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Hidden Tree Chapter 2

by MilesGrayson


Chapter 2

Year 1, Spring 61

The morning of the departure every soldier was in line and at attention. People had come to see them off but Colonel Grey had no idea there would be so many. They had been standing outside since 0500 waiting for the General to come and make his announcement.

“Where is he? For a general you would think he would be on time.”Colonel Grey thought to himself. “My men are going to be tired before we even start the march.”

Trumpets sounded and everyone that had went slack on there posture snapped back into attention.

“My Brothers,” General Zojja started off with, “I have come to send you off with the blessing of Heets, the goddess of swift movement and strategy of war.”

He raised his arms in the air, making the people of the Capitol cheer.

“You will set off on your journey, and lead the Legion to a higher chance of winning against these monsters!” His voice came across as angry, but who wouldn't be angry for all the civilians that have been murdered by the barbarians. “I believe I say on behalf of the people of the Capital, no, all of the Legion, that we wish you a safe trip! But I know you will be safe, for your have the second highest ranking soldier among you! Colonel Grey!!! He will certainly lead you to victory!” The populace cheered, and screamed. Some cried.

“May the goddesses of the Legion watch over you.” Another large cheer from the Capitol, and then the gates of the city opened, as if accepting the soldiers into the outer world, some soldiers seeing the rolling grassy hills for the first time. They marched on, with the cries and cheers of their people pushing them forward.

About a mile from the Capitol they were allowed to be at ease and just walk. Colonel Grey at the head of the march looked ahead, seeing that it was all down hill until they reached Gillica, but even though he could see Gillica, it was very far away. The soldier began to talk, and they talked about everything while Colonel Grey just listened.

“When I come home, I’ll be a hero. My girl said she would wait for me. Wanna see? I have her picture right here.” One soldier said, pulling a photo of a averagely attractive woman out of his uniform.

“Wow, she is gorgeous!” some privates jealously complemented.

“Oh, the back of her looks familiar” another private called out, snatching the photo from the other.

“Hey! Shut-up! Give it back!”

Grey snatched it from the troublesome private and handed it to the other, being gentle enough to not wrinkle it. He sighed, he may have worked out everyday, but this mission seemed to be taking all he had.

“Sir, do you have anyone to come back to after the war?”

“No.” Colonel Grey said, trying to push the conversation away.

“Seriously Colonel Grey? What about a girlfriend? Your married right?”

“My heart belongs to the Goddess of Life for now.”

Some soldiers looked at one another with questioning looks on their faces. They couldn't believe Colonel Grey, the most popular man in the entire Legion, didn't have a woman. They shrugged it off and continued their tiring march.

Serenity

“When summer gets here… the land bridge will be revealed again…” Serenity said to Elflin in a voice that seemed to be torn between excitement and fear, as they sat on the West shore of the island fishing, with no luck.

“What do you think will happen this year?” Elflin sat next to her, hoping Serenity would catch a big fish today, but his hope was slowly fading after the long hours they had been trying.

“Well, maybe someone will come over.” Serenity straightened her posture with a jolt of excitement, “I don’t understand why no one comes over here.”, she sank back down into her slouch. Serenity started to play with the sand, drawing squiggly pictures of a cow, her farm, and the island.

“Back when my people still lived over on the mainland, there were strange and terrifying stories about this island. That it was haunted by evil, but I’m sure it was just a lie to help protect the tree.” The pole bent and Serenity stood up to reel in her fish, startling Elflin and knocking him over. Serenity giggled and secured her fishing pole with a tight grip.

“I guess that might be a good thing, but it sure gets lonely…”Serenity pulled and pulled on the pole but the fish wasn't getting tired as quickly as she had hoped. “This might be a long one.”, she said, smiling down at Elflin who had just shook all the sand out of his fur. He excitingly wagged his tale and jumped up to get a better look at the snagged fish, which was about 20 feet from the shore.

Eventually Serenity was able to pull the fish to the shallows, which seemed to take half an hour to accomplish, and walked out into the shallows to grab it by the gills.

“Amazing! This thing is bigger than you!” She smiled like a idiot, being incredibly happy with her catch.

“Then there's enough for me, are you going to catch another for yourself?” Elflin joked, but he did seem to have a strange ability to fit ten times his body mass into his stomach.

After they had made it back to the farm and Serenity cooked up a nice meal, they sat down at small square table in the kitchen.

