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August 22nd, 2004, 04:22 PM
This is my own little story I've been working on for a while. I'm not really looking for editing (I have several people already), but any feedback would be great. Tell me things you like/dislike.

The call of Oblivion
2198 (3rd year of the Kilsen)

Durinus was ready to pass out as he stared down at his journal he had kept during his work with the excavation crew. Getting up from the padded wooden chair, he walked past his bathroom and into the small kitchen in his hut and opened a cupboard. Digging through the cluttered storage space, he found a bottle of wine he had been saving over the last fifteen years. Placing the bottle on a countertop, Durinus opened a different cupboard and removed a crystal goblet.
Uncorking the bottle, Durinus poured himself a glass of estina red which was informally - though commonly - known as estina fire. Taking a small sip of the wine, Durinus nearly coughed from the burn that accompanied the fine drink. Although he was not much of a drinker, Durinus still loved the sizzling wine.
Tilting his head back in exhaustion, Durinus stared at the domed stone ceiling of his small four room dwelling. His eyes slowly scanned the cracks in the stone as he lost himself in memory. When the promise of riches had driven hordes of people to the untamed soils of Undesia, they had originally attempted to build clay brick houses. The people had learned very quickly that such ungrounded homes could not stand the ravages of the tornados that plagued the young city.
As a solution, many small homes were dug into the side of the mountain that stood as a silent guardian of Undesia. As the population grew higher, so did the dwellings. Now the sight of dwellings was one to behold. A full twelve stories of dug in homes scaled the mountain, each story being ten homes across. Durinus was lucky enough to have gotten one on the third floor, since the higher up someone’s dwelling was, the more ladders they had to climb. Even with the advancement of housing, there was simply not enough of the mountain to build into. So, as a result many were forced to find other forms of housing, some even digging their dwellings underground.
Moving to his door, Durinus stood and simply gazed at the night sky as he had done so often in his time in Undesia. As his experienced eyes put together the constellations, his gaze inevitably shifted to the three moons that orbited the planet Krysion. The third moon, Rysin, had caused a major panic when it had simply appeared one night six years ago. The moon had been named Rysin because in the language of the ancients, Rysin translated to Demon star. The people were quick to fear the new satellite of Krysion, despite the lack of change to the world. Somehow the new moon did not affect the currents in the least. Currently people still did not know what to make of the demon star.
Tearing his gaze from the haunting moons, Durinus looked down the ladder to see Eitha climbing up the ladder, heading toward his dwelling. He was hit by a wave of sadness that had become all too common to the tall priest. Over the six years Eitha had been in Undesia, her love for him had grown, as had his for her, but because of his vow of celibacy, he could not allow himself to openly express that love. Slowly he made his way back into the kitchen and sat at one of his two hardwood chairs.

“No one should ever drink wine alone,” an expected voice rang out.
“Please join me,” Durinus said without moving his head, bidding her to sit in the other chair with a wave of his hand.
Durinus sat in silence looking at her, drinking in her beauty. Eitha was the most beautiful woman in all of Undesia. Her form was as perfect as any woman could ever have, not too plain, not overly curved. When she smiled, a beautiful innocence melted any ill feelings, as though the rough and ferocious world touched her soul not at all. There was happiness in that smile for Durinus, but also an undercurrent of pain that only those who had ever been restricted by unbreakable chains of honor could know. Her girlish charm served as an unneeded burden on Durinus’ soul, every day reminding him of what isn’t.
“Don’t nights like these make you wish the stars would remain forever simply so you will gaze upon them?” Eitha asked, her deep blue eyes shining in the candlelight.
“I find that those who stare at the sky and dream miss on what is all around them,” Durinus whispered, the subtle message behind those words lost on the dazzled woman.
“But if I could delay what will happen come dawn I would gaze upon the magnificent sky for all my years,” She said, a look of sadness descending over her beautiful face as she began to think about things to come.
“The sun does not wait for the rooster, and the star studded blanket of night does not freeze for onlookers,” Durinus answered, picking up on her meaning.
“Why can’t you leave the priesthood?” Eitha asked, painfully direct as always.
“We have been over this, I am part of the Faith of the Reborn, I can not just decide to cast out my faith; it’s my life. Ever since I was six I was trained as a priest. Believe me when I say that I love you, but you must understand that I am a man of dedication. I will not abandon that which I believe in,” Durinus pressed, trying to fight the sorrow that was seeping into his voice.
“You have not received orders from the church in two years; they’ve forgotten you exist,” Eitha reasoned, desperately wanting to be with Durinus.
“The central church sent me to this excavation fifteen years ago because of the flow of people waiting to be converted to the true faith as much as to find out about the technology being found here. If the church has forgotten me, then that is acceptable, for the reborn has not turned his back on me. I will return to Cindomen, ride up to the central church in all of it’s majesty, and forgotten or not, I will complete my duty by submitting my journal of the past fifteen years,” Durinus explained, handing her a glass of the fiery wine while sipping on his own, knowing it was all he could do from reaching out and embracing the lovely woman.
“Why do you have to be so difficult? We could be happy together as husband and wife. Even after completing your assignment here, you won’t leave the priesthood, will you?” Eitha whispered in dread, her glass leaning enough for a single red droplet to fall to the stone floor.
“I’m sorry, I hate myself for causing your pain, but it was never my intent. The priest hood is my life, to simply abandon it would make twenty five years of my life a complete waste,” Durinus said sadly, knowing that the values he relied so heavily on were being put to the test against no foe but against his inner desires.
“Your intent can go straight to hell! You have the whole world waiting for you and all you can do is hide in what you already know, you coward!” Eitha screamed, throwing her glass across the room and running to the ladder outside the door crying.
With a heavy heart Durinus knelt and began to pick up the shattered pieces of the goblet. Staring down at a large piece of the shattered glass, he saw his face mirrored in the crystal fragment.
He was considered handsome by most, his facial features all in perfect harmony, his skin smooth. He was tall, but had a small build. Durinus’ ensnaring feature was his pair of compassionate green eyes.
Picking up the last of the shattered goblet, Durinus placed the remains on the counter top and left his room to go on a night walk.

When he had arrived in the ancient city of Undesia, it had been only been a small community, but even then people were beginning to pour into the city, excited by the promise of riches from the ancient technology. Now the small village was the second most populated city after Cindomen.
Over the last fifteen years, so much ancient technology had been uncovered and many of the artifacts were studied and now used in every day life including, running water (though it was rare due to lack of pipes), electricity (though that was also rare), and some forms of transportation. Durinus owned one such vehicle. He had been working among the diggers and had hit something solid. After a great deal of excitement and effort, they had uncovered a two wheeled machine he had been told by a scholar was called a motorcycle. That had been in the early days where anything a person found, the person got to keep for himself. After fights had erupted over uncovered items, a central form of control had been established. Now the rich members of the control counsel keep everything while all the workers are paid handsome wages.
Sitting down on top of a cliff, Durinus looked down upon the spiraling tower of a partially uncovered building. How much of it remained underground was anyone’s guess. Yet, even though little about the building was certain, Durinus knew that the building would one day be fully uncovered. To the left of the building, at a different dig site, torches were being lit for the night shift.
Standing back up and dusting himself off, Durinus began to walk back toward his house so he could get ready to go north, back home after fifteen years the next day.

August 22nd, 2004, 04:23 PM
The Road Home

The sound of Durinus’ bike thundered out across the open plains of destruction which the roads crossed through. The sight never failed to touch Durinus. No one was sure how the ruins came to be, or when for that matter. The ruins covered most of the country. The biggest section was the plains of destruction, which encompassed a fair amount of the west coast. The grey of the devastation and ruins was depressing to the eye, that is, until sun set. At sun set, as the warm colors of the sun blended with the grey nothingness of the horizon, the hues reflected off of the grey of the horizon, making a person feel complete.
The sight of the monk riding the motorcycle was almost a comical one; the tall, thin man riding a sleek machine with a nervous look on his face. Even to be able to sit on the vehicle, he been forced to don a pair of dark brown leather pants under his normal monk’s robes so that he could split the bottom half of the long robe to sit with one leg on either side. Even in riding, it was clear that the thin man was not an expert rider, and not comfortable on the motorcycle.
As the dark began to gain hold of the sky above, Durinus entered the thick forest that surrounded Cindomen. The roads for this portion of the journey had taken an especially long time to make. There were many demonic creatures that lingered around in the deep dark of the jungle. Many workers had been killed during construction. So many that the Emperor Klienen had been forced to appoint military patrol of the work area.
As Durinus was lost in his thoughts, a large hairy arm came and close lined him off of his bike. Durinus landed with a crash, his bike kept on going until it fell on it side, still running. Quickly scrambling to his feet, Durinus looked around, trying to find the thing that had knocked him off of his bike. When he found nothing, Durinus slowly started walking back to the bike with his eyes closed, all the while waiting for the arm to reappear out of the darkness. Reaching the bike, he drew an undecorated Tai Chi sword from the wooden sheath that he had bolted into the bike.
Walking back to where he was thrown off, Durinus stood completely still. Falling within himself, he found his center of energy and balance. He was in another place, another plane of existence; his body was free from conscious thought slowing his decisions. A rustle to the left had him throwing his body sideways, avoiding a massive clawed hand. Crouched to half height, Durinus turned to face his opponent. He was staring at a Gonzina, a demon ape, when another clawed appendage slashed out, raking his back. Jumping with the blow, Durinus side flipped and landed, his right leg extended behind him, his left bent forward. Standing up straight, sword held squarely in front of him, Durinus hit a secret button on the pommel of the sword and split the tai chi sword into two thinner bladed tai chi swords.
Durinus exploded into movement, zigzagging toward the pair of enemies. Holding the sword out from him, parallel to his arms, Durinus jumped and curled into a ball. Moonlight reflected off of the sword blades as they slashed deep wicked lines into the chests of the Gonzinas. The one on the right charged Durinus, only to have him flip and spin over the brutish Gonzina. Durinus’ left hand sword found the back of the lumbering ape before Durinus landed both of his heavy boots on the back of the blade, using his weight to force the blade through the heavily muscled neck.
Coming back to the real world, Durinus noted that the other ape had run back into the woods, where it would probably wait for its next victim. He felt the need to chase after it, but quickly thought better of the foolish action. To run into the unknown danger of the jungle was a surefire way to get killed. Rejoining the tai chi blades, he wiped them clean on the grass before replacing the completed sword into its sheath.
Suddenly Durinus was glad for his priesthood training. Priests of the Faith of the Reborn were commonly looked at as warrior monks, and rightly so. The thing that separated the true faith from all the other religions is it’s worshiper’s willingness to protect those needing it from the evil carried in demons and even some men. Durinus had always been the most proficient of the brothers with his weapons, for he favored neither his right hand nor his left hand. He had been widely considered to be the finest swordsman around when he had left fifteen years ago.
Getting back on his bike, which was still running, Durinus cranked the throttle, anxious to get home. Despite the faster pace, Durinus was now paying more attention then ever to the forest that surrounded him.
A fresh wave of energy hit him as he saw the distant glows of light cutting through the dark of the evening. Flipping into the highest gear, Durinus fed more energy to the motorcycle, charging all the faster into the mystery of the night.

