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Rifted - Chapter I - Weakness

by JayeCShore


He was tired, and hungry. But most of all, he wished to change his past. Things left unsaid. Words better left unspoken.The endless white stretched before him, like burning fields of snow. It ate away at his eyes and his feet, searing and rending. His cracked lips bled profusely for lack of moisture.

Above, a fiery serpent bore down on him, its one, great eye ever present.

Ever watchful.

It gazed deep into his soul, searching out the desires, the very fears of his heart. It laughed in his face, spat blazing darts. And he was afraid.

The prospect of death had never frightened him. To die was honorable. But then…not like this. No man should have to die out here, alone, without comfort or care. Unfortunately, he was not a man, not yet.

Behind him followed his shadow, tracing each of his steps, growing ever shorter as the sun gradually reached its climax.

For him, this was to be the end.

His spirit was mine.

- -

The walls of the tent shifted and wavered, as if heaving a great sigh, and a man entered.

For a moment, Argaes’ mind became excited, but the feeling quickly faded when he turned, realizing it was not who he had been eagerly anticipating.

General.’ The soldier stated, coming to attention and sharply saluting in the traditional manner. Dressed much like the rest of those who made up the ragged camp, he wore thin, light colored material. High boots to protect against thorns and other dangers on the ground. His half plate armor chinked as he moved.

A small cape, draped over his left shoulder, signified his rank. The crest of the Horn emblazoned on the sage tinted material.

You have news, Lamarr?’ The General asked, the other sensing the disappointment in his voice.

I do, sir. I have seen to all the preparations, and the men are at the ready. When you give the order, they will move.’

And what of the scouts?’

Lamarr shook his head. ‘They have not returned yet. But I am sure that the storm will have delayed them, some.’ The last part was added quickly. An attempt to reassure his commander. It seemed to have little affect, though.

They stood in silence for a few moments before Lamarr took a courageous step up to General Argaes, resting a caring hand on his shoulder. They had been companions since the beginning, and friends for longer, and he understood well what was going through the other’s mind.

I would not worry about him. He is young, but he has a good head. Just like his father.’

The General looked up, a bit of a smile fading into his lips.

I am not so sure about that.’ He said, questioning, not for the first time, his decision to let them come. The one...there was nothing left which could be done for him. But now, he did not wish to risk the second as well.

They will come.’

I know.’ Argaes said, acknowledging Lamarr’s concern for him. The man stood a bit longer, then excused himself, leaving his commander to sort through his scattered thoughts.

Oh how he hated them!

They haunted him, like nightmares, frozen in this waking dream. At times he was unsure which were reality, and which were only a figment of his imagination. Perhaps they were one and the same? Who could say? But he could not tear his mind away from the boy, the struggle it would be to track down his family. If he had any.

By Aster!’ The General swore vehemently, surprising himself. He was not one to use such language, but then, such times deserved as much.

I am strong, and learn quickly.’ The boy had said, his chest puffed out, chin angled towards the heavens in a determined manner.

After having looked him over, Argaes had to agree with him. It was evident that he had spent his childhood working on a farm. Days and months and years toiling in the sun, and the work showed in the corded muscles and thick tan.

How old are you?’

Seventeen, sir. Soon to be eighteen.’

Even before the answer was given, the General knew it was a lie. The boy was tall for his age, to be sure, but he was young. Far too young. And naive. Ahh, but age came in more ways than just years.

Perhaps it was this which first caused me to be intrigued. It is not often that I turn my eyes towards the realm of such a lowly mortal. They are so boring.

And weak.

General Argaes was prepared to turn him away as he had for so many others. But there, just for a moment, he saw something in the boy that he recognized in himself, many years before. He also understood the deep desire that must have been set in his heart. As a young child he would have dreamed of going away to war. As a growing child, he would have felt the need to bring honor to his name.

Farming was surely not an honorable trade.

Can you wield a sword?’ The General asked, finally, folding his arms and biting down on his lip as habit required. One of a few he had been unable to break.

Yes sir! As good as any man.’ The boy exclaimed. Words which undoubtedly meant nothing. Unfortunately for him, though, he would prove different.

We shall see.’ Argaes said, passing his final decree. It took the boy sometime to realize what had happened, but once he had, his face brightened and he nearly embraced the man. But regaining control of himself he straightened his shoulders.

You will not regret this, sir.’

The General sighed, and swore once again.

The regret was beginning to sink in now.

For the third time he swore, cursing the sands and the winds and the sun. He never had liked the desert, but this was the first time it had truly beset upon him. It seemed that it was destined to claim his life, the lives of his men. And if not in their entirety, then several years, at least.

Ahh, but Hadaarass has served me well through the years. Thousands of miles of endless, wasted plains laid desolate by the gods once, long ago. There is little death, and no decay, as life is sparse. What little there is, is hard, unruly, and dangerous. Wild beasts roam the landscape in search of food. Wild men prowl in search of a bounty. And the beast of a sun scavenges all that is left.

