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Two Claws
February 28th, 2002, 09:51 AM
I had this idea for a novel, so I wrote what could be the first chapter, and I just want to know what you people think of it.

(note: the things between underscores are suppose to be italicized)

A young man entered the archery range. His light brown hair waved in the wind, and he had a serious cast in each of his hazel coloured eyes. He walked over to the small booth set at the entrance, stepping between the two trolls who guarded the range.
"Ah, Saethydd, my young friend," a voice, light and merry greeted him, and distinctly feminine at that.
"Oh, you know me, Sky," he replied, a smile coming across the almost brooding look that tended to dominate his face. He looked into the twin green eyes and said "Just one quiver today. An extra load at the docks, and I need the cash. This thing," he gestured nonchalantly at the battered bow held loosely in his left hand, "is getting a little too much use."
"Saeth, you really do need a new bow. Why not borrow one of mine?" she pointed over to the rack behind her, laden with bows in much worse condition than the one Saethydd was carrying.
"Sky," he laughed, "I'm quite that desperate yet."
"Well, you should come visit more often you know," she smiled, and looked him in the eyes while handing him a full quiver of arrows.
"I'm a busy, busy man, you know," Saethydd grinned widely, and waved to his friend as he turned and walked over to the range itself. Skyla's business was blooming with new people entering, ones that were rich enough to afford trainers, and those who had been saving most of the week for the chance to get out and lose some stress.
Saethydd stepped up to the line of rocks placed 50 paces from the targets. _It is practical,_ he thought, knowing that most people were not then yet ready to be shooting much more than ten inches from the target, much less 50 paces, _At least she knows her business._
Saethydd bent the frame of the bow, and placed the loop on the loose end of the wire on a small notch etched into the frame. His hand fitted about the tight leather grip that was placed in front of him, and he tested the tension of the bow, as he always did before he shot. Many a death could be attributed to the whiplike action of the twisted wire as it snapped and slashed with a sharpness equal to any _rekhora_ blade.
"Still testing out your strings, eh Saeth?" a man's voice from behind caused him to look over his shoulder at the speaker.
"Well, when one learns things the hard way, Gretch, they tend to stay learned." Saethydd said, disappointed with the speaker.
The man laughed, leaning back slightly to show a small scar on his throat, ending mere inches from the massive neck vein.
"I said I was sorry, is that not good enough for you?" Gretch almost leered. Almost.
"Gretch, you nearly killed me!" Saethydd exclaimed. As was always the case when he remembered the accident, his neck twinged where a long, thin white scar covered his neck from the tip of the jugular down to the windpipe.
"And I'm sorry about it," Gretch said, walking over to Saethydd and squatting beside him, peering at the obsidian colour of the battered wooden bow, "And when are you going to replace that piece of crap with something a little better?"
Saethydd stood coldly, and belted the quiver across his chest. He alwasy felt naked without the tight feeling of the strap across his frame.
"Oh, come off it, Saeth," Gretch also stood and walked closer to Saethydd, "We lived, and isn't that enough?"
"Gretch, you didn't test your wire, and when you showed me how good your _rekhora_ frame was. It snapped the damn wire and nearly killed the two of us."
"Saethydd, I was the one who saved you, remember?" The cold blue of Gretch's eyes became even more pronounced.
"Gretch, shut up."
Gretch walked away from Saethydd, uttering not a word. Saethydd's hand instinctively reached over to the barely visible scar on his neck. _So young,_ he thought, thinking about Gretch and himself, _How could we have known?_
Shaking his head, he nocked an arrow and raised his bow. He drew the string tight, and felt the fletching of the soft feathers on his arrow tickle his cheeck in two places. He released.
The arrow launched itself from it's home, propelled by the strong frame. It sped across the 50 yards of space in seemingly no time and slammed into the thatched target, barely missing the heart painted on. Saethydd drew again, glancing down the smooth wood of the arrow straight to it's _rekhora_ head. He released again.
The almost overwhelming din quieted instantly. Saethydd was more preoccupied with the arrow. It simply stood in the air, as if being restrained. A hand rested on his shoulder.
"Saethydd..." The voice whispered, and Saethydd swung his head, swinging his bow along with him. Or trying to. The frame resisted in the air, budging about as much as the arrow that had still not left the frame.
"Saethydd..." the voice whispered once more, soft and beckoning, and his gaze fell upon a man in black robes seated in the bar area of the range. The eyes that peered from the hood were green and menacing, and a pale, thin white hand raised up. It extended a finger at Saethydd, almost as if accusing him of something, then it overturned and beckoned him to come. He let go of his bow and walked mindlessly to the seated figure. The eyes glowed with promises to come.
The world snapped back into normal, and the bow and arrow, abandoned, sat in the air for an instant before falling behind him. Not that Saethudd was looking at his bow, for the speaker had vanished before his eyes, and Saethydd had lost sight of him. Saethydd spun and managed to catch a quick glimpse of a reflection off of the bright grey of the arrowhead as it disappeared over the fence. He looked about quickly, and realizing that nobody was watching him, he walked over to his bow and retrieved it. As he raised his bow again, he realized he was shaking and cursed silently. He lowered the bow and walked unsteadily over to a bench (which was really just a log split lengthwise sitting on two stumps) where he sat down heavily. Skyla left the booth to the silent trolls and walked over to him.
"What was that?" she asked, her green eyes opened wide and voice trembling. She unconsciously brushed a strand of fiery hair away, out of her sight.
"I-I don't know..." Saethydd looked up at her, his eyes imploring, his own voice weak in his throat, "Did - did you seem him?"
"See who?" she asked, her voice still weak, though stronger the second time, "All I saw was you suddenly appear ten feet away from your bow, facing the bar, and, and looking around."
"Nevermind," he said, and ran his fingers through his thick hair.
"Nevermind what?" she asked him, sitting beside her friend, her arm encircling his waist.
"I - I have to... to go." He said, springing to his feet. he started to run from the range, but was stopped by the two trolls towering over him. They hand unslung their obsidian axes from their belts and gripped them tightly in one hand.
"Why do you need to go?" Skyla asked once more from behind him, and he spun around quickly, as if his life hung on the balance if it did.
"I have to go! Why can't I leave?" he said, his voice rising in panic, glancing nervously about. Why couldn't she understand? When he realized that Skyla wouldn't let him leave, he tried to break through the wall of stony flesh that barred the gate. A hand grabbed the back of his shirt and dragged him back into the compound. Saethydd suddenly realized that most of the crowd had ceased speaking, and all their attention was focused on him.
"Another move, and those trolls will kill you," the silky voice of Gretch whispered in his ear, "I can help you with that problem."
Saethydd felt the weight of the quiver fall from his back, and he smiled to Gretch weakly, thanking him lightly for his help.
"How about a drink at the Wyvern?" Gretch offered, his arm around Saethydd's shoulders in a show of camaraderie that announced to all what the situation was, "We can celebrate my impending promotion."
"I - I can't, Gretch," Saethydd stuttered, removing the weighted arm from around his shoulder, "I have to go." and with that, Saethydd trotted around the corner of the gate, disappearing from view. Skyla stood in the middle of the yard, a confused expression on her face.
"That one," Gretch said to no one in particular, "needs to take better care of his friends." nobody noticed the Gretch's fist grip tightly on the hilt of the black dagger at his waist.
"He needs to be taught indeed," the silky voice answered to him, lightly resting a hand on his shoulder.
"You were too strong on him, Dalkhan," Gretch snapped, glaring at the black robed man who stood behind him, "You knew he couldn't handle that happening."
"But," Dalkhan replied, his voice as smooth as ever, "when it happens again, he will not be so inclined to react so... strongly."
"Yes..." Gretch's voice was weak and his eyes glazed. Dalkhan smiled to himself. _Oh, yes,_ he thought, _we will teach Saethydd well..._

