Sarmen's Story - A Clip from Nowhere


Diabloii.Net Member
Sarmen's Story - A Clip from Nowhere

Hey everyone... I decided to write out a few snippets of a story a few months back, and promptly lost my drive a few weeks later. For what it's worth, there was supposed to be a group of artificers and scientists (yet set in diablo- or middle-earth-esque location, how odd lol) tampering with the beginnings of electricity. The snippets (of which this is only one) are made to seem detached, as the story slowly spirals inwards to what really happened. Anyways..

Sarmen woke up in a cold sweat, panting and huffing under the weight of his many blankets and respectable belly. His pillows were drenched in sweat running off his head and ears unimpeded by hair, as Sarmen had gone bald long ago. Or was it that long ago? Sarmen did not care to remember. As far as he was concerned, his life ended when he left the military. Every day he grieved with his severance day in mind – he had poured his life and soul into that organization, and to be dishonorably discharged… shame had befallen his family name that day. This was an especially big fact to him, considering he’s the last of his bloodline left after the Scouring of the 14th Era. Every molecule of sweat dripping from his body, his face, his head, his arms – they all called out, “Save the Rendenhigh Project! It must not be brought to ruin!â€
Sarmen looked out his window to the buildings below. He should have felt safe in his secluded apartment, four stories off the street – but he did not. His fears came from within, and there was no running from that. Every night for the last three weeks, after years of restful sleep, he had had nightmares. One nightmare, actually, but over and over, repeating like a school bully likes to whisper in your ear as he punches you, over and over. Over and over, like an interrogator, whispering to his uncooperative victims as he inflicts pain in ways only interrogators can. Over and over, like a mother whispering to her child when she’s drunk and has had a hard day at work, but the baby won’t stop screaming. Over and over. “Save the Rendenhigh Project! It must not be brought to ruin!â€
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
He was at his old station in the Third Batallion, working at the head of research and development for his assignment – the Rendenhigh Project. It was a collaboration of humans, elves and dwarves in the hopes of discovering a new weapon moving beyond the general practices of archery, swordsmanship and cavalry, among others. If progress was made (which most of the project’s primary benefactors were convinced it would be in the near future), to say that it would change the face of conventional warfare would be tantamount to stating that the world takes up space. A gross understatement. They were collaborating upon an invention that, upon successful production, would find its way into every niche and aspect of civilization’s way of life.
They called their invention “electricityâ€, so named for its method of creating electrons out of pure nothing. With enough electrons amassed into a large wad, the resulting molecule would be so negatively charged it would draw protons from the molecules around it, ripping them out of the atoms’ cores with an explosive spark. Testing upon various small organisms, from thumbnail- to head-sized, had proven electricity to be extremely harmful and dangerous. Not only could the drawing out of one’s protons make them incredibly weary, the physical sparks could (and usually did) overstimulate the nervous system to the point that you were rendered immobile and unfeeling. On top of that, with enough concentration of sparks one could light practically anything on fire. In short, you touched electricity, you got fried.
Sarmen’s unease at the time came from how little they truly knew about the innerworkings of electricity. How were the electrons created? What happened to the molecules that lost their protons? What happened once enough protons were collected so as to counterbalance the negativity of the electrons? Some of the members of the Project were getting anxious enough that they would pass jokes about what each of them wanted to do with the electric cannon, their implementation device of choice. These jokes came around just often enough to be the thorn in Sarmen’s metaphorical side, but not often enough to make any kind of plot obvious, so he was fine with his workers for now.
Sarmen was the resident supervisor upon the scientific district (specifically, the Rendenhigh Project) of the Third Battalion, and he knew it – his intellect was touted as the most prolific in the world. He was one of the few able to understand science itself, down to the smallest and largest levels of creation. The Russellhoff Project was easily the most mentally taxing assignment – wait, did he just call it the Russellhoff Project? He meant the… well… what was the name? He had it on the tip of his tongue, the one he worked in with Ramos and Bram, they made the authenticity – electricity, he meant to say. What was the name? It was with the Thirteenth Baton, or was that the Third Baton? It was on the tip of his tongue, the Russellhoff Project was easily the most mentally taxing assignment in his career. It was on the tip of his tongue, with Ramos and authenticity and –
Suddenly, he began to shiver. What was happening to him? He was losing the articulate thought process he had always been proud of. It was on the tip of his tongue, with electricity, Thirteenth Baton, Ramos, electricity, mentally taxing – stop it, Sarmen, he thought to himself. Clear your mind with the electricity and he needed to find a way out of this loop but the Thirteenth Battalion said it was mentally taxing with Ramos by his side. It was all on the tip of his tongue.
He could feel himself losing grip of his surroundings and sliding across his bed, like a second gravity was pulling him off the far side. His heart began to beat faster, louder, stronger, and he started panting with fear that he was losing his most prized possession – his mind. It all began to swirl, his thoughts, his world, his life. The walls had teeth – don’t let him near them! Thirteenth Baton! ELECTRICITY! Ramos and Bram were alongside him now, staring at him solemnly as he fought to stay still on the bed, drenched in sweat. He reached out for Bram’s hand but the teeth on his arm scratched up Sarmen’s fingers and he drew back with a howl. He looked out the window and suddenly the building across the street wasn’t there. Then it was again. On the tip of his tongue.
His throat began to close with panic and strain, when suddenly he and his bed were isolated in complete, total, motionless space. His trembling and whimpers of pain from the scratches on his hand – or were they on the tip of his tongue? – were the only sounds audible in the void he now resided in. All at once, even they could not be heard, for a low baritone rumble steamrolled Sarmen.
“Do you know what is happening to you, Sarmen? You’re feeling how I did when you abandoned me in mid-creation. Your mind is fading to the way mine worked for a year after the dismissal of the Rendenhigh Project. You remember my screams, how they faded so slowly into the whispers that haunt you today? That’s right, Sarmen, that’s me you’ve been hearing, echoing in your quickly-hollowing skull, “Save the Rendenhigh Project! It must not be brought to ruin!†Because, dear Sarmen, it must not. At all costs. I shall not be brought to ruin.
The last words’ growl faded out to uncover Sarmen’s agonized wails from the immensity of the noise. Slowly, over what seemed like hours, his tears dried and his cries dulled to whispers. Just as His screams had, all those years ago.

