Wonderful to see more from you, SilentStrider!
This is a fantastic continuation. It provides much back story, but keeps it short. That's good. You also temper the back story with inherent action, in this case making the phone call. I love the idea of the sculpted guardian, as well as Gregor's resisting the instinctive urge to hunt. The description of the personal study was vivid. The phone conversation also builds tension by a couple of notches, enticing the reader to continue.
I did notice two thingies. Although the back story is relatively short, it might be affecting the pace, possibly due to word whiskers. You might want to look for phrases like 'a bit' or 'some sort of' or 'kind of', as these phrases are unnecessary to your particular story. They add ambiguity which your story doesn't need. You might try being direct instead. If the action is 'a bit' time consuming, then feel free to say it's time consuming.
The other thingie pertains to your sentence structure. Many sentences in this segment start with 'it was' or 'there are'. Technically there is nothing wrong with these sentences, but you might think about rephrasing one or two just for variety.
The back story is very informative, and the description of the home continues to captivate without any effort on you part or the reader's. I enjoyed reading this wonderful continuation, and I can't wait to see what happens when Sean comes back, as well as the knowledge Gregor has acquired.
Please keep it coming, SilentStrider!
Thanks for reading my old thread Grayle. I know it's been a while. Thanks also for those pointers and encouraging words. I shall continue to improve and do my best to put out a story worth reading. I'll review my last post and see about making some of those corrections later.
Gregor sincerely hoped that his contact wasn't in any serious trouble as he folded close his cell phone. Adam was just a scientist that worked in the research department of the Veil. He had a wife and two kids and was not particularly cut out for the spying business, but the longer he worked there the more he had seen things that disturbed him. When Gregor approached him two years ago, he had only to engage the man’s conscience in order to encourage him to become an informant. For Adam it was an attempt at redemption for all the things the Veil had forced him to do.
He stood there for a moment to reflect on the information that had been passed onto him, and how it might help to protect Sean. Assuming what Adam had seen was correct, and there was indeed a shared lineage between the werewolf and his nephew, he couldn’t help but to wonder if there might be blood magic involved.
This form of magic was talked about in whispers from those who were true participants of the magical world. It was a rare and nearly extinct practice that involved consuming the spiritual and physical essence of life. Its origins were rumored to have come from devilkin and they supposedly had used that type of magic to empower all their spells. The few stories he had heard of humans attempting the dark art wound up summoning more magical energies than they could handle and triggered a backlash affect taking their life in the process. Supposedly there were claims that if the caster used a person that was related to them by blood then that their odds of successfully using blood magic went up dramatically.
He had found a couple of incomplete rituals from archeological digs he had sponsored requiring the use of blood magic, and kept them guarded in the lower levels of his manor. Most of the elders in the magical community known as the Arcanus took a severe point of view regarding the topic, and opted to have all things involving it destroyed for the betterment of humanity. If it became known that he possessed anything in regards to this forbidden art he would very likely find himself hunted down by the Knights of Merlin and never know another moment of peace again.
Blood magic was considered evil, and doubly so if it was in the possession of a vampire, because of their affinity toward blood. It was mostly conjecture, but back in the time when magic had been an integral part of the world, during the Age of Legends, a few vampires had created havoc on a massive scale with that type of magic. Now, after the passage of time had made such knowledge become mere shadows of possible truths, people who were aware could feel a sense of dread at the thought of a vampire gifted with that kind of power.
He found the whole topic extremely intriguing, but caught himself before his thoughts went too far on a tangent. Blood magic was only a possibility, but his intuition told him that he was right.
There was something dreadfully evil about that werewolf, something that disturbed Gregor deeply. There weren't many people or creatures that he feared, and never had he met a werewolf that he felt he could not face until he had seen that creature. He felt that it wasn't just a werewolf, and wondered often how its bite might have altered Sean into something more than a typical lycanthrope.
Aside from his psychological difficulties he seemed to exhibit all the basic characteristics of a normal werewolf, although Gregor was basing his comparison on books and notes rather than first hand knowledge. He couldn't approach a shape-shifter and ask any of them for advice. A vampire trying such a stunt wouldn't even be able to get a word out before the matter became about teeth and nails. Trying to get a third party involved would raise suspicions and both he and his nephew's lives would be disturbed by those who thought they were trying to help, but likely would make worse an already strained situation.
The fewer of those who new of Sean's existence, the better his chance he had of survival. He just needed more time to understand the nature of the beast that pursued his nephew. Unfortunately time was dragging on, and this evening had been the most information he had gotten in several years which wasn't much at all.
I would definitely find a publisher!!
It's an enjoyable read! I absolutely adore it!
I definitely want to read more and if you do publish it; I would probably be first in line to get it!!
Thanks, Slayer! Your kind words inspire me to press on.
I'll post another segment tonight.
As promised, here's this evenings post. I had cut out at least three rather large paragraphs involving some detailed information about Sean's amnesia. It explained how Gregor had to spend several months performing psychic surgery to restore some of Sean's basic knowledge so that his nephew could function normally. It also gave some hints at how his amnesia was unlike anything else Gregor had seen. I'll have to see about including these golden tidbits else where in the story.
Critique and enjoy
His thought were interrupted by a firm knocking on the door that had the definite sound of Daniel. He bid him to enter and the sliding doors to the study opened with the butler looking concerned. Gregor could easily see that the man was worried about something and instantly became alert for anything out of the ordinary.
"Sir, it's your nephew," he said hesitantly. "I saw him packing clothes into a bag, and he seemed rather upset. When I inquired what was going on, he rudely told me to go away."
Gregor was surprised. He couldn't truly believe the boy would be packing things to leave here knowing what dangers awaited him beyond the safety of the manor. He had no possible way to defend against the beast that hunted for him. He figured that this must be a desperate moment in which his nephew was crying out for attention and sympathy. He would have to go upstairs and remind him of the dire consequences should he choose to leave his sanctuary.
He put a hand on Daniel's shoulder in reassurance as he slipped pass him, "Thank you Daniel. I'll go talk with him."
"Sir, do you think that wise?" he asked as his master continued down the hall. "You know better than anyone how you both get when your emotions are running high.”
"Yes I do, but he is a boy with a descent mind and he is more than capable of resisting unreasonable impulses. I can persuade him to see reason."
Gregor had moved halfway across the entry hall and his keen hearing could still pickup the agreement his butler mumbled under his breath. Daniel was fond of accusing him of using what he called "Devil's Logic", which he defined as using reason to convince a person of anything. Using his words to manipulate people's perspective was a natural talent Gregor had always had, and it only improved as he grew older. He had a very sharp mind and confidence in his knowledge about most things, which gave him the power to convince people of almost anything he wished. This ability coupled with his vampiric skills allowed him to become excellent at altering people's thoughts. However, being a decent man of good conscious he refrained from using this gift too often or without just cause,
He ascended the curved flight of stairs to the second floor thinking further on the many points he might use to calm his nephew. The first thing he had to do was to say things that would get Sean to think and engage his intellect. This would help drive him away from the emotional state he was in and force him to use his mind. At that point the rest would be easy.
"Sir," Daniel shouted up to him from the foyer, "He really is quite upset"
He heard the warning of caution underlining Daniel's words, and paused at the top of the stairs. He focused his senses forward down the hall, toward his nephew's room, and could easily hear his haphazard packing. It sounded as though he was yanking the draws out of the dresser and knocking things out of his closet. It wasn't hard at all to imagine the mess his room was in.
However, that alone wasn't the cause of his butler's concern. As he breathed in deeply the scents emanating from the room he quickly understood the meaning behind the words. He could smell the feral aroma radiating from the boy which more often than not had become common, especially in the pass couple of years. The wall between his nephew and the werewolf had become paper thin and only seconds away from ripping through. He could taste the presence of the trespasser like battery acid on the tip of his tongue. He burned with the desire to launch himself forward and eradicate the monster that invaded his territory.
Gregor steeled himself, exerting his will, and as quickly as his own rage had flashed to life he quelled it with the discipline earned through centuries of living. He swallowed back his unfounded hatred, resisting the growl of his own predatory instincts, and let himself walk calmly forward toward his nephew's room.
The tempest in the bedroom paused for a split second detecting the watchful presence of the vampire, and then continued to tear the room apart almost as if there had been no break. Of course the boy knew he was coming. Better that he supposed than completely surprising him. Although either way it was likely that he would lash out regardless of how he entered, and if he didn't handle the situation correctly the night might end with another bloody fight that they both would regret come the next day.
He proceeded to the bedroom door making sure that he was calm, collected, and keeping himself very neutral. He had to be careful how he presented himself to Sean. If he came across as aggressive then he would see his uncle as a threat and attack him. If he came across as apologetic or demonstrated any kind of a submissive stance, it could be seen as weakness and Sean could attack him in an attempt to take advantage of that.
It was easy for him not to be passive, because he believed in taking control of his own destiny and gave no man power over himself. On the other side it was harder for him to remain free of hostility due to their natures. Emotionally, just by staying neutral he felt like he was being docile, but as long as he allowed logic to rule him in this matter he could suppress his urge to be dominant.
He began their encounter by politely knocking on the door, giving Sean plenty of warning that he was there. The boy responded with a harsh growl and what sounded like the thud of a suitcase being hurled at the door. With a feeling of apprehension of how things were going, he opened the door slowly. He needed to confront him face to face without any barrier separating them if he was going to get his nephew to listen to him.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-11-14 01:09:51)
I have about six more pages left to post and that will conclude the first chapter. The rest of it is mainly dialogue, and I haven't decided exactly where I should divide it up into two posts. I'm going to try and post it late tonight or early morning.
Very nice continuation, SilentStrider!
We can see the conundrum of Sean's history plaguing Gregor, as well as the danger of blood magic and the lack of control on Sean's part. We understand the underlying danger of Sean being hunted, and also the direct danger of Gregor's confronting Sean when he's full of rage. It really makes us want to find out how on earth Gregor will handle this circumstance. You also had several lines in there which flowed with literary eloquence, and very enjoyable to read.
I might encourage you with something that was pointed out to me about my writing: Show, don't Tell. Both with circumstances and with back story, it's very easy to get into the habit of telling the reader what you want them to know, instead of showing them what they need to see. I've had to seriously revise my story with this in mind, and I see no need for you to fall into the same trap.
I encourage you to continue. You've set the stage, and now the plot is about to thicken with this confrontation being the catalyst. I'm eager to see where you take us from here!
Here's the first post of Gregor's and Sean's conversation/confrontation. I tried to pick a spot to break it in half so it wouldn't be too long of a post to read. It also didn't cut and paste well so I had to correct somethings. Don't be to surprised if you find some errors, and please point them out. I'm posting the rest immediately after this one.
Thanks for your feedback, Grayle. I really like the "show, don't tell" concept, and I'll try hard to keep that in mind as I write. I always feel like there's so much to tell and I wind up cramming more info than necessary. It pains me sometimes to delete pages worth of background, but in the end I realize how it hinders the flow of the story. Sigh...
Well, let me know what you think of the ending for the first chapter.
“Get the hell OUT!” Sean yelled as he threw a duffle bag from across the room at his uncle. Gregor let the lightweight bag collide with him harmlessly and fall to the floor allowing himself a second to look at his nephew. The only light in the room came intermittently from the window as storm clouds sped over the half moon hanging in the sky. He could see Sean’s feral eyes reflect the dim lighting of the room, and their luminescence was evidence of how close to the surface the beast inside him was.
“Daniel told me that you were packi…”
“SHUTUP!” Sean yelled with an animalistic roar that shocked both of them.
“You need to calm…”
“Stop it! Every time I try this you always talk me out of it. I can’t stand it. I can’t stay here any longer.”
“I am not oblivious to your feelings, but you must completely understand the dangers that await you if you leave here.” The tension on Sean’s face was an indication of how hard he was resisting his urge to leap for his uncle’s throat with hands that now had black claws at the end of his finger tips. “You will very likely die,” Gregor continued, but the comment did nothing to phase Sean.
“Isn’t that the point in living?”
“No!” For a split second Gregor’s own rage sparked at the ignorant comment, but it was barely noticeable by anyone but himself. He knew he had taught his nephew better than that and the boy’s bated question came out of frustration. He recomposed himself internally before Sean could respond. “You should already know the true answer to that,” he lectured. “Life does not seek death. To live is to embrace the warmth of life and to grow through our experiences.”
“I feel like if I stay another day here something inside me is going to break.” Sean’s voice strained with the hint of a desperate whine.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know… it’s just…” he struggled trying to find the words. He put a hand to his forehead and closed his eyes tightly straining to look past the turmoil inside himself. “…what I’m becoming, what I am, I feel like I’m losing my mind, and the only way to get better is to get away from here.”
“Perhaps you have reached the limit of your tolerance for me.”
Occasionally in the past Gregor would take trips away from the manor to help give his a nephew a bit of a respite from himself. Usually he used the outings to conduct overdue business meetings, and maintaining his network of contacts, but he returned as soon as he could. Being mindful of his nephews condition and of the thing that hunted for him, he didn’t like being gone for too long.
“Your leaving here for a week, or so, wont fix this,” Sean snapped. “You may be gone, but your scent, your aura, that’s always here. It’s driving me crazy because I can’t get away from you.” There was more anger in his voice than he intended. He reprimanded himself by biting his tongue. He let out a shaky sigh trying hard to suppress his emotions and readdress his uncle.
“I’m sorry I’m like this. I know I shouldn’t hate you, but I can’t stop it. You’re the only family that I have. You’ve taken me in, taught me things, protected me, even though it’s second nature for us to be trying to kill each other.” His voice was just below that of yelling and came out more from between clenched teeth. He did his best to hide the violence that was twisting around inside him but his arms shook with the torrent of emotions that flooded through him.
Gregor held up his hand to interrupt Sean and deny him the chance of self pity. “Don’t let such things as “our nature” define you or dictate how you should act. Yes we are natural enemies, but as individuals our hatred to each other is unfounded. We can rise above this. In fact we have for seven years now.”
Gregor couldn’t let his nephew fall into feeling bad for what he was, because down that path the boy would never find a way to accept himself, and that refusal would leave him forever torn. Gregor also understood that his will to make things work between them was an inspiration. When ever Sean started going astray in how he thought or did things Gregor would explain the better path, and hope by his example he would learn.
“I know but I can’t stand it any longer”, Sean continued. “I respect you, but every time I look at you a part of me wants to lash out. The strain is getting to be too much. I need to get away from here, at least for while.”
He had wanted to leave several times before this, but this instance seemed fundamentally different to Gregor. There was more desperation and pain behind his words, and he spoke with an air of finality. He was acting like a cornered animal surrounded by fire, and his only options were to stay in the corner and burn or risk leaping through the blaze.
If only he could keep his nephew here longer then he might be able to find out enough information about the other werewolf that could help protect him. They were lucky to have had that call from Adam earlier. It was encouraging and gave hope that more information would come. He understood that Sean’s stay here was almost at its end, but if he could only convince him to stay a little longer one last time it could make a difference.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-11-16 23:57:06)
“Are you aware of all the dangers that wait for you beyond the boundaries of this place? What do you think will happen to you if you left here?” Gregor wanted to steer him away from the impulses of his emotions. If he could reason with him it would be easier to influence his decision to leave.
“I don’t know. Anything. Everything.” His mind struggled with the many grim possibilities of what fate could have in store for him. “I know I could die or any number of bad things could happen to me, but that’s what my life has become. I accept that. You’ve given me a head start on things, and a better chance than anyone else in my position could ever have. I’m grateful for that, but I’ve got to face the world eventually, and this is it for me.”
“You’re not ready to face the world yet,” Gregor challenged him.
“That’s bullshit! By your standards I’ll never be ready. I’ve got a good idea of what’s out there. I’ll stay on guard and watch my step. I’m sure other werewolves, who know less than I, have been surviving out there in the real world just fine”
“Other werewolves don’t often have the one who bit them hunting them down, let alone a gigantic monster at that,” Gregor pointed out. “Besides simple vigilance will not be enough for you to survive. You will need to have something more.”
“Whatever it is, I’ll take it with me!” His emotions were spiking again, and he was resisting reason. There was only one desire in his sight, and the consequences didn’t matter to him. Still, Gregor would not give up on him yet.
“You need knowledge, Sean!” Gregor nearly shouted. We’re facing an indomitable beast that not even I would risk confronting again without knowing more about it. If you’re going to protect or arm yourself against this thing you need to understand it. Can you agree with me on at least that much?”
“Then perhaps you can appreciate that I disapprove of your leaving here until we know more and can understand…”
“Just stop for a second and look at me,” he pleaded, with an expression that combined anguish and misery. “Look at my surroundings. There isn’t anything here that your presence doesn’t touch within this fortress that you’ve created. I feel like a prisoner here.” As he spoke he dramatically gestured with his hands and arms, and more than a few times his feet almost left the ground in Gregor’s direction.
“The only thing I want right now more than anything else is my freedom, and as long as that’s the case how do you expect me to live my life. I can’t stay hidden behind your protective wards forever. Eventually I’ll have to face my own nightmares if I’m ever going to be free of it.”
The words collided with Gregor’s wall of discipline and left cracks in the cold stone. A feeling of deep sympathy was welling up inside him. He understood that if their roles were reversed he’d probably be feeling the same way his nephew was.
They weren’t that much different after all. They both harbored monstrous animals under their cloak of humanity capable of extraordinary destruction, and they were slaves to their instincts if they could not exercise control. Gregor knew all to well the power that either one of them could unleash, and the consequences that often followed from such an eruption. He intended on helping Sean avoid the same mistakes he had made.
“I’m not holding you here as a prisoner. I am keeping you safe.” He sighed, realizing his sympathy was draining him of his ability to argue. The inevitable had come and Sean wouldn’t stay here much longer. “Look, I understand and sympathies with how you feel, but if you can just give me one or two more months I will know more about the other werewolf and you will at least have that knowledge…”
“No! I can’t,” he vehemently interrupted, yet again. “If I stand here and let you talk, you’ll find a way to convince me to stay just a bit longer, and then a bit longer after that. I’ve been here living with you for almost eight years now! That’s probably more than any werewolf and vampire have ever achieved, but I’m done for now. I’m going to leave here no mater what you or anyone else has to say.”
Sean set his jaw and his face tensed. He had said all he was going to. If there was anything else mentioned against his decision to leave it was clear he was going to begin the physical argument.
When things got bad between them and they fought, Sean would inevitably transform and fight with such an elemental fury like nothing Gregor had ever dealt with before. Gregor didn’t have the heart to fight with his nephew again. It always pained him to do so, because it only ended after his nephew’s ability to regenerate could no longer keep up with the damage he sustained, and he lost consciousness. It was never a pretty sight once it began and neither one of them could stop it until one of them fell. In the end none of the blood on Gregor’s hand was his own. Under any other circumstances such a site would provoke the vampire side of him into a frenzy, but in this case his spirit was so crushed with what he had done he could do nothing but hang his head in shame.
He would take it upon himself to clean everything no matter how much his dedicated staff insisted that they help him. He was afraid if they saw, he would have to endure their look of horror and how they would forever relate that to him. Sean was blessed with not having any memory of the bloodshed. The burden was all on his shoulders.
He took the measure of his nephew one more time and admitted to himself that this was it. He could no longer keep the boy safely guarded here at his manor no matter what he said. His intentions were quite clear. He would either walk or crawl, but either way he was going to leave. For the first time in his life he conceded the victory to a werewolf and gave him a silent nod.
“So be it. I wish it were otherwise, but your conviction is clear to me.”
Sean was all set to leap across the room and clash with his uncle, but after he spoke those words he was shocked and emotionally disarmed. His eyes popped open wide in surprise and his face was in sharp contrast to the threatening stance he held. Gregor had to admit to himself that he preferred the look of the luminescent eyes wide with a touch of innocence verses the narrow look of hatred. He framed the image in his mind as a sentimental keepsake.
“I hope you’ll at least give me until tomorrow to help see you on your way,” Gregor asked, “besides it’s never a good omen to start a journey in such weather.” He hoped he wasn’t pushing things by asking that much, but he sincerely did not want him to leave unprepared. There were still a few things he could do for him yet.
Sean’s look of surprise faded as he realized that his uncle was still asking him to stay the night. It was worse than haggling with a used car salesman who wouldn’t give up a fraction of a dollar. The edge of his anger had already dulled, and he had no desire of letting it build back up to where it had been. He stomped on it and wanted to end this conversation quickly before something happened to escalate the situation again.
“Fine,” he agreed with harsh finality. “I’ll give you until tomorrow night, but after that you have to let me go. I don’t want you trying anything to convince me otherwise.”
“I understand. I may not like it, but you have my word I will not do anything to stop you.”
With that said, Gregor took his leave and quietly closed the door behind him as he went. He had to admit to himself that the boy had accomplished a lot during his stay here despite the obstacles he had to deal with. He had reestablished basic skills and knowledge that his amnesia had wiped, learned to exert his will to maintain discipline over his savage side, and had educated him self on many aspects of the hidden world he was now a part of. When he considered all his nephew had accomplished he couldn’t help but to feel impressed.
He placed a lot of importance on Sean, because he was the last surviving blood relative he had. He only hoped that somehow the boy would be able to survive whatever fate had in store for him. Only time would tell.
Wow that last bit was still a bit longer than I think a standard post should be, but I wanted to wrap things up.
I'd like some input about how the whole dialogue feels to read. When you were done reading it did it feel like it was too long? Did it flow well? If not where did you feel there were hiccups? Did you feel the character's responses were appropriate?
I was trying to include more info about Sean and Gregor's relationship. Gregor cares for Sean like a son, and Sean respects his uncle as a father figure, but despite their positive feelings toward each other they still have that undeniable instinct to attack and kill one another. Did you feel this aspect was appropriately described?
I was concerned about the length of it and I'm still considering taking some big chunks out. If I wind up editing it then consider yourself lucky to read the undeleted version
I'd love to have feedback on it all whether it be praises or pointing out errors. Everyone's input here at the werewolf cafe is what keeps me going, and I hope to one day get the first book done so I can get onto the second one.
Please, tell me what you think.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-11-20 01:08:34)
This is the beginning of my second chapter. It starts off with Sean reading a letter from Gregor's prodigy, Anna. His relationship with her is odd because he has never seen her in person, although he has seen her in photographs. Despite this distance they have still grown close and he considers her a sister.
That's enough of an intro. I shouldn't say too much and just let the story speak for itself.
So, without further ado... here's chapter two.
I’m still here in Africa near Namibia, touring the unseen mysteries in the savanna. I’m currently studying earth magic with an African shaman, and with his help I’ve been able to get closer to the wild animals here. It’s more than I’ve ever dreamed I’d be able to do. He gave me this Laurel Wreath of Peace to hang around my neck, and as long as I wear it natural animals will accept me around them instead of reacting to the predator within me. The other night he and I visited a family of elephants where there was a sick calf. He taught me some more herbology as we gathered some natural ingredients to mix some medicine for the poor thing. I was amazed at how quickly the little guy recovered and was up and about eager to play with us. The family seemed very grateful and thanked us with pats from their trunks.
I topped the night off with him introducing me to a small pride of cheetahs. The cats and I had a lot of fun racing each other. They were very animated when they saw that I could keep up with them, and the shaman enjoyed watching me play with them. He told me that given enough time and practice that eventually I would be able to interact with animals without the awkward wreath, and not instill fear in them with just my presence. It’s hard for me to imagine, but something I would like to try.
Please reassure my father that I’m in safe company. I know how he worries about me especially when I’m spending time with anyone of the occult world that he doesn’t personally know. I sent him a leaf from the wreath I’ve been using. Even though it wont hold its enchantment after its been removed I’m sure he’ll still enjoy studying any residual magic it might contain and how he can apply it.
Father has told me of your choice to leave your sanctuary. I am both happy and worried for you. I know the past few years have been very difficult, and I am proud of how far you have come. We all knew that you would not be able to stay with us forever. The simple matter of what we are will always be a crippling barrier to our relationship, but the time you and father have endured is nothing short of amazing, and gives me hope that someday I might be able to meet you in person without the risk of any bloodshed.
I have always thought of you as a brother and have shared my fathers concern for your suffering. I believe your choice to leave is what’s best for now. People such as us were never meant to be kept behind walls, or under someone else’s protection, and if it helps you at all I told Gregor its better that you meet your destiny and confront that which threatens you. Please never forget that we are your family and will always be there for you, no matter what the future may hold.
Your sister Anna
P.S. The plastic bag contains some earth from the savanna itself. I collected it near a tree that the shaman placed great value on and that I’m learning has many mystical applications.
Sean set the letter down on the bed he was sitting on, and took the plastic ziplock bag out form the envelope. He unrolled it and held it up to look at the dirt inside. It wasn’t much, perhaps a tablespoon at most, and the color was light brown with small parts of it still clumped together. He opened the bag and held it near to his nose to see what it would smell like, and to try imagining himself standing in the middle of the grasslands.
He closed his eyes and inhaled the dry earthy scent. He could almost feel the arid heat drifting across the plains on a slow and lazy breeze and mixed in there was an ever so slight presence of Anna. It wasn’t hard to picture her beneath the clear, star-filled night sky enjoying the untamed wilds, and perhaps wishing that he could share in her experience.
He held the bag next to his face for a short while before resealing it to preserve its scent. He sighed, almost feeling jealous of her freedom to explore and travel the world, but those thoughts were quickly substituted with the knowledge that today would be his last evening at the manor. Now the world seemed like a much bigger place and the possibilities of where he could go seemed endless.
Maybe he would visit the savanna and see the wild beauty of it all for himself. For a minute, he even entertained the idea of visiting Anna, but of course neither one of them were prepared for such an event that would surely become a violent meeting. There was one thing that he could do that she couldn’t and the simple thought of it brought a smile to his face. He could go to all the places she had been and see them during the day. Maybe he could return the kindness that she had shown him by sending her pictures of all the places she had been, but taken in the light of day.
Sean was excited that he was going to drive away from this place tonight, but he was also a bit scared. There were many unknowns about leaving here that had him concerned and he didn’t know exactly what to expect. Would he be able to make it on his own, out there in the real world despite having the stigma of a were-creature? He was still struggling with that aspect of himself, and discipline and control were ever an on going battle for him.
There was also the issue with the Veil. Would people from that secret government agency still be looking for him? Somehow they had identified a link between him and the giant werewolf, and had tried to use it to some unknown purpose. They were most definitely to blame for the way his life was now. Surely if they ever realized he was still alive they would try to take advantage of him again.
The question he feared the most was how would he deal with the monster that had bitten him if it found him again? He felt that by leaving the manor it was only a matter of time until that dreaded moment.
Twice in his earlier years of living at the manor the beast from his nightmare had reappeared. Once it happened when his uncle thought it would be safe for them to travel to Europe and see some of the old country. Another time he had ran away and was gone for three days before Gregor found him. In both situations the colossal creature had chased them focused on Sean. If it hadn’t been for his uncle he wouldn’t be alive today. Sean owed him his life.
For the one hundredth time, he questioned the sanity of his decision to leave here, but he had already come to terms with it. If he stayed much longer his spirit would break, and he didn’t like to admit it, but he was feeling more and more as though his sanity was slipping too. Even while human his thoughts gave way to disturbingly violent ideas that he knew to be an aspect of the werewolf reacting to Gregor. The time he had spent here had taken its toll, and he no longer felt like he could trust himself. He needed to escape, and be on his own.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-11-17 13:01:03)
I'll post more after I get more feedback from you guys. I have the next segment to the story ready, but I like to have comments as I go. Let me know there's still people out there wanting to read this and I'll give em more to read
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-11-19 14:04:05)
I was really hoping to get some feedback from you guys before I posted more, but I guess I'm just not being patient enough. I have about 90% of chapter two finished. I have to iron some paragraph sequencing for the next two posts. After that I have the next four or five posts complete and then the last two need some fleshing out. Things will conclude with Sean leaving the manor and then you'll see how he begins to interact with the world as he is.
Chapter three is still in an outline form and I need to finish it then flesh it out. Suffice it to say that it will have a somewhat tragic ending, but from there the story really begins. I'm trying to create a novel out of all this that will end up being between 300 to 500 pages or more. Maybe that all sounds overly ambitious for someone that has never published anything, but I don't care. This is something that I feel passionately about and I want to just get it all written down even if no one ever wants to take a risk on me and publish it. I just want the satisfaction of completing it, and if some of you happen to like it then I'm very happy to have shared my story with you all.
I know I'm blabbing on here. I guess I'm just typing what's on my mind and getting some emotions off my chest. I'm working on the next post and if I don't have it done by tonight/early morning then you will definitely see it by tomorrow night after I get home from work ( 10:30 central time ). If I get some replies from you guys I'll work extra hard to get a second post up too . I see the story is getting viewed... just not sure why no ones commenting.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-11-20 09:35:13)
I don't know if anyone is still reading this but for what it's worth here's my next post as promised.
I did some extensive work involving the reconstruction of many paragraphs in this post and the next one, so I'm not sure exactly how the flow of story is going now, but if anyone has any input I would appreciate it.
Sean refolded the letter around the little bag of dirt and placed it back into the envelope. He stood up and went over to his desk in the corner that had a box full of the last remnants of what he was going to take with him. Normally he would’ve filed it in one of the binders that he used to save all of Anna’s letters, but since that was already packed, he tucked it into the box to go through latter.
He turned around and leaned on the desk to take one last look of the room he had slept in for the last eight years. To his right was a sliding glass door that opened up to a small private balcony to the front of the house. The next corner over from that was a door that led into a personal full bathroom. He also had a large wall unit that went from his desk almost to where one of the closet doors slid open, and it was full of DVD’s, books, and a 48” wide screen television with a built in DVD player. The thing that dominated most of the room was the huge custom made bed with four sturdy corner posts, one of which had deep gouges in it from the first time he taken on werewolf form.
There were quite a few pieces of furniture around the house that he had left a mark on in one way or another throughout the past few years. If it looked brand new then he had probably damaged it so badly to warrant a replacement. The desk set was new, and the wall unit had been replaced for the ninth time last week, T.V. included, but the bed had only suffered those deep claw marks and never needed a replacement. Rebbecca had tried to get it fixed once, but Sean asked her to leave it. Most days it was the first thing he saw when he awoke and the last thing he saw before he went to sleep. It was an important reminder of what he was, and helped him never to pretend otherwise. He couldn’t help but to ask himself how was he going to fit into the world outside of the manor?
Werewolves in general kept to themselves and didn’t cause too much trouble as long as they stayed in their packs and limited their contact with humans. The Arcanus even played a role in protecting were creatures from outsiders and keeping their existence a secret. However, there were always a few that tried to continue their lives inside human society, and they were the ones that had to be closely watched. Sooner or later something bad would happen, and their natures would be revealed in one violent fashion or another. When such incidents occurred the unfortunate shape shifter became the target of both the mundane and supernatural world, and as such were commonly captured or killed. Along with that negative stigma, Sean specifically had already been on the Veil’s list of wanted individuals, so he especially understood that he would have to keep a low profile.
Despite the good intentions of the Arcanus, Sean didn’t feel he could trust them. Someone like himself living among the normal population would automatically be labeled as a potential danger, and as such viewed with certain prejudice. The slightest misstep could get him into big trouble whether he was right or wrong. In the eventuality a were creature did hurt someone in their alternate form, or worse, kill, and it was discovered that they were responsible, then the Knights of Merlin would be tasked to bring justice to the unfortunate soul. Death was a common solution. If it wasn’t for his uncle Sean would have likely suffered such a fate four years ago when he had killed three men.
He frowned as he recalled what he knew of that night. The three men were drunken hunters that had hopped the wall of the estate looking for some sport. Unfortunately for them it just happened to be on a night when Sean was in werewolf form and very near where they had trespassed. He didn’t know much of what happened that night, but when he awoke the next morning he knew something was wrong.
It was true what they said, that once you kill another human being it forever changed you. At the time he didn’t know what it was that was wrong, but he could feel it inside of himself. Something felt off, or out of place, and he had this dreadful feeling that as a werewolf he had done something… wrong.
It wasn’t until later that day, through his persistence that he found out the truth. At first his uncle tried to hide it from him, but that only made Sean more determined to find out. Rather than try to block Sean from knowing and create a rift in the precarious bond they had built, Gregor decided that it would be wiser to let Sean understand the reality of that night and learn from it.
Sean had no conscious memories of what had happened, so most of his knowledge came from his uncle’s recounting. Unfortunately Gregor’s arrival on the scene was too late to alter what had been done. The only thing he could do was chase his nephew away and prevent him from further mauling the corpses. Fortunately for his nephew Gregor was able to use his resources to keep the whole incident localized and avert the attention of the Arcanus, or anyone else that could recognize the truth of the matter.
The thought of what he had done still plagued him, and he imagined it would be a stain on his soul that he would feel forever. However, his uncle encouraged him to turn the experience into something positive. He suggested that Sean use it as a lesson in respect to the power he wielded, and to fuel his efforts in mastering his werewolf nature.
He stood up wanting to escape such morose thoughts, and decided that moving around would help. He lifted the box from the desk and headed out of his bed room. The door was caddy cornered to the beginning of the hallway, and opened up to the second floor foyer. It was right next to the grand stairs, and as soon as he walked out of his room he could look over the banister to the main foyer down below. He headed down the red carpeted stairs carrying in both hands the last of what he was taking with him, and headed straight for the front doors.
As he passed through the foyer he could smell the delicious blend of spices coming from the kitchen, and his stomach growled in anticipation of tonight’s dinner. He was abruptly aware of how little he had eaten all day, and in fact he could only recall having eaten a buttered bagel for breakfast. He had been so caught up in memories and distracted with the idea of finally being able to leave the manor he had completely forgotten to eat anything else. The food Rebbecca was making was for a special dinner in Sean’s honor, and with the way it smelled, his mouth practically was watering with the anticipation.
Despite how hungry he was he still wanted to just jump into his car and drive right on out of here, but he had promised his uncle that he would give him the chance to see him off. Besides he would feel terrible if he left without eating. It would’ve been completely disrespectful to the people that had been his family for the past several years.
Rebbecca and Daniel had treated him almost as if he were their grandson, and Carlos, in his quiet way, was more like an uncle to him in the way that he thought an uncle might be. Although Gregor was in truth an uncle by blood, he felt more like a father figure to Sean. The man had treated him as though he were his own son. Despite the animosity that they both shared toward one another they had still been able to forge a bond of respect and caring.
It was an achievement that all those of the magic community swore could not be done. They all believed it was a fact that vampires and were-creatures could never coexist on any level other than primal hostility. If it wasn’t for his uncle’s persistence and open mindedness then such a thing might still hold true today, but that was not the case. Both of them were living proof that no matter how deeply magic might have embedded the deadly hatred they shared the human spirit could still prevail and overcome such dark intent. However, their accomplishment could not be shared with the rest of the world, because according to the Veil Sean wasn’t even suppose to exist. In Gregor’s opinion that was Sean’s best defense against that organization.
I know there are people out there reading this, because I see the views keep going up and I know it's not all me, so if there's a problem and for some reason people can't post on this thread then you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last edited by SilentStrider (2012-02-11 05:56:43)
He stood just outside the front doors on the dais staring off into the distance without seeing the evening sun. The day had dragged slowly by for Sean as everything he did and saw stirred up memories of how he had spent his years here. He shook his head to clear his mind of any more reflections of the past so he could put the last box into the back seat of the white two door Honda Accord. Certainly not the car he would have chosen to take, but it was the one that his uncle had insisted on. Gregor said it had the best crash rating and until Sean had experienced a car accident or two he wasn’t going to let his nephew go hot rodding around in anything with less protection.
