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The Zarareth's Legacy Chapter 1

by Deadman

Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

It was a nice cool morning and I was making my rounds through the markets. The smells of spice filled the air, along with the shouts of vendors trying to convince people to buy their goods. However a new smell soon filled the air. A putrid smell of smoke, but it was not cooking fires. I picked up my pace and began to search for the source of it. I was approaching the entrance of the town, and now I could hear screams. Drawing my sword I broke out into a sprint towards the source of the screams. Rounding a corner I ran straight into a beast of a man. He seemed just as surprised as I was. Then I realized who this was! This was a member of the Shloski (Shu-lus-ki).
The Shloski are a tribe of savages that have been raiding and plundering our cities for ages. No one knows where they came from or what exactly they want, but we stand and fight them. People believe they formed a pact with the devil and had lost all sanity, and only live to fight. Though are not the best fighters, to the regular town guard they are a trouble. The Shloski have numbers and strength to their name, but that is easily defeated with the mighty force of the Zarareth, which I am a proud member of.
I recovered quickly from the incident and lashed out with my sword, watching as it drew a line of red across the savages bare chest. The savage looked at me as his eyes rolled into the back of his head. His body slumped to the ground with a thud, I leapt over the body and proceeded towards the gates of the town. I wanted to see if it was an all out attack or if it was just a normal raid.
I made it to the gate and saw the savages raiding the shops near the gate. I raced towards the closest group and began the soon to be massacre. My blade danced upon their filthy skin, and created elegant lines of red. The first group I had come to was dispatched of quickly, but soon the others had realized I was here.
"It be one of them Zarareth! Kill him now!" One of the Shloski had yelled out.
The group of them charged me, there was maybe ten of them. The first one to reach me was using a polearm. I grabbed the shaft of the pole and pulled him into my blade. A quite gurgling sound was heard, because I had not stabbed him in the heart, but the stomach. I tossed his body to the side, and then three of them surrounded me. The first one slashed at me with all his might. I dodged and watched as he fell of balance. Before I could kill him the other two came at me, both swinging for my head. I ducked, and reached up with my sword slicing at their arms. I was rewarded with a small showering of blood and a scream of pain. By now the guy that had fallen on the ground had gotten up, and another creature with a bow was aiming at me. I swung forward creating some space between myself and the three attackers, and then I felt a sharp pain in my thigh. I glanced down quickly to see and arrow sticking out, from what I could tell it wasn't deep thanks to my armor.
The archer was beginning to pull another arrow, when I pulled a throwing knife off my belt and hurled it at him. I watched as it sunk right into his chest causing him to collapse immediately. With a slight limp I advanced towards the onslaught. The three that had surrounded me earlier had recovered and regrouped. One of them Had blood running down his right arm, and his sword was now in his left. I knew I'd have even more of an advantage now. Then everything went wrong. Fire erupted two feet in front of me, and another arrow landed in foot. My boot had kept me pretty much safe. Now I realized things would become difficult, there was fire in front of me and I was surrounded on each side. I turned to find three Shloski behind, me three to my right, and the three that were in front were now moving to my left. I quickly figured that my best bet was to charge the three to my right first. I plucked the arrow from my foot, and my thigh, then began the charge. One of them braced with a shield, another reached with his sword, the other stepped back. With a grin I slid on the ground right before I got into reach of their weapons, swinging my sword as I went. I felt a thud and resistance on my sword, and realized I must have caught someones arm. I didn't have time to think about it because it wasn't long before the one that had stepped back was attacking me. He would swing violently causing me to step back, then when I pushed forward he pulled away. However, he wasn't giving me time to reach for another throwing knife.
