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Here There Be Dragons [edit] - 1

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Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:07 pm
Ranger Hawk says...

I've rewritten everything I posted before; the main reason I'm posting the edited version now is so that some things are clarified and the plot makes more sense as the story progresses. I've also taken your previous critiques and hopefully improved it.

Thanks in advance for any reviews! :D

Here There Be Dragons

Humans are, in my opinion, some of the stupidest creatures in existence. Now, seeing as you’re most likely of this species yourself, give me a moment to explain.
You spend most of your insignificant little life scrabbling around, trying to support yourself along with your mate and offspring. You take up a profession in order to obtain food (as if it is such a rare commodity!) and shelter (as if you’re too good for caves), and are constantly paying homage to someone who’s in a better position than you are and who holds sway over your pitiful life.
When you do finally die, you’re just replaced by your offspring, who go through the same wearisome toil. And thus it passes, generation after generation, eon after eon.
Sound fun? Well if it does, then good, because that’s your lot. If it doesn’t, then tough. You’ll die soon enough anyways, whether in battle or from disease or old age to give it much worry.
Now, all this would be just fine and dandy for you; I wouldn’t be complaining if I’d just be left well enough alone. But no, no, you couldn’t do that; you have to go and drag my kin and I into your little matters—especially those of love.
Oh yes, you humans spend a good deal of time worrying about that. Couldn’t make do with any of the females in your own village who are of the same stock and breed as yourself; no, you have to go for the finest of the brood. And look where it ends you up; she gives you some material token as a pledge, and you sally forth to do “brave deeds.”
Even this would be ridiculous but innocuous—save for the fact that the most popular of your deeds is to kill off my type.
It’s quite sickening, really.
And you wonder why we dragons don’t like you.
Of course, there are those rare exceptions—those humans who aren’t completely obsessed with issues of love, power, or greed. Such humans as these are hardly ever seen, and especially not by dragons. Most of those people are smart enough to know that to approach a dragon without the purpose of and proper protection for slaying it is suicidal. And yet, even here there are exceptions. I should know; I met one, a long time back, and he was quite possibly the most idiotic human with the most inane ideas. It was back when I was living in the pleasant countryside of Westerfold…

