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Is the phrase "Once upon a time..."
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Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

Writing Tip
Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 chapter 1

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Number of posts : 147
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PostSubject: chapter 1   July 11th 2010, 6:17 am

Hello, I been gone for a while cos of life distractions and stuff. I'm still rewriting, and need feedback. I will do the same for others too.



Fog suffocated the ‘Doom that night, as it did every night, even during midsummer.

Folk from both sides of the bay had debated the ambiguities behind the naming of the fog-plagued water for many years. Seafarers, for instance, believe the name of the bay to personify the treacherous fog itself, as it creates peril for unsuspecting ships caught in its embrace. Others say it’s named so after the odium between the Humans of Mainland on the northern side of the bay, and the Elementals of Elemenphis on the south. More still believe the name is actually shortened from Jormungand’s Doom: after a mythical sea-serpent rumoured to have found its demise in the bay many centuries past, after cursing the water with the perpetual haze. Scholars, on the other hand, accredit the name to mere superstition, and the fog could simply be a direct consequence of dense kelp growths beneath the water, or salt sprays from the coastal lines.

None of those gabbers knew, however, of the events that led to a mysterious ship approaching the north-western shores of Elemenphis on Tuesday, the twenty-first of July, 1066. Those events had in fact left a trail of blood throughout the ages, one that seeped from the deepest, and darkest, reaches of antiquity . . .


Three riders scoured the ‘Doom from the shore. Hoofmarks in the white sand trailed from the west, where they had ridden from a nearby village. They were merely keeping a watch over the surrounding lands during such late and vulnerable hours. They were always wary of the bay, as it had a tendency to regurgitate trouble when you least expected it. And just as it happens, the leader of the trio thought he heard a sound from somewhere within the fog, and with a hand signal, he brought his two companions to a halt.

‘What is it, Morg?’ the shortest of the three asked.

His voice was marred with a throaty whistle, which earned him the alias of Wheezy among the watch. His amber appeared nondescript against the pale moonlight.

‘I thought I heard something,’ Morg said as he turned back towards the ‘Doom, still gripping the reins of his raven-black steed.

The noise sounded again and this time the others heard it too. It was a not-so-distant creaking of wood: unmistakably, the flexing core of a ship.

‘Shall I head back to Silverdale and report it to the elders?’ the third watchman asked.

Morg averted his gaze to his comrade, who was noticeably taller yet gaunter in composition. ‘Not yet Timon, let us wait until we learn more.’

‘Look,’ Wheezy said, pointing into the fog. ‘There, I see it.’

Morg stared on with a troubled curiosity as the bow of a ship gradually materialised from the haze. It was large, possibly a trading ship. Apart from its own movement, however, there were no other signs of life.

‘You think it could be Mainlanders?’ Timon said.

‘They know better than to come here,’ Morg replied bluntly, gaze fixed on the nebulous form emerging from the cloud.

‘Maybe they’re just lost in the fog, and wound up here by mistake,’ Wheezy said.

Morg stroked his beard, as if doing so might make the ship’s intentions become clearer. ‘Something just doesn’t feel right about this,’ he said, slowly shaking his head. ‘If they were indeed lost, surely there’d be some signs of confusion: raised torches perhaps, or calls for help?’

‘You think we should give them light just in case?’ Wheezy suggested.

Something was definitively wrong with this picture, Morg thought, which made him hesitant to concur.

‘Otherwise they might run aground, and be stuck here for days,’ Timon said.

The notion of Mainlanders being stuck in Elemenphis raised an even greater concern. Having to provide them shelter and sustenance for however long it took to return the ship to the water would prove more than a burden. One he and many of Silverdale’s people would be disinclined to oblige.

Morg nodded.

They raised their arms to the sky, balling up their hands into fists. Tremors in reality rose around them, as they channelled Gaia’s energy through their bodies and out of their outstretched limbs in a cold, blue flame at least four feet in the air. Such was the birthright of the Elementals, harnessing the natural elements around them. The light shone brightly enough to claim any lookout aboard the ship’s attention.

‘It’s working,’ Timon said after a short while.

The ship gradually slowed in pace until it ground to a halt, and they ceased casting. The girth of the vessel sent waves crashing against the bone-white shore as it stopped.

‘Now what do we do, Morg?’ Wheezy said.

‘We wait.’

A few moments passed before three tenebrous forms fell from the ship and splashed into the water simultaneously.

‘What in Gaia’s name . . .’ Morg said.

His horse fidgeted suddenly and neighed loudly into the night. It was clearly disturbed and riled the other mounts into frenzy.

‘What has gotten into the horses?’ Wheezy complained, trying to steady himself on his bearer. Being the stoutest of the three meant this wasn’t an easy task. His horse bucked, and threw him down onto the sand with a dull thud. It then screeched and fled westerly.

Before Morg could make sense of the situation, another noise purchased his attention. It was that of three tall figures springing from the water and onto the shore, with dolphin-like agility. They were demons with large, hooded snake heads on scaly bodies shaped otherwise like a man, clutching long and menacing tridents that glimmered even in the pale darkness.

They were running at them with great speed. The watch, though keen with swords and quick with elements, were too dull to stop them. As Morg and Timon fumbled for their weapons the demons closed in quickly, meeting them with ferocity. Wheezy was still on his back when they arrived, staring up at them like a child caught with a hand in the jam jar. One of the demons loomed above him, taking its trident in both of its reptilian hands, and plunging the tines into the short man’s stomach. Timon was next, as another of the demons stabbed him through the neck without mercy. The beast hissed as it removed its bloodied weapon and jammed it into the horse that he was still in the throes of falling from.

In Morg’s final, horrifying moments upon Gaia, he learned what being skewered felt like. He looked into the demon’s eyes, which were black and deep like tar pits, as it thrust its weapon into his gut. The pain was fierce, and knocked the breath from him. He was losing his grip on reality as the demon raised the trident into the air with him still impaled on it. With a run up, the demon launched him far into the ‘Doom, where, though succumbing to eternal sleep, he still had enough senses about him to feel the coldness of the water as his body surrendered itself to the deep.


Darius heard the demons hissing wildly into the night as they celebrated a very easy victory. He supposed they were good for a massacre, even though he hated the damned creatures. They weren’t much use for anything other than mindless destruction, and it was only at his father’s behest that he used them. Still, he did appreciate a good slaughter, and tomorrow would be just that.

He nodded to the first mate, and he lowered him into the ‘Doom in a small rowing boat, the chains clanking over the demons’ cacophony. When the boat hit the water, the second mate rowed him and Darius to the scarlet-tinged shore, where they berthed. A further battalions worth of demons jumped from the deck and swam towards the shore to join the others. Darius stood amongst the army, ready to reap some serious malice in Elemenphis, in search of what was lost to his people long ago. He had waited for this moment for a long time, and the deep scar that burrowed across his left eye, partially blinding him, served as a reminder of what that old fool took from him. He would have his revenge, finally, after all these years.

‘I’ll take it from here,’ he told the second mate, as he stood amidst the bloody scene with total indifference. ‘You go back to the ship and I’ll call on you if I need to. I trust you can keep my children safe whilst I’m gone? I may need them soon enough. The chosen is here, in a village by the name of Cobbington. We’ll leave none alive.’

The second mate was short and plump, his grubby white top and bandanna both stained with blood. ‘What’ll you do when you locate her, Darius?’ he said. ‘I mean, if she’s as powerful as the prophecy says, then she’s bound to give you trouble.’

‘That’s for me to worry about. My father wants her dead, so I won’t be goin’ easy on the harlot. Don’t fret, a new age is comin’. The first phase in Gaia’s destruction is almost at hand!’

His words brought a morbid smile across the second mate’s rotund cheeks.[/center]
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PostSubject: Reply   July 11th 2010, 8:21 am

Nothing specifically to complain about. The year 1066 bothered me, as it is an important date in Tolkien history and it is the year of the Norman invasion of England. I also saw similarities in the events you describe and those of the tale of the coming of the Black Death to England. Still, those are not complaints, and tidbits like that can be used to make connections with some readers.

I also tended to feel a distance from the events and the characters. You present a number of personalities, but never really sink into their minds. Still, I agree that with relating events that are important to the story even if the main characters are not yet aware.

Thus, keep at it. You have presented a solid opening. The task now before you is to keep it moving.

I wish you well.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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