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The black Ravens

by Oxara


A mechanical whirl echoed through the silent rustic city. The massive council chambers building stood in front of two being’s of metal, black fog clung to them, red lights replaced their eyes, mouths and heart giving the fog around them a slight glare. The being’s moved forward, soft churches as their shadow clung figures moved across the snow and cobblestone.

Their knock on the massive reinforced iron door, vibrated in the massive building, the sloping roofs carrying the sound across the entire building. Sounds could be heard form in side but the door never opened. Metal whirled around itself, increasing in speed until the black mist began to seem to cover the entire road in darkness. When the metal could not increase any more, the fog exploded outward in a blinding darkness, as an echoed explosive was heard throughout the city. The wooden door now hung limply form it’s hinges. The smell that of a slightly rotten corpse crept along the building. The metal creatures moved in to the building, and an echoing raven shriek echoed in the building.

I let out my voice, my sketch sounding more like a roar in the enclosed building. I heard a click in a darkness and the smell of gunpowder hit me, and a slight light appeared in a dark corner. I let the fog spear itself toward that light, knocking the gun form the person’s hand. The sound of a gunshot exploded throughout the hall. I glanced at a wooden table the ink bottle now broken, the ink staining the wood black.

My metal bones ground against each other as my voice came to life “hope you don’t mind me letting myself in.” I wrapped my fog around two red banners, with a golden dragon engraved in the middle. When my fog lifted the banners had become black, the golden dragon now a moon eclipsing the sun. “Now then, you are excused.” Various people came tripping down the hall, falling over one another ran out the door into the cold winter dusk .

I moved to the wooden table and leaned over a rose in a simple clay vase, the rose smell was fresh, sweet in the most human way. I picked up the rose and laid it on the stone floor. I covered the rose in my fog let metal cogs move inside me and my unseen core span as the fog devoured the rose. The smell of roses now clung to me, combing with the gunpowder to give a deadly yet nice smell.

I returned my attention to hallway, a single massive door moved to the council chambers where the leaders held meetings. I gave a single knock and when there was no answer I let my fog spear toward the lock, breaking it in half. I turned then to my sister, who had sat watching indifferent to the events. She gave a simple nod and I pushed the massive door open, the slung open it a loud echoing sound. In a semicircle around the room there were elevated platform with nine chairs laid on top of it.

My rose smell was soon overwhelmed by the smell of gunpowder. My sister fog burst out in a explosion of darkness disarming most of the armed men in a second. I let my fog come up in a massive curved wall which wrapped around the remaining bullets and ate them with ease. My sister’s fog wrapped around the entire room and a silent wind moved us.

When her fog lifted the various red banners around the room had turned black, where the council had sat, me and my sister now sat in our chairs, pure black crystals, a single massive dark sword lodged into the back center. The massive sword even lodged emitted a massive red glow around it. The soldier's and the council sat at the lower floor of room, black chains restraining them.

“Good morning everyone” My voice boomed across the room

They only glared with hate, a few bite their lips so hard they began to bleed.

“Well then I suppose I will introduce myself, my name is Uthlain, it means the bringer of black mist.”

“A black mist upon this city I suppose.” One of the council members spat.

I chuckled slightly, letting my hands tighten from the cold arm of my chair. I let my fog swoop down over them, formed into a raven with two red eyes, about to pounce on unseen prey. When the raven faded various foods were in front of them, a sweet smell of melted cheese, various meats and herbs combining into a tickle of your nose. I saw their hunger then, the smell that I recoiled slightly form.

“A peace offering, please enjoy.” They looked at me, and with their free legs kicked their bowls over

“Was killing us also a peace offer?” His voice’s disgust could be turned into a deadly poison

“I have killed none of your men.”

“Lies!”

“Say what you like, but I have not and do not plan to do so if you work with me.”

The council member struggled against his chains, but chains did not even seen to notice.

A new member spoke up to the far left “Fine, but promise that the civilians are not to be harmed no matter what.” The others yelled at him, calling him traitor a murder, a shadow warrior.

“Come now is that anyway to treat your savior,” I waved my hands and his restraints disappeared “Now I only require that your military either step down or join my ranks.”

My eyes picked out a guard, whose shoulder were decorated with two iron shoulder pads carved with the golden knight, the captain of the guard.