It had rained almost all day, and he had stayed inside for the most part organizing and reminiscing. Only in the past hour did the storm finally break and allow the setting sun to show itself between the horizon and the ceiling of clouds. After the rain had been reduced to a drizzle he had pulled his car up to the front of the house, as near to the steps as possible without actually hitting them, to make it more convenient to load. Standing at the passenger side door he leaned the edge of the box up against the rear, near the trunk, to free a hand and open up the door. He placed it on top of another box in the back seat that was packed to the brim with books he had wanted to read and or review. He tried unsuccessfully the first time to close the door, but after he shifted a few things so that everything would fit the door closed with a satisfying click.
It was done. He was finally packed and ready to go. He still couldn’t believe it, but this was truly his last day here and he was about to head off on his own. The full impact of that thought hit him just then as he accepted that this was really going to happen. Uncertainty shook his resolve for a brief minute, and questions of where he would go and what he would do filled his mind. Would he be able to keep himself from harming anyone? Might this whole venture end in disaster for him? How long would he have?
“Red sky at night, sailors delight,” came a voice from over his shoulder.
It was the grounds keeper, Carlos. He was relatively short standing at about 5’ 6”, and had broad shoulders for his small frame. He stayed fit and worked out regularly which gave him the look of a professional weight lifter. His skin was a natural tan color and his speckled white hair was swept back into a nine inch pony tail. He was wearing brown coveralls and workmen’s boots that showed evidence of dampness since he had been working outside despite the light rain that was falling down now.
His comment broke Sean from his reflections of the future and he realized that he was staring off in the direction of the setting sun. The clouds were turning into a beautiful pastel sunset with red mostly dominating the sky.
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“I mean that it’s a good omen for you,” Carlos replied. “It’s a little saying that I picked up while I was in the service. The whole thing goes, ‘Red sky at morning, sailor take warning. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.’ In this case since it’s at night it means that the waters will be calm and you’ll have smooth sailing ahead. It’s a good sign for you.”
Sean had to admit there was a certain peacefulness in the air. The trees relaxed in the damp stillness, and their leaves sagged with moisture, tired from the storm winds that had just passed. There were even a couple of birds that could be heard in the distance singing back and forth to each other with the remaining bit of daylight left to them. He inhaled deeply and slowly, taking in the fresh clean smells that the rain had left behind. It seemed appropriate to Sean since he was about to make a new start for himself. Maybe there was something to what Carols had said, and he would have a good beginning.
“Come on,” Carlos said, as he patted Sean on the shoulder in a friendly manner, “Let’s go wash up and eat. I can smell Mrs. Rebecca’s cooking from here, and its making me even hungrier.”
The two of them went through the foyer, down the hall and into the kitchen. Rebecca stood at the stove using a wooden spoon to stir some of her homemade gravy, while Daniel was finishing with setting the table. Daniel greeted the two of them with a smile and was about to say something, but before either one of them could step foot into the kitchen Rebecca announced aloud, “The two of you better not be leaving wet and muddy tracks on the floor.”
Both Sean and Carlos looked down at their feet to check. Unfortunately for Carlos he had been outside recently clearing the long driveway of branches and debris that the storm had left in its wake, and his boots did have a bit of mud clinging to them. A glance the way they had come showed them what Rebecca had already suspected.
“Whoops! Looks like I’m guilty as charged,” Carlos confessed. “Sorry Mrs. Rebecca, I’ll get that cleaned up right away.” He started to take off his boots right there so as not to continue tracking more dirt throughout the manor.
“I’ll help you!” Sean offered and headed over to where the dustpan and broom were hanging and picked them up.
“No, no, no! I got this Sean,” Carlos said with grin, showing his appreciation for Sean’s offer.
“Why don’t you give an old lady a hand with bringing the food over to the table instead,” Rebecca asked as she slid one of the pots off the glass top stove.
Sean handed the broom off to Carlos and crossed the kitchen to where Rebecca now stood bent in front of the open oven poking at the marinated steak to make sure it was properly cooked. The delicious scent of the meat wafted up to his nose and he could feel his mouth begin to involuntarily water. His stomach gave another audible protest at him for not having eaten anything yet today.
Rebecca looked up at him in response to his sound of hunger as she said, “Oh, dear! If Master Gregor doesn’t make his way to the dinner table soon I think we might start without him.”
Sean looked at her apologetically, “Sorry.”
“Hush, hush! You just get this food over to that table and we’ll get you fed properly.”
Sean made a couple of trips from one side of the kitchen to the other carrying serving dishes and simple condiments. Daniel of course helped out with the last bit of remaining food to be brought over to the kitchen table, and they were done in no time.
“Why don’t you go ahead and dig in,” Rebecca told Sean directly.
“But don’t you want to say grace with everyone here?” Sean asked.
“Bah! The food will be just as good before and after we say such things. No sense in prolonging your torture.”
Sean couldn’t help but to feel touched by her comment, and shook his head slightly. He loved the way Rebecca said and handled things in her own practical way. She preferred to keep things simple and generally held a no nonsense attitude. If Sean had a grandmother he would’ve wished for this generous uncomplicated woman to have been it.
“Ahh, as always Rebecca your timing and culinary skills are superb.” Gregor’s voice came from the hall entrance way as he stepped into the kitchen. Sean couldn’t help the feeling of his hackles rising as his uncle’s presence washed over him like a wave of cool air. The air didn’t actually drop in temperature, but there was some sense of conflict as the two diametrically opposed beings stood in the same room. Perhaps it was something in the psychic aether that existed just below the normal realm of perception, but whatever it was everyone in the room could feel it and a moments doubt was cast upon this evening’s meal.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-11-23 14:26:13)
So the young man is finally leaving, but still not quite yet. The importance of family and familiarity.
I finally got through your posts. Although they are cram-packed with information and back story, as well as narrative soliloquy, you still paint a good picture. The young sparrow is leaving the nest, to face the unknown world head-on and without a net. It's a classic scene, both solemn and ominous in its own right. I also appreciated the little tidbits of character development with the house staff, but I feel like it might be too little. Granted these are minor characters whom we may not see again after he leaves, but it feels like you could still increase their character development.
I'm just a little bit concerned about the amount of back story and narration. It does seem to affect the pace, bogging down what could be a very engaging story. I noticed that much of your back story is redundant, retelling aspects you've already explained; many of those could be removed to make the telling more concise. There's also many places where a passive voice is used where you don't really need it, maybe an unnecessary pronoun or two.
If you wanted I could copy the last 6 or 7 story posts and proofread them, sending you my findings in a Word document, but it might take a week or more.
Even so, your story is rich with imagination, and we easily get the feeling that we are in a penned-off corner of a much larger world. If that's what you are going for, you got there, but it may deter from the subject of your story. Just be careful not to focus away from your characters for long periods, and I think it will be okay.
Keep it coming, SilentStrider!
Yay! Someone else beside me made a post!
Thanks Grayle for taking the time to give me some much needed feedback. As always I appreciate that critical eye you have, and I will keep in mind your suggestions when I review and correct what I have already written.
I think you're absolutely right about me having crammed too much back story into the narration. I think part of that reason is because in my mind I'm still working through the details and the why of things and wind up shoving it in there as I write.
I also haven't reviewed everything I have written in one sitting in quite a while. I'm sure that when I get to that I will agree with you that I indeed have redundant information. But I'm not reviewing yet. I still have that writing itch and I'm using that to fuel my efforts to push through my beginning chapters. After I get the meat of the story written down then the axe will come out and I'll have to cut out pieces here and there to make it more presentable. It's likely that some of the background story and the finer details of my world will have to get removed, so anyone who reads it now might count themselves as lucky. Sort of like getting a chance to see the deleted scenes from DVD movies. You probably know better than anyone else all the details that I have worked on so far.
The house staff - True. They are minor characters that the reader gets to see in chapter 1,2, 16 and maybe briefly in chapter 17, but other than that I hadn't planed on using them again. I can imagine that by developing them more I can use that in turn to add more depth to Sean and Gregor. Another personal thought is that if I do use them in a sequel, developing who these people are now, will make it easier for me to retrieve them later... meaning I'll have less explaining to do as to who they are.
If you would like to proofread any part of my story I would consider it an honor. You're an excellent critique in my opinion. You never say anything negative without adding something positive. I recognize that as respectable and valuable criticism.
I'm ashamed to admit that I have a fragile side to my confidence, and solely hearing just the things that are wrong can weigh me down heavily and kill my passion to continue. But on the flip side if all I'm hearing is "great job" or "your story is awesome" then I start to feel like I'm struggling by myself to find the errors, and that is very hard job to do completely on your own. I always look forward to your input, because I know that it will help me to improve as a writer so that I can produce a story that everyone will want to read.
