Another Tale

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Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:59 pm

Just something I started writing a few days ago (Wonder how long this one will last). It doesn't have a name yet, so...any suggestions once I get it going will be appreciated. There may be some mild language.

A Broken World


The ashes fell from the sky like snow. The sky was black as night. It was the longest night we have ever lived through. Fire rained down from the heavens. Towns and villages burned, leaving so many homeless and hungry.
But this was nothing compared to the chaos to come.
Our world was breaking under the strain. Continents ripped apart, separating families, tribes, and clans. The ocean overrode her boundaries, submerging whole islands. All world powers were broken. The only concern of the people was to survive. Man returned to his primitive, animal instincts, all the weak quickly perished.
In a broken world, the children are alwys the first to suffer. Orphaned, abandoned, neglected, weakest of the weak. Preyed upon by the strong, the first to catch the mutating bacteria, they are the first to go in a dying world.
Our world is dying. There is no real hope of salvation for us now. But we, the smallest of the small, continue to hope. Someone will come to save us. Until our hero comes, we will continue to hope and do our best to live until he comes to rebuild our shattered world.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby FreddyCast » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:15 pm

It seems you already named it, but I have a suggestion.

Shattered World: Hope of the Broken

This gives one the impression that a world is in ruins and divided in so many levels, which I think captures what you present to us in the first few sentences, and if i'm not mistaken, will be a major theme in your story. And I think it captures what those who are suffering in this fallen world are expecting to come, their "Hope" of someone to restore and reunite their world.
Well, that's what this humble schmo thinks.
Much love of Christ, Wolfy.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:20 pm

FreddyCast wrote:It seems you already named it, but I have a suggestion.

Shattered World: Hope of the Broken


That was the name of the chapter. :brow:
Thank you for the suggestion, it sounds like a good one.
I should be posting the next chapter soon, so hang in there.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby ClaecElric4God » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:31 am

Hm, I'll withhold any critique until I see more. But so far, I'm intrigued. Eagerly anticipating more.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
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ClaecElric4God in regards to Wolfsong - You're the coolness scraped off the top of this morning's ice cream, after being pulled out of a beautiful summer day!
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Panda4christ:3 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:56 pm

I like it wolf ^.^ can't wait for more c:
"People need fear, we experience it so we can grow stronger"-Maka Albarn
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:04 pm

Thanks panda, Claec :)
you know, I only just realized, this thing doesn't allow tabbing, or even five spaces. XD what's a perfectionist to do?

This is Home
~Asha~

My name is Alethia. At least, that's the name given me at birth. Now I call myself Asha. Not too hard to remember, and doesn't get people to give me a second glance. That was the point, after all. It’s a bad idea to draw attention to yourself. Some people are desperate enough to do unthinkable things, so you want to be invisible. Sash says he'd give anything to be invisible for real. Considering he lives in the more dangerous side of the neighborhood, I can't blame him. But at least he still has his parents, that gives him an edge in safety and food. Me, I have nothing but my own wits to keep me alive.
I made my hiding place in a part of the sewers that is segregated from the other parts. They said it was because of rats, but I've only seen two during my stay, so I don't know what to think. It’s certainly nothing special. There are a couple of dumpsters a block or so down, as well as an abandoned food store. However, the dumpsters are the safest bet as people will go crazy to get all the stuff first. Though, being small, sometimes I get lucky.
How old am I? I am ten years old. I can imagine your mouths dropping in horror as you read that. Well, guess what, this world makes you hard. You have to be tough or you'll die. Even a kid can learn that.
But I'm not entirely alone. I guess I should be grateful for that. All us kids, orphans in the streets, abandoned like me because they didn't want the extra mouth to feed, or the stragglers whose parents don't give a darn to, we all stick together as well as kids can. And we do still play, most times. Some days we play tag, or hide-and-seek, and once we discovered a ball lodged in a drainpipe. An older boy, Jacky, taught us a game he used to play in a team, which involved kicking the ball into some sort of goal. It was pretty fun till the ball wore out and broke. The one we fashioned from plastic and twine never really worked as well, so we missed it.
Then there is Maxwell. He is an odd man who showed up at our street corner one day. He is one of the few men I've seen who remains human inside and out. Intrigued, we began leaving food out for him, and then we became brave enough to come up to him. he was instantly loved by all of us, because he tells such splendid stories. He told us about people in horrible situations, and then wondrous heroes came and conquered the evil villains, saving the day. He taught us a new game: pretend. Sash declared right away he'd be the hero, and promised to save me if I needed it. I hugged him and told him to put a sock in it. Maxwell laughed, such a deep, musical sound it was, but then he got serious and told us to be careful that no one tore apart our friendship. Just because we were small didn't mean we were worthless. He had us promise, we all did.
Maxwell, with his shaggy blonde hair that was always windblown and his blue eyes that seemed to always be laughing, was like a father to us. We were his happy flock. We shared out food, finds and thoughts with him, and he shared his stories of hope with us. He kept us from giving to despair.
Besides Maxwell, I have three other really close friends. I've already mentioned Sash a couple times. One of the few of us who still has loving parents. His hair is brown with reddish streaks in it which he swears are natural. He's got friendly black eyes and is what he calls preferably honest. That means he'll tell the truth unless he needs to protect something, then he'll lie a blue-streak. He's upbeat and positive.
Luminista, or Lumina as we prefer to call her, has parents who don't care about her, so she tends to not hang around her house much. We usually find her sleeping in a dumpster. She's got long jet-black curly hair and almond-shaped eyes of the same color. She's got a lovely skin tone, a deep golden tan. She's usually rather friendly, despite her miserable house life. I'm glad to have her around, because she's so sweet.
Then there's Amanaki. His name literally means hope. he was orphaned, and tends to keep silent. Heck, we thought he was mute once, and then he freaked us out by talking. It was funny. His hair is glossy black, and tends to look like its permanently wet. His eyes are really blue. Maxwell says they reminds him of what the sky looked like before the smog covered it.
We are close, Maxwell, Sash, Lumina, Amanaki and I. As Max said, our backgrounds, genes and histories were different, but our situations, our inborn need for companionship drew us together. This was my life, a constant foraging for food and the necessities of life, and spending some time with the other kids, playing and pretending everything was okay. It was my life, and I was used to it.
But it all changed. In the blink of an eye it all changed. If it hadn't happened before my eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. But it happened, and our lives would never be the same.
Last edited by Wolfsong on Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:30 pm

A Day to Remember
~Sash~


It was a pretty good day, as they go. I mean, I didn't hear any gunshots this morning. That's a plus, right? Also, my fever broke, so I not only wasn't sick anymore, but I was alive. Things were definitely looking up.
I hadn’t seen the others for a while, ever since I got sick. After all, I didn’t want to possibly pass on something dangerous. Asha kept on coming though. She said she wanted to be sure I didn’t die. I like her a lot. Sometimes she acts all grownup and can be kind of mean, but she likes to help us, I know. Maxwell says she’s got the spirit of a wolf. I’m not entirely sure what a wolf is, though. He says it’s like a dog, but smarter, bigger, and with a lot of lore attached to it. The dogs on my street fight each other a lot, and they try to chase me and eat me if they see me, so I don’t want to meet a wolf. I’ve only dodged those dogs because they’re dumb. I don’t want to meet a smart one.
I told my mom before I left, so she wouldn’t worry too much. The second I entered the street I started running for the alleys. Normally, if someone’s around, you want to walk and act confident, but If you can get away fast enough I won’t have to worry about it. Dickie, the boy down the street, says it doesn’t matter how we do it, we’re dead if we walk. But Max says a confident attitude can help avoid conflict. He’s never been wrong before.
I climbed over some boxes to get over the metal bars, and then I jumped in. I was not at our corner, which we officially called the Corner. Lumina was just climbing out of her dumpster. Amanaki was scrambling out of the sewer system along with a bunch of other kids, and there was Asha leading the pack from the back alleys. I whooped joyfully, running toward them. “I’m back!” I shouted, pumping my fist.
Lumina laughed, clapping her hands. Amanaki ran over with his hand raised, palm open. I slapped it with mine, laughing right along with Lumina. I glanced around to see Asha helping one of the litter kids climb out of the sewers before she came running over. She’d tied her dirt-brown hair back again, and it whipped around behind her like it was alive. “So you’re still going then?” she asked.
“Still kicking,” I replied, bouncing on my feet. “Is Maxwell awake?”
“No, not yet. I was about to bring him some of the day’s findings.” She held up a bone that still had some meat on it and half a cup of water. “Don’t ask what the meat is,” she added. “Cause I have no clue.”
Amanaki jokingly gasped and stepped away, staring at her in mock horror. Asha rolled her eyes while Lumina and I laughed. “I’ll be right back, jokers.” And she ran down an alley.
“That Asha,” Lumina said with a giggle. “She’s a mother spirit like Max says.”
“No, he says she’s a firebrand,” I corrected. “And Maxwell is never wrong.”
“Hey guys!” We turned to see Dickie waving at us. “We’re playing tag hide-and-seek! You gonna play?”
“Yes!” Lumina laughed, running over quickly. Amanaki nodded and hurried over.
“I’ll be right there,” I shouted, looking at the alley Asha ran down. She wasn’t out yet. Were she and Maxwell talking again? I started hesitantly toward the alley.
“Sash! If you’re going to play, come on!”
I sighed and ran over, shouting for Asha to hurry. I joined the group of kids gathered around Dickie. He was glancing around, watching the stragglers like me come running over. “Right!” he said, trying to sound like the boss. “There’s twenty of us, so two people will be it this time. Any volunteers?” Five hands shot up, mine included. We played a couple rounds of rock-paper-scissors to decide who would be It. Eventually it was me and a girl named Claire. Dickie nodded. “Right. The rules this time are the same as last time. Everyone stay in this area, and the base is this lamppost. If you get tagged, you’re frozen. The last two tagged will be it next. Count to twenty, okay?” he said to Claire and me. “Let’s go!” and the group scattered.
I put my hands over my eyes and dutifully began counting. “1…2…3…” I could hear some of the kids giggling. There was a loud crash, which I suspected to be a trash can falling over, and the other kids’ excited giggles and shushing. “…10…11…12…” I thought I heard Dickie telling some kid that the sewers counted as out-of-bounds. “…17….18…19…20! I’m coming!”
I opened my eyes. There was no sign of the other kids. Claire smiled nervously at me. “I’ve never been It before,” she said shyly. “Is it hard?”
“Not really,” I replied, grinning. “Are you a good runner?” She shook her head nervously. “Then this is what we’ll do. You guard the base. I’ll go sniff out the other kids. If they get past me, then you catch them. Good luck!” I gave her a thumbs-up and ran towards the stack of boxes, the spot I’d entered the corner from. I soon chased out at least five kids, catching three of them. I heard Claire laughing and came running over. She’d gotten the two I missed.
“Good job!” I shouted.
“Only thirteen left!” she replied, smiling widely, giving me a thumbs-up now. Cheered, I returned the gesture and moved on to the east side.
I’d soon rooted out most of the kids. We got six, and six made it to base. I glanced over, counting heads. The only person I hadn’t caught was Amanaki. Grinning, I tried to think where I hadn’t looked. I’d been all over the corner…I looked at the other kids. “Any hints?” I begged. Dickie laughed.
“No way Sash! Find him honestly for yourself!”
“Check the far alley,” someone else suggested. “The way out, yeah? Maybe he hid down there.”
I nodded my thanks and started down the road. This was the only open path in and out of the corner, but we tend not to use it for that reason. It has a spooky feeling too, as the buildings look really run down and cast deep, odd shadows. I walked down it slowly, shivering slightly. “Hello, Amanaki?” I called softly. “Are you here? Please…come on out.”
Suddenly, I heard the dogs barking. They were far, but the sound was growing. They sounded quite agitated. I stumbled back a step and was about to run when I heard Amanaki shouting.
“Help us! Someone help us out here!”
I was scared. I hated those dogs, they looked like Maxwell’s hellhounds in his stories, I was certain. But then I remembered what Max said. A hero can be scared, but he chooses to run and face his fears, instead of letting them rule him. I grit my teeth, clenched my hands, and started running toward the barking dogs. “Amanaki needs help!’ I shouted. “We need to help him!” I ran around the corner, running as fast as I could go. “Amanaki, I’m coming!”
“Sash!” I heard him shout. “Take to the roofs. Come around. We are by the boxes. Be careful.”
“Got it!” I shouted, running up to one of the buildings. I climbed up the drainpipe, which creaked alarmingly under my weight. It rattled too and I was afraid it wouldn’t hold me. But it did, and I made it to the roof. A lot of shingles were loose, so I really had to watch my footing. But I went as fast as I could. I had to. My friend needed me. When I reached the edge, I could see the dogs now. They were barking and leaping at a bunch of boxes, but I couldn’t see Amanaki.
Suddenly, one of the boxes was flung at the dogs, scattering them for a minute. I saw Amanaki shake his head before bending down and picking something up before running. I realized he was holding a kid, who hung limply in his arms, and felt a grin spread on my face. Now that was heroism! And I was going to be a part of rescuing the kid!
I whooped loudly, trying to attract the dogs’ attention, tearing off loose shingles and hurling them at the dogs. They snarled hatefully, snapping their jaws. Some leapt at the building, trying to get at me. I whooped again, hitting one of them with a well-aimed slate. One of them, an old grey who was shaggier than the rest of them, leapt onto one of the boxes, climbing until he could leap onto the roof. I shouted, throwing another slate at me, but he leapt aside, his eerie golden eyes staring at me. I waved another one threateningly at him, but he started toward me. I took a quick step back, but the shingle shot out from beneath me. I slid down and rolled over the edge of the roof. I grabbed the edge, but dropped the slate I was holding. The old grey came walking toward me, and I tried to think quickly. The other dogs had mostly gone, the others waited below. This one had me at his mercy, and I knew it wouldn’t happen.
Suddenly, he leapt back, snarling. A stone rolled past me and hit another dog below. The other kids, led by Jacky, whooped as they came, hurling rocks and other things. The old grey snarled at them, but fled from the onslaught. The other dogs also fled. Jacky, his brown hair hanging wildly around his face, reached down and helped me back up. “Nice going sport,” he said, clapping me on the back. “You did well.” I beamed, proud.
A bunch of the kids were climbing down to meet Amanaki, who had left his hiding place now that the dogs had gone. I slid down the fire escape and ran to him. The boy he held was skinny as a rail, and looked quite sickly. There was a horrible mark on his arm, like a burn, except it made a shape that did not appear accidental. He was quite pale, and there was nasty gash on his arm. His eyes were open, but they seemed empty, even as they flickered wildly around.
“Who is he?” I asked.
“I don’t know. He was running from the dogs. We need Maxwell’s help,” Amanaki said.
“Amanaki!” Asha brushed past me, coming up to him. She bet over the boy he carried, putting her hand on his forehead. She was quiet a moment, then said, “He’s dreadfully feverish. His face is burning.” She noticed the burn on his arm. She touched it gingerly, but this brought on no reaction from the boy. “Quickly, let’s get him to Maxwell. He’ll know what to do.”
Last edited by Wolfsong on Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:43 pm

