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The Lion of Kyoshi

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Banehero, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. Banehero

    Banehero IncGamers Member

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    The Lion of Kyoshi

    Hi, this is a story I have been planning for a while about a samurai lord trying to survive and keep his clan alive during the chaos of civil war, tell me what you think and if you have any suggestions or improvements they would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time : )


    Prologue; Winter Blues

    The valley below was entangled and covered by the thick snow of winter. A cold wind blew across its surface almost as if someone mighty was trying to cleanse the earth of impurities. The trees usually so lovely and pretty had faded and died, they scattered the road along the valley in their ghostly twisted bareness, as though they were trying to remind men of their own mortality.

    The sight made the figure overlooking the valley glad that he could return home and stroll through his garden. The Weeping cherry trees bloomed in winter, and he loved wandering past them looking upon their ethereal beauty, treading the beautiful snow next to his orchids, and walking beneath the cedar trees with their distinctive bronze leaves.

    He took a deep breath and could taste the clean air. Winter was always refreshing, though admittedly colder than he liked. He closed his eyes and a smile broke across his face, distorting his usual tough looking features. It was not often the Lion of Kyoshi was worried, and at such times it was his garden he would wander to clear his mind of politics and everyday life.

    He turned to face Ujioro, and studied him briefly the way he always studied his retainers. If Ujioro noticed he showed no sign of interest, his face cold and empty of emotion like the valley below. His red armour stood out significantly against the backdrop of white snow that caked the land. It was splendid and expensive, only the finest metalworker could produce work like that, he thought as he took in the detail of the suit, with its golden inlay and Lion sticking out from the ends of his shoulder plates and breast as though it were leaping out to attack. He doubted none alive today knew the secrets of such art. Ujioro’s helmet was also stunning, and for a moment he felt a sudden jealousy. It was ridiculous to feel such a thing though; Ujioro’s armour had been worn for centuries, it was as important to him as his own life, ancient family heirlooms always were.

    The Lion of Kyoshi’s gaze wondered behind Ujioro, to stare upon the great castle of his land. Standing tall and proud the castle of Kyoshi, built by his ancestors more than a thousand years ago, its beauty clear even at this distance. The seven story high castle of Kyoshi with its rust coloured roof and walls that were stark white was a picture Ietsugu had wished to capture with paint and paper. So that when he was not there, all he would have to do was look at the painting and feel at home, but no matter how many times he had tried to paint it he could never do it any justice and had painted the picture in his mind instead. It was a sight that filled his heart with pride and it was made all the more beautiful by the surrounding mountains and their white peaks that shone radiantly in the sun’s caressing light, it had been a sight he had missed while away.

    His eyes rested upon the great lion that stood out from the highest mountain, carved out of the very rock of the giant hundreds of years before his birth by craftsman that far surpassed their modern equivalents. He could see scaffolding clutching at its surface and men working on it, repairing the damage received by the statue from nature over the years. He could almost imagine the wind from the mountains as its roar.

    “My Lord.†Ujioro’s voice was soft but piercing, like his calm but strong nature. Ietsugu turned his attention back to the man in red shining armour.

    “What is the matter Ujioro?†he asked, an interested look upon his face as he stroked his chin, feeling the stubble that had grown in a matter of days. He would have to shave as soon as he returned to the castle, his unkempt look made him appear rugged, at a pinch almost far from his station as the lord of his land, more like a ronin than Daimyo. It was something he liked though his wife would say otherwise.

    “Should we not be going back to the castle?†Ietsugu considered the question briefly and looked over at his men on horseback. Twenty warriors in all, his personal bodyguard, riding the finest horses in all the land and trained well in the art of the Sword and warfare. They all looked tired and cold he thought; though they did not utter a complaint.

    “All in good time Ujioro, I am just taking in the sights. Does it not lighten the burden of the heart to look upon such a thing as this?†he said, stretching out his arms indicating to the scenery that surrounded them. He considered his words, it was a sight he enjoyed, but it just sent home the great responsibilities he had to live with. He would definitely go for a walk in his garden he thought as he went to mount his horse.

    With only the grace a man could muster through years of disciplined training Ietsugu placed his foot on the stirrup and raised himself onto the saddle. He watched Ujioro do the same. Slowly and with Ujioro in tow, he returned to the front of the line of warriors and began a slow pace home.
     
  2. Snowglare

    Snowglare Fan Fiction Forum Moderator

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    Bumpy, but I'll give it a chance.

    "The valley below was entangled and covered by the thick snow of winter."

    Snow isn't much for entangling things. I'm guessing you meant that it's entangled with some sort of vegetation - vines, perhaps. It's not very clear.

    "A cold wind blew across its surface almost as if someone mighty was trying to cleanse the earth of impurities."

    This sentence lacks punch, mostly because of the overly vague "someone mighty". Making it a specific being, like God or Zeus, would lend the passage more power. And it's a run-on. Barring a rearrangement of the words, there should be a comma after "surface" to indicate a pause. I'd go with a rewrite, dropping "almost" in favor of more decisive wording.

    "The trees usually so lovely and pretty had faded and died, they scattered the road along the valley in their ghostly twisted bareness, as though they were trying to remind men of their own mortality."

    Need to take the first comma, replace it with a period, and stick it after "trees". I ought to know what this is called... Just trust me. You need another comma after "pretty", so that it reads "The trees, usually so lovely and pretty, had faded and died." Also, "lovely and pretty" is poor description. Ok, "They scattered the road along the valley". Don't know what you're trying to say, but trees don't scatter a road. Then "in their ghostly twisted bareness, as though they were trying to remind men of their own mortality." Heavy. When you have two adjectives hooked to the same noun, as in "ghostly twisted bareness", you need to separate them with a comma. Otherwise, the first adjective refers to the second, rather than the noun, and you would end up with something like "ghostly-twisted bareness".

    "The sight made the figure overlooking the valley glad that he could return home and stroll through his garden."

    This is ok for introducing a character when you're writing your first draft, but you need to change it later. It simply doesn't flow well. Not sure what else to tell you. "and stroll through his garden" is the main culprit; feels tacked on.

    "It was not often the Lion of Kyoshi was worried, and at such times it was his garden he would wander to clear his mind of politics and everyday life."

    This sentence is better. It's a unique sort, so you shouldn't just copy the sentence structure, but more sentences of this quality would really help.

    "He turned to face Ujioro, and studied him briefly the way he always studied his retainers."

    I think you're overdescribing a bit. Adding words like "briefly" forces the reader to imagine things a certain way. I recommend loosening it up.

    "If Ujioro noticed he showed no sign of interest, his face cold and empty of emotion like the valley below."

    You need a comma after "noticed", the words "of interest" would be best removed entirely, as they conflict with Ujioro showing no sign of noticing, and a container cannot be "empty of" a substance. The word you want is "devoid". Also, I'd change that part so that it reads "his face as cold and devoid of emotion as the valley below."

    "His red armour stood out significantly against the backdrop of white snow that caked the land."

    Significantly isn't a good adjective in this case.

    "It was splendid and expensive, only the finest metalworker could produce work like that, he thought as he took in the detail of the suit, with its golden inlay and Lion sticking out from the ends of his shoulder plates and breast as though it were leaping out to attack."

    This is another run-on. The "only the finest metalworker could produce work like that, he thought as he took in the detail of the suit" part needs to be a new sentence. You could keep the stuff after it in the same sentence, but the first clause, "It was splendid and expensive" cannot be joined to the second clause as it is now. I recommend against using semi-colons, though that's one way you could link the two clauses. Why is lion capitalized? The "his" before "shoulder blades" should be "the" since you're describing the suit.

    "He doubted none alive today knew the secrets of such art."

    Read this again. See the problem? Ok.

    "Ujioro's helmet was also stunning"

    I'm not stunned. This is lazy description. Instead of telling me that the helmet is stunning, then saying nothing more about it, give me a reason to believe you.

    "Ujioro's armour had been worn for centuries, it was as important to him as his own life, ancient family heirlooms always were."

    Another run-on, and "Ujioro's armour had been worn for centuries" conjures up thoughts of Ujioro wearing it... for centuries. I'd split this into three sentences, and reword the first one so that it isn't so awkward. Tell me that it's centuries old or been passed down through the ages, not that it was worn a lot.

    In short, work on run-ons, choose your words more carefully, and use more decisive descriptions.
     
  3. Banehero

    Banehero IncGamers Member

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    thanks for your time snowglare, here it is again with a few changes : )



    Prologue; Winter Blues

    The valley below was covered by the thick snow of winter. A cold wind blew across its surface as though the god of winter was trying to cleanse the earth of all its impurities. The trees, usually so lovely during the summer had faded and died, there twisted empty branches haunting and ghost-like.

    The sight made Ietsugu shiver and he was glad that he could return home to his fine garden, where the Weeping cherry trees bloomed in winter. He loved wandering past them looking upon their ethereal beauty, treading the snow next to his orchids, and walking beneath the cedar trees with their distinctive bronze leaves.

    He took a deep breath and could taste the clean air. Winter was always refreshing, though admittedly colder than he liked. He closed his eyes and a smile broke across his face, distorting his usual tough looking features. It was not often the Lion of Kyoshi was worried, and at such times it was his garden he would wander to clear his mind of politics and everyday life.

    He turned to face Ujioro studying him with care the way he always studied his retainers. If Ujioro noticed he showed no sign of interest, his face as cold and devoid of emotion as the valley below. His red armour stood out like a torch would at the dead of night, against the backdrop of white snow that caked the land. It was a splendid set and an expensive one too. Only the finest metalworker could produce work like that he thought as he took in the detail of the suit with its golden inlay and lion sticking out from the ends of the shoulder plates and breast as though it was leaping out to attack. Ujioro’s helmet was also fashioned in a similar way to his own helmet, the lion that crouched along its top appeared to grin. For a moment he felt a sudden jealousy. It was ridiculous to feel such a thing though; Ujioro’s armour was ancient and was as important to him as his own life, family heirlooms always were.

    The Lion of Kyoshi’s gaze wondered behind Ujioro, to stare upon the great castle of his land. Standing tall and proud the castle of Kyoshi, built by his ancestors more than a thousand years ago, its beauty clear even at this distance. The seven story high castle of Kyoshi with its rust coloured roof and walls that were stark white was a picture Ietsugu had wished to capture with paint and paper. So that when he was not there, all he would have to do was look at the painting and feel at home, but no matter how many times he had tried to paint it he could never do it any justice and had painted the picture in his mind instead. It was a sight that filled his heart with pride and it was made all the more beautiful by the surrounding mountains and their white peaks that shone radiantly in the sun’s caressing light, it had been a sight he had missed while away.

    His eyes rested upon the great lion that stood out from the highest mountain, carved out of the very rock of the giant hundreds of years before his birth by craftsman that far surpassed their modern equivalents. He could see scaffolding clutching at its surface and men working on it, repairing the damage received by the statue from nature over the years. The looked like ants troubling a cat, crawling around its open mouth. He could almost imagine the wind from the mountains as its roar.

    “My Lord.†Ujioro’s voice was soft but piercing, like his calm but strong nature. Ietsugu turned his attention back to the man in red shining armour.

    “What is the matter Ujioro?†he asked, a curious look upon his face as he stroked his chin gently, feeling the stubble that had grown in a matter of days. He would have to shave as soon as he returned to the castle, his unkempt look made him appear rugged. He looked more like a ronin than Daimyo. It was something he liked though his wife would say otherwise, she would always complain when he let his facial hair take over.

    “Should we not be going back to the castle?†Ietsugu considered the question and looked over at his men on horseback. Twenty warriors in all, his personal bodyguard, riding the finest horses in all the land and trained well in the art of the Sword and warfare. They all looked tired and cold he thought, though they did not utter a complaint. He really should be getting back to the castle, but what would he tell his people? Not many knew how serious the food shortages actually were, only his closest advisors and those village leaders that looked after the five villages of Kyoshi. It was about time he addressed his people, told them the bad news. It was something that lay heavy on his heart.

    “All in good time Ujioro, I am just taking in the sights. Does it not lighten the burden of the heart to look upon such a thing as this?†he said, stretching out his arms indicating to the scenery that surrounded them. He considered his words, it was a sight he enjoyed, but it just sent home the great responsibilities he had to live with. He would definitely go for a walk in his garden he thought as he went to mount his horse.

    With only the grace a man could muster through years of disciplined training Ietsugu placed his foot on the stirrup and raised himself onto the saddle. He watched Ujioro do the same. Slowly and with Ujioro in tow, he returned to the front of the line of warriors and began a slow pace home.
     
  4. DurfBarian

    DurfBarian IncGamers Member

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    Sort of a post-and-run, but:
    * Cherries in Japan bloom from late March to mid-April, not in winter. Plum blossoms can be seen in February, though. (They're blooming right now in fact.) There's no need to capitalize "weeping," by the way.
    * Orchids don't like snow at all.
    * Cedars (the sugi in Japan) are evergreen; they have needles, and the needles are not bronze unless the tree is dying or dead.
    </botanical lesson>
     
  5. Banehero

    Banehero IncGamers Member

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    thanks for the information funny I did check this stuff on the net and it said that these bloomed in winter. Oh well, knowing my luck they were probably in some kind of greenhouse
    :thumbsup:
     

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