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12+ Violence

Terashar- The First Cycle (Edited)

by unpublishedperson


Author's Note-This is a piece of Short Fiction that I wrote in one sitting, then revised a couple weeks later. I have been sitting on it ever since. I figured this would be a good this to post however, because I am considering expanding the concept. Thank you for reading!

***

The sun had just begun to rise on the prison camp when awareness returned to Sahlek. His body was sprawled out, exposed on the sandy ground, just the same as the other hundreds of prisoners surrounding him.

So the rebellion had failed. It really didn’t come as a surprise. This was the 6th time that they had tried in this decade. All of them, the multitude of rebellions, they all blended together. It was often a new leader, in a particularly bad district of the camp, that would rise to prominence. Word would soon spread, often among the new and uninitiated, those who had yet to experience one of the periodic cycles of slaughter.

At one decisive moment, after days of anticipation and preparation, of rumors and plans whispered in the pitch black, it begin. In a fury of yelling and confusion, a riot would start, a prisoner throwing a stone at a guard, leaping off a ledge, stabbing themselves, the like. Anything to rile up the masses. It seemed to change, rebellion to rebellion. Sahlek was to only one to see the patten.

All over, the violence would spread contagiously, for the whole day, and well into the night. Sometime it went on for a while longer, but never did it go for a full day. By morning, all of them were bleeding their dark blood onto the shining sand. All of the prisoners, except for Sahlek. He looked just as beaten and near-dead as everyone else, but in a while he would be back on his feet, as always.

By now, Sahlek had forgotten how many total times the Terashar prisoners had attempted something like this, and he was beginning to forget how many years he had been living at Terashar. It was starting to reach well over six centuries. 

Once, he had been the one leading these rebellion. He had been good at it. After all of his travels as a rogue Immortal, all over the land, he had learned things that no other man could possibly know, gained insights that no mortal could.He knew the right things to say, the promises to make to desperate people. Long ago, that had been his right as a ruler. He understood warfare and combat, and had led countless attempts at escape, for a time.

He had been restless and fiesty, eager to be back, to resume his travels. He had even assumed, for a time, that he had some friends among the hundreds that claimed allegiance to the Pantheon, yet that hope had died out long ago.

Now, he kept silent, and waited. Sahlek waited for the fall of this empire, the empire whose name he had long forgotten, for he long had stopped caring about the troubles of the world, the quibbles of his Ageless race. He knew it would vanish sometime, and with his immortality, and his new insight, the existence of such concepts like empire and captivity no longer concerned him.

He always fought, however, every time that the prisoners decided it was time to fight. He would let himself go, and become something awful and primal in the dark. It was his chance to let go, and be human, yet Sahlek never fought with the intent of escaping Terashar; he fought with the intent to release himself, for a time. 

Sahlek would never die, for he was Ageless. Even without anything to rule, he was still a splinter of the Pantheon, and thus a god. Yet, when the angry mortals began to pound against the walls, and scream for release, he would join in, time after time. He would scream with them, and imitate their rage caused by their limited years slipping away under the hot sun.

Within the crowd of swaying bodies, no one could tell that he as a god among men, Ageless among the expiring. What was there to distinguish? He had a long, tangled beard, like the rest of them, and a stocky build from working in the mines all day long. His face was contorted in pain and frustration, and his eyes begged release.

Last night had been one of those nights. He could barely remember any of it now, only that it had been glorious. It had been a rare time when there was rain in the desert. He remembered being soaked in it, and how it mixed with the wet sand and blood. It had filled all of the trenches were carts passed through, and Sahlek had waded through these rivers, a dark crimson color from the blood that had been spilled, and were clogged with limp bodies, from guards, and from prisoners. 

In these trenches, Sahlek had killed many men. Groups of guards would rush at him, and he would kill each one of them, one by one. As he battled each man, he would be stabbed multiple times, but to him this meant nothing. He would keep on killing the prison guards, one by one, until he could stand no longer from fatigue, and only then did he find a soft place in the wet sand to surrender.

And now the sun was rising, and he was content. Someday soon, the mortal prisoners would rise again, and he would go with them, smashing his skull against the iron gates and stone towers in rage, and then he would lay back down in the sand, only to do this again, and again, until finally, this kingdom, like all kingdoms, vanished, conquered by time.


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Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:46 pm
megsug wrote a review...



Hey unpublished~

rumors and plans whispered in the pitch black, it would begin


I love how you delved into who Sahlek is. His development as a character was beautiful.

I'm a little curious as to what you intended to achieve via this short story. It doesn't seem to have much of a plot. It's more like the background of a character. However, to truly dig into something like this, you'd either have to be incredibly skilled at the art of writing short stories (even then, I think this project would be on the long side of things) or you'd have to turn this into a novel sized project. I'm not going to suggest that you answer any of my questions because of this.