A Strange Visitor
~Asha~

Looking at that horrid mark made me want to hurl. It looked like a flame, writhing and angry. I raced through the other kids, trying not to push but we needed a path for Amanaki, who followed me as quickly as he could. I almost tripped on a manhole, but held my footing and kept on going. I was glad though when we reached Maxwell's alley.
“Max!” I shouted. “Maxwell, we have a sick boy. He needs help!”
Maxwell was seated on the curb, his head in his hands. At my words he raised his head, his clear eyes meeting mine for an instant before settling on the boy Amanaki held. He stood quickly and came over to meet us, holding his arms out for the child. “Where did you find him?” he asked, cradling the frail body.
“I heard the dogs hunting. I had to help him,” Amanaki said quietly, almost defiantly.
Maxwell nodded, his eyes studying the boy’s face. “You did well, Amanaki. It takes a lot of courage to do something like that.” His gaze trailed to the burn mark on his arm, and they widened considerably. “Did either of you touch this mark?” he asked hoarsely. I was startled by the sound of it.
“I did,” I said hesitantly. “But he didn’t act hurt when I did…”
Amanaki nodded silently.
Maxwell studied us, something unreadable in his eyes. He nodded toward a puddle alongside the curb. “Clean your hands,” he commanded gently. “It might help.”
“Is it dangerous?” I asked, quickly obeying.
“It might be contagious,” Maxwell responded, gently laying the boy down on the sidewalk. “And yes, it can be dangerous.” He stared sadly at the boy, shaking his head. “I had hoped never to see this again.”
“Maxwell, what is it?” I asked, trying to keep the quiver of fear out of my voice.
He turned to look at us, smiling gently. “It’s alright Asha, Amanaki. Go ahead and go play. I’ll help the boy.”
“Won’t we pass it on if it’s contagious?” I asked. He shook his head.
“I doubt it. Go play, child. All will be well, I promise.”
I smiled at him, thanked him and followed Amanaki out. The others were waiting for us, watching nervously. “Is it safe?” a little girl asked.
“Maxwell says it should be alright,” I told them with as much assurance as I could. “He wouldn’t have told us to go play if it wasn’t, right?” That seemed to relieve the others. “Come on, let’s play!”
Everyone quickly began to argue over what they wanted to play. Sash walked to me till he directly faced me, putting his hands on his hips. “How serious is it?” he asked.
“Max says we should be fine,” I replied. “It’s okay. Come on, let’s play.”
The afternoon passed swiftly. We took a break from our games to scavenge for lunch. When I brought some for Maxwell, he was kneeling over the boy with a worried look o his face. His eyes were so grim, I feared the boy wouldn’t make it. He asked me if I felt any different, to which I replied no. Then he asked me if I had seen anyone strange. Again I said no. But when I asked him what he meant, he told me to call him if I saw any strange people come. I found it very hard to focus on a game now, wondering and worrying if everything would be alright.
Finally sunset came. Some of the kids began to scatter, depending on their conditions and where they needed to go. Lumina had crawled into her dumpster and had fallen asleep. She was only six, poor thing. Sash, Amanaki, the rest of the kids and I all agreed to a game of freeze tag before calling it a day. Some of us would hang around to check on Maxwell afterwards, but that would be it. A little boy was chosen as It, and he proved to be quite fast. I quickly made tracks for the edge of the corner, watching as he took the others down. I saw him turn towards me, and quickly whirled around to run. I suddenly crashed into something and started to fall. Something caught me and pulled me back to my feet. “You have a hard head,” it said ruefully. “You alright child?”
I was staring at a purple leg, and the edge of an equally purple jacket. I raised my eyes to see a man smiling down at me. I gasped and stumbled back. He had blonde hair that had been neatly arranged, with glowing green eyes. His face was more angular than I had seen before, and he was neatly dressed in a rich violet suit. He didn’t have that animal glint in his eyes, but there was something odd, I was sure. Maybe it was because he was a stranger, or maybe the events of the day had made me ready to distrust any unfamiliar face. Either way, I instantly distrusted this odd stranger.
“It’s alright, I won’t bite,” he said soothingly. “I’m looking for someone, a boy about your age. He has a mark on his arm, a birthmark that resembles a flame. I need to find him, he’s dreadfully ill.”
A birthmark? Maxwell said it was an illness. “I haven’t seen any new kid around her, particularly one with such a birthmark,” I said shortly. “I’m sorry, you’ll have to look elsewhere.”
He studied me, eyes moving up and down as they took me in. His scrutiny made was making me uncomfortable. “What is your name child?” he asked me.
I opened my mouth to retort it was none of his business, but instead my actual name came out. And not my assumed name, I told him my real name. “I’m…Alethia.”
He nodded slowly, his vibrant eyes seemed to glow with brilliance. It was an attractive glow, and I couldn’t draw my eyes away. He rested his hand on my shoulder, dropping slowly to one knee so he could look me in the eye. “A lovely name, Alethia. Tell me, do you know what that means?” I shook my head hesitantly. “It means ‘truthful one’. I don’t believe you’re being honest with me, little truth.” I stared at him, then nodded. His smile deepened. “I understand. There are uncertain days. How can you know who to trust? Perhaps it would be easier if you knew my names. Friends know each other’s names, right?” I heard Sash shouting my name, my assumed name. But I ignored him, enraptured by those eyes. The green seemed almost to swirl…it was so pretty. “You may call me Doran.”
“That happens to mean ‘exile’, but I’m sure you’re aware of that. Get away from Asha, Donovan!”
“Maxwell,” I gasped. Suddenly, all the swirling colors and lights were gone. The stranger was staring over my head, and Maxwell was behind me. I scrambled back, away from the man, and flung my arms around Maxwell’s legs, burying my face in the soft cloth of his pants. He put an arm protectively around my shoulders. I heard the other man start talking.
“I am not Donovan anymore, Maxwell. I cast aside the name long ago. I am Doran now.”
“Tired of being the ‘dark warrior’?” Maxwell seemed almost like he was mocking Doran,. I’d never heard him sound so angry. “So you are the exile now. I suppose it fits.”
“Technically you gave me that name, when you and the others cast me aside all those years ago.” Nervously I peeked at the man. He was standing feet apart, one hand on his hip and the other gesturing aside. He didn’t look all that happy either. “But I didn’t come to settle that score. Not yet. Where’s my boy, Max?”
“Sleeping peacefully for the first time in months. How dare you reawaken the Flame?” his voice quivered in fury. I could feel the tension on his body in his arm. “Did you not learn from all this? You would restart the destruction and evil?”
“It’s not evil!” Doran argued fiercely. “What happened those years ago was your fault! You and the others had to attempt to fight it, to kill it! But then it fought back. I’m the only one left with any strength, because I accepted the reality of my situation! It protected me!”
“Because it knew you were susceptible, fool!”
Doran was quiet, head lowered while his entire body shook from some deep rage. His hands clenched and unclenched again,. His breath came out harsh, like it pained him to breathe. Suddenly, his entire body went still, like he had suddenly paralyzed. His shoulders began to shake again, but the sound from his lips was laughter. But it wasn’t warm nor did it resonate like Maxwell’s laugh. It was a sharp, biting sort of sound. He raised his head, eyes flashing. “I’m the fool, hmm? If I am a fool, what are you?” He put his hand to his chest, head lowering slightly. “You hide among children, fill their little heads with cotton candy tales. What do you call a monster who uses little children?”
“You’re a puppet for the Flame, Doran,” Maxwell said quietly. “Let it go, before it consumes you.”
Doran raised his eyes to meet Maxwell’s own. “So what…if I’m a puppet?” His fist suddenly began to glow, a pulsing red energy. I stared at the pretty, but angry color, suddenly deeply afraid. “Have you heard this tale? Once upon a time…” His body turned away slightly, arm cocked. “You were too!” He swung around, flinging the ball of red directly at Maxwell. It took on the form of a bird of prey, aimed directly at Maxwell’s chest. He suddenly pushed me back, arms outstretched to meet it. The bird connected and exploded.
“Maxwell!” I gasped, scrambling to my feet. I stared at the pillar of smoke and ash where Maxwell had been mere seconds ago. Tears began to form in my eyes. Maxwell was gone. I’d never see his smile again, never hear another of his wonderful stories, never hear his laugh anymore. I focused on Doran, who looked so smug and happy, and my fury rose to the surface. “Son of a goat!” I cried, running toward him with fists clenched.
“Asha!”
I stopped still, turning to stare at the pillar. The smoke was clearing, and I saw a flicker of blue. Eyes wide, I watched as the smoke cleared away, revealing Maxwell. He was surrounded by a filmy blue light, with not even a mark on him. I laughed unbelievably, too happy to speak. His eyes never left Doran, who had taken a fighting stance. “Asha, stay back,” Maxwell commanded. “Stay out of the way. Go keep the others safe.”
“But who’ll keep her safe?” Doran asked slyly. “She’s got spirit, this one. If I can’t have my boy, maybe I’ll take her to replace him.”
“I think you would find you bit off more than you could chew,” Maxwell answered calmly, refusing to be goaded. Doran began to laugh again.
“So strong Max! Let’s see if your gifts can save you.” And he rushed forward, launching a kick at Max’s midsection.
Maxwell almost casually slapped it aside, aiming a punch at Doran’s chest. Doran caught his fist with an open palm. He swung a short hook, and Maxwell caught that one. They pushed at each other for a second, then Doran swung back, bending back at an impossible angle, to throw Maxwell off. But Maxwell merely swung over his head to land in a similar position.
“You haven’t lost your touch,” Doran said with a small smile. “Sturdy as an ox and as agile as a monkey. Always my biggest competition.”
Maxwell suddenly straightened, swinging Doran around, though he didn’t let go. He spun Doran in the air for a second, then smashed him to the pavement left, then swung him right, before hurling him at a lamppost. Doran’s body twisted so he landed feet first, then pushed off to come shooting like an arrow back, but when Doran came with a knife strike to the throat Maxwell returned with a punch. Doran dropped his arm and stepped aside to dodge the punch. Maxwell suddenly stuck his leg out, sweeping Doran off his feet. He landed on his back with all the air knocked out of it. Before he could recover, Maxwell grabbed him by the collar and took off. Doran’s head was smashed against the pavement at least a dozen times before Maxwell swung around, hurling him against one of the older buildings. He struck with such force the entire wall gave, falling atop the prone form. With a loud rumbling, the crumpled figure was buried by bricks and scaffolding.
Maxwell’s chest heaved as he inhaled deeply and exhaled. As there was no apparent movement from the mound, he straightened, visibly relaxing. His dirt brown jacket was torn and covered in ash, as were his pants. Still, when he turned to face me, he was smiling. His white tee was dirt-stained, but untouched. “Are you alright?” he asked, taking a step toward me. I nodded, smiling at him. He smiled wider and came forward again.
Suddenly, the pile exploded in a flash of red. Doran came shooting out, his entire body pulsing with red energy. Maxwell suddenly shone blue and whirled around, palm open. An arrow of blue shot from his hand. Doran caught is mid-air and snapped it with two fingers. Still he kept coming. He leapt up into the air, hand raised in a knife motion. Maxwell leapt up to meet him, punching. Doran arched over it and swung his hand like a knife. The red energy slashed out, striking Maxwell. As it hit him it spread over his whole body, crackling like a surge of electricity. Maxwell screamed in pain, falling to earth as it raked his body. Doran swung his arm back and came down, smashing the earth so that it cracked. Maxwell was flung away, landing hard on his back. Doran straightened leisurely, his smile back and settled smugly on his face.
Maxwell!” I shouted, stumbling.
Doran strolled slowly toward Maxwell, why lay still. He stepped over him than knelt down, straddling him. I began to stumble forward, hand clenched. Doran pulled a knife out of his boot and put it against his shirt on Maxwell’s chest. He swiftly cut upward, slicing open his shirt. I was close enough now to see what was revealed, a flame like what was on that boy’s arm, except it looked like mark that was healing. “Interesting,” Doran said. “What have you been up to.” He put the knife against his chest again, clearly intending for blood this time.
“NO!” I howled, running now. I swung my arm back and punched him in the face as hard as I could. He gasped in pain, a satisfactory sound, as his head swung away. Then, slowly, it turned back to face me. That side of his face was a deep red, and his eyes were narrowed, angry. I gasped and stumbled back, falling on my rump. He stood, looming over me threateningly. Suddenly, Sash was there, standing between us and glaring at Doran.
“You leave my friend alone!” he shouted.
Doran bent down, grabbed Sash’s collar, and flung him aside. Sash cried out fearfully, but Amanaki caught him before he hit the ground. Doran bent down, grabbing me at the point where the chin and neck meet, and lifted me up till I hung at eye-level. I whimpered in pain, grabbing at his arm, kicking wildly.
“You need to learn to respect your betters,” he said in a dangerously quiet voice. He raised his hand and I cringed back, sure he would hit me. “And to stay out of what is not your business, little firebrand.” He lightly brushed my face, his gloved hand burning hot. I winced.
“Leave her be, Doran!” Maxwell said, rolling painfully onto his side.
“I think not,” Doran replied. “She has spirit and strength, if poorly spent. I could use this one.” He smirked, relaxing his grip on my neck. He perched me on his hip, his arm wrapped snugly around me. “Keep the boy Max. I believe he is going to die anyway.”
He leapt up, flickering with the red energy again. He jumped atop a two-story building, a leap no ordinary man could have made. But then, no man could come out still kicking after a fight like that. I screamed and clung to him, scared of falling. I saw Maxwell stagger to his feet as Doran took off again, travelling across the rooftops. I heard Sash call my name, but it quickly faded away as Doran travelled further away, toward the most dangerous side of town. “where are you taking me?” I asked fearfully.
“To my present home,” he answered. “Be silent child, or do you want to attract the attention of the madmen with guns?”
I shivered, whimpering. I was scared, terrified even, and Maxwell wasn’t there to comfort me anymore. I was alone now, with a man who might or might not intend to hurt me, in an area that was full of dangerous things.
I mentally shook my head. No, I wasn’t alone. Maxwell and my friends weren’t going to abandon me to this man’s whims. They were going to rescue me, and everything would be alright again. I’d just have to hold on till they got to me. I’d need to be an adult now, and be tough. I’d make Maxwell proud, and not cry like a baby.
Doran’s arm tightened around me. “Hold on now, here’s where things get interesting.” He leapt off the roof and into the street. Hitting the ground running, he streaked past a group of scruffy, miserable looking men who were dozing or whatever in the gutter.
“Ditto that for me,” I thought, clinging tightly to him as the one alert man in that bunch fired a bullet into the air. Like the dog pack, they were on our trail.
Last edited by Wolfsong on Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby invaderv93 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 9:42 pm

