Calendar Awards Forum Leaders List Members List FAQ
Advertisement

Reply
$ LinkBack Thread Tools
 
  #1 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 02-26-2010, 10:01 PM
Trudeau United States Trudeau is offline
Anouki
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: hmm...
View Posts: 30
The White Heron

Author's Note: While it goes without saying that you'll point out any and all flaws you might see, I want to make sure you, the reader, know that this fan fiction is an Elsewhere Fic at heart. That being said, I hope you enjoy the world building and new elements introduced into the Zelda universe, as I've done my best to help them flow logically.

Prologue

The chilled air of the stratosphere dulled the senses as a once human form began her cold rebirth as something else, something new. Her sight and sound muddled together until she could taste the howling gale rushing past a set of stone pillars. Her sense of touch felt drowned out as she attempted to stand up unable to grasp a bearing from her surroundings. The world slowly became a dark void in which she could not sense anything but the frigid air. If she had ears still, she would know her startled screams she mouthed were inaudible as she struggled to find a safe place to hide from the nothingness.
In the darkness, a voice called out to her. Its voice smothered the void in rays of light, but it was different. As she began to examine the voice, she began to see the world around her; she noticed the voice was not produced by sound, or the light by energy. It was something else entirely...

“Don’t open your eyes, you’ll only go blind” the voice called out, with every syllable lighting the chamber with a divine radiance. “You are disoriented and afraid, new to this form of yours.”

The girl attempted to speak, but soon realized she did not have a mouth.

“You do not have a body, nor limbs, or eyes, or ears. You cannot perceive sounds and colors and tastes as you did before, which is why the world around you is nothing but utter darkness. I’m going to help you, but you must listen to me, as you are listening now.”

The girl was listening.

“You can see the world in an infinite number of ‘colors’, but each of which are unique and foreign to the world you knew. You will not be able to recognize them unless you do as I say. Follow my voice, but do not attempt to move with it.”


The girl attempted to stand, but remained motionless in the pitch. To her, the room grew darker and darker as she lost her sense of cold and heat. She attempted to reconcile her situation in her thoughts, but the girl’s memories lost color and faded into nothingness as well.

“Unlearn everything you remember from your past life…unlearn law, so your conscience is unclouded, unlearn desire, so you may grasp the infinite reward of your new life. Unlearn words, so I may speak with you…”

She understood, and attempted to speak without her tongue
“Where am I?” she gasped, hearing her own voice reverberate in a high pitched chime “Am…am I dead?”

“No, oh no no no…”
The voice began “You are very much alive, even more so than you were in life. You are one with the gods, my angel”

“I can’t see anything.”


“Only because you refuse to close your eyes.”
The girl tried harder, but she realized the more she attempted to use her nonexistent eyes, the more she lost the already faint image of her surroundings.

“It’s impossible”


“Giving up? I thought I picked a fighter” the voice scoffed

“I’m not giving up, I just need you to show me how, like you showed me how to speak ”

“I can tell you, but you’d never understand. Could you grasp a sunrise in words if you had never seen one?”


“No, I suppose not”

“Then you will never learn to see unless you open your mind’s eye”

The girl attempted to relax, and focused entirely on a point in her mind, repeating to herself “Open your mind’s eye”

At first, it appeared as random specks of light fluttering in and out of her view

“Open your mind’s eye”

Outlines appeared next, and the girl could make the shape of the pillars in front of her

“Open your mind’s eye”

She could feel the sunlight entering the temple, and she saw how each ray made an explosion of unearthly colors she had never seen before

“Open your mind’s eye”

The figure in front of her came into view. It took a human shape dressed in humble white linen.

“It’s already open, my angel. Now come to me”

She saw a figure in front of her, outlining the colorless mass of energy she saw covering herself when she concentrated hard enough. She made out the forms of her arms and legs now.

“What do you mean you picked me?” She asked

“You are special. You always have been. I have spent a long time finding you.”

“Why me? Who am I?”

“Who you were is not important. If you remember nothing of your past life, then it is best to keep it that way until we’re done”

The girl looked around confused as she began to take her first steps in the temple.

“Please, I don’t…” the girl began, before she lost her grip on the human outline she had used to walk.

“Don’t try too much at once, or you’ll lose what little tangibility you possess.”

“I think I deserve a little more than a few minutes to figure out what I’m doing here.”


“I wish we had the luxury of time.”


“Excuse me?”


“I have a very important mission for you”


“What is this?” the girl demanded shrilly “One moment, I'm dead and the next I'm here and now I have a mission?”

“Because you and I are the only ones left now.” The figure replied “I am Sigurd, Herald of the Earth-Mother, Din, and you are my messenger.”

“The hell I am”

“My predecessors tasked me with keeping my domain safe, and I will not fail them.”

“So tell me the part where–”

“I need you to find three people, important people before the week is out, or the entire world is forfeit.”

“Did you hear me?”

“Yes, and if you speak out of line again you will spend eternity in a void, alone”

The girl withdrew her next comment back behind her lips.

“They are alone, they are vulnerable, and they are going to die unless we help them”

“How do you know?”

“The goddesses granted me the power to discern the future.”


“Then you already know I’m going to save them?”

“No, I don’t. I can only see where one’s path will take them. My machinations will leave me as blind as any other person.”


“So you’re going to throw everything up in the air after…if I’m even able to help these people?”


“A fighting chance is better than nothing”

“And how exactly am I supposed to find them? How am I going to get there? How do I protect them?”

“Tell me how you moved right in front of me”

“I…what?” the girl asked, puzzled

“When you got up and moved, what was going through your head?”

“Well, I just imagined myself there”

“Close.”

“How is that supposed to–”

“The same principles apply to the outline surrounding you at the moment. You can take any form or shape you would like, as long as you are able to keep an undivided focus on maintaining it.”

“Like…like shape-shifting?”

“In a way, yes.”

“And you’re telling me I can go anywhere I please as long as I will myself there?”

“Not exactly…” Sigurd began. “I wish there was more time. If I had only gotten to you sooner…”

The girl looked at Sigurd, confused. “What do you mean?”

“You will not remain in this state for much longer. I pray you do not dismiss the time you’ve spent here as nothing more than a dream.”

She opened her mouth to speak, but the girl felt something odd now. A rhythmic beat pulsed, without any signs to the source.

“Why? What’s with this ticking clock on what I understood was an eternity?”

“You can stay here forever if you’d like, but when you ascend to a higher plane of existence your body does not wait.”


“So I’m down on the surface world right now?”

“Correct.”

“But I’m not actually down there”

“Again, correct”

“So what’s the difference if I go down now or after an hour’s passed?”

“Because there is no time here; you have failed to notice over three days have passed since you arrived.”

“Pardon…?”

“Go, my angel. I need you to save them.” Sigurd said, as his hand reached out to touch the girl’s forehead. “See their faces, and go with the goddesses. If you just focus, you will find what I have shown you here are invaluable tools.”


She felt the beat within her own chest now. The girl realized the world she had just learned was fading from view again. She began to hear voices around her. She wondered if she knew them in a past life, or if they were her friends

“When you focus on the visions, you will take yourself to the exact moment of the image, so review them thoroughly before acting. There are no second chances.”

“Don’t send me back yet!” She called out “I can't do this! What makes me so god-damned special?”

“You’ll need this” Sigurd called out, extending his arm outward.
She watched as the pulsing light outlined her veins, creating a human form.

“For what?”

The light glowed brighter than ever, consuming the entire span of the girl's vision. The object was obscured as she reached out to grab it.

“To find your way back home.”
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 02-26-2010, 10:57 PM
Fairess Fairess is a female United States Fairess is offline
Leave your weapons at the door
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: My own little world
View Posts: 4,646
Re: The White Heron

Wow...It's been a long time since I've picked up something like this. There's always something to critisize, but rest assured that this is quite a piece of work.

Like you said, the piece does flow rather well. I can certainly see how there were also interruptions in the dialogue to keep it from becoming a void of speech. The lack of spelling errors is also impressive, as is the characterization brought on from the dialogue. The idea behind this is certainly creative--writing an experience like this is challenging in and of itself.

There is, however, a lot of missing punctuation in the dialogue and a few awkward sentences. The extensive dialogue is a little much and there's not as much depth in detail as I'd like--still, in the area of writing conventions, you've done very well.

Definitely an interesting prologue; it gives a strong foreshadowing sense of where this story is going. It's probably just me, but I just had a hard time following it. Whenever you dunk a reader into a full sense of what is to come, you can naturally expect them to be somewhat puzzled and confused. Just make sure that's the first impression you wanted to make. If you have impatient readers, it might just turn them off, while on the other hand, those intrigued will obviously be looking for more.

My only real concern is the enormous amount of abstract details--some which even contradict themselves--because things like colors I've never seen before are rather hard to imagine (as is living even a moment without any senses, as I've never been blind, dumb, or deaf). Of course, that's just a matter of opinon, but you may be concerned about how well your readers can relate to the experience, for if there's no relation, it is extraordinarily difficult to find meaning in it.

All in all, I think you've done a swell job.
__________________
Last Edited by Fairess; 02-26-2010 at 11:00 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 02-28-2010, 12:46 AM
Trudeau United States Trudeau is offline
Anouki
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: hmm...
View Posts: 30
Act 1.

Author's Note: This is the first part of Act 1. I have looked at the story, and instead of chapters each section is simply labeled with the point-of-view character. In addition, to reflect scene changes I've added this mark: ~@~. I hope this isn't as confusing as I fear it might be. As it is late, I have to add that you may find a number of spelling errors. I will correct these later, but I hope they are not too distracting.

Act 1
Link

There is a white room with two stones in the middle. There are no walls, no ceiling, no floor, and no other objects than the two stones. Link knew this was trouble; he felt himself running in the real world, but Link’s mind stayed there with an unfamiliar figure, the thing from his dreams. It said nothing for a moment, instead letting its mere presence dominate the room. It was cloaked with a fluttering coat of nothing as its red eye fixated upon Link’s figure.

“I know where this road will lead you” The thing began, though it spoke without a mouth. “In the end you will be as alone as you are now.”

“That’s a lie.” Link replied “I don’t know who you are, but...”

“I am a friend. I am here to help you stay on the path, Hero.”

Link’s mind was in this room, but his body was not. He attempted to look down only to be immersed in the blinding white. The creature sitting down stood on a nonexistent floor and moved closer to him.

“You are going to suffer a fate worse than death if I do not help you. It is the fate I am suffering now.”

It was a strange sensation, not being able to move freely. Link pieced together quickly that the creature was in control of this world, not him. Link knew he was not in his mind, but somewhere of the creature’s dominion.

“Let me out” he demanded “I need to get out of wherever this is”

“Not yet.”

"let me out right now!"

“You do not give orders, and you will not throw away any hope you have of staying alive!”

He feared this much. The creature seemed only to speak when he knew Link would listen. The thing somehow knew when Link was only giving him lip service. This was the third time they have met. This was the second time Link could not leave of his own volition. This was the first time Link was willing to listen.

“Alright, Speak.” Link relented.

“You cannot attach yourself to these people. They are going to die. Whether or not you die is up to your actions.”


Link paused for a moment before replying. He had no way of knowing its true intentions. Why me? Why now? What if he’s leading me into a trap…or…or something? These thoughts all ran through his head.

“When you exit…” It began before realizing he did not have Link’s undivided attention. Link felt a sharp pain suddenly, it felt like it was stinging every nerve in reach. It burned him, with a searing hot metal reaching through his veins and to his eyes. He let out a scream of agony.
“Do I have your attention?”

“Yes.” Link grunted

“You cannot travel with them. When these people offer you passage on a carriage, you will part ways or you are going to die. Throw out whatever notion of good and evil you knew and focus on your survival.”

“Where would I go? If I went anywhere by foot I would just be rounded up like the rest of the prisoners. These people are the only reason I’ve survived until now!”


“Yet they will be your demise.”

The stones withered to dust now. The white became black. Link felt the floor beneath his feet, and looked down and saw his green garbs, weathered from many unkind years of trials. Every scratch and tear bore a memory with it. Every broken thread was another day burned into his mind.

~@~

The stone walls stretched endlessly in both directions. There was no light other than the dimming flame of the girl’s torch. Blood pooled onto the floor at an alarming rate as the girl furious rummaged through a bag for medical supplies.

“I can’t stop the bleeding” she cried in between frantic hand motions “Please…please…oh my gods.”

“April…” the man on the floor whimpered, reaching for her face “…You really look just like our mother.” He coughed up blood onto his lap as he reached for one of the arrows sticking from his torso. “Stop…we need to stop somewhere”

His voice faded in and out of audibility as he leaned against the wall. “As you’d imagine, these things tend to sting a little. Just give me a minute”

Link looked down the hallway at the trail of blood the man was leaving behind. Their time was quickly running short. Angry, inhuman voices were heard in the black. “Andor...” Link began, gripping his blade tightly “We need to go. We need to go now or they are going to catch us.”

“Stop pulling them out!” April screamed as Andor yanked another arrow free. “The arrowheads are still stuck in there! What if you get an infection?”

Andor lay distant on the ground, separated from the rest of the scene in a tranquil daze. His jaw was slack and open, and a fair amount of saliva began running down his mouth and neck. “I feel…weird”

April threw her brother's bag to the wall in frenzy after dumping its contents onto the ground. “Please…hang on, we don’t have much further to go”

Link poised himself behind the siblings to face the darkness. His sword and shield were drawn. There was no time anymore, they were going to catch them. If he wasn’t ready for a fight, they would kill him.

“April…April listen”
Andor gurgled “There’s fluid going into my lungs. I am going to die in a few minutes. You need to…”

April’s cries drowned out his next words as she desperately applied bandages to his wounds.

“Please…you need to go with this man. He’ s a friend, he a good friend of mine” Andor mumbled before beginning to nod off. “I know we were never…I...I can't”

“I’m not leaving you here!”

“I'm not going to let you stay. I didn’t get shot so you could stay here for a picture perfect moment with your brother. I am going to slow you down but if I stay here…”

“Link” April half-yelled, half whimpered “Link!”

He turned to look at the other two. “We can carry you the rest of the way but we’ll need to move now”

“No you can’t goddamnit!” Andor yelled, coughing up more blood afterward. “I’m going to die whether I stay here and hold them off or whether I limp to the exit and die in your arms. Please, leave me here. April, I haven’t forgiven myself yet. I never forgave myself for letting them take you. I was a coward. I brought you so much misery because I was afraid to die. Just go.”

April and Link stood in a stunned silence for a moment.

“They’re coming.” Andor gurgled through labored breaths. “I love you so much.”

The screams grew louder. Link heard their footsteps now.

April was out of it for the moment. She had to leave her brother behind. He was the only family she had ever truly connected with.

“Link…” Andor began once more “Leave me a long fuse.”

Link obliged, placing a bomb on the ground next to him. Andor struggled to get to his feet. He clumsily dropped his scabbard to the ground before doubling over in pain. “RUN!” He yelled, one last time.

Link and April took off into the hallway. Andor waited until he could not hear them any longer, growing steadily weaker as his blood trickled onto the ground.

“Come on”

He stood in complete darkness. Hell was approaching him, with their spears and arrows and inhuman voices.

“I'm ready. I'm ready now.”


The noises grew louder as Andor drew a match closer to the bomb. He hung his head down and whispered prayers

“There is one flesh and one mind but in death…” Andor coughed again. He couldn’t stand any longer. He lit the bomb as he slumped against the wall.

“There is one flesh and one mind, but in death…we are many.”

He saw their faces now. Their inhuman red eyes and fangs and claws reached out of the darkness. They focused entirely upon him, and Andor greeted them with a fiery rage as he grasped the explosive tightly.

“Do not fear the eternal void, for it is the paradise which awaits all good people.”

The creatures shrieked in fear after seeing the lit fuse. The ones in front scrambled to turn around, running into those behind them. In the confusion, several of them were knocked to the ground. Others speared themselves on their comrade’s weapons by mistake.

“I am the instrument of my God’s will. I am the end to all things evil.”

Andor attempted to speak again, but he couldn’t breathe any longer. His arms and head slumped downward as he let out one final gasp. He stared at the dwindling fuse and smiled.

He failed to see that the fuse still had long to go.
~@~

“Come on, it’s only a little further up” Link said “Hey…April?”
Link turned around to see April curled up next to the wall, crying. Link stared worriedly at the ladder near the end of the hall, but chose to sit next to her.

“Hey…hey come here” Link said, letting April cry on his shoulder. [I]“I’m so sorry you had to go through that. It’s not easy to lose someone you care about.”[/I

April’s sobs grew quieter as she looked up at him

“Who the hell are you?” April spat, pushing herself away from him. She sat confused and helpless now, not knowing what to do. “I just…he’s gone.”

Link was at a loss for words, but he knew Andor couldn’t have bought them too much time. On that same train of thought, he realized he never heard an explosion.

“April…” Link warned

He heard no response

“April we need to move now.”

“Just give me a second” She sniffled

“No, we need to run right now. now! He yelled, tugging at her arm.

April got up quickly when she heard the panic in Link’s voice. The exit wasn’t far, but Link soon heard a whoosh past his head. He did not need to see where it came from, as he already knew what it was.

He saw the ladder...it was only a little further now. Every step he took Link felt he was getting no closer to it. Every step he travelled half the distance of the last in his mind…always getting closer, but never close enough. Time seemed to slow down as he was faced with a choice; April and he were coming to the ladder at the same time, but who would go first? He heard the creature’s warning in his mind as he chose. He owed everything to this girl’s family, as Link would have long since died in that prison cell, but he did not want to die. He heard the monster’s cries grow louder each half-step to the ladder. They drowned out all of the ambient noise as Link chose.

“Go up first, go quickly.”


April turned back for a moment as she saw Link drawing his arms and swinging around on one knee. The sun emanating from the manhole illuminated a small patch of light where the Hylian stood. Claws and blades swung from the darkness, but the hero parried each blow. The voices in his head were drowned out by the noise of clashing metal. Link was pushed back with each blow until his shield gave in. In an instant a large portion of the main second buckled and compromised, leaving him only with his blade.

Link felt their cold and jagged blades pierce whatever skin was unprotected by his chain. The arm came first, then part of his upper leg, and several near misses to his cheek and eye. He couldn’t fight them any longer. Link twisted and grappled the rung as he pulled himself up. Each run he felt he traveled half the distance of the last, with the bright light growing closer yet remaining too far away.

They were still prodding at his legs and feet, but the adrenaline running through him let Link ignore the pain. With one desperate gasp, Link pulled himself above ground. The sun shone brightly on his pale and sickly skin, and though the earth he lay on was digging into his neck and arms, he did not care. For a moment, he relaxed. For a moment, he was relieved.

“You were wrong, weren’t you?” Link chuckled to himself. “I knew it.”

A stout and bearded man stood next to the manhole. Link watched him light a fuse and drop an object into the opening.

“Have at that, you godless whelps.” He spoke, turning his head and covering his face. Link felt a large rumble beneath him, and then there was silence.

A moment passed and there was still only silence from the opening.

“You must be the other one they broke out” The bearded man said. “You and Andor saved my niece.”

“It was nothing” Link chuckled. “I’m just…I’m in a lot of pain right now.”

“God rest his soul.”

Link squirmed onto his side as he sheathed his blade. Blood was flowing from his wounds.

“I’m Wieland. Let me help you up.”

Link stared at the covered wagon Wieland was moving towards. Inside was April and another woman attending to her.

“We’ll get you home as quickly as we can. We can't treat you properly here.”

Link found himself unable to speak as the man helped him into a seat. He had been running for such a long time, this was one of the few moments he felt he could rest. Link opened his eyes to see a bandaged April in front of him.

“I heard about the bargain you and Andor had, and I tell you…”
Wieland began. “I don’t know what you want with a piece of a map. I don’t much care, but it’s in one of the boxes around ya. We’ll find it when we get someplace safe.”

“Thank you. That means a lot to me.” Link said before laying back against a cotton blanket.

He saw the other woman tending to his injuries now. The wraps felt nice, and she pumped him up with something good. It stung for a second, but Link felt euphoric now, like his entire consciousness was resting in a buoyant, melting, warm pool of water. He felt it rushing through him like a current and suddenly the needles did not sting very much. The carriage began moving as Link began dozing off.

He saw something strange in his mind’s eye…it felt familiar.

Link found himself in a room again. It is a white room, with two stones in the middle. His entire being was present this time, but he found himself standing on a floor which did not exist. He was standing face to face with the creature this time.

“You have chosen…poorly.”

“I didn’t die. I think you’re not being completely straightforward with me.”

“I’d love to hear this one.”

“I wasn’t in any shape to part ways when I got out of there. You expect me to hobble my way for a day or two?”

“I expected you to go first. Did I say you would die during the escape? No. I said you would die when you didn’t part ways.”


“I think I feel fine right now.”


“Look outside.”

Link’s eyes popped open as he darted his head outside. He didn’t see anything. The road behind the carriage was empty but it was becoming difficult to tell now; the road was growing narrower each second. Link realized they were near a ledge

“Wieland…why…the road”
Link stammered as he struggled to speak between his swollen and numb lips. “Wasn’t the way we came”

“I got a bad feeling about the main road out of here. I saw a few patrols going back and forth so I took the scenic route. Don’t worry, it won’t be too much longer than the trip here.”

Link struggled to get into a sitting position. He stared cautiously out the back of the carriage. He knew there was something. It was being very quiet, but something was out there beyond their line of sight. It knew he was watching. They were gambling no one would be looking.

“Bullgghh” Link began, struggling to make out words. “Bullgghhnn”

“What’s that?”

Link wiped his mouth before clumsily reaching for a weapon. He felt around for something…anything he could use.

“BULBINS!”

Several arrows pierced the cover, tearing apart the cotton to reveal a bleeding red skyline. He saw their faces now. He heard the creature’s voice ringing inside his head.

“This is your tomb, now. You have sealed your fate.”

The cart attempted to veer out of the line of fire, but Wieland knew that a slight miscalculation meant they went over the side. “Aria!” he yelled out. “Take the reins!”

Wieland went to the back of the wagon with a bow drawn. Link was still on the floor next to a panicked April.

The carriage caught fire after the next volley. Link felt several arrows sear his clothes and bandages. He crawled to the side of the boxes, opening each one frantically. Inside were food and first aid. He threw the contents around as he dug deep inside each container.

April was huddled in the corner, praying. Aria was pulling the reins sharply as they attempted to round a curve.

“They will be your demise.”

Link’s hands grasped something at the bottom of the second box. It was square and leathery and small. He pulled it from the container and fell backwards. The map slid out of his hands and towards the front, near the horses.

The carriage went over a bump, and in an instant Wieland was gone. Link saw him fall from the back and one of the boars snapped him in two. Link heard his screams as he fell and the sudden silence after a moment passed.
Link felt the carriage tip over the ledge. He looked over to see Aria with several arrows through her back. She lay slumped over one of the horses.
The bulbins attacked again, this time ramming the already tipping carriage. Link gazed thousands of feet below, where he saw nothing but a valley full of sand and death. He was going to die.

April screamed for help as she slid out of the front of the carriage, hanging onto a piece of framework. The fires grew more intense now, threatening to consume the entire vehicle. He saw the leathery map being consumed, and he was faced with a choice.

“They die, but that does not mean you need to as well.”


Link could not choose that. He would not, by inaction, allow April to come to harm. He heard the creatures words ring through his head again. They grew louder each second, drowning out the cries of the Bulbins and those of April. He saw only the map. Each second it was dying a little more. Each second he was losing a little more of his prize.

