroud. As wane sunlight died over the Southern Wastes - she felt time's hourglass begin to crack. She imagined the sands spilling through the splintered glass - every grain an event that would determine how the entire continent's fate would unfold. A symbolism of a kind, representing the Khios’ final years becoming finite and gradually spent. 

The Grand Master of the Ashen Circle studied the moonlit dune sea beyond her pane and sighed. She understood what needed to be done - of what Alastrine demanded of her. The Goddess of the Underworld was always a demanding patron - a parasitical force that consumed her own children with frightening gluttony.

Something seemed different about Alastrine’s mood in the last days of Sukhan. Beneath even the hidden lair of the Ashen Circle - Shoushan could feel something pulse from out of hell's gates - the Black Descent. A pulse that made her heart race and her mind think with absolute clarity. She could feel a forbidden strength course throughout her. Time became gradually slower until it seemed the world had grounded to a halt - even as she continued her life as normal. 

Shoushan considered all the dead that languished in the Royal Den of Vipers. She wondered who else could feel Alastrine's beating heart pump infernal blood through their veins. Her burdened mind became alleviated from doubt and distress. Surreal beyond measure - she realized that her emotions were becoming dull – replaced by a dark wrath. Alastrine's divine might channeled through Shoushan like never before- she suddenly knew within her chest that any warrior worthy of her Goddess' dark blessing had felt the same. 

The door to her chambers slid open without warning. Shoushan shut her eyes and waited.

A pair of armored footfalls shuffled into her room - followed by another pair, and then a final pair - Shoushan counted three members of her Inner Circle by their organized steps. She caught their hazed reflections in the dim firelight reflected on her window. Three indistinct figures that seemed made from the essence of shadow.

She turned on a heel to face them, inclining her head out of respect. ‘My Torch Bearers... my conclave with the Carth Dominion has ended. Our only agreement between empire and kingdom is open war. I have declined their proposed alliance. Carth's God-King and his relentless legion of slave warriors are already here in the Southern Wastes. We have little time in our hourglass to act. We shall respond to the Dominion's act of aggression - the Ashen Circle is the defense of all Sukhan - and your Grand Master the Queen of the Southern Wastes.

'Between each of us - sixty thousand await our commands in hidden strongholds scattered across Khios. Jaleh - you shall travel into the heart of Old Zarna and rally our forces there. Karayan - you shall head for the realms of Ak'shan within the heart of the Carth Dominion... Nishan - command our defenses in Sukhan and repulse the Carthite invaders. I may have some guidance on how that goal can be achieved.'

Nishan the Scarred Child emerged into the dim light of the hearth fire. Shoushan gazed upon his grim visage and inclined her head in acknowledgement. 

Nishan did not protest her orders but bent his knee out of fealty. 'Your bidding is my oath.' A vicious grin creased his scarred over lips. 'Between your brain and my brawn, how could we not triumph?'

Shoushan shook her head. 'You shall need to rely on your brawn alone, Scarred Child. I am needed elsewhere.'

Nishan lifted his gaze to look her in the eye. 'Old Myria? Must you leave on the most critical hour of our kingdom’s fate?'

Irritably, Shoushan arched her brow at Nishan. 'Yes. I have my own oaths to fulfill. I must check on an apprentice of mine. You know that I am no commander, Nishan - that is your duty alone. Erasyl shall believe that once he conquers Sukhan - he'll have torn the beating heart from our operations. He seeks to leave our independent rings in disarray - especially when it comes to the Carth Dominion.

‘Tens of thousands of our kindred are scattered across Khios for a myriad of reasons. All we must do is light a beacon for them to rally on. Should our Scarred Child fail and Sukhan crumble into a swift collapse - we shall require a rallying cry. Our hidden bases of operation in Zarna, Ak'shan, and on the fringes of the Southern Wastes shall dispatch messengers to our concealed clandestine rings. These independent circles shall then spread the word across the far corners of their designated regions.'

A dour look flashed across Jaleh's face when she folded her arms out of patience. 'And should Nishan succeed in scattering the Dominion's forces?'

Shoushan nodded. 'We light the beacons in either case. Should Sukhan remain unconquered due to Nishan's unrivaled strategic mind - then our reinforced armies shall have an opportunity to march on many targets considered strategic by the Carth Dominion and the Old Myrian Empire. There lies a chance that Sukhan may be able to alter and change the geopolitical landscape of Khios and carve out many territorial gains of its own.

'Our priority is to undermine our most direct foes - the Dominion. Of course, the quicker tensions flare between Old Myria and the Carth Dominion into open war - the stronger the position Sukhan shall find itself in. Unbeknownst to each of you - these plans have long been set into motion. Should the apprentice that I must visit succeed in her quest to assassinate the Autumn Queen Hazan, then our route to triumphant victory is on the correct path.'

Karayan shook his head. 'As the only one who knew about Voshki's mission aside from Shoushan - I considered it suicide. Voshki's granted mission is an impossible one - she has failed or else we'd have heard something within the last two years.'

Shoushan smirked in Karayan's direction. 'You underestimate her... She is the daughter of a god - as am I. Besides - should she have failed; I know that she at least continues to draw breath. It shall not be the most difficult error to fix - so long as I am the one who goes to correct it... that being said, in the event of my death - Nishan - you'll become the Grand Master of the Ashen Circle.'

Karyan became insistent. 'And should Erasyl happen to pursue you with his agents into Old Myria? And should he discover Voshki by following your lead?'

Shoushan inclined her head in acknowledgement. 'All of that is a certainty. In either case, Erasyl shall find Voshki one way or another. It would only be correct if I came to her protection.'

Jaleh scowled at her. 'A shame that Zagir was never afforded such a shielding love.'

Shoushan clucked her tongue. 'This is different. Zagir is not one of the Children of the Gods. The God-King's claiming of Voshki could be disastrous in this specific instance.'

Karayan interrupted. 'I agree with Jaleh - out of respect and honesty to you, Grand Master. There could be far more of these Children of the Gods scattered across Khios - is each one the God-King finds and claims a disaster on equal proportion with Voshki's importance?'

Shoushan smirked. 'No. Not yet. See to your orders in the meantime. I am headed for Old Myria and shall depart within the next hour. Nishan - what shall you do now that Suannir is nothing more than blackened bone and rubble?'

The Scarred Child rubbed his chin and considered the question. He answered with the certainty of steel. 'I shall depart as well with whatever warriors remain that shall not follow with Jaleh and Karayan. I shall head for the fortress-city of Drummir and muster what forces I can from the region. We'll fortify our positions - see to maintenance for the fortifications that already exist. I am dispatching messengers tonight to all the surrounding cities and villages in the neighboring regions. Should the Carthites unwittingly advance into the nigh-inhospitable dunes of the Southern Wastes - their time here shall be limited.