“Of all the fish in the sea…” Elflin muttered, spitefully taking a large mouthful of his fish and berry dinner. “You would think that one day we could catch a Rock Fish, or even just a plain Tuna.” They had caught a Orange Founder, which had meat that was very sweet due to the fishes diet of fallen fruit. Elflin never liked sweet things.

Serenity on the other hand loved sweets and fruit. She had nothing to complain about with this meal, she had gotten to fry the fish up in her secret apple spices.

“So Elflin, where is your family?” Serenity said cautiously.

Elflin looked at her, “My people came over here, all hoping to become the guardians protector. Eventually all of my people died off, except for me.”

“But why didn't you?” She felt like it would be rude to ask but her curiosity had been itching her for a long time now.

“When my tribe finally found the tree, we waited for a long time. My mother, knowing it would be a while before your father would come took a bite of the tree’s fruit. The life giving crystals settled in her womb, right inside on me. My life has been increased drastically because of those crystals, no one really even knowing how long my life will really last, since I’m the first. Rumor was, back when everyone was still living, that once a crystal bearer completes what they are meant to do with their life, then it ends.” Elflin said it so calmly, and his calm tone is what scared Serenity the most. Her eye widened, trying to keep herself from crying.

“You mean to say, that once we find this tree, you’re going to die?” Serenity’s voice cracked as she choked back a sob, the thought of Elflin not being there for her was heartbreaking and bitter.

“No, just absorbed, and become its Deity. If that is even what the tree wants.” Elfin finished his dinner and looked up as Serenity, realizing what his words had caused.

“Oh.”Serenity didn't want Elflin to be absorbed. She had know that her own life would be taken by the tree, but she never knew her destiny would also bring Elflin to be trapped inside the tree for eternity.

Serenity was floating in a white open space, with no shape or form to be seen. She scanned the area frantically searching for something that made even a sliver of sense.

“My child…” A deep, raspy voice of a man echoed through the never ending abyss.

Serenity searched for the source of the voice but couldn't find anything besides the white.

“…You must… Hurry…” The voice faded in and out as if the person it belonged to was on their death bed.

“What?! Where am I?! Who are you?!” Serenity yelled, still searching.

She felt as if she was falling, the white fading to black as she screamed in terror.

“Serenity! The island on fire! Get out of bed!”


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Points: 890
Reviews: 3

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Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:55 pm
Anijapan wrote a review...



Wow!!..your piece leaves me captivated;has that element of suspense that can leave any avid reader gasping for more.However,punctuation errors,and the misuse of indefinite pronouns(the likes of a/an),are somewhat replete in your text.e.g.'an',not 'a' idiot,etc..I also love the fact that the first scene centered around Col.Grey...you did well to avoid mentioning more names.
As for the second piece,you leave me confused as to the nature of the creature- Elfin. The use of body parts like 'fur' portrays some sort of dog;but then,I get the feeling that it has the ability to communicate effectively...Just when I was beginning to take Elfin as human,I get to see him,(or should I say,it) 'wag it's tail'..Kindly readdress this subsequently.On the whole,twas a lovely piece.




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Points: 890
Reviews: 3

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Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:54 pm
Anijapan wrote a review...



Wow!!..your piece leaves me captivated;has that element of suspense that can leave any avid reader gasping for more.However,punctuation errors,and the misuse of indefinite pronouns(the likes of a/an),are somewhat replete in your text.e.g.'an',not 'a' idiot,etc..I also love the fact that the first scene centered around Col.Grey...you did well to avoid mentioning more names.
As for the second piece,you leave me confused as to the nature of the creature- Elfin. The use of body parts like 'fur' portrays some sort of dog;but then,I get the feeling that it has the ability to communicate effectively...Just when I was beginning to take Elfin as human,I get to see him,(or should I say,it) 'wag it's tail'..Kindly readdress this subsequently.On the whole,twas a lovely piece.




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Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:21 pm
dogs wrote a review...



"for the general to come and make his announcement"

Nice start here, although I think you need to try to omit all useless words whenever you can. Try saying: "for the general to make his announcement."

In the first paragraph you should say "General Zojja" instead of just "General." Also, I would suggest that you describe the General strolling in and greeting the people. It's an excellent way for you to add in subtle movements that will really set up character, like if he's pompous and stuck up add in him strolling in confidently and his little movements can add to his character. Try playing with that a little.

"that have been murdered"

Again, just omit all useless words, try saying: "That were murdered by..."

At this point I think your dialogue is excellent and the stronger part of your piece, but your rushing into this a little too quickly. Describe the General standing up to the podium or wherever he's setting up at to give this speech. You haven't set up a scenery for the reader so we're a little blind in that regard.

"being gentle enough to not wrinkle it"

I like the imagery that you use for Grey, But try saying: "being careful to not wrinkle it" just to get to the point as fast as possible.

I get a little confused because firstly the "Serenity" switch just comes out of no where. So as a reader I thought we were still with Grey, and than scene change. I also didn't know that Elflin was a dog until you said he wagged his tail. You need to clarify these things for the reader, maybe always devote a paragraph just to setting up the scene and then imagery of it all. All and all a good piece and I enjoyed reading it. Let me know if you ever need a review. Keep up the good work!

TuckEr EllsworTh :smt032




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Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:41 pm
gifted1 says...



Hi there,here is a review from gifted1..This is a nice piece,you did a great job with the soldiers scene,but i don't quite understand the link btw the soldiers and that insland with the girl...Also note that its always 'an'you use when a word begin with a vowel.Eg an idiot,an orange.kudos though.




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Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:43 pm
Caesar wrote a review...



Hey there MilesGrayson! Nice username, and welcome to YWS!

I'm going to have to start out and say, this really, really sounds like a Hunger Games fanfic to me. Capitol? Legion? A girl going out fishing? Hunger Games alert! Oh well. It's not a crime to be inspired by the works we love. Now, onto the review proper. I'm going to give you my general impressions first, then we'll move onto nit-picking.

This chapter needs a lot of work. There really isn't a lot of description -- not of the army, not of the characters, not of where they're fishing... nothing. Description is really important, because it fixes the characters into the reader's mind. If we know where they are and what they look like, we will remember them and they are one step closer to becoming real and vivid.

This also really lacks emotion, your character's thoughts and such. Now I get this was a rather brief introduction and there wasn't much narrative time for thought, and I can appreciate that. However, I recommend considering it in the next chapters.

Now, about the first part. Why are they going to war? What do they look like? Who are they? In a well-written chapter, the readers would not have to ask all these questions. They would -- at least in part -- have the answers. You may want to think about that. This goes for all your chapter.

Overall, it seemed that you were trying really hard to grab the reader's attention. Too hard, I'd say. The sudden switch from a marching army to a girl is sudden and not justifiable by 'Serenity' at the top. You need to focus on one or the other, or at least bulk out (or possibly explain) both segments. Description, description. It helps a lot. trust me.

Now, as for the nit-picks.

The morning of the departure every soldier was in line and at attention. People had come to see them off but Colonel Grey had no idea there would be so many. They had been standing outside since 0500 waiting for the General to come and make his announcement.


A weak introduction. Make things much more immediate. Focus on the marching or the cheering, the emotions, the sensory impact, something visceral, if you get what I mean. I would also switch the second sentence with the third, that way it's less jarring.

“My Brothers,” General Zojja started off with, “I have come to send you off with the blessing of Heets, the goddess of swift movement and strategy of war.”


Replace 'started off with' with 'began'. Saying more with less is good. Furthermore, why mention who Heetes is? The soldiers obviously know. You're telling the readers, who don't, but in this context it's redundant.

But I know you will be safe, for your have the second highest ranking soldier among you! Colonel Grey!!! He will certainly lead you to victory!” The populace cheered, and screamed. Some cried.


Nein nein nein nein. Using multiple exclamation marks does not make something louder or more impressive. Use adjectives. Adjectives are good. Furthermore, is the populace screaming or cheering? The two don't go very well together.

“When my tribe finally found the tree, we waited for a long time. My mother, knowing it would be a while before your father would come took a bite of the tree’s fruit. The life giving crystals settled in her womb, right inside on me. My life has been increased drastically because of those crystals, no one really even knowing how long my life will really last, since I’m the first. Rumor was, back when everyone was still living, that once a crystal bearer completes what they are meant to do with their life, then it ends.” Elflin said it so calmly, and his calm tone is what scared Serenity the most. Her eye widened, trying to keep herself from crying.


Info-dump alert. Seriously. If Serenity and Elflin are friends, they've probably have had this conversation before. I appreciate where you're going for, but seriously. Serenity's reactions are not enough either. Is that all she thinks? All that's going through her mind?

“Serenity! The island on fire! Get out of bed!”


Good ending, but I would have made it more immediate. The smoke, the screams, the heat, the shouting. More.

Overall, work on your description, emotion, and all that stuff.

Hope this helped
~Ita





Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.
— Maya Angelou