Sunday, November 1, 2009


I figured I'd post this up here to see if anyone has any critiques on my writing. But here is 1910 words for my first day of writing:

Chapter 1 – Chasing Myths

The falling snow whipped between the trees, driven by the unceasing winter winds. These were the Shalomnori Wilds, an ancient forest settled on the northeastern shores of Ortheon. Stories had been passed for generations of a witch living deep in the woods that killed wayward travelers. No one was entirely sure if the stories were true, but many people had vanished without a trace over the years.

Cloaked by the growing darkness, three of the King's soldiers trudged through the snow drifts. All were clad in full plate mail armor, clutching their heavy woolen cloaks close to their bodies.

“Do you think the stories are true?” Taliel, the youngest of the group piped up. He had only enlisted a year ago and this was his first assignment. Not jaded from battle, his boyish good looks stood in stark contrast to his two superiors.
Keladkha Silverkin had enlisted nearly a decade before and had served alongside the eldest member of the party, Shen Matale, in the Tracopian Reunification War. The war had been a brutal retribution from King Tiethal for an attempt to leave the empire by the border tribes. Entire villages had been ordered burned and its inhabitants killed. The soldiers of this war still harbored bad feelings towards the King for the terrors they still experienced every night.

“We better hope so, if the King wants us to bring her in,” Keladkha replied. “The plague is hitting Belnor bad and anything that can help is much needed.”
It had been six moons since the first residents of the city fell dead in the streets. The months following saw it spread to all edges of the empire. Cities across the country stood on the brink of anarchy as citizens clamored for answers. Theories as to the source ranged from attempts by the neighboring nations to seize land to dark cults of necromancers building armies of undead.
The King was desperately searching for a cure, seeking the counsel of mages and alchemists from all corners. When nothing had proved effective, he expanded the search into myths and urban legends. To this end, he sent soldiers out in hopeless searches for items of lore.

“You have to admit that many strange things happen in these woods. We have been walking for nearly a fortnight and have yet to see any animals, not even the birds are singing.”

The group continued to trudge on in silence as each became more aware of the howling winds. As night finally fell on the area, the trio found a small area sheltered by fallen trees to set-up camp. The drifts were slightly lower here and they went about unrolling their bedrolls and gathering wood for a fire.

“It's hopeless, we'll never get a fire going in this,” Taliel lamented after trying for nearly an hour to get one started.

“Guess we'll just have to deal with cold waybread,” Shen muttered, tossing the rock hard bread to the other members of the party.

“How come you never talk about the Reunification War? It was such a great victory for the empire, but it's never brought up,” Taliel questioned.

“Too many dark memories, too many friends lost,”Keladkha wearily said.
“Yeah, but there must be some interesting story to tell.”

“So you want to hear a war story. I've got an interesting one to tell you,” Keladkha spat angrily. “We were deep in the Tracopes, a small town called Quann. It was nothing more than a fishing and farming village situated on a picturesque lake. Rolling hills, green pastures, even a waterfall and river going through the middle of the town. It was the kind of place that you would want to settle down and retire in. The people were friendly to the king and we had spent nearly a week camped on the edges. They constantly brought us food and gifts to help in the war against the rebels. Orders came down a couple days later that the town was to be eliminated. Knowing that insubordination meant death, we entered the town on a dark, moonless night. Half of our unit went around gathering up the residents and locking them into the town hall. The rest of us started torching homes and pillaging belongings. The fires lit the area up like it was midday and the smell of burning wood flooded the nostrils. The last building we lit on fire was the town hall. I can still hear their screams...” Keladkha trailed off with a mournful look. “You wanted a war story, that is how the war was fought. There was no majestic cavalry charges, no brilliant strategy, just the endless slaughter of innocent citizens.”

Taliel was left speechless as both Keladkha and Shen stood up and curled up on their bedrolls. Sleep would not come easily tonight.

The early morning rays signaled that the snowstorms that had plagued them for the last week had finally passed. The members of the party went about their packing up tasks silently, the memories of last night's discussions fresh in their minds. As they set out on their trek, they each knew that the journey should be ending soon. There was only one portion of the forest that had yet to be checked. It was also the one that was the central part of most stories.

Hours passed as they continued to wander through the freshly fallen snow. The reassuring whistling of the wind was replaced with an uneasy silence. The only sounds to be heard for miles was the crunching of their metal boots in the snow.
“What was that?” Shen called out suddenly.

“I didn't see anything,” Keladkha replied.

“I saw something walking over there,” he said motioning towards an opening in the trees.

“Let's keep moving and keep our eyes open. I have a bad feeling about this area.”
Over the next hour or so, there was numerous sightings of something brown moving around in the trees. Upon further inspection though, every time showed no evidence of someone being there. No tracks, no broken twigs, it was almost as though their eyes had been playing tricks on them.

As dusk began to fall over the woods, the three soldiers entered a narrow ravine. The walls of it were barely wider than their own shoulders, little room to move and so tight in places that they had to move sideways. By the time they had made it halfway through the ravine, they began hearing rustling behind them. It was indistinct at first, but there was a loud whoosh as the sound began gaining on them rapidly. They barely had time to turn around before they saw a wave of flames overtake them.

Keladkha, who was in the rear of the group, was the first to be overtaken by the flames. The pain was excruciating, it felt as though he was being boiled alive in his heavy plate mail. Slowly, as the pain grew to be much, his outer extremities began to shut down. His legs gave way and his arms were unable to stop the fall. He landed face first in the mud they had been traversing. He tried to scream, but the sound died before it even left his throat. As he lay on the ground, the last thing he remember was the flames diminishing and a figure approaching him.

Chapter 2 – Rescue?

Keladkha woke with a gasp. He thought that he would have died in the flames, but the room seemed to be real enough and his entire body ached. He was unsure what room exactly he was in. It appeared to be a small, possibly one-room cabin. His rough wooden bed was in the corner of the room, opposite a large hearth filled with various size cauldrons. There was a small wooden table on the other end of the room on which his armor lay. It appeared to be heavily blackened, but still together. The walls of the cabin were covered in the hides of various woodland creatures.
Unsure of who the figure approaching him had been and who brought him here, he tried to sit up in bed. With a grunt of pain, he quickly gave up that plan. It was apparent that the flames had caused him some serious damage. Slowly pulling the sheets away, he noticed that most of his body was wrapped in coarse linen bandages.
Suddenly, he realized that Shen and Taliel were nowhere to be seen. Whoever rescued him surely should have gotten them too. Maybe this was a small village and they were being held in a different house. Maybe, the savior was headed back to get them now. Keladkha refused to believe that anything bad could have happened to them. He had been the first to be overcome by the fire, they were still fighting on when he had passed out.

While waiting for this mysterious person to return, sleep overcame him. Unsure of how much time had passed, his eyes fluttered open. His vision was blurry, but the room around him seemed darker. As his vision came to, he noticed a figure kneeling down by the hearth tending to the fire.

“Who are you?” he asked, stumbling over the words.

“Ah, you're awake. I was beginning to worry to about,” replied a young female's voice as she turned to face him.

“A wood elf? But no one has seen your kind for centuries.”

“We are able to hide far away from your meddling kind. Some of the others aren't happy about bringing a human here. Especially one of noble descent.”

“Noble descent? I am merely a soldier in the King's army.”

“Hmm... We must have been mistaken. But please rest now. The attack has left you severely weakened.”

“Who attacked me? Was it one of your kind or something else? And where are Shen and Taliel? What have you done with them?”

“You really should relax,” she said as she came and sat on a stool next to his bed. At this close proximity, Keladkha was awestruck by her beauty. Her face was unblemished and her large brown eyes were easy to get lost in. She had her long brown hair pulled up into a ponytail. “You've been running a fever since you were brought here,” she calmly said, placing a cold towel on his forehead. “Your questions will be answered in time, as I am not knowledgeable enough on what's happening?”

With that, she stood up to grab a platter of food sitting on the table. She placed it on a table beside the bed and walked from the structure, leaving him to his thoughts. He wondered why she seemed so reluctant to answer his questions. Was he to expect the worst? It didn't seem like they had been the ones to attack him, but he couldn't be entirely sure.

There was no reason to get so worked up right now, so he switched his attention to the food left by the elf. It smelled amazing to him, especially in comparison to the stale bread they had been eating for two weeks. It seemed to be local plants stewed in a creamy sauce with some freshly baked bread on the side. Even though there wasn't much, every bite was surprisingly filling.

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