'Once the frontlines become drawn between Old Myria and the Dominion - I imagine Carth's steady stream of reinforcements into the Southern Wastes shall begin to dwindle. When their armies are expended from their campaign against our lands - our time to counter-strike shall come. We'll scatter what resistance remains into the wastelands - where all of them shall perish. The only caveat is that we must survive until those front lines become drawn.'

Approvingly, Shoushan nodded. 'I have faith in your ability. I understand you would rather have been assigned to Old Myria for unfinished business - but I require your expertise here in Sukhan. Once the war fronts open and you scatter Carth's armies at home - you may yet earn your chance.'

Chortling, Nishan dismissed her with a snort. 'You have little need to bait me with a carrot on a stick. Some consider me a ferocious bear, not some tamed rabbit. I can wait for my retribution -' He reached out and halted Shoushan before she could make to stride past him. 'But I am gladdened that you understand how much I desire a reckoning with the Immortals of Annahir - and Azat.'

Shoushan shrugged. 'I may need a word with the commander of the Annahir Immortals myself. Now step out of my path.'

Nishan blew out a heated breath but did as commanded.

Shoushan tread by her three Bearers of the Ashen Torch and exited her room for the final time. No matter what the future promised to hold in store for anyone - she knew that there would be no return to Suannir or the Ashen Circle's lair for the rest of her days. In either case - it mattered little. She had a war to fight and win.
« Last Edit: Today at 05:46:08 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 : Progress Update
« Reply #182 on: January 12, 2021, 11:07:29 PM »
So progress update on The Embers of The Past -

Reached 50,000 words last Sunday!!

I also revisited a pretty light outline and mapped out where the rest of the story would go overall.

I've finished the Chapter Names and have put statuses on the Chapters that are either complete or being worked on.

For anyone curious - here is the status page I made for myself to keep up with progress:



The goal is complete the other 50,000 the week before June 7, 2020 - which is the appointment for my manuscript critique by my editor.

Hard to believe that I started this 3.0 build in November... already came a long way!

“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 : A Child of Sun & Moon
« Reply #183 on: January 13, 2021, 08:49:43 AM »
Looks like you are making good progress. Here is a bit of feedback for Sun & Moon

A Child of Sun & Moon

Quote
Kendal knew that he was in a lucid dream - a waking vision that he was unable to cast himself out of. He awoke stranded on a beach that glowed in the moonlight like so much limestone dust.


Cast means to throw something, so in the context of your paragraph is the wrong word.

Whilst you have stated that Kendal knows he is asleep I still find it confusing that the next sentence says that he awoke. As it is clearly established later in the scene that Kendal wakes from a dream, I think you should remove this paragraph and start the scene with the waves coming ashore.

 
Quote
Sea waves hurled themselves onto the shore - crashing in an endless rain of frothing white mist and clear precipitation. A full moon anchored so close to the earth that it seemed enormous, shined down on an endless bed of sparkling waters. It was like the eye of a deity staring down from the heights of heaven - watching on Kendal.

 
This paragraph is made difficult to read due to some of the words used. The word ‘sea’ is an unnecessary embellishment. Precipitation refers to rain not drops of sea water. I also find ‘waves hurling themselves’ and ‘an endless bed of sparkling waters’ to be at odds with each other. This is because I find the first expression to sound turbulent, but I find the second quite serene.

The ‘on’ in ‘watching on Kendal’ is not required
 
Quote
The sea itself seemed burning with a riot of color. The deeper waters glowed in various shades of sapphire and ultramarine, turquoise, and cerulean. The waves crashed over the shore and broke just shy of Kendal's feet. The waters shifted to every shade and hue within the spectrum of color found in a rainbow.


A second paragraph to describe the sea is too much especially as much of it has a circuitous nature. That is, the ‘riot of colour’ reads similar to ‘the waters shifted to every shade’. Also, the ‘waves crashed’ is too similar to ‘the waves hurled themselves. I think you would be better off combining the first two paragraphs to make the start of this scene a quicker experience.

 
Quote
What was this holy place? Where he could reflect on the beauty of his Goddess in solitude? Where he could feel her constant vigil upon him? Deity and devoted were transfixed by some beautiful emotion they shared - but neither seemed willing to place.

 
You have just described a beach with waves and a brightly coloured sea, so the reference to a ‘holy place’ is confusing as it doesn’t match your description. Additionally, the ‘transfixed by some beautiful emotion’ line doesn’t seem connected to what you have previously written either.

I would suggest something similar to this (note that this is just a suggestion and not complete):

Kendal stared at the scene before him in awe. A moon so large that it seemed to fill the sky was shining as brilliantly as a diamond. Where the moonlight hit the ocean, it was ablaze in a kaleidoscope of colour. Shades of sapphire and ultramarine, turquoise, and cerulean flashed and danced in the depths.

As he continued to stare at the magical scene in front of him a voice filled the air, the sound of which filled him with longing.

Quote
From the night sky - ablaze with the brilliance of countless stars - Kendal could hear her gentle lullaby steal away all that he was.
 
'You'll always be my beloved. My devoted...
 
'A Child of sun and moon...
 
'You are the bridge that arches over the chasms of darkness...
 
''And the evening star sighted between dusk and night.
 
'Your devotion is the promise of a loyal oath…
 
'Languish on these shores for all your nights...
 
'And await the coming of the dawn...
 
'Where we shall become one soul...
 
'Sun and moon...
 
Kendal heard the intimate words and felt himself slipping free of his dream state. The shores of this Opal and Crystalline Sea began to fade into hues of black - until only the brilliance of the stars and moon became lights in an impregnable dark...


Listened to rather than heard would be a better word.

Intimate means personal and private and I don’t find much in the ‘lullaby’ that gives the impression of intimacy.

For me the last part of the sentence ‘until the brilliance of the stars and moon became lights’ doesn’t make any sense. This is because it seems to be saying the light of the stars became lights in the dark. I think it would be better if you stopped at the previous sentence that ends in 'black’
 
Quote
Kendal snapped back into reality and found himself in the comfort of his chambers.  He laid in his bed for a brief period, paralyzed while his mind raced for clarity and an explanation for his dreams. His heart began to hammer in his chest out of a sense of urgency.


The first sentence of this paragraph doesn’t gel with the overall feel of what has gone before. That is, ‘he found himself’ lends an air of confusion to the sentence, but everything before this is quite serene. It is plain that Kendal went to sleep in his own bed and he also knew that he was dreaming, so in context it shouldn’t surprise him that he is still in bed when he wakes up.

‘He laid’ should be ‘He lay’

For me everything after paralysed mildly clashes with what has gone before.