With a grunt I dived to the side avoiding the maul that was swung at me by the guy with the shield. As I rolled I grabbed a throwing knife and chucked it at the swordsman. I hit my mark and then focused on the last town, while the other six were almost here. The man with the maul swung again, and this time I side stepped and sliced at his arms. I connected with flesh, and the man screamed. Quickly acting I decapitated him and then focused on the last of the group. He was holding his arm from when I cut it before. I quickly dispatched of him with a flick of my sword and turned to greet the remaining six. When they arrived it was a clash of blades. I was on the defensive, stepping back, and parrying blows that would have been fatal. In the distance I could hear shouting, and then one of my attackers fell. The other five noticed and hesitated, allowing me to unleash a fury of blows. My blade danced across their flesh and the ragged pieces of armor. I slew four of them in that quick succession of blows. The final man was running, breathing heavily I began to chase him. I never did make it to him, because the town guard had finally showed up and caught him by surprise.
"Zarareth, had you not shown up when you did, this village would have been destroyed." The leader of the guard addressed me so formally.
Between gasps of breath I replied, "Where were you when they first appeared?"
"You had no guards posted the entire night? My lord, why do we even have you guys? You're never there when you're needed, and you can't even ring a bell to give the city a warning!"
"You better be, but not for me, you should be feeling sorry for the shop owners and civilians that are dead. Now clean up the bodies, and make sure there aren't any more of those beasts wandering around. Also make sure the bucket crew is taking care of those fires."
"Will do, thank you my lord."
With that I sheathed my sword and walked to the nearest tavern. I walked inside and the normally joy filled place went quiet, and people suddenly looked down at their food and drinks. When I reached the counter the tavern keeper looked incredibly nervous.
"I'll take two ales and a travelers meal please." This was my normal order at towns like this. The tavern keeper half nodded and went into the back. I could hear him preparing the food because it was that incredibly quiet. This sort of awkwardness was normal for any Zarareth members, but it's twice as bad for me. I have a nasty reputation because when I joined the organization four years ago, when I was twelve, I butchered an entire camp of Shloski by myself. That's not always frowned upon, but it was so horribly gruesome. I even left one of them alive with his his hands cut off, and he traveled everywhere telling people about me, and it wasn't long before the public found out. I have no problem with the Shloski fearing me, but it pains me to see the people I'm suppose to protect fear me.
"Here's your food and drink oh mighty Zarareth." The tavern keeper had appeared and brought the food and drinks with him.
"Thank you, and you can call me Slate, Slate Deathstrike, now how much will the food be?" I kindly replied.
"No charge for you."
"Do not treat me special, I am a normal customer. I do not take advantage of people."
"Fine, it'll be ten bronze."
"I'll pay after I finish my meal, thank you." I downed the first ale, and began on the food. I was starving after that fight, and would probably have to take it easy and sleep for once. Plus there's that arrow wound in my thigh, it's not deep, but it'll be painful to travel on horseback. I finished the meal, and downed the second ale. I tossed a silver coin on the counter and walked out before the tavern keeper could argue. From the tavern I went to find the blacksmith, and purchased some metals for my new sword.
I had begun to leave the town, when a messenger bird dropped me a note. I picked it up and it read, "Any Zarareth that is nearby is to report to Shobuski (shoe-buh-ski). The Shloski have launched an assault against the town, and the town is falling fast." I dashed back into town and found the nearest stables. The owner looked at me as I mounted his horse, and I threw two gold coins at him, he nodded and took them. I kicked the horse in his sides, and he lept off. My thigh was killing me, but it had to wait because Shobuski is my hometown, and my younger brother and mum are there.