February 28th, 2002, 12:08 PM
Hi Two Claws,

Thanks for posting here, but we do actually have a story submission section here at SFFWorld.com for this purpose, rather than actually filling the boards with massive posts. We have reminded other members of this as well, and I do so again now for the sake of consistency. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

Cheers, Neil

March 9th, 2002, 04:53 PM
Hi Two Claws

I just saw that no one had commented on your piece of story yet, so therefore I'll try to write a response. I hope you're still around to read it.

I liked your story. It made me curious as to what was going on. If I should critique something, I think it would be the length of the passage of conversation at the beginning. I found it hard to picture the women he was talking to. And knowing nothing of the two character, their conversation told me very little. Only that they were apparently friends.

I really liked the part where you described Saethydd's shooting with the bow. The way you showed us the loosing of each arrow was very skillful done, I think.

The last part was maybe a bit confusing, with the sudden reapparence of Gretch and all. I didn't really understand why Skyla wouldn't let him leave. She seemed to be a friend, at least in the first part. It also seemed, as they sat on the bench, that she didn't know about the black robed wizard. But that, of course, might have been a lie.

The slight confusion was a bit disturbing, but not much. In fact it might actually help increase the mystery, as long as you manage to clear it up as the story unfolds.

In short, I thought it was a promising start for a novel.