‘’holy place’, ‘reflect on the beauty’, ‘solitude’, ‘some beautiful emotion’, ‘gentle lullaby’, ‘languish’ and ‘intimate words’; none of this portrays urgency or imminent danger.
 
 
Quote
Kendal hurried about his chambers to pack his most precious belongings. He added them into an indiscreet bag, then glanced about his chambers one last time. He remembered himself and grabbed an elegant long sword - sheathed in the scabbard - from its display case and fixed it to his belt.


Indiscreet bag! Indiscreet means not careful in saying or doing things that should be kept secret. Did you mean nondescript? In the context of this paragraph the words ‘he remembered himself’ do not mean anything and causes confusion because of this.

 
Quote
Kendal could not deny the truth - he was haunted.
 

From a reader’s perspective one short dream does not represent a haunting, so Kendal’s 'truth' doesn’t make sense.

 
Quote
The orangish stone that created the tiles never changed.


Created is the wrong word. Tiles are made from stone not created by stone. That is, I think ‘The orangish stone of the tiled floor did not change...’ would work better.

Actually, I think it would probably be best if you dropped this first sentence as I would suggest that the repeated mention of the orangish stone is not required.


Quote
Kendal reached a single heavy oak door that blocked the path to the stables. A point of no return once he crossed through it. Maybe the unrest would never spiral out of control as he feared? Could there be another alternative than fleeing his life as a devoted crusader of Hanneth?


Sorry Myen’Tal I am confused again. If he is fleeing his life why has he dressed himself in the uniform of a Vale Knight? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to dress in ‘civvies’

Also, I am confused by the ‘unrest’ you mention. It isn’t clear to me how being attacked by Hallish mercenaries has led to unrest in the town.
 
 
Quote
Faife chuckled. ‘Merely another chore. Get out of here before more zealots show up screaming for murder and blood.' She paused. 'You’ll be missed, Half-Blood. Just answer me one question…’
 
‘I am guilty.’ Kendal confessed. ‘I’ve committed murder in my own defense. Any Warden would have the right to take me.’


To be honest Myen'Tal I do not understand this response. That is, from everything that has gone before I do not see the reason for the question or understand why Kendal has a need to feel guilty.

Question for you Myen’Tal. What do you think the aim of this scene is and do you think you have achieved that aim? Of the 54 paragraphs that make up this scene nineteen of them describe Kendal leaving his room and walking to the stable. I think that that number of paragraphs is too many and muddies the focus of the scene.

One other issue I have with this scene is that its structure/content is too similar to scene 4 of Lantern. A man wakes from a dream, remembers a recent slaughter whilst going for a walk and talks to someone before they depart their home. It all gives a sense of déjà vu.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 08:55:46 AM by Alienscar »
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Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : Progress Update
« Reply #184 on: January 13, 2021, 09:53:02 AM »
Hi Alienscar!

Quote
I won't disagree that the scene needs work and perhaps an overhaul - but I did want to address some of your concerns.

This paragraph is made difficult to read due to some of the words used. The word ‘sea’ is an unnecessary embellishment. Precipitation refers to rain not drops of sea water. I also find ‘waves hurling themselves’ and ‘an endless bed of sparkling waters’ to be at odds with each other. This is because I find the first expression to sound turbulent, but I find the second quite serene.

The ‘on’ in ‘watching on Kendal’ is not required

Yeah I have a tendency to do this and don't know why it seems to so natural to me as to not stand out. It was actually worse before someone pointed out several other words ;D.

Quote
You have just described a beach with waves and a brightly coloured sea, so the reference to a ‘holy place’ is confusing as it doesn’t match your description. Additionally, the ‘transfixed by some beautiful emotion’ line doesn’t seem connected to what you have previously written either.

I would suggest something similar to this (note that this is just a suggestion and not complete):

Kendal stared at the scene before him in awe. A moon so large that it seemed to fill the sky was shining as brilliantly as a diamond. Where the moonlight hit the ocean, it was ablaze in a kaleidoscope of colour. Shades of sapphire and ultramarine, turquoise, and cerulean flashed and danced in the depths.

As he continued to stare at the magical scene in front of him a voice filled the air, the sound of which filled him with longing.

I like your suggestion and will definitely keep it in mind once I start making changes.

I think it's a matter of perspective on whether a place is holy to that specific individual. Kendal is fully aware in his dreamscape - and is in a place that simply does not exist in the physical world. The Sea itself is unnatural and the sands of the shore glow in the moonlight like a luminous limestone. Plus, there's a Goddess whispering to him too  ;), so I think Kendal would think it a spiritual place.

Sometimes holiness is found within nature itself - doesn't always require a temple or shrine to make it obvious.

Quote
Sorry Myen’Tal I am confused again. If he is fleeing his life why has he dressed himself in the uniform of a Vale Knight? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to dress in ‘civvies’

Also, I am confused by the ‘unrest’ you mention. It isn’t clear to me how being attacked by Hallish mercenaries has led to unrest in the town.

I think it's a personal choice - Kendal could defend himself when attacked or try to avoid combat in the way you mentioned - but then he loses something quite precious to him. I'll give a good think on that topic.

I meant to say that it was Halish rabble rousers that assaulted the Old Myrian delegation - not mercenaries - I may have absent-mindedly just wrote that instead. Kendal also wasn't aware of how or why the event happened.


Quote
Question for you Myen’Tal. What do you think the aim of this scene is and do you think you have achieved that aim? Of the 54 paragraphs that make up this scene nineteen of them describe Kendal leaving his room and walking to the stable. I think that that number of paragraphs is too many and muddies the focus of the scene.

Sorry that you had such difficulties with this one. Sometimes the vision doesn't translate so well into writing  :P. I agree it does need work. I'll have to think on how to make this scene more impactful and story driven.


Quote
One other issue I have with this scene is that its structure/content is too similar to scene 4 of Lantern. A man wakes from a dream, remembers a recent slaughter whilst going for a walk and talks to someone before they depart their home. It all gives a sense of déjà vu.

This is actually fully intentional, but I am now aware that perhaps I should aim for something a bit different.

Thanks for the feedback, you've given me a lot to think about  :). I'm going to go ahead and place this chapter under construction. I see there are some issues that do need to be addressed.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 10:04:34 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 : Progress Update
« Reply #185 on: January 13, 2021, 03:47:03 PM »


Quote from: Alienscar
Sorry Myen’Tal I am confused again. If he is fleeing his life why has he dressed himself in the uniform of a Vale Knight? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to dress in ‘civvies’

I think it's a personal choice - Kendal could defend himself when attacked or try to avoid combat in the way you mentioned - but then he loses something quite precious to him. I'll give a good think on that topic.

So I am confused again. If the life of being a Vale Knight is so precious to him why is he giving it up so easily?

