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Rifted - Chapter III - First And Last

by JayeCShore


Men marched at double pace, chattering quietly amongst themselves. Most were battle hardened, having seen the darkest sides of war and death throughout their short years.

For Kora, though, it would be a first.

Normally he would have been at the front of the group, being younger and faster and far more excited than most, but his mind was weighed down by heavy thoughts. His father being the most prominent.

Kora.’ He had said as they were leaving the tent. The tone of his voice had changed, and he spoke differently than he had before when he was addressing the men as their commander.

He turned back around, catching an apologetic glance from Brower before he exited the tent.

Yes father?’

Argaes sighed and shut his eyes. ‘You should not call me father when in the presence of the men. How many times must I tell you?’

Kora looked around and shrugged, confused, as he should be. ‘There is no one here.’

General Argaes had to agree to that, but then, he was not required to. He knew that his son understood what it was he meant. ‘It does not matter. I only wished to speak with you about the mission.’ He said after a moment of gaining control of his emotions.

What about it?’ Kora asked, folding his arms and leaning against a support.

I am concerned about you and your…capabilities. It is your first, after all.’

Well, yes. But everyone must start somewhere.’ He countered. ‘And I have not disappointed in training, otherwise you would not have let me come in the first place.’

Training means little in the heat of battle. Only experience can save you.’

Kora sighed and straightened himself, looking into his father’s eyes. ‘If this is about Mardon…he was too young, we all knew that.’

You are not so young yourself.’

I am nineteen father! Older than you were the first time you….’ His eyes fell to the floor and he shifted his feet uncomfortably.’

The first time? The first time I killed a man?’ Argaes asked sharply. Kora nodded, clenching his teeth to keep them shut and soundless. ‘Circumstance required that I do so. There was no backing down, and it was his life, or my own.’

‘Yes, and I am your son. Fighting is in our blood.’ He took a few steps forward, his eyes brightening. ‘You do not know how long I have been waiting for this day, to prove myself.’

I know.’

Do you? Truly?’

The question shocked Argaes. Of course he knew! He had the same thoughts, the same desires as a young boy himself. The need to be proven a man, it had driven him to do things which he now regretted. He understood very well.

At least, he said as much.

Kora found it hard to believe, though, and questioned it with his eyes. ‘You do not think I am ready?’

The General’s mouth opened, as if he were prepared to answer, but he quickly realized that he was lying to himself. It angered him, and he did not understand why. Unfortunately, the feeling showed in his features, and his son did not fail to notice.

I do not understand.’ Kora said, pursing his lips. ‘There are several fighters amongst the men who are younger than I, and less experienced.’

Age is not the point. Besides, you have already completed your original duty.’

Then what is the point? You can not hold me back forever, father.’

That is not for you to decide!’ Argaes cried suddenly, his anger rising. ‘Though you say it, I fear you have forgotten that I am your father, and you are bound by duty to obey me. When I speak, you listen. When I give an order, you obey. There is nothing else.’

Kora was shocked, to say the least, though it was not the first, or the last time that his father would speak to him in such a manner. He cast his eyes to the ground, avoiding his father’s blazing gaze, and mumbled quietly to himself.

Not anymore.’ Were his words.

What did you say?’ The General demanded strictly, speaking as if to a young child. But Kora struggled to answer with words. It was not that he did not have them, or that he was unwilling to tell his father what was on his mind. It was just…. He shook his head and growled through his teeth at the man standing before him.

At himself.

Tell me what you said, before I am tempted to send you back.’

With a fist clenched tight in anger and the other gripping his heart to suppress its feelings, Kora spat the words out, thick with venom. ‘And you seem to have forgotten that I am your son, and of age. At any moment I can leave our house, your house, and the house of our forefathers. Your name will no longer be mine. And there will be no honor!’

And there was silence in the tent, though two raging storms threw themselves against one another.

Threatening to send the foundations of the worlds crumbling to their knees.

- -

Though their argument had taken place several hours before, it was still fresh, and very vivid in his mind. And while Kora marched at the end of the columns, it only helped to add to the fuel of his growing fire. It showed in his eyes, burning brightly with hate and malice.

He could not understand why his father would treat him so…differently, than the rest of the men. He always demanded that Kora treat him as his commander and leader, so why then would he not be treated as a soldier?

It was all so confusing, and to him, it meant only that his father was stubborn, and selfish.

There was a slight movement at his side, and Kora was startled to find a person there.

Aldren! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?’ He asked, only partially joking. The fellow soldier nudged him in the side, falling into step with him.

What else?’

Though he was several years older than Kora, he was the newest recruit. Perhaps that was why he had befriended Kora in the first place. Perhaps because they shared something in common.

