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Moonlight

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Bitterman, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. Bitterman

    Bitterman IncGamers Member

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    Moonlight

    Moonlight dripped like silver as the rain poured down. Some of the druids that had taken up with us called it the tears of Sanctuary. I called it rain.

    It pooled in hollows in the rocks, it ran in swirling streams down the crystals and broken geodes. Our boots were soaked with it, squelching as we gingerly picked our way down the slope, deeper into the massively high cavern.

    I was nervous. By hell, as I recall, we all were, swords held tight and eyes darting back and forth like frightened birds. Our commander Sazibi, though, he was fearless. I still can see him in my mind, walking into one of the dark shadows cast by an overhanging rock and stooping to one knee to look at one of the peculiar flecks of crystal.

    There was something along with that unease. The sense of wonder, the sense of exploration and awe.

    Long has it been since I had felt that. What of it if I paused more than the others to take of the feeling deeply?

    We had been sidetracked, our march to Arreat delayed by the fierce winter storms. We were the first. Latecomers had the luxury of a portal opened for them, taking them directly to the steps of the barbarian fortress.
    Directly to a quick death, for most.

    The mountains had been impassable. Sazibi refused to waste his men through pointless struggle with the bitter cold, and the other commanders were in the habit of doing as he did. He turned us back to seek another path.
    Baal's small force had crossed successfully, before the flurries of snow and ice had turned a long marchable road into a long deathtrap. You try moving a few companies adding up to several thousand soldiers through forty feet of snow, in weather where your spit is frozen before it hits the ground.
    It can't be done.

    Even with the few mages following along- some had lovers within our ranks, some were moving with us because they felt safe - and their mastery of the elements, we only managed to keep from freezing with the help of the weakened fire and sorceresses. The cold ones were, as you might imagine, useless for that except in a bed.

    One of the druids had found the cave, as the moon glowed on the snow. Who knows, perhaps an old druid sage had told him about a glowing passageway under the top of the earth, and he had strived to join with our company of holy knights in order to seek it himself and find some ancient secret. Or maybe he just saw the glimmering in the distance and trudged over to see what it was. I don't particularly care.

    The entrance was wide enough for three men to walk abreast, armed men no less. Before long we had set up a camp around the base of the cliff, and scouts with torches conveniantly set ablaze by the fire mages were preparing to set foot inside.

    Why did an entire army group and draw near around a hole that might have only gone a dozen yards? I don't know. It drew us.
    It would have drawn you, had you been there.

    The glow was so beautiful. Blue and purple and silver, like the light fall sunset rimmed with silver stars casts. It seemed to just.. come out of the rocks. The rocks were tinted with the color, almost shining from within.
    There was another important detail that drew us, and that was the warm air inside.
    It took barely a few hours, and we were all moving along within. Even ground beneath our feet seemed to shine. It was some kind of granite, but with flecks of light. We barely needed the torches. It was almost as if the moonlight was reflected within and amplified.

    Who knows how long we followed the path. Those of us with natural abilities for sensing direction said we were heading the right way. That was good enough for Sazibi, and we never paused. Some of us shuffled along, stroking our fingers along the walls of the cave, feeling the strange tingle within them. The lone lightning sorceress with our company looked as though she was in a trance, her eyes wide as she held a ball of electricity in her hand, watching the colors in it shift and marble with those of the caves.

    Maybe we had gone several miles. Time seemed to blend together, like a waking dream. The feeling of wonder was just beginning to rouse up inside me, like a sleeping dragon slowly uncoiling and rising up.

    I was near the head of the column, part of the group that was directly under Sazibi.
    Some of my fellow soldiers were bantering back and forth, discussing what the light was, where it came from, if it was somehow connected to the Light, and where the cave led.

    Then we heard the rain.

    (all typed out straight from my head, no editing except to make it look right in the forum. Feel free to critique and correct. There's more..)
     
  2. tamrend

    tamrend IncGamers Member

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    It's good. I know it's good because a few paragraphs in, I stopped reading the words and was just reading the story.

    A few rough spots to mention:

    "There was something along with that unease. The sense of wonder, the sense of exploration and awe."

    Purely a matter of phrasing. I'm not sure here whether you're talking about the commander or about the general feel of the whole group, or just the character that is narrating.

    "Baal's small force had crossed successfully, before the flurries of snow and ice had turned a long marchable road"

    "Marchable" is not a real word.

    "You try moving a few companies adding up to several thousand soldiers through forty feet of snow, in weather where your spit is frozen before it hits the ground. "

    Be careful about addressing the reader directly. It is generally frowned upon unless integral to the story.

    "we only managed to keep from freezing with the help of the weakened fire and sorceresses."

    I don't think that reads right.

    "The glow was so beautiful."

    An unnecessary and redundant statement. It's like a piece of scaffolding still hanging off your sculpture after you've completed it. Try to avoid generic adjectives except in dialogue.

    I hope that is of some use.
     
  3. Bitterman

    Bitterman IncGamers Member

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    Wonderful, when I go over it more, I'll definitely work on those parts.

    Addressing the reader directly is probably not the best way to go at it, but I see the narrator in my mind's eye sitting down in a tavern and telling his story. Maybe it won't work, but I've seen enough stories where it has.

    Personally, I think so far it's very full of fluff for what I originally wanted to tell: a bunch of people walking through a very interesting and big cavern that is so large that it rains inside.

    Thanks again for pointing out what needed work. I think that's very cool that people do that for free.
     
  4. Disco-neck Ted

    Disco-neck Ted The Dark Library

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    I liked it. It's ambitious. Makes me want to hear more, to see what they see.

    Have to say that it definitely shows the uneveness of a first draft. Commas. Word choice, maybe. A place or two where the sentence contains all the right elements, but might need to be arranged differently since it reads a little "weird". It will doubtless get better in a future draft.

    Here:

    "Moonlight dripped like silver as the rain poured down. Some of the druids that had taken up with us called it the tears of Sanctuary. I called it rain."

    Really crisp. Terse and muscular. But using "rain" twice weakens this. Perhaps by saying "...as the water poured down" the first time, the narrator's declaration that it is simply rain has a touch more impact.

    "Blue and purple and silver, like the light fall sunset rimmed with silver stars casts."

    This is hard reading. Restructuring (and 'Fall' should be capped, like Summer, Winter etc.) might look so: "...like the light cast by a Fall sunset, rimmed with silver stars."

    Luck with it. I hope you have a story as imaginative as your description.
     
  5. Bitterman

    Bitterman IncGamers Member

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    I'm going to work more on it. The first bit captures what I wanted pretty closely, (and yes, two rains isn't that good, you're right), and then the rest I had to put in to make a REASON for the people to be there, and I thought it would go well with the storyline of a young necromancer turned paladin (serving under Sazibi through the events in diablo2) who was obsessed with angels and wants to become one.

    Yeah. I'm going to take the tactic of not spelling everything out and just leave some things unsaid. It would work better as a standalone story, anyway.
     

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