Strong start, but I do have one suggestion. Speaking as a Romanichal person, I'd strongly, STRONGLY advice you to change "Gypsy's" name. It's an ethnic slur against the Roma people, and it's even insulting for Romani to use it (among them, it's a really terrible term for a Romanichal or otherwise mixed-race person - you're basically calling them race traitors or an inferior breed). If you're basing this character's ethnicity/heritage on the Roma people, I'd advise you to find an actual Romani name and do some additional research on their history and culture. Otherwise you will come off as ignorant and disrespectful.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:56 am

invaderv93 wrote:Strong start, but I do have one suggestion. Speaking as a Romanichal person, I'd strongly, STRONGLY advice you to change "Gypsy's" name. It's an ethnic slur against the Roma people, and it's even insulting for Romani to use it (among them, it's a really terrible term for a Romanichal or otherwise mixed-race person - you're basically calling them race traitors or an inferior breed). If you're basing this character's ethnicity/heritage on the Roma people, I'd advise you to find an actual Romani name and do some additional research on their history and culture. Otherwise you will come off as ignorant and disrespectful.

Hmm.... l wasn't aware of that. I meant no disrespect in naming her Gypsy, I just like the name. Or does that make me an automatic idiot even for dissing them on accident? My apologies...
still, its early enorgh a name change shouldn't throw me too far. I'll put some thought into it.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby ClaecElric4God » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:39 pm

I'm gonna throw in my two cents here. If invader's right, and you were going for a gypsy-heritage character (which I wouldn't know, cause I don't know enough about Gypsy or her heritage/ethnicity/etc.), then yeah, it probably isn't a good idea to call her that, because it will come off as ignorant or stereotyping or whatever. But also, that's something that I don't think that many people are aware of (I wasn't until invader pointed it out), or will get up in arms about. I mean, there are lots of times the name Gypsy is used in a story, and up till now I've never heard complaints about it.
But then again, if you're not going for the gypsy-type, and just wanted to use the name Gypsy because it's a pretty cool name, I personally see absolutely no reason whatsoever to change it. Because there are plenty of dogs/cats/people's nicknames/etc. called "Gypsy" (I mean, they named a breed of horse after it); you can even find elebrities named Gyspy; so it's obviously not intended to be rude. People name their dogs "Bandit", and in ye olden times (and present times for that matter), bandits weren't exactly highly thought of. Personally, I love the name Bandit. It doesn't mean "my dog's a thief who goes around robbing from the poor". It means, "I like the name Bandit".
I looked up the word "gypsy" when referring to an ethnic group, and this is what I found. Now, I know how everybody feels about Wikipedia, but take it for what it's worth.
Wikipedia wrote:'Gipsy/gipsy' is a common word used to indicate Romani people, Tinkers and Travellers, and use of the word "Gipsy" in English is so pervasive (and is a legal term under English law) that many Romani organizations use it in their own organizational names. However, many Romani people and academics who study them believe the word has been tainted by its use as a pejorative connoting illegality and irregularity, and some modern dictionaries recommend avoiding use of the word gypsy either entirely, or as a negative modifier.

So even though there are people who dislike it or wouldn't use it, there are plenty of people, even among the Romani themselves, that use it as a general, neutral, non-offensive term. People are going to decide whether they want to take something offensively or not.
Take the many different names of Africans/African-Americans. At one time, the most polite terminology was Negro, because "black" was considered offensive. But then in the 50s, people started complaining and saying that "Negro" was an offensive term, so they opted for "black" instead, as well as "African-American" and other terms. And nowadays, I don't think it's considered rude to call people "black" (at least not where I'm from). So times change, people change, and everyone has their own opinions. Trying to please everyone just isn't going to happen. I could complain because my favorite character in your story shares a name with a band of material tied around the waist. I mean, what's up with that, Wolf? :P (Just kidding, by the way; I love Sash's name)

tl;dr - I think worrying about the racial implications that a side character's name has is really just nitpicking. As long as you're not saying "look, this person is the embodiment of gypsies, and I'm going to make her a bad person to prove what gypsies really are", you really don't have anything to worry about.

Side note: There will always be someone, somewhere, who will find something to dislike or find offenisive about your story, no matter how well-meaning or thoughtful you are. You just have to roll with the punches and ignore irrelevant issues.

Oh, I do have a piece of critique for you. You're really good at describing your characters, but I think it would help if you had some way to show people's age. Not necessarily "he was 12 years, two months, and 26 days old", but like a general "his childish face was starting to give way to the sharp features and serious eyes of a young man". I only mention this because when we first met your characters, I really had no idea how old any of them were, except Maxwell, who I pictures as kind of an old guy, and Amanaki, who I thought was like 6. And now that I've seen them in action, I'm pretty sure I was wrong. :sweat: But yeah, other than that, it's going great, and I'm excited.
Oh, and I feel like Amanaki might be talking too much, based on the description Asha gave us at the beginning. Of course, I'm not one to talk, because I'm reallllly bad about making silent-as-the-grave characters who turn out to be chatterboxes. But I figured I'd mention it.
Anyways, I'm gonna shut up now. :D Keep up the good work, Wolf.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
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ClaecElric4God in regards to Wolfsong - You're the coolness scraped off the top of this morning's ice cream, after being pulled out of a beautiful summer day!
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Re: Another Tale

Postby invaderv93 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:52 pm

Claec: Yes, gypsy is often used as a generic term for the Roma by white or, yes, even part Roma people who are not aware of the terrible implications of that word. Because so few people know the Roma even exist outside of fairytales (we're sort of treated like fairies or dragons or something, but that's another kettle of fish), Roma people will usually either let the term slide while quietly thinking "wow, another dumb white kid to deal with, great" or will try to kindly correct the person - which, you'll notice, is what I did. I didn't berate Wolf; I just pointed out that this has some baggage and that it could be changed without damaging the story in any way. As she (or he? sorry I don't know what gender you are, Wolf) said, she just liked the sound of the word and wasn't too attached to it. If it was used as an insult by an unlikeable character or reflected some sort of slow Huck Finn-style development of the protagonist (i.e. prejudiced character becomes less prejudiced and stops using the insulting word over time), then you could defend using it. But as is it's a mildly offensive name and honestly kind of silly and out of place on top that (it's like naming a female character "Woman" or something; offensiveness aside, it would just sound better to use a proper Roma name). Yes, some people are oversensitive and you can't please everyone. But when Wolf does seem to be trying to incorporate Romani culture and characters into the story (a people who are rarely portrayed accurately or respectfully to boot), it would be an improvement if she both did some more research into the subject and didn't immediately look rude (or at least ignorant) to those people right off the bat. Those were the only reason I suggested a name change: it makes Wolf look more knowledgeable and makes the character feel like less of a stereotype and more of a developed, realistic person. The story has a lot of promise, and there's no reason to let an easily edited slip-up like that hold it back.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:05 pm

My thanks to both of you, and I just want to say, its okay. Gypsy was actually just a temporary name for her, as I couldn't figure out a good name for her. So I named her using a name I knew of the nomadic people (my apologies) to describe her for me while I tried to find a good name. I got distracted, however, do to several other projects (those blasted rpgs...XD) and never got around to it. I thank you for reminding me, Invader. Yes, by the way, I am female. I assume you are, or am I wrong again?
Anyways, I finally found a name for her that I like. It is Luminista, which means "little light" and I will edit this blasted thing as soon as I have the chance.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby IStoleYourToast » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:20 pm

That was rather interesting and I enjoyed reading that. Can't wait to read more! Keep it up! ;)
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:15 pm

Okay people, I've got a treat for you:
DUAL CHAPTERS!
Lol you get two chapters to groan over today. :) This is one of the parts I believe will require the most editing, but let me know what you think.

