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Untitled - Chapter 1: To whom it might concern - part 2

by Zarhail


Feel free to nitpick and correct as much grammar as you like, more is better. Any opinions on writing style, too much or too little detail, clarity and whatever else you can think of are much appreciated as well

The bright, cheerful sound of her coms coming back online almost brought her to her feet. “Aertas, 5th Division, Vanguard Remoire reporting in. Armour unbreached, additional oxygen supply has been established, requesting information,” her voice sounded more confident than she felt. The channel was full of sickening sounds, both grim and desperate voices. Her message however should have gone through to her next commanding officer, whoever they might be. Her coordinates would be reported automatically.

She busied herself by trying to use her rifle to roll her old oxygen container back to her, while her mind feverishly searched for her comrades. Fallacy was dead, so were over 15 others, Halfen, Evern and Kidr had their communications cut off, probably dead too by now. Only Jitters was still visible online but even he didn’t respond when she sent him a message. Maybe he was busy. She desperately hoped his armour wasn’t about to report his death as well. Vanguard Ytterbion or, as everyone else called him, Jitters might be paranoid, but today even he had been underestimating their enemy. He had been close though. She requested his coordinates, while the container slowly rolled towards her.

No orders. Not even an answer, but at least now she knew what was going on. No one had seen him either. Zarhail was likely still somewhere out there and soon enough eh might be looking for her. The soldier threw a glance at the text still displayed on her screen. She half-heartedly called up another interface. She was still listening in on the channels, but the news she did get were far from good. At least now she knew she wasn’t about to get attacked, but still couldn’t move from her spot. Might as well try to look up a few things.

Calpharos. He hadn’t lied there at least, it was on the far outer reaches of civilization still not marked for colonisation either. A smaller planet, lower gravity, covered in forest. There was a note about the trees, something concerning growth factors and the special biology of almost everything there. Trees easily over five times taller than elsewhere… Trees matching his descriptions.

She continued down further… it was odd reading about it while having the text file still open. In fact everything felt surreal to her. In the morning she had had a great day… now she was trapped inside a nightmare. She’d found the beings he described, Celphix as they had been called although he appeared to avid mentioning the name. The soldier had a very hard time imagining him as one… long furred, fluffy with large heads, ears and eyes it just didn’t fit. But did it? The descriptions given had been correct, but was it all a just hoax? Still unsure on what to think she kept on reading. High Zarea-distortion capabilities, exact threshold unknown, lacking data. Considered extremely dangerous in groups… Domesticated form kept as pets. Renowned for their musical nature. Intelligence low to medium.

The four legged creature on the picture looked like a caricature of a real animal, with its exaggerated features. Almost as if someone had been intentionally trying to produce the most adorable thing possible, while still keeping an air of mystique. It had to be some sort of joke. She had seen all sorts or Xenos or Zaren, but a nothing this… fluffy. Then again the remnants of old terraforming didn’t usually produce magical abilities. They weren’t exactly natural to humans, although generations of splicing had taken its toll.

Staring at the text she shrugged. It didn’t seem to be about to give up its secrets… either it was complete fabrication or she was missing important pieces of data. On the one hand Zarea distortion or magic was more often seen in more intelligent beings, but on the other hand she could see the links to past studies.

She had no choice nor any other good way to occupy herself but to keep on reading.

I tried to dig my claws into the next branch, but all I could feel was a few of my fingers breaking. I’d managed to slow myself down slightly, but my lungs were failing me.

Instinct saved me on the next branch. I was hanging from my claws, I couldn’t see what was going on. Didn’t know where she’d gone. Still I was alive.

The pain easily went the way of my injuries. It wasn’t the problem. I wanted to run, but she had no way of healing herself, I had to find her, make sure she was going to make it back with me. I called out to her, quiet at first. Then a second time more loudly. I could hear something coming, it was as if it wasn’t made for the forest. Loud, deliberate and far too large.

The second time around I heard something above me. I was racing away from the thing and towards the next tree, around and up. She’d sounded weak. I knew something was coming for us, but I couldn’t leave her. It was my fault she’d come and naïve me decided I had to try and save her. Whatever it was making the sounds was still coming closer. It was breaking off branches on its path with sickening sounds. As if it weren’t flesh at all.

I was digging my claws in harder, trying to propel myself faster towards the sounds. It felt far too long. I can remember the exact pattern of the bark. The places I set my hands and the way my claws dug into the tree. In my memory it feels like hours, but I must only have spent seconds there. One heartbeat was merging into the other. I didn’t care for the pain.

At first I didn’t even see her.

She didn’t move, but the orange thing sticking out of her gave it away. I tore it out without thinking. Then when my nose touched her fur, I felt the venom inside her. She had been paralysed completely. Barely breathing, but I remember relief above all else. She wasn’t dead. The poison was easily taken care of. I was happier than I would be for a very long time then.

The next thing I heard was the same sound again. I could see a shadow approaching though the leaves, cutting the branches aside. Something stung my leg. More orange things and I already felt the venom in my own body.

I leaped away, just as my sister got up. I remember praying she followed, but not looking back. My powers took care of it once again and I was around the tree. I knew it was hunting us, but there was nothing I could do but run. I didn’t think of my sisters powers, but I can remember the sound of thunder. Then a different cracking sound and my sister was with me again.

I didn’t dare look back to see whether it had worked. I didn’t dare to ask her what it looked like either. I just ran. She shot ahead of me, her shards smaller than before and up we went. My body might have been protesting, but if it did, I can’t remember. I was moving faster than ever before in my life, still without being able to shake the feeling of being followed. I was imagining the thing coming up behind us, with claws, spikes and more venom. I wasn’t entirely accurate.

At least the branches seemed to slow it down, but it was still faster than us and seemed to have recovered from my sister’s attack. The sense of impending doom is still clear in my memories, I wasn’t stupid enough to question it even then. It was coming around the trunk, but we continued to keep it between us. By then I had no idea whether I wanted to try and glide anymore. We were higher then than we had been before she got hit, I was still following. My body was starting to protest in earnest by then. I didn’t have time to bother with it, just willing it forward. I could regenerate later.

The orange thing must have fallen out along the way. The thing was catching up. I had no idea what to do.

She did.

I don’t think I’d ever seen her draw an entire shard before then. I could see it in her eyes when she turned, just before it hit me. First the light, then the unmistakable sound of incredible amounts of electricity traveling through air. I looked back. I could smell something burning, hear my sister’s laboured breathing, but I was frozen. I had never seen anything like it. It seemed like something from a nightmare. A cross between a hollow and some sort of giant insectoid. I didn’t have time to keep thinking about it. Her shout for me to follow shook me out of it.

My legs started moving again, the thing tumbled and started to fall. I think it must have at any rate, I wasn’t paying attention to it. We made it another few meters up, then out onto a branch, still running. I think she must have been trying to get as much foliage and trunks between us and them as possible. I had no idea then, I was just trying not to lose her. She might only have had a single shard left, but I was lost. I had no idea where we were going. I didn’t have time to look around. I was starting to use my own shards just to keep myself from collapsing, leaping after her. My claws were bleeding even as I healed them back up. I didn’t have time to figure out where to put my feet. I dug them in wherever I could, just praying I’d manage to keep up.

She wasn’t bleeding. I was looking ahead and saw her body rising, then my hands were out in thin air. I was falling again. I couldn’t tell you all of the thoughts going through my mind. It felt as if I had been falling for hours, but it must have been a few seconds at most. That time around I didn’t feel the pain or the fractures, I knew I was going to die after all. I was happy it hadn’t caught me, but I got lucky.

I hit a branch. Neither of my brains was crushed, my shards were still above me. Even then I didn’t feel pain, just a vague sense that I couldn’t breathe. My heart wasn’t beating, but somehow I didn’t mind. My legs were broken, jaw shattered and some claws torn off, yet none of it mattered. I felt as if I were floating above my body. I could see myself, although my eyes were closed, I could see the bright crimson blood in my fur, leaking out of my body. Everything was oddly tranquil… Of course I knew my sister would be devastated, I knew how everyone back home would react, but somehow none of it was important.

It took the sounds of it approaching again for my fear to take over.

I think it must have been some kind of instinct, reaching for the swirling energy above and inside me. Once again my body was restored. I was back inside my own skin, petrified. I hid my shard below the branch, yet my body wouldn’t move. I think my heart was trying to make up for its previous failure by beating twice as hard as before. I was certain it or the things inside of it could hear me breathe. I kept my eyes closed even as the sound came closer. There was no point in running, it was faster. Even my sister’s lightning hadn’t been able to stop it.

But I was lucky. It passed me over. I could feel the wind from its wings, the noise of it hurting my ears. I didn’t dare to breathe for over half a minute.

Everything was very surreal. I have no idea how I made it back up the trunk, the monster’s noises made it nearly impossible to find my sister. I was completely lost, I hadn’t had much of an idea where we were going even while she was leading, but the trees seemed entirely unfamiliar. I knew it would be after her now, but I had to find her. I didn’t know how it had been following us, I didn’t think about it. I don’t think I was thinking much of anything, if I had I probably wouldn’t have followed it.

However in the interest of veracity I shall tell the story as it was, regardless of my own idiocy or current knowledge. Thus I climbed after it. In a sense it wasn’t difficult. I had absolutely no difficulty finding it for one, however with a lot of branches cut, keeping up with it was another matter. My shards had shrunk, gliding was more difficult and I wasn’t as fast as her to begin with. Still I ran up the trunks, gliding as much as I could and tried to stay out of sight.

Then I heard it again. The sharp sound, like an explosion. This time it was louder, different somehow. I heard her. It wasn’t a cry or a yelp as much as air rushing from her lungs past her vocal chords. I knew I didn’t have time to hide anymore. I still wasn’t thinking.

I could see her. I could see her shards dimming past the thing. I threw myself into a last desperate glide towards her. I knew it was going to see me. I didn’t care. I was trained to save people at one point.

I was already preparing my shards when I landed, I didn’t have much time. Fractions of seconds maybe. I forced my power into her as soon as I made contact, then my body pushed hers off the branch. My glide had been angled in a way that would fling her hopefully both behind and against the trunk, while my shoulder fractured again. When I tumbled down I head the noise again.

This time I didn’t get nearly as lucky. I might have hit another branch not far below, but as soon as my head hit the bark, my memory stops. I don’t know whether she ever made it back. I have no idea what happened after I pushed her. Maybe I hadn’t been fast enough at all, my shards wasted on a dead body. I like to think she did make it, but we all do. Even if I obviously hadn’t managed to kill myself then, I may well have killed her. I don’t know.


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463 Reviews


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Tue May 06, 2014 3:33 am
megsug wrote a review...



Hey, here as requested again~

soon enough eh might be looking for her

Why the eh? If it has to be there, put commas around it. I don't see why it's there though since this is narration, not thought or dialogue.

the news she did get was far from good

I know verbs can be confusing if the language isn't your first. Basically, news, despite looking plural, is actually singular.

although he appeared to aviod mentioning the name


it was odd reading about it while having the text file still open

Uh... Why?

but a nothing this… fluffy.


The pain easily went the way of my injuries

Um... What?

I could see a shadow approaching through the leaves


I didn’t think of my sister's powers,


We were higher then than we had been before she got hit, I was still following.


A cross between a hollow and some sort of giant insectoid


What is a hollow?


I know you're like nitpicks, so I tried to point out as many as I could.

This part you did much better with Zarhail's emotions. I feel much more connected to him than I did last time.

I'm having a little issue with their magic and their shard system. Remember that as familiar as I'm sure you are with this system, we the readers don't know anything. Slow down and tell us exactly how shards and this magic system works. It's really confusing without it.

I think that's about it. I had to leave in the middle of this review because of real life things, and I think I'm forgetting something. I if I remember, I'll let you know.

I think your pacing was great. It really captured the action of the chapter.

Let me know when the next chapter is out,
Megs~




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Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:21 pm
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ThereseCricket wrote a review...



Hey there! Cricket here for a review as promised! Thanks for thinking of me!

One bit of advice though....in the future when writing out a author's note. Put the author's note in italics and put Authors note right before it. Looks a lot better and cleaner.

Anyway on to the review!!

Stuff I think needs fixing

The orange thing must have fallen out along the way. The thing was catching up. I had no idea what to do.


This part just seems like three short sentences thrown into one. They didn't really flow, and I didn't feel like they went together that well.

This time I didn’t get nearly as lucky. I might have hit another branch not far below, but as soon as my head hit the bark, my memory stops. I don’t know whether she ever made it back. I have no idea what happened after I pushed her. Maybe I hadn’t been fast enough at all, my shards wasted on a dead body. I like to think she did make it, but we all do. Even if I obviously hadn’t managed to kill myself then, I may well have killed her. I don’t know.


OK, one thing I did notice, is that, yes you are talking in first person and you do need to use "I", but I'm seeing you use it WAY to much. Try and tone down on it, and use different words.

She had no choice nor any other good way to occupy herself but to keep on reading


Although the line made sense and everything, I felt that it was phrased rather awkwardly.

Even if I obviously hadn’t managed to kill myself then, I may as well have killed her.


Just a word needed to be inserted is all.

Neither of my brains was crushed, my shards were still above me.


This line didn't make much sense to me. Neither of my brains was crushed? That part I think needs some rephrasing.

I have no idea how I made it back up the trunk, the monster’s noises made it nearly impossible to find my sister.


Hang on...this doesn't make any sense. First line before the break was talking about he didn't know how he made it back to the truck, then the second line was about the monster's noises making it impossible to find his sister. You need to make sure you relate both lines to each other. OK? Or else they won't flow and the reader will get confused.

One thing I do notice that you are really good at, is the way you pace the story. Very well done. Now I do think you could slow it down a little, but STILL, I loved the way you paced it all the same.

It took the sounds of it approaching again for my fear to take over.


To short to be its own paragraph. Make it longer or insert it somewhere else. You really only do this short of paragraphs, when you are trying to get your point across and/or trying to make it dramatic or something. This isn't dramatic enough for that.

When I tumbled down I heard the noise again.


Just a dumb nitpick...A typo; no big deal.

I might have hit another branch not far below, but as soon as my head hit the bark, my memory stopped.


Another typo I think.

I didn’t dare to breathe for over half a minute.


Get rid of to. It doesn't fit and it makes the sentence awkward.

This time I didn’t get nearly as lucky. I might have hit another branch not far below, but as soon as my head hit the bark, my memory stops. I don’t know whether she ever made it back. I have no idea what happened after I pushed her. Maybe I hadn’t been fast enough at all, my shards wasted on a dead body. I like to think she did make it, but we all do. Even if I obviously hadn’t managed to kill myself then, I may well have killed her. I don’t know.


GOOD CLIFFHANGER!! Well done!! I'm interested, so keep that up.

One thing I would do in the future though...I noticed throughout the whole piece, that you use absolutely no dialogue. Now usually I tell people to use more thought, but it isn't the case with you. You need to work on inserting dialogue. Works should usually be a mix between dialogue and thought. Not just one of them.

Other than those things, you did a pretty bang-up job, in my opinion! Keep writing, and tell me when you post next! I will totally want to review again for you!




Zarhail says...


Thank you so much!
I'll work on fixing it but that may take a bit to do a proper rewrite on it.

Yeahh... I'm not very good at dialogue and I don't like it very much either, but I can try and see whether I can put some more in.




Mr. Scorpio says productivity is up 2%, and it's all because of my motivational techniques -- like donuts and the possibility of more donuts to come.
— Homer Simpson