“Abandon all concepts of good and evil and think only of your survival.”

He reached out to grab the map. He could do it quickly, Link thought. He believed he would have time to grab April. Every moment he reached for the map, he seemed to travel half the distance of the last. He reached out to grab the map, but he never reached it. The carriage tipped over, falling into the ravine below.

It was lost to darkness. Link was lost in darkness. All that fell in the abyss became nothing.
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 03-04-2010, 05:53 PM
Fairess Fairess is a female United States Fairess is offline
Leave your weapons at the door
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: My own little world
View Posts: 4,646
Re: The White Heron

Okay, so here I go again. Since I don’t have a printed rough draft to make edits on, I’ll quote specific sentences and give a number to each of your paragraphs so you can easily find and reference my suggestions. Also, while I have made some grammatical corrections, there are some sentences I have suggested rewrites for (and in such cases, they are merely suggestions—you don’t have to change them for them to be grammatically correct—and if you don’t like what I suggest, I still recommend rewriting them to what you think may sound better). I know this is a little more extensive than what you asked for, but I think it will help all the same.

So here we go!

First of all, there are two reoccurring errors that I’ve seen in your chapters. The first is that the end of most of your dialogue is lacking in punctuation, as well as what you put in between it. Here’s what I mean:

Quote:
Originally Posted by “paragraph 3”
“That’s a lie.” Link replied “I don’t know who you are, but…”
To be grammatically correct, it should have marks. There are multiple options in cases like this, but having no marks at all just doesn’t work. Here’s an example of how you could change it:

“That’s a lie,” Link replied. “I don’t know who you are, but…”

They’re all very minor changes, but they do have an affect on how someone reads the dialogue, and not having it there in the first place is incorrect.

The second reoccurring thing is your italicized dialogue. When people are speaking, the words do not need to be italicized. Thoughts do. In your first chapter, I let it go because it appeared that they were communicating telepathically. When they are talking out loud, however, dialogue shouldn’t be italicized unless you are trying to emphasize something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by “paragraph1”
There is a white room with two stones in the middle. There are no walls, no ceiling, no floor, and no other objects than the two stones. Link knew this was trouble…
I bolded the tense change here. Whenever you write, you want to be consistent with tenses. Switching between past and present in your first three sentences is somewhat distracting. Along with that, you can avoid the repetition of there at the beginning of the first two sentences by combining them.
My suggestion:

It was a white void with no walls, no ceiling, no floor—nothing other than two stones standing in the center.

I put void because a room without walls, a ceiling, or a floor is not a room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ”paragraph 1”
It was cloaked with a fluttering coat of nothing…
A coat of nothingness didn’t make sense to me. How can a person wear something made out of nothingness? If you were going for something void-like, I’d suggest a fluttering or insubstantial color or fabric that is ghost-like—that way he could wear it.

Also, along with “the thing,” it seemed like you were using it as a name, so I would capitalize or italicize it to indicate that this thing is a person that Link knows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by “paragraph 6”
Link knew he was not in his mind, but somewhere of the creature’s dominion.
Nothing wrong with this, but I think it would be easier to understand with:

Link knew he was not in his mind, but somewhere in the creature’s domain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by “paragraph 7”
”Let me out” he demanded “I need to get out of wherever this is”
My suggestion:

“Let me out!” he demanded. “I need to get out of whatever this is.”

The exclamation mark makes it sound more like a demand, and the capitalization and punctuation is correct in that form. To get rules for punctuation on dialogue, I have ten rules posted from an educational site in my thread, Another Bundle of Joy. You can skip down to the Syntax: Man’s Best Friend section to find them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by “paragraph 9”
“let me out right now!”
My suggestion:

“Let me out right now!” (capitalization error)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ”paragraph 12”
The thing somehow knew when Link was only giving him lip service. This was the third time they have met.
My suggestion:

The Thing somehow knew when Link was only giving him lip service. This was the third time they had met. (tense confusion; I used the thing as an emphasized name)

I liked volition for word choice in the sentence that eventually followed, as well as “lip service.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by ”paragraph 13”
“Alright, Speak.” Link relented
My suggestion:

“Alright, Speak,” Link relented. (capitalization error)


Wow…these are extensive edits. And it’s taking me a long time. Please be patient, and I’ll finish with your chapter.
__________________
Last Edited by Fairess; 03-04-2010 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 03-09-2010, 04:51 PM
Trudeau United States Trudeau is offline
Anouki
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: hmm...
View Posts: 30
Act 1, part 2.

Act 1, part 2

One moment of darkness. One moment of silence. One moment of fear. The complete blackness spread across the expanse of Link’s vision as he lays motionless on the ground. A faint sound of dripping water scratches his outer ear, piquing his interest. The noise disrupts the void at random intervals, preventing Link from drifting completely.

There are no voices in his head anymore. The Creature was not speaking, but neither was he. His limbs lay unresponsive. Link began to lose track of time as his mind slipped away. He was losing his memories one at a time. Ordon flashes by first, and is gone just as quickly. Hyrule takes longer, and the Hylian relives his last quest, his holy quest. Why did the goddesses not protect him this time? By leaving Hyrule, did he abandon them? Did the mark on his hand have meaning anymore?

The final goodbyes to his friends are meaningless, but the first hellos are tearful and bittersweet. There is not much left to say goodbye to. Link watches as he slowly rides away, looking back once to the village. No one understood his reasons, but Link knew he could never stay. He wishes he could say hello again. Hello to his home, hello to his friends, and hello to his village. Their lives diverged when the goddesses chose him. Despite his sacrifice, his prayers are met with silence. He was never given a chance to live the life he gave away. Link passes the growth beneath him and knows this is he can still turn around. He looks back once to his friends. He fears that the Link he was is lost now. He wants to say hello again, but he’s just not there anymore.

He passes the dormant spring now. There is no color in it anymore. The light shines palely over a sepia backdrop. The grey water lies motionless as the wildlife come to drink from it.

Link rides through an overgrown passage. He knows in his mind why he leaves. He knows it is what he wants the most, but something is still calling him to his home. He looks back to the homeland he abandons
There is no light here anymore. There is no life here anymore. All he feels in the emptiness is regret.

He leaves Hyrule silently. It doesn’t take Link long before he fears he can’t go home again. He looks back once more to the life he leaves behind.

“Hello?”

Link’s eyes sprung open. Light and sound flooded his tender senses. He felt the blood course through his heart and limbs and leaped to his feet.
The light from the windows suggested a basement. What he can see resembles crates.

Where was he?
~@~

“There would be something funny about this if it wasn’t me” she chuckled to herself. “Of all the sizes and colors of all the objects in the world, and I get a pebble…”

The girl focused on the horizon as she glanced up. “…and lose it in a place like this.”

The ground beneath her feet was dry and cracked, with a little vegetation visible underneath the sand and gravel.

“This has to be a joke.” The girl lamented as she looked skyward “If I’m on some big, important mission, maybe you could talk to me a little bit?”

A chill went up her spine as the girl’s form distorted.

“Or maybe just picked someone else for this job…you know, someone willing?”

There was no reply. The girl focused on her own form now, closing her eyes and relaxing. The distortion settled, but the cold, clammy shivers remained. Every second she focused on keeping her human form was mildly uncomfortable. Every nerve in her body stung her with a dulled pain, like an itch she couldn't scratch.

“Or just don’t answer. I’ll just wing it and hope for the best.

The sun was rising. The light began to bake the earth and the plants as it dragged sluggishly over the horizon. It wasn’t long before the flat plain became a hazy desert.

She looked over the images again, though they had played out in her mind so many times already. Three people are going to die if she didn’t help them...

The first one seemed completely unrelated from the other two…she had looked at it longer than she had for the other images. There were no cues to the person’s location, identity, or attacker. All she saw was fire silhouetted against a sunset.

The other two were in a city, somewhere. There were people and shops, so they would be somewhere near where she would teleport to.
“I can’t…” the girl sighed as she sat down, running her hands through her head. “Every second I lose the image a little more.”

She laid back in silence for a moment, staring up at the sky. “Maybe I should just concentrate a little more.” She thought, before her mind began to wander again. “I don’t even have a body, do I? No hair? How exactly do I know that I’m sitting down?”

These questions could drive anyone crazy.

“Get up.” She ordered herself “I don’t have time to cry about this.”

She took a deep breath before pausing again. “Why am I breathing? I don’t need to breathe to survive, so why…”

A gentle breeze brushed past her.

“Because it’s what I used to do. Should I still do it? I’d look pretty strange if I wasn’t breathing, but who’d notice?”

The girl let her form completely disappear for a moment, letting the wind pass right through her. She tried to remember how good it would have felt on a day like this. It seemed familiar, but at the same time everything did. Everything around her was a stigma for a memory she could never call back. She remembered the words, but not the people who spoke them. The girl feared that while she had the mind of whoever she was in her past life, she could never be anyone again.

“I don’t feel it anymore…”

Her form snapped together just as quickly as it had dissolved. “No time.”She then closed her eyes and focused on the image if the city. She tried to remember Sigurd’s instructions.

“Just…imagine myself there?” She murmured to herself.

The girl opened her eyes, but she was still standing in the desert. She took another deep breath and tried again. She saw the city again…she tried to imagine her feet standing on the cobblestone streets. She saw herself next to a beautiful white tree, with people passing up and down the road speaking with one another. Was…was this city going to be destroyed?

“It’s no use” she groaned, opening and closing her eyes once more. “What am I even going to tell these people?” The girl sat down again, realizing she needed to work on several flaws in this plan. “Oh hey, I’m a ghost and I’m taking you to god against your will. I don’t have a name, so you can just call me…”

Her eyes shot open as a name came to mind. It seemed familiar to her, like something she was used to hearing.

“Call me Johanna.”

In that moment, she vanished from the desert landscape, leaving nothing but a cloud of dust spiraling into the blazing dawn.
~@~
Last Edited by Trudeau; 03-09-2010 at 04:53 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 03-09-2010, 06:34 PM
Fairess Fairess is a female United States Fairess is offline
Leave your weapons at the door
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: My own little world
View Posts: 4,646
Re: The White Heron

Wow...you're quick. X.x And I'm slow...

I had your edits all written down, but typing and referencing it all is an enormous, evil thing. So I'll get those chapter one edits done eventually, but I think I'll just PM them to you, if you'd like. In fact, I think that's what I'll do when I get more time to do these big edity thingies. In the meantime, you've still got a few punctuation errors regarding dialogue (and a few others).

First of all, your transitions between tenses are a bit awkward. The transition occurs smack in the middle of the first paragraph (then in a bunch of other places). So here's my advice:

If you're trying to write a flashback, you've got to separate it from the rest of the story. Make it distinct, keep the present tense in its own section, only switching back to past tense before and after the flashback occurs, not inbetween. You might even want to italisize the entire flashback, going back to normal font and past tense to let us know when it's over. Or just stick to one tense for the whole piece.


What you wrote:

“There would be something funny about this if it wasn’t me” she chuckled to herself. “Of all the sizes and colors of all the objects in the world, and I get a pebble…”

You got the thoughts italisized part, but here's another thing: Thoughts do not have quotation marks. So the sentences should look more like this (including the correct punctuation change):

There would be something funny about this if it wasn't me, she chuckled to herself. Of all the sizes and colors of all the objects in the world, and I get a pebble...

Please keep looking at your dialogue (there are other occurences in this piece that need to be corrected) and inserting those commas and periods where they belong. I can see you've got a handle on it, but you're still missing punctuation in a few places, and you need to fix the way your character's thoughts are written.

I'll probably point those out in my in-depth thingy...eventually...
__________________
Last Edited by Fairess; 03-09-2010 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 03-09-2010, 07:07 PM
Trudeau United States Trudeau is offline
Anouki
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: hmm...
View Posts: 30
Re: The White Heron

Yeah, I've never had the best grammar. I figured writing walls of text was frustrating for everyone, so I've been breaking it down into smaller bits...this part was also shorter since its what needed to happen, but all in all both scenes are just transitions into the main plot. I didn't really separate the Link segment since the entire thing is part of his near-death experience, but I wasn't sure which tense to take in the flashback since he was re-living each experience...just stuck with the present.

maybe I ought to send these to you first to un-mangle them.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 03-17-2010, 09:09 AM
Trudeau United States Trudeau is offline
Anouki
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: hmm...
View Posts: 30
Act 1, Part 3

Author's Note: Alright, so this chapter's another gigantic wall of text, a bit bigger than Act 1, Part 1, but stay tuned...you might really like this one.

Act 1, Part 3

Johanna
My most sincere wish is that my last life was a better experience than my current one; playing the savior to three perfect strangers. Each moment in the dream, I am stripped of my earthly avatar as I relive their deaths a thousand times over. Each moment, I become the victim in spirit and feel everything they felt at the moment of their death. Every time I escape from my death, I clear my mind only to find I remember nothing but agonizing last moments, so I return again, hoping to find one little detail which can help me save them.

His name is Ronah, or it is the name he gives to other people. Ronah is unassuming, humble in the presence of strangers, and caring in the presence of friends. The last comment on his character is inferred, though I am likely assuming he is too much like me, like someone who doesn’t have the luxury of friends. Ronah dies because he cannot swim, and inhales the salty sea water. Each time I die as him I lose a little bit of the memory, so I focus on where he was before he dies. Those moments are much more pleasant to relive.

I am in a crowded room of quiet people, each diligently staring at their feet as the ones who couldn’t find seats pack into a corner. I walk among them, taking each step carefully as to not bother anyone. The floors have not been cleaned since they were made, but I am not staring at my feet. I sweep my gaze slowly from side to side, glancing out each of the windows that face the starboard sunset. Every red and purple hue that I catch dancing over the horizon is a gift to me, to this man in this memory. I am filled with happiness as I hear the ambient crash of water against…
I am on a ship. I see fire for a brief second as I am flung from the boat, alone, into the blackening grasp of the ocean. I look up to see the sunset one last time, and smile. My last thoughts before I die are of happiness. They are:

“So much life…”

Am I the one who dies painfully, instead of this man? Every bit of happiness he feels in that moment I feel as well, but it vanishes when the color of the water drowns out. I look again.

The entire ship is smothered in a sickening stench. I direct my gaze to the windows, but I see the other passengers are carrying what few belongings they have in their hands. They are refugees, travelers from a dying land. I look again.

I see a young man in front of me. His eyes meet mine as he grasps my hand. He is garbed in a green tunic which contrasts the people around me. Instead of defeat, his eyes are full of resolve.

I remember him from one of my other dreams.

Pryderi
“Looks like the fog is clearing up” Sergeant Pryderi spoke as he approached a pier. Passing through a line of men and women, Pryderi stopped in front of other military personnel. “Think we’ll get a schedule that sticks this time?”

Private Amos glanced at the advancing Sergeant and immediately barked to his staff. “Attention on deck!

“At ease, private, this is just a checkup.”

“Yes sir” Amos replied, returning to paperwork piling up on his desk. “It’s a pretty long process, sir.”

“Don’t I know it?” Pryderi muttered as he rested his elbows on an opening in the booth which kept Amos’ office safe from the elements. “I actually had this job for a little bit. Every hundred sheets I checked over I turned my head and found a thousand more.”

“The civvies are getting pretty desperate, sir.”

“We know, but you know we can’t just let any John Doe on with a hackneyed refugee look on him”

“I made Paige deal with people without papers. I really couldn’t deal with the yelling and crying day and night.”

“Huh. If I recall correctly, that was my first position till I delegated it to someone. Maybe if you brown nose command enough I’ll pass off this babysitting job to you while I kick back in control.”

“Well.” Amos began “I hope you like rubble and smoke. The vittles hit it this morning.”

“You don’t say.” Pryderi remarked with a deadpan expression.

“Nothing major, they just did enough to put us on lockdown again.”

“I think I can stand this job for a little while longer, don’t you?”

“You do a fine job, sir.”

“I would love to return the complement, Private Amos, I really would” Pryderi started as he paced around behind his desk. “But I fear there is a troubling issue I need settled by the time I walk out of here to check the silos.”

Amos put down his pen and stood up, giving the Sergeant his full attention.

“I know that, as someone who’s been given quite a few patrols during the busy hours, you’ve got to have made some friends around here.”

“Yes sir” Amos nodded.

“And obviously, the relatively high price of a ferry ticket means that not just anyone who wants to leave has the opportunity.”

Pryderi waited for a moment before continuing again

“But when people fall through the cracks, at least in this time, and this place, it’s best to leave them where they are.”

“Is this about the Lithgows, sir?”

Pryderi paused as he looked the private in the eye

“Yes, I believe that was my next topic.”

“Sir, I assure you I’m putting the safety of the Gibraltar first.”

“I know that, son, and you wouldn’t be here if I thought you weren’t, but humor me.”

Amos nodded

“I know the young couple who’ve been applying for passage and asylum has recently obtained two ticket seats for this ferry, right here.”

“Yes sir.”

“And I can hazard a guess that you’ve grown quite close to them when I put you on that security setup a few weeks back.”

“Yes sir.”

“The truth of it is, that wasn’t a security setup. It looked like one, and that’s what we wanted, but it was surveillance the whole time.”

“Why wasn’t I told?”

“That’s not a very hard question to answer, now is it?” Pryderi chided, lowering his southern droll as the line drew closer. “But what we reported to command…”

Amos’ eyes widened as the revelation dawned on him.

“No…Sergeant…No!” Amos half-shouted

“I’m going to ask you to keep your voice down, son”

“They’re blacklisted?!” Amos groaned in disbelief “Do you know how many names he just draws out of a hat?”

“That right there is slander, but I’m willing to overlook it.”

“Permission to speak freely sir”

“By all means”

“The Emperor is not right in the head. Someone made an attempt on his life, and now people are just vanishing from the streets like they never existed. Half of the people on that list have been cleared and now they’re standing in line to get out of here.”

“We’ve taken that under advisement, but what Caligula says is law.”

“Sir…they’re my friends, sir” Amos begged “And they knew the job I had, but they never asked me to do anything out of line. They waited until they had the money until coming to me for a ticket. With all due respect, that’s not what a vittle does, sir.”

“You’re making a convincing argument, but it’s the wrong kind.” Pryderi replied “You can tell me and any other member of this command worth his salt what you’re telling me now, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are rules.”

Amos sighed as he bowed his head.

“I…”

“I don’t much care whether or not you were planning to bring them onboard before we had this little chat, but from what you tell me about them they would know to wait until they’re off the blacklist to attempt to board. Since, from what I’ve heard, that’s what a real friend does, hmm?”

“Yes sir.”

“I know you’re saying that through clenched teeth, but as long as you abide by protocol we won’t have any issues. Catch my drift?”

“Understood, sir. Is there anything else?”

“Not at all, private. Carry on.”

Pryderi left the booth at a comfortable pace, stopping for a moment to gander at the last of the civvies boarding the ferry. So many of them wore masks or veils now, they were a common sight in these lines. So many people forever marked by a fate that wasn’t deserved. Pryderi banished these thoughts as he climbed onto his horse and started toward the silos. It was a short trip, yet Pryderi withdrew a small journal from his saddle and turned to a page, reflecting on the text inside. It read:

Three months. Three long months I have been in command of the City Guard, and for three months I go to sleep wondering if I’ll still be alive in the morning. I wake up and wonder what I’m protecting anymore. Today I saw a man steal bread so that he wouldn’t starve. As I saw that same man open his vest and take the shop with him, I feared that I have lost contact with humanity. I sat at a table and watched at the vittles played straight into our heartstrings. The man who blew up the shop was a friend of mine, too. This city used to be such a beautiful place.
We’ve had people packing up and leaving after the last attack. I can’t blame them. I wish I could leave, but I have a feeling that anywhere I went would be just as bad. Another city bank was hit today, but this was much worse than the last time. The victims of the first strike told us that they witnessed something wipe out a building, and we were rather hard pressed to believe them. Today, there were no survivors. These things...if they’re still people inside, they can take out a building now and no one will survive the aftermath. I’m in way over my head, but there’s no one else for the job. All we can do is stand in the rubble, scratching our heads.
December 13th


As the sergeant finished reading, he looked up at the granary nearest the dock. Pryderi dismounted and briskly walked down the steps to the entrance, hoping the call was just a false alarm. Scavengers would have pilfered already, and Vittles aren’t stupid enough to stick around and trap a bunch of empty crates…not unless they were hoping to pick off the lone sergeant whose job it is to search these things. Maybe they were.

Pryderi opened the silo doors slowly as he peered around. Crates were stacked as high as he could see. A quick glance from side to side told him that someone had obviously been here. Pryderi cautiously entered, curious now, as he knew someone was still inside.

It couldn’t be anything that threatened him, since this entire silo was meant to trap those people…but the hairline alarm trigger on the door was left untouched meaning someone entered an underground building without using a door. It also meant that someone was careless enough to make noise as he or she searched through the empty crates, and someone who willingly stayed inside for several hours. As he turned a corner of toppled crates, Pryderi stared into an empty dead end. Maybe they had left, after all. They got in without a door, then they must have been able to get out the same…

“Hey…Hey!” Pryderi shouted as he came face to face with intruder. His face was that of a young boy, no older than seventeen. He was garbed in a very clean and stainless green outfit, in stark contrast to the weathering of the elements that appeared on his exposed skin.

The boy fell over in shock as he backed away from Pryderi’s now-drawn blade. The sergeant approached him menacingly, making sure to get a good look at his face before speaking.

“Son, what’s your name?”

Link
“Link…my name is Link” Link shouted fearfully, having reached around behind him only to discover he had neither his sword nor his shield on him. “I’m unarmed, please”

Pryderi took his time with his next steps, letting each one ring out with a deafening ‘clack’ before leaning down to speak to this boy face-to-face “You vittles would just love to get me off guard, wouldn’t you?”

“I…what?” Link exasperated

“Now, just how many levels of stupid are you?” Pryderi began as he walked behind Link “You somehow don’t realize that his very obvious installation is a trap, you enter it without triggering it, and yet you stick around long enough for someone like me to show up.”

“Break in?” Link repeated

“That’s actually quite an achievement on your part. Whether you did it by accident or on purpose has yet to be determined, but I don’t see any shovels or dirt on your fresh pressed clothes. I’m impressed. Or I would be, if I had just walked into an empty room. Could get out the way you came in, could you?”

“Way I came in…” Link repeated as he went deep into thought

“Are you a god-damned parrot, son?” Pryderi demanded

“I’m sorry” Link said, “Listen, I’ve been trying to open that door for…I don’t know how long now. It was locked from the inside."

Pryderi held his blade Link’s throat as he moved uncomfortably close to Link’s face “And just how did you get in?”

“I don’t…” Link began, before hugging his head in pain “I don’t remember.”

“That right there’s what we call a lie” Pryderi breathed “and I don’t care for bad liars.”

Link held his hands partially clenched near his face as he came to terms with the situation.

“Where am I?”

Pryderi’s smug expression disappeared as he shot Link a disbelieving stare. “You don’t look like anyone I’ve seen around this city.”

“I don’t understand.”

Pryderi paused for a moment before continuing.

“This is Palou, capital city of the Western District.”

“Western…” Link began again “Never mind.”

Although he was unconvinced at first, Pryderi knew he had a good judge of character. Right now his gut was telling him this boy was telling the truth, and that he really didn’t know what was going on.

“I’m going to need you to take off that nice little outfit of yours.”

“Pardon?”

“Bombs. If you are an illegal then I need to make sure you don’t have any bombs or weapons on you.”

Link obliged, pulling off his tunic to reveal his bare chest. Link fixated upon it just as long as the Sergeant did; where were his scars?

Link tuned out from reality for the moment as the memories flushed back into his mind. He remembered now…Andor…Wieland…and…and…

“Unnngh!” Link grunted as his nose began bleeding.

“Good lord, boy. You need some help. You look like you haven’t had a good meal in weeks.”

Link’s stomach began rumbling as soon as he heard those words.

“Yeah.”

“You don’t say too much, do you?”

“Not really.”

Pryderi sheathed his blade as he offered Link a helping hand. “Come on. I’ve got orders to take you to a bunker.”

“A bunker?”

“Won’t be too comfortable, though. Got loads of civvies in there since we’ve been on lockdown procedures”

Pryderi and Link exited the building to the beach. The sand felt good as it squished between Link’s bare feet.

Link saw it again…the attack…the bulbins.

Just as quickly as he found himself in the silo, Link was reliving it again. He was reaching for a map as the burning carriage was slowly tipping over the side of a cliff.

“Just a little closer…” Link grunted, as he heard April’s screams from the open end. “Almost…got…you”

“Help me!” April screamed. “I can’t hold onto this thing anymore!”

“Just hold on!” Link barked before lunging again. This time he pulled back in pain, and grimaced at his right arm which had suffered burns beyond recognition. The map was clenched within his burned hands.

~@~

“Hey…are you all there?” Pryderi asked drolly as he waved his hand in front of Link’s blank expression.

“Yeah…sorry.”

“You know what, just get on the horse, we’ll get there faster.”

Link got on without a reply.

As Pryderi continued up the coast, he made sure to glance at the Gibraltar again, now loading supplies for the journey ahead.

“Where’s the ship going to?” Link asked curiously

“Right now it’s getting civvies off of the dock and onto one of the migrant carriers.”

“Migrant…explain?”

“We don’t have another port of harbor besides this one, and with the war on there’s nowhere left for civvies to go if a capital city gets sacked. Except us. We were smart. We poured in resources on making a migrant fleet so we’d be able to keep people safe.”

“That the ticket booth?”

“Oh no…” Pryderi chuckled “It’s just check in, standard…”

Pryderi’s grin left his face as he saw Private Amos at the dock with several people.

“Son of a whore.”

“Pardon?”

“You’ll need to hold on. We’re making a detour.”

Pryderi directed he horse toward the booth. Amos saw him coming, and immediately walked away from the other two, motioning them to hide in his office.

Pryderi dismounted and walked toward the private. “Too late, Gregory. I saw them.”

Amos hung his head as the Lithgows emerged from the booth, defeated as well.

“I could have sworn I had this conversation about this very thing, and you didn’t have the decency to wait till my back was turned?

“Sarge…please, can you just make an exception this once?”

“No! At least, now I can’t! Do you have any idea why I came and talked to you about it in the first place?”

Amos shrugged

“Because the higher ups wanted my ass for undocumented civilian stowaways, that’s why. I not only have to report you, but now I might wind up pushing pencils for another six months while you get to be little people again.”

“Look, you don’t have to do this!”

Link watched the exchange from a distance, still next to Pryderi’s horse. He wasn’t paying attention to the two officers as much as the Lithgows. He saw the woman was carrying an infant child in a sling across her back, and the man was holding her as the two officers shouted back and forth between one another.

Then came a look Link didn’t expect. It wasn’t one of fear, but rather one of annoyance. The man, unbeknownst to the two arguing military personnel, reaching inside his vest. Link saw it before anyone else, he knew what was about to happen…he tried to shout out.

*bang*

A shot rang out into the air, and Pryderi fell to the ground with a large thud as Amos turned to his friend, shocked. Link saw the man mouth something to Amos…he couldn’t read lips very well, but he thought the man said

“I’m sorry”


*bang*

A another shot went clean through Amos’ head, and he slumped against the fence. The dockworkers were unfazed as the couple tossed the empty gun.

“Oh no…” Link breathed as he watched Ms. Lithgow unwrap her sling.
Whatever was inside, it wasn’t a child, and she handed it to a dockworker before entering the boat themselves. Mr. Lithgow fired a flare to the southwest before entering through the loading bay.

Link waited until the doors were closed, and then dashed for the two victims.

Pryderi had crawled around for a bit, but now lay motionless on the ground. As Link approached him, he let out a gasp as a hand grasped his leg. Pryderi looked up at Link and gave him a weak chuckle

“Told you…vittles trying to…catch us…off…”
The sergeant bled onto the ground for a moment, and in that time he chose his next words carefully. He knew Link would be very attentive, so he would not waste his breath on that clichéd phrase. Link was already close.

“Get…the…captain…off…he…*gurgle*…coordinates” Pryderi choked for a moment before continuing. “Don’t let the…the migrant…fleet…”

Link listened for a moment before turning his head. Pryderi was gone.

Link stared in disbelief at this scene for a moment. He didn’t have anything to defend himself with, and these people…the ship…oh god…all those people.

He couldn’t budge. Link tried, but he could not make himself move onto the ship. He teared up for a moment as he pulled at his hair in frustration. Link picked up Pryderi’s blade and moved onto the boardwalk.

He couldn’t budge. These people had guns…he was malnourished…he was weak and tired…he…
He heard the voice again…it wasn’t new, but it still sent a chill through his entire system

“Think of your own survival. You are important. You are worth more than the lives of these refugees. You can just walk away…”

“I won’t abandon them” Link muttered to himself, hearing April’s scream again in his head.

Link started slowly toward the dock, and time itself began to slow down. The clouds stopped moving and the ambient beach fell silent. Link thought it was just the adrenaline running through him.

“I won’t abandon them”

Link’s eyes darted quickly to the left and right and saw that the water was completely motionless.

“I wont…”

Link turned around as the balmy beach air twisted into a howling gale. The sky drained itself of color, turning into a dull monochrome, and the rest of the landscape followed suit.

Link turned around, and looked in terror at what was approaching him. It looked human but it wasn’t. It took on the appearance of a young woman, but the empty husk of a body it wore faded at random intervals, revealing something worse…something more sinister. Link was frozen as it looked up and stared him in the eyes. His blood ran cold in his veins. It smiled.

“Hey.”

“…Hi.”

“Looks like these guys got the short end of the stick.” It remarked, looking at the two corpses on the beach. “Did you do this?”

“No…the people who did just got on this boat.”

“I see.”

“What are you?”

“I’m a friend.”

Link was speechless for a moment, so the figure continued

“I have a good friend of mine on this ship…and I think you’re supposed to help me save him.”

The figure moved over to the two bodies, Pryderi’s in particular.

“Was he important?”

“He was a sergeant, I think.”

“Alright. What was he called?”

“Pryderi. Who are you?”

The figure bent over Pryderi’s body, studied it for a moment, and then walked towards the boat again. Link watched in amazement as the figure assumed Pryderi’s form flawlessly.

“Call me Johanna.”
Last Edited by Trudeau; 03-17-2010 at 09:13 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 04-01-2010, 02:56 PM
American Soldier United States American Soldier is offline
Banned User
Steam ID: sircalibur
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ponyville
View Posts: 2,560
Re: The White Heron

Hi there. I'm Sir Calibur, Fairess' new Potential-Assistant Teacher. As daunting as this chapter looks with its ten pages of words, I'm going carve my way through it.

Quote:
I am in a crowded room of quiet people, each diligently staring at their feet as the ones who couldn’t find seats pack into a corner. I walk among them, taking each step carefully as to not bother anyone. The floors have not been cleaned since they were made, but I am not staring at my feet. I sweep my gaze slowly from side to side, glancing out each of the windows that face the starboard sunset. Every red and purple hue that I catch dancing over the horizon is a gift to me, to this man in this memory. I am filled with happiness as I hear the ambient crash of water against…
I am on a ship. I see fire for a brief second as I am flung from the boat, alone, into the blackening grasp of the ocean. I look up to see the sunset one last time, and smile. My last thoughts before I die are of happiness. They are:

“So much life…”
I have two nitpicks with this section. The first is the lack of spacing between the two parts. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but after ambient crash of water against…, there should be another line two separate it from the next paragraph.

The second of my nitpicks is the They are: at the very end of it. It's unnecessary. If you cut it out, the transition still works.

Quote:
Am I the one who dies painfully, instead of this man? Every bit of happiness he feels in that moment I feel as well, but it vanishes when the color of the water drowns out. I look again.

The entire ship is smothered in a sickening stench. I direct my gaze to the windows, but I see the other passengers are carrying what few belongings they have in their hands. They are refugees, travelers from a dying land. I look again.
The bolded but in this paragraph should be replaced with an and. And after that and, you might want to cut out the I.

Quote:
I see a young man in front of me. His eyes meet mine as he grasps my hand. He is garbed in a green tunic which contrasts the people around me. Instead of defeat, his eyes are full of resolve.

I remember him from one of my other dreams.

Pryderi
“Looks like the fog is clearing up,” Sergeant Pryderi spoke as he approached a pier. Passing through a line of men and women, Pryderi stopped in front of other military personnel. “Think we’ll get a schedule that sticks this time?”
Comma at the end of dialogue if the attributer comes after it. Or unless it's a question or an exclamation.

Quote:
Private Amos glanced at the advancing Sergeant and immediately barked to his staff, “Attention on deck!
I think there should be a comma after staff in that sentence, but a part of me isn't not sure.

Quote:
“At ease, private, this is just a checkup.”
I feel like there should be some more description here, maybe something that just briefly describes his approach and saluting them, since I think that is how the superior acknowledges them in the military.

Quote:
“Yes sir,” Amos replied, returning to paperwork piling up on his desk. “It’s a pretty long process, sir.”
Comma after dialogue.

Quote:
“Don’t I know it?” Pryderi muttered as he rested his elbows on an opening in the booth which kept Amos’ office safe from the elements. “I actually had this job for a little bit. Every hundred sheets I checked over I turned my head and found a thousand more.”
“Which” should be swapped for “that”. If you say which, it makes it sound like his resting his elbows on the booth is keeping Amos' office safe from the elements.

Quote:
“The civvies are getting pretty desperate, sir.”

We know, but you know we can’t just let any John Doe on with a hackneyed refugee look on him”
Maybe I am just nitpicking here, but it feels weird for him to be saying “we”. It seems to me that, unless Amos is addressing a group of people, or the sergeant is answering for a group of people. But feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this.

Quote:
“I made Paige deal with people without papers. I really couldn’t deal with the yelling and crying day and night.”

“Huh. If I recall correctly, that was my first position till I delegated it to someone. Maybe if you brown nose command enough I’ll pass off this babysitting job to you while I kick back in control.”

“Well.” Amos began, “I hope you like rubble and smoke. The vittles hit it this morning.”
Saying Amos began feels unnecessary. I think you could safely replace it with something else or just cut it entirely.

Quote:
“You don’t say.” Pryderi remarked with a deadpan expression.

“Nothing major, they just did enough to put us on lockdown again.”

“I think I can stand this job for a little while longer, don’t you?”

“You do a fine job, sir.”

“I would love to return the complement, Private Amos, I really would” Pryderi started as he paced around behind his desk. “But I fear there is a troubling issue I need settled by the time I walk out of here to check the silos.”

Amos put down his pen and stood up, giving the Sergeant his full attention.

“I know that, as someone who’s been given quite a few patrols during the busy hours, you’ve got to have made some friends around here.”

“Yes sir” Amos nodded.

“And obviously, the relatively high price of a ferry ticket means that not just anyone who wants to leave has the opportunity.”

Pryderi waited for a moment before continuing again.


This could be cut down, preferably to something more concise, like, “Pryderi paused.” Not to mention, you could probably merge it with the rest of the Sergeant's dialogue.

Quote:
“But when people fall through the cracks, at least in this time, and this place, it’s best to leave them where they are.”

“Is this about the Lithgows, sir?”

Pryderi paused as he looked the private in the eye.
Another forgotten period at the end of a sentence. But on a more important note, are we capitalizing Sergeant, but not Private?

Quote:
“Yes, I believe that was my next topic.”

“Sir, I assure you I’m putting the safety of the Gibraltar first.”

“I know that, son, and you wouldn’t be here if I thought you weren’t, but humor me.”

Amos nodded.
Period.

Quote:
“I know the young couple who’ve been applying for passage and asylum has recently obtained two ticket seats for this ferry, right here.”
Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe this should be have, not has.

Quote:
“Yes sir.”

“And I can hazard a guess that you’ve grown quite close to them when I put you on that security setup a few weeks back.”

“Yes sir.”

“The truth of it is, that wasn’t a security setup. It looked like one, and that’s what we wanted, but it was surveillance the whole time.”

“Why wasn’t I told?”

“That’s not a very hard question to answer, now is it?” Pryderi chided, lowering his southern droll as the line drew closer. “But what we reported to command…”

Amos’ eyes widened as the revelation dawned on him.

“No… Sergeant… No!” Amos half-shouted.
There should be a space after an ellipses.

Quote:
“I’m going to ask you to keep your voice down, son”

“They’re blacklisted?!” Amos groaned in disbelief. “Do you know how many names he just draws out of a hat?”
Period.

Quote:
“That right there is slander, but I’m willing to overlook it.”

“Permission to speak freely sir”

“By all means”

“The Emperor is not right in the head. Someone made an attempt on his life, and now people are just vanishing from the streets like they never existed. Half of the people on that list have been cleared and now they’re standing in line to get out of here.”

“We’ve taken that under advisement, but what Caligula says is law.”
Shouldn't the Sergeant be addressing him as Emperor Caligula? Or is that where the Emperor's residing?

Quote:
“Sir… they’re my friends, sir,” Amos begged,, “And they knew the job I had, but they never asked me to do anything out of line. They waited until they had the money until coming to me for a ticket. With all due respect, that’s not what a vittle does, sir.”
Space after ellipses, comma after sir and begged.

Quote:
“You’re making a convincing argument, but it’s the wrong kind.” Pryderi replied “You can tell me and any other member of this command worth his salt what you’re telling me now, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are rules.”
Comma after replied, but if I were you, I would take out replied altogether. Since we already know he's replying, you don't have to tell us. You could replace it with something else, or just omit it altogether.

Quote:
Amos sighed as he bowed his head.

“I…”

“I don’t much care whether or not you were planning to bring them onboard before we had this little chat, but from what you tell me about them they would know to wait until they’re off the blacklist to attempt to board. Since, from what I’ve heard, that’s what a real friend does, hmm?”

“Yes sir.”

“I know you’re saying that through clenched teeth, but as long as you abide by protocol we won’t have any issues. Catch my drift?”

“Understood, sir. Is there anything else?”
It feels like Amos is being too polite here. Is it like him to keep up a sense of formality even when angry? If not, the bolded part could be omitted.

Quote:
“Not at all, private. Carry on.”
Again, I must ask if Private should be capitalized.

And unfortunately, that's all I have time for, due to time-constraints. You're story has intrigued me, even though I did jump in three chapters late, so I think I'll be checking up on its progress.
Last Edited by American Soldier; 04-01-2010 at 05:02 PM. Reason: Forgot to properly bold something after copied from Word Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 05-12-2010, 09:50 PM
Trudeau United States Trudeau is offline
Anouki
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: hmm...
View Posts: 30
Act 1, part 4

Act 1, Part 4


Link
The wind came in short, irregular sputters over the pier as the sand blew in the faces of the dead. As the Hylian slumped against a wooden post in bewilderment, he examined a revealing picture of the outer limits of Palou city. It was as large and as grand a place as Hyrule, although it was littered with many tall and imposing buildings that distracted from the palace at the center. It would have looked beautiful in the dying daylight, but a glance told a very different story than the perusal: the city had lost its heart a very long time ago. Where the colorful energy of Hyrule castle captivated every traveler, here each of the buildings wore a grim shade of grey which seemed to drown out the vibrant sunset. He did not know this place, nor the people within it, but Link judged from this glance that there was little hope left for whoever chose to stay.

“No one is going to mourn them.” Link murmured drawing his attention now to the two dead soldiers spread across the entry gate. “They’re just a number or a name now… a corpse in a morgue or an unmarked grave.”

“You’re… alive?” Johanna said, getting a closer look at Link. While his mind attempted to cope with the explosive nature of the past few moments, Johanna observed him in amazement. “It’s just…I never did anything...I was told you would be dead if I didn’t help you.”

Link’s turned his head quizzically to his left as he looked as Johanna again.
“Just… give me a second” Link said as he rose to his feet. “I don’t feel so good.”

“Can you tell me what just happened?”

“It’s a long story.”

“We have time.” Johanna assured him.

Link’s eyes sprung open as he spun around towards the end of the pier. A horn sounded across the foggy bay as the waters around the Gibraltar foamed and drifted off in every direction. The ship appeared as a distant speck at the end of the dock, only noticeable as it began to begin its trip to the migrant fleet. It became more and more obscured with each passing second.

“Oh no.” Link breathed as he heard Pyrderi’s request in his head. “That boat…”

“What about it?” She interrupted, concerned.

Link had already begun sprinting down the dock, leaving Johanna behind. He knew he couldn’t make it, but each step Link pushed off harder and harder from the wooden planks. He heard Johanna calling from the end, but knew he couldn’t stop, instead pushing himself harder. The end of the pier drew near as Link got close enough to see the rusted hull flake away with each wave that caressed it. There were no loose ends to grab onto. The windows were too high for him to reach, and the dock and passenger gate had closed when it had begun to set sail.

Link came to the end of the dock in a pant as he pounded the final post in anger. With nothing but a painful grunt, he knew he had failed again; everyone onboard was going to die because he hesitated.

“No…” Link whispered, reaching his arm out towards the boat in vain.
Link felt himself turned around as he came face to face with Johanna again.

“ It’s pretty obnoxious to just ignore me like that.” She chided

“What?” Link exasperated, still out of breath. "How did you...?"

“I’m here to help you out, but only if you can help me too.”

“I…”

Johanna sighed as she put her hands on Link’s shoulders. “Just… relax. Believe me when I say we have all the time in the world.”

Link’s bewildered stare faded as he listened to her. “Alright.” He replied
.
“Tell me why that boat is in danger.”

“I don’t know…” Link began, pausing as Johanna shot him a look of disbelief. “…exactly. I don’t know exactly why, but Pryderi… the man who just got shot…” Link trailed off as he recalled Johanna’s entrance. “How did you do that? How did you… change your appearance like that… are you…?”

“Stop. I don’t know exactly how to phrase this, but…” Johanna began “I’m the hand of a very powerful entity, and right now I’m helping several important people.”

“Wait” Link interrupted. “You mean like me?”

“Like you? What do you mean like you?” Johanna interrupted.

“People who bear the Triforce symbol.” Link finished, showing her the mark on his hand.

“I don’t… I don’t know what that is.” Johanna confessed “I wasn’t given any instructions beyond ‘go here and do this.’”

Link abruptly fell silent.

“But I remember I was supposed to save you. It looks like you’ve saved yourself, though.”

“So what are you?”

Johanna closed her eyes and restrained her building frustration.

“I’ll explain it later, but for now, please listen to me.” Johanna pleaded. “I need to save someone onboard. I was given an image of the future, a memory of events leading up to his death, and I’ve seen you in it. I think you’re supposed to help me.”

Link opened his mouth with a thousand questions, but Johanna preemptively cut him off with an annoyed glance.

“Who is he?” Link asked
“His name is Ronah Thanato. He meets someone onboard who knows him. I’ve been trying to piece the events together but there’s a lot missing. There’s some kind of explosion and he dies in the water, but beyond that I don’t know.”

“A bomb.” Link murmured.

“Pardon?”

“The people who just sneaked onboard, they have to be carrying the bomb.”

“There we go!” Johanna applauded “That’s what I need to know. What else?”

“The Sergeant… Pryderi, he asked me to help the captain. He needed me to get the captain out of there. He knows something important.”

“Anything about Ronah? Any mention?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Alright…” Johanna began “…erm… what’s your name?”

“I’m Link. You’re…”

“Johanna. Listen, my job here is to save Ronah, and nothing else can come before that. I need you to help me.”

Link thought her request over for a moment.

“But all those people, we can’t just leave them to die. Not when we can do something about it.”

Johanna took a long look at Link’s expression and saw a genuine altruism in it.

“If we don’t save him, then all of these people will die anyways. If I don’t help all three of you, then the world is forfeit.”

“Please… you said you’d help me if I helped you.”

“I didn’t…” She stuttered “… I can’t just…”

Link replied with only a judging stare, and Johanna knew this is what his help would cost.

“Fine. I’ll help them, too. We’ll work together and we’re going to make sure we everyone gets out alright.”

An inspired smile flashed across Link’s face as he stared out towards the open water.

“So…” Link said as he scratched the back of his head. “What’s your plan for getting onboard?”

“I…”

Link looked at Johanna quizzically as she approached the end of the dock
“Take my hand.”

“You…can you fly?”

“Something like that.” Johanna replied. “Listen closely.” She ordered as she grabbed his arm. “Take a deep breath, and when I tell you to exhale slowly.”

“Alright…but why?”

“I don’t know how well you’re going to do, but it’s the only way we’re getting on.”

“What is?”

“Are you ready?”

Link took a moment to brace himself. In an afterthought, Link grabbed Pryderi's blade, as he no longer looked like he needed it.

“Yes.”

“This is going to feel a little strange.”

~@~


The violent waters thrashing against the wood is a strangely serene sight. One moment, I am standing on the pier, the next I am passing by it like I would a picture mounted on a wall. Everything I felt the moment I took her hand…fear, anxiety, resolve, confusion… it’s melting away just as I feel myself uncomfortably torn from the real world. My mind washes away as my memories leave me one at a time. Each thought and image arrange themselves in a line that expands infinitely towards the horizon. I pass by them quietly as if I am floating, but I am making no conscious or deliberate movements that I know of. I am not moving in a direction I recognize.
The colors slowly drown out as I struggle and gasp for air. I watch in horror as my body dissolves in front of me, reforming instead in one of the images below. I see the boat, I am above it, and I am falling. I see the large boat grow closer and closer as I attempt to look away from the impending crash. I fall past smokestacks and through the deck, landing in a room full of blinding light. Each second feels like someone is inside my head ringing a bell made of agony. The images and sounds fade to black.
Once again, I am lost in a sea of nothingness.


~@~


“Listen up, civvies!” barked a hoarse voice. “The captain expects turbulence from a storm heading our way, and advises all of you to return to your seats for the duration of the trip.”

The crier was drowned out by the civilians’ anxious chatter.

Link groaned as he regained consciousness at a guard’s feet. His head was still spinning from the fall, and collapsed as he attempted to stand.

“Son, you need to get back to your seat.” The guard spoke. “Captain’s orders.”

“Yeah, just give me a second” Link gasped, taking a moment to get his bearings. “I just don’t…feel so good.”

“I see a lot of seasickness, you just need a bit of rest and you’ll be alright.”
Even the dim glow of the light fixtures were painful for Link to look at. He clumsily attempted to cover his face while resisting the urge to vomit.

“You alright, son?”

“I don’t feel so good.” Link muttered as he stood up, leaning against the port side of the ship. He turned to the guard feverishly and attempted to wave off the effects of his unpleasant re-entry. “I’m just gonna find my seat.”

The guard shrugged as he continued down the hallway. Link wavered from side to side as the boat rocked, nearly losing his balance several times. His lumbering motions caused him to bump into a number of civilians headed the other way.

Link stumbled into a room on his left, collapsing once more on a bathroom floor. He grew worse with each passing moment, attempting in vain to stop the painful ringing in his head by clasping his ears shut. He felt an enormous pressure in his temples, like his head was about to burst. Even in the darkness of the restroom, his head spun worse than when he had first come to. He felt a pressure crushing each part of his body, and the world began to fade away again.

Footsteps came around the corner, and Link winced once more as the lights came on in the room. He knew someone was standing right next to him. His pain grew worse, but Link felt the stranger take his hand. Link obliged, rising to his feet, and all of a sudden the headache and pressure dissolved completely. Link took a good look at the stranger, coming face to face with familiar blue eyes. For a second, he thought he must be dead or dreaming. He never thought he’d see any of his friends again.

“I don’t believe it.” Rusl said, with a weak smile coming to his face.

Johanna

“Please…please answer me” Johanna muttered through tearless weeping. “Sigurd…wherever you are I know you can find me.”

She heard no reply.

“I can’t… I didn’t know.” She cried again. “I thought I could do this, but I... I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

She sits alone in a colorless void.

“Did I ever think I could save people?” She reflected “I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. I thought maybe you would.”

Johanna knew her words were drowned out in the deafening silence of the void.

“I…I screwed up. I lost him. I let go of him and I’m trapped here. I don’t know what to do.”

She looked up hopefully, expecting a reply.

“Is this all just a dream? Is this just a bad dream and I’m laying down somewhere?”

A dim light flickered from her voice as she barked at her surroundings.
“Did I fail? Is this the punishment you were talking about?”

The void grew brighter, revealing the outline of a temple. She recognized it as the temple where she first woke up from a very long sleep.

“Tell me I screwed up! Tell me the world ended already! I don’t care what you say, but ANSWER ME!”

“I’m here, my angel.”A calm, familiar voice spoke. “I am going to help you.”

Johanna sighed in relief as she saw Sigurd before her.

“What do you want from me?” She pleaded “And why can’t you do this yourself?”

“I do not exist in your world. As much as I want to, I will never be able to interact with them as you do.”

“So I can? Why?”

“You once did.”

“Then why don’t I remember anyone?”

“Your memory is part of your mind. You no longer possess your old body, ergo you do not have your past experiences.”

“That doesn’t make sense. I can remember everything after waking up in this place, and… I feel like I remember my name.”

“Johanna.”

“Yeah… that’s it” Johanna stammered, her tone falling somewhere between frustration and surprise.

“Your memories seem important to you, but your nature links you to memory more than you realize.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The visions I gave you are of the departed, transferred by touch.”

“Yeah…” Johanna nodded, though she was visibly confused. “The ones you received in your vision?”

“They are from the victim’s perspective, my angel. They are intact memories of their death.”

“Fine.” Johanna shrugged. “They’re memories, but what does that have to…”

“Your ability to interact with the world is far greater than your physical manifestation. While your outline and your tangible presence are aspects you can alter, you overlook how deeply the human mind and body are connected with this world.”

Confused and unimpressed, Johanna simply replied with a distant stare.
“I wandered in a field for a little bit, and then I sent myself to a dock by accident.” Johanna grumbled “I don’t have any idea what I’m doing, and you’re not helping me a whole lot.”

“You know all that is necessary to help them.”

“First off, I don’t know how to get out of here.”

“How did you arrive?”

“I just…dissolved my physical outline. When I do I can travel wherever I want.”

“Then you must rebuild it to leave.”

“No.” replied Johanna “I’m not doing this. You owe me some answers or else I let the entire world poof out of existence.”

“I’m afraid there is little time for questions.”

“Then make time. Considering I’m the one saving people, don’t I deserve that much?”

“Who have you saved?”

“I…” Johanna paused, struggling to keep her indignation justified. “No one.”

“Then allow me to bargain with you.”

“Sure.” She sighed

“If I promise you clarity when you return with them, will that be enough?”
“Time is running short, huh?”

“It is.”

“So why can’t I go back in time?”

“It is not how your ability works.”

“And how does it work? How do I interact with people’s memories or whatever you were just talking about?”

“Lovingly.”

“Can you just give me one straight answer?”

“One.”

“How did I come back here without the pebble you gave me?”

“Not in spirit. Only in your mind.”

~@~


Johanna awoke inside a cold and very industrial-looking chamber. As she rose to her feet Johanna felt along the walls for something resembling a door. The noise resonating through the metal was deafening, but helped mask her clumsy movements as the Gibraltar jilted from side to side.

“Alright…I’m here.” Johanna muttered to herself. “But where’s here?”
Johanna panned around the room, but found no visible exits. She backed into the center of the room below the flickering light fixture and took a deep breath.

“Please don’t be full of people.”

Johanna became intangible as her outline dissolved into thin air, and moved through the wall. She looked through each wall to gauge what was beyond it. Johanna passed numerous moving mechanical parts as she walked forward, reappearing as she reached another room.

Shuddering as she came in from the right wall, Johanna took a moment to observe the goliath that was the ship’s engine. Long tendrils of steel tubes and bolts ran along the floor and walls, sprawling across chaotically but meeting in a central hub near the back. The room was uncomfortably hot from the furnace, and the air was difficult to breathe from the smog. Shovels lay on the ground next to gargantuan deposits of coal, and the thin layer of dust on the floor was littered with footprints. Apart from the melodic hum of the engine and the dissonant whine of the steam, the room was eerily silent. It looked like every worker had just thrown down their tools and left.

Johanna treaded lightly across the floor as she looked around the room.
“Look deep into their memories…” Johanna sighed as she failed to find the room from the vision, “but do it lovingly”

“I see…” She began, closing her eyes “Windows…a hallway…seats and silent people…. Wait.”

Images flashed away from her mind as quickly as they appeared while Johanna relived the memory again.

“There’s something missing. He’s on the deck, but then suddenly he’s... not, but then an explosion. What did I miss?”

As she reached the far end of the room, the memory became more than images and words…she began to relive it vividly, more intensely than she had before. Completely disconnecting from reality, Johanna began to mentally narrate the events.

“I take each moment to admire the setting sun as I pass outside, and as I reach the end of the hall the bomb… doesn’t go off. Instead, I hide myself underneath stairwell, away from the peripherals of the refugees. Clasping my hands in prayer, I spend a moment in silence I watch the solemn travelers go up and down...am I waiting for someone? Am I going to kill someone? I am lying quietly in wait, observing each passerby with a mirror in my pocket, clenching my off hand as if I had a weapon in it. I glance briefly at my reflection... and shortly after my eyes widen when I find the one I’m waiting for. When he sees his reflection, Ronah finds only his flesh and blood, but something is wrong. When I stare at the mirror, I see two faces, one a bloated mask of anger and hatred, but beyond that I see another… a dying blue glow… beneath his eyes. It’s the compassion I found when I first saw him, but he has long since forgotten it.”

Johanna gasped as she came out of the memory. As her senses returned, she began walking towards the stairwell. She made little effort to walk quietly, each footstep echoing through the chamber. She stopped dead in her tracks as her eyes darted around frantically.

“Why is it quiet all of…”

*clank*

She darted to the left wall and spun around.

*clank * *clank*

The noises came at irregular intervals, but are impossible to find without searching.

*clank* *whirrrrrrr*

Johanna relaxed for a moment as she gathered herself. “Alright…get it together…” She murmured “…help them, get answers. simple.”

Standing near the back of the room put her near the furnaces, and made it difficult to see who was a floor above. Someone wasn’t being subtle, but Johanna wondered whether or not they were the ones who sabotage the ship.

“Maybe that’s it… I stop them, no bomb ever goes off and everything is good.”

Johanna glanced down at her form, remembering who she looked like.
“So if these guys shot him…they’ll try and kill me on sight when I show up again. Great person to change into.”

As she shed her outline away, Johanna moved stealthily up through the chamber’s upper level. While poking her mostly translucent head through the grated floor, Johanna muffled her own horrified scream. Blackened uniforms were thrown in a pile next to a several carts full of corpses
“Oh my gods” she whimpered, watching several men wheel a cart down into the furnace. As intangible as she was, the putrid stench was still unbearable.

“That was the last of them” one man spoke, fumbling through the pile for a fitting uniform. “wasn’t hard, either.”

Both of the men moved out towards the railings. Johanna let herself hang further off of the edge, as she weighed next to nothing without a solid shape.

“You have it?” the other spoke, pointing towards the first man’s bag “The...uh…”

“We’re not using that now.”

“I know, I just…”

“We wait till we’re told to blow it. That’s why we took their clothes” The second one drolled, pointing towards the now empty coal cart.

“I meant the other one.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I dunno, I thought boss told you to bring…”

“Bring what?”a shrill voice called out as Lithgow’s partner re-entered the room.

“Listen, Lady L-Lithgow, I… uh… does he really think we’re going to run into one of them here?” the first man choked

“It’s what he said, isn’t it?” she replied. “I’d say it’s pretty likely.”

“I’ve just heard stories…you know. I’ve never seen a primo before.”

“You’re pretty jumpy. Good thing you didn’t get the trigger.”

The first guard let out a choppy laugh as he rubbed his wrists nervously.
“Sorry. I just hate this waiting around. When’s boss gonna be done, you think?”

“I’m sure he’ll let us know.” The second man grunted. “Now shut up, you’re making me nervous.”

“He said be prepared, not go looking for a fight” Lady Lithgow spat “Just be on the lookout for real threats, like people wondering why the ship is slowing down.”

As the two men left for their posts, Johanna watched as Lady Lithgow approached the railing. It happened all of a sudden; there was something on the lady. Every step Lady Lithgow took towards the railing Johanna found it harder and harder to maintain her intangibility. a thumb and an index finger can support a few extra pounds, but she was appearing completely.

Lady Lithgow looked across the room, not noticing Johanna struggling to remain silent. She felt her body get heavier and heavier and…

*thud*

Her outline had been little more than light and air around her, bending into new shapes as she willed, but this was different. It clung to her now like layers of drenched clothing, a fact she realized all too well as she struggled to phase out of the room. She knew she had made quite a bit of noise in her landing, and they had something dangerous with them; to have her ability to phase nullified in the blink of an eye made her feel more afraid than she ever was in the void.

Johanna struggled to get to her feet, the weight of her outline trying to crush her to the floor. She didn’t see or hear anyone on the railings, so she attempted to move towards the wall she came through. It took every bit of effort in her body to take a step, and it resounded across the room with a tell-tale

*clank*

“Come on…come on you’re better than this” Johanna whimpered, turning her head only to find an empty room behind her. This was more unsettling than if she had seen her assailants coming for her. What were they waiting…

“ungh!” Johanna grunted as she fell, struck in the back of her head by a very blunt and heavy object. Her ‘skull’ blew open from the impact, but she was not human; she could not be killed so easily. She quickly regenerated as the man swung again. As invulnerable to this attack as she may be, the strikes were still painful. Seeing the path of his swing, Johanna stopped it in midair.

The first man panicked as she caught his blow. Johanna herself was distracted for a moment, as in a moment of reactive anger she discovered something new about herself; her hand mimicked the pipe’s material as she gripped it. Her attention broke long enough for the first man to get out of her reach. He looked up towards the balcony as his partner leaped into the fray.

“What are you waiting for!?” the first man screamed, watching Lady Lithgow walk away. “where are you going?!”

Johanna didn’t know how her transformation was possible, but she had little time to think about what she could and couldn’t do right now. The two men watched in awe as Johanna turned her right arm completely into an iron composite.

“Looks like your lady friend split.” Johanna sneered, feeling the weight lift from her shoulders. “She was the only thing that could have saved you, too. I’m not letting either of you go.”