The Past Revealed
~Amanaki~

Asha was gone, kidnapped by the strange man. Maxwell had collapsed again, too weak from the incredible blows he had taken to stand. I was impressed, for I certainly couldn’t have taken those hits and still live. Sash had run to the edge of the corner, looking wildly around as though Doran would appear again with Asha in his arms. The rest of the kids, scared, uncertain or dazed by what they had witnessed, either stood frozen, milled around uselessly or turned and fled. I realized that, with Maxwell down and everyone else so clueless, I needed to take charge.
“Claire, Mitchell,” I snapped, barking out orders to the others like I’d heard my dad do. “Get everyone else home. Dickie, Jacky and Ethan, come help me with Maxwell. Sash! Find me as close to clean water and bandages as you can find.” Everyone stared at me dumbly. I tapped my foot impatiently. Why were they being so slow? “Get moving!”
Instantly they scrambled to obey. With Ethan’s help, we got Maxwell standing again, and we all supported him as we made our way to Maxwell’s alley home. Sash was sitting beside the sick boy, holding a plastic bin half-filled with water. “Its from the rain barrel down the street,” he said. “It appears to be acid-free and...well, beats puddle water.” He smiled, but it was weak. “Will he be okay Amanaki?”
I nodded shortly, directing the other three boys to lay Maxwell beside the boy. Maxwell grunted in pain, but made an effort to smile. “I’ll be alright Sash,” he said soothingly. “A good rest will be the best thing for me.”
“What about Asha?” Sash asked fearfully, his fingers moving absently to his mouth. I inwardly winced as I heard the small crunch of a nail breaking. The germs that boy could be catching were numerous, and it was an awful habit anyway. “That man kidnapped her! We’ll have to save her!”
“We will, Sash, but we dare not rush headlong into it. Besides the natural dangers, Dono...Doran is clever in his own right. We must use our heads as well as our fists to fight him,” Maxwell cautioned.
I thought about my own question, then leaned forward, putting my finger on the flame mark that resided in Maxwell’s chest. “What is the Flame, Maxwell?” I asked. Sash leaned over my shoulder and gaped.
“Oh my gosh, you have the mark too! You’re not gonna die from it, are you Maxwell? Does Doran have one too? Is he going to put one on Asha?”
His persistent babbling was beginning to get on my nerves. But some people handled their fear by talking. I would have to be patient. Sash meant well anyway, he was just worried about Asha and everything else. Admittedly I was a little anxious myself, but I had much more control that Sash ever would.
Maxwell slowly looked down at his chest, studying the mark with sad eyes. “The Flame,” he said quietly. “A nightmare we stumbled onto.”
“What’s going on?” a very sleepy Luminista appeared in the alley, yawning and rubbing her eyes. Sash hurried over to her, talking quickly and quietly. I watched them a moment, then turned to Maxwell again. I stared at his injuries, then down at the water and cloth and gestured helplessly. Maxwell smiled slightly, understanding.
“Best thing to do,” he said, forcing himself into a sitting position. “Is clean out the wounds first, then bandage them. We don’t have any fancy medicine, so we’ll use what little knowledge we have, and our imaginations.”
“Dad taught me a little bit,” I said quietly. “He was a marine, back then.” I tore one of the bandages, dampened it, then started working.
Maxwell winced, then nodded sympathetically. “He sounds like a great man.” I just nodded and kept going. Lumina came over, tears brimming in her large eyes, tore off another cloth and started to help me. Sash stood a bit back, his eyes on us and then back down the alley, toward where he lived I realized. I was about to tell him, as well as the other three who stood uncertainly nearby, to go ahead and go home, but Maxwell spoke before me.
“Come close, children. I have something important I must tell you. But...I will give you a choice. Go now, and you won’t have to worry about it. But if you choose to stay, to listen, you may find yourself involved in something quite dangerous. The choice is yours, to stay or go. Believe me, no one will think any less of you.”
Ethan stood abruptly. He opened his mouth to say something, then shut it without uttering a word. He turned and fled the alley, running home. Dickie and Jacky walked to either side of Maxwell and say down. Lumina leaned her hand on Maxwell’s shoulder, smiling bravely. Sash seemed uncertain, then put on a bold face, straightened and marched over, standing with his arms crossed. I simply put aside the wet cloth and used the others to wrap up. I raised my head momentarily to meet his eyes, then returned to work. His smile was sad, I noticed.
“My parents were archaeologists. They were consumed with love for their work, and while they tried not to ignore me, I was somewhat neglected at times, particularly at a dog. They brought me with them most days, you see.”
“You must have seen a lot of cool stuff!” Lumina exclaimed with wide eyes. He laughed at her eager face, giving her a small hug.
“There were seven other kids in the group my family worked with. We were pretty evened out, four girls, four boys. We laughed and said it was fate. When we weren’t helping out at the site, we’d mess around and make mischief until the adults chased us away. Then we’d do stuff in the area around us. Sometimes it was desert-like, other times lush forest. Still were there even mountains.”
“Your parents worked everywhere!” Sash laughed. “Doran was one of the kids, right?”
“Yes,” Maxwell said, nodding. “Though he was Donovan then. He always put a lot of stock in names. Donovan means “dark warrior” and he did have a warrior spirit. We would ask him if the dark part meant he’d be evil, or just a night-time warrior, and he’d just laugh. But he was attracted to unusual things. We all were, to some extent, curious and enjoying the little pretends we played. Do any of you know the volcano Vesuvius?”
“That’s the one that buried Pompeii,” Jacky said. “I remember that from my history. I thought it was pretty cool...” he looked a little embarrassed.
Maxwell reached out and laid a hand on him. “It was cool. I wish you could have seen it.” Jacky raised his head, surprised. Maxwell smiled. “Yes, I went there. My parents and our group were picked to do excavations around there, for they had dug up various things from before Pompeii. They were hoping to find more. So our group came, dragging us kids along. We helped out for a little while, but we quickly lost interest and ran off to explore. We ran right up to the volcano. It was quiet and still, a sleeping lion, but we forget that even a sleeping lion is still alert, awake. Vesuvius was still active, just sleeping.” He bit his lip, staring at the pavement. “We found a hole, which opened into a cavern. Those of us who ventured in dared and teased the other fearful ones in with us, and we unconsciously entered the mouth of the sleeping beast.”
Sash had a rapt expression as he leaned forward, eyes wide. I leaned back slightly, my eyes trailing from Maxwell’s face to his chest, to the Flame on his chest. With every heartbeat, it seemed to shift, to lick like a living flame. My eyes widened as I watched the mark change; it was alive! I glanced down at the mark on the strange boy’s arm, but it didn’t move like that. I stared at it, then looked back to the one Maxwell carried. It still moved!
“It began to grow warm, not unbearably but still quite hot, still we pressed on. Then we entered a vast cavern. Below was a deep pit, and we all could see a warm glow below. Doran found a path hewn out of the rocks, a man-made path. Curious, we ventured out on it, going further into the heart of the volcano. It seemed to get cooler, strangely, but then it got increasingly warm, so strong we almost turned back. Three of the girls and two of the boys did, leaving us three, Doran, myself and Jillian to press on. We pushed forward, joking that we were challenging the mountain by going this far. We were certainly challenging something. The path ended at a cave. The warm glow had become a light, though we did not see any magma yet. We were sweating, burning hot and exhausted from the steep climb, but we entered the cave with hardly a look back. At the very back of the cave, we found a dead end, just a great rock blocking the way. We turned to go back when Doran noticed a crack in the rock, which revealed a room beyond. With some pushing and pulling, we squeezed out way in. It was a small room; five men would have felt cramped. It was empty, at first glance, but in our eager exploration we uncovered a tiny crevice, where a gilded box had been hidden. With great effort, we pulled it loose. It was a beautiful creation, lined in gold and engraved with many pictures. However, if you looked closer, you realized that the pictures were of monsters and evil things. Centered in this pictured hell was a flamed figure. It bore no distinguishing marks, just the form of a figure that might have been human, surrounded in flames. We felt a menace from this suddenly horrid box, but we all were dying to see what it contained. As one, we reached for the complicated latch, though mine was the first to touch it. Together we opened it, and beheld its contents. We were disappointed, for it was merely a crimson blob, like gelatine. Jillian pointed out that it had to be something important, or they wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble to leave it boxed up. We experimently poked it, it was rather squishy. Doran found he could pull a piece from it, so we all took a bit to study closer. It was warm in our hands. Suddenly, before we realized what was happening, it dissolved into our bodies, wherever we held it. Mine to my heart, Jillian’s settled in her arm, and Doran’s went directly into his hand.”
“I noticed he was wearing gloves,” Sash said. “Was he hiding his mark?”
“Perhaps. Old habits die hard. We were all scared when it suddenly joined our bodies. We were terrified when the mountain began to shake. We scrambled for the hole, pushing and shoving each other to get out of there. That glow had gotten a lot brighter, and a lot warmer. With the mountain shaking, the climb up was even harder, and we were nearly jostled several times. What disturbed me was the lessening in heat, despite the fact we were being chased by magma. It was a race we were losing quickly. We saw the magma when we reached the opening, and Doran was the one to say that if we were that close, we should have melted away to lava ourselves. Then the mountain blew its top, and next thing we knew we were swimming in it.”
Lumina’s eyes were wide as dinner plates. “Did you die?” she asked in a solemn voice, concern in her eyes.
“We survived,” Maxwell reassured her, smiling gently. She breathed a sigh of relief. He continued his story, which by now had completely caught my attention. “That’s when we really knew that something odd was going on, but we didn’t see it until we escaped the lava. We were all glowing, our marks were especially resonating. They had taken shape too, as living flames. Doran had lost the box, but we all agreed that was just as well. We also agreed this must stay secret from everyone else, who, yes, had survived, though the site had been buried. For me, it was fairly easy, but the others had a harder time of it. And then we discovered it could be passed on.”
“What happened?” Dickie asked.
“We were playing heroes and villains. Doran was a hero, and he was wrestling with one of the villains when his gloves fell off. He missed it, and they kept on going. Then, a little bit after, the boy collapsed, spasming, and we discovered a mark forming on his head. We finally explained what happened to the other kids, and we all concluded that, since we had been in contact with each other and never passed it along till then, it only happened if we touched the mark. But then one of the girls pointed out that she had touched the mark, and hadn’t been affected yet. We watched her the rest of the day, but it never happened. We considered taking it to the adults, but all agreed it might not be a good idea. The marks were covered again, and Lachlain, our newly marked friend, had a scarf tied around his neck to hide his mark.” He chuckled grimly. “Then we found out the mark gave us even more. We could use it to strengthen our natural abilities and give us abilities we’d never even dreamed of.” He shook his head sadly. “Then the nightmares came. Whatever it was, it began to possess us, making us do horrific deeds. By now, all but a couple of us had been infected through some accident. Doran seemed to be losing himself in the Flame, as we had come to call it. The rest of us, on the other hand, were succeeding in beginning to fight off its influence. Then we tried to cleanse it from us entirely...”
He lowered his head, a display of emotions on his face. Instinctively I reached out to touch his hand, recognizing his sorrow. He gave me a grateful smile and resumed the story. “The Flame went ballistic, and through it, Doran. We all were drawn into conflict, until we had unsettled the whole world.”
Jacky’s eyes widened in realization. Mine were probably just as round. Sash stared uncomprehendingly. “So Doran, with the Flame, almost destroyed you?”
“Yes Sash,” Maxwell said quietly. “But all together we thoroughly succeeded in destroying our world. This chaos, this living hell, this was made from the ashes of our battle.”
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:17 pm

A Madman’s Dream
~Asha~

Doran led me down the alley, then into the side door of a house. I followed numbly, for I still felt nauseous after witnessing the carnage of earlier, for when he’d killed one of the gunmen the others had fallen on the corpse. It was a sick display of what we have come to, as human beings. Doran seemed completely unbothered by it. He is mad, I am certain at this point. Then I recalled my own words, “you have to be tough to survive”. Perhaps he had simply become that tough, though that wasn’t any more comforting. He bent down, picking something up off the floor, then started toward a heavily locked door. It was a key, I realized, as he unbolted the multiple locks.
“Home sweet home,” he announced with a sarcastic tone as he pushed the door open. He motioned for me to go first, and as I walked past him I noticed the door was rather battered. It was a chilly feeling that realization brought. I quickly turned to study the room. It was actually pretty cosy, if confined. There were still pieces of rainbow-colored wallpaper up, and there was a window that was curtained off. There was a burnt patch in the corner, where he’d obviously built a fire, and at first I couldn’t figure out how he’d succeeded in not burning the house down. But then I saw the wall of stone built in that spot and understood. There was a cot in the other corner, and I saw a cooler under it, as well as a couple other boxes. One section of the room had been curtained off, and I stared at it curiously.
He stepped in, relocked the door, then started toward the curtained section. “This will be your room,” he said, still with that trace of irony, as he pushed the curtain aside. I came curiously forward, then gasped, my eyes widening. There was a bed in the corner, an actual bed with a mattress and sheets! It even seemed in good condition, it was almost like a miracle.
“I get a bed?” I said in a dazed tone, walking toward it. I touched the sheets, they felt so wonderfully soft. “A real, actual bed?”
“Yes, you do.” He sounded puzzled. I didn’t care, the feel of those sheets was heavenly. I heard him come over, and he crouched down beside me. “Where have you been sleeping, child?”
“In the sewers. I haven’t seen a real bed in ages...”
“Did you at least have a blanket or something?” he questioned. I shook my head. He stood, staring at me expressionlessly, then surprised me by cursing adamantly. “I’m sorry Alethia. I truly never thought this could happen...”
“Please, call me Asha,” I said, turning to face him. He had turned away and had walked to the curtain, his hand resting on it, but he paused at my words. When he turned, I noticed his eyes had a new light to them.
“why Asha?” he asked, watching me closely.
“Its...my assumed name. It was...is easier than Alethia.” I felt uncomfortable under his intense gaze. “And I like it,” I added defiantly.
“Nothing wrong with that,” he reassured me. He slowly began to smile. “Asha. That means “hope”.” His smile grew. “Little truth who calls herself hope. This has to be an omen. I must be doing right.” He began to laugh. I watched him somewhat curiously, even worriedly. I didn’t understand. His laughter eventually trailed off. He shook his head as it died, but his smile remained. “Stay here till I return, Asha,” he told me. “You can explore the room, the worst you could find is a knife and you strike me as a smart girl. Please promise me, however, that you won’t attempt to leave. Promise me.”
I nodded, very slowly. “I promise.”
He nodded back. “I’ll hold you to that, little truth.” He walked to the door and soon vanished behind it.
I stared at the spot a long time, puzzling over the enigmatic man. Eventually, I shrugged it off and began to explore the contents of the room. The cooler contained several cans of various foods, mostly meats and similar things. Stews and the like, you know what I mean. The other boxes contained various stuffs, frayed towels, a couple knives, medical kits, the sort. I did find one box, tucked way back, that held a knife as long as my arm, and it had a gun with it too. I cautiously touched the shining metal, which was cold to my touch. Shivering, I quickly closed it again and shoved it back. There was nothing much of interest, though I wondered if I could safely steal one of the knives. I’d discovered a full dozen in one of the small boxes, and having one would be wonderful for so many reasons. Finally, I grabbed one and shoved it in my shoe. After that, I didn’t really have anything else to do, so I went back to my section of the room and dropped into the bed, sighing contentedly, closing my eyes.
I must have dozed, because when I opened them, the curtain had been drawn all the way, a sheet laid over me, and I could see the silhouette of Doran through the cloth. After a moment, I sat up, pushed off the bed and peeked around the curtain. He was bent over a small fire in that corner, and open can beside him. He had changed from the business suit into a black body-tight outfit. I was surprised to see that he was certainly well-muscled, but it wasn’t all that obvious because he had such a lithe build. For the feats he had pulled at his fight, he didn’t have anywhere near the muscle I expected.
He glanced back suddenly and our eyes met. He smiled at me and beckoned. After a moment’s hesitation, I came out. “Glad to see you’re up,” he said, confirming my suspicion. “Come over, I’ve food ready.” When I hesitated, he laughed softly. “Asha, I do not mean you any harm. If I wanted you dead, I would have left you to the madmen. Come, child, eat with me.”
Slowly I came forward, watching him closely as I stood beside him. He held out a bowl, cracked at the rim, to me. It was pleasantly warm, and it smelled heavenly. “Where did you get the cans?” I asked curiously, wondering if he’d fought to get them from an abandoned store.
“Raided a few pantries,” he replied. “You’d be surprised. They all seem to forget about their pantries and freezers. But then, when the roof is falling on your head, I suppose that does negate those thoughts. No spoons, I’m afraid, so you’ll have to use your hands.”
I nodded, understanding without explanation who “they” were. I cautiously dipped my fingers into the stew. Finding it pleasantly warm but not painfully, I scooped up a little and tasted it. It was delicious! Without further hesitation, I ate quickly. I was aware of his eyes on me the whole way, but didn’t pay it too much mind. I hadn’t eaten food like this in ages.
“I imagine you have many questions,” he said. I raised my eyes to meet his, waiting. “You may ask. I will do my best to answer.”
I carefully swallowed a bit of beef, thinking. “I’m not sure where to start,” I admitted, trying to figure out which to ask first. He chuckled but said nothing. Eventually, I found what seemed to be a good beginning. “How do you know Maxwell?” I asked.
He smiled. “Ah. I suppose that may be the best way to begin.” He glanced down at the smouldering embers, the ghost of a smile touching his lips. “We were kids together. Our parents were archaeologists, working together and the same team. There were six others, but Max and I were closest in age, so we tended to band together.”
I nodded softly as he paused. When he showed no inclination of continuing, I asked, “Why were you fighting then? What drove you apart?”
His eyes seemed almost to glow as they raised to meet mine. “We found something,” he said quietly, his tone exuberant. He raised his left hand and carefully removed the glove. Resting directly in the center of his palm was a flame, like the one I’d seen on Maxwell’s chest. My eyes widened as I recognized it. He smiled slyly and held it out to me. “Would you like to touch it?” he asked.
I remembered what Maxwell said and shook my head, leaning away. He chuckled. “It’s not a dying flame, as poor Thomas’s is. Poor child, his body and spirit weren’t strong enough.”
“Was he that boy then?” I asked. He nodded. I stared at the mark, and noticed it moved like it was alive. Disturbed by that, I said, “So what does the mark have to do with you and Maxwell?”
“The Flame brought us more power and abilities than we ever dreamed. But Max and the others, they didn’t agree with me. They said these gifts were evil, but there was none of what they claimed to be happening. I tried to persuade them, but...they fought with me.” His hands clenched tightly by his face, and the hand bearing the mark pulsed red. “They forced me to fight back, and our warring shattered the world, and most of us. When the hell had passed, only four of us still stood. The other three cast me back, blaming the carnage on me. I fled them, and travelled the living hell we have now.”
I watched mutely as the pulsing red grew more vibrant, then, slowly, it dimmed and disappeared. Doran sighed, and his face cleared of its anger. I relaxed, but only a little. “Why did you want Thomas?” I asked quietly. “Why do you want me?”
His head was lowered, so I couldn’t see his face. But his voice...it sounded almost exultant. “Our world needs rebuilding. It is a dying world longing for rebirth. This will only be done if certain beings, with the powers like a true god, come forth and fix our planet. When I found Thomas, he had been ravaged by a terrible illness, and had been abandoned by his family.”
Just like me,” I thought. “Save being ill...
“I took him in and tried to help him, slowly returning life to his tortured body. However, he caught another illness. I finally attempted to pass on the Flame cells to him, as I had inadvertently done before, to see if it would strengthen him as it did me. For two days, I thought he would pull through, for not only did he grow stronger but it seemed his body embraced its powers and abilities. Watching him, I realized, indeed, that the children are the hope of the future, for if I were to raise others with powers like mine, then together we could give this planet its rebirth. Come, come see the fruits of my efforts!”
He suddenly leapt up, caught me up quickly and carried me to the window. Startled by his holding me, I froze up, clutching the stew bowl to my chest; that almost had some bad results. However, when I saw what he had outside the window, I gasped in amazed delight. Locked in and hidden by a tall metallic fence was a small garden with green, growing things. “Its so lovely,” I breathed in awe.
“Aren’t they though,” he said with a deep smile, which quickly turned into a frown. “However...they won’t last too much longer.” I turned to look at him, aghast. He shook his head sadly. “Alone, I can coax them to live again, but they aren’t strong and the soil of the earth is poison.” We both stared at the beautiful plants, and I felt a great sorrow. Such wonderful things, to die so quickly, it just didn’t seem right. Sighing, he put me back down and returned to the window, resting his crossed arms on the sill. “But if I had others helping me, we could not only coax life back, but replenish the soil, heal illness, and maybe we could even clear the sky and bring the sun back...”
I watched him, studying his rapt face. “But Thomas looks terribly ill now,” I said.
He nodded. “Something inside him revolted against the Flame, and their war emaciated him. I left a moment to find something, and when I returned he had gone. How I still do not know.”
“And now I’m here,” I whispered. He faced me again and smiled.
“Yes...now you’re here. A fighter born and raised by fate. You have such a strong spirit, you refuse to bow to any trial. I know...” His smile grew. “You will not only survive, you will carry the Flame, the first of those who will aid me. The true first of my new people, the People of the Flame!”
I was taken aback by his intensity and his declaration. But before I could move, he had bent down in front of me, an arm hooked around my back. His hand bearing the mark was held out, palm open, toward me. I struggled, but it wasn’t just his arm that held me. That red energy was all around us, snapping and sending out sparks like a fire. “Let me go!” I shrieked.
“Don’t be afraid,” he urged. “You have nothing to fear. Once the Flame has passed within you, there will be no more pain, only warmth.” He placed his hand on my collar, at the base of the neck. At first, I felt nothing, just the pressure of his hand. Then, slowly, I felt my skin begin to heat up. I screamed, stumbling back; I was on fire! I could feel the burning, living monster move through me, in my blood, into my mind, everywhere! I was burning! I was going to die!
Through the pain, I felt another, gentler pressure. I was being held...right? I couldn’t tell, my nerves, those that hadn’t been burnt out were numb and unresponsive. “It will be over soon,” I heard Doran say. “Be strong, little Asha. Sleep now, it will pass soon.”
A blackness descended, the deepness of sleep. I succumbed to it, hoping for peace. But no, the fires followed, and the nightmares began.
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:57 pm