Well, you could have called my name at the least.’

Does it matter?’ Aldren asked, laughing lightly. ‘So, I heard this will be your first battle? Are you excited?’

Instantly Kora’s attitude faltered. Yes, he was excited, but for all the wrong reasons. But how could he say that? Rather than stir up more trouble, he simply nodded. ‘Aye, very much. I have been waiting for this day for a very long time.’ It was not a lie, to be sure, and he wished that it would come sooner, so that he could get it over with, prove to his father that he was capable as any man.

You are not worried? I know I was the first time I was called to fight, though it was not exactly a military exercise.’

Well, I suppose I am just a bit. But I have been training for so long I do not see what there is to be worried about. If I keep my head and remember what I have learned, I should be able to hold my own.’ Kora answered thoughtfully, assuring himself once again that he was qualified for this. He had done very well in training and during skirmishes, though not as well as Mardon. He voiced his opinion to his friend, who gave a half a chuckle.

Yes, he was a good swordsmen. And look where it got him.’

True.’

They walked in silence for awhile, both thinking about the same thing. It was not that Mardon was not smart or clever, a good swordsman had to be, but he simply did not have the experience which can only come with…experience. Undoubtedly his body would have been found by some wandering scavenger. Life through death. Such was the way of the wild.

But Kora did not second guess himself.

Perhaps because he truly was ready for the challenge ahead. Perhaps because he was so determined to prove his father wrong. Either way, it did not matter to him.

Just keep your head on a swivel.’ Aldren said, offering up a bit of friendly advice. ‘These barbarians are not much good at fighting, but they will do anything to survive. They are worse than animals. Absolutely no honor.’

Kora nodded in agreement.

But then…he was not so sure.

- -

War. It is such a funny thing. Do you not agree?

I would suppose not, for to you it will be bloody, and painful. But blood is nothing when you have tasted as I have. And pain?

A privilege.

When you are beyond feeling, beyond thought or emotion or desire, then you will understand. But for those men, it was life in every aspect of the word. For some it was nourishment to their driving hunger. To others, it was a way out of poverty and depravity. And for one, at least, it was the means of salvation.

Unfortunately, I do note believe that he understood the meaning of the word.

But to me, war was a gift, for it brings such trophies. And how I love to display them on my wall, all beaten and bent. There are only two things which I have ever known to break the soul of a man. War is, of course, the most prominent and understandable. But the second…I know little of such things.


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Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:46 am
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Snowery wrote a review...



Hey Jay! I'm back to review another one!

So one of the things I've noticed about this chapter is that the dialogue is pretty well done. What i thought though, that you did better than the actual speech itself was little nuances that surrounded. I've learnt over time how important the depiction of body language and facial expression is when conveying speech or even when just to describe a character. It add so much more to what is already blatantly said or shown and I think that you did a really good job of it here.

He said after a moment of gaining control of his emotions.


I did feel that this sentence was a little awkwardly phrased and didn't read that smoothly.

You give the reader a really good feel of the dynamic between father and son. Even though we've never seen them speaking to each other before, it becomes clear soon enough that there is tension between them. I think we get a really good picture of Korra and there's a lot of emotion radiating from him.

Urgh, okay I have to run to a lecture now but i'll get to the other chapters soon. Keep up the awesome work and happy writing! :) :)

Silverlock




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Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:57 pm
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r4p17 wrote a review...



Knight r4 here to review this work for review day Jaye. I certainly hope this help you!

And there was silence in the tent, though two raging storms threw themselves against one another.
I agree that it is okay to start sentences with and's as long as it is linked to the previous sentence for effect. But in this instance I think that you should take it out because it begins a new paragraph. You should be more careful of this.

Threatening to send the foundations of the worlds crumbling to their knees.
I am sorry to point out two errors in a row, but this is a fragment here. I also noticed the you started a new paragraph which is unnecessary. As I may have said before this is a recurring issue in your writing that gets on my nerves.

[quoteThough their argument had taken place several hours before, it was still fresh, and very vivid in his mind.[/quote] I cringe to point out three errors in close proximity, but I noticed that you do this often, you write "his" instead of Kora. It is a bit of I minor issue but it kind of sticks out to me. I thought I should mention it. It is fine to use his after you have mentioned the name of the person who you are talking about but not before.

but he simply did not have the experience which can only come with…experience.
This here is an example of but being used properly. I also think using experience twice was is redundant.

War. It is such a funny thing. Do you not agree?
No. I do not. I would change funny to strange for clarities sake.

Overall this was a good chapter though I didn't really think very much happened aside from the argument and some ordinary dialogue. I am not sure why this chapter is called what it is called btw. Happy writing and happy review day!!! :D




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Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:47 pm
AdmiralKat wrote a review...