“We will not become the shadows.” His voice was firm yet it seemed to tremble with a disgust. I only smiled and waved my hands and all of their chains disappeared. The crowd began marched in a slow, solemn march however, a man with a massive grey beard remained

His eyes were fierce, his entire face seemed to be sharp, demanding attention and emitting an aura of strength. His blue robe seemed to indicate he was a priest, but it finer than priest robes I had seen.

He kneeled and opened his palm to reveal a dark blue liquid in a small glass vial. He opened the cap and a smell of bitter sweet with a undertone of moss and various herbs. It was a shocking a pleasant smell. I met him with a piercing stare.

“A peace offering, please enjoy.”

I moved to pick up the liquid and then poured a bit of it into my hand, a slight tingle was the only response. I offered it to him and his mouth went into a servere line but quickly drank it. A massive fire erupted form him then, pulsing around him then dying down leaving his hands burnt.

I smiled and moved the liquid to my mouth and it tasted a mixture of acid and alcohol and it burned my mouth. The fog pulsed around me and it appeared to grow, to encompass the entire room, my veins pulsing with a dark burning. I let the burning turn into black mist, two spears which shout out of a window and broke two houses in half. The burning slowly faded and my black fog retreated back to what it was before. I moved my head down to him “Thank you.” I then waved my hand and he moved to a side entrance, I knew the infirmary was that way so I made no comment.

I pushed against the hard crystal of the chair and moved to the back of the chair, and wrapped my hand around the hilt of the sword. My hand felt a rush of heat, and the metal felt unbearably itchy. I stood there for a long while until the heat and itch faded. I pulled the sword and I felt the black fog cling to me closer, the red light giving the fog an eerie sense. My sister and I shared a glance, her dual short swords in her hand, the same red light emitting.

We let our fog expand into the city, into each corner, let no red banner remain, let every stone turned to a black granite, made each street filled with a darkness, let the black fog replace each symbol with my moon. The city become silent in the echo of our power, the darkness having crept into every person and each piece of land. 


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Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:58 am
JabberHut wrote a review...



I love where this is going! Tell me there's more?!

You have a very good grasp on imagery and description. I can tell you know precisely how to use it. I've read several authors who lean on beautiful description for their stories, and it's just so easy to fall into the world you read. With time and practice, you'll build your vocabulary to accommodate for such a style. This piece overdoes the description, particularly by reusing the same types of phrases over and over. So just job some more creativity out of that beautiful brain of yours and see what else you can come up with. Sometimes, it may not even be necessary. It'll take a fine-tooth comb to figure that all out.

I am super intrigued by this story and really wish I knew why they were doing what they were doing. I could tell they were probably the bad guy in this story. There was enough details to give that part away to the reader (yay!), and you have such a cool duo here to work with. This is what got me excited. I love cool characters and just want to dive into their brains and figure them out and feel for them and cheer them on, bad guy or not.

So in this case, I'm left wondering the "why" in this piece. I don't really understand who to cheer for or what's going on, so I can't really decide as a reader how to ingest this piece. I'm left simply wondering and wishing I knew more.

I like how you're working the sweet-smelling rose into your gritty atmosphere. I feel like there's symbolism there you're trying to work with, and it could be super cool to use that to represent happenings in your plot or as foreshadowing for what's to come (in which case, there must be more coming, right?!).

Aside from needing a grammar check, I really enjoyed reading this piece. Maybe it's a practice run for an idea you're thinking about. It's very interesting to me. Who is the sister? I didn't even know she was there 'til about half way through. What's her significance? Who's actually in control here? Do the people have no means of protecting themselves against this kind of threat? Why did the one guy on the council cave so quickly to the bad guy's demands?

Very interesting read! I hope you manage to work through the plot on this one. It could potentially build into a really neat story. :D

Keep writing!

Jabber, the One and Only!




Oxara says...


First and foremost, Thank you so much for the review (both the praise and criticism)