However, it would be nice to have a plot that's a little less subtle. You kind of flip between plot and history, and it's a little hard to follow exactly when you're pushing plot along. I think this alone has some real potential as a short story, adding nothing to plot or history as long as you could organize it a bit better and perhaps tweak a few things to make more of an impact. The way it ends leaves me feeling meh. I wish we had really gotten in his head when he was finished with the slaughter and was completely content to wait. I wish I could have known everything that was going through his mind at that moment because I think that's the big moment in your story. I don't think it's bad to have your climax so late in the story (>.> I'm sorry about how that sounds. I don't know how else to say it). In fact, in this case, I think it pays off.

You crammed a lot into a small word count, and to me, it didn't feel hurried or too full, if that makes sense. That's definitely hard to master, so I applaud you.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, let me know.

Keep writing. I hope to see more of your stuff around,
Megs~






Thank you for taking the time to read and review, you make some good points about the plot. The way that I handled that may have come off as a bit odd, and if I am ever going to do more with this story I will keep what you have said in mind!



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Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:50 pm
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Moriah Leila wrote a review...



Hi there! I see that you're relatively new to the site, so I just want to extend you a warm welcome. *Gives you a cookie.* It's a warm cookie by the way, baked it myself in my cyberspace easy bake oven. I am so excited to review your work!

First of all, I want to compliment you on your character, Sahlek. He is very interesting to me because he has dimension. You did a good job of giving him both strengths and weaknesses. Even though he is Immortal, I can still connect with him. Bravo.

Now, I noticed that you do a ton of telling and very little showing. You tell us about the revolts, when you should show us. Especially if you intend to expand this into something more than just a short story. I would check out this most excellent article by CastlesInTheSky about Show and Tell.

At one decisive moment, after days of anticipation and preparation, of rumors and plans whispered in the pitch black, it begin.


Here is another example where you do telling when you could show us through dialogue. Include us in one of these whispered conversations.

And, by morning, all of them were bleeding their dark blood onto the shining sand.


I love your description of the dark blood on the sand, I can really envision it. But, do not start any sentences with the word and. I do it a lot too, it is one of my bad habits. We must break ourselves of this!


Once, he had been the one leading these rebellion. He had been good at it. After all of his travels as a rogue Immortal, all over the land, he had learned things that no other man could possibly know, gained insights that no mortal could.He knew the right things to say, the promises to make to desperate people. Long ago, that had been his right as a ruler. He understood warfare and combat, and had led countless attempts at escape, for a time.


If you intend to expand this into something more, this would be a great place to start. I'd love to see more of Sahlek's past. How did he become Immortal? Give us more back story and I would be a faithful fan!

Sahlek would never die, for he was Ageless. Even without anything to rule, he was still a splinter of the Pantheon. He was removed. But when the angry mortals began to pound against the walls, and scream for release, he would join in, time and time again.


I think this paragraph is a bit redundant. You've made it apparent that Sahlek is immortal, you don't need to tell us again. Also, we already know that he joins in with the revolts. Make sure that when you're writing you don't repeat yourself, because your readers will begin to get bored and may skim over what you've written. Boo, no one wants to put all that effort into a story just to have a reader skip over it!

He remembered being soaked in it, and how it mixed with the wet sand and blood. It had filled all of the trenches were carts passed through, and Sahlek had waded through these rivers, a dark crimson color from the blood that had been spilled, and were clogged with limp bodies, from guards, and from prisoners.


In that article about showing and not telling, one of her points is using sensory language to help your readers fully experience what you're writing about. Use other senses besides just sight. You do a good job of describing what the revolts look like, but don't forget to describe what it smells like, feels like, sounds like and even tastes. You describe being soaked in the rain but you could take it a step further. Is the rain warm or cold? Is it a light drizzle or a pounding rain? When he is wading through the dead bodies, what does it smell like? Is the battle still going on? If so, what does it sound like? Perhaps you could describe the clang of metal as swords clash together or the moaning of the mortals as they succumb to death. Taste is always the hardest sense for me to describe, but perhaps Sahlek has an injury that fills his mouth with the coppery taste of blood?

When I am trying to use all my senses to describe a scene I will make extensive lists of what I might encounter through my senses, then I go through those lists and pick the descriptions that I think will have the most impact. If you need help with this, I would be more than happy to assist you.

And now the sun was rising, and he was content. Someday soon, the mortal prisoners would rise again, and he would go with them, smashing his skull against the iron gates and stone towers in rage, and then he would lay back down in the sand, only to do this again, and again, until finally, this kingdom, like all kingdoms, vanished, conquered by time.


I love this ending. It is very powerful and the impact is amazing. I can't wait to read more! I hope my review was helpful. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to pm me.






You make some very good points about showing, not telling, and this is one of my biggest weaknesses. You make some excellent suggestions about improvement, which I will keep in mind while editing. I also was intending for this to be a very short piece, which is why I didn't want to dwell to long on anything. However, when I I expand this, which I plan on doing, there will hopefully be enough room to actually show the reader the story. This was more of a sample of the character. Glad you enjoyed the ending, and thank you very much for taking the time to read and write such a detailed review!



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Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:42 pm
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Lefty wrote a review...



Hey, there! Just finished reading your story so I'm here to review!

The story was very intriguing, even from the first sentence, which told a lot and already started setting the feel. Sahlek was a very interesting character and I'm intrigued to know more about him. Based on his name, I get a feeling that it takes place in Egypt or Arabia?

I liked it a lot and left me wanting to know more about this ageless man and the place that he resides. How did he end up in a prison camp? Has he tried to escape over these centuries and if so, why has he failed? Why is there a prison camp?

I sort of got a vibe that he has sort of given up hope and plans to go with the motions until one day, he and the other prisoners will be free.

Is Pantheon the name of the kingdom and the prison camp is inside it, or is Pantheon the name of the prison camp?

This sentence I found to be a little confusing:

All over, the violence would spread contagiously, for the whole day, and well into the night. Sometime it went on for a while longer, but never did it go for a full day.


I think I know what you were getting at, but the way it was worded sounded a little like it was contradicting itself. You say the violence would go for a whole day and into the night, sometimes even longer, but then you go onto say that it never would go on for a full day.

And this paragraph:

Groups of guards would rush at him, and he would kill each one of them, one by one. As he battled each man, he would be stabbed multiple times, but to him this meant nothing. He would keep on killing the prison guards, one by one, until he could stand no longer from fatigue, and only then did he find a soft place in the wet sand to surrender.


I like this sentence, but I felt like it repeated itself a bit. "He would kill each of them, one by one." Then it says "He would keep on killing the prison guards, one by one, until he could..." This could easily be fixed with a little bit of rewording. Like saying "He would kill each of the prison guards anyway, until he could stand no longer..." Or something along those lines.

I did find a couple typos that I'll point out:

Sahlek was to (should be the) only one to see the patten


Sometime(s) it went on for a while longer, but never did it go for a full day.


Within the crowd of swaying bodies, no one could tell that he (w)as a god among men


It had filled all of the trenches were (should be where) carts passed


All in all, your writing is very smooth and well done. The story is intriguing and I want to know more about what will happen in the future, and what has happened in his past. I definitely think you should look into expanding it, because you have a good start and have already started to build a world. I would also like to point out that it's impressive that you were able to build that much of a world, story and character in one sitting. If you added on, I would definitely like to see what you come up with.

-Lefty






Thank you so much for your kind words, and also for you numerous corrections on typos, that was very useful as I am bad at catching those every when editing. I will keep in mind your suggestions when I go back to fix this. As to your question about the Pantheon, I was actually trying to imply that they are a group of Ageless like Sahlek. I am not exactly sure how clear that was, and if I choose to go further with this concept (not sure yet, I have a lot of projects I want to get serious with) then various aspects of his world will become more clear. Thanks again for the review!



Lefty says...


Oh... Okay. That makes sense. I'm not the greatest at catching typos in my own stories and each of my pages are usually marked up after handing it off to a family member. So no worries! I totally get having a lot of projects to work on. But if you did decide to look into this one farther, it could definitely prove to be interesting and creative. Keep on writing!
-Kira



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Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:09 am
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EmeraldEyes wrote a review...



Hi.

I was really interested to see what this would be like when I read that you'd written it all in one go. I think works like that can sometimes seem to be kinda rushed, but you surprised me, because you seem to have taken your time with it. :)
This is what i would call a descriptive piece of writing (because it is!) XD Ha ha But there isn't any dialogue, no real interaction between characters. For me, it made this work a bit dry, and I am glad it was as short as it was, otherwise, I think it would have become a bit boring. :/

By now, Sahlek had forgotten how many total times the Terashar prisoners had attempted something like this, and he was beginning to forget how many years he had been living at Terashar. It was starting to reach well over 6 centuries.
Within this quote, i noticed you said "6 centuries" Most of the time in books they would write the word: "six" as opposed to the number. Just a nitpick really.
You have used spelling, punctuation and grammar correctly as far as I can see, I just think the work could be made a bit more vibrant. :D

Keep writing!






Thanks so much for the review, and I will keep your points in mind. This was generally intended to be a very short piece, so I just wanted to focus on one character and one scene, but I can see your point about the piece coming off as a bit too dry/boring. Thanks again!



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Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:57 am
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donizback wrote a review...



Hey unpublishedperson. Welcome to YWS, I am sure you are enjoying here and loving this site.

I am here for a mini review. You know, I am a boring reviewer who rarely will point any grammatical mistakes of others.

I have to admit that you really carried the flow of your story nicely. I suggest you writing a novel or at least a long story on this fictional story; since this short story is "short".

I didn't see anything wrong with this piece of work; you seem a pro to me. By the way, how is this fictional and when did this really happen?

The ending was nicely written and I saw you wrapping it up in a cool way!

What else? Well you wrote a story and you made a fan. I am looking forward to your next works :)

Have a great day/night.

cheers






Thanks for taking the time to read and review! And yes, this short story is rather short, because this originally was intended to be a piece of flash fiction, but then got to long. As to expanding it, I may be posting more pieces in the same world. And this is fictional because the main character is a god-like being who has already been trapped in Terashar for centuries! Thanks, again, for the review!




Look closely. The beautiful may be small.
— Immanuel Kant, Philosopher