Hello! KatyaElefant here to review! Oh and Happy Review Day! I just jumped in at Part III, that is not good... XD

NITPICK:

Unfortunately, I do note believe that he understood the meaning of the word.

Just one nitpick here. Note should be not. At first, I was like it could make sense and then I read it 10000 times and then realized. Oh this E doesn't belong here! Get out E! XD

Okay. Now for the things I like. I love the theme of this story. I love how the father are splitting paths. The father is all like "Don't call me father, in front of everyone!" Then the son is like 0_0 "But daddd! No one is here!" (I imagine things in my head as if they were skits.) I also love the part where they talk about privileges. One second.... I just noticed something... You are going to have 2 more nitpicks.

NITPICK 2 and 3:
But to me, war was a gift, for it brings such trophies. And how I love to display them on my wall, all beaten and bent.

How dare you mock me with starting a sentence with And and But! They are used to connect sentences and not join them! I made speeches in the chat about this! Do. Not. Do. This. I see some other ones but you can find them yourself. I advice that you fix this but that is all.

Okay. Now that I am done yelling about the most silly things in life, let me finish up saying how amazing your piece is. You did a pretty good job with grammar and spelling. You have good organization with the paragraphs. I mean, you could get a gold star! (If it weren't for those Buts and Ands...) Good job! Keep Writing! I will be sure to try to check out your other pieces of writing! :D




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Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:50 am
AstralHunter wrote a review...



Salutations, my friend.

I am delighted to see that this chapter is longer than the last one, but also because it is of as excellent a quality as all the writing you have produced so far. It is interesting to read of the general again, but this time from his son's perspective. It is quite obvious that he is a man haunted by his memories, but it is sad to see how he protects his son so much that he actually pushes him away. It would appear that parents often do that...


For Kora, though, it would be a first.

Pardon me, but I initially thought Kora was a girl. :$

...but his mind was weighed down by heavy thoughts. His father being the most prominent.

The subject of many a young man's/adolescent's thoughts, both in the positive and the negative.

He turned back around, catching an apologetic glance from Brower before he exited the tent.

Not only does this sentence give us more insight in Kora's relationship with his father, but it is also a fine bit of characterisation of Brower.

Kora looked around and shrugged, confused, as he should be. ‘There is no one here.’

General Argaes had to agree to that, but then, he was not required to. He knew that his son understood what it was he meant.

It nonetheless seems to me that General Argaes is unnecessarily strict with his son.

I only wished to speak with you about the mission.’ He said after a moment of gaining control of his emotions.

The underlined full stop should be replaced with a comma and the capitalised He should be in the lower case.

‘What about it?’ Kora asked, folding his arms and leaning against a support.

Body language is a very useful tool to an author, especially one who appreciates subtlety. Some often forget it however, which is a pity, as it generally raises (or should raise) the author in the readers' esteem.

‘I am concerned about you and your…capabilities. It is your first, after all.’

When using an ellipsis, one must remember that while there is no space in between it and the preceding word, there is one in between the ellipsis and the following word. The is in the next sentence is underlined because I think it would better if you write it in italics. It is merely a style preference, however, and is therefore not mandatory.

‘Well, yes. But everyone must start somewhere.’ He countered. ‘And I have not disappointed in training, otherwise you would not have let me come in the first place.’

Both full stops should be replaced by commas and both capitalised words should be in the lower case.

‘Training means little in the heat of battle. Only experience can save you.’

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Does one not study before an examination? Is it not essential that a musician practice his pieces before a performance? Does an athlete not prepare throughout the entire year for their annual marathon? If all of the above analogies ring true, then how can this "general" say "training means little in the heat of battle"? If that were the case, then everyone who had ever fought in a war would be dead, himself included! If there is no use for training, then why does the military put so much time into drilling the recruits?

This general is clearly deluded. In certain matters, it is wise to follow your heart, but if you allow your emotions to impair your judgment, you must take some time off to regain your rationality. Ignorant fool...

‘If this is about Mardon…he[u] was too young, we all knew that.’

Ah, so the fallen soul has a name. Oh, and remember what I said about those ellipses.

‘I am nineteen father! Older than you were the first time [u]you….’ His eyes fell to the floor and he shifted his feet uncomfortably.

‘The first time? The first time I killed a man?’ ... ‘Circumstance required that I do so. There was no backing down, and it was his life, or my own.’

Do wars not usually work that way? I still do not see the logic in this man's reasoning. Also, I noticed two punctuation errors:
1. There are only three dots in an ellipsis, no more, no less.
2. What is that inverted comma doing there?

