I just wanted to add this additional comment for the benefit of any new readers. At the time of this amendment I'm in the process of working through chapter ten. I'd like to encourage any readers out there that are just beginning to read this long story to feel free to add your comments no matter where you are at. I consider your comments and insights to be invaluable to the overall success of the quality of this story and I'm very grateful for anything you're willing to write even if it is simply words of appreciation.
I'd also like to add that I feel the writing quality of this story improves somewhere between the middle of chapter two and the beginning of chapter three (mind you that is just my personal opinion, and you may feel otherwise). If you find this is so, then I'd ask you to try and bear with it at least until you get past that point.
I hope you enjoy the story as much as I do writing it. Read. Enjoy. Comment.
I’ve been playing D&D ever since I was five, and running my own original campaigns by ten (Oh god, what an embarrassing memory, lol), so naturally I’ve developed a taste for storytelling. I’ve always had a desire to write my own epic tale of sci-fi and fantasy and here, at the cafe, I feel I have found a great avenue in which to motivate myself. I’m hoping to gain some constructive feedback and to improve upon my writing skill, such as it is. I don’t really want to waste too much time in writing an intro, so without further delay here is my first segment of chapter one.
He couldn’t move. He felt as though he was in shock and his body lay paralyzed. Even his lungs seemed unable to take in any air. All he could feel was the fear that gripped him as he wondered if he still had his right arm. He slowly lifted it from his side to move it in front of his face. At least he thought he did. It was hard to tell since it was so dark and shock still numbed his mind. He wasn’t sure if he could feel his arm or not. When he was able to make out the shadowy outline of his hand, relief flooded through him.
His disorientation started to fade as he realized he had that dream again. He attempted to recall it, however the harder he tried the more his mind seemed to fog over the memories. All he could recall were brief flashes that made no sense. There was shouting, a sense of chaos and a feeling of helplessness that left him unable to move. There was also a moment in which he felt like he was flying, but nothing else beyond that. It didn’t make sense to him how a dream could feel so real, yet he couldn’t remember anything substantial. The single most unsettling thought he had carried with him when he awoke was he had lost his arm in that dream. The dreadful truth of it was that in reality it was actually something that he had endured.
Sean sat up wanting to shake the vestige=2 0of sleep from his mind and body. He wished he could remember more of the dream as much as he wished it would stop coming back. He felt damp and the sheets about him were soaked through with sweat. He knew he wasn’t going to find any more rest tonight, so he got up out of his bed and quickly removed his dirty nightclothes. He walked across the room and as he entered the adjacent bathroom, a slight shiver went up his body when he stepped onto the cold tile floor. A quick hop placed him on the floor mat just outside the shower stall, and then he stepped in to rinse himself off.
As he showered his eyes wandered to the scar that formed a jagged ring around his upper arm. He traced it with his fingers, using it as though it were a focus to reflect on memories of the past. It was the only scar that his body had, or would ever have. It was the definitive bite that marked him as a werewolf for the rest of his life. The exact details of how he had received this cursed blessing were unknown to him, and he supposed that was part of what his nightmare had consisted of. However, looking at the band of flesh did nothing to aid him as he had intended it to. Both the dream and his past life continued to elude him, and served to feed his slowly mounting frustration.
His annoyance gradually shifted over to his uncle Gregor who kept on encouraging him to recall even the slightest detail of the past. Sean disliked having the dreams, because he would wake up feeling like he hadn’t rested at all. It would’ve been better if he could write it off as a bad nightmare and forget about it, but his uncle insisted otherwise. He believed that these recurring dreams were a link to Sean’s former life, and that his subconscious could be providing hidden answers to present problems. He told him that he should listen if he ever wanted to find balance within himself between man and beast.
Sean had a lot of respect for his uncle Gregor, because of the time and attention that he devoted to him. Through his caring guidance, and patience, he helped his nephew develop into a decent young man. Despite the positive relationship they had forged, there still existed an under current of a dark, unreasonable, hatred. When ever they were in each others presence Sean could feel this urge of violence that had no basis and was solely directed at his uncle. It wasn’t due to anything either one of them had done. It was simply an unavoidable aspect of their nature that would forever remain a part of them.
Gregor was more than just a rich, eccentric old man who lived in solitude. He was also a creature of myth and legend that existed in nearly every culture. He had been turned into a vampire nearly five centuries ago, and hid his secret well from the rest of the world.
At first Sean didn’t believe, but after he showed him his fangs and how he could project his thoughts into his mind, he had to accept that his uncle was more than just human. He could lift a car as easily as a man could lift a cinder block. He could float through the air as though he were flying. He even went as far as to show his nephew how his skin smoked under the direct light of the sun.
In addition to his supernatural abilities he was also a man of superior intellect and influence. Throughout his near five centuries of life he had accumulated wealth and developed many relationships with people of significant status. He also had plenty of time to gather mysterious relics of the past some of which could be considered illegal or even dangerous for him to possess. But his most valuable treasure was his collection of books. In just this one house alone he had thousands of books in a room that started in the basement and stretched up to the second floor. It was perhaps a physical representation of Gregor's defining aspect, and that was his thirst for knowledge.
Never did he let his mind idle for long. If he wasn’t researching he was doing something. If he wasn’t talking or meeting with important people he was sure to be traveling. Even during the early morning hours when the sun was in the sky, or the late hours before it had fully set, he was awake and active in the recesses of the manor. If he wasn’t the creature he was he probably would never sleep. It was his unnatural inheritance that would force him to dark places and slumber until the light of the world extinguished for another cycle.
He hated living with a vampire.
Sean reached in front of him and turned off the water. By now the bathroom had become full of steam and he took his time standing there to enjoy the warmth. The small comfort helped a little bit with taking the edge off his mood. Initially it was the dream that had disturbed him, but now his thoughts were dominated with the fact that he was living with a vampire. His mind felt like it was stuck in a negative mode and he was having trouble shaking it.
After he had enough of just standing there he exited the shower and stood in front of the mirror above the sink. The reflective surface was covered in a fog of moisture and he took a moment contemplating if he even wanted to look at himself right now. His mood had become very dark, and he wasn’t even sure he’d like to see how he looked.
With a final sigh he swiped a hand across the mirror leaving a streak of reality in its wake. He stared back into his own deep hazel eyes not sure of what to make of the face looking back at him. There were times when he stopped to consider himself and how he felt like he was a stranger living in the body of someone else. It was such an odd and unnatural sensation, as though he didn’t look the way he felt he was supposed to be. He always found these thoughts to be most unsettling, and seldom dwelled on it for long.
He raked a hand through his hair distracting himself from this old concept before it could settle in. Sean leaned a little more forward tilting his head down slightly to get a better look at the color of his hair. It was black for right now thanks to the hair dye, but there were a few places near the roots that were beginning to show a sprinkle of white color. Usually the color of his hair was an unnatural pure white, and it was something that did not sit well with him. Sometimes he took the time to dye it, and other times he’d buzz it short with an electric razor. He preferred the black dye most of all, despite the inevitable hassle it was to maintain it against the contrast of the white hair. He felt better with the darker color. He suspected that it seemed more natural because it was his original hair color before the night he had lost his memories.
Sean finished drying himself and moved back into the bedroom. As he began dressing there was a polite knock on his door accompanied by the voice of Daniel, the butler.
“Since you are awake, sir, Master Gregory wishes your presence in the dining hall.”
Sean sighed, feeling as though he would never be able to escape the ever watchful presence of his uncle except while he slept in his secret rooms down below.
“Please tell my uncle I’ll be down shortly.”
He didn’t really want to be around him at the moment. Being physically near the man was never an easy feat for Sean. Despite the gracious hospitality and kindness that were shown to him, their relationship was still a strained one at best. One of his hard earned lessons of his new life was that werewolves and vampires were natural enemies and shared a deep, inescapable hatred toward one another. No matter how he tried he could not completely ignore the irrational feeling he had toward his uncle.
Gregor seemed to be more in control of his own emotions, although there were brief moments when his animosity did flash across his eyes, it hardly went beyond that. Sean, on the other hand, had more difficulty keeping himself from lashing out, especially in the beginning when he first arrived at the manor. He had improved greatly in the pass few years, finding strength from his uncle’s will to resist such impulses, and used that as an anchor of inspiration.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2012-02-10 17:55:19)
Okay! Here's a second post. Enjoy and critique.
He took a deep breath to try and find his center before he headed out of his bedroom and downstairs. He repeated to himself a common affirmation that helped him in the past, “I have control over my actions.” It was something plain and simple, but reminding himself of such a basic fact helped him fortify his mind against any initial violent urges when in the company of his uncle. He left his room and headed down the grand stairs into the large foyer. From there he turned left toward the ornate hand sculpted archway of dragons that lead to the dining hall, but, as he had done many times before, he paused to admire the craftsmanship.
There were many things in his uncle’s manor that he appreciated and this archway was one of them. It was carved from mahogany and painted in very fine and colorful detail. All the dragons had valuable gemstones set in their eyes that corresponded to the color of their scales. Some appeared to be flying gracefully while others showed there claws and teeth in a menacing fashion. A few of the higher ones demonstrated their powerful breath weapons like fire and lightening. High above in the center there was one dragon that dominated all the others. His scales shimmered between white and black and his eyes were set with identical gemstones that were of the most fantastic red, with an intense blue slash down the middle of it much like a cat’s eye. If the other dragons were of exquisite craftsmanship then this one looked as though it were alive, almost as if it would sweep down upon you if you were judged to be trespassing. The sight of the archway always filled him with awe.
“I never grow tired of it either”, Gregor said as he watched his nephew a few feet from the entrance looking up at the mighty sculpture of Draco, Lord of the Dragons. He sat at the head of the long dinning table and gestured with a welcoming hand for his nephew to join him at his side where his place was set.
Despite that he was sitting, it was evident that Gregor was a tall man. He was a bit on the slim side, but still maintained an imposing physique. He wore a buttoned collared shirt made of white silk with the top two buttons casually undone, and a pair of expensive black slacks that were undoubtedly of the finest quality. His dark hair was slicked back into a pony tail that flowed down pass his shoulders. His skin was not of a pale demeanor like many of his other brethren, but was of a healthy tan color that he maintained with what he said was a simple enchantment. When he spoke his voice contained the eloquent demeanor of intelligence befitting a proper gentleman.
The most dominating feature of all was his captivating eyes. It was more than just his vampiric nature that lent power to his gaze. They were almost neon green that perhaps would’ve seemed unnatural on most men, but on his uncle it enhanced his commanding presence. He could make women gasp and confident men falter. And if anyone had the misfortune of staring too deeply they would find themselves unable to turn away as those eyes overwhelmed them, threatening to possess whatever secrets they kept hidden.
Sean took the two steps down into the recessed dining hall and seated himself at the table. The chairs had velvet cushion seats and were gilded in swirling patterns along their high backs and arms. They were a set of sixteen that could fit all around the long table, but there were only three present. Having the extra chair was a custom his uncle preferred in case of any unforeseen guest.
The main source of light in the room was a large ornate crystal chandelier that hung high above. It had concentric rings of mirrors cleverly placed around its layers to evenly angle the light all about the room. From the tasseled edge carpet that covered the floor to the grand artwork along the high walls that nearly touched the ceiling, had a rich mystical flavor that impressed upon anyone that his uncle was a powerful man.
He sat down focused on the simple meal before him of marinated steak, potatoes and mixed vegetables, and almost smiled at how out of place it seemed. The setting was more appropriate for an extravagant feast fit for royalty. It just reminded him of how his uncle had expensive tastes for some things, while others he preferred to keep simple.
“Do you want to talk about your dream,” uncle Gregor asked with his eyes keenly observing the reaction of his nephew.
Sean had just been about to cut a piece of his steak, but paused to give his uncle a brief accusatory look. The man was an extremely gifted telepath able to read people’s thoughts with ease, and for brief amounts of time he could even dominate some people, taking control of them. Normally he considered it rude to use his gift on an unwilling mind, but he was in the process of training his nephew and would test him now and again to ensure he was maintaining decent mental shields. Telepathy was also one of the myriad skills he was trying to impart onto his nephew, which was developing to a limited extent.
Uncle Gregor claimed that having constant telepathic contact could stimulate what ever potential he had. For some people it came more easily than others, and for better or worse Sean’s abilities were slowly showing themselves. His uncle told him that he was more on a level of an empath, a person able to communicate mentally on an emotional level. The problem Sean had was when he turned it on he had trouble turning it off, and in a place crowded with people he could get overwhelmed easily.
“No, I did not read your mind, nor have I been eaves dropping in your sleep. You woke up early, and are still not rested. Your eyes are distant with thought, which leads me to believe that something other than myself is the source of your agitation. What might you have me believe?”
“Please, I‘d rather not talk about it,” Sean replied without looking up from his plate.
“Fair enough, I only ask that you continue trying to remember your past for your own sake. Understanding yourself and learning to accept who you are is the key to controlling the beast within and preserving your humanity, and if you hide your memories you’ll never truly know yourself.”
Sean didn’t want to remember his dream even though he believed in what his uncle told him. It was so horrible the first time that his mind blocked it, so it was hard to justify going through it again. On the few occasions when he and his uncle worked together, trying to recall his past, they always found what he described as a gray haziness, as though he had no memories prior to that violent evening. The more he tried to focus on that night the less in control of himself he felt. It was like a tumult of fear, sadness, rage and pain that threatened to overwhelm him and transform him into an uncontrollable monster, literally.
They had a moment of silence as they each took a few more bites of their meal. Daniel came out from the kitchen and kindly refilled their glasses, red wine for his master and orange soda for Sean. There was a moment shared between the butler and his uncle that made Sean think they were sharing a brief mental conversation, then he left as quietly as he came.
“Is there something going on that you don’t want me to know about?” he asked with out looking up at his uncle.
“Forgive me. That was rude,” Gregor apologized. “Daniel was discretely telling me that I had a phone call from a friend of mine who’s employed by the government whom I haven’t heard from in a long time. It’s not certain, but there’s hope that he might have some information pertaining to the unusual werewolf that hunts you.”
Sean looked up at his uncle hoping to hear something helpful
“Unfortunately,” Gregor continued, “since I was not readily available to receive the call he left the message for me to call him back in about an hour.”
“What does your friend do,” he asked.
He thought a moment of how to best answer the question without getting into a lengthy detailed explanation. He had promised his contact, Adam, not to reveal anything of his identity, because he was putting himself at great risk to pass information along him.
“Well,” he began, “remember how I had told you that there are organized groups through out the world that seek out anything along the lines of the supernatural, such as knowledge, relics or even creatures like ourselves. My friend works for one of those more powerful groups. It is an organization called the Veil and is mainly sponsored through our government by hidden channels. In my experience it is one of the more powerful groups, and regrettably its members are either corrupt with power or ignorant of their actions. My friend, however, does not share the general opinion of the Veil, but by the time he realized what their true nature was he had become to deeply involved with them to safely back out. Once a member has been initiated into their fold they are not permitted to leave. My promise to him was that if he could get me some kind of vital information on that werewolf I would, in exchange, help him to safely escape the Veil.”
“So do you think he’ll have something,” Sean asked.
“I won’t know for sure until I can return his call”
“How long has this friend of yours been working for you?”
“A long time.” Gregor didn’t want to tell him the truth of it was that this man had been trying to find something for the pass 4 years. “You see, the trouble he has is that the information he’s trying to get is restricted and he doesn’t have the clearance for it. Essentially I’m asking this man to spy for me and risk his life.”
Sean started to lose interest in what his uncle was saying after he realized that this would probably yield nothing useful to him. He sighed lightly at the thought of how unlikely it seemed that he would ever find out anything about the monster that hunted for him. It had been several years and they still had next to nothing on the creature.
Wow...just wow, i love it, keep it going dude.
Astounding, SilentStrider. Absolutely astounding.
You have a pleasant, gentle nature to your storytelling that is laced throughout your narration. It makes for a very easy read, and one that humbly invites the reader to continue. It's a very appealing style. I loved the historical background you provide to bring the reader up to speed. I also greatly appreciated the amount of descriptive detail you gave to the residence, the archway, and Gregor. It was like a second nature to visualize the scene. Very very well done!
I found it interesting that you describe everything about the scene with one exception: Sean himself. The description of your protagonist is greatly deficient in comparison to the other components of the scene. Now, that may be intentional, but it may also prove a bit distracting; We see the glorious stairs and archways and dining table in our minds, but when Sean passes a mirror the reflection says "Your face here."
Not really a big deal, though; and it's easily fixed if it was not deliberate.
There were a few technical nuances (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.) that caught my eye, and I'm not convinced that a spelling or grammar checker would catch them, but that's what proofreading later on is for; so again, not a biggie.
Sean's mysterious attacker builds intrigue, as well as interest. I liked how you used narration to explain past events, but used dialogue to explain current or upcoming events. That was pretty unique as well.
I did notice that your first post and the first half of your second post were both told in Third Person Limited, but then it seemed to jump to Third Person Omniscient in the 2nd half of the 2nd post. It might be best to stick with Third Person Limited for the time being, just for the sake of consistency.
Nevertheless, your beginning is stupendous, and catches the reader's interest very easily. It's showing both thought and intention as the soil in which you sowed the seed of your story. As such, there is every reason to expect tasty fruits from your labours.
Great Beginning, SilentStrider! Keep it coming!
Thankyou Goldie for the encourgement.
