Thursday, 14 August 2008

Stand aside, soldier!

A tale of power and pavement: Part I

(Part II will be posted same time tomorrow).

The second in a series of game-related short stories by Bacter

It wasn't much of a break. The sun was already starting to leech
through the windows, making the dust shine in the air and the sweat
and grime on the faces of the soldiers glisten. The ramparts of the
castle had suffered considerable damage, as had the morale of the
soldiers. Groans could be heard from all corners of the common
sleeping area, which was distinguishable from the infirmary only
because the soldiers in the infirmary were not forced out of bed
shortly after first light. Any moment now, the alarm bell would
sound and they would have to go and die again.

Clayton took up his post on top of the castle's tower, sliding his
bulky frame into the cramped room. He looked out across the muddy
field of battle where most of his friends had perished in the last
three days. The great ancient stones that made up the castle he had
called home since he had been delivered to its doorstep by too-poor
parents were blackened with the flames and ichor of the… things that
had come from nowhere. The clouds, the clouds had come first. It was
ironic, he thought, running a hand through matted sandy hair. Peace
had reigned for years, decades. Swords had been abandoned, diplomacy
was used instead of brute force, and now they would die for it.

Expeditionary teams had been sent out to dismantle a number of
ancient sites of power not even a week ago, their bright banners
snapping in the wind. There had been regular reports, and the towns
nearest the shrines had held impromptu festivals, celebrating the
dismantling with jousting and drinking. Then, for a week's time,
nothing. No reports had come back. No sign came of the status of the
expeditions, except the dark storm clouds which rolled over the
castle, casting a pall over the entire kingdom. They hung unnaturally
heavy in the sky, always promising a rain that had not come. A tension
settled over the kingdom, villagers avoided being out past night and
the knights moved their families within the walls of the castle. Then
came the monsters.

To Be Continued!

Today's post references the game Protector: Reclaiming the Throne . Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!


bobo said...

Awesome post! Next installment please, i want to know what happens with the monsters! :)

SilasArcher said...

Ah, a classic setting.

The image of this place our protagonist had once called home is well painted. The mood of soldiers and the darkness of war (rooms almost indistinguishable from infirmaries, a nice touch) and the blackened ruins of home set the stage for a hero in the making.

The feeling of impending danger at the end of the story, the explanation of those foreboding dark clouds also seemed to hang about after I'd read 'To Be Continued', which left me with a sense of wanting to know more.

Which is always a good thing ;)

Now, what you could do to make this painted scene of destruction more poignant is through the use of synonyms. if you find that you use say soldiers too soon or too often, you can alternate it with warriors, troops, men at arms, knights, guards, oranges, toothpicks, tub of chocolate ice cream...

Oh, sorry, drifted into my shopping list ^^

Right! Story!

Lastly, to keep those feelings intact (the despair at seeing the destruction, the pangs of guilt and loss for dead companions, the bubbling dread of another oncoming attack and the fear of when it was to come. They were there), try to keep your sentences shorter. Instead of explaining the description of the wall, the fact he was orphaned and by whom all in one sentence, break them up into their own separate thoughts.

In other words, there are too many thoughts going on in one sentence. Separate them, water them with words and let them grow into their own. If you overburden them, the emotions will simply snap and be lost.

Overall, an enjoyable read. I look forward to seeing what is in store for our battered warrior Clayton ;)