Of course he knew! He had the same thoughts, the same desires as a young boy himself. The need to be proven a man, it had driven him to do things which he now regretted. He understood very well.

Two things about fathers annoy me the most: Firstly, how they always seem to think their son has the exact same thoughts and makes the same choices they had - do they not realise everyone is different? If their son does something, it is not because they did it, but because all, or the majority of, boys do it; And secondly, how they (most adults, actually) continuously drone on about experience and wisdom - Do they not realise that some children have actually already gained that wisdom simply by taking it to heart? That is after all one of the major benefits of language: we learn from others' experiences.

This might seem like a minor note after all that (which it is), but you should double your had - it's past perfect tense you're using.

‘There are several fighters amongst the men who are younger than I, and less experienced.’

‘Age is not the point.

:thud: That is in direct contradiction with what he just said!

‘Then what is the point? You can not hold me back forever, father.’

Kora as a good point. But concerning a different matter, cannot is always spelled as one word.

‘That is not for you to decide!’ Argaes cried suddenly, his anger rising.

Argaes is being unreasonable because he does not want to accept that his son is maturing and becoming ever more independent.

Kora was shocked, to say the least, though it was not the first, or the last time that his father would speak to him in such a manner.

When writing in the negative, or becomes nor.

Threatening to send the foundations of the worlds crumbling to their knees.

That is perhaps exaggerating their situation a tad bit too much. It's not as if they are the rulers of two warring empires, after all.

He always demanded that Kora treat him as his commander and leader, so why then would he not be treated as a soldier?

A good question.

It was all so confusing, and to him, it meant only that his father was stubborn, and selfish.

...and overprotective and in denial.

‘Aldren! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?’ He asked, only partially joking.

I don't suppose I have to explicitly state what's wrong here, do I?

It was not a lie, to be sure, and he wished that it would come sooner, so that he could get it over with, prove to his father that he was capable as any man.

Though this is not technically a preposition used at the end of a sentence, it is still used at the end of a phrase, so the same rule applies.

It was not that Mardon was not smart or clever, a good swordsman had to be, but he simply did not have the experience which can only come with…experience.

This makes Kora sound just as hypocritical as his father. Perhaps you should rather say that Mardon was ignorant of the dangers of the desert, as it seems he was lost during a sandstorm.

War. It is such a funny thing. Do you not agree?

Funny whether meaning "strange" or not, is one of the last words I would use to describe war.

I would suppose not, for to you it will be bloody, and painful. But blood is nothing when you have tasted as I have.

"tasted it as I have"?

And how I love to display them on my wall, all beaten and bent. There are only two things which I have ever known to break the soul of a man. War is, of course, the most prominent and understandable.

Even if you had not prematurely the identity of the entity, I would still say that he strikes me more and more as one who is cruel and bloodthirsty, thinking himself more intelligent and wiser than all of us "mortals".

But the second…I know little of such things.

A self-proclaimed god of war not knowing much of love? Now why am I not surprised...?


You may have noticed that much of my commentary was negative, but it was not directed towards you or writing, for you have created the characters splendidly. No, as a reader, I was expressing my dislike of the characters. I am certain you have encountered certain characters you simply love to hate? Anyhow, my reaction to your characters acts as proof to your skill with characterisation, so well done.




JayeCShore says...


Once again, I'm blown away by your review. Heck, sometimes I think my characters all mash themselves together and become a unit of monotone drones. But, apparently, that's not the case. You breath new life into my writing.

Also, you always point out those little mistakes which can make or break a book, and I can never express how grateful I am for that. I would have to pay thousands of dollars to send my book to a "professional" editor, and yet, here you are, on a teen writing site, doing the same job.

I love that you're coming to resent and hate the General for his thoughtlessness in Kora's case. That's how I wanted him to be.

"Threatening to send the foundations of the worlds crumbling to their knees."

That is perhaps exaggerating their situation a tad bit too much. It's not as if they are the rulers of two warring empires, after all.


You are so right, and this is one of those moments where your point of view and ability to notice the small things is invaluable. I meant to write "...foundations of their worlds..." Had I, it would make sense, but with it as it is, I would rag on myself for writing such a stupid thing :P

And lastly, because I want the narrator to become a very prominent character, I've struggle with his voice and how to write him. It seems that he's right on track, though, with the way he views those he's speaking about. Cynical. Sadistically. Bloodthirsty. Etc. Etc. Etc. Essentially, he's a evil, and nothing else.

Once again, thank you, thank you for this review. Your advice is very much appreciated and valued.



AstralHunter says...


I cannot equal your response with one of my own, but I can say that I am immensely pleased you value my advice so much. You have made my day so much better!




Be careful or be roadkill.
— Calvin