Thankyou too Grayle for your kind words and advice. That's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. I know that I'm not the best writer in the world, which is one of my main reasons for posting my story here. Grammar, punctuation, and mispelled words have always been horrible enemies of mine that I have allowed to cripple my writing potential for a long time, but no more I say. Having the courage to accept this fact, and still share with all those who have interest here at the cafe is a big step for me. Alas, how am I ever to improve if I don't venture forth.
With not having a description for Sean... that was actually something intentional in my earlier drafts, but it's quite obvious to me that a description of my main character would benefit the overall story. I'll correct that soon and repost the beginning.
I see what you mean with the two differnt veiws in both posts. That may be the result of me going back through everything and overanalysing. I think stepping back to look at the big picture would help there. I will try to be more conscious of it in the future.
“You look as though you’re in need of a distraction”, Gregor said as he set down his silverware and dabbed at his mouth showing he was finished with his meal. ”I bid you to accompany me downstairs to the sparring room. Daniel has given you high praise in regards to your progress, and I’d like to see firsthand how your skill has improved with the sword.”
Seeing how Sean merely shrugged at the remark with little interest he said that last part with slight smile on his face. Daniel’s compliment was not lightly given, and even as a casual observer he could appreciate the flow and execution of his form. At first his interest was merely a curiosity, but as he learned the history and fighting styles of the various melee weapons he began to appreciate them more. Eventually he adopted his practice with the sword as a form of physical meditation. This was something that his uncle strongly encouraged as tool to help him with aligning his body and spirit. On occasion the two of them would silently practice together, smoothly moving in synchronization. Such sessions often had a pleasant side affect of greatly suppressing their violent tendencies, allowing them to enjoy each others company.
Not feeling particularly hungry Sean did not object to the suggestion, and got up from the table to follow. Gregor lead the way into the kitchen and to an empty section of the wall. The basement door was hidden and had electronic security in addition to magical protection. Someone who was not familiar with the door probably wouldn’t have been able to gain entry to the lower levels of the house. The secret door was only marked by the number touch pad to its left. With one hand he punched in the code and he let his other hand trace a druidic rune of peace that would briefly remove the protective ward. The magic he had instilled into the door reinforced its integrity and bound it to the fabric of space it occupied, making it extremely difficult to move unless one knew what to trace over the wall. The door released with a quiet hissing sound, and he pulled it back showing the way down to the first basement level.
They descended the flight of stairs to the first platform where there was a hall to the right and a door to the left. The stairs reversed and continued down another level to a large featureless black door that took up the entire face of the wall. Sean had only been beyond that door twice, and never without his uncle accompanying him. It was even more heavily protected than the first door they came through and the air nearly hummed with the warning of the magical wards his uncle had placed upon it. Beyond it was a room filled with old relics some of which he was told could be dangerous if the wrong people possessed them, and other harmless treasures he kept as memorabilia from his long life of experiences. There were also two other rooms down there, one which contained many experiments that occasionally he shared with his nephew. The other room Sean had never seen and doubted he ever would. It was his uncle’s sanctuary, and where he slept, sheltered away from the light of day.
They walked through the door to the left and into a very large room with gym mats padding most of the floor. The area to their left had an assortment of exercise equipment that Sean used occasionally. The far wall was covered with a variety of different melee weapons such as swords, axes, spears, maces and different types of armor including shields. For every one of those weapons there was also a wooden counter part that he had spent many hours using in practice. In the opposite corner from where they entered there stood four life size wooden carvings of warriors that each had their own unique appearance, an armored samurai warrior, a ninja, a Viking barbarian, and a plain human size figure with a blank face and no distinguishing features.
Sean lead the way to the weapons rack and picked up one of the wooden samurai swords. He was surprised when he saw Gregor slide one of the sharp metal blades from its sheath. He looked up at his uncle with a questioning stare, seeing if he was serious about using the real blades.
“Are you concerned that I might actually cut you,” Gregor asked with exaggerated surprise, “or perhaps you are worried of hurting me?”
He put back his practice sword and stepped away from the rack to look directly at his uncle.
“Practicing is one thing, but if you’re serious about using real blades, I’m not going to do this. You know how you and I can get. Maybe you can handle it but I’m not ready.” Sean could feel a bit of anger building up inside him at his uncle’s proposal. How could he suggest such a dangerous idea
Gregor laughed softly.
“This blade is not for me. It’s for you”
He held the deadly end, and extended the hilt toward his nephew.
I definately agree with Grayle. You've described this story (thus far) in such a way that enthralls readers and allows us to sympathize with the main character, Sean. I think the storyline is great and I'm intrigued to know what will happen with Sean and whether he'll find any helpful information of his past. I like the idea of a werewolf and vampire living together. It just adds to the interest to the story.
As for your descriptions, I thought they were wonderful. I could perfectly picture the whole scene in my mind - playing like a movie.
I like your character and I think alot of readers can identify with him.
I'll continue to read this story and there's no doubt I'll be enthralled the whole time.
Great work and I eagerly anticipate more.
Thanks Punx! I appreciate your compliment on Sean being an identifiable character already so early into the first chapter. I admit that it is an important concern of mine to how well readers can relate to the characters I'm creating. This gives me hope that I might be doing something right !
I'm fixing up the next part as I type this post. I'll have the next installment ready by tomorrow, and I will begin to test my talents at writing a fight scene.
Interesting continuation, SilentStrider.
Again, you had marvelous detail peppered with history and explanation, but I also liked how Sean showed wisdom and modesty in his reservations toward Gregor's proposed usage of weapons. Not only that, but the final few sentences really stoke the fires of anticipation for the reader. At this point, they're ready and willing to find out how this melee will proceed.
And so proceed you must! Bring on some more!
Here's some more. Enjoy!
There was always a degree of tension between the two of them. The very thought of a swinging swords at each other was beginning to add fuel to the fire in his chest. His breathing was starting to get heavier. He reached for the weapon and locked stares with his uncle. The hairs on the back of his neck were bristling and he realized how vulnerable his uncle had just made himself. All he had to do was push the sword forward and into his chest. It wouldn’t kill him even if he did pierce his heart, but it would seriously maim to the point where Sean could overtake him.
The moment lingered as they both held onto the sword. It was a test. His uncle was trying to see if he could keep control over himself and not act on his violent impulse. Without looking away, he firmly gripped the sword and pointed it down to his side.
Gregor turned abruptly almost making Sean jump, ready to attack. He picked up the second sword without unsheathing it, and with one more glance at his nephew proceeded over to the wooden figures that stood in the corner of the room. He grabbed the feudal Chinese warrior by the wrist and whispered something in the language of magic. Sean couldn’t make out the precise words but he did recognize the sound when his uncle used it. The words hummed with the energy of his projected will, and the figure made a cracking noise as it extended its arm straight with its hand open.
“This wooden golem will be your opponent,” his uncle spoke as he removed the sheath and placed the samurai blade into the palm the warrior. Its hand closed abruptly on the weapon.
He turned to face his nephew and continued to tell him more about his opponent. “I had used them in the past throughout my house for protection. Once I activated them I left them animated, and much like a battery loses its energy so does the magic instilled into these guardians. Now, once I put them in motion, they only function for a limited duration of an hour or two. You know how much I like to keep things of magic even if it doesn’t work as originally intended, so I found a new purpose for them… practice dummies.
“I can mentally command these constructs and will be able to fight you indirectly, without the risk of our enmity getting out of hand, although I feel I should still assure you that I am not trying to kill you. I warn you despite their appearance they can move quickly and their strength is greater than that of most men. Don’t hold back any killing blows. These things can take the damage and within a few days fully restore themselves. Are you ready to begin?”
The wooden figure took on a fighting position, sword held over head with the tip of the blade pointed at Sean, and its other arm straight out in front with two fingers extended. It posed in a perfect fighting stance ready to fight. He raised his own sword vertically in front of him in a two handed style, and took a wide stance with one foot slightly more forward than the other.
“Whenever you want to begin,” he said with a bit of a snarl.
He could feel some of his animal aggression beginning to surface. He gritted his teeth and bit down on his rage. It was always harder to maintain control with his uncle present. He suspected that this too was part of a test.
The wooden warrior took the initiative and lunged at him swinging the blade in a counterclockwise circle aimed at his shoulder. Sean blocked easily by moving his blade to the left to deflect the attack, and countered with a quick blow to his opponents head, but the warrior was quicker than he anticipated and reversed its grip so the dull edge of the blade ran down its forearm. It blocked him and pushed his blade putting him slightly off balance. It continued with its fluid movement, and its body went into a sharp spin, bringing its weapon around in a downward powerful arc. It was so fast that he barely had time to bring his own weapon up to block the blow. When their two swords collided, the shock of the impact sent painful vibrations up his arms.
The golem grabbed its sword with both hands and stepped forward with a lunge aimed at Sean’s center. He twisted his body and sidestepped inward toward his opponent. While his blade slid down the other sword he kicked with his left foot at its forward knee. On a normal person it would’ve popped their knee out of joint, or at least knock them off balance, but this wasn’t a person of flesh that he was fighting. His foot stung like he had just kicked a solid tree. It didn’t bend unless it wanted to. Taking advantage of his failed attack, the golem let go of its sword with one hand to strike at his face with backhanded fist. Sean ducked and hooked his foot on the back of its knee so he could lean back far enough to avoid the blow entirely.
It stepped forward snapping its leg straight trying to bring Sean back up to where it could grapple with him. He didn’t want to feel what kind of strength those wooden arms had, so he let go with his foot to fall into a backward roll.
Before he could fully get his feet back under him he thrust his sword up horizontally over his head to block the anticipated downward strike of his opponent. Once again his arms felt the impact of the weight and strength from the blow.
It lifted its blade and pulled it back to swing at him while he was near to the ground and his mobility compromised. Quickly, he sprang to his feet and jumped high tucking his legs under him to dodge the low strike. As he landed the golem was already reversing its attack bringing it back in a downward arc. Sean thrust his blade out and blocked again. This time he had given his sword a steeper angle while deflecting the hit and allowed the two blades to meet further away from his body. This lessened the impact and gave him so room to give to help absorb the energy of the blow.
He back pedaled to give himself some time to recover and to reassess this magical construct. It had balance like that of a skilled warrior, and was more flexible than what he would have thought a wooden man could be. It struck hard and with well executed force.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2008-10-11 02:02:09)
Wow! Very interesting sparring sequence!
I liked that Gregor was testing Sean, but also that he was wise enough to use a "3rd party" in the fight to buffer their inherited animosity. He also warned Sean of it's capabilities. This shows wisdom and thoughtfulness, which you'd expect from someone that is nearly 500 years old.
The fight sequence was a decent size so far, and filled with many moves, proving it would be a vivid action sequence if brought to the silver screen. It might be a little difficult to picture for the average reader, but I doubt it. I think you did a good job on it.
The only thing I might suggest is using Sean's name instead of 'he' or mentioning the golem instead of 'it' every once in a while during the description - not every time, and not even half the time, but every once in a while. Even though they're called 'personal pronouns', using He and it so many times in sequence ends up creating an impersonal feel to the narration. Adding Sean's name or the golem's identity into the mix will offset the useage of the pronouns and will help to counteract the impersonal feel they create.
I realize the fight sequence is not over yet, so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.
Great Job, SilentStrider!
Sorry about the delay. Anyways, I really enjoyed the sequence. I like the calm composure that you give to his Uncle, which is appropriate for his age, as Grayle suggested.
I think you did a great job with the explanation of the fighting sequence and I eagerly anticipate more.
Please post more soon.
Don't fret, I haven't forgotten about posting. I was having a bit of trouble figuring out how I want the middle of this fight sequence to go, but I have the ending of it. Usually what I do to avoid writer's block is simply skipping ahead to a part of the story I can visualize. However, that doesn’t really work for the reader now, does it.
I have my outline for the rest of the fight I just need to write/type it up and tweak it about a thousand times. I always find stuff that I want to change, like a word I want changed or rephrase a sentence. I should have my next post up by Tuesday.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2008-09-27 02:07:23)
Good news and take your time. I wont rush you
How was he going to beat this thing?
He still felt the after affects as a throbbing in his arm. If only he had heeded his uncle’s warning of the golem’s strength he could’ve avoided the shock to his limb. Sean only took a second to collect himself and to bring his weapon back up in front of him.
Both combatants started to circle one another in a side-stepping fashion. Sean held onto his sword with both hands on the hilt while keeping the blade parallel to his body and in front of his right shoulder. The golem also imitated the way Sean was holding his weapon. They both moved in almost perfect unison mirroring the way they held their swords and stepping at the same time. Slowly the circle they made became smaller as they gradually spiraled closer.
“Come now, Sean! This is not a human you’re facing. If you’re going to defeat it you’re going to have to invoke other aspects of your nature.”
As his uncle spoke the golem made a quick feint as if it were going to lunge. Sean kept his focus sharp and slightly shifted his blade to counter, but he did not commit himself since the golem was only feigning its attack to test his own defenses.
He didn’t like what his uncle was suggesting. “Invoking other aspects of his nature,” meant that his uncle wanted him to try and do a partial transformation and only call forth certain qualities of his werewolf form. This was something new that he and Gregor had only just begun experimenting with two weeks ago. The purpose behind it was to help Sean come to terms with his other self and to gradually ease him into a transformation to where he could feel comfortable and not forget who he was. Sean felt like he was making great progress with it as long as he took plenty of time to calm himself through meditation, but this was a much more aggressive scenario. He decided to consider, but not act on the advice his uncle gave him.
Just as they were about to make their second resolution Sean launched himself into a swift stabbing lunge. He had timed his attack precisely as the golem crossed its legs and was settling its weight on its feet. With a skilled response Sean’s strike was countered, but he did not relent his offense. Sean threw a rapid series of left to right attacks which the golem was finding increasingly more difficult to keep up with due to its compromised footing. He was able to connect his sword to the golem’s wooden body several times.
Sean smiled with the success he was having all of a sudden. He was actually starting to get thrill out of this.
Suddenly the golem did something unexpected and lowered its defense which allowed Sean to make a very solid hit into the golem’s mid section just below the ribs. On a normal flesh and blood opponent such a hit would have been fatal, but in this case his sword got wedged in the slice he created. It took him two tugs to get the blade unstuck, but by then it was too late. The golem deliberately pulled its sword back with the tip of it pointing at Sean’s stomach and drove him through.
He looked down in disbelief. The pain barely even registered. He was in complete shock.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2008-10-17 02:49:21)
Very nice couple of twists to the traditional sparring limitations, SilentStrider! I loved it!
The narration describing the idea of 'fractionalized transformation' was informative and well-placed, explaining Sean's hesitance and also his concerns in the process. I also liked that. Personally, I'm not convinced that Gregor would use the term 'beat', though. He seems more like the kind that would use the term 'defeat' instead; but hey, that's just my opinion.
Just so you know: although it's hard to tell which one would be the right one to use at times, typically the word 'affect' is used as a verb, whereas the word 'effect' is used as a noun. Just so you know.
That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the stuck sword in the abdomen of the golem, as well as the stuck sword in the abdomen of Sean. It was both original and shocking, and really grabs the attention of the reader!
Great job, SilentStrider!
Okay! I've been able to do some more work on my sparring sequence and I have finally wrapped it up and connected this scene to the rest of the first chapter. Following Grayle's advice, I have also gone back to the first post and added a little detail onto Sean's appearance. I don't mind adding a bit more, but I felt like if I did it would've been more forced. For now let's continue with the story and if by the end of the first two or three chapters it seems a better description would help then I'll add more.
Thanks for being patient with my delay of the story. Here's some more. Let me know what you think, and I'll post the conclusion this evening.
Oh yea, one more thing... how do you change the text here to italics. I appreciate how I've seen it used here to keep comments separate from the story, and I would like to do the same, but any time I cut and paste to the message window here all text gets converted back to normal. Of course any advice would be great.
Sean stared down in disbelief at the sword hilt sticking out of his abdomen. He could only see three inches of the metal blade, but he could imagine the rest of it inside him and poking out of his back. Time felt like it had slowed down sparing him briefly from move forward into agony.
Sean didn’t know what to think. His uncle had stabbed him through the use of the golem. He understood that it was the golems hand that had pushed the sword through him, but it was controlled by the mind of his uncle. Gregor had never inflicted such a painful wound on him before. In fact in the past he had always been careful to pull his swings at the last possible second softening any contact with the practice swords. This… this was completely unexpected.
The golem started to slide the weapon out of Sean’s belly. Immediately he felt the sickening pain shoot through the core of his body which forced time to jump start again. He tightened his muscles in his legs forcing himself to stay upright and to resist the urge in his knees to buckle. He could do nothing as he watched the blood stained blade continue to retract from the wound.
As soon as it was pulled out and away from him his legs gave way and he folded onto his knees letting his own sword fall to the floor beside him. He had to remind himself to breathe but when he felt his pain spike he understood why he was holding his breath and winced in reaction.
The golem took two steps back and took its time to circle around Sean.
“Get up Sean!” Gregor commanded. “You have suffered far worse than that fraction of a wound.”
He still could not believe his uncle had stabbed him, and now he was callously telling him to brush it off. What the hell was he trying to do? Sean slowly raised his head to look at his uncle with an incredulous look of surprise. His uncle just stared straight back at him, still standing in the same spot he had been when this match had begun. The expression on his face never changed and continued to remain neutral without betraying what he felt or thought. That withdrawn attitude irritated Sean and he could feel his anger stir within him once more.
“Stop fighting like a normal person Sean, for you are anything but that. Focus on your sword and use what you are to crush your opponent.”
Sean locked gazes with his uncle as he grabbed hold of his sword. The pain on his face melted away to be replaced with narrow eyes of deadly intent. He no longer thought about the injury in his middle that was healing itself closed as he slowly stood. He felt as though he were a snake coiling, preparing itself to spring forward in a deadly attack. Gregor cracked a sliver of a smile onto his stone cold face, and that small movement set Sean’s blood to boiling.
The golem, in its timely fashion, completed its circuit and strategically placed itself between the two of them with its sword perfectly poised in front and at its center. Sean didn’t miss a beat in redirecting his prepared attack onto the golem instead. He leaped forward swinging his blade furiously at the wooden model of a samurai. It expertly blocked and countered with its own attack to which Sean blocked as well. Sparks flew off the blades of both fighters and the ringing of the swords filled the air.
Sean was like a demon with his sword, fighting as if he were possessed with only one objective in mind and nothing else mattered. The speed and strength of his strikes increased as he surged from one attack to the next. He was so intent on destroying what was in front of him that he didn’t even notice how his body was gradually changing.
His muscles were increasing in bulk and definition, and where ever skin was visible the amount of hair was multiplying at a slow and steady rate. If he had half a mind to notice he would’ve also realized how his mouth was starting to puff up and his teeth were becoming sharper. Even the rounded tops of his ears were beginning to show a bit of a point to them.
Suddenly the golem swung its sword unexpectedly with the flat edge of its blade striking hard at Sean’s wrist. His hand went numb with the impact and he lost the strength to hold onto his own sword. For the second time in this fight he dropped his weapon, but he didn’t let that minor fact bother him. Rather than make any attempt to recover the sword he grabbed a hold of the golem’s wrist and twisted. He rolled his own body so that his back was up against the golem and it could do nothing to resist the direction Sean was taking its arm. With his own shoulder pushed up underneath the golem's shoulder he yanked down abruptly and a loud crack echoed in the room. The golem was not in a position to prevent Sean from wrenching down on its arm a second and final time, and the arm came off in a splintering shower of wood.
Still not slowing down for a second Sean continued his relentless attack and swung the now detached arm like a club into the back of the golem’s head. The thing stumbled forward losing its balance as Sean struck it again and again. Unable to resist the bombardment the golem fell hard, planting its face into the floor. It started to push itself up, but Sean jumped onto its back bringing his full weight to bear, pinning the golem and forcing it to remain on the floor. Crouching down on its back he swiftly twisted the sword out of the golem’s hand and in one fluid motion stood up and hurled the weapon like a short spear straight at his uncle’s head.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2008-10-17 14:09:01)
Riveting scene, SilentStrider!
I enjoyed the calculated responses from Gregor, and the reactions they gained from Sean. That final action with the golem's sword was brilliant! He didn't just focus on the puppet, but the man pulling the strings!
The involuntary semi-transformation was also an interesting idea, and very likable. However, since it was involuntary and not controlled, I'm sure Gregor will have a thing or two to say about it. I also cherished the reference to time slowing down and then being jump-started by the pain. Wonderful!
I did find a spelling anomaly or two, and there was at least one sentence that made me cock my head in confusion, but other than that the flow and pace were terrific and well-set.
Great Job, SilentStrider! Keep going, please!
Thanks for the encouraging response there, Grayle. It's always good to have something like that to fuel my writing momentum.
As for my writing, I certainly don't mind you pointing out anything specific. I admit that sometimes the way I cram my words together winds up looking odd. Even when I proof read sometimes I find myself raising my eyebrow wondering why the hell did I write the sentence like that. Alas... practice, practice, practice. If you feel more comfortable shooting me an email regarding hiccups in the flow, I certainly don't mindt. I realize that I'm far from being an renowned writer, that's why I post here, and why I value everyone's critique. I want to improve my skill and produce a tale that everyone can enjoy.
Now let's find out what happens with that sword aimed at Gregor...
The instant the sword left the tips of his fingers he regretted it. Time seemed to stretch out as he watched in slow motion the inevitable, and he could do nothing about it. Tiny bits of what little remained of his own crusted blood fell off the blade as it glided through the air unerringly toward Gregor. In that moment Sean completely forgot about the anger and fury that had consumed him. He couldn’t breathe as he stood there frozen in horror.
Finally the deadly end of the blade reached its destination, less than an inch away from Gregor’s right ear, and it slid neatly into the wall. The sword embedded itself almost up to the hilt, and neither one of them moved. Gregor didn’t move a muscle. He didn’t even flinch. Even the crippled golem had stopped moving and a heavy silence permeated the air.
Gregor partly smiled and said “You did well.”
The frozen spell was broken and those simple words spoken by his uncle rekindled the fire in Sean’s heart. His eyes narrowed with evident irritation as he continued to speak, oblivious to Sean’s overwhelming hatred.
“If I had been someone else truly intent on causing you harm”, Gregor continued, “destroying the golem would not have saved you. It’s important to know who your true adversary is and not be distracted by other obstacles. However, you still need to improve on maintaining control of your transformation. You need to better manage your stress level and to keep your thoughts clear.”
Sean barely heard the appraisal with the ringing fury that still swelled inside of him. It was made even worse seeing how his uncle stood there so calm like he wasn’t in any kind of danger. It was likely that even if Sean’s aim had been true, he probably would have been able to dodge or deflect the sword. Uncle Gregor always had a way to protect himself. He didn’t get to be 523 years old without being mindful of his surroundings and having the power to keep himself safe.
It aggravated Sean how casually he took all this and his anger elevated, igniting his instincts to attack the vampire before him. His nostrils were flaring. He could feel the pounding of his heart and the rushing of his blood made it hard to hear anything. The regret he had felt only a moment before died as quickly as it had been born. All he wanted to do now was to strangle the life out of the creature that stood before him.
It wouldn’t have been the first time he and his uncle came to blows. There had been many times before where Sean could not restrain from throwing himself at his uncle with deadly intent. Other than the first couple of seconds of those violent incidents Sean could not remember anything else of what he imagined to be a brutal fight. It was occasions like that when his werewolf side took over that caused him to have black outs. He couldn’t recall anything that happened from that point on until he could reawaken the next day in his human form.
With a sharp growl he pulled himself out of the moment, and without thinking exited the room. If something else happened to him before he reached the stairs he doubted he would be able to stop from engaging his uncle. He didn’t want to think about the very thin thread he was keeping himself reigned in with.
Gregor remained silent and stayed where he stood.
Sean was up the stairs and back into the kitchen before he realized it. He stormed his way into the dining hall and with hardly a thought grabbed hold of one of the ornate chairs and hurled it across the room as hard as he could. It smashed against the wall with a loud crash. The chair exploded into pieces of wood and twisted metal. He clenched his fists and released a roar of pure frustration. The scream was part human and part animal and left an eerie echo throughout the room.
He needed to be out and away from here. He rushed to the high double doors in the main foyer and shoved them both open. The oppressive hate that he was drowning in started to lift as he ran out of the house and into the night. Part of him welcomed the relief and part of him wanted to indulge in the raw energy he felt coursing through out his body.
He continued to run down the paved driveway and turned onto the first side path that offered itself. The late spring air blew crisp and cool against his face, and helped to wash him clean of the heated turmoil that was burning in his soul. A half moon could be seen every now and then drifting in and out from behind the massive overcast that dominated the starless sky. Occasionally a bright flash of lightening would illuminate the angry storm clouds that promised a relentless rain. Trees and underbrush were a blur to him and their details hardly mattered.
He ran, to get away from the manor and to shake off the dark presence enveloping him. He wanted to be himself again and not at the mercy of his instincts. He had been able to walk away from Gregor’s challenge without losing himself, but the desire to change into a werewolf still clawed at him.
He couldn’t deny how he enjoyed the sensation of power he had when he transformed. It was like being supercharged with raw power. He could go anywhere and do anything. He felt unstoppable
There was also fear. He was afraid of not having conscious control of such strength. He could easily kill or destroy just about anything in that other form, and he didn’t know himself well enough to trust what he would do.
If he wanted he could change now, and be relatively safe from causing harm to himself or anyone else. His uncle had even told him that he had to be willing to let go sometimes, and allow himself to become a werewolf. Releasing the beast from within from time to time was supposed to be healthy and normal, or so claimed Gregor, but Sean didn’t think there was anything normal about it.
He wasn’t a natural creature that was part of the environment. Other animals could smell, or sense, that he was a predator and immediately became uneasy around his presence. Most people might be fooled by his human face, but there was always an undercurrent that they seemed to pick up on to some degree. For Sean it served as constant reminder that he had become a creature outside the normal realm of reality, and he would never have a regular life.
He slowed his pace and hung his head lower as some despair crept in around the edges of his rage. He respected and even loved his uncle as though he was his father, but there was no ignoring the fact he was a vampire. Their opposing natures would always be a constant conflict no matter what they did.
It was difficult to accept this life that had become his. He had lost all his childhood memories, and had to struggle with understanding who he was now. Sometimes he imagined that having amnesia might not be such a bad thing. At least he didn’t have the experience of a normal life clashing with the reality he was now living, but he still felt the loss of his parents and what his life might have been like. Now he had to live behind magical fortifications to stay hidden from the monster that had made him. He had become a prisoner deprived of an ordinary life, devoid of contact with his peers.
There were less than a handful of people that he associated with on a regular basis, none of which were close to his age. The age gap only further decreased what little he did have in common with any of them. He found his thoughts drifting, and he considered what he knew about the few people that lived here with him.
There was Daniel Rosenblatt and his wife Rebecca that were loyal servants of Gregor, and whom lived at the manor too. Officially Daniel was the butler and Rebecca was the cook, but they both did many odd jobs around the place. They were an elderly couple in their early seventies who his uncle had employed almost twenty years ago. Daniel had just been laid off from his job when the factory he worked for revolutionized and replaced many of their employees with machines. The couple enquired about the job offer his uncle had. After he interviewed them and checked their backgrounds they were hired. Gradually, Gregor carefully made them aware of the supernatural world and made known what he was. His uncle had proved himself to be a respectable, good man, and surprisingly the Rosenblatts had no trouble accepting him for what he was.
The only other person who he had any regular contact with was Carols. Sean didn’t know much about him since he didn’t like to talk about himself. Really all Sean knew was that he was an ex-marine who was down on his luck before he came here. The man was the big, strong, silent type and was very professional when it came to his uncle. His primary job was security and he performed the duties of a bodyguard. However, with modern technology and magic combining to guard the property, there wasn’t much he had to do in the way of protecting, so he used his spare time to tend the gardens and maintain the grounds. Sometimes Sean helped him and he would learn a thing or two. He had also helped to teach Sean some self defense and how to shoot a gun.
There was also Anna, the only person Gregor had sired. She was originally a seventeen year old that had a terminal sickness before his uncle turned her. He raised her as if she were his own daughter and allowed her to live the life that she would have otherwise been denied. He taught her how to maintain her discipline, and not allow her vampiric thirst for blood to rule her life like so many others. He also taught her to value life and to not squander the gift he had given her. It was one of the things his uncle seemed to be excellent at doing, to challenge and inspire people to be there best. Anna was currently traveling, and taking her time to experience the world.
When it became evident that Sean was becoming a werewolf his uncle had advised her not to come home unannounced and to keep her distance. She was fascinated Gregor would even attempt to care for a person bitten by a werewolf, and was very interested in how things would turn out. She maintained constant contact with Sean throughout the years using the phone, letters and emails. She would tell him in detail where she was and what she was doing and send him pictures of her adventures. It was one of the few things he looked forward to every few days, as though it were a temporary reprieve from the prison his life seemed to have become.
The Rosenblatts were much older than he, Carlos wasn’t a socialite, Anna was thousands of miles away, and he and Gregor could never become to close because of what they were. There was no one else in his life that was of his age or could relate with him. The rampant emotions that had engulfed him before had completely left him now and a mantle of gloom had settled around his shoulders.
He felt all alone.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2008-10-18 02:18:05)
Very very well done, SilentStrider. You finished up the sparring sequence superbly, and also carried on the idea of Sean's frustration morphing into the difficulty of his solitude. I also liked how you narrated the supporting cast, giving a little bit about each and then summarizing their identities in relation to Sean's social isolation. Extremely well written, SilentStrider!
There were a few grammatical thingies, Carlos being called Carols, missing periods, 'to' instead of 'too', that kind of thing; nothing that a proofreading later on won't fix. It was a little long to read, but it was an engaging read nonetheless, and it was second nature to empathize with Sean's social and emotional plight because it was written so well.
Very well done, SilentStrider! Keep it coming, please!
Hey, I caught up on your story and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. You've done an excellent job with the cut-off point to engross your reader, especially that small segment where the sword pierced his abdomen. I was thinking 'yep, it's over for him,' but I hadn't considered that he was a werewolf.
Overall, I think you've done a great job with the descriptive imagery and left me thristing for more. You allowed the reader to fall into Sean's shoes and sympathize with him/feel his raw emotions.
I also liked how you gave wisdom to Gregor, as he should be at that age. I know some writers struggle with that - myself included, so I give you props for that.
Here's my favourite segment filled with delicous description:
He continued to run down the paved driveway and turned onto the first side path that offered itself. The late spring air blew crisp and cool against his face, and helped to wash him clean of the heated turmoil that was burning in his soul. A half moon could be seen every now and then drifting in and out from behind the massive overcast that dominated the starless sky. Occasionally a bright flash of lightening would illuminate the angry storm clouds that promised a relentless rain. Trees and underbrush were a blur to him and their details hardly mattered.
Thank you to you both for your expressed interest in my story. Ive been continuing to chisel away on my first chapter bit by bit, but I've been making progress. I hope I can continue to keep your interests and perhaps as things develop acquire a few more avid readers. I don't have a lot of time to make a comment here before I post, so tell me what you think. I am a bit concerned that I might be dragging the story down a bit by adding too much background, but let me not over analyze and see what you all have to say.
A rain drop hit the back of his neck, and little specks of water appeared on the dry dirt and leaves all around him. It started to lightly drizzle and the slow moving clouds promised to hang around for a while. He thought it was poetic how the weather seemed to reflect his mood.
Sean had stopped in a small clearing where the ground sloped up toward some thicker woods. He turned around and looked back in the direction he had come from. A flash of lightening silhouetted the large manor that had been his home for the pass few years. Sean tried to think of his uncle, and what he knew of his life before he joined him in this secret world of the supernatural.
Uncle Gregor had been as straight forward as possible about what it was like for him to become a vampire in hopes that it would help Sean through his own strenuous beginning. He had not always accepted what he was and in fact had a darker time of it than Sean had. His sire was a cruel and dominating vampire that only wanted to keep his prodigy as slaves or soldiers loyal to the death. He only taught Gregor what was necessary for him to know in order to better serve, and he used pain and fear as vices to control those he lorded over. Eventually Gregor rebelled and escaped, killing the monster that had called himself his maker. He only knew the essentials of how to take care of himself as a vampire, and for many years struggled on his own while he learned the intricacies of the new life he had been forced into.
He had difficulty mastering his hunger for blood, but in time he learned to dedicate himself to something greater. He chose to surround himself with books, art, and people of influence, and to take an active role in the world of humanity. He felt it was far better to drink deeply from the cup of life and take risks as opposed to living forever, hiding in the darkness, protecting his immortality. It was this passion for life that gave him a powerful focus to control his bestial appetite. Of course he still felt the undeniable pull to drink blood, and he still indulged in it. It was a necessary sin that his kind had to endure, but at least in his case he had become the master of his own hunger, and not the other way around.
Sean admired his uncle’s dedication of continual self improvement, and how Anna had devoted herself to a very similar path. He strived to capture for himself the passion that they had empowered themselves with, and the different ways that they applied their knowledge to improve the world around them. He wished that he could follow in Anna’s footsteps by traveling the world and living a life he chose, but he couldn’t do so and be safe. The werewolf responsible for biting him was still out there, somewhere, hunting for him. Gregor constantly reminded Sean that it was dangerous for him to go just anywhere, and it was in his best interest to stay at the manor.
Sean couldn’t remember any details about the monster that had destroyed his life. All his memories were erased up until the day he awoke in his uncle’s manor. He relied mostly on Gregor’s recollection of what had happened that terrible night he had lost everything.
Gregor had explained to him that he had been in the area, and was discreetly checking up on his family. Occasionally this was something he had done, because family was very important to him, and he followed his bloodline closely. However, for some reason he could not explain, that night had felt slightly different to him. He said it was like a subtle feeling that something was out of place, but he could not define precisely what it was.
He kept himself well within the shadows of the forest that existed near the house Sean grew up in. While he stood there and brooded over the nagging sensation of something being wrong he observed all the indications that the family was doing well. There was a wooden gym set assembled in the backyard as well as numerous toys strewn about for their only child. The house and lawn were well maintained and the recent additions of the deck and fenced in pool were further signs of a happy little home.
Just as he was getting ready to leave he began to feel the ground quiver as something massive approached. Suddenly the trees at the other end of the backyard snapped and fell over as a large form came crashing out of the woods. Out into the dim light of the backyard emerged the largest most formidable werewolf Gregor had ever seen. He described the beast as a giant, standing well over twenty feet with powerful muscles that were quite evident even from beneath its thick black fur. It cleared the backyard in three long legged strides and didn’t hesitate in the slightest as it collided into the house. It tore through the building as if it were made of paper, and within an instant it had snatched twelve year old Sean from his bed and held him aloft in front of its face. Sean flailed and screamed trying to get away from the nightmare he had awoken up to.
Gregor admitted to Sean his own shameful inability to act, and during the retelling he apologized with eyes of deep sympathy. He didn’t want to make excuses for himself, but a couple of years later he did finally confess that it was possible the creature was emanating an aura of fear so intense it left him paralyzed.
At this point the strangest thing happened that Gregor could offer no explanation for. There was a bright splash of this sickening white light that instantaneously appeared between Sean and the giant werewolf, and when it happened it twisted Gregor’s insides making him feel sick.
Everything happened so fast that it left Gregor paralyzed with shock and fear. He had to force himself to gather his wits, and accept the reality of what he was witnessing. Once he saw the helpless child struggling in the huge hands of that monster, the desire to save Sean broke the spell he had been under.
Gregor prepared to attack the beast in his nephew’s defense. However, before he could, people abruptly stepped out of the shadows wielding guns and magic as if they had been waiting all along. The place erupted into a bloody battlefield of gunfire and explosions with the giant werewolf massacring everyone around. Amidst the chaos Gregor was able to slip in, pick up Sean who was lying motionless on the ground, and run.
As soon as he had Sean out of harms way he did what little he could to stabilize him. At that point Sean was unconscious and barely breathing. He had suffered the loss of his arm and injuries from the surrounding crossfire. Gregor held severe doubts that his nephew would survive the night.
He was getting ready to return to the insanity he had fled from to look for Sean’s mother and father, but before he could even turn around he heard, as well as felt, the giant werewolf approaching like an avalanche. Gregor had no choice but to grab Sean and run for his life.
For the rest of that night he had to dodge the monstrous beast as it tirelessly pursued them in a continuous game of cat and mouse. Gregor desperately pulled out every trick he knew to loose the creature, and succeeded with scarcely enough time to find refuge from that morning’s sun.
The next evening when Gregor awoke he fully expected to find a corpse lying near him, but to his surprise his nephew was still alive. His breathing was shallow, and his heart was struggling to pump blood through his body, but through some miracle that twelve year old boy still had life left in him. It was his belief that Sean couldn’t possibly survive another hour. There was only one thing Gregor was able to do to protect him from dying, and that was to turn him right then and there.
Even though such an act went against his sense of morals, he just wasn’t able to let the poor child die. At the time he could only imagine the struggle his little body had gone through to make it this far, and to let it all end then would have seemed so wrong. He hoped for forgiveness before he gently bit Sean’s neck, but the instant blood touched his tongue Gregor ripped his head away. Sean’s blood had tasted like poison and he spat vehemently trying to rid himself of the horrible flavor.
That was when Gregor realized why Sean had survived the night. He had been bitten by that giant werewolf, and that was the reason his arm was missing. Despite the grievous injuries Gregor knew that given enough time Sean would fully recover and become a werewolf.
With disregard to his nephews impending alteration he vowed to himself that he would take Sean in and look after him. He was completely aware that their two very different natures would inevitably clash, but despite that, he picked up the boy and returned to his manor. Gregor chose to overlook the mortal enemy soon to be born, and saw an injured child who had just lost his family, and now had no one.
From that point on Sean had to live his life in hiding and under the protection of his uncle. For some reason, that neither of them could fathom, that giant werewolf was still hunting for Sean, but as long as he stayed at the manor within the protective wards his uncle had established, he remained safe.
There weren’t many things that his uncle was afraid of, but that werewolf had certainly been one of them and he had no desire of ever coming into a direct confrontation with the thing. Sean also fully understood that his uncle had no intentions of allowing his nephew the chance of encountering that beast either.
Sean was very afraid of the werewolf too, but he couldn’t stand to be trapped here any longer. He felt like a hostage to his own fate. If he left, he’d be in danger, and vulnerable to that giant monster. On the other hand if he stayed here any longer he felt like something would just break inside him. He felt deprived of human contact and it was taking a toll on him. He also had to endure the constant hatred he felt for his uncle that went against all reason. That sensation alone smothered his sensibility denying him the chance to be himself. There was also the wolf in him that cried out constantly to be able to run free of this place. It was too much to bear. He couldn’t stay here any longer. He had to leave, because if he didn’t he’d go insane.
Right there and then he knew exactly what he had to do.
He started to walk back toward the manor with determination in his stride. He understood the risk he was going to take. He might die, but better that than to let him self go crazy by staying here. He knew how his uncle would argue against his decided course of action, and how he would likely point out all the reasons as to why this was the wrong thing to do.
Why did he even have to bother telling him? He could simply skip going to his uncle and just leave in the morning, right after Gregor fell asleep. Sean didn’t really want to think about his decision. He wanted to act now while his commitment was solid. He’d start by packing and decide later how he would deal with his uncle.
Very good sequence, SilentStrider! I really like how you gave background to both of them, which gives good character development to both of them, as well as their pasts. I like Gregor because of his integrity. His character is easily likable and now that we know his brief life story, we can relate to both Sean and Gregor better.
I did find something a wee bit off. I think (this is just solely an opinion) you should describe the werewolf as a bit smaller. Maybe 10 feet at the most. That way, it doesn't seem too far fetched.
Other than that, though, I think you've done an incredible job so far and I can't wait to see what will happen. Will he meet this giant werewolf? What would cause this werewolf to hunt him for so long? I'm riveted and waiting for more
Thank you for your kind words Punx. I know I made the size of the one werewolf a bit extreme, but it was with purpose. For now, at this point in the story, I hope it might be a clue to readers that this massive creature isn't just a werewolf. Perhaps I might need to expand more on the shock factor of it?
I copied and pasted this post here and for some reason when I did it the format got messed up. I tried to fix it all so it looked presentable within the quick post box, but there might have been a couple of errors I didn't catch.
In this post we get to follow Gregor around for a bit. In my opinion he's one of the more interesting characters in this story, but we wont get to see a lot of him until nearer the end. Let me know what you think.
Gregor remained where he was while his nephew took his rage upstairs. He sighed releasing some of his own tension that had been building during their encounter. He regretted having pushed Sean the way he had, because it seemed to be such a cruel thing to do, but he felt it was necessary. He wasn’t sure how much longer the boy was going to stay with him, but he did sense an end was near. He wanted to do the best he could to prepare Sean to handle the world on his own.
He had made some milestone improvements in managing his emotions and controlling when he became a werewolf, but there were still instances in which he had difficulty. One was a classic symptom that many shape shifters shared, the closer the moon came to being full the more likely it was for the beast within him to surface. The other problem was that he resisted transforming on a regular basis, and the longer he went without changing, the more difficult it became for him to influence it.
When ever Sean fully changed into a werewolf he became a beast operating on pure instincts with little to no cognitive thought. His transformations mostly occurred while he was under high levels of stress, and often whatever the source was, he would attack. This of course presented a huge problem if Sean were ever to interact with the world at large. He was a modern day Bruce Banner, but unlike the Hulk, there were people in this world who new how to deal with werewolves, usually in a fatal manner.
There was something about transforming into a werewolf that terrified Sean and he suspected it was in part his lack of memory of what happened while in that other form. He exhibited classic signs of someone with a dual personality, except in his case it was more than just a mental change. Sean was not unique in this problem for it did occur every now and then to other shape shifters. It was usually the result of some kind of trauma not unlike the near death experience his nephew had gone through. Unfortunately, to Gregor’s knowledge, few were-creatures ever fully came to terms with their dual nature.
There was one other very important detail that made Sean’s condition different than other were-creatures Gregor knew about. It was the fact that the creature that had bitten him continued to aggressively pursue him, likely with the intention of killing. There had been a couple of occasions where he and Sean had been away from the manor, once in Europe and another time in North Carolina, and that giant beast had shown up. It seemed to have appeared out of thin air and disregarded everything in its path for the sake of getting a hold of Sean. It was because of those instances Gregor felt that Sean had to remain at the manor until they could find out more about the beast.
Gregor couldn’t bring himself to recognize the creature as simply an over sized werewolf. It’s massive size defied reason, and the fact that it appeared and disappeared without a hint to where it went only added to the mystery of the thing. The first time Gregor had seen the creature eight years ago holding Sean in its grasp, he could have sworn that the beast had used some kind of twisted version of magic on the young boy. Could the creature itself be some kind of manifestation of magic? If so then who or what was controlling it, and what was their interest in Sean? Or might it be an entirely different creature that took that as its form? The only thing Gregor was certain about was its bite had permanently changed Sean, and that he was left with many more questions than answers.
He could sense that by now his nephew had left the house, so Gregor felt secure in the knowledge that his presence upstairs would not further instigate Sean. He left the practice room and headed upstairs. Following the path Sean had taken he walked into the dining hall, and found Rebbecca beginning to pick up the pieces of the broken chair. It was a shame it had been so utterly destroyed, but not unexpected. As far as he knew no one had ever tried to raise a werewolf quite like this, let alone a vampire doing the raising. There was bound to be things that wound up breaking. The chair wasn’t the first thing nor would it likely be the last.
Gregor crossed the width of the room to where the rubble lay scattered on the floor, and bent down to help the old woman.
“What do you think you’re doing, sir?” Rebbecca asked with irritation. She started to pick up the pieces more quickly and putting them in the fold of her apron.
“What does it look like? I’m helping you!” he said this in a gentle voice with the hint of a smile in his eyes. It pleased him and amused him at how personally she took her job.
“You, sir, should stop being so silly, and let me do the cleaning.” She put emphasis on the word “me” to make sure her conviction was apparent.
“Rebbecca, I am in part responsible for this mess for having pushed my nephew’s limits this evening. Besides what makes me better than you where I should not tend to chores such as this?”
“Because, this is what you pay me to do!” She said this as she grasped from Gregor’s hand a large chunk of wood with some gilded gold half attached and half jutting out in a twisted fashion.
He held onto the piece of debris, not relinquishing it as she stubbornly tried to tug it away from him. He moved it up higher forcing her to look up at his face.
“If I stop paying you would you then let me clean this up?” he said with playful sarcasm.
She looked back at him and some of the steel left her voice. “No, sir! Even if you somehow lost all your money and couldn’t pay me another dime I’d still work for you. Being here has been one of the most interesting and best experiences I’ve had in all my life. Now shoo and let me do what I do before I beat you up old man.”
She yanked the piece of wood from him again, this time successfully. He allowed her the victory understanding that her pride would not let him assist in cleaning the mess. He was also impressed with the loyalty the Rossenblatts had given him and did not wish to insult Rebbecca's dedication by forcing the issue.
He simply said, “As you wish,” and rose, leaving the room to enter the main foyer.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2008-10-29 10:22:28)
Okay, I just got caught up. Sorry for the wait, but it was definitely worth it - at least for me.
I totally agree with Punx about the background you gave to the characters as well as their development. It gave the reader a chance to learn about Sean's past as well as his pursuer, and yet still developed the character along the way. I adored the banter between Gregor and Rebecca, as well as the understanding of the situation that both Gregor and Sean have. Your narration of the past and the circumstances was not too involved, and flowed at a steady pace. That was extremely skillful, SilentStrider!
In Post #23, I think you could merge the 3rd and 4th paragraph easily since the inherent subjects are pretty much the same. I might also suggest replacing the Hulk and Banner references with correlating Sean to an unwilling Jekyll and Hyde, as it's more of a classic literary reference and might suit Gregor's character a little better than referencing something as commercial as a 'comic book hero'.
As to the mysterious lycnathropic assailant, I might suggest more elaborate words to describe his size; It may help the reader to understand that this his size is abnormal by mythological proportions. Perhaps you could use words such as gargantuan, or colossal, or gigantic, or towering... such words placed strategically in the descriptions of the monstrosity may help to define his abnormal size in the mind of the reader. Again, just a possible idea.
In any case, the high quality and engaging read of this story cannot be denied. I'm very impressed with it and I'm looking forward to more.
Keep it coming, SilentStrider!
Last edited by Grayle (2008-11-05 13:14:28)
Hello again! I know its been a long while since I've been here, but I'm picking up where I left off. I hope that what I write here is good enough to enjoy. Please feel free to compliment for that will encourage me to write more, and to critique so that I can improve and deliver a better quality story.
He could feel the watchful eyes of the sculpted guardian of Draco as he passed under the archway. It was similar to the wooden golem he had just used to spar with his nephew, but the enchantment placed on this one was more recent and had many years to go before it would become inactive. It was enchanted to animate and attack anyone violating the threshold of his manor, uninvited. It was one of the many defenses he had surrounding him.
Gregor noticed that the front doors still stood open, presumably from when his nephew hurled himself outside to run the grounds. He stepped outside onto the dais under the overhang, and did a slow scan of the night horizon extending his senses in search of his nephew. Being familiar with Sean's mind, it didn't take him long to find where he was, haphazardly crashing through the woods. He could feel his nephew's rage emanating like a beacon in the stormy night. The sensation was intoxicating to Gregor, encouraging him to go after the werewolf in his domain, like a predator pursuing its prey. It was enticing, but he possessed more than enough will power to resist the temptation of the hunt.
He turned around, heading back into the foyer, feeling confident that the wards protecting the grounds would be sufficient in keeping Sean safely within the boundaries. There had been instances in the first year during his nephews stay when he had left the safety of the manor and had caused some severe problems resulting in several people being injured and even a few unfortunate deaths. Gregor pitied Sean more than he did the hunters that had died that night. They had been cruel men with a total lack of respect toward life. The world would be a better place without men like that in his opinion.
It was a bit time consuming on his part to disguise the details of the accident and alter people's memories so as not to cause any repercussions that would bring unwanted attention their way. The true tragedy of it all was how the deaths of those men weighed on Sean's conscious. It only served to increase his apprehension to transform and make it harder to find acceptance in what he was now. If only he could help his nephew to trust in his werewolf persona, then everything else might fall into place and he could heal from his spiritual wounds.
Concern for Sean's future reminded him of the phone call he had received earlier from Jess, and he felt now would be a good time to head to the study and return the call. He left the foyer and proceeded down the hall to the library, but stopped midway and pushed open the sliding doors to his personal study. The room contained shelves filled with books from floor to ceiling and the only two sections without were the doors into the room and a large bay window on the opposite side. There were two old fashioned, high back reading chairs side by side facing a wide desk in front of the window. He turned on the lights and adjusted the dial to a comfortable dim setting then closed the doors behind him.
He moved around the desk to where he had his cell phone plugged into a signal scrambler, a little box about the size of a thick hard cover book. It was a device he had picked up from a military friend of Carlos. It was commonly used in the field to keep an enemy from locking onto their signal to locate the caller or to eavesdrop on the conversation. Gregor had opened it up and reprogrammed it with his own original codes so he didn't have to worry about anyone familiar with the box compromising its security. It was a bit complicated to dissect it all and rebuild it, but he certainly appreciated the anonymity it added to his life.
He scrolled down his list of numbers saved on his phone until he found Jess' name. It wasn't his real name. It was a false name he used over the phone to give himself a little extra sense of security. His real name was Adam Dale and he worked for an agency, know as the Veil.
The Veil was one of the black projects that the government secretly funded and kept from the prying eyes of the public. It was an organization that employed psychics and elements from the supernatural world to do various tasks of secrecy. It was something that he himself had contributed to during its earlier years when honest, decent men ran the program. During its existence it changed supervisors several times and each succession seemed to be more corrupt than the last. As the trend became more apparent Gregor had severed his ties and ceased in giving it his aid. Since then he had come into conflict with the Veil several times and had become something of a reoccurring adversary of theirs.
He had invested a considerable amount of time and resources in gaining someone on the inside close enough to access information regarding the giant werewolf, but it was still very difficult to find out anything since the files were restricted and his contact did not have clearance. He had waited very patiently for some tidbit of information to flow down to him, and had almost given up hope, but tonight his efforts appeared to have finally paid off.
He hit the button to dial Adam, and listened to the phone ring three times before there was an answer. The first thing he heard was, "Is this line secured." It was doubtless that Adam had some kind of caller I.D. that let him know who it was. His voice sounded nervous and he spoke in a low whisper as though he was hiding and didn't want to be found.
Gregor immediately answered, "Yes. Is this a bad time?"
"No, but I need to make this quick."
"What can you tell me?" he asked, anticipating that he might finally hear something useful that would shed more light on the menace that haunted Sean's life.
"That thing is somehow related to that kid it killed. He was the key they had used to summon that monster." Neither Adam nor the Veil knew that Sean had survived that night, and it was a secret he was sure kept the agency from searching for him.
"I already suspected that the two were related in some way. Can you please be more specific?" he requested, keeping his voice calm and impersonal.
"No, you don't understand," he spoke rapidly, trying to get the words out as fast as he could. "I mean that it was an ancestor of his or something. I saw a bunch of research showing family lineage and birth certificates. It began with that kid, Sean, and went all the way back to some guy named, Nicholas Thorn. He was some sort of explorer that had sailed off to discover new lands and no one ever heard of again. They think that this guy is somehow still alive and is this giant werewolf they keep trying to track down and capture."
"Do you have anything else?"
"No! That's all I had time to get, and you're lucky I found that much."
"You did excellent. Keep trying to find out more, and I..."
"Gotta go," Adam interrupted and abruptly hung up.