I would also think that he could still defend himself without having to wear a uniform that represents a life he is trying to leave behind.

Just wondering did you mean to write fleeing for his life rather than fleeing his life?


Quote from: Alienscar
Also, I am confused by the ‘unrest’ you mention. It isn’t clear to me how being attacked by Hallish mercenaries has led to unrest in the town.

I meant to say that it was Halish rabble rousers that assaulted the Old Myrian delegation - not mercenaries - I may have absent-mindedly just wrote that instead. Kendal also wasn't aware of how or why the event happened.

That's my fault Myen'Tal you did call them rabble-rousers, but I called them mercenaries in my response. I did this because your description of emissaries attacking the Myrian's sounds military in nature rather than the work of rabble-rousers. This is because rabble-rouser means a clever speaker who can persuade a group of people to behave violently or aggressively, often for the speaker's own political advantage.
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Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : Progress Update
« Reply #186 on: January 13, 2021, 04:56:44 PM »


Quote from: Alienscar
Sorry Myen’Tal I am confused again. If he is fleeing his life why has he dressed himself in the uniform of a Vale Knight? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to dress in ‘civvies’

I think it's a personal choice - Kendal could defend himself when attacked or try to avoid combat in the way you mentioned - but then he loses something quite precious to him. I'll give a good think on that topic.

So I am confused again. If the life of being a Vale Knight is so precious to him why is he giving it up so easily?

I would also think that he could still defend himself without having to wear a uniform that represents a life he is trying to leave behind.

Just wondering did you mean to write fleeing for his life rather than fleeing his life?


Quote from: Alienscar
Also, I am confused by the ‘unrest’ you mention. It isn’t clear to me how being attacked by Hallish mercenaries has led to unrest in the town.

I meant to say that it was Halish rabble rousers that assaulted the Old Myrian delegation - not mercenaries - I may have absent-mindedly just wrote that instead. Kendal also wasn't aware of how or why the event happened.

That's my fault Myen'Tal you did call them rabble-rousers, but I called them mercenaries in my response. I did this because your description of emissaries attacking the Myrian's sounds military in nature rather than the work of rabble-rousers. This is because rabble-rouser means a clever speaker who can persuade a group of people to behave violently or aggressively, often for the speaker's own political advantage.

After some thinking I am seeing what you're saying. There just isn't enough reason to justify why Kendal is being forced into this massive change in his life. I actually have brewed up a good number of ideas on how to rectify this issue and the rest of the chapter going forward.

It's going to change a lot narrative wise, but that'll probably be for the best. It'll still into a similar path for Kendal's narrative arc.

Thanks for explanation of rabble-rousers, will keep that in mind.

EDIT: Alienscar, you've awoken a beast of a chapter!  ;D ;D ;D
« Last Edit: January 14, 2021, 08:49:17 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 : A Crimson Blizzard - 2nd Revision - Scene I
« Reply #187 on: January 14, 2021, 10:56:28 PM »
So a few things to mention:

This chapter is about 75% completed and is definitely going to clock past 6,000 words, it's my second longest chapter, but I think I've done a good job pumping it full of narrative. This is the beginning of Kendal's story, and since he begins in the Western Hemisphere - I decided to go back to my original idea to focus on the events that beset Kindle in his homestead.

- While I thought up some really cool alternate ideas for Kendal in the meantime - I also decided that his original chapter didn't seem to mesh with the overall story that well - not in narrative and not in atmosphere as well. 

- I decided on an origin narrative that is a bit grittier and morbid for Kendal. He is still the same - but I've given him more of an edge rather being a devoted priest. I had to give him a splash of Crusader ;)
 
- I also thought on your opinion, Alienscar, on the place in Kendal's dream. While I was initially happy with it, your opinion does get me thinking that it maybe a little too generic to shine as something special. I've decided that I'm going to try to make something more unique and memorable when I do the revision of that scene.

~******~

Kendal Qallin watched drifting curtains of heavy snow bury what remained of the Dawn Glades. A fell wind sliced into him through his Dusk Wolf cloak and raven black quilted armor. His breaths became frosted around his mouth and an aching cold oozed into to the marrow of his bones. 

The Black Blizzard raged on unabated as it had for several months in the Kingdom of Hallorn. 

Qenroth, his onyx stallion waded through the deep snow that buried the once resplendent farmlands of the Dawn Glades. Longingly, he tried to remember the same stretch of golden wheat from the days of his childhood. He searched for the isolated farmsteads and burgeoning villages that once populated this region. 

Kendal spied only an earth turned black where the snow fell lightly upon it. Scattered debris were all that remained of the homesteads - charred to ash from the destructive fires of war. The prosperous villages were nothing more than skeletal remains, corpses picked clean of flesh hung high from their shade trees. Unburied remains of countless others lay buried amid the ruin.

Kendal shivered underneath his armor, biting back an embittered anguish threatening to send into a rage. He glanced over his shoulder to share a concerned look with his mentor Vindiaccos. Melancholy burdened his words. 'The Deep Woods of Mist Hollow. Home, sweet home.'

Vindiaccos of the Raven Vale Knights steered his mount to Kendal's side. 'Don't surrender to despair, my apprentice. Your parents may yet live... Mist Hollow has devolved into a battlefield, but your home remains secluded in the heart of the Deep Wood.'

Kendal shook his head. He felt an unfamiliar distress weigh heavily on his chest. 'Do you think our enemies would hesitate to enter the Deep Woods? The Lani Elves have thrived in such secluded regions for centuries upon centuries.' He smiled briefly out of disbelief. His misty breath streamed from frosted lips, the smile fading. 'I had always thought them a benign race... it is difficult to witness the carnage left in their wake. What could have roused them into such a frenzy, I wonder?'

Vindiaccos chose not to answer. The elder warrior placed a firm gauntlet on Kendal's shoulder and shook it gently. 'Are you sure you don't want me to come with you? You’ve one hundred of my finest veterans behind us at your beck and call.' 

He gestured toward the deafening disturbance of armor jostling and war dirges sung through the howling winds. Kendal spared a glance over his shoulder to see a lengthened column of raven clad knights mounted on horseback forging a trail through the endless white fields. A hundred banners woven from grey, black, and silver thread marked the elite cavalcade - heraldry of the Raven perched upon a chalice fluttering in the breeze. 

Kendal considered the mighty host, then glanced back at Vindiaccos. He answered him with a grim shake of his head. 

'No.' The apprentice youth solemnly declared. 'I'll be fine. The surrounding villages need you far more than I do. Once I find my parents and get them to safety, I'll come find you again.' 

Vindiaccos narrowed his eyes as if he wanted to protest further. He kept his silence. His concerned frown brightened into the usual cheerful flare that he was famous for. He reached out and punched his apprentice in the shoulder. 'Your father shall come to like Raven's Croft - city of night. Tell your mother Akine that she shall adore the grand halls of Hanneth's Temple... You told me that she is a woman of the faith.' 

Kendal felt a reminiscent smile overcome him for the briefest moment before concern began to weary him again. 'My mother is my inspiration. Everything that I've sacrificed in this life to become a Crusader of Hanneth - it was for her. She believes I have a gift for sharing Hanneth's teachings to everyone.'

Vindiaccos nodded, understanding. 'And what about your father? Does he not approve of Heaven's Light? Stoic Rynath, I used to call him. Always unbending like finely honed steel. Always patient in the face of every challenge - no matter the severity... I could imagine why he would not accept one of mankind's goddesses, but that aside - show him what you've learned under my guidance, should push comes to shove.' 

Kendal nodded, then spurred Qenroth in the direction of the forests sprawled over the hills beyond the Dawn Glades. Over the course of years, the woodlands of Mist Hollow had conquered much of the fertile fields by neglect alone. What thrived here had become burgeoning and overgrown outskirts. 

Qenroth trotted farther into the woods until the gloom between the black earth and the forest canopy began to envelope him. 

Vindiaccos' voice called out from behind him, proud and encouraging. He shouted. 'We shall meet again underneath this bleak daylight. Let the Heavenly Flame continue to blaze in your chest and warm you against the onslaught of winter! We shall meet again my apprentice!' 

Gradually, the twisting roots of the Deep Wood’s foundations twisted up the heights of steep hills and weathered cliff faces. Mist Hollow seemed to grow and abound around him with life, teetering higher and higher until the snow laden canopy blotted out the wane light of the sun. Qenroth forded half-frozen creeks and placid streams, trotting over wooden bridges into the thick of nature's labyrinth. 

Kendal peeled his eyes and watched through the endless drifting white veil for any signs of the Lani Elves rampaging through the Mist Hollow. From the heart of the forest, the howling of wolves echoed out of the shadows. Here and there, slender shapes darted through the woodland brush nearby. Kendal easily discerned them as quiet creatures from the way they kept their distance. He remained on guard for any wolves on the hunt. 

Kendal continued his search - and noticed a hazy shape coalescing through the mist and snow on the road. He craned his head in either direction to adjust himself to his surroundings. He tasted the familiar scent of charred wood and ash on his tongue. He listened to the wailing wind but heard nothing beyond the natural forest life. As Qenroth trotted along the main road, his onyx eyes picked out the tell-tale signs of a travelers’ caravan - ambushed, the wagons scorched into ruin and a score of bodies scattered about the site of the massacre. 

Kendal reigned Qenroth to a sudden halt at the edge of the skirmish’s perimeter. A sudden sense of fear quickened his heart - the Lani Elves had not withdrawn after their slaughter of the Dawn Glades. They were still on the rampage and continuing to plunge farther into the Deep Wood. 

A subtle crack - like the snapping of a tiny twig shattered the uneasy tranquility of the forest. 

Kendal made no sign of acknowledging the sound and slipped out of his saddle. His leather boots vanished amid the deep white earth. He searched the immediate area for any signs of life. After a brief assessment of his surroundings, he waded through the deep snow and approached the decimated caravan. 

He stumbled first upon the corpse of a young woman - no more than twenty summers of age. Beneath the layers of animal hides was a silk dress of burgundy and off-white. Kendal knelt next to her and realized she had survived for some time from the slender arrows embedded in her torso. A gruesome and agonizing death, but Kendal knew that she had succumbed to the blizzard's merciful sleep inducing cold. She was frozen stiff. Coagulated blood frosted over had once trickled from her lips and continued to build up behind the teeth. 

Kendal grimaced as he gazed upon the distressing sight, transfixed. He whispered to the deceased woman. 'Hanneth's light reveal the hidden paths for you...' He picked himself up and continued to search through the caravan. 

The supply wagons were ransacked by whoever had slaughtered their owners and guardians. Scattered across the main road were shattered chests, broken open by force both natural and applied. All manner of currencies were spilled out across the blood-stained snow. What Kendal had noticed was the lack of essential supplies needed to survive a journey. 

The only mark of the Lani left at the site of the ambush was a forest floor riddled with a hail of spent arrows. Of course, they had left behind their victims as well to freeze amidst the Black Blizzard. Several minutes of thorough searching left Kendal with precious little. He stood over the carcass of a workhorse slain under a barrage of feathered and steel-tipped shafts and shook his head in resignation. 

As the mist of his own breath evaporated into the snow-wracked air, he noticed another subtle breaking of twigs from behind him. The sound came more forceful this time, followed by the indistinct noise of another footfall pushing something forward into a bounding rush. 

Kendal surrendered to instinct. Whirling around on one heel with a hand on the hilt of his sheathed sword, he came face to face with a dark and hazy shape rapidly darting toward him through the endless veil of snow. 

He unsheathed his long sword with a shrill cry - practically ripping it out of the scabbard to parry the pouncing strike of the dim figure's long spear. Their weapons collided in a shower of sparks that stung Kendal's frosted features. The blurred outline hurtled past him; such was the speed of his charge. 

The living shadow clarified into a slender form - all lithe muscle and grey skin darker than the brooding skies over the Mist Hollow. Lustrous raven hair flowed around her, caught in the wind like graceful eels surging through gentle waters. She was clad in dull grey leathers to match her skin and the fresh pelts of slain foxes and wolves. 

She looked up and regarded Kendal with ocean blue eyes that sparkled like the waters of the deep sea. Her scarred lips were pale and full as she pursed them into a confident smile. The only flaw on her perfect features was a nasty crimson wound carved from her forehead down to the bottom of her jaw. He was convinced that if the blood had not coagulated and frosted over, her skull would be visible beneath the deep cut. 

Kendal felt himself unconsciously lift his hands in a non-hostile action, but suddenly took in the sight of the massacre around them. He noticed the way her leather boot was planted so triumphantly over one of the bodies. He noticed too, the brief assessment of her eyes over Kendal and the contentment in her sigh. 

He blinked and the Lani blitzed forth through snow and charred rubble as if they were not even obstacles. Kendal felt his instinct guide him and he flowed into the natural swing that parried the long spear yet again. Undeterred, the Lani weaved around his counterstroke, a diagonal cut that would cleave her chest open. She pivoted on her left foot and pushed off it, her elbow crashing into Kendal's temple, throwing him off balance. 

Kendal shouted in frustration and pain from her careless cut across his cheekbone. From the way she intentionally grazed him, he knew she liked to toy with her prey. 

The lioness pounced again, her long spear retracted for a thrust through the meat and bone of his thigh right above the knee. Kendal widened his stance so that the spear passed between his legs. He threw an armored fist toward the elf's tantalizing face, but she only laughed and slunk beyond his immediate reach. 

Kendal back-pedaled as the Lani came forth for another bout. 

He reversed his retreat into a cautious engagement. He cut low with his blade toward the flank of her right calf, but found his probing strike countered. She fluidly followed into an uppercut, then a forward thrust as Kendal deflected the earlier strike. Kendal swatted the strike from out of his path, then followed into a flurry of cutting blows. 

The Lioness danced around each of his attacks as if they were that of a child's. Whenever Kendal drew back to recover his stamina, she countered with an assault of her own - likewise deflected. The combat endured as such for minutes on end, each passing second already like the dwindling sands of an hourglass.

It was a sword dance - an experience that Kendal had never known before. Though he struggled for his life - there was something intimate and alluring in reading his opponent's moves and playful manner - as she too read into his own struggle to keep up with her. 

Kendal could not tell if he was doomed or if she was simply too hesitant to try and land the mortal blow. 

Seeing an advantage, Kendal suddenly feinted to his left, then came down with a chopping blow to bring the Lioness to heel. 

The Lani elf halted his movement in mid-execution with an elbow pinned against the pit of his supporting arm - risen for the killing strike. Kendal cursed - realizing that he had left an opening that would see him dead. The elf lunged into him... and meshed her pale lips onto his frosted ones. She gently shut her eyes for the briefest moment, then pulled away. 

Too stunned, Kendal allowed her to slip out of his guard and vanish amidst the endless white veil - laughing at him all the while. He watched her fade into the hanging mist, his mind only beginning to register that the threat to his life had ended for the time being.

Kendal sneered in disgust, more at his own weakness than anything else. 

He considered his enigmatic attacker and sighed out of disbelief. 'Who was that?'
~***~
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 03:30:18 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 : A Child of Sun and Moon - 2nd Revision - Scene I
« Reply #188 on: January 15, 2021, 04:24:11 AM »
Quote

- I also thought on your opinion, Alienscar, on the place in Kendal's dream. While I was initially happy with it, your opinion does get me thinking that it maybe a little too generic to shine as something special. I've decided that I'm going to try to make something more unique and memorable when I do the revision of that scene.

Thinking about it some more I think the reason Kendal's beach scene didn't work for me was because of Lantern Scene 1. Kendal's beach comes so soon after the beach that Ara and Aslan sparred on that it is hard to separate them in my mind.

Also amongst other things holy means; specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated; dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion; a place of worship; sacred place. For me a beach doesn't fulfil any of these descriptions.

I am not sure if it would work, but if Kendal can commune with God's maybe it would be easier if he just heard voices in his sleep rather than being transported to some hard to describe special place.
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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 : A Crimson Blizzard - 2nd Edition - Complete
« Reply #189 on: January 15, 2021, 01:59:19 PM »
Quote
I am not sure if it would work, but if Kendal can commune with God's maybe it would be easier if he just heard voices in his sleep rather than being transported to some hard to describe special place.

Yeah I've thought about it some more too and realized that this particular thread in Kendal's narrative may not truly be that necessary - or can be altered into something more interesting, as you mentioned.

I am removing that scene from this chapter and not re-writing it. Right now the entire chapter is about at 75% completion.

~********************~
Qenroth galloped out of the Deep Wood into the outskirts of the Qallin manor grounds. A miasma of snow kicked up from the stallion's hooves obscured Kendal's coming through the white veil. As mount and rider darted across the snow buried field, urgent shouts in an unfamiliar tongue pursued him out of the thinning woods. 

He spurred Qenroth onward, reaching full tilt. 

Kendal kept his eyes peeled for shadows in the forest, but he could find nothing visible in plain sight. An arrow whistled overhead before he realized the peril he had flown into. Another arrow flew by him, mere inches shy of finding his flank. Several more flew from separate directions along his flanks, but the miasma of grounded snow kicked up from Qenroth's hooves distracted their aim. 

Kendal and his mount cleared the low wall built on the perimeter of the outlying farmlands. Realization came swiftly as slender grey figures laid waste to the armed guards and farmhands standing their ground on barren tilled soil. Raging fires fanned amid isolated sheds and animal barns scattered over the manor grounds. Herds of frightened horses scattered from the infernos into the thick of the Deep Woods. 

Kendal sheared the hands from one of the Lani guerilla fighters as the Raven Knight passed him by. The manor guard rescued was left to his fate as he pressed into the heart of the manor. Through the endless veil of snow, his home finally began to manifest into his peripheral vision. His heart skipped a beat, watching on as half of the manor blazed against the dreary midday light. A thick smog of smoke billowed through every crevice and crumbling hole where the fire grew hungrier, rampaging through what little remained of the structure's left wing.

Qenroth galloped through the manor's toppled inner gate and up the narrow cobblestone path leading up to the veranda. Six lithe figures of grey skin and leather armor bedecked in the pelts of beasts both docile and ferocious gathered on the veranda. Kendal willed Qenroth to rapidly slow his pace and slipped off his mount before he could come to a natural stop. He landed amidst the blood-streaked snow, the cobblestone path showing through where too many footsteps had turned the white earth into slush covered grey stone. 

The Lani gathered in opposition did not blockade the patio as he anticipated, but instead withdrew through the manor doors into the burning building. Sword in hand, Kendal cautiously approached them even as they disappeared into the smoke and smog, one after the other. By the time he climbed the several stairs and came onto the veranda proper, the Lani had vanished from sight. 

Kendal approached the smoke belching entrance of the manor and shirked from the touch of an intense heat. He lifted the sleeve of his quilted armor to shield himself from the acrid smoke warding him away. 

He stopped himself from plunging headlong into the ruins, taking a moment to compose himself and regain some semblance of concentration. He readied his sword out in front of him, inhaled deeply, and quietly entered the burning manor. What little sunlight that graced the world outside dwindled in the dim and smoke shrouded corridors of the Qallin estate. 

Kendal found himself in the main hall that he had always known - a lengthy stretch of cedar floor that passed room after room. Silently, he pressed through the scattered debris of ruined decorations, shattered chandeliers, and busted frames. Any memory of his childhood, he intentionally blocked out of his mind. He kept his sword poised to strike, his eyes peeled, and his ears listening for even the slightest disturbance. 

Kendal approached the entrance of one of the farmhand quarters. He slid his back against the wall and slunk forward until he had about rounded the corner. His onyx gaze studied the shut door of the adjacent room across the hall. A sudden crackle of splintering wood followed by the collapse of a single piece of timber behind him seized his attention for briefest instance. 

The Lani elf hidden on the other side of the wall burst through the open room, spear angled perfectly to stab Kendal through the throat. Kendal parried the strike swiftly even as another grey elf kicked through the adjacent door. He reacted swiftly, pulling himself away from his nearest assailant and deflecting a quick slash for his eyes from his other opponent. He lashed out with the end of his pommel into the chest of the elf in the farmhand room, pushing him back. A silver sword cut him across the forearm but could not bit through the quilted material there. 

Kendal leveled his blade with the chest of the Lani he struck with the pommel, then thrust into the foe that had cut him. Already overextended, the Lani he had cornered found no room to flee, the room from whence he had come too awkward an angle to slip away into. 

The long sword parted leather and the flesh beneath, slammed through the Lani's chest with enough force to pin the elf against the wall. Too shocked to cry out from the pain, Kendal did not wait to watch the blood erupt from out of the elf's mouth. He ripped the blade free and swung as if he had fought the lioness he had encountered earlier. The haste and force of his blow effortlessly parted through the neck of his other foe. 

Surprised by his own strength, Kendal shirked from the sight of the Lani's head rolling cleanly off the shoulders of his body. The corpse staggered at first, then slumped against the wall till it smacked the floor with a loud thud. 

A shriek of agony cut through the sound of burning wood and rampaging destruction toward the corridor's end. He had no time to digest the grizzly scene he had created. Kendal hurried through the corridor, his pace quickening with the hammering in his chest. As he began to sprint through the narrow stretch of hall, he heard the graceful clashing of swords echo amidst the burning fires. 

An unfamiliar language suddenly called as another Lani woman ducked back into the hall. From her unprepared stance and utter look of horror as Kendal came bearing down on her, she had expected her two brethren instead of him. 

An inkling in his mind warned him of striking her down without warning. It would have been just. It would have been retribution. Yet Kendal decided on a whim that the blow was too dishonorable and would break his knightly vows. He slammed an armored fist against her temple with enough force to lay her out on the floor, removing her as an immediate threat, but withheld the brunt of his strength so that she would have strength enough to escape. 

He rushed past her sprawled out form before she could even think to lift a sword in her defense. 

The sounds of combat rang out ever clearer as Kendal came into the grand foyer before the main stairwell. 

Rynath Qallin stood with the proud bearing of a centuries old Ishalnan elf. Even amidst the cloying smoke, his pallid skin shimmered with sweat and reflected the dancing light of fanning flames. He was garbed in nothing more than a fine satin black robe pulled over his silken clothes. He wielded a slender sword in one hand and nothing in his off hand. Despite their superior numbers, four Lani elves lay dead at his feet. 

The four remaining survivors had managed to surround him, one of them having slipped behind Rynath to hold Akine, his wife and Kendal's mother, by spear point. The opposing forces appeared to have come to a stalemate. 

Akine kept an air of poise and grace that outmatched even that of the desperate Lani warriors that had cornered her. In her amber eyes, Kendal could find no fear. Her caramel skin was unblemished from burns or weapon cuts - the Lani had not dared to lay a finger on her. A cloak of the winter shades was layered over a dress comprised of several thin robes of pallid silk. 

His mother's composure seemed at odds with the brutal reality besetting the Qallin family - until she noticed Kendal out of the corner of her eye. She reached out with one hand toward him and made to shout a warning at him. It was an unreasonable action for the Lani holding her hostage. He retracted his spear arm for a thrust through Akine's torso in the moment that Rynath gracefully turned on a heel to strike the offender dead in one blow. 

Both struck at once - their weapons a blur of steel that had no chance of countering the other. Akine staggered onto her knees, a spear head rammed through her gut. Her offender had perished from a cleaved skull before she could hit the base of the stairwell. 

The remaining elves swept toward Rynath the moment he turned his back on them. Kendal mobilized, sword thrown overhead and straight through the throat of a foe who had finally noticed his silent entry. His two comrades hesitated in their charge briefly, taken unawares. 

Rynath weaved between them with a grace and speed that even they lacked. His sword left its mark on their flesh in the form of fatal wounds as he passed them by. Before he had even come to a stop, his foes slumped onto the Grand Foyer's marble floor, dying rapidly. 

The Ishalnan did not even pause to take a breath or process what had happened. He followed into the exit of his combat stance with a sharp turn, rushing to Akine's side. Kendal searched the foyer for anymore enemies and determined that no one else would be mad enough to enter this blazing house of ruin.

He reclaimed his sword and joined his father by the stairwell. 

Rynath cradled Akine in his arms and propped her up even as she whispered her final words in his ears. Kendal knelt to better hear her, but all that he had gleamed from their brief conversation was the comforting look his mother gave him a final time. Kendal made to open his mouth in the same moment her strength fled, and her eyes lulled. 

She had perished before he could say anything. 

Rynath looked to Kendal with that stoic gaze he always had about him. He wondered if anything could ever break that stony visage of his. 

His father spoke hurriedly. 'Come, Kendal. This manor will collapse over us at any given moment.' 

Kendal attempted to process everything that had just happened on a whim and failed. 'Wait a moment...'

His father cut through the fog of uncertain grief plaguing his son's mind. 'Kendal, there's no time. We cannot avenge Akine if neither of us escape from this place. I've lost your mother, but our time is waning, and I refuse to let you perish due to your distracted thoughts. Ready your sword, there shall be a fight when we make our escape. Is Qenroth with you?' 

Kendal blew out a heated breath but repressed his desire to protest Rynath's disconnected demeanor. He wanted to say so many things in that moment but knew that his father was ultimately right. There was no time for anything but escaping their farmstead and the Mist Hollow with their lives.' 

Kendal shook his head, his mind clearing. 'When I arrived here, there were scores in the field. They were murdering everyone.' 

Rynath sighed. 'I asked if Qenroth was with you, not about the odds.' 

Kendal shot him an irritable look. 'Of course, no other steed could arrive here so fast.' 

Rynath smirked, about as pleased an expression as anyone was likely to get out of him. 'A faithful steed unto the end. Good, we should find our friend before these barbarians put him in the frozen earth.' He searched Kendal's eyes for weakness and grunted in surprise. 'You've changed. Never have I noticed such steel in your eyes... or so much darkness. Perhaps your mentor has taught you something about life after all.' 

Kendal frowned, his impatience growing. 'Are we going or not?' 

Rynath's gaze did not waver. 'That depends... are you ready? Blood shall be spilled, and I am determined it will not be any more of ours.' 

Kendal returned his father's expectant gaze and nodded. 'I know some years have passed... I'll show you that Hanneth carries some steel of her own and that her faithful can put it to good use.' 

Rynath's smirk became a neutral mask, but he nodded. 'We shall see. I am expecting to be impressed. The killing does not cease until we've left this place behind us.' 

Kendal inclined his head in agreement.