The first man charged Johanna, but without the Lady weighing her down she stepped around his swing. Johanna knew she couldn’t fight, but these two didn’t seem to be any better. If she could get a good hit or two in, Johanna was sure she could get them to surrender.

“Wooooaaaaarrrgggh!” the second man yelled as he bull rushed her from the side, but Johanna could phase now; she simply let the man go straight through her.

“About done there?” Johanna quipped, spinning around to parry another pipe swing.

The first man looked to the railing again and shouted upward. “We can’t pin her down! Lady-”

An iron fist connected with the right side of his face, and it made an awful mess. As he crumpled to the ground, Johanna froze up. As she gasped the second man lined up behind her. “Did…did I just…” she whimpered, looking at the first man’s mangled face. “I didn’t mean to…”

She wasn’t fast enough to avoid the second man’s grapple. Though she could have easily phased through, Johanna was more fixated on the unnatural glow coming from the upper floor…

“What is that woman holding?”
Johanna thought

“Do it!” the man screamed, bracing himself.“Now!”

A flash lit up the room as both Johanna and the second man crumpled to the ground.

~@~

A splash of cold water brought Johanna back to her senses. As her eyes lazily opened, she came face to face with Lady Lithgow. Johanna squirmed for a bit, and felt the ropes cutting into her skin. Her outline was extremely dense once more, weighing down the chair she was tied to.

She didn’t get a good look at it before, but Johanna was sure that whatever knocked her unconscious is what Lady Lithgow had sitting front of her. It looked almost orb-like, but it seemed to hover slightly above the ground. It’s glow could be concealing its true shape, but whatever it was Johanna knew she had to get rid of it. She took a more careful look at the orb, and saw things running into crudely crafted diodes scattered across her arms, legs, and face.

“Look at me.” Lady Lithgow snarled.

Johanna neither replied nor acknowledged her, incensing Lithgow further.

“I said look at me!”

A thousand sparks of pain ran through the diodes as Lady Lithgow squeezed a makeshift trigger. The pressure of her outline crushed her to the point where Johanna could not move or scream. The orb in front of her grew brighter at Lithgow’s command.

“I know what you are.” The lady spat “And I know how to kill you.”

“So do it.” Johanna bluffed, giving her captor a defiant glare. “If you’ve got the guts.”

“I’m sorry… what did you just say?” Lady Lithgow chuckled. “The guts?”

Lithgow caused the orb to light up the entire chamber. To Johanna it was an incalculable pain which tore past her outline. It wasn’t like being hit with a pipe; to her, it felt like a thousand white-hot needles burned every inch of her skin.

“Now…” Lady Lithgow began “I’m going to ask you some simple questions.”

Link
“Maybe… 2 or 3 months?” Link shrugged. “I’ve lost count.”

“It’s been almost a year.” Rusl corrected. Beyond the surprise and the relief, Link heard much weariness in Rusl’s voice.

“And how long have you been trying to find me?”

“I left a few months after you disappeared.”

“You’re angry at me for disappearing, but you’ve done the same thing!”
Link shouted. “You have a family and you just abandoned them?”

“You’re family, Link.” Rusl began “You may think differently, but you’re the world to us.”

“Do you even know why I’m out here?”

“It’s not like we could have asked you.”

“How did you even find me?”

“I don’t know.” Rusl stated “But I’m glad I did. What happened to you? You changed when you came back from the desert. What happened?”

“Alright” Link sighed “I guess I owe you that much.”

Rusl nodded attentively.

“I lost someone when we saved Hyrule. Her name is Midna. She left of her own will, but she had to destroy the mirror.”

“I’m sorry…the mirror?” Rusl interrupted.

“Didn’t I… Don’t you know about the twilight mirror?” Link asked, puzzled.
Rusl shrugged.

“It’s the gateway between our world and the twili. Midna destroyed it to keep us safe.”

“Link…” Rusl began, warily “… What are you looking for out here?”

Link took a deep breath as he thought of how best to explain himself.
“There’s another way…” Link murmured. “I thought the mirror was unique, but I’ve heard rumors.”

“Of what?”

“Another way to the twilight realm.”

“Tell me.” Rusl said, now staring attentively into Link’s eyes.

“I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s very well hidden, and it’s very sought after.”

“How do you know?”

“This.” Link said, pulling a piece of parchment from his pocket. “It’s part of a map.”

“To what?”

“So’s this…” Link continued, ignoring the question. “It cost me an arm and a leg, but I got it.”

The two pieces of the map lined up seamlessly.

“You paid a large sum of money?” Rusl asked “And just took their words without a bit of skepticism?”

“I know how it sounds, but this thing is out there.”

“Does it even have a name?”

“I…” Link stuttered “they never actually gave its name.”

“Link… come back home. Come back with me to Ordon.” Rusl pleaded. “You’ve been on a wild goose chase for months and for what? For half of a tattered map and some empty promises?”

“You don’t understand…” Link muttered, suddenly aware of how insane he must seem to his friend. “I…”

“Please.” Rusl repeated, clasping his hands together. "You don't know how much your absence is hurting everyone. We're missing a piece of Ordon that hasn't found his way back home."

“Rusl… this is it. This is everything I’ve ever worked for. I… this means the world to me.”

“You mean the world to me!” Rusl interrupted, teary eyed “And I don’t want to lose you again!"

“Maybe he’s right…” Link thought “All this time spent chasing some wild dream… but…”

“Rusl... I don’t know how else to explain myself to you. You’re my friend, but I’m so close. Even if this entire trip has been all for nothing, if I turn back now I’ll never know. I never…” He trailed off, beginning to tear up himself. “I’ve never had someone mean so much to me before. Imagine our positions reversed, and you were looking for Uli… what would I say to you?”

“I…” Rusl began, confused “I don’t know.”

“Then how can you ask me to turn back when we would be in identical situations?”

“Link, I…” Rusl trailed off, obviously distraught. “Then let me come with you. It’s the least I can do.”

“Rusl, you have a family to go back to. They’re waiting for you… I feel my future calls me to darker places.”

“I’ve come too far to turn back now. I told my wife and sons about this, and they understand how important it is for me to find you.”

“Well, you found me. I’m alright.”

“I didn’t make this trek alone, I brought friends with me.”

“The Resistance?”

“Not the ones you remember.”

“I don’t understand…”

“They part of a group calling themselves ‘vittles’.”

Link stopped cold in his tracks. “The ones who shot Pryderi…?” he thought “Rusl is…he’s part of that?”

Link began to draw shorter and shallower breaths as he stepped back. The room began spinning again as he looked at his friend in fear.

“Rusl.”

“What’s wrong?” Rusl asked, worried at Link’s current hysteria “Are you alright?”

“No.” Link replied “Rusl...the vittles?”

"What's going on?" Rusl asked

"How long have you been in this place?" Link asked, though he wasn't expecting an answer. "I've only been here for a few hours, and I know the vittles are terrorists, Rusl. I watched them kill two men in cold blood before they boarded the ship."

"What are you talking about?" Rusl asked, though it seemed he was trying to appear ignorant of Link's previous comment. "They're freedom fighters, they're people just like the Resistance in Ordon. They're..." he shrugged "They're trying to get their homeland back from a tyrant who's gone mad with power!"

No they're not. Link thought. No matter what their intentions are, all they've accomplished is turning a beautiful city into a wasteland.

"Rusl, we didn't kill people. We didn't risk civilian lives. When I had to kill Ganondorf, it was because there was no other way to stop him."

"Things are different here." Rusl assured him. "Sometimes, these measures are necessary."

I know I told him about the twili... Link thought. I told him everything...how could he not remember?

"They're never necessary, Rusl. Killing civilians is never part of a goal to free the people. It's meant to spread fear and destruction."

"This land...it's a much different place than Hyrule" Rusl reminded him "It doesn't have fantastic creatures or magic threatening it, nor do they have it at their disposal. These are normal people, driven to desperate measures by their situation."

"There are lines you just don't cross! You were the one who taught me that!" Link shouted "We were normal people! The resistance was made of ordinary people driven to a higher cause, and we never resorted to this!"

"We were fighting something without a conscience."

"Does that mean we should abandon ours? Only look out for the common interest as it suits us? What happened to you?" What happened to the Rusl I knew?

This can't be happening He thought as he spoke. This can't be real. This can't be my friend.

"Rusl..." Link began, this time in hostile tones. "What...what were the names..." he trailed off

This doesn't make sense. How could Rusl not know his family's names? How could... Link gasped. But Johanna...the woman I met...she could... oh my gods

"What are the names of your children?" Link demanded

“Is this a joke?” Rusl paused

"No. You see, I met this woman a few hours ago. She could change her form into someone she saw. The way you're talking, I think you've got to be one of them, too."

"This is insane!" Rusl shouted "You know me!"

"I don't think I do..." Link said, slowly backing away from his friend.

Rusl stepped back as well.

“I guess it’s too late for you, then.”
Rusl said, but this time was different. He didn’t sound like his friend at all... his voice overtook the ambient noises of the Gibraltar, and drowned them out. Whatever the creature was, it was not his friend. If the shapeshifting had not given it away, the creature's telling lunge surely did.

Thinking quickly, Link grabbed the creature's arm, immediately noticing the dagger it gripped. He wasn't fast enough to stop it, but Link turned the blade away from his vitals. It struck somewhere between his hip and his thigh.

Link let out a cry of pain as he fell to one knee. Link looked up as he prepared to flee, but fell again as Rusl dealt an abnormally powerful blow to Link’s jaw. Link collapsed on the floor.

Link attempted to swing around and strike his assailant, but watched as his swing went right through him. He fell again as he lost his balance, this time landing on the dagger.

Link watched as the creature backed away, grasping its arm in pain. Glowing handprints had formed around where Link had grabbed him.

"I knew it." The creature grunted, the handprints audibly singeing amongst the noises of the ship. "He sent you, did he? He saved you, did he?"

"What are you talking about?"

"It doesn't matter. It's a complication I can easily work around."

Link backed against the wall as the creature's glowing scars regenerated.

“Archie!” Rusl called out, and moments later Link heard someone enter the room. He felt himself forcibly picked up and come face to face with his friend. Link watched in horror as Rusl’s face contorted and shifted into something else… someone else. His face, or at least the person he turned into wore a permanent scowl across his face. It was pitch black, but several glowing sigils stood out. They were etched into his face, like tattoos.

“I’ll be taking that map now.” The creature spoke, signaling Archie to hold him down. After pocketing the map fragments, Archie held Link more tightly as the creature came uncomfortably close to him. “This is going to feel a little strange.”

Link screamed in pain as the creature put both hands on his forehead, and Link saw his memories flash before his eyes again. Each second was more excruciating than the last. Link felt the pressure around his head reappear, and it began to grow worse the longer the creature probed through him. It felt like he was going to burst…

“He doesn’t know anything.” The creature lamented, and Archie promptly released him.

“What are you?!” Link demanded, nearly doubling over in agony.

“The name’s Leland.” The creature replied. “And that numbing poison should be kicking in soon.”

“From what?” Link began, but called his attention to the dagger protruding from his leg.

“See, friend… I’m not going to just leave you here to die. Seeing as we failed to kill you at the Bulbin camp I’m going make sure all of our loose ends are cleaned up. I’m going to have Archie break your neck and stuff you into a box somewhere. Now if you’ll excuse me, my window is almost up.”

“Window… wha… I… I can’t breathe” Link choked “I can’t f…feel…a-anything”

“Archie…” Leland began “… you know.”

Leland left the room hastily as Archie turned his gaze toward Link. He approached him menacingly.

Link grasped the blade tucked away in his tunic… the one he grabbed from Pryderi. He wasn’t going to die like this. Alone, afraid, helpless… his future called him to darker places.
Last Edited by Trudeau; 06-26-2010 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Advertisement

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:01 PM.

Copyright © 2014 Zelda Universe - Privacy Statement -