What Must Be Done
~Sash~


"Well I don't care!'' I shouted. "You came and took care of us. That's what matters to me. You're my second dad."
Maxwell smiled, reaching forward to ruffle my hair. I laughed, grinning up at him. "That's a relief," he said seriously. "Its torn at my heart for the past few years. To see you all suffer because of our conflict, it was a pain sharper than nails."
"Here." Amanaki held out Maxwell's shirt to him, cleaned of as much dirt as possible.
Maxwell took the shirt, thanking Amanaki, and quickly slipped back into it. I stared at the Flame until it was hidden by the cotton shirt. It was so cool, and yet it had wrought such chaos. It was scary to consider. "We need to rescue Asha though," I said thoughtfully. "'Cause Doran sounds like a very messed up dude. He's gonna put the Flame on her too, won't he?"
"I believe that is his intent," Maxwell answered. "But I cannot be certain. You boys-"
The sick boy suddenly moaned. I jumped back with a startled shout as he began thrashing wildly around, his eyes squeezed so tightly closed it was painful. Maxwell reached out to touch his arm where the Flame flared, and that blue energy surrounded his hand. Slowly, it began to spread, moving up the boy's arm and to his entire body. As it spread, the boy's wild flailing stilled, and he lay still. I crept closer again, watching, fascinated. His eyes suddenly opened, startling me again. They looked afraid, and flickered over us like he couldn't see us. His gaze eventually rested on Maxwell, and there was some sort of recognition in them. "I've seen you," he said suddenly. "In my nightmares. You and Doran are fighting. But you shouldn't have been, you needed to work together, and everything was going to die..."
Maxwell gently touched the boy's hand, which suddenly gripped his. Maxwell smiled sadly, feeling the boy's distress. "My name is Maxwell," he told the boy.
"I know," the boy said. "I'm Thomas." He stared up at the dense clouds, watching them. "I'm going to die, aren't I?" he asked. Maxwell bit his lip, then nodded. Thomas was quiet, just watching the sky. "I thought so. I guess I was just hoping...I don't wanna die."
"I wish I could promise you otherwise," Maxwell murmured, his sorrow evident in his voice.
I made a decision. I sat down beside the boy Thomas and took his hand. "You'll be alright," I told him firmly. "Maxwell will take care of you just like he cares for all of us. You're gonna be okay."
Thomas's eyes focused on me, and at first he didn't seem to understand. Then he smiled. "I'll be alright...would you stay with me, until its over?" He seemed so small and frail as he spoke. "I'm afraid to go alone..."
I looked up at Maxwell, who watched me intently. Slowly, I realized this was my decision to make, and no one was going to push me either way. I looked at Thomas's pale face, then nodded and took his hand. "Don't worry, I'll keep you company."
Amanaki came forward silently, sitting down beside me. Reaching out, he rested his hand on the boy's shoulder. Luminista, sitting in Maxwell's lap, reached out to touch his other shoulder. Jacky came forward, a grim light in his eyes, and did the same. There was nothing from Dickie, and I suddenly realized he was gone. I wonder to this day when he left, and hwy. I've never seen him again.
Thomas smiled, a deep peace in his warm eyes. Then slowly, he shut them...and that was the last he ever opened them.
First, it was merely a spasm, nothing too great, but it began to grow in intensity. He was screaming, trying to move, but we held him steady. The wounds on his body, I believe from the hound attack, were reopened, and coming out with the blood was an icky green substance, vibrant in color and oozing out like a slug. And still he screamed. I was scared, and more than a little grossed out, but I didn't close my eyes. I didn't pull away. Not even when the stuff came oozing toward me, then got caught in a crack in the concrete. I stayed with him, determined to see him through to the end. Luminista started humming softly, and I noticed his brow relax slightly. "Way to go, Lumi-light," I mentally cheered. Suddenly, his Flame shone like a bright lamp in the darkness. The boy stiffened, then collapsed limply. After a few seconds, the flame went out. I stared a moment, then raised my eyes to meet Maxwell's the unspoken question in my eyes.
"He's gone," he said quietly.
Lumina whimpered, laying her head on Maxwell's lap, crying softly. I squeezed the boy's hand before letting it go, cradling my hand in my lap. Maxwell noticed a thin trickle of blood sliding out his mouth, which he wiped away with the back of his hand. I reached over and touched Max's hand, feeling subdued and forlorn. "What do we do now?" I asked.
He looked into my eyes, directly meeting my gaze. "What must be done," he replied quietly. "Lets attend to this child first, then we find Doran and keep him from repeating this act."
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby ClaecElric4God » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:43 am

Sorry for only just reading this, Wolf.
Anyways, this is awesome! I knew you were an awesome writer, but this is really good. It's very intriguing and captivating. I love the idea and the story, and it's got me on the edge of my seat. I really like the idea of not really knowing what to think of Doran (unless it's supposed to be obvious that he's a bad guy, in which case I'll shut up now :P), and I'm excited to see where this goes.
Sorry, I don't have any critique for you. I think it's really good.
I do have a word of warning, though. If you kill my favorite character, you'll be in trouble!
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
"I hate milk; it's like drinking vomit." -Edward Elric and me. :fmed:
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ClaecElric4God in regards to Wolfsong - You're the coolness scraped off the top of this morning's ice cream, after being pulled out of a beautiful summer day!
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Panda4christ:3 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:24 am

I like it wolfy~ Keep up the good work :3
"People need fear, we experience it so we can grow stronger"-Maka Albarn
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:59 pm

ClaecElric4God wrote:I do have a word of warning, though. If you kill my favorite character, you'll be in trouble!


Sash suddenly meets a tragic end

Just for you Claec.
Panda, what the heck is going on in your signature???
Thanks guys. I should have another one up soon.
Last edited by Wolfsong on Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:47 pm

An Understanding
~Asha~

I was on a road of fire in the midst of a great empty space. But strangely, I could not feel its heat. The place was freezing cold, and I felt very numbed by it. I walked the burning road, simply because it was there, a direction to follow in this emptiness. It went on for a long time, or at least it felt that way. Finally, the flames seemed to separate and branch off, but they curved around and met again, making a circle. Something was in this circle, something I instinctively knew was ancient, great and powerful.
It knew I was there.
Something moved in the circle. I remained like I was rooted to the spot. A low hissing gilled my ears, harsh, grating, an invasive noise. There was a repugnant stench in the air around me, like rotting flesh, the stuff that lives in the mire of a cesspool, and many things best left unsaid. I tried to swallow, but my throat was dry. Instead, I began to retch, collapsing onto the fiery floor. The flames seemed to gather around me, as though desiring to shield me from the evil beyond. But even as I yearned for its protection, I feared to let it fill me, for if I allowed it in, would I ever get it out again? “Maxwell,” I whimpered. “Help me.”
Something moved in the shadows beyond the fire. Something huge. Something an impossible length.Something…that reared overhead, something with long silvery white fangs. Something with narrowed golden eyes that burned with a blind hatred for any living creature. Its triangular head was tilted toward my, a long leathery neck arched over my fire. Its muscles in its arms and legs were huge. On its back, two bat-like wings flared out, curved around my fire like a dome.
Embrace me, the fire was saying. Take me. I will save you from the darkness.
“I can’t!” I cried, cowering. The monster’s head dipped, invading the fire’s protection. It loomed over me, its long forked tongue tasting the air. I felt it suddenly, a vast presence against me. It wanted something, something from me. “What are you?” I cried. It didn’t answer. I felt the force of its mind press against mine, almost smothering. I wilted under its might. “What do you want from me?” I whimpered.
I felt something then, a push against my mind so strong I almost stumbled out of the fire. It wanted in my mind! “NO!” I shouted. Suddenly, I was angry. “My spirit is my own!” I planted my feet, clenched my fists, and glared back at the monstrosity. “I deny you entry! I defy you! I DEFY YOU!”
Suddenly, they were gone. Both the flame and creature, they disappeared into nothing. They were gone, leaving me alone in the stinging cold of the darkness. I shivered, any burning anger suddenly gone. There was the flame then, just a little whisper, offering me its warmth. “A little,” I relented, breaking. Soon, the cold was replaced by a gentle warm feeling, chasing the forest away. I relaxed, enjoying the feeling.
Suddenly, the creature returned, locked in a mad rage. In an instant it was upon me. I screamed as its fangs sank into me…

I was back in my bed, staring at the ceiling wide-eyed. Slowly, I curled into a ball, shivering and weeping. The horror, the pains I’d felt before waking, the memory was quite fresh. I could still feel its talons, and the spot of my neck where its teeth had torn.
I reached up to the base of my neck, fingering an odd disfiguration there, a Flame mark like Doran. “Will it kill me too?” I wondered aloud. Then I heard a noise like a strangled sob. Fearful, I slid out of the bed and stepped around the curtain.
Doran lay in the middle of the floor, his body stretched out like he’d fallen and taunt like a bowstring. His arm, the one bearing the marked hand, was curled against his chest, like he was trying to protect it. The other lay stretched out in front of him imploringly. His face was twisted, a mask of pain and fear.
For the first time, I felt pity for this man, now that I had seen the demons haunting him. Heaven only knew what else there was I had yet to meet. No wonder he was what he was, for assuredly they’d driven him mad.
I walked over to him and knelt down, touching his shoulder and shaking him. “Doran,” I said. “Doran, wake up.”
He stirred, then his marked hand uncurled from his chest and reached out to me, almost pleading. I took it in mine, squeezing it. I saw his eyes open, and then his head rose, eyes meeting mine. There was something in his eyes, a fear of being alone. Alone, with the demons fighting in him, hurting him. I wondered if the same fear was pictured in my eyes. “Asha,” he said quietly. He slowly relaxed, pulling his legs forward, and then straightening his back.
“Doran,” I spoke falteringly. “Do you see them every night?”
He nodded slowly. We both knew fully well who ‘them’ was! “There are only two, the Flame, and I have come to name the other Fear. They hate each other. The Flame is always the same, but Fear…he takes on different forms. Sometimes he takes multiple forms a night, other times he is hardly visible. But they are always there. Asha….” He lowered his head, hiding his eyes. “Never let him into your head. The Flame keeps you alive, at least, but Fear, he will not do the same.”
“Have you met him then?” I asked.
“Not in person, never his single pure form. But I’ve met his servants.” He raised his eyes, meeting mine. “You remember the men with guns who’ll feast on their own flesh and blood? They’ve given to him, they’ve let him in. But they are weak minded, so when he came, their minds literally snapped, and they became what they are now. But if he found a mind capable of holding him, strong enough to withstand the pressure…this world could literally become hell, hopeless, a dead world.”
“But we are hopeful,” I whisper placating. “This Flame is…our defense. We can use it to fight Fear. It is our hope now…”
“No Asha.” Smiling, he reached up, cupping my face in his hands. “You whose name means hope. You are my hope now. Because now, I know I’m not alone, I’m not facing the monsters alone. Asha, Alethia, my truthful hope.” He leaned forward, touching his forehead to mine. “Can you promise you’ll never leave me? It will be easier to fight, knowing I have a child of hope and truth with the soul of fire on my side.”
I smiled at him, reaching up to touch his face. “We’ll fight together,” I promised him. “I defied it before. I’ll deny it even more strongly now.”
We held the contact a moment longer, then pulled back. Doran had a new light in his eyes now, a fierce determination. “We’ll need to move location,” he told me. “His servants haven’t quite found me yet, but they’re getting closer every day. I found a promising location a ways north of here.”
“That’s what you’ve been looking for, right?” I asked. He nodded, clearly proud of me for figuring it out.
“Correct. There’s also a settlement there. I was hoping to find some more people there.”
“Just don’t scare them first, kay?” I told him, grinning. He laughed and turned to the cot, pulling a couple of boxes out from under. I watched him, feeling a deep pity. I was going to do my best to look after him, at least until Maxwell came. Maybe he could help me save Doran…
Doran pulled out the box containing the knife and gun. He took the knife, grasping it firmly by the hilt, and pulled it from the sheath. Its slim blade curved slightly, and it glinted wickedly on its edge. He sheathed it, then attached it to his belt. He did the same with the gun. “We’ll need to find you something,” he said to me, closing the lid. “While I hope you’ll never use it, I don’t want you undefended in case of an attack.” He pulled out another box, this one with all the varied pocket-sized knife. He selected two and handed them to me. “These will do till we find something better.” I hid one in my other shoe, and he showed me how to hide the other in the armband I wore. He grinned encouragingly at me. “We’re going to do great things Asha!”
I just smiled back at him.
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:23 pm