The storm was the only thing worrying Argaes at the time, though.

It had already taken one, and he vowed by the Five that it would not take the other.

- -

A noise stirred him from his restless sleep and Argaes shut his eyes tight a moment before rising to his feet. The world around him had grown quiet, and dark. Night had fallen upon them, which was welcome, as it brought endless shade and escape from the heat of the sun. The men would be catching as much sleep as they could, though many would be as restless as he, preparing themselves in body and mind for the hours ahead.

Four men entered the tent then, saluting sharply as Argaes acknowledged them with a nod, failing to truly recognize them for a brief moment.

Kantos.’ The first and oldest of the four said. ‘You seem a bit tired.’

He knew only one man who called him by his first name.

Brower! When did you return?’ he asked sharply, a bit irritated at himself for having not noticed who they were. He glanced along their short line, checking, as any commander would, that each were safe and unharmed. But for the forth, it was far more than the concern of a military leader.

Just a few moments ago, actually. Lamarr told us that you had been waiting, so we came here as soon as we could.

The General’s mind was able to rest a bit, at last. And after all that had happened, it was welcome.

Five days on the march, three wasted in waiting for the raging storm to settle. One life lost. All put in the path of danger. What had started out as a simple military exercise was quickly becoming a career ending disaster. One that Argaes could not afford.

But then, could anyone?

You had trouble?’

Yes, a bit, I suppose. Nothing that Kora and I could not handle, though.’ Brower answered, looking at the man farthest down the line.

Aye. I do believe the child will be having nightmares for awhile.’ The young man added in agreement.

The group chuckled amongst themselves but Argaes did not bother asking what they found so funny. It was most likely not worth explaining. It irritated him a bit, though, as he wished that they would not treat such matters so lightly. The one, to be specific. This mission, while relatively unimportant, meant much to all of them.

And for himself…it could mean everything.

But he knew Brower well, and the man, while perhaps childish in some ways, was as good a soldier and as good a scout as any he had met before. And the General had met his fair share.

Whatever happened, I hope that our position was not compromised?’

The four shook their heads in unison. ‘No, none of them saw us, except the child, and I doubt that it was old enough to understand.’ Brower assured him, and Argaes could trust his word, so he did not worry.

Good. Tell me what you found.’


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Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:14 pm
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Snowery wrote a review...



Hey JayeC! Silver here to review your novel, which I've adopted! :)

Main Points

His spirit was mine.


First off, what an awesome beginning! It's really engaging and really held my attention. The mini twist at the end was especially exciting, it makes me want to keep reading.

Perhaps it was this which first caused me to be intrigued


Wow, you're doing something really interesting here. The story seems to be narrated by some sort of spirit/demon thing. At first when reading the story seems to be in third person, but as we keep going we get these little nuggets of narration by the “thing” which is actually in first person. What a brave move. Not a lot of people experiment with styles of narration unfortunately, so I'm really glad that you have. It actually works really well, giving the story an extra dimension, and it's also useful as an extra source of information.

Brower


I keep reading this as “Bowser” XD

Okay, so you have quite an intriguing set up here. A general waiting for someone to return, a military exercise gone wrong-ish and a raging storm. Plus the “thing” that's watching everything. I thought that this chapter was written very well, it al seemed to flow nicely and your sentence structuring is great. Good pacing throughout too. I really loved your style of descriptions, I thought they were very clear and easy to picture, and that you scattered them well throughout the chapter, bringing them up at appropriate times. Argaes had a good thought process and I felt that for the short time we were with him, we got to know him quite well. His predicament as a general with something to lose if things go wrong is an interesting one and I look forward to seeing how it all pans out. Overall, a great start to your novel and I'm excited to read more! Keep it up and happy writing! :) :)

Silverlock




timmyjake says...


awesome. ;)



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Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:36 am
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Blackwood wrote a review...



Review for you my friend, review for you.
First thing first, your first sentence and already commas too many. This comma is not only not necessary but also make it read really bulky. You will do find simply with:

He was tired and hungry
If you are trying to emphasise the fact that you want these two clauses to be separated I suggest you go with something along the lines of
He was tired and he was hungry.


burning fields of snow
Here you have one of those conflicting statements, but you need to ask yourself, what is the point of it? There is no extended metaphor here, no cross references in ways cold can burn, so I don't see why ice needs to be burning here, it's just a little awkward.

profusely for lack of moisture

I'd go with "From the lack of moisture." instead.

Once again, get rid of this random comma.
its one great eye ever present.


Okay summary of the entire first paragraph:
I feel you need a little more context here. We have the setting, check. We have the situation, check. But when I read that last line which suddenly changed to first person I was very confused. What you have here it a literally fire serpent descending out of the sky right? Well that's how I see it. I think you need to explore the physicality of it and have the man describe what is before his eyes, have his feelings, his thoughts, can he believe his eyes?


Next paragraph: SOme thoughts.
I like the name Lamarr, (I do think the second r does look a little off though) the first Ag-name feels quite old many traditional fantasy, if that's what you're going for.

Your writing tone seems to suddenly change- it almost gets more formal, more old style. I can;t quite pinpoint it but I feel it.
Also this sentence.
‘I am strong, and learn quickly.’ The boy had said, his chest puffed out, chin angled towards the heavens in a determined manner.
I don't understand it because you go into double past tense but that's happening now isn't it? Or is her remembering something some boy had a said in the past?

Is this boy Lamarr? If yes, needs to be clearer that he is Lamarr. If no then I have no idea when the boy came in.

I really like the bit about the boy lying about his age. Adds character to both of them- The boy for wanting to come to this place and be so young, and the commander for not instantly doubting him.

The desert? Maybe establish this sooner. I was reading this entire section imagining a snowy plain.

Next paragraph your characters are moving along well and I'm enjoying it. A few names introduced quite quickly. For example is the thing about Kora even necessary in this chapter at all? I have no idea who she is and don;t have a reason to care. Is Kantos Browers' surname? Maybe you should have introduced him as Brower Kantos straight off the bat. Wait... Kanto's is the general. Idiot me. It makes way more sense now. Maybe have the speech tag mention that Brower is actually talking to Kantos directly. Like "said addressing him" instead of just 'said'.

Good work, sorry my review is completely useless today, I normally focus on story things and stuff but I'm just not feeling up to snuff with reviews lately. (Or up to the energy)




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Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:02 am
Pinkiegirl13 wrote a review...



Hi, JayeCShore. This is pinkie here for a review to help the YWS. I hope this review help you and make you smile to the bright moon.

Like JamesHunt, this novel is very enjoyable. I like the characters for this novel. They'd seem realistic and interesting. The story lured me inside the story and made me want to read more. It made me want to kiss you. Well, I don't know you nor know that you're a girl. Anyway....you have a lot of errors on here. I want to point it to you, but JamesHunt did the errors pointing. So I will leave it alone.

I love to read more from you. I hope the arrival of the chapter 1 will come soon. Tonight, you are my knight of the dark. I meant you are my favorite write for tonight. See you next time and have a nice day.

Awesome Job! :D

Your reviewer, Pinkiegirl13




JayeCShore says...


Thanks for the review!

This is Chapter 1, so if you'd like to read Chapter 2, here's the link Rifted - Chapter II - The Watchers



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Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:15 pm
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AstralHunter wrote a review...



Greetings.

I am an avid reader of anything fantasy, but not all of the novels I have read were satisfactory, to say the least. Yours is a happy contrast to this tragic norm. Put simply, you have the writing style of a sophisticated author, and I would not be surprised if you are a fan of fantasy yourself. Your descriptive skills are exceptionally well-developed and you use both imagery and vocabulary to its full effect.

Your characterisation is also remarkable, as it takes quite the author to create such a detailed personality in so short a text. Already, the general's regrets and some of his weaknesses are laid bare, but despite them, one can also understand why he is a general, though perhaps more so later in the novel than at present.


He was tired, and hungry.

An effective first sentence; the reader is left wondering why and continues reading in order to find the answer. That is the key: getting the reader to continue reading.

The endless white stretched before him, like burning fields of snow. It ate away at his eyes and his feet, searing and rending. His cracked lips bled profusely for lack of moisture.

While you did not specifically state the character is in a desert, your description of the character's environment is sufficient enough that the reader can deduce it himself. Subtlety - I like it.

Above, a fiery serpent bore down on him, its one, great eye ever present.

Ever watchful.

It gazed deep into his soul, searching out the desires, the very fears of his heart. It laughed in his face, spat blazing darts.

An interesting depiction of the sun, to be sure. You beautifully portrayed its indifference.

The prospect of death had never frightened him. To die was honorable. But then…not like this. No man should have to die out here, alone, without comfort or care. Unfortunately for him, he was not a man, not yet.

One can perfectly visualise this man - or rather adolescent, as you would have it - staggering through the desert. It may appear a little cliché, but your originality in describing the scene prevents this thought from coming to mind.

My only true problem here is with your final sentence. Why not simply omit the underlined? It cannot be unfortunate for anyone else, at that moment, at least, so rather continue with the theme of the desert by leaving it barren of everything but the most essential of words.

For him, and for his shadow, this was to be the end.

Once again, the desert is merciless; leave only the essential parts, and dispose of the rest. If you must name both, rather write they, but if not, leave out the part about the shadow.

His spirit, was mine.

There are so many things I wish to say about this sentence. How about the technicalties first: I understand that you desire to create a pause by placing the comma there, but to achieve this, you must ensure that your writing is still grammatically correct, and presently, it is not. I propose rather writing, "His spirit... was mine." By replacing the comma with an ellipsis, your punctuation is still correct, and by writing the mine in italics, you emphasise the fact that it is no longer the character's.

Throughout this "prologue" of sorts, you use the omniscient narrator, though in the last line you use the first person narrator. I less vigilant reader would regard this as a mistake, but upon further inspection, one realises that you have taken the meaning of an omniscient narrator even further, in the sense that the narrating entity is now actually a part of the story, and not merely an observer.

The walls of the tent shifted and wavered, as if heaving a great sigh, and a man entered.

With hindsight, one can say the tent is personified to reflect the thoughts and feelings of the general, but as a sigh can be sorrowful, it can also represent the sadness at the passing of this "first" you keep mentioning.

The one, there was nothing left which could be done for him.

Hmm... it seems you would rather use a comma when an ellipsis is required.

Oh how he hated them.

Interjections must be followed by a comma or an exclamation mark, but the latter can sometimes be replaced with a full stop. However, to emphasise the general's hatred for these thoughts, I think an exclamation mark would be more appropriate.

At times he was unsure which was reality, and which was only a figment of his imagination.

If you are referring to nightmares, which are plural, you must remember that their auxiliary verbs should correspond. Therefore was should be were.

Days and months and years toiling in the sun, and the work showed in the corded muscles and thick tan.

If I understand your meaning correctly, then the boy was hardened, but not enough to withstand the ferocity of the desert.

Perhaps it was this which first caused me to be intrigued. It is not often that I turn my eyes towards the realm of such a lowly mortal.

My statement at the end of your "prologue" now seems to have been confirmed. An interesting perspective from which you choose to write...

One of a few he had been unable to break.

Giving a character weaknesses helps the reader to better identify with them, but some authors fail to realise this - I am glad you are not of them.

It took the boy sometime to realize what had happened, but once he had his face brightened and he nearly embraced the man.

Oh dear, a missing comma.

Ahh, but Hadaarass has served me well through the years.

I assume this is the omniscient entity referring to the desert. If not, then please do something to correct the situation.

Night had fallen upon them, which was welcome as it brought endless shade and escape from the heat of the sun.

It would appear that the comma is your favourite punctuation mark, but to a fault. Remember, certain conjunctions, such as as, demand that a comma precede them.

He knew only one man that called him by his first name.

I think who would be a more suitable relative pronoun than that.

‘Brower! When did you return?’ He asked sharply, a bit irritated at himself for having not noticed who they were.

When the part of a narrative which follows directly after the dialogue refers to back to the narrative, e.g. "he/she/it said," the first letter is not capitalised.

The group chuckled amongst themselves and Argaes did not bother asking what they found so funny.

and is not a suitable conjunction in this case - but will work much better.

The one, to be specific.

You did not perhaps mean this, did you?

And for himself…it could mean everything.

A space is required between the ellipsis and the it.

‘No, none of them saw us, except the child, and I doubt that it was old enough to understand.’ Brower assured him, and Argaes could trust his word, so he did not worry.

You recall how I mentioned that rule about a narrative referring to the dialogue it follows? Another rule which concerns such narratives is that they are never preceded with a full stop, but a comma: "...old enough to understand,’ Brower assured him..." Exclamation and questions marks are exceptions though, as well as the ellipsis.


I shall admit, I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing - every last part of it, from your writing style and vocabulary to your imagery and characterisation. This is most certainly a novel I shall be following in future. I am honoured that I was the first to read it, but I am convinced I shall not be the last!




JayeCShore says...


Wow, I'm actually quite stunned. I've felt that this was lacking in so many ways and would not appeal to the audience I'm shooting for, bit it seems as if it had.

I have to thank you, and congratulate you on this review you've given my work. Honestly, it's probably the best review I've ever read, and I've read quite a few. You talk about all the important things, never fail to point out the parts you liked and what they made you think, and explain the mistakes in such a way that I'm not offended, but rather, eager to change them, which I most definitely will.

The one thing that I was really trying to nail down in this first chapter was the narrator. I won't explain how he is going to pan out, but I'm just glad that I was able to convey the things I wanted.

Once again, thank you for this review. It's things like this that really elevate a story to the highest level, and, I never could do it without people like you!



AstralHunter says...


You flatter me; the story is yours and your time and effort has gone into it, therefore any praise it is to receive, goes to you. I merely write what about your piece I liked/disliked and flare any errors you may have made. But I am glad it was of use to you. Oh, and do not judge your work too harshly - I do that as well, so I assume every author is overly critical of their work.




It is spiritually invigorating, says a friend, who converted at eighteen from Christianity to poetry.
— Anne Lamott