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No Forgiveness



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Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:12 pm
Vampyre says...



A leering, decaying mouth, blood leaking from numerous wounds on the grey mass of flesh that could once have been a face...”No!”

The reverberations of my own anguished yell woke me, but did nothing to dispel the images of the demonic Sal’cun. Panting, I struggled into a sitting position, glaring at my shaking hands as if my rage could quell their trembling. Hate for the Sal’cun tore through me, and I envisioned, with cold, deliberate slowness, thrusting the biting steel of my sword into its disfigured body. I would make it suffer as it my family had...At that, my hate fled as my family forced their images into my mind. In response, the tear-tracks channelled down my face burned, awaiting a fresh torrent, anticipating the opening of the floodgates in my eyes.

The girl screams out dry sobs no one can hear as her mother collapses. The glazed, bloody eyes lie close enough for her to watch a trickle of blood running down the side of the ruined mouth, staining the already-cooling lips red. Her father yells, pressing his hand over the blood gushing from his stomach. Stumbling towards the girl on the ground, he trips to his knees in front of her. Stretching out a shaking hand, teeth bared from the effort it takes, he reaches for the terrified face before him. The effort proves too much, and the sobs burst into uncontrollable hysterics as Ilora watches her father's hand drop limply as he dies, still kneeling before her.


I gritted my teeth against the tears that gathered in my eyes. I would not give the Sal’cun that much satisfaction.

Outside my tent, the sun glowed on the horizon, signalling the start of another day. I grinned with savage bloodlust as I stepped off the grey mat I’d slept on. This day brought the trial of the Sal’cun. My lips parted in a fierce war cry. I would give the creature no mercy.

I pushed through the opening flaps of my tent, staring into the rising sun; meeting its burning rays as a challenge. On the exterior, I was unruffled; the only sign of my turmoil was in my sword-grey eyes. I'd fought too long against the restraints of my sex to hold this position of authority; no one would see me break.
The sword at my waist brushed against my skin, and a ripple of anticipation ran through me.

Men streamed towards the pit; I was the only woman in camp. Some of them still viewed me with slight contempt. I’d deal with them soon. I snarled at a young man who jostled me in his hurry to reach the pit. He shrank back, bowing his head in deference. Turning scornfully away, I groaned inwardly as I spotted Narir making his way towards me. The old man was the only one who insisted I kept mercy and forgiveness. He made a great deal of that, as if there was a purpose I could fulfil by being merciful.

I pushed past Narir as he spoke, trying not to listen to his fanciful words. “Ilora, please wait...Let me help you to forgive...Ilora...”

I spared him no glance as I arrived at the pit. I peered eagerly into it. The Sal’cun was crouched in the corner, attempting to shade its eyes with a filthy, clawed hand. I laughed cruelly as a man kicked at a bunch of leaves partially shading the pit, sending more sunlight flooding into the creature’s bestial pupils. The Sal’cun screamed with pain. More men arrived, cramming and pushing around the pit. Only I had a clear space, next to the man conducting the trial.

As the trial began, my gaze drifted to the Sal’cun below. It appeared to be listening to the charges being read against it. “...murder, arson, theft...”

I shook my head. The Sal’cun didn’t seem worried at all about what it was facing. One of those charges alone would be punishable by death. My sword hand itched. I would deliver the killing blow. Glancing upwards, I caught sight of Narir. He was watching me. Irritably, I jerked my head away with a glare, returning my gaze to the pit.

Suddenly, the Sal’cun’s head snapped up, locking his eyes on mine. I couldn’t breathe; I was trapped. Blearily I heard the formal words of the trial, the question required by tradition; we all knew what my answer would be. This was the moment I’d been waiting for. The moment I could take my revenge on the Sal’cun. The words rang in my ears, amid the bloodthirsty catcalls and jeers from the rest of the encampment.

“And do you, our Commander Ilora, choose to give this Sal’cun forgiveness and let him go free?”
“No!” I spat. It was all I could say, and the Sal’cun’s eyes still bored into mine, the hint of something like a smile twisting the grey lips. A tugging feeling had me grasping for something to steady myself on. I began to feel disconnected, and a clutch of fear gripped me. And then...I was somehow in the pit. With a cry of shock I reached for my sword, wheeling to face the Sal’cun...But it wasn’t there. I became aware of the fact that no one was trying to save me. I looked up, only to scream as the light stabbed my eyes. With growing horror I looked down at myself. I looked at myself, but only saw the body of a Sal’cun. Dimly, I heard the echoes of my own disgusted snarl, in response to the question I had brushed aside.

The rabble cheered and shouted as the body of Ilora raised the great sword. The Sal’cun felt the swords’ weight, and then stepped forward to meet the now-screaming body in the pit. It felt glee at its task, and only glee.

After all, there was to be no forgiveness...

And I screamed as my own body stepped forward, my trusted sword raised against me.
Last edited by Vampyre on Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
That night she drew her swan breath in a bed
Made soft with all her razor blades,
That kissed her wrists with the romance you lacked.
As the hands that you’d kissed now dealt the trades


  





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Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:19 am
canislupis says...



Hi! Here to review as requested.

My first thoughts, upon reading this, were "uh-oh, another fantasy in which the female MC must prove her worthiness/another fantasy in which the main character must be better than his enemy by practicing forgiveness. Ugh." But then, with her choice of NO forgiveness, she dies--and I loved that conclusion. :D It was unexpected, but fitting. I also love the way you think that just maybe, the humans aren't any better than the Sal'cun, which was refreshing to read.

So, anyway, there are still a few things I would change. I think I'll go through line by line now, as this is a short story...

My shout of terror and anguish ripped me from sleep. The image of the demonic Sal’cun was still fresh in my mind.


I like that you opened with showing just why she hates it so much, but I still felt that this was slightly info-droppy. I especially didn't like the "my shout of..." line--I think it was meant to describe the "No!"? If so, describe how it reverberates in her surroudings, or something. Just don't describe things as an afterthought.

Panting, I struggled into a sitting position. Rage infused my mind. Hate for the Sal’cun tore through me, and I envisioned, with cold, deliberate slowness, thrusting the biting steel of my sword into its disfigured body. I would make it suffer as it my family had...


First line=love. Second line, nope. It's not very original and it seems like you could come up with a better way to say "I'm angry." ;D The rest of this paragraph I also love.

Leaving my tent, I began to make my way to the pit in which the Sal’cun was held. In exterior, I was unruffled; the only sign of my turmoil was in my sword-grey eyes. I would not let others see any emotion. I had fought hard for my position. Men still believed that women could not be fighters, let alone hold any position of authority. I’d show them too. The sword at my waist brushed against my skin, and a ripple of anticipation ran through me.


Avoid showing characters "beginning" to do something--it'll make your writing stronger. I also think you meant "on the exterior" or the like, as "in exterior" sounds weird. The second part of this paragraph wasn't as good--it's telling. I'd delete it altogether, and replace it with something showing how she feels--for example, the next scene where someone jostles her and someone else looks at her disdainfully would be enough, along with some of her body language--arrogant head tilt, etc.

I pushed past Narir as he spoke, trying not to listen to his fanciful words. “Ilora, you must keep forgiveness. Forgive the Sal’cun. There are reasons...you can do things no one else can. Ilora, wait...”



This felt a little--ok, very--cliche to me. On the one hand, I like how she completely ignores him, but it still sticks out a bit. Maybe have him tone it down a bit?

“No!” I growled out. It was all I could say, and the Sal’cun’s eyes still bored into mine. I began to feel disconnected, and a clutch of fear gripped me. And then...I was somehow in the pit. With a cry of shock I reached for my sword, wheeling to face the Sal’cun...But it wasn’t there.


And now we come to my favorite part in the whole piece--I love the timing of it, the way she makes her choice and can't take it back. However, I do think the transition could be smoother. It was a bit confusing--is the Sal'cun actually making her do it, or is it her? I think the shift could have just one or two more descriptions. Also, is "growled out" really what you meant? Because I just tried it and got a very weird look from my brother--it's hard, and it sounds like you have something stuck in your throat. So, maybe she shouts, maybe she says it without emotion, maybe she smiles. Up to you.

I'm at the end now, so just one more little thing--would they really give her the option to pardon him? I mean, it seems like they're all as bloodthirsty as she is. It does help the story along, so I think you could just add a bit of explanation--is it an old tradition that's required by law, that she just has to wave away? Or something else?

As for your MC, I liked her--sortof. I do think you could've used a bit more development in that area, maybe with some backstory or images from when he killed her family, but all in all I could understand her motivation and enjoyed reading about her.

Hope I helped at least a little, and feel free to ask for another review anytime. :D

Lupis
  





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Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:55 am
canislupis says...



Hi again!

I do think it's much better now. :D Especially the cliched bits--I really like the edits you did.

Actually, I did find one thing that I missed last time :oops: It was this paragraph:

Outside my tent, the sun glowed on the horizon, signalling the start of another day. I grinned with savage bloodlust as I stepped off the grey mat I’d slept on. This day brought the trial of the Sal’cun. My lips parted in a fierce war cry. I would give the creature no mercy.


1: if it's a mat, that implies that it's close to the floor, so she couldn't really step off of it.

2: Who just screams randomly? Who knows, maybe she does. But it still felt off.

The rabble cheered and shouted as the body of Ilora raised the great sword. The Sal’cun felt the swords’ weight, and then stepped forward to meet the now-screaming body in the pit. It felt glee at its task, and only glee.



This is in first person, so the switch to third felt a little abrupt--can she sense the Sal'cun's glee? Can she see it in her own face? ('cause that would be disturbing). Anyway, I'm just not sure I like the immediate change--if you kept it first person, or at least added some sort of transition (on the edge of the pit, the Sal'cun felt.... or something. Not a good example, but you get the point.)


Thos're (I love inventing contractions, lol) really nitpicky, but other than that I still really like this story. The only thing I would work on at this point is the prose itself. It's pretty good now (no real errors, and it flows fairly well) but it could be a bit more unique/have more depth. I can't think of any particular places, but I suggest leaving this for a while, and then coming back in a month or so. Read it aloud, and look for awkward sentences, places where a more original similie/metaphor would be better, places where you can describe your character more, etc. I know that doesn't sound like good advice, but sometimes giving a piece some time really works for me. :D

Again, feel free to ask for a review anytime. I really enjoyed reading this.

See you around!

Lupis
  





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Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:09 pm
borntobeawriter says...



Hey there, Vampyre.

I'm not going to go through the nitpicks because Lupis did an excellent job of that. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this piece.

There was no taking back her final thought, and she paid for it dearly. I absolutely love the moral of that.

I found her characters to be well defined. You learn so much from them from their thoughts and actions, such as Narir wanted her to forgive. I am quite impressed with your talent.

Sorry this wasn't more helpful, but, it didn't need anything more thorough.

Tanya :D
  





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Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:33 pm
Sins says...



Hey, Vampyre! :)

I'm here to review. I'm not sure if I'm going to be much help, to be honest... You've already got some great reviews, and by what I saw when I skimmed over the piece, I can't see myself being able to critique much...

The only negative I could really see in this might just be a personal thing. At times, I was a little confused about what was going on, especially near the end. Did you swap POVs for a brief moment? I think you did. There's nothing really wrong with that, but I had to read over it to realise that you had, in fact, swapped it to 3rd person POV. Another problem that I think is effecting the confusingness (Pretend that's a word) is that we seem to be in another world, but we don't know much about it.

Now, you don't necessarily have to do anything about that, but I think you could maybe think about it. We're being put into this situation, but we don't know all that much about it. This feels like a part from a novel really. This is more of an opinionated thing though, so bear that in mind. It's great that you're introducing us into a new kind of world, but without knowing a little about it, it's hard to really understand everything that's going on and why it's going on. In the end, this isn't a huge problem, but I thought I'd bring it up.

Another thing is me being a bit nit-picky. The narrator dies, right? Correct me if I'm wrong! The problem is that if she's dead, how can she be speaking in past tense...? People don't tend to be able to tell tales when they're six feet under. If this was in present tense or third person, it would be perfectly fine. Considering it is in past tense, it's a little odd that your MC is telling the story after she's dead. I may just be being stupid, and your MC doesn't even die, but that's what I assume happened.

Nit-picks aside, I really like your writing. It isn't exactly my favourite type of writing, so it's a good thing that you've managed to make me like it! Your grammar overall was wonderful, so a thumbs up for that.

Sorry I haven't been an awful amount of help... O.o

Keep writing,

xoxo Skins
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Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:24 pm
Charlii101 says...



WOW! really good loving how it all connects together and you want to know more about the story!
sorry but i just didn't get the ending bit i understood how they changed bodies and all but it ust got a bit confusing for me so try and tame it down a bit make it a bit more understandable. but overall really good loving the literiture really good skills!
  





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Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:20 pm
Tigersprite says...



Tiger here to review! I apologize for not doing this earlier. Comments shall be in bold.

Vampyre wrote:A leering, decaying mouth, blood leaking from numerous wounds on the grey mass of flesh that could once have been a face...”No!”

The reverberations of my own anguished yell woke me, but did nothing to dispel the images of the demonic Sal’cun. Panting, I struggled into a sitting position, glaring at my shaking hands as if my rage could quell their trembling. Hate for the Sal’cun tore through me, and I envisioned, with cold, deliberate slowness, thrusting the biting steel of my sword Because you described the action before you wrote it, with cold deliberate slowness seems like you're describing her envisioning the scene. It doesn't seem like you're describing her stabbing the Sal'cun. Maybe you should switch this part of the sentence around like this: Hate for the Sal'cun tore through me, and I envisioned thrusting the biting steel of my sword, with cold deliberate slowness, into its disfigured body. into its disfigured body. I would make it suffer as it my family had...At that, my hate fled as my family forced their images into my mind This sentence sounds a bit off. You're trying to cram to much description in too little a space. Try: At the thought of them, my hatred fled. In response, This part isn't really necessary the tear-tracks channelled down my face burned, awaiting a fresh torrent, anticipating the opening of the floodgates in my eyes Again, trying to cram too much description in to the point that the sentence makes no sense. These might fit better and are a lot simpler: My face burned and I could feel my eyes readying for an outbreak of tears OR Instead of the hate, sadness over-whelmed me.

The girl screams out dry sobs no one can hear this sounds odd. There's no need for scream and sob to be in the same sentence, because they're two different things. Either she's screaming or sobbing. Actually, perhaps you should just make that sobbing, because you when you scream people will definitely hear you as her mother collapses. The glazed, bloody eyes whose eyes? Her mother's? Be specific lie close enough for her to watch a trickle of blood running down the side of the ruined mouth, staining the already-cooling lips red Her mother has collapsed. That would indicate she's lying down. So the trickle of blood wouldn't run down the side of her mouth. Not unless it was her mouth that was bleeding, but then it would be running down her cheek. Her father yells dying or not, surely he heard her scream/ sob? So that contrasts the first sentence of this paragraph , pressing his hand over the blood gushing from his stomach. Stumbling towards the girl on the ground, he trips falls to his knees in front of her. Stretching out a shaking hand, teeth bared from the effort it takes, he reaches for the terrified face before him. The effort proves too much, and the sobs burst into uncontrollable hysterics as Ilora watches her father's hand drop limply as he dies, still kneeling before her. The sentence is meant to be dramatic, however its length takes away from this somewhat. It might be better in two sentences as: The effort prves too much, and the sobs burst into uncontrollable hysterics as Ilora watches her father's hand drop. He dies, still kneeling before her.


I gritted my teeth against the tears that gathered in my eyes. I would not give the Sal’cun that much much implies that she plans to give him some sort of satisfaction, and I'm not sure that's what you mean. So maybe you should be rid of this part satisfaction.

Outside my tent, the sun glowed on the horizon, signalling the start of another day. I grinned with savage bloodlust savage bloodlust is a tad over-descriptive. Perhaps just ordinary bloodlust would do as I stepped off the grey mat I’d slept on. This day brought the trial of the Sal’cun. My lips parted in a fierce war cry. I would give the creature no mercy.

I pushed through the opening flaps of my tent, staring into the rising sun; meeting its burning rays as a challenge. On the exterior, I was unruffled; the only sign of my turmoil was in my sword-grey Sword-grey? Not all swords are grey. And anyway, it's still an odd way to describe the colour grey. Maybe steel-grey? eyes. I'd fought too long against the restraints of my sex to hold this position of authority; no one would see me break.
The sword at my waist brushed against my skin Having a sword gives me the impression that she is wearing some sort of armour. Even if not, it's a bit dangerous for her sword to be brushing against her skin. You'd think she'd be wearing some sort of leggings or have the sword in a sheath or something , and a ripple of anticipation ran through me.

Men streamed towards the pit; I was the only woman in camp. Some of them still viewed me with slight contempt. I’d deal with them soon. I snarled at a young man who jostled me in his hurry to reach the pit. He shrank back, bowing his head in deference. Turning scornfully this description isn't necessary. Her action and his reaction clearly show who holds the power/ authority, so scornfully isn't very necessary away, I groaned inwardly as I spotted Narir making his way towards me. The old man was the only one who insisted I kept mercy and forgiveness. He made a great deal of that, as if there was a purpose I could fulfil by being merciful.

I pushed past Narir as he stopped and spoke to me, trying not to listen to his fanciful Not sure that fanciful is the best choice of words here. Foolish, maybe? words. “Ilora, please wait...Let me help you to forgive...Ilora...”

I spared him no glance But she already looked at him, anyway as I arrived at the pit. I peered eagerly into it. The Sal’cun was crouched in the corner, attempting to shade its eyes with a filthy, clawed hand. I laughed cruelly as a man kicked at a bunch of leaves partially shading the pit, sending more sunlight flooding into the creature’s bestial pupils. The Sal’cun screamed with pain. More men arrived, cramming and pushing around the pit. Only I had a clear space, next to the man conducting the trial.

As the trial began, my gaze drifted to the Sal’cun below. It appeared to be listening to the charges being read against it. “...murder, arson, theft...”

I shook my head. The Sal’cun didn’t seem worried at all about what it was facing. One of those charges alone would be punishable by death. My sword hand itched. I would deliver the killing blow. Glancing upwards, I caught sight of Narir. He was watching me. Irritably, I jerked my head away with a glare Maybe you should say she was glaring before she jerks her head away. Because what you've currently written is sort-of confusing , returning my gaze to the pit.

Suddenly, the Sal’cun’s head snapped up, locking his eyes on mine. I couldn’t breathe; I was trapped. Blearily Bleary and all its forms refer to sight. But you're referring to hearing, so this isn't the right word. Try distantly or dimly I heard the formal words of the trial, the question required by tradition; we all knew what my answer would be. This was the moment I’d been waiting for. The moment I could take my revenge on the Sal’cun. The words rang in my ears, amid the bloodthirsty catcalls and jeers from the rest of the encampment.

“And do you, our Commander Ilora, choose to give this Sal’cun forgiveness and let him go free?”
“No!” I spat. It was all I could say, and the Sal’cun’s eyes still boredbore into mine, the hint of something like a smile twisting theits grey lips. A tugging feeling had me grasping tugging and grasping are so similar in meaning, that the sentence is confusing because I get the impression they are being used to describe the same thing. Maybe you should exchange tugging for odd or strange for something to steady myself on. I began to feel disconnected, and a clutch of fear gripped me. And then...I was somehow in the pit. With a cry of shock I reached for my sword, wheeling to face the Sal’cun...But it wasn’t there. I became aware of the fact that no one was trying to save me. I looked up, only to scream as the light stabbed Pained? Hurt? Stabbed seems a bit out of place here? my eyes. With growing horror I looked down at myself. I looked at myself, but only saw the body of a Sal’cun. Dimly, I heard the echoes of my own disgusted snarl, in response to the question I had brushed aside.

The rabble cheered and shouted as the body of Ilora raised the great sword. The Sal’cun felt theswords’ sword's weight, and then stepped forward to meet the now-screaming body in the pit. It felt glee at its task, and only glee.

After all, there was to be no forgiveness...

And I screamed as my own body stepped forward, my trusted sword raised against me.


All in all, I liked this. The ending was strange and entirely not what I was expecting. The whole story is written as if there could be more to this, perhaps a small novel rather than a short story.

I'm thrilled that there weren't any spelling mistakes, and no grammatical errors save that sword thing at the end. It's a great piece, and I enjoyed reading. The only nitpick I have is that at some points, you tend to be over-descriptive, and it impeded the flow of the story. But that's it, really. So great job, and KEEP WRITING!

Tiger

P. S. *likes*
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