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-11-24 23:13:06)
The tension subsided when Sean gave his uncle a smile that touched his eyes more than his lips, and nodded his head in greeting. He bit his tongue and kept his lips together lest he inadvertently let a snarl escape his mouth and unnecessarily instigate a disastrous evening for all. Gregory returned the greeting to Sean as he glided over to his preferred seat.
Unlike the table in the dining hall this one was round and offered no seat of higher status over another. However, the place at the table Gregory preferred to sit at was the chair that had its back mostly to the corner. It was a secure seat in that it allowed him to comfortably see all that was in the room without having to shift his head from side to side. Even though there were negative aspects to having ones back in a corner, Sean probably would’ve chosen the same seat too if he were the head of the household. The better to keep an eye on those around yourself without the worry of any potential threats sneaking up behind you.
“Thank you master Gregory, but you on the other hand could have gotten up here a bit earlier to help out.” Rebecca said as she removed her apron and hung it on hook near where she had been preparing tonight’s dinner. The bite in her words had the other three gentlemen in the room turning their heads in her direction with different degrees of surprise on their faces.
“Why Rebecca, I thought you were quite adamant about me not helping you with common chores such as this.”
“I wasn’t talking about the kitchen work you old fool! I meant that you could’ve spent the time with your nephew helping him pack things into that car of his. And don’t you give me any lip about the sun. It was cloudy enough all day where it wouldn’t have harmed you any.”
It wasn’t unusual for her to talk to Gregory in such a way. Once she had overcame her initial shock about her current employer and the supernatural world that she was now privy to by association, she treated Gregory just like she would any other person. With her open sense of practical honesty. Daniel was never comfortable with how she would talk back to Gregory, and despite how often it happened Daniel almost always wore a shocked expression. Gregory, on the other hand, had found it refreshing and appreciated being treated more like a human being rather than a creature to be respected out of fear. Rebecca recognized that underneath all that he was, he was still just a person and as capable of thinking and feeling as any other decent man could be. She felt that it was always good to remind Gregory of such things, and he never disagreed with her.
“Is Carlos going to join us?” Gregory asked while they all took a seat and sat down.
“I’m right here boss!” Carlos announced as he hurried into the kitchen and joined the rest of them at the table. “I had to clean up a bit first.”
“Excellent! Now that we’re all present, with your permission Rebecca and Daniel, I would like to say Grace.” Gregory looked at the Rosenblatt’s with his eyebrows partially raised, waiting to see the response of his query. Both of them looked back at him with stunned expressions on their faces.
Rebecca couldn’t help herself and had to ask, “Why all of a sudden are you showing an interest in my religion? For that matter why are you showing an interest in religion at all?”
“Rebecca!” Daniel protested his wife’s inquisition, but Gregory dismissed it with a wave of his hand.
“I understand that our views are not in full agreement upon such spiritual matters, but I respect your beliefs and consider them to be as important as my own. I wish to honor you and to show my gratitude for the food that you have worked so hard on preparing, in addition to the friendship and loyalty that you have demonstrated throughout the years.”
“Oh, very well. I guess it couldn’t hurt none.” Rebecca tried to hide the vaguest impression of a smile that crept onto her face by looking down and adjusting herself in the seat. With her consent, the five of them joined hands and bowed their heads in prayer.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here as family and friends to enjoy a final meal together before one of us leaves to embark on a journey of self discovery. Sean’s arrival here was a shock and a trial for all of us on different levels, but throughout the experience we have grown and were made all the better for it. We have also come to value Sean as a member of this family and to receive his love in our hearts. I pray that as he travels down the road of fate that should he go astray that the light from our hearts may serve to guide him back to us whole of body and sound of mind. Amen.”
Sean barely waited a second before he was reaching for the platter with the pre-sliced marinated steak on it. He couldn’t even wait for seasoned potatoes, mixed vegetables, and home made onion rings to make their circuit around the table before he was taking bites out of what was already on his plate. The first mouthful he barely chewed before swallowing. It was just a relief to have something in his stomach. His second bite of the tasty steak he gave himself more of a chance to enjoy. The sweet mouth-watering juices of the tender meat washed over his taste buds with a satisfying flavor. After a couple more bites he paused long enough to give Rebecca and Daniel thanks for putting together such an excellent meal.
With this post I you can see I don't have a name for a town or state. I'm still deciding on location, so either after I conduct more research or get more of the story written I'll finally have a name. If you guys wish to suggest something I'm open to input.
During the prayer Sean could feel his skin slightly tingle in a most suspicious manner as his uncle spoke certain words. He couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps his uncle had an ulterior motive for saying grace. Did Gregor invoke magical energies right then and there? It bothered Sean the thought of his uncle manipulating someone else’s sacred beliefs in order to fulfill some prerequisite for a ritual. But what was he to do? He certainly wasn’t going to ruin his last meal here with accusations toward his uncle, besides he never used magic haphazardly and without a good reason. Sean felt it was best to just trust in whatever his uncle was up to and leave well enough alone.
Normally it was Rebecca that insisted on saying grace before every meal, and out of respect to her and her husband everyone else allowed them this privilege. Sometimes even Carlos would add something to the prayer, but Sean and his uncle were often respectfully silent.
Gregor was strongly agnostic and was skeptical about religion in general. He didn’t openly say so much, but the way he viewed the world he had very little personal use for religion in his life. He was every bit a man of the mind and trusted what his senses and logic told him about the world. He didn’t feel it necessary to discredit other people’s beliefs as long as they weren’t doing anything to step on his toes. As for the Rosenblatt’s they weren’t religious fanatics, so it didn’t bother Gregor to let them indulge openly in their faith. He understood that religion was often something that older people wrapped around themselves as they approached the end of their lives. It was the strength of that faith that helped them enter the great unknown of the afterlife, whatever they envisioned it to be.
Sean wondered if Gregor had offered his version of eternal life, but before the thought could go too far he disregarded the notion. The Rosenblatt’s would never have asked for such a thing, and his uncle was wise enough not to offend them with the notion of turning the old couple.
“So any idea of where you’re off too?” Daniel asked Sean as he began cutting his steak up into bite size pieces.
“I was thinking of going back to where I grew up.” Sean looked up at everyone else hoping to see their reactions to his destination of choice. Daniel and Carlos nodded thoughtfully, Rebecca gave her audible approval with, “Good for you”, and Gregor remained neutral and expressionless. It was his uncle’s response that he valued the most, and he was the one who revealed the least of what he thought. He knew that his uncle was doing it on purpose, and that fact just irritated Sean. Why would Gregor choose to hide his reaction to his decision of where he wanted to go? Sean feared that this dinner wasn’t going to end well. The irritation he was beginning to feel coupled with their opposing nature was surely a recipe for disaster.
Sean held his breath as he waited for the internal animal to react to the vampire sitting opposite of him, but nothing rose up. There was no involuntary snarl or a lunge across the table. There wasn’t even a twisting sensation in his gut of hate and revulsion, just the anticipation of it, but no more. He let himself breathe easy and noticed that even the air didn’t carry the usual permeating scent of a vampire on his home turf.
Sean was grateful and suspicious by this unusual change, even though he didn’t fully understand how it was possible. Although, he had his suspicions it was somehow connected to the tingling sensation he had felt up and down his arms after his uncle had said grace. He couldn’t disagree with the relief he was feeling at being able to be around his uncle and not feel his presence aggravating him, but also didn’t feel completely right about him having seemingly manipulated the others without their knowledge. He chewed his food as his conscious wrestled with his mixed feelings.
“Where about is that exactly?” Carlos asked.
“In (insert state here) near (insert name of small town here). I really can’t remember much of the place other than I used to live in a house on the outskirts of town. I doubt there’s much left after all these years, but I’d still like to go and see if I recognize anything from the surrounding area.”
The truth of how the house had been destroyed was disturbing to the Rosenblatt’s and Carlos, so the few occasions the topic had come up they managed to avoid getting into detail. It even bothered Sean, but for different reasons. Sean had been there and lived through it. Although he couldn’t remember anything specific, he could recall some of what he had felt. The others were bothered by the mention of it because it seemed too incredible to have happened. Sometimes he had to wonder if it was better to not know and pretend that monsters existed or to know beyond any doubt exactly how real they were.
“Sounds like a good place to start,” Carlos commented. “Maybe you might find something’s familiar and stir up some old memories.”
“Yea,” Sean replied a bit solemnly, “I just hope they’re not all bad memories.”
“If you do manage to recall anything I’m sure you’ll find many happy memories.” Gregor finally responded.
“I hope so.”
“Oh, I’m sure you will,” Rebecca encouraged.
What do you guys think of the dinner conversation in regards to the flow and how long it is?
As I worked on it in a rough draft I tried to keep everyone's responses as in character and natural as possible.
“What were my parents like?” Sean asked his uncle. This wasn’t the first time he had asked, but it had been a while since he had a good reminder of the family he had forgotten.