1) So this was for a school project, which limted to me to 3 pages and the first draft was 10 pages I think? Either way the sister was just as important as the MC in the original draft but I had to cut out a large part of her, I tried cutting her out but I had to keep her so unfortunately she kinda was just there, though I do really like her character in the original draft
2) This is in fact jumping into about half way into the story so it doesn't make complete sense, but I tried my best to adjust it to introduce stuff realistically and while keeping it engaging and having it met all my school stuff.
3) I am actually really impressed with my imagery if you go back to my first real work on YWS "Demon Maiden." Yea... form there my imagery has 100% improved. And while yes my dialogue and fighting scene has improved a little bit, they definitely still need a lot of work (although my imagery still needs work but it's improved more than my other parts)
4) Yes I have been noticing that I tend to rely on a few parses, and few I re use a lot of habits when I could cut out some of it. Repetition definitely also needs a lot of work and I will definitely try to work on it.
5) So the whole "bad guys" thing. Your not actually wrong but your not 100% correct. As I said before I had to cut a lot of the story/ideas I had for school. So in this piece, Yes, they are the bad guys. In the actual plot I had planned out, it was basically my interpretation of the "bad guys" being good. Basically it's the "cliche" of normal person becoming/scarfice to gain power/to do what is actually right. Basically the boy and sister are born to up-coming nobles. They over hear that their father agree's to do something inhertially wrong in order to become noble. They basically run away and at some point come back and become the black raven (I also call them wraith walkers at points) and they fight agist corrupt nobles and (because I don't know if it will be a plot twist(although I don't do them great but hey I have to practice) yet I will say they fight against something more. In essence I took the idea (or rather picture) of evil looking and wanted to make them actually not "hero's" but simply the "Just" people. It's a bit of a cliche but I actually feel like there's a lot to do.
6) Is there more coming. Well yes and no. So if I were to do an actual novel it would be form the start obvious which I am currently writing chapter 1 of this and am writing the next rough draft for my school project (which for some reason I am writing a scene form Demon Madien, which I've kinda want to go back to for a while, but I want to actually improve a bit more before I do a 'second draft' but that's beside the point.) My point is there will probably be a novel of this. Now that I am finally breaking out of a writer's block I really want to write so I probably will write it soon. I don't know if I will put it on YWS though because it may be pretty bad. (If I do post it though I will tag you and it will chapter 1, 2 ect to disconnect it form this.)
7) I actually have a plot structure for this knocking around on a old WFP but I think I have lost it

Anyway, if you some how made it through that well very wordy rant, thank you. (I know there are probably so many grammar/spelling/ just wordiness in there, and I am sorry.)

Anyway thank you so much again,
Ox



JabberHut says...


Nothing is too bad for YWS! It's where you get readers and/or feedback for your work, whichever you may be looking for!

Novel planning takes a lot, but it sounds like you've got so much material on your hands, it could very well work out as a novel or novella. Sometimes a short story is simply not enough! It would be fun to read. I look forward to whatever you decide. :)



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Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:06 pm
Dilbert64 wrote a review...



In my opinion, this is quite a well written story for the most part. The use of personification, sensual writing, onomatopoeia and other techniques is excellent, they really aided the descriptions in the story. The use of sight and sound to appeal to the reader's senses really allows them to connect with the environment. However you tended to repeat your descriptions, which became boring to read.

The overall story was okay. It was quite well paced, and gave a fair sense of the fear Uthlain instilled in the council, and how they abhorred him. However, I was left wondering why exactly Uthlain wanted to spread darkness throughout the city. He lacks a motive, which limits the interest a reader will have for him. He does work well as a threatening villain, because of his creepy and intimidating demeanour.


Lastly, I felt that there were problems with the wording choices at points. In the line "The massive council chambers building" you used the word 'massive', massive is an informal word, and kind of goes against the serious tone of the story, a word such as 'great', or vast' would be more fitting. I also counted seven uses of massive, and four uses of explosion, or explosive, which is just repetitive. I think you should vary your choice of words.

Overall, you have skill in descriptions, however there are problems with characters, and your word repetition. But it is a good story.




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Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:07 am
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Heyo Ox,

Shady here, as requested! I'll do my best to give a thorough round of critiques and edits on this. Jumping straight in...

A mechanical whirl


You want "whir" here (meaning a low humming noise) not "whirl" (meaning to move)

The massive council chambers building stood in front of two being’s of metal, black fog clung to them, red lights replaced their eyes, mouths and heart giving the fog around them a slight glare.


I suggest splitting this into two sentences after the "metal" so that the subject is clear the metal beings, not the council chambers anymore. Also a few other subtle wording choices to consider:

"The massive council chambers building stood in front of two metal beings. Black fog clung to the beings, red lights replacing their eyes and mouths and hearts, tinting the fog red with the glare of the light."

Or something like that? I don't quite understand what you mean by red lights replacing the heart and mouth. Eyes make sense but I am having a hard time visualizing the others. Maybe expand a bit to help us understand what you mean? Also, it's "beings" not "being's" -- adding an apostrophe makes it possessive, and there's several places I noticed where you use that incorrectