• Home

Young Writers Society


Stones Of Babel - Prologue

by Elfboy

The light was absolutely blinding. After dwelling so long in my painfully cramped, utterly lightless cell, even the dim light of dawn forced my eyes tightly shut. Shielding them from the sun with my hands, I manage to open my eyes just enough to make out the barren landscape.

The floodwaters were gone, leaving behind vast plains of dark, rich mud. The mountainside was nothing but bare stone and wet clay as far as I could see, any traces of soil having been washed away by the rains. The lush forests and grain-brimmed fields I remembered from the days before the storms began-- Barely a moon ago, though it felt like millennia-- were gone without a trace, and the sprawling cities my brothers and I had built for our kin had vanished far beneath the silt. Everything and everyone I had ever known... All swept mercilessly away by the waters.

As I solemnly gazed upon the empty lands where I had dwelt a thousand years, I heard footsteps on the planks behind me. It wasn't hard to guess who it was. "Do you remember your oath, Ogias?"

The man was tall and ancient, far older than any human I had known in centuries. His long beard was somehow still filled with color, the rich brown only tinged and flecked with white. He held a rod in his hand, and his robe was intricately patterned. Although he was nearly half my stature, still, this man exuded a kind of power that filled me with equal parts fear and awe. I nodded slowly. "I remember." Glancing at the sky, then back at the man, "I don't think He would let me forget, now would He Noah?"

Noah nodded, and stayed silent for a moment. We both stared out at the vast emptiness that lay before us. He sighed. "There's a lot of it, isn't there?"

I blinked, turning my head to look at him. "A lot of what?"

He spread his arms, gesturing widely. "A lot of world, Ogias. And not a lot of men." He glanced back at me. "There's room for you, too."

I shrugged. "With your kind, this place will be filled to the brim in barely any time at all. A mere thousand years from now, there'll be barely any land to tread, not a drop of air left unbreathed. There won't be one stone your children won't overturn. There's room for me now, but there won't be for long."

Noah shook his head, looking again to the sea of soil that stretched across our vision. "There are always places for you, my friend." He glanced back at me. "You're not like your kin, Ogias. You haven't extinguished your light yet. If you abandon your ancient ways, we would welcome you with open arms. Why won't you dwell with my people?"

I dropped my gaze. "You know I can't. I'm not of your blood. I'm not of your ways." I looked again to the sky, which I suddenly noticed was far clearer than the last time I saw it. "I'm not of His ways either. I'm not supposed to exist, Noah. I shall serve you and your favored sons as I swore, but no more than that. It's best for you as well as for me if I dwell alone."

Noah sighed, reluctantly resigning to my case. "As you wish it, then. If you won't live on my children's land, there's still the far corners, the high peaks... the deep places. If it is solitude you wish, the dark and the obscure is your wisest choice."

I nodded, my eyes locked upon the distant Mount Hermon, the home of my forefathers when they first came to this world. I knew every inch of that land from my younger days, every peak, every crevice, every secret. I could fade away there. I wanted to vanish, to be forgotten. The deepest cracks of Hermon would give me a chance for that.

I looked back to Noah. "I know of a place. Now tell me, what do you require before I leave you?"

Noah handed me his staff and removed his outer robe, looking out at the empty fields of mud with a strange gleam of promise in his eyes. He returned his gaze to me and took back his staff, the trace of a smile on his face.

"Let us sow seeds."

Is this a review?



User avatar
101 Reviews

Points: 1137
Reviews: 101

Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:59 pm
View Likes
momonster wrote a review...

Momo is here to review this wonderful start to what will be a very interesting book!!

I love this!!!! It's so intriguing, and I love the mystery of it! I cannot wait to read more of it!! However, there were a few grammatical errors I found, so let's get started!!

...began-- Barely a moon ago, though it felt like millennia--...

I think it would look better if you only used one - here. An example:

...began-barely a moon ago...- with...

...with equal parts fear and awe. I nodded...

Ogias' dialogue should be in a separate paragraph here.

...now would he Noah?"

he should be He here.

"...places for you my friend."

A comma should be placed after you.

"...and you favored sons as I..."

I think you mean your here?

That's it!! I really enjoyed reading this; please let me know when the next chapter comes out!

Elfboy says...

Ahh thanks for the review momo! I'm glad you liked it, and thanks for those grammar notes, you have a good eye for those XD I'll make edits, thank you <3

User avatar
22 Reviews

Points: 1946
Reviews: 22

Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:17 am
View Likes
raindrops wrote a review...

Interesting, but I haven't really read any historical fiction related to the bible, so this is a first for me. I'm also clueless as to what I should expect of a spiritual story. While I was reading it, the unknown origin of Ogias is truly catchy, because him being not kin to Noah means he's not human, yet I thought spiritual as a genre of this story means it'll focus on human relationship with God. But with how this chapter was written, it rather made me look forward for an adventure. Like the sort of story where the protagonist travels to find solace, learn more about himself and encounters situations that is used as a subject to reflect on life. I usually don't even read fictions related to the bible because I fear that the message or feelings they might convey be somewhat an insult to characters borrowed from the bible, and well (I'm sorry to admit) it just doesn't sit well with me - maybe because as I've said I haven't read any historical fictions related to the bible. However, I find this story promising, and would like to read more. This might be the one that'll change my prejudice.

As to your writing style, I am envious of how you can use just the right words (multiple ones at that) to describe the images. There was this paragraph, that started with:

"The floodwaters were gone, leaving behind vast plains of dark, rich mud.",

wherein, the image wasn't clear to my imagination, but when you reached the phrase:

"had vanished far beneath the silt.",

which is a couple more sentences after the first one, I finally understood what you meant.

I find this both superb and unsettling. But maybe this is just for me. I'm only trying to voice out what I have noticed as a reader who's used to playing out the words in my imagination, part by part. So when I didn't understand it at first I had to skip that incomplete image to move to the next one, but when the word "silt" was said my mind went back to the previous image it had skipped with a complete one - which was amazing, but the skipping part left unsettling feelings, where it mostly means that this one maybe lacking of the needed descriptions to complete the scenery. Again, this may only be for me.

Aside from those, I have no other comment that comes to mind. Thank You, I enjoyed reading and writing this review.

Elfboy says...

Thank you!

And yes, most of the book is more spiritual in theme, although not in the traditional sense really. The main character through the rest of the story is Kenan, a human architect several generations later, and it follows the theme of resisting darkness, even when G-d is absent.

Also, about the biblical characters, that's definitely something I'm worried about, and trying to be mindful of. Noah is by far the most notable figure I write about later, everyone else if relatively obscure. The only characters mentioned in the bible later are Nimrod, who was only mentioned in passing as a "great hunter against the Lord", and also speculated to have built the Tower of Babel, and Ogias, who is based on king Og of Bashan, the last of the Giants. I used his name from the Book of Giants, an apocryphal text from the Book of Enoch describing the times before the Flood, because Og isn't as good a word haha. Besides that, as well as the Angel Raguel, every character is either historical, from a non-canonical text, or purely made up. That being said, if you read my other chapters, do keep an eye on me! I don't want to say anything offensive about anyone in the Bible, because these people are as sacred to me as they are to you.

Thank you so much for the review, and for your time! I'm glad you liked it, this is something very new for me too, so it's really good to get this feedback <3


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
— Mark Twain