“Your mother had beautiful golden hair that framed her face perfectly and gentle eyes that somehow seemed to maintain a quality of innocence throughout her years despite what life had thrown at her. She grew up on a little farm in Arkansas, and her family didn’t have a lot of money, but she was fortunate enough to scrape enough scholarship money together to pay for her college education. She finished with a degree in psychology and then shortly after she retuned home the Veil made her a job offer.
“At some point the Veil had received a tip-off that your mother had clairvoyant abilities of extensive range. When they tested her she was able to view in fine detail remote locations that she didn’t even have a connection to, but it seemed she wasn’t able to maintain her sight for too long of a period. Personally I felt she had lied about that last part, but always kept it to herself.”
“I never knew his mother had psychic powers,” Rebecca exclaimed in astonishment. “How come you never told us?”
“It wasn’t my place to say so,” Gregor said. “I told Sean, because I considered it his right to know, but beyond that I left it up to him if he wanted to share such information.”
Rebecca and the others looked at Sean as if seeing him for the first time as a guest sharing a meal with them. He could feel the inquisitive stares wanting to know more, but exercising some restraint by not giving voice to their thoughts. It hardly mattered though. Sean felt on the spot and obligated to say something, despite how uncomfortable it made him feel.
“I didn’t think it was that important,” he mildly answered, keeping his reply short. He was hoping not to get side tracked on a topic he didn’t want to delve into, and wishing for Gregor to continue about his parents.
“But isn’t that good news. That’s probably where you get your abilities from.” Rebecca sounded hopeful and encouraging. She really did wish the best for Sean and was optimistic about his desire to explore his past and possibly to recover some of his lost memories.
“Look, Rebecca,” Sean spoke gently, “I don’t want you to take offence, but I’m not thrilled with what I can do, and I don’t like talking about it.”
“Why not? This isn’t something you have to keep hidden from us. You may not think much of being able to tune into other people’s feelings, but I’m sure if you keep practicing with it, like anything else, you’ll eventually get better with it.”
“It’s not that simple for him,” Gregor intervened in Sean’s defense. “Once he allows his mind to be open and to sense the emotions of others it becomes very difficult for him to turn it off, so to speak. If too many people are present, or if he has this ability on for too long he can easily lose himself, and I assure you it can be very unnerving to lose ones self of identity.”
“You meant to tell me he still has that problem?” Rebecca said with her eyes going slightly wide, and directing the look at Gregor. “I thought that you were working with the boy, helping him to get better!”
“Trust me,” Gregor reassured, “we have worked on it extensively, but unfortunately for Sean there seems to be no middle ground. It’s as though the natural state of his mind is to always have this ability working, and it takes a concentrated effort on his part to return his mind to an unnatural state.”
Sean cleared his throat in annoyance, reminding the two of them that he was still there.
“I just don’t understand it. It sounds all wrong to me.” Rebecca shook her head, failing to understand why Sean’s control over his empathy had never improved the way she thought it should have.
“The mind is a very complicated mechanism filled with infinite variables that make each person unique. Suffice it to say that I have helped him in his development in as many ways as I can, but there are some things that only he can do for himself. He has found a way to cope with what he can do. Let’s leave it at that shall we?”
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-11-28 03:18:51)
“What was my dad like?” Sean asked his question eager to redirect the conversation. He wanted to refresh his mind with what few details he had of his past in hopes to make his visit back to (town name) count for something.
“Your father was tall and lean, and had a neck that belonged on a bull.” Gregor continued while everyone ate and listened. “I’m sure at first glance many people found him intimidating, but for anyone that spent time to get to know him saw that he was a very kind and considerate gentleman. He had been a marine before he was hired on to work as muscle for the Veil. It didn’t take long for your mother and father to become romantically involved, and inside of a year they were married. They continued to work for the Veil another two years before they decided they had enough of that kind of life and wanted to devote their time to creating a family and settling down. They were lucky to have gotten out when they did, because it wasn’t long after that the Veil began to initiate a no leave policy. Presently once you’re in, you stay in, or else you just disappear.
“You were born six months after they were finally able to quit the organization. They struggled for a while financially before your father was finally able to land a decent job working for a computer manufacturing company. He did well there and rose through the company as a salesman by selling to large businesses.”
“You helped him get that job didn’t you?” Sean suspected it was the case, but Gregor had never clearly admitted to it. He didn’t ask in an accusing tone. The question came more from curiosity and intuition, and he wanted to see if he had guessed right.
“Naturally,” Gregor said, pleased with Sean for having figured out that he had something to do with it. “Your mother was part of my bloodline, and I have always looked after my own whether they knew it or not. I merely created the opportunity for your father, but it was his own hard work and dedication that made him do as well as he did.”
“What was I like?”
“I suppose you were as much a boy as any other child might have been. You did all the things little boys liked to do like play in the dirt, collect rocks and other miscellaneous treasures that could be stored in your pockets, and try to rescue every stray animal, domesticated or not, to keep it as a pet. You were adventurous and loved to explore the woods near where you grew up. You were very well cared for, although I could say your parents spoiled you too much with toys, but they never spared you from their affections.”
“What do you expect you’ll find when you return?” Daniel asked Sean.
Sean thought about the question for a moment before answering. “I’m not sure really. I suppose if there’s anything left of the old house I used to live in it’ll be in ruins. Unless it has been cleared away and someone else has built there.”
“It’s not likely that it has been touched,” Gregor offered. “People tend to keep there distance from sites in which a traumatic supernatural things have left their marks, almost as if they can sense the horrible things that have happened and instinctively keep their distance.”
Sean considered what his uncle just said and thoughts of the Beast and the Veil began to plague him again for the hundredth time today. Was it a sane choice to leave the manor, knowing the possible dangers that awaited him out there? He still couldn’t get over his surprise with his uncle actually being willing to let him go. Gregor fought him so hard and for so long to keep him here safe while trying to educate him and to teach him how to control himself, and now with no resistance, he was letting him drive off this very night. He had to wonder if his uncle was feeling a bit rejected.
An awkward lull in the conversation hung over the dinner table with the only sounds coming from the five of them clanking silverware against plates and eating. Everyone seemed to have retreated into their own thoughts. Carlos was kind enough to break the silence by telling a borderline inappropriate joke from an email he had gotten from one of his veteran friends. They all shared a good laugh and then conversation reopened onto more ordinary topics regarding how everyone’s day had been.
Soon everyone had had their full of dinner and Rebecca left the table only to surprise everyone by returning with dessert. She had made strawberry shortcake complete with whipped cream. Even Daniel was surprised that somehow his wife had kept it hidden throughout the day without him knowing about it. They all managed to find a little bit more room in their bellies to squeeze in the delicious dessert which Rebecca professed to having made everything from scratch. Even the strawberries had been picked from her own personal garden.
After the last spoon clinked on the rim of the dessert dishes Sean started to push his chair away from the table and reach for some of the dirty dishes to bring over to the sink. Carlos hurriedly wiped his mouth and told him not to worry about the dishes tonight. Normally it was one of his chores to clean up after dinner, but it seemed that Carlos was going to take care of it as a favor to him.
“Sean, would you come with me?” Gregor invited his nephew as they all backed their chairs from the table and stood up.
Sean nodded as he noticed the other three conveniently pick up items from the table and quickly busied them selves with clean-up. He should’ve known that his uncle would want to say or do something memorable with him on his last night here. Sean didn’t want to make a big deal about his leaving, just a few handshakes and hugs would’ve been quite alright with him, but it seemed he wouldn’t escape here without suffering something more.
Gregor led him out of the kitchen, through the foyer, and into the main living room. The majority of the room was recessed into the floor by two steps and sectioned off by a waist high banister. The upper part had a fireplace and a few comfortable one-seater chairs. The main floor had much more.
The ceiling extended twenty feet up and was dominated by a custom made extra large skylight. The left wall had a recessed bar fully stocked and complete with a bar counter and five stools that swiveled. Nearest the banister, and to where they descended into the room, was a well kept pool table that Sean could recall having broken a few of its predecessors in the past. The right wall had a sliding glass door that offered a more direct route to the indoor swimming pool. The doors were specially sealed so as not to allow an excessive amount of moisture to seep into the rest of the house. The rest of the floor contained a couple of luxurious recliners, a love seat, and a large sofa with corners that curved making it into a “U” shape. The sofa was positioned to face the back wall where there was a massive fireplace with an opening of at least five feet. Right above the fireplace was hung what was probably one of the largest flat screened TV’s that Sean had ever seen. It was at least six feet tall and ten feet wide and was connected to several hidden speakers around the room giving it a complete surround sound system.
Certainly the room would be impressive to most people, but since Sean had been living there for so long the grandeur had lost its affect on him. His attention was more drawn to a long narrow black canvassed case laying on the pool table. Its shape was unusual for a carrying case, and he could only imagine a few things that it would be designed to hold. He looked at his uncle and Gregor confirmed with a nod that it was a gift to his nephew.
“What’s inside?” he asked as he walked up to the pool table.
