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Stewart
April 27th, 2003, 06:16 PM
Here we go again.

Dominous watched over the dying figure of his father, the ancient form of the man who had once led armies was now a pitiiful sght to behold. His fur had long ago fallen out; he was completely bare save the loincloth around his waste. His fatless flesh was creased with thick wrinkles that screamed of his extreme age. Dominous took the hand of his father's into his own, his own slender fingers intertwining with those of the man who had given him the life he had for so long now lived. Yet seeing all this, experiencing every raspy, labored breath, seeing every twitchy movement of this dying body Dominous felt no grief. He felt nothing but a shallow emptiness and a shame he knew would be eternal, for he was not feeling the things he should at this most terrible of moments.
Dominous looked up at the slave master that was watching over him on the other side of the tent and glared. It was dangerous to show his anger so plainly, the slave master was staring right back at him and could see it as clear as a cloudless day. He could see the hostility on the face of the slave that was Dominous and could without any consequence retaliate if he desired to do so. The dagger sheathed at his side was no more than a small reminder of this fact. Even still, Dominous glared, pouring every ounce of hatred and bitterness he felt at this moment into his eyes. After a moment however he looked back down at his father who was beginning to stir and wake for perhaps the last time.
At first Dominous' father just stared straight up at the roof, gazing at the light that was shining through the thin white cloth of the structure. Dominous tried to imagine it, seeing light for the final time, the brightness terrifying as the realization that of death came to be and at the same time the wondrousness of the beauty it beheld. His father's eyes then shifted, the pupils sliding across the orange of his eyes, scanning his surroundings, searching for the source of the hand that gripped so tightly his own dying paw. When their eyes met, father's and son's there was a silence like none other Dominous had ever felt, a silence accompanied by a feeling of fear and anxiety that Dominous could not put into words if he tried. In his father's eyes he saw everything, every fear and courage, every stupidity and spark of genius, everything that characterized the living. Then the old man's lips moved, a whisper so faint emerging that it was barely heard by Dominous.
Dominous knelt down closer, moving his long pointed ear above his fathers mouth but keeping at least some distance. There was a fear in him that he could not understand, this fragile creature, this man holding on to life by a broken thread was his father, why should he be afraid?
"You are my son?" The whisper asked, Dominous barely comprehended the tiny voice. Dominous nodded and a spark appeared in his father's tired eyes. "You are Dominous Don Dragius?" His father questioned.
"I am Dominous Don Dragius, I am your son, you are my father." Dominous said, his voice seemed like a bellowing horn in comparison to that of his father's. His father took a deep breath and closed his eyes. For a moment it seemed nothing else happened, and indeed Dominous thought his father had perished. Then however his eyes opened, so quickly and so suddenly that Dominous jumped with surprise. He heard the cruel snicker of the slave master but ignored it for his father once again began to speak.
"I had a dream once." His father said, his voice even weaker than before. Dominous had to use all his concentration to hear him now. "I dreamt of creating an empire. I dreamt of marching my legions across the world and uniting all of our kind under one banner." His father with more extertion than Dominous had ever seen a man give lifted Dominous' hand and placed it on his chest where the slave masters had long ago burned the mark of a slave into his flesh. "Let this be your banner my son. Swear to me that my dream will no die here. That someday you will lead your legions and throw off the chains that bind us. That you will march across the land and create such an empire that the Gods in the realm of heaven will look down upon you and smile, and then upon your death they will see as an equal in their presence. Swear to me." The intensity with which these words were spoken seemed impossible as they were barely audible, Dominous just stared blankly at his father trying to comprehend the immensity of what was being asked of him. But could he say no?
These were his fathers last words, the last request this man would ever make of anyone before he passed on into death. If there was ever a more sacred thing than this Dominous knew not what it was. To make it more momentous Dominous was this dying man's son, if he agreed to this now than he would have to give his best try at doing so. To do otherwise would bring upon him such shame that he would never be able to live with himself. His own slave mark, burned onto his body when he was but ten years old seemed to tingle a reminder of what he was, little more than a slave to the will of others stronger than he was, stronger than he could ever be. But he had to try.
"I swear on your death, on my life father that if it can be done, I will do this. I will create an empire more grand than any other, and I will do it in our name." Dominous said.
With this Anagius Dan Dragius, father of Dominous Don Dragius time ended.
Dominous let the now lifeless hand of his father go, the last warmth of his parent's life still on his palms. He placed it on the mark over his heart and remembered what he had been told. This would be his banner, and someday if it was possible at all he would have an army to follow it.

John
April 30th, 2003, 12:35 AM
I loved the bit you posted. It is quite effective in capturing the emotion of the scene. Also it is a great starting point for a quest your main character can concentrate on during the start of your story.

See if you can throw the reader a curve ball as you progress. So it's not a generic slave tries to rise above his lot in life story.

John

Hemingway
April 30th, 2003, 01:23 AM
Keep in mind I'm a pretty tough critic....

I realize the scene is an intrical portion of the story, and thus you want to depict the scene with the brutal clarity we all identify with death...but I felt the scene was a little too drawn out. I believe you go for the readers heart, hard, fast, and quick. Also I believe the larger paragraphs could be seperated in a few spots, sometimes long paragraphs become somewhat tedious.

On a more positive note, the scene and emotion while slightly corny, was still described with a pretty adequate rendering of eloquence...but is the scene going to haunt me in my sleep...no unfortunately not. But I think that's what you'd like to aim for.

I like your sparse use of cognitive words, that's a big plus on your side. I hate to shoot down a story from the outset, but I'd refain from using a slave rises above his station to become some mighty warlord..it's just been done too many times before.

Also an elf as a slave is a bit monotonous. How about making the elves the slavemasters...that would be something readers might readily identify with.

Stewart
April 30th, 2003, 08:40 AM
The story isn't solely about the slave. You see the story is about an Empire, from it's rise to it's fall. What I'm going to do is start off with this guy write about him until it stops being interesting, kill him off and starting writing from the POV of his successor. I'm going to continue this process until I reach the end where the Alien Empire I'm writing about encounters us and all hell breaks loose.
And don't feel bad about being a good critc for heavens sake, it's the only way I'll learn.

John
April 30th, 2003, 07:25 PM
Killing off your main characters repeatively?

I haven't seen that done sucessfully yet. I think it's because as the character develops and grows, you can go into more depth into the character. If you keep killing off the characters then doing that will be more difficult. Also what you're suggesting will make the story line difficult to follow, and readers have a habit of getting attached to characters and hating the writer when the character they like dies.

Maybe you can do it successfully despite all the problems I think there will be. Wish you well.

John

Hemingway
April 30th, 2003, 07:43 PM
I agree, it's a creative endeavor..but characterization will most likely suffer in the process. I suppose it is possible to be done well, but it would be extremely difficult...the storyline would have to outweight the yearning for characterization. I've seen one guy able to pull it off, Philip Jose Farmer (the storyline causing the reader to be able to overlook characterization that is).

Stewart
May 1st, 2003, 03:54 PM
I don't mean I'm going to bump off character after character... well... ummm... for example the character I'm starting off with. I'm write with him as the main character until he grows old and dies, I'm not going to just kill him off suddenly, that would be stupid. After he dies his son will become the main character as he is the heir to the throne. I'm going to continue the cycle from ruler to ruler until it reaches the empires fall. It could take me forever to write, but hey I'm still 16 Ihave plenty of time!

pcarney
May 2nd, 2003, 08:49 AM
You mentioned that the dying father's fur had all fallen out, so I'm guessing that these slaves aren't human?

Well, if so, maybe you can use this as an opportunity to further describe what the protagonists look like ie- the son recalling what the father looked like in his prime, as opposed to the withered wreck dying infront of him now.

Stewart
May 2nd, 2003, 11:37 PM
Humans don't come along until the very closing of the story and I was at quite the deliberation as how to let the reader no what the alien race looks like without making it seem awkward so I just started writing and figured I'd fix it later.

And I think I may ditch the whole slave thing, it has been overdone and would be hokey.