Manhunt
~Amanaki~

As my eyes opened, I heard gunfire. It sounded like it came from the north side of town. I lived on the fringes of the northwest, which meant I could be in the eventual path of these men.
Oh wait. I'd fallen asleep in the Corner last night. No, I was safe for the time being.
I sat up slowly, silently looking around. Maxwell slept in a hammock strung between two buildings. One of his rules, he had once told me, was to never sleep on the ground. Considering our times, it was sound advice. Sash and Jacky had gone back home, and Luminista had crept back into her dumpster. Of the deceased, Thomas, there was no sign. Maxwell had already taken care of him.
My stomach growled, announcing its hunger. Silently, I slid off the storefront canopy and walked right in. It had been a restaurant once, now it was as empty as a desert. However, you could still get food there. You just had to dig deep. After rooting around in the ovens and grills, I found some scraps that would qualify as edible. Chewing on one, I left the building.
Maxwell was awake, sliding out of his hammock as I came out. He smiled at me, warm though his eyes were sad. “Good morning,” he said.
I nodded, smiling back. “Morning.” I took some of my findings and shared with him. As we ate, I looked at him enquiringly. “Thomas?”
“I wondered if you’d ask.” His free hand wondered to his chest. While the shirt had been sewn up, it wasn’t a neat job, and you could just see the tip of the flame. “There wasn’t much I could do. Even if I found a place to bury his body, either the dogs would find it or the acid soil eat at it. So I…burned it.” He tilted his head back, staring at the sky. “That was the way to attend to kings’ bodies, once.”
“Do you think Doran’s purposely doing evil?” I asked.
He studied my face, quietly answering, “I do not know. But I can remember the nightmares.” I looked at him quizzically. He shook his head. “Burning world, our deepest fears, they smothered us till we didn’t dare sleep. Even then, they followed us in our minds. We couldn’t escape…” He lowered his head, his bangs falling to hide his face. I reached over and tapped the shirt over the mark.
“But its healing,” I reminded him.
“I noticed. But I’m not entirely sure why.” He put his hand over it, tracing the now immobile flame. “Before, in my dream, I hid in the flame to escape the darkness. But after…the destruction, I began to flee them both. Perhaps that is why it begins to dim, why I begin to lose the nightmares. I no longer accept the flame but abandon it. But Doran…I fear he has come to embrace it all the more deeply over the years. I wonder how that affects his nightmares.”
“Hey gang!” Sash laughed, as he came in, carrying Lumina on his back .”Sorry if I’m early. What’s today’s gameplan?”
“Today we hunt the streets for any signs of Doran or Asha. I believe he is somewhere in this town, we just have to discover where.” Maxwell rubbed his forehead. “My guess would be deeper within this place, where some of the more dangerous people roam. I’ll take those streets. Amanaki, you know the north-western border well. I want you to look around there. Sash, I need you to stay here.” He quickly raised a hand, trying to cut off his startled exclamation. “I understand, but someone needs to keep on eye on the other kids. I need someone I can trust to keep them all safe, especially little Luminista.”
Sash thought about it, then grinned. “Alright! I’ll try to keep the others okay. I’ll protect Lumina!” He laughed. “That should be easy. Except for the occasional dog, nothing dangerous ever shows here.”
“What will I do?” Lumina asked.
Sash responded quickly, bouncing her as he galloped around, making her laugh. “You’re going to help me! We’ll keep the others so preoccupied they won’t notice Maxwell’s gone!” He grinned at Maxwell. “’Preoccupied’. That’s my word of the day!”
“Good job!” Maxwell congratulated him. “You are doing so well on improving your vocabulary.”
Sash laughed. “Vo-cab-u-lary. I like the sound of that! Thanks Maxwell! Come on Lumina, lets go play!” and off he ran.
I smiled involuntarily as he raced down the street, whooping while Lumina clung, shrieking, to his back for dear life. There was a joyful aura about Sash, and his smile was very contagious. He was difficult to hate, even if you wanted to. Maxwell was quiet, then said quietly, “I hope I’m not doing wrong by him.”
“Its for the best,” I replied. “He can be incautious.” Quietly, I rose to my feet, brushing a little of the road dirt off my coat. “I’ll be back by tonight.” And I walked out of the alley.
Sash had already started the other kids in a game. It looked like they were starting hide-and-seek. Wished them luck, then slid back into the sewer system. The metal rungs of the wall ladder were stone cold, and one had some sort of slime on the end, so I got down quick as I could. The place was dark as a tomb, but my eyes adjusted quickly. The tunnels were dark and damp. Sewage water ran down the irrigation path in the center, to where I wasn’t entirely sure. One day I intended to find out. For now, I ran down the concrete, startling a few rats who shot me venomous looks and scampered up the wall.
There were a lot of turns and paths to take, but I knew them all. My home was on the other side of the road, and I traveled this road often.
Four more turns, and I found the manhole I was looking for. The cover had been lost, but most of the people I knew viewed it as a hazard and a liability. Me, I just made use of it. However…there is an odd lump of something in the water, something that may or may not resemble a human skull. I am never certain, but the possibility is a reminder of the danger that is there. Seems to me there were too many reminders around. Ignoring it, I climbed up into the streets.
The northwest is just on the edge of the most dangerous side of town. Most of the gunmen live there, those who live anyway. A lot of them had joined into ‘packs’ and preyed on whoever they could find. If no victim was forthcoming, the weakest of the pack became the prey. It was disgusting to see them, animals with humans faces. It was easy to hate them, to loathe their mindless evil. But one of the few things I remember my mother teaching me was to pray for people who did evil, to not hate them, but the deeds they do. So, difficult as it was, I focus on hoping that, somehow, they will be saved.
Gunshots. Involuntarily I shrank back. Even though I was growing quickly, I was only twelve. I still qualified as the small and weak. Against those madmen, I could do nothing. All my instincts were to run and hide.
But I couldn’t. Asha was also alone, out there, with a man who was probably crazy himself. Fighting myself, I started down the street, ready to face my fears.
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:08 pm

I'm so sorry, its been so long...

The Price of Disobedience
~Sash~

Though I was laughing outside, I was upset. Why wouldn’t they let me help? I wanted Asha back too, even more than they did! So why wouldn’t they let me search with them? I was just as good as Amanaki!
I want to do more than watch the other kids!” I thought bitterly, laughing and putting Lumina on the ground. “I’m not a baby anymore! I took on the dogs after all, didn’t I? And I did really well too, I’m able to help them with searching. This isn’t fair!’
“Hide and seek!” Lumina chanted eagerly as the other kids gathered around. She giggled eagerly, bouncing where she stood.
I grinned at her. “Sure Lumina, that sounds great! Who wants to play?”
As the other kids shouted their agreement and argued over who would be It, I noticed Amanaki slip into the sewers. Maxwell never came out, so I suspected he used a different means of travel. I thought hard, then suddenly figured out what I could do. I would slip off during the hide and seek game and take a quick kook around, just by my house per say, then come right back, If it worked, I would try again elsewhere, and keep going till I found her. Maxwell would be so proud.
After a bit of voting, two kids were chosen It. When they started counting, I took my opportunity and shot down the alley. Wasting no time, I scrambled over the iron fence and slipped into the streets. Recklessly I burst into the open, but empty, streets. I ran down the sidewalk, glancing at the houses alongside the road. Most were abandoned, run down and devoid of life, except maybe for rats. I chose one of the houses and entered quickly, and as quietly as I could. The front door had fallen off, so entering was easy, but the boards creaked dreadfully loudly, and I was afraid every moment that they would snap under my feet.
This was a simple, one-story house. Most of the furniture was in pieces and the wallpaper had mostly peeled off. Dust rested heavily on everything, several inches thick. No, no one had been here in forever. I shrugged and stepped out again.
The rest of the houses were the same, dusty and unoccupied. Though some, judging by the paw prints, were familiar haunts of the dogs. A little discouraged but grateful to cross this street off the list, I started back for the Corner, lost in thought. Thoughtlessly my thumb wandered into my mouth, and I bit pensively on the gritty nail. Then I realized what I was doing and yanked it out of my mouth, wiping it off on the leg of my pants. I mentally scolded myself; I was supposed to have outgrown those baby habits a long time ago! When I reached my house, I paused and thought a moment, then stepped inside. "Mom! Its me, Sash!"
My mom appeared from one of the rooms, in her apron covered in dust and grime. i grinned at her. "Disturbing dust bunnies again?"
She smiled, her entire face lighting up like a sunbeam ."Its my house, not theirs. What would we do if somebody caught a dust allergy on top of everything else?" She held out her arms to me.
Without hesitation I rushed forward and leapt into her embrace. Laughing together, she swung me around like a top, spinning faster and faster till we collapsed to the floor, laughing. I smiled at my mom, then reached up and touched a strand of her golden brown hair that had fallen out of place. My mom was beautiful, and I loved her more than anything in the world. "Mom, is there any food to be had? I'm starving!"
"Your father's off hunting for dinner. But come, I'm sure we can find something." Smiling cheerfully, she led me to the back room where we kept the freezer. Our freezer was powered by a generator, so it still worked, but I worried about what we'd do if it broke. She opened it and pulled out some meat from last night's dinner. Dad had gotten lucky and brought home a package of venison he'd found somewhere. There was still a lot left, so she gave me five strips. "Are you going back to your friends?" she asked as she handed me the meat.
I nodded. "Yeah, but I wanted to bring a few things to share with them."
"Are you sure five strips will be enough?" she asked.
I just grinned in response. "See you tonight Mom!"
"Do be careful!" she shouted as I rushed from the room, leaving the house quickly. As long as I'd been gone, the others were bound to have guessed by now. I rushed down the alley, but I had a couple streets to go through first. I rushed down one, then stopped cold.
Rummaging in the boxes in the alley as the shaggy gray dog who had stalked me on the roof. His read rose, and our eyes met. For a second we stared at each other, then he barred his fangs and I scrambled back away. He relaxed slightly when I backed off, but his eyes remained trained on me. We just stood there, staring at each other. Then his nose twitched and he took a cautious step forward. I glanced down and noticed the meat strips in my hand. Was he interested in those? Cautiously I picked up one and tossed it at him. He jumped back and it landed on the concrete. Slowly he took a step toward it, then another, and sniffed it. In an instant he snapped it up, knawing hungrily at it. As I watched him, I realized how thin he was; his rib bones showed!
"You haven't eaten at all lately, have you?" I asked softly. His ears shot forward, but he focused on the meat. I picked up another piece and threw it. I watched, entranced, as he began tearing at that one too. I felt sorry for him, suddenly. He appeared to be eating even less than I was! I glanced around, then climbed onto a box as I tossed him another piece.
"You know, you're pretty cool for a dog," I said, chewing on one of the pieces myself. "Even if you did try to kill me. You don't look mad like the other dogs, more like Amanaki really. You both have that stare, like you're deciding if I'm any good or not. I remember when that stare bothered me, because I thought he hated me. But then I realized he always looks like that. Some sort of built-in emotion, I guess. He's pretty cool though."
The dog raised his head, staring at me. After a moment, I tossed him the last piece. However, as he bent to claim it, a gunshot shattered the peace around us. The dog leapt to its feet, facing the end of the street and snarling. There were more shots, followed by screams. At first, I didn't understand, couldn't understand...until several kids cam running. The dog bolted into the boxes and the kids ran past.
"What happened?" I asked, catching the sleeve of one of them, who I realized was Claire. "What's going on?"
"The madmen appeared at the Corner!" she gasped, tearing up. "They just started shooting. They hit Jackie, but he helped us get away despite that. His arm was covered in blood!..."
"Did everyone get away?" I asked.
She shook her head. She was about to say more, but I just took off running. I hadn't seen Lumina and knowing her she'd probably try to hide in her dumpster. If they found her...oh why didn't I stay with her like I promised? If she got hurt, it'd be all my fault!
I entered the alley, running hard for the boxes. Suddenly, something yanked me back, I looked back to see that dog behind me, its teeth sunk deep into my shirt, and it was trying to pull me away. I became inexplicably angry. "Let go!" I shouted, jerking forward till the shirt tore. I ran forward, but not the dog leapt in front of me, snarling. I glared at it and started shouting. "Get out of the way you stupid dog! I need to save my friend Lumina! Get out of the way!" and I barreled forward.
Instantly he lunged at me. The force no only knocked me back, but knocked me flat on my back. Its front paws rested on my chest, and its muzzle was but inches from my head. For a second I was afraid, and then I was just angry. "Get off of me!" I yelled at it.
Its eyes bored into mine, and I was stunned to see a glimmer of intelligence in them. It wasn't the instinctive intelligence of animals, but a human intelligence. I was looking into an eye that seemed to have come from a human face,. It rested its nose on my forehead, similar to the way a parent may kiss a child. Images suddenly rushed through my head, images of evil and danger. It suddenly occurred to me that the dog was trying to protect me from something down the alley, though I didn't entirely understand. "But why?" I asked. "What's down there?"
A great roar echoed in the alley, and flames suddenly poured out of the Corner like liquid fire. The dog leapt off of me and I scrambled to my feet, looking for an escape. The dog suddenly ducked under my legs, lifting up at the last second, and the next thing I knew I was being carried away. Through my fear, however, came another, greater fear. "Lumina!' I gasped. "I have to go back for her!" The dog gave a sound that resembled a snort. "Please!" I begged. "It was my job to look after her! Please let me go back!"
Clearly reluctantly, the dog began to turn, headed for a different alley. I stared at it in wonder. This was...an incredible dog! There were flames in this road as well, but nowhere near as bad so the dog shot part them. A wave of smoke and ash wafted over us, sending me into a spasm of coughing,so bad I fell off the dog's back onto the cracked concrete. As my body shook hard from my hacking, the dog came to stand beside me, resting its head on me in a comforting gesture. My wonder of this creature grew. "I'm alright," I told it quietly. "Lets go find Lumina." and I rose to my feet, staggering. The dog offered itself to me to elan on, and we began to move forward.
The entire corner was alight in splendid, horrific flame. The most amazing part of these wild, leaping flames were where they caught afire. The concrete, stonework that should not burn, had caught like dry grass. The places the fire caught it stayed, burning like it would never stop. I was in awe of the fearful blaze, for there was a beauty to this astounding destruction.
I finally located Lumina's dumpster,, but it was empty as well as sooty black; the fire had already passed this way. The whole place was empty, devoid of any life save the dog and I.
"Lumina!" I yelled, cupping my hands around my mouth. "Lumina!" The dog began to growl low in its throat, but I couldn't hear it as I tottered a few paces forward, shouting again. "LUMINISTA!"
Suddenly, a persona appeared out of the smoke and flame before me. I gasped, staggering back. He looked like a teenager, with a red jacket that had yellow streaks of lightning on the left. Black jeans and boots completed the outfit. His golden blonde hair looked almost artistically shaggy, and his skin was rather pale. But his eyes, his grayish-blue eyes, held an intensity that froze me where I stood. He stared down at me for a long time, holding me with his rock hard orbs.
"Where is Karael?" he demanded abruptly, startling me. "Where is she?"
"I...I know no Karael!" I stammered, trying to step away, but frozen in my fear.
His eyes narrowed. Threateningly he stepped forward, palms raised as if to strike me. In that instant the dog lunged forward, locking its jaws in the teen's side. He cried out and stumbled back. Like a shot I was off, freed from his hold. I couldn't make out where the alleys were, so I slid down the sewer entrance and ran till I could run no more.
I collapsed on my knees, shaking from my encounter with that...person. Such intense eyes...I felt like he had seen right through me, had delved into my very soul through my eyes.
Lumina. There had been no sign of Lumina. Where was she? What had happened to her?
The madmen...the men with guns. The men who, if they caught you...
No. No, no no...
"I have to save her," I whispered. "If she's still alive...she has to be! She has to be!" I scrambled to my feet, looking around. One of the passages in the sewers led north. If I found that, I could go correct my wrong and save my friend.
As I was starting forward, I heard a sound behind me and turned. The dog was following me, limping on its front leg. I couldn't hide it, I was happy to see this strange dog. I ran to it and threw my arms around it gratefully. "Thank you," I told it quietly. "You probably saved my life back there." The dog licked my face, and I smiled. "Listen, I think the gunmen have Lumina, so I'm going to go and save her, if I can., Will you help me again, my friend?" It...no, I needed to stop thinking of a friend like that. He gently butted my shoulder with his head,. It looked almost like he was smiling. So was I, for that matter. "Lets hurry then. I don't want to be too late." and we started down the dark tunnels.
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:18 pm