As with most posts, constructive criticism is greatly appreciated, this being my first crack at writing anything and all. Thanks in advance!

The Last Melon

Diabloii.Net Member

I'm sorry, but I just glanced at this, and the enormous block of text looks next to impossible to read through. Next time, press enter twice instead of once at the end of a paragraph. Is it possible that you can do that and post it again so that I can read it without having to work through it?


Diabloii.Net Member
Pardon the thread necromancy, and apologies for the really late response, but here're a few thoughts on your story:

Overall, I think I got what you meant here, though the ending felt a bit confusing to me. I have a guess as to what happened, but even if it's correct, I'm not sure what to do with it, in that I'm not sure what would happen next, or why this particular scene matters in the context of something larger.

The other big element that distracted me was the level of technology. It feels really weird to me for a classic Middle-earth sort of world, as you call it, to know what a molecule or an electron is, simply because knowledge of those concepts should change their everyday view of life to some extent. That begs the question as to why you set this in a Middle-earth world in the first place, since that kind of setting automatically invokes certain images (knights, wizards, what-have-you) that have nothing to do with the core of the story, and the language you use ("apartment," "dishonorably discharged," etc., not to mention all the scientific terms) would feel out of place in the Diablo world. I might recommend redoing the setting so that it's something like early 17th-century Europe, perhaps or perhaps not with a little magic sprinkled in, so that it doesn't call upon a standard world in the first sentence and then use the rest of the story to walk away from that world.

On a side note, I do have to agree with The Last Melon (though perhaps not with his choice of words) that the formatting here does make it a bit tricky to read. A blank line between paragraphs would be an aid to the reader.

All that aside, though, I kind of like the idea of Sarmen going unhinged. After some refinements, this could well be an interesting inside-your-head kind of story.

Thanks for posting!