At the speed the horse was traveling I knew it wouldn't be long before I reached Shobuski. I could see smoke rising in the distance, and new things must be bad. The town's defences can hold against raids, but not an assault. If the gates were closed it could also slow them down, but how long has the town been under siege? It's been two weeks since I've been there. What about my brother? He's too young to know that he needs to hid and be safe!
There was a clearing in the distance, and I could tell I was about to reach the town. I could hear shouts, and the vicious sound of metal clanging on metal. Screams of the wounded were mortifying, but I had to push on and make it to the gates and then I saw the town. The defences had been over run, and the Shloski were pushing through the gate. There had to be at least two hundred of them, but the bodies on the ground showed me there had been many, many more.
The guard appeared to be holding them at the gate, but that wouldn't last. Finally, the Shloski spotted me, and a few of them broke off to engage. I didn't have time for them, so when they got close I lept of the horse and flew over the tops of them. I hit the ground and rolled, immediately popping up, and kept running. I made it to the huge cluster of Shloski by the gate, and managed to catch a few in the back before they turned to fight. I figured I could take a hundred of them by myself, but it wouldn't be enough. They were slowing encircling me, but I kept fighting. I was cutting them down rapidly, but whenever I did another took his place. It wasn't too long before I heard a massive roar of anger to my right. Accompanying it was a scream of pain.
I heard a voice over the sounds of battle, "Slate is that you?"
"Yes, how nice of you to show up Dash!"
"I can't let you have all the fun."
"Ha ha we'll see about that."
Dash and I had grown up together, and joined the Zarareth at the same time. He and I were similar, except he was much more playful than me. I was always focused on training, trying to get stronger. When the two of us fight together, people have stated it's simply amazing as to what we can do. I've never looked at it that way, I'm just doing my job. A Shloski managed to get a good cut in on my back causing me to stumble for a second.
"Hey Dash, let's do this." I called out.
"I was thinking the same thing."
I began to cut my way through the crowd towards Dash, the ground was getting slippery with blood, and I was covered in it as well. It wasn't long before I reached him, and turned my back to Dash. This was an elite fighting style called, last resort. Last resort puts you and your partner literaly back to back. It sounds easy, but you have to stay incredibly close, and avoid cutting your partner. Many people struggle with staying close, when they get close to the edge, one of them will pick up the pace without the other, causing them to split. Dash and I have practiced this before, and knew we could maneuver successfully. We were fighting our way to the gate trying to get into the town. This is where things were getting difficult, we couldn't keep them at a safe distance, and they were stepping forward in the twos and threes. Sure we could cut them down, but when we went to do that, we were exposed for the others to get us. Our main goal was to get into the gate, and push them out of the town, so we simply kept blocking attacks and moved forward.
It wasn't long before we reached a wall of Shloski blocking our path with shields. Dash recognized the situation, and turned me towards the shields. I kicked one of them causing the wielder to stumble. In this time I also kicked the sides of the shields surrounding him. This caused them to fall in a chain. In a quick motion, I pulled knives from my belt, and impaled the men that had fallen. We then began to move again, and I could see the inside of the town. The archers, were raining arrows down from the rooftops, and the guard had formed a block formation with shields out front to prevent the Shloski from moving in. I also noticed that the Shloski had set fire to half of the town, so the guard must have not been immediately ready again. Now that we had our backs secured by the guard we turn to see what we were left with. There was maybe about half of the attacking force remaining.
"Dash, I figure if we can take out another score of them they'll be running home." I claimed.
"I'd say so too, but we don't have to do all the work ourselves now. The guard is here, plus why would we let them go home, this is our hometown. Let's get them brother."
"Aye let's get them. CHARGE!!!"