“You’ll have to open it to find out.” Gregor smiled softly, enjoying the curiosity of his nephew
O.O wow just finished the last segment of your story. it about blasted me to the moon. keep up the good work. can not wait for the next segment
Thank you Lonewolf for your inspirational words. I very much thrive on such encouragement. I hope my story here will captivate more readers like yourself. And please post something, anything to just let me know that you're out there. Even if it's just something as simple as "Awesome job! Keep it coming!" Maybe that makes me sound a little vain, and if you think so than I apologize. But I can't argue the fact of how it makes me feel good and puts me in more of mood to write and to give you more of my story. So, post more and the more I shall press on.
The case had four latches on the side with the handle, as well as two clips on either end for a carrying strap to be attached. Sean undid the latches and opened the case to reveal something that was wrapped up and folded in leather. The interior of the case was cushioned and lined with black velvet. He looked up at his uncle one more time with a questioning look and he only nodded back to him to continue opening his gift up the rest of the way. Sean respectfully folded the leather back to reveal an amazing sword of which he had never seen the likes of before. It was unsheathed lying next to a black scabbard, an unusual fact that he barely noticed.
The sword had his complete attention. It was made in the shape of a classic samurai long sword with a three foot long blade that was polished to the extent that he could clearly see his own reflection. He followed the length of the blade down to the decorative hilt. There were engravings with several wolves in varying positions of howling or running around three different moons located on different heights and sides of the handle. The entire handle looked as though it were made of silver and sparkled as if it had been sprinkled lightly with powdered crystal. Rising out of the hilt and going about three inches down the base of the blade were several entwining metal veins forming a lacing pattern that perfectly blended into the lower part of the blade.
He leaned close as he carefully examined the sword without touching it, and he noticed that along the metal lacing there were letters decoratively etched in it. He could read the names of five people on it, Gregor, Rebecca, Daniel, Carlos, and Anna. Seeing the last name made him look up at his uncle and wonder what she had to do with this gift.
Gregor was already anticipating the question and answered, “She provided the metal from which the blade is made from, (name of metal here). It’s virtually unknown of because of its rarity. It takes great strength and endurance to manipulate the metal and the forger has to be able to withstand extreme temperatures. A normal man would not be able to work the metal into anything, and even for me it was no easy task.”
“What’s the handle made out of?” Sean asked, not quite ready to test it out him self. It looked like silver, but also sparkled here and there as though it was lightly coated in very fine glitter.
“The core of it is the same metal as the blade. Once it was formed I dipped the handle several times into platinum until the bulk of the hilt was made then I coated the last layer in a special blend of platinum and quarts crystal. Once that was completed the engravings of the wolves and the moons were added.”
Sean felt stupid for even thinking that his uncle would give him a gift containing silver. Without further hesitation he carefully lifted the sword up and out of the case and held it by the hilt testing to see how the weapon handled. To his surprise it was much lighter than he thought it would have been, and perfectly balanced. He gave it a couple of half practice swings and could feel the precision of the deadly weapon.
Suddenly the handle felt like it moved in his palm, and Sean almost let go. He quickly adjusted the way he was holding the sword so he could get a clear view of the hilt and figure out what just happened.
Gregor patiently watched on, giving no indication that he was surprised, and leaving Sean to suspect that whatever happened was suppose to have happened. He rotated the handle as he examined it closely and he realized where the three moons had been engraved now appeared to have collapsed inward. It was if they had been turned into perfect concaved dents. Metal shifting like that left him to assume that his uncle had also involved some bit of enchantment during the creation of the fine weapon. He shifted his head slightly and looked up at his uncle waiting for an explanation.
“Don’t be alarmed it’s merely the sword recognizing you as its proper wielder.”
Sean waited briefly for his uncle to expand upon his explanation, but when nothing further was offered he was forced to voice his question.
“What do you mean by recognize? Exactly what did you do to this thing?”
“I instilled it with some magical energy, but left a good portion of it unstable,”
“What?! Do you mean like if I’m not careful with this it could explode?” Sean asked with surprise.
Gregor explained as though it was something simple and safe. However when he used the words, “unstable”, little alarm bells went off in Sean’s mind and he envisioned magical energies gathered without purpose. He understood enough of such things that when left alone they commonly found a way to release stored up energy, usually in some type of explosion.
“No, not at all,” Gregor said defensively. “Picture it like this; magic in its raw form is like energy. Spells, rituals, and enchantments are like instructions or guidelines that give that energy shape and purpose. What I did here was akin to enchanting this sword with only a partial guideline and keyed the item specifically to you. As time passes and the more you use the sword while practicing your sword chi the unformed energy within it will take shape into whatever it is that suits your purpose. It’s a very unusual method of enchanting, I admit, but it can create some very interesting effects, if not unique.”
Sean was quiet for a few seconds in thought as he tried to comprehend what his uncle was describing. He had never heard of a magical item being created in such a fashion. It was sometimes difficult to understand the brilliant and original concepts that his uncle came up with.
“So, what you’re saying is that the blade might develop some ability to turn into fire or to cut through steel like paper.”
“I’m not saying that it will do that, although I suppose such a thing is possible, but very unlikely in this case. The guidelines I had provided within the unfinished enchantment restrict the many possible forms the magic will finally take.”
Gregor paused dramatically, seemingly to consider what he would say next, but Sean knew better. Gregor enjoyed opportunities like these where he could show off something exceptional that he made, or to share a new theory of magical application. Sean understood that he was the only one of the household that could understand and accept such conversations, so he relaxed and indulged his uncle.
“If you can bare another analogy imagine the magical energy flowing like water. Once it’s harnessed or gathered it needs to go in a direction which is usually the path of least resistance. When a wizard or such is casting a spell they are in a sense lowering the resistance to certain pathways and blocking off others. This forces the energy to take the effect of the desired spell that they’re casting. In the making of this sword I placed a fixed amount of magical energy within it that will slowly get released through you and back into the blade. Your will and desire will act like a filter to give that energy its final purpose. It’s most likely to serve you in a more abstract way like aiding in the way you think and providing insight to difficult problems. Optimally I hope it will help you in overcoming the mental barriers between the human and werewolf side of you.”
“I understand what you’re saying, but why did the moons sink into the hilt when I picked up the sword?”
For an explanation, Gregor reached for the scabbard that was still lying inside the case. With reverent care he held it horizontally with two hands and brought it closer for Sean to examine. When Sean had first unwrapped the gift his attention had just grazed over the scabbard, but now he could see at the top there were three small black bumps spaced evenly around the gold rim. They were of perfect shape and size to match the recently made hollow moons on the hilt
“When the sword begins to manifest an ability one of these stones will change color and must be placed into the hilt. It will only be removable by your hand and you should not wait long to do this, because by placing it into the sword is what will stabilize the enchantment. As you can see there are three opals, so I’m sure you can understand that the magic stored in that blade will have three evolutions before it is complete.”
“So that unstable aspect you mentioned before really does mean that if I’m not careful with this thing it will explode,” Sean suggested. He still felt concern and couldn’t shake the idea of walking around with a ticking time bomb.
“Only if you don’t place the changed opal into one of the slots within three days. If for whatever reason you don’t, then yes, the energies within will most likely escape in a violent fashion. But the sword and scabbard are unlikely to be apart and they are only keyed to you, so without you the magic is stagnant and nothing can happen.”
“Unless an opal changes color and I walk away from it.”
Sean continued with the hazardous scenario, knowing that he was overdoing it. Granted, it was a legitimate concern, but he understood that he was being nitpicky and mischievous pointing out the little details of how the sword could be a potential hazard. It was obvious that this was a gift that his uncle had spent a great deal of thought and time putting together, but how often did he get an opportunity to tease his uncle. There was an edge of annoyance in Gregor’s demeanor and Sean couldn’t hide the humorous smile that crept across his face.
“There is that…” Gregor started to say, but then realized that his nephew was having a bit of fun at his expense making him explain all the nuances and admit the unstable flaw.
“You should know better than to criticize a vampire, especially since you’re in my home.” Gregor teased in good nature returning Sean’s smile. “I trust that you know enough to be responsible with the gift I’ve given you and that you will put it to good use.”
Sean continued to admire the remarkable weapon as his uncle spoke. He swiped the blade through the air from left to right and back again before sheathing the blade. The balance and ease at which the weapon handled was surreal. He couldn’t come up with apt words to describe the sword. His appreciation was obvious.
“May it serve you well,” Gregor whispered.
Sean carefully laid the weapon back into its bed of leather and rewrapped it. He closed the case making sure that none of the material inside poked out, and clicked the latches closed.
“Thanks uncle Gregor,” Sean said as he faced his uncle. “This is a really thoughtful gift and I’m sure it will help me out.”
He extended his open hand to shake his uncles, and Gregor firmly clasped his nephew’s wrist. On a very human impulse, unhindered by their ancient hatred, they both leaned forward in a heartfelt hug. Sean didn’t know why everything was going so smoothly, but he wasn’t about to ruin the rare moment with more questions
Last edited by SilentStrider (2009-12-01 06:57:57)