The Demons Freed
~Maxwell~

Darkness...as if the sun itself had just winked out of existence. The whole world trembled, and turned upon herself. Things that should not be were, and things impossible were done. Land and ocean overrode or lost their boundaries. So much lost, so little gained. And the Flame still ravages our bodies, and lives in our world.
So what had been won, when all we accomplished was tearing our home apart?
I was doubled over, hand against the wall for stability. My breath came our in ragged gasps and I struggled to breathe evenly. The packs...they patrolled this area. Or was that a hunting party? I couldn't entirely be sure. The only thing I was certain of was the strangely familiar feeling of naked fear and great evil within. I had to get around the packs and find out what it was.
I had an inkling of what it was. I had been studying such things a long time. I knew there would be several already here, and several more to come, until our world was repaired again.
My body had relaxed again. I lifted my head and looked around. There was a fire escape on one of the buildings. Drawing on my power, I leapt up, grabbing onto the high railing and vaulting over. I was about to take to the rooftops when I heard a familiar voice. I paused, crouching low, as I looked out at the street.
A kid was climbing out of the sewer hole, traces of soot all over him. As he raised his head, I was astonished to recognize Sash.
"This looks about right," he said, looking around. He glanced down the hole. "But how are you going to get up?"
I watched, wondering who he was speaking to. After a couple of seconds, I saw his eyes widen, and then a dog bounded out of the hole. Sash laughed quietly, saying, "You're amazing! Come on, they're bound to be around here somewhere!" and they ran off together, boy and dog. No...that wasn't a dog. Was she... And what was Sash doing here?
I began to follow, doing some serious thinking.
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:19 pm

Monster in Disguise
~Luminista~

We had all been herded into a small shack, all twenty of us. Jacky held me close while he tried to calm the other kids, ignoring the blood oozing down his arm. I buried my face in his shoulder, too terrified to look and see what waited for us. The madmen were outside, probably ready and hungry. I whimpered, snuggling closer to Jacky.
"Hey, it'll be okay Lumina," he said, hugging me. "Betcha anything Maxwell's on his way. We just gotta hang till he gets here. We'll be fine, I promise."
I smiled wanly at him, but I did feel better. Maxwell was wonderful, and he was going to help us. He would save us.
Suddenly, the door to our shack opened. Jacky leapt up, dropping me behind him. I clung to his leg and stared at the newcomer. He wore a red jacket with lightning bolts and had golden brown shaggy hair. he looked almost like one of us, except for something about him, something in his eyes. I shrank back, fearful.
He stepped in, eyes trailing over us searchingly. I shivered when his eyes rested on me. "No, not here either," he murmured. He seemed to think a moment, then he mused, "Perhaps if I have the appropriate bait I can draw Karael out." Instantly he strode forward, grabbed me by the collar and jerked me toward the door. Jacky instantly grabbed me and pulled me away, glaring at the stranger.
"Hey! You're can't just -"
The teen turned and fixed his cold gaze on Jacky, who froze. No words were spoken, but Jacky let go and stumbled back, looking dazed. The teen smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. He yanked me outside and kicked the door shut.
There were small fires, and the packs were seated around them, eyeing the different packs suspiciously but watching the teen nervously, as though he were of greater threat than those with the guns. He dragged me forward, away from the madmen toward the end of the street. Muttering to himself, he suddenly lifted me bodily into the air and put me against one of the streetlights. He seemed to consider a moment, then nodded and released me. Surprisingly, I remained suspended there. A glowing black mark, like Maxwell's Flame, seemed almost to rest on my chest, like it held me pinned there.
"She has a world soul," he said quietly. "She'll feel your pain, if she's close enough. She'll have to come aid you." He took a step back, cocking his arm.
"Who are you?" I asked quietly, trying not to be afraid. I had to be brave.
He studied me a moment, then said musingly, "I continue to forget, you humans enjoy labeling things and each other, even incorrectly. Are you so insecure of yourselves?" I thought he wouldn't answer, but then he said, "You may know me as Hathath. I believe that is a name in your world's tongue?" I nodded mutely. He smiled thinly. "Scream loudly, little girl, I want Karael to hear you."
"Don't you dare harm her!" Sash suddenly leapt out of one of the buildings, fists balled and ready to fight. My eyes widened; he had a dog beside him! Sash faced the strange teenager, pointing angrily at him. "You touch a hair of her head and I'll beat the living tar out of you!" Then he blinked, stared at the teen a little longer, then said, "Hey, its you!''
Hathath studied him with an eyebrow raised, though his eyes remained narrowed. He seemed to be studying the dog. "Interesting," he said. "A beast of human intelligence. How truly remarkable." A dangerous looking burst of black energy appeared in his hands. "They boy has spirit, quite a strong spirit. You pain will be felt deeply by her. Karael will have to answer, surely." He suddenly tossed the burst at Sash. The dog shoved him out of the way and he fell. When he lifted his head, his eyes were wide and he looked scared. Hathath smiled as he made another,
"Sash, look out!" I shouted, fighting to get out and away from the force holding me.
Sash suddenly leapt up onto the dog and it leapt out of the way of the next shot, rushing at Hathath. The teen put his index and middle finger out into the air and the dark energy began to shoot from his fingers. Sash ducked and the dog weaved through the onslaught like a pro. The instant they were close enough, it suddenly rose up, sailing through the air towards his throat. I screamed, but couldn't seem to cover my eyes.
Hathath raised his arm and slapped the dog full across the face, sending it flying back. But as his hand connected, Sash leapt off and landed on the teen's shoulders, punching and kicking for all he was worth. The dog recovered and lunged in, locking its jaws around his leg. I cheered, Sash was doing really well!
Suddenly, they were surrounded by the dark energy, which suddenly exploded. I didn't see where the dog went, but Sash flew back and landed at my feet, still. "Sash!" I called frantically. "Sash! Get up!" There was another pulse, and I looked for Hathath.
He was coming toward us, surrounded by a cloud of crackling energy. His face was locked in an icy mask, and there was no sign of any of the blows Sash landed. I watched, horrified, as he bent down slightly, wrapping his long thin fingers around Sash's neck. He straightened, lifting Sash till his feet were off the ground, hanging limply from his hand. His other hand camp up and rested on Sash's head.
There was a bright flash of blue, and the ground at Hathath's feet exploded. He leapt back, his hand still locked around Sash's throat. Maxwell appeared then, glowing his bright blue energy. He faced the teenager, arms crossed. "You seem to have a little more purpose then the others I've met. So you want to connect a world soul?" He uncrossed his arms, flexing. "Then come, I'll play with you for a bit. Leave the kids alone."
"I think not." Hathath backed away slightly, his hand still around Sash's throat. "A child is easier to contain than an adult. Particularly an elder soul. Begone, or I will kill you with him."
Maxwell snorted. "That's too bad," and he rushed forward, ramming the teen. A burst of cerulean energy shot from his hand and went through Hathath, sending him flying back. Maxwell laid Sash on the ground and pulled me back down. "Get yourselves out of here," he commanded. "As far away as you can manage. Don't stop running until you're back home. Am I clear?" I nodded hesitantly, but Sash scrambled to his knees, clearly worried.
"But Maxwell, the other kids! And what about you? Can you really take him alone?"
"I'll be alight, and I'll get the other. Go!" He shoved us both away, whirling around to block a strike from Hathath, the teen's face locked in a mindless, frozen snarl. Sash stumbled, looking around wildly as he put his arm around me, pulling me away. "GO!" Maxwell, bent almost backwards, suddenly flipped. Hathath flew with him, landing on his feet, and then he spun around, launching a kick at his midsection.
I couldn't bear to watch anymore. I grabbed Sash's hand and pulled him back, working away from the open street. "Sash, lets go," I said.
"I can't leave without the dog!" he protested. Just then, it came crawling out of the shadows, limping slightly. Sash laughed and ran over, flinging his arms around its hairy neck. It licked his face caringly, and I could tell he took strength and comfort from its presence. What was it Hathath had said to Maxwell? An elder soul? What did that mean? Sash climbed onto the dog's back and pulled me up after him. "Lumina, come on!"
"What does Hathath mean?" I wondered aloud as the dog loped off.
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:34 pm

Hey guys, been a while huh?
Okay, here's where I start delving a little deeper into the...deepest aspect of this story. I hope this does not offend anyone who understands what is hinted. I hope, instead, this will be an enjoyable read for you.



The Cold that Burns
~Doran~

I thought I could escape it. I truly thought that, if I stopped thinking about it, the nightmares would go away.
But I was wrong. They just kept coming, beating down like the furies and trying to quench my spirit. They did too. I hardly ever combat the Flame's control anymore.
But as I look into Asha's eyes and see the heroic willingness to stick with me, I am almost tempted to come right out and tell her the truth, the complete truth. Almost. I could feel the presence of the entity I call the Flame locked in place over my mouth, holding in the words I needed to say. "You have everything?" I asked instead.
She smiled up at me, and I felt a pang in my heart. It was a beautiful innocence that I was betraying, that I was going to tear apart. She was only a child. "Its not like I have much," she said. "Though I will miss the bed."
"Don't worry, I'll find you a new one," I promised her. "Come, its time to move." and I placed my hand against the door, pushing it open slowly. It opened soundlessly, and I stepped through, my hand resting on the ancient dagger on my hip. I took a few more steps, and we were out of the shadow of the building. The place was extremely quiet, and I wondered where everyone went.
"Look," Asha said, pointing. I glanced around and saw what she'd seen, a thick pillar of smoke rising from the buildings. They were tinged with black energy, and I felt my heart go cold. It couldn't be...
"We need to get away from here," I said urgently, breaking into a run. Asha quickly followed, still looking towards the rising flames that were climbing to the heavens. I didn't spare them a glance. If he was this close...
One of the buildings in our path literally exploded outward, scattering stonework and wood. I covered Asha while pushing her to the side of the street, hiding behind some of the rubble. A teen in a red jacket went flying past us, landing on the street on his back, where he lay still. Maxwell stumbled out of the destroyed building, looking rather haggard. I felt Asha stir beside me, but she made no further movement. The teen stood and began to pulse in dark energy. I stiffened. "No...when did he get a mind so quickly?"
"Doran?" Asha looked up at me, worried. "What is it?"
I nodded at the teen, who had engaged Maxwell again. "Its him," I told her. "Its Fear. He's found himself a vessel. But...." I watched closely, trying to determine the strange wrongness that tugged at me, that told me there was more to be seen here. "His movements lack fluidity. He fights like he's asleep." I shook my head, confused. "Come, lets escape while they're distracted."
Asha followed me, though I could see the longing in her eyes. She wanted to return to Maxwell. I hurt for her, but I couldn't let her go. not when I finally found...could she be? Her mind was strong, yes, but was it that strong?
We were at the edge of town, and Asha still looked back. I watched a moment, then sighed inwardly. "Asha, stay here," I told her. "I just realized I forgot something important. Hide yourself until I return." Asha nodded. I walked back into the town, just walking until she was out of sight. Then I broke into a run, passing streets and buildings as I returned to where Maxwell and Fear had fought.
They were still going too, though they'd moved a little further up the street. Maxwell was on his back on the ground, Fear standing over him was trying to land a blow on him. Maxwell was successfully avoiding them, but he was getting slower. I watched a moment, taking a deep breath, then lunged forward. Fear raised his eyes just in time for my fist to connect between them, and he flew into another building.
Maxwell raised his eyes to meet mine. I held out a hand and helped him stand. "This isn't for you, understand?" I hissed. "I just don't like having other demons running around. The one in my head is bad enough."
"Then you're in control now?" he asked. I snorted derisively.
"Don't get any ideas. I'm always in control."
"Donovan, I had it too."
"Its Doran, Maxwell."
"Don't you think its time you chose a new one?" Maxwell asked, smiling faintly. "I've almost gotten rid of it. You could if you tried."
Before I could even think, the Flame locked control over my mouth. "Spare me your senseless chatter," I snapped, watching at the teen arose from the rubble. "I'm here to deal with a demon, not your pointless pleas."
Maxwell smiled, but his eyes were sad. "At least we're allies again."
"Yes," I said quietly, my eyes downcast. "I suppose so."
Fear lunged out of the rubble, head thrown back and eyes wide in anger. The incredible energy he summoned flared out around him and shot out before him, seeking a victim. Maxwell and I joined hands, joining energies, and rushed forward as we unleashed our skills and strengths as one. As ours and his joined, there was a bright flash, the crack of thunder, and everything just...
Exploded.

I thought I could escape it. I truly thought, that if I just stopped thinking about it, the nightmares would go away.
What a fool I was. What an empty, foolish shell I am, I who was once a man.
I who was once an angel, a being above all other, a wonder of light.
I blinked, chasing away the visions that weren't mine. It was dark around me, but there was a little light ahead; was I in a tunnel? Then I realized I was underneath a slab of concrete that was leaning precariously against another. I got out of there like a cat outta hell.
The entire street had been torn up and wrecked. Everywhere I looked was a new scene of chaos and disruption. There was no sign of Fear, and I could see Maxwell crawling out of one of the buildings. Well, he was pretty tough, he could get himself out and away. Fear was gone, I had no reason to hand around. Without further ado, I cut and ran for the edge of town.
"I will have Karael."
I stopped cold. An icy chill crept up my spine, the chill of fear. I raised my head. He stood balanced on a street light, staring down on me with hard eyes. He was unmarked, as though he had not just been fighting. I stared at him in horrified amazement. "This world will belong to me, brother, as promised in the beginning," he continued.
I felt the Flame rise to my mouth. "Is that so, brother?" I spat the word. "I am the one with a living entity of power, a living vessel to convey me. You, unless I'm much mistaken, have merely reanimated a corpse!"
He smiled faintly. "His spirit separated from his body. Since I didn't want the frustration of snapping another frail human brain, I borrowed it. He didn't need it, really."
"You bastard!" I thought angrily as the Flame retorted, "So you must resort to thievery? Truly you are the weakest among us."
"I? The least of us?" His eyes flashed, and the dark energy began to pulse around him. "Is that so." His face took on a dark, twisted smile that almost spread from ear to ear. "Can I not sway millions with merely a word? A whisper of fear and a mob is created. Mass panic ensues, and death. Can I not control a man through his fears? One rumor and he will kill the man he fears will take his wife. And the children! So easy...can you truly call me the least of us?"
"I can, and I will," the Flame replied. "This world is mine to rule, for I am the strongest of us. I have slain many who dared stand between me and my goal, including those of our fallen brethren!"
"Yes, and then Karael came and sealed you away. Truly frightful." The teen snorted. The Flame Snarled, but Fear waved it away. "We will see who rules in the end. In the meantime, tell me, have you seen Karael?"
"Oh, that's who you're looking for?" I smiled thinly. The Flame continued. "She's abandoned this world, once they opened their doors to us. There's no 'salvation' remaining for the damned."
"So that's what you believe." He smiled. "I will enjoy proving you wrong, when I have processed her chosen vessel." He leapt back, alighting on one of the buildings behind us. "In the end it will be I, the "least", who subdued she who has the power to thwart us." and he leapt back again, vanishing beyond the building.
I stumbled, breathing in sharply, suddenly rising in revolt. "This....is....madness!" I hissed, rebellious. "I...refuse to...to be a part of this!"
I knew the pain would come for my words, but it felt so good to say them, after months of just obeying. The pain...oh, the pain! And then the madness, the world that contorted, spun and weaved, descended once again, making actions, the words I didn't want to say.
The pain...oh, oh, the pain!
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:38 pm

Pain caused by Fear
~Asha~

I hid down in the boxes that blocked up one of the buildings, waiting. Even when I heard a sound like an explosion, I stayed put. Why? To this day I don't know. I had seen Maxwell, I had a chance to run, to return to him and my other friends. So why did I stay?
Doran still hadn't shown. I saw some of the gunmen running with the wild dogs biting at their heels, but that was it. I was almost starting to worry. Where had he gone anyway? He'd said he'd forgotten something, but...I couldn't help but feel it had something to do with Maxwell and the teen he was fighting, the one Doran was surprised to see. I didn't feel right, none of this felt right, and I was beginning to get really scared.
"Asha? Asha, where are you?"
Doran! I climbed out of the mess quickly. "I'm here!" I called softly, walking into the street. he stood in the center, his hands on his hips, and looked just fine. But when he turned at the sound of my voice, I could see the scrape on his cheek, the cut on his neck that vanished into the shirt and the bruise under the eye. He had been fighting, but had he been with Maxwell and the teen? "You were fighting?" I asked.
He looked at me, then shrugged. "Ran into Maxwell and his opponent on the way back, and got caught. Don't be worried, I fought with Maxwell, not against." He smiled as my relief showed openly on my face. "Come, we have a ways to go, my little one."
I looked into his eyes and saw, to my amazement, flames dancing within them. He seemed to notice my scrutiny, because he looked uncomfortable and blinked. The flames were gone when his eyes opened, and now I was wary and nervous. What did it mean? "Doran, who was the teenager? Why did you seem so upset when you saw him?"
He looked away, not meeting my gaze. "Fear has a body, even if its dead. But he is in our world, he is walking in our midst."
I was surprised, but...not really. Seeing this world as it was now, I truly believed he had been with us a long time now. "Does it mean we'll have to run?"
He nodded, hoisting his pack over his shoulder. "Not too much, but yes, lets hurry." and he broke into an easy jog.
I followed, but my mind went back to Maxwell and my friends. Would Sash be okay? He was always sticking his head into things without thinking first. Lumina was so young, so simply sweet. What if something happened to her? Amanaki would probably be okay, and he would take care of them. And Maxwell was there, so they should be fine.
But...so much could happen.
"I need to have faith that everything will be okay," I told myself. "I need to believe in them. Everything's going to be fine."
"We have a long road ahead of us," Doran said. "The settlement is a good day's walk from here. With any luck, we'll arrive by this evening."
I was quiet from there. I wanted to think about some things for a while, undisturbed. A long, silent march would be just the thing.
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:33 pm

What I must Do
~Amanaki~

I could hear explosions in the distance. Flashes of color lit up the sky. I watched in horrified fascination as the sky lit up with the warring colors. Then it began to clear and dissipate as a cloud of dust and ash rose. I closed my eyes, but the colors replayed in my head. What on earth had happened?
I opened my eyes slowly. The streets had long cracks in them, even all the way our here. A street lamp had fallen, and a few of the buildings all but crumbled in on themselves. A cat came shrieking out of a building, setting a straight course for the south. I watched it go with amusement, enjoying seeing a cat so out of continence. They always walked around, so full of themselves, like they owned the place, so it was a rare treat to see one so freaked out.
Then the packs came out of the alleys, herding a group of children as one would herd cattle. I stiffened, then lunged to the alley, using a fire escape to mount a building. From there I could see clearly, as the men hurried each other along, most glancing fearfully back as they went. I realized then they were moving away from the location of the explosion. Had they been nearby then? Were they connected somehow? Well, whatever it was, I had to save those kids, come hell or high water. But what could I do...
Barking. I could hear the dogs. They sounded pretty agitated. Was this another connection? Could I, perhaps, use their agitation? No, the younger kids would be at risk. I couldn't afford that. If I could get my hands on a gun, however, I could pick them off. Dad taught me to use a gun, before he left that day. The only problem was I did not fancy the taking of human life, even if it was only semi-human anymore. So what could I do?
Well, regardless, I needed to do something soon. I grabbed at a roof slate and, with reckless abandon, hurled it at the men below. I watched as it struck one man upside the head and he collapsed in a heap. The men stared at it for a moment, then suddenly fell upon him. I gagged, hoping the man was at least dead and unable to feel this. I tossed a rock then, just short of the group of kids. It landed near one oft hem with a loud clack, making the kid jump, then he looked up. I waved at him and then gestured for him to run. Then Jacky glanced up, saw me, and took action, hustling the kids away.
I watched the raving men with loathing, but also questioningly. These men never stored food, and hardly saved some for later. Always they killed and ate, never more never less. So why had they left these kids alive? Something had to have made them, something with enough influence even over madmen. That was a frightening though, Especially since they were clearly hungry enough to...I shuddered and almost turned away. But not yet. I had to buy time for everyone else. That in mind, I hurled another roof tile, though with a little more care than the last one.
It fell just short of them, landing with a clatter. The men froze, then as one looked up. I stared down at them, then did something Sash would probably have done. I grinned cheekily at them and waved. They stared a little longer, then one raised his gun.
A loud bang, and I jerked back as it whizzed past my face. Without further ado, I began to clamber across the roof, trying to reach a spot far enough away from the scrambling madmen below. I chose to go opposite the direction the others took, and hoped it would be enough. Judging from their noise, they were following close. Another bang, another bullet. They were really starting to pick up.
Suddenly, the dogs were right below me. Without hesitation they fell upon the madmen. I was about to turn away when I heard a loud whooping.
"YE-HAA! Get 'em boys!"
Was that...Sash? And that was Luminista laughing! Aghast, I glanced over the edge. Much to my shock, I saw Sash standing beside a gray dog, and together they appeared to be leading the dog pack. Lumina sat on the gray's back, clapping her hands in delight. I now saw that the dogs, while attacking the gunmen, were more driving them back then trying to kill them. "Sash!" I shouted. "What are you doing?"
He glanced up, then laughed. "Amanaki, hey! I have no clue, but old gray here is my friend and he listens to me!"
"Amanaki!" Lumina shouted. "We'll keep them busy. You go search for Asha. I saw Doran headed for the town's edge, but then we saw these guys taking the kids. Hurry, you might be able to catch up!"
I nodded slowly, swallowing my questions. I turned and ran in the direction specified. Fortunately the roofs here were relatively flat, making for easier movement. Sash...controlling the hounds? Or at least communicating with them. Both were...strange and unexplained. How could that be?
The edge. I rushed over in time to seen Doran and Asha, just on the edge of the horizon and covering ground fast. They were leaving town and going where?
I was torn. The smartest thing would be to find Maxwell and tell him, but by the time I located him, they would undoubtedly be long gone. What did that leave me with? What was it that I should do?
I closed my eyes, inhaling deeply, then opened them again. I could still see them. Doran stood stiff and straight, marching steadily on. But Asha...had turned to look back. I watched in silence, then began seeking a way down. no, there was no time to get Maxwell. That meant it was in my hands now. I had to protect Asha. I would go after them. I would help Asha escape.
I....have nothing to say.
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Re: Another Tale

Postby ClaecElric4God » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:28 am

So...I finally got around to reading this. I'm such a bum. As ever, I eagerly anticipate the next installment. Though I'm starting to think Amanaki is becoming my favorite, so poor Sash...
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
"I hate milk; it's like drinking vomit." -Edward Elric and me. :fmed:
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ClaecElric4God in regards to Wolfsong - You're the coolness scraped off the top of this morning's ice cream, after being pulled out of a beautiful summer day!
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Re: Another Tale

Postby Wolfsong » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:43 pm

Okay...Here ya go. If this ain't obvious, I don't know what is.



Road of the Fallen
~Hathath~

As I looked around me, I could see chaos and destruction surrounding. It looked almost beautiful, the leaping flames that rose and towered over the whole city. So spectacular in a truly terrifying way. The skin I wore shied away from the burning brilliance, but it was easy to ignore weak human flesh and I watched the flames roar.
"How this flesh would crawl, if it knew the fires of the realm I flee." Involuntarily I clutched at myself, shuddering at the memories of eternal fire which never went out, that burned but didn't destroy. I could still feel its heat clinging to my skin, its many tongues licking at the very core of my being. I despised the place, yet it was my only refuge from...but not for much longer! I would remake this world into my refuge, my sanctuary, my world to rule. I would reclaim what was mine from the beginning of time, the world stolen from me and given to that Karael.
My fists tightened and me teeth clenched. I could still see her. I could still hear her words when last we met. I could still see her, clothed in glorious light, a light I no longer had.
"You gave it away, when you chose to follow him into darkness. You gave it to me. Don't blame our holy Creator, for you've only yourself to blame."
My teeth ground together. How I wished I could say the expression in her eyes was scorn and mock her back. But no, it had been...pity. She'd pitied me. I hate her, I hate her, oh how I hate her! I punched the concrete, leaving an impression behind.
"You witch," I whispered. "I swear, I will reclaim what is mine, whatever it takes. You will pay for usurping what is mine!"
Filled with anger and rekindled hatred, I leapt from the building and away from the fire. Somewhere out there was Karael, trying to return and 'save' this broken earth. That required a human to accept her, a human with enough capabilities to hold someone so powerful without snapping from the effort. She certainly would not force herself on someone. All I had to do was find out who she had in mind and not only could I take my revenge on her, but I would finally be able to have a proper working vessal.
I....have nothing to say.
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