Chapter One - Jot
Our meeting started as most of these things go. I was asleep, in my cave, when the most raucous clattering and gasping reached my subconscious, drawing me out of my slumber. I kept my eyes closed, as it’s best to never let on that you know they’re there; it’s much easier to pretend you’re unaware of their presence until—whoop!—they’re in your stomach. But, though my eyes were closed, my ears were listening intently, and with an inward sigh realized what it was.
Another enterprising young man was no doubt ascending the cliff, working his way up to my cave’s yawning mouth in the hope that he’d catch a napping dragon whose head he could easily slice off.
Well, it was my lunchtime. I stretched silently, so as not to alarm the young man below, checked my claws (sharp and serrated, as always), and prepared myself for a bit of exercise. Call it the cat in me, but I always liked to give a young knight the feeling like he could possibly win the fight. Besides, it would rile his blood and therefore make him much tastier than if said fluid was frozen in fear.
There was a faint scraping sound, which I put down to the slippery part of the cliff that lacked any sort of handhold. There was a muttered curse, a few rocks were dislodged, and then silence. He was probably hanging around a precarious spot, barely daring to breathe, wondering if the noise would awaken the beast within the lair. I kept in a snort of amusement and listened. Very faint—but I heard it. He was on the move again, this time going at a slower pace, more careful of his foot placement.
At this point, I gave a little cough that echoed through the cave in a warning manner, just to see what he’d do. The noises stopped; he was frozen again, most likely praying fervently and gathering his courage.
After a minute, I was beginning to wonder if he had fallen, but he started up again, rather reluctantly. I yawned; at the rate he was going, he would become my afternoon collation instead of my lunch.
I considered flying out, plucking him off the side of the cliff, and disposing of him then and there. But then, I was always such a sporting chap; wouldn’t be quite fair, and I could wait a little longer. Patience of a cat, that’s me—though I’ve already likened myself to a cat, haven’t I? Well, you know what I mean.
A gloved hand appeared on the lip of the cave floor, and my tail twitched in anticipation. I drew a little further back, into the depths of the cave, so as to be hidden by the shadows. Labored breathing, then—alley-oop!—his head popped up, and two anxious eyes scanned the cave.
I’ve had far too much experience to let myself be shown, and there was a good deal of squinting before the youth decided I must be asleep deep within the cavern, since I wasn’t roaring or blowing fire (which is, contrary to popular belief, not commonly done; hurts the throat like hell). Taking heart in the silence, he pulled the rest of his clanky self up onto the ledge, then spent a good deal of time fiddling with the buckles on his helmet.
To say the least, I wasn’t impressed by what I saw. The knight looked like he was barely a man—seventeen, at most. He had a pale, sickly face with two eyeballs that seemed to strain out of their sockets and gave him a perpetually shocked expression. He was breathing hard, evidently out of shape, and his armor—well! I certainly wouldn’t be able to see myself in it without giving it a good scrubbing and soaking in vinegar, to get the rust off.
And the sword…perhaps the knight’s most critical item, seeing how it would be his main defense. I quickly spotted it, hanging from his belt in a scabby leather sheath. It looked like it was stuck in there, and I wondered if it had ever occurred to the boy who was now bearing it to check and see if it could come out of the scabbard. Aside from all this finery, he also had a large leather pack hanging from his back. It looked ragged and close to turning into shreds. All in all, I was not impressed.
The youth, in the meantime, had regained his breath and his feet, and stood warily at the edge of the cave, swaying a little as he tried to get a good look inside. The closed helmet on his head couldn’t have helped much, but he evidently felt like he should be prepared for whatever was inside—as if a bit of metal could protect him from my wrath, should I choose to unleash it!
I toyed with the idea of simply converging on him with a frightening roar, to get that heart pumping, but I have to admit my appetite had gone a little sour at seeing how bony he’d be—there wasn’t much meat or substance.
So I decided to mess with his head a bit before doing anything else.
“Who goes there?” I rasped in a guttural tone.
The effect was marvelous. There was a clanging as he jumped in his armor, and then he began to tremble, setting the whole cave ringing with a muffled metal rattling.
“Wh-who speaks?” he asked in a high, strangled voice.
“The owner of this cave, no less! Whom else wouldst thy expect?” I reverted to my scant store of Old English; this was always a surefire way of gaining their respect. Besides, no one spoke it anymore and I was free to butcher the grammar however I wished without getting any jaw back about it.
“Sh-show yourself,” the young knight demanded, gripping the hilt of his sword.
“What?” I thundered, making him cower. I was thoroughly enjoying myself now. “And who art thou, that thy shouldst give a behest and expect me, the owner and master of this cave which thou art in, to obey?”
I must admit, whenever I spoke in the old language, I often confused both myself and my poor audience; the boy was no exception.
“Eh?” His helmeted head was tilted to one side.
“Silence, mortal!” (Everyone knows that one, so I was all right.) “You are never to question me. Indeed, I shall question you, and now you must needs tell me the purport of thy quest here.” I moved forward, still mostly shadowed, but letting enough of the sunlight show patches of my scales. My head extended forward a bit and I glared down at the boy.
He stared up at me through his visor, silent as a grave (well, a gravestone, more like, since on Hallow’s Eve those noisome specters will make the most hideous caterwauling noise). His silence began to irk me, and I growled, “Why do you not talk?”