Neither waited for the count of three. Kendal bolted after his father, who bounded forth with an effortless speed. They rushed through the entrance of the Grand Foyer and out into the burning winter landscape of a battlefield where only one army had fought. The Lani slaughtering in the outlying fields were not where Kendal had left them upon his arrival. Scattered still, the grey elves were naturally congregating toward the main attraction - Kendal's half-collapsed homestead. 

Nearly anyone who had survived the carnage thus far were being trapped and killed off, one after the other. Those of the raiders who had nothing left to kill for sport, had gathered outside the Grand Foyer, some feet away from the base of the entrance stairs. Kendal counted about a dozen warriors dressed in battered leathers and sporting vicious scars across their bodies. By the way they readied their weapons in a collective manner, they had been expecting someone to come fleeing into them. 

Kendal cursed, shaking his head. 'This is suicide.'

Rynath nodded in agreement, he cast a knowing look at his son. 'Should we have no choice, then we'll die with dignity.' 

Kendal swept his gaze across the fields as the last remaining innocents who protected the Qallin manor were put to the sword. As more bands of Lani began to congregate to their location, only then did their numbers become apparent. He took in the sight of a few hundred of the druidic elves amassing before him and his father.

Kendal glanced toward his father. 'Why are there so many gathered here? This farmstead is no different than anywhere else. It's almost as if they made coming here a priority.' 

Rynath made to answer his question but was interrupted by a face familiar to Kendal. 

The Lioness he had encountered at the ambushed caravan pushed her way to the fore of the crowd. She spoke in the fluent tongue of the Halish folk. 

She looked to Rynath. 'Go ahead. Lay your weapons down. It should be an obvious sight that you stand no chance of beating our numbers.' 

Rynath shook his head. 'You've spared no one else. You do not even know me. Why ask us to lay down our arms after butchering this manor here so treacherously?'

The Lioness smiled in that sly, playful way that she had. 'I know your son well enough by now. The dance of our blades is a memory made to last into the years. He is a handsome man. He would do well as my slave. To warm my bed while I'm away and warm it hotter still when I return.' 

Grim laughter rippled through the warband's dense formation. 

Rynath sighed. 'Over my corpse, would you take him. Let us not mince words. Your head or mine - claimed in personal combat.' 

The Lioness' smile withered. 'I've no need to prove myself to a dead father. I've killed enough of those already.' She announced. 'But I am being remiss. You should at least know my name. I am Ishali Winterwood of the Black Wolves. Remember that and speak it to the gods your soul is promised to.’

Ishali considered them both and waved in dismissal. 'Lay down your arms and you both survive. Or fight and you'll die - at least one of you.' She smiled at Kendal with lustful eyes. 'Either way makes no difference, but it's my last generous offer. The next one shall be far more taxing on your bodily health, old elf.' 

Kendal interrupted Rynath with a quick rebuke. 'Do your worst but know that you'll be broken on the rack in time. The Kingdom of Hallorn will seek retribution and far sooner than you realize.' 

Ishali shrugged. 'They are welcome to come into these woods and find nothing to mark our passing. By the time we've departed, nothing of our presence shall remain here. There is little point in playing hard to get. You'll regret your defiance momentarily when I have your father hacked apart before your eyes.' 

Ishali sighed, then gestured with a cock of her head. 'Kill him. Leave his son alive.' 

A horn sounded out of the dreary mist and snow in the moment that Kendal and his father readied their swords together. A sonorous blast that struck surprise and fear in the hearts of the Black Wolves. Urgent shouts rippled through the ranks and Ishali's orders were lost as the Lani reorganized into some semblance of formation. 

A deafening barrage of war cries swept out of the Mist Hollow, betraying the ranks of the Raven Vale Knights before they charged out of the Deep Wood's gloom and into the white fields on the manor's outskirts. The thunder of one hundred barded horses bred for war quaked the earth beneath Kendal's feet even from this distance. To him, they seemed like a thick tide of the night sweeping through the veil of heavy snow. Only the gleam of their billowing banners and steel in the wane sunlight betrayed anything more of the mounts and their riders. 

Rynath looked to Ishali, who continued to watch Kendal and him with the peeled eyes of a hawk even as her ranks scrambled to meet the charge. She shrugged once out of resignation, muttered a few words to her nearby retinue - then swiftly made for the nearest of the Lani's commandeered horses. She promptly fled from the ensuing battle before it had begun. 

Rynath looked to Kendal and grinned even as Ishali's subordinates began to close in around them. 'Tell your mentor he has my praise. He is sharper than his brief years show.' He pointed toward the sight of Vindiaccos leading the fore of the Raven Vale's charge. 

A flame of pride fanned in Kendal's chest as his brethren crashed into the Lani with crushing force. Scores of fragile Black Wolves simply vanished beneath the hooves of their fearless steeds, trampled into the crimson earth, and adding to its dark hue. 

Lani spears flashed through the veil of snow as the cavalry came on. Several knights were unseated by well-timed thrust or their mounts forced to a screeching halt, their riders trapped beneath a flurry of spears and impaled onto death. Unerring arrow fire from the Black Wolf Sentinels brought low several more, but the Raven Knights had slain so many on the end of their lances that the Lani formation simply broke apart even as the cavalry began to scatter amidst the melee. 

The Qallin farmstead echoed to the sounds of a collapsing manor and of open war, the struggle degenerating into a brutal battle for survival. 

Rynath seized Kendal's attention with a flick of his wrist. A severed head toppled off the shoulders of a Lani who had closed in for the kill. 

Gleaming sword in hand, Kendal joined the battle alongside his father. Afternoon began to fade into hues of the evening dusk by the time the skirmish waned, and peace began to descend on the ravaged lands of the Mist Hollow…
« Last Edit: January 15, 2021, 11:01:17 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 : A Child of Sun and Moon - 2nd Edition - Scene II
« Reply #190 on: January 15, 2021, 03:19:41 PM »

I am removing that scene from this chapter and not re-writing it. Right now the entire chapter is about at 75% completion.

Just for the sake of clarity does all of this mean that the scene with Kendal on the Iridescent Mermaid is now redundant?
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Offline Myen'Tal

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Re: The Embers of the Past : A Child of Sun and Moon - 2nd Edition - Scene II
« Reply #191 on: January 15, 2021, 06:39:58 PM »

I am removing that scene from this chapter and not re-writing it. Right now the entire chapter is about at 75% completion.

Just for the sake of clarity does all of this mean that the scene with Kendal on the Iridescent Mermaid is now redundant?

Sorry for the delayed response.

Yes, sir.
“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 : A Child of Sun and Moon - 2nd Edition - Scene II
« Reply #192 on: January 15, 2021, 06:56:18 PM »
That has saved me some work then as I was just compiling some feedback for it. :)
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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