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289 Reviews

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Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:42 am
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Caesar wrote a review...

Hey there deadman!

Mmm, medieval fantasy. Nice. Lots of action-packed chapters? Very nice. Since Searria covered the grammar, I'll be focusing on other aspects, mainly the action scene, as I do like critiquing fighting.

First, however, my general impression on the character -- he is obviously more than what he appears, to have butchered an entire camp of beasts on his own at twelve, something which is normally impossible. I also gather that the Zarareth possess superhuman abilities, because what your character alone did was impossible, let alone what your character did at twelve. They must also have incredible armor and weapons, because no ordinary weapons and armor could do what Slate's armor did. But I'll get to that in a second. Back to my opinions on him. As I said, he's more than what he seems. His fighting spirit is great, but he also appears to be kind, and doesn't give himself a lot of airs. CLICHE alert. I've read about so many heroes like him, give me something more original, man. On the other hand, my first first impression of him was a positive one, here:

My blade danced upon their filthy skin, and created elegant lines of red.

To me, that just screams sadism and battle-lust. That line was gorgeous. Gorgeous I tell you. Now if only Slate had stayed that way for the entire chapter, I would have been far more pleased. But oh well.

Now, to the combat. I like the detail you put into it, not everyone does that. However, lots of detail creates the possibility for flaws or confusion, which were, in this case, augmented by the unpleasant flow in some paragraphs caused by improper use of commas. However, that can be easily remedied by reading the offending paragraphs through again. Just a tip: when writing combat scenes, keep your sentences short and to the point. Action-reaction is a good chain. That keeps the tension up. Bonus points if images flash into the reader's heads, which sort of happened here, and that was good.

The group of them charged me, there was maybe ten of them. The first one to reach me was using a polearm. I grabbed the shaft of the pole and pulled him into my blade

Quick nit-pick, that should be were. The subject is plural. But anyways. What puzzled me here was the grab. There are many polearms in existence, but I'll assume we're talking about the 13th century halberd. Halberds were a long wooden shaft with a blade on one end, topped by a spike. And yet he grabbed it. Now, to be able to do that, he grabbed the shaft. But to do that, he would have had to be rather close, within striking distance, let's say. Furthermore, if this beast was charging with a halberd, the momentum would have impaled Slate, forget grabbing. And if they were too close to build enough strength, the one with the polearm wouldn't have struck first. Even if he did, the other two would have encircled him, the one with the halberd keeping him at bay, because nobody rushes into a spiked point. And he would have been in trouble then, forget against six others. So yeah. Oh, they also don't seem to be wearing armor, which is odd.

Now, naturally, comes the bit where I halt and wonder. How the heck do these guys keep raiding cities and towns? Now, usually, big cities are protected by walls, and patrolled by guards. Towns on the outskirts okay, those make for suitable raiding material. And yet, they would still have guards. It seems to me, however, the Zarareth function like a cross between Pratchett's Watch and the Claymore from the anime. They're obviously a peace-keeping organization, so Slate must have come from the city. To go from a city to an outlying town that quickly was odd. I must have missed a passage. You may want to include where they come from and why they raid, and possibly covering up why nobody's ever done anything about them.

I glanced down quickly to see and arrow sticking out, from what I could tell it wasn't deep thanks to my armor. No armor is fast enough to hold out against an arrow, especially at that range. Maybe 16th century plate armor, okay fine. But if Slate's wearing that, his movement would be greatly impaired, and there would be no elegant sword-dancing. Same with the boots, below. Even if they were made of sturdy leather and with steel-plated toes, the arrow would pierce Slate's foot almost clean. Or maybe not, as the foot bone is rather tough. It would hurt like hell though, and severely impair his movement, making him easy game for the rest of the rabble.

This was an elite fighting style called, last resort. Last resort puts you and your partner literaly back to back.

Nit-pick, that should be 'literally'. Yet another nit-pick, there shouldn't be a comma after 'called'. Now, about this fighting style. Granted, it looks cool. I can imagine it looking cool. I can see this in an anime. But really? It doesn't work. They'd just be encircled and hacked apart. Furthermore, your characters (were they fully human, which I doubt) would be dead tired by now, in serious trouble, probably dead. Also, their swords -- sword edges can only take so much impact, be it skin, armor, or other weapons they're blocking. And then what happens is, they break or blunt. It's why knights favored flails or mornigstars, sometimes axes. And why they used horses in melee.

Overall, you need to flick through this and correct your flow -- watch those commas. Secondly, your description. I want the readers to taste the blood, hear the screams, feel your character's bloodlust. I want to really, fully, truly experience things. Description, description. Nevertheless, overall, this works! I can't wait to read more from you.

Hope this helped

Deadman says...

Thank you. Also in the next chapter the armor and weapons should be described. The armor is not normal. I'll take your advice into consideration on the next chapter.

LouisCypher says...

Yep. No worries.

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Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:08 am
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Searria H. wrote a review...

Hey there, Deadman!
Couple things to get out of the way before I go into the review:
1) Nice avvie. :)
2) I spent a good two minutes saying "Zarareth" just because it's that much fun.

Anyway...Quite an action-packed piece you've got there. ;) I think you handled it well, and I appreciated the amount of detail you included. Your character's were distinctive and your dialogue seemed pretty natural to read. Yay! :)

I have a few nitpicks. I'll start with grammar first, then go to general comments.
:arrow: Be careful with your tenses. You sometimes switch between verb tenses. I think most of it was in past tense, and then you switched to present tense sometimes , so just be careful to keep it consistent. You might go through and highlight all of your verbs to make it easier to see them all.

I didn't have time to think about it because it wasn't long before the one that had stepped back was attacking me. He would swing violently causing me to step back, then when I pushed forward he pulled away.

For example, "would swing" should be "swung" to keep the past tense.

:arrow: Be careful with your commas. It took me a long time to get the hang of them, and I still put them in the wrong places sometimes. :) You are already doing some of these, but here are some general guidelines I can think of off the top of my head:
Spoiler! :
When you have a compound sentence (two independent clauses separated by a conjunction) you need a comma before the conjunction. Compound sentences can also be divided with a semicolon.
It was a nice cool morning, and I was making my rounds through the markets.

Spoiler! :
When a character is directly addressing another character, there should be commas around their name. Ex: "Jenny, tell me what to do." Or "Tell me what to do, Jenny." Or "Tell me, Jenny, what I should do."

Spoiler! :
When you begin a sentence with an introductory word (however, well, oh, aye, etc.) there should be a comma after it.

Spoiler! :
Introductory phrases should be separated with a comma. "Because blah blah blah, duh duh duh" "After blah blah, duh duh duh" "When blah blah, duh duh" "If blah blah, duh duh" etc. However, if you have a phrase in the middle of a sentence starting with these words, there's no comma before it.
The smells of spice filled the air, along with the shouts of vendors trying to convince people to buy their goods.

I might say "spices" instead, and you don't need a comma before "along".

Spoiler! :
If you begin a sentence with a prepositional phrase, it's usually set of by a comma.

Spoiler! :
Dialogue should end with a comma before a tag unless the dialogue would normally end in an exclamation point or question mark.
"I'll take an ale," he said.
"I'll take an ale!" he exclaimed.
"Would you like an ale?" Joe asked.
Notice I always made the first word of the tag lower case unless it's a proper noun or "I."

That's all the comma stuff I have off the top of my head. But if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. There are also a lot of great comma websites out there for reference.

:arrow: While I really liked your attention to detail in the fight scenes, you might experiment a bit more with sensory imagery. Describe what your MC feels, smells, sees, hears. It will make it a lot more engaging for the reader.
:arrow: The first few paragraphs felt a little info-dumpy. I understand how difficult it is to create a new culture and throw your reader into it without explaining everything. See if you can slip in the information more subtly in the flow of the story. It's harder, but you'll keep your reader's attention longer than if you force them to absorb a large amount of information all at once.
:arrow: You might go through and look at every sentence in which you use the word "because." You give some sort of statement and immediately it to your reader. Try making it a little more subtle so the reader can come to his own conclusions and actively learn about your characters and their pasts.
:arrow: Sort of along the same lines, when you describe Dash, let his actions and words speak from themselves. Let the reader gather his playful nature from his interactions rather than just taking it from the author.

Overall, this was a really fun piece to read. :) If you have any questions about my ramblings (seen above), please don't hesitate to shoot me a PM. I'm always happy to help as best I can. :D
Happy writing!

Deadman says...

Those are some very helpful tips, thank you.

I see no reason to celebrate the random timing of natural events by eating poison and singing.
— Dilbert