“Y-you just said to be silent,” he protested.
“Oh. So I did. But that was then. Now I want you to SPEAK!” This last was given in an impressive roar that shook the cave. I distinctly heard a faint tinkle, as of broken glass. “Oh damn, I hope that wasn’t the mirror. Just my luck—”
I broke off, suddenly realizing that I was speaking my thoughts aloud in a slightly-less terrifying voice. Clearing my throat hastily, I boomed again, “Well, mortal, what havest thou to answer?”
“Erm,” he began, and I noticed his posture was a little less cowering than it had been before. Never mind, he’d soon be screaming in horror once I had him on his back, squiggling like a worm. “I’m on a quest,” he began, and I stopped him there.
“Oh yes, a quest. I’ve heard that before, and I know what your foul intentions are, boy! You think you are here to slay me and remove my heart and give it to the lady of your life so that she may pledge her love to you, her conquering knight! Oh yes, I know what you are here for.”
“Well, it’s not exactly like that,” he began in a mumble, but I didn’t care to hear the details.
“You shall find, however, that you have come to your demise. How many knights have come to this very cave, seeking my treasure, my heart, my head? And how many have departed with their own lives? None.”
“You mean none have come here before?” he asked, interest sincere in his tone.
“No, stupid, I mean that none return. Many have come, none have returned.”
“But surely someone must have returned. Otherwise, how could anyone know where you live?”
I paused. “Legend, boy, legend. I am known throughout the land as being the scourge of the countryside.”
“Right,” he said, in one of those patronizing tones. “But are you a very big dragon? I mean, I can’t see you very well, so for all I know you’re just a rinky-dink one and I’m wasting my time here. I’m looking for a gigantic dragon, you see.”
“Of course I’m enormous!” I snapped, irritated. This boy wasn’t responding the way I had been expecting, and it was rather annoying. “I’m the largest dragon you’ll ever see! You thought you were speaking with a paltry lizard?”
“Or a wizard,” he said. I couldn’t be sure, what with his face hidden under that helmet, but he sounded like he was smiling.
That, of course, was a bad thing to say for someone in his position (being at my mercy, that is). We dragons have a sketchy history with wizards at best, and a downright hostile one at worst. Not sure exactly how it started, but I know that personally I find wizards annoying little upstarts who want to control the world, lives, etc., without much knowhow. We dragons can’t help showing off every now and then, and it galls the wizards to see us flaunting our natural skills while they slog on and on, trying all manner of spells to emulate us. Very flattering, I’m sure, but when wizards start plucking scales here and drawing blood there for their potions, it goes too far.
“As you shall see, boy, I am no groveling wizard frittering away in a cave! I am a dragon, and a finer specimen this side of the mountains you shall not find!”
To prove it, I stepped forward into the light, revealing all my glory and splendor. I could almost feel the boy’s eyes widen behind that ridiculous helmet of his.
That part about me being the biggest dragon was rubbish; I know several other dragons who are larger than I, but at the time I did have quite a few centuries’ growth on my bones, and it was impressive enough to a youth who had certainly never set eyes on a beast such as myself. Besides, I was (and still am, thank you) certainly the most handsome dragon, no question there. My forest green scales shone in the light, while the row of silver spikes upon my back glittered like jewels. My expansive wings I had to keep folded in the cave, but I swished my long, point-tipped tail and lowered my head (keeping a good eye on the sword in the sheath, mind you). I pulled back my upper lip and snarled, showing off my first row of sharp, meat-tearing teeth.
“Well?” I hissed, flicking my long forked tongue out at him. To his credit, he didn’t stumble back, only winced.
“You are indeed a large dragon,” he said solemnly.
“Hell yes I am. And don’t you mention any wizards to me if you know what’s good for you.”
“D-do you,” he started, trying to find his words, “do you have a name?”
“A name? What for?” I eyed him carefully; the talkative humans are always the ones who have some ulterior motive to all their questions, if you can just discover what they’re aiming at.
“For being called,” he replied. Then, realizing how demeaning that could be taken, he added, “If someone were to want to get your attention.”
“Screams usually work,” I said casually, sitting up. Adolescence encased in sun-baked metal does not give off a pleasant odor, let me tell you.
“But, but surely you have a name? A title?”
“If it means that much to you,” I said, a little mystified at his persistence. “I’m Jot.”
“Jot?” he repeated dubiously.
“Yes,” I replied tetchily. “It’s Jot. As in, ‘I don’t give a jot whether you like my name or think it’s impressive or whatnot.’” Humans always took issue with my name for some reason. “Anyways, what about you, Stringbean? What do they call you?”
“My name is Chance, son of Ivan of the Woles.”
I knew the Woles area—a dreary, boggy land with sagging castles and a pitiful population. I had once burned their village down; it was unintentional, I swear. The place just looked so wet and dismal that I had wanted to light it up a bit, give it a bit more cheer. It just got a little out of hand. I have to say, though, it was the only time I actually saw the villagers move faster than a shuffle as they ran out of the buildings to beat the flames down.
“And what are you doing here, Chance?”
He took a deep breath. Here it came—the avowal of love, of fealty, of dreams. I waited resignedly.
“There is a girl—”
“Oh dear, I thought so.”
“—and I must rescue her.”
“Well, you must have the wrong cave, because there’s no girl here, I can assure you.” True that—the place was a mess. Definitely no female touch here for a while.
“I know that she is not here. But you are—and I need your help.”
I blinked. Then I blinked again, more slowly. “You what?”
“I need your help.”
There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people:
psychopaths and mystery writers.

I'm the kind that pays better.
~Rick Castle

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Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:37 pm
IcyFlame says...

Ranger! Glad you've got round to rewriting so here I am to rereview :D

You know how much I love the original chapter and that hasn't changed a bit! I do have a nitpick, but other than that it's still as awesome as ever!

Ranger Hawk wrote:You’ll die soon enough anyways, whether in battle or from disease or old age to give it much worry.

From the way Jot is speaking, it would be better to keep this as formal as possible.

This chapter seems longer than before, did you merge parts one and two?
Anyway... excellent work mortal! As always :)

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Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:15 pm
L5na2 says...

this is a very interesting concept. I see why you put that first part in but I don't know that it was really all that necessary, it made it kind of long, though parts of it were rather amuzing. I think when you introduced Chance climbing up to his cave and his thoughts then were sufficient to get across what you conveyed before. But overall very interesting.

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Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:06 pm
MissEssence666 says...

This is very interesting, It caught my attention. I hope you post more of it...

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Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:42 pm
borntobeawriter says...


So glad you've started posting this. I didn't see much difference with the first version, but it was a pleasure to read Jot again, in all his scaly glory.

Keep using that keyboard!


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Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:03 pm
Snoink says...

Even this would be ridiculous but innocuous—save for the fact that the most popular of your deeds is to kill off my type.

It’s quite sickening, really.

I still think more of a digression is needed here. :P

But then, I was always such a sporting chap; wouldn’t be quite fair, and I could wait a little longer.

Improper use of semicolon!

All in all, I was not impressed.

Put this in a new paragraph.

“Oh damn, I hope that wasn’t the mirror. Just my luck—”

This also may be good in a new paragraph. Just introduce like, "I cursed. 'Oh damn...'"
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach

Moth and Myth <- My comic! :D

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Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:45 pm
spiderman says...

Spiderman here!
I never read the first version of this story, but I must say that I am deeply impressed. I usually avoid books about dragons, but this one actually seems worthwile. It has humor, a voice, flows like silk (or is it milk). It's pure genius. You must try to get this published. I will cetrainly be reading the next chapters. I hope their as good.
Despite the lies that you're making
Your love is mine for the taking
My love is just waiting
To clothe you in crimson roses


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Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:04 am
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JabberHut says...

Raaaaaangerrrrrrr! Hi! :D I don't remember the last time I read your work, but this title caught my attention a looong time ago. It pleases me greatly to see you posted a new, edited version. So now only do you benefit from a new set of eyes, I benefit by reading the better version! SCORE!

Anyway. At this point, I just read your introduction. I absolutely love it. XD The dragon's character is so clear in this bit. I already love the guy. I can't wait to read chapter one.

So. *reads*

But, though my eyes were closed, my ears were listening intently, and with an inward sigh, I realized what it was.

I don't think your ears sighed. That would be weird. xD

So far, it's said the knight looks to be about seventeen. That sounds a few years younger than what I'd give him to be a knight at. Maybe in his early twenties, but I think at seventeen, he'd be at least with a master. Maybe as a squire or a petty knight who wasn't allowed on his own quite yet. He's probably not used to fighting real enemy knights, let alone creatures (and definitely dragons).

“You are never to question me. Indeed, I shall question you, and now you must needs tell me the purport of thy quest here.”

I'm not an Old English expert, but should there at least be, like... a T there? xD *confused audience*

At this point, I was going with the young knight thing. That seems to have a purpose in this story. The sudden shift from completely terrified to cool and collected took me by surprise. Perhaps mention somewhere in there a change in body posture? I don't think someone cowering in the corner would be talking back to the dragon. They'd at least stand up somewhat straighter, put hands on hips, tap the sword hilt, or you know.. something. XD I realize you've got this bit:

I noticed his posture was a little less cowering than it had been before.

But I'd really like to know how that looks. Just a simple bit, of course. Which you can do with no problem. Your style is marvelous. It just feels like as much as the dragon is watching the guy, the audience isn't quite seeing the change from scaredy-cat to handsome-devil.

Oooh, I like how you ended the chapter. I'm gonna have to read chapter 2 now. That's just downright cruel.

So my only question is the knight (Chance, apparently xD) would really be as terrified as he was made out to be at first. I can't quite tell what kind of guy he is since when I first met him, he seemed to be one of those weak knights that would be forced into danger just to build some backbone in the guy. Chance obviously has some though. Maybe I just read that bit wrong when I first met him.

Anyway, off to chapter 2!

Keep writing!

Jabber, the One and Only!
I make my own policies.