August 22nd, 2004, 11:43 PM
The story doesn't flow well, its mostly you telling us stuff.

Ok, so they dig out the city by day and then carve out homes at night from the mountain. Sounds tiring. Why couldn't they have cut blocks off the mountain or from a quarry and made stone houses? Wouldn't that have been easier?

If there's trees close by, why not make ordinary houses? Have they heard of tents?

Even in riding, it was clear that the thin man was not an expert rider, and not comfortable on the motorcycle.

Who would be if he was the first rider in how long? How would anyone know?

As Durinus was lost in his thoughts, a large hairy arm came and close lined him off of his bike.

It's clotheslined.

If he's got the only motorcycle in the world, where is he going to get the gas to run it? Is he a mechanic? Why hasn't anyone made more motorcycles? And what about tires? did they survive being buried?

August 22nd, 2004, 11:49 PM
If he's got the only motorcycle in the world?

Uh.....I even used the words "one such vehicle" and I also explained about scholars knowing about the ancient technology

Please note that I have made it very clear that this is not earth, and therefor no one has any idea as to how long things have been burried
However, your point that I need to be much more detailed in the smaller things is well noted.

August 23rd, 2004, 05:30 PM
You also need to slow down and take some time to really write. You've got maybe a chapter's worth of writing crammed into two pages.

You're really into the "just get it on paper mode" and giving us too much information too soon.

August 23rd, 2004, 06:36 PM
Looking around quickly for a phone booth, mild-mannered Choppy becomes desperate. He cannot find one. But when no one is looking, he snaps open his briefcase.

Wait. It's not a briefcase... it's a telephone booth!

Thanks to his Superhero Depot credit card, the Masked Critiquer is here to save the day! (And rack up credit at 28%)

__________________________________________________ ________________
Well Skilgannon, I think you've done a good job. It sounds like you've put a lot of thought into developing this world. As Expendable mentioned I think that the most important point here is that you have a lot of information come across in a small space. Balancing information with action is a skill that I personally struggle with, so I'm afraid I'm not in a position to give much advice. As a whole, you have lots of action. And lots of information. Maybe at this point you just need to slow things down a little and build up the suspense. Expendable mentioned that you have enough material here to expand this into a full chapter and I tend to agree.

You have a great internal conflict here. The story really picked up for me as soon as Eitha showed up. (Before this this it just seemed like you were describing a typical day on this world.) If you want to enhance the conflict here you could concentrate on Eitha's motivation. Why does she want to marry him so much? I think this scene might work even better if she has been expecting that he will marry her when his posting is finished and now he has to tell her that he can't break his faith.

As for the motorcycle ride through the woods, I think this comes a little quickly. You may want to explain how it is that an "excavated" motorcycle can be made to run. Would not most of the parts be rusted, seals broken down, wires corroded, etc? Also consider talking about the "Tai Chi sword" before he even enters the forest. Just by brining it up you can add suspense to the story.

Hope this helps!

August 23rd, 2004, 08:21 PM
Thanks for all the feedback guys, this is largly why I posted this story on several boards, I can never get enough advice and perspectives. Reading your comments, I see what you mean, and I have decided to majorly expand on the first two chapters.

August 23rd, 2004, 10:27 PM
Thanks for all the feedback guys, this is largly why I posted this story on several boards, I can never get enough advice and perspectives. Reading your comments, I see what you mean, and I have decided to majorly expand on the first two chapters.

I think you need to start earlier in your story, when Durinus gets off work in an escavation ditch and climbs out. It'll help lots. He has a nice long walk home with plenty of time to show us things along the way instead of us having to be told about it.

Durinus sighed as he looked up at his landing on the third level. As if digging all day hadn't already done him in, the climb to his own door was guaranteed to sap his last bit of strength. Shaking his head, he began climbing up the ladder.


August 23rd, 2004, 11:24 PM
thats a good idea, I never thought about that. hmmm..... *goes and tinkers around with story somemore*