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Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:04 am
Sins says...

Guess who it is? That's right! Captain McMiawMiaw! (Not really, I'm Skins)

I'm really bad at reviewing things after they've been edited, especially when that said thing was awesome as the original version anyway. This will probably be more like a passing comment rather than a review, so brace yourself.

After reading this again, I remembered how much I loved your introduction. It's just so awesome. It makes me want to build a campfire, then dance around it, even though it would make my bedroom catch fire, thus burning my house down. Nonetheless, the temptation is still there. Overall, this hasn't changed much, but I did notice the odd place where you'd tweaked some things for the better, so a great job on that. It seems... tidier as a whole now, I suppose. Not that the original version was like someone had spewed words or anything (far from it), but I can see a definite improvement when it comes to the overall tidiness of the whole thing. Great job! :)

One thing I would like to mention that I never got around to saying to you about this chapter is actually something Jabber mentioned. (Jabber reminded me of it) I agree that the Chance's transition from terrified kid to bold young man seems a little... uneven, I suppose. I noticed this in the original version, but me being me, I forgot to say anything. You start off by describing Chance as very scared, but he quite suddenly becomes brave and I'm not sure why. It's kind of hard to find out as well because we obviously can't see Chance's thoughts or anything, so we can't know why it is he does become less fearful of Jot. Is it because he knows Jot's putting on a fake Old English language thing? I think it may be because the first time you mention him being less scared is when Jot forgets to speak like that. Just make it a bit clearer, methinks.

I obviously know Chance pretty well because I've read the later chapters, so I know what his character's like. For someone who's only read this chapter, they may be a bit confused. They might not know whether he's the brave knight kind of guy, or the timid guy who gets freaked out a lot because both those kind of characters are shown here. It's not, like, an enormous problem that ruins everything or anything, but I think you should make the transition from the timid kid to the more bold guy a bit more subtle, but also clearer... err, pretend that makes sense.

Overall though, I still love this. Jot's voice is awesome (duh), and even though you've only made subtle changes, you've done so effectively and it's totally worked in your favour.

Keep writing,

xoxo Skins
I didn't know what to put here so I put this.

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Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:58 am
Sonotmybirthday says...

I LOVED THIS!!!!!!! I'm a dragon lover and have read every book about dragons I could get my hands on!!! I only noticed a couple of things. One, you started a sentence or two with a 'but' this is an incorrect use of the conjunction. Writers nowadays use it all the time, but its really not proper. The other thing is did you know your title is already taken? I have not acctually read the published "Here there be Dragons" but I've seen it a time or two. Just small things to note, but I loved the story - the writer's voice is awsome!

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Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:53 am
Jashael says...

KATIIIIIE! I wanted to review something of yours. So yeah. Can I split this review into two posts? - since I don't think I can finish it before my dad appears and takes over the computer. OK, he doesn't really do that; but he'll sit beside me till I give the laptop in. ROFL

Since I didn't get to read the first draft, I think that'll be cool. 'Cause you know, my mind is fresh for it. =) Here it goes!

Sound fun?

I'm not so sure about the verb. Does the verb point out a plural noun/event? 'Cause it seems like it's pointing out at what happens. At that one thing about this stupid human beings. =P

Well if it does, then good, because that’s your lot.

OK, it's confirmed; you were talking about that one event. Therefore, in the previous line, I think it should be "sounds".

Sounds fun?

Unless, of course. The character doesn't pay much attention to correct grammar usage. I'm having the feeling that that's what you're character's about:

You’ll die soon enough anyways, whether in battle or from disease or old age to give it much worry.

Anyways, for me, whether used deliberately or because of mere ignorance, is one of the most irritating thing ever! I'm being exaggerated. XD OK, I'm just pointing this out. I don't know if it's deliberate, for your character, of course. It's anyway. Though I do have the feeling you already know that. =)

Couldn’t make do with any of the females...

I couldn't understand this. :\ What does it mean? *frowns* Is it because English is not my native language?

Such humans as these are hardly ever seen, and especially not by dragons.

You can take out the "and" in this one. =)

So I liked the introduction. I like the tone of it. And I was pleased with how you introduced what kind of creature was narrating. =) It really seems cool and I hope I find the time to read finally by next week. (I'm saying finally 'cause the introduction doesn't count. XD) I'm excited! Yiii... =)

~ Bro <3
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen:
not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”


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Thou call'dst me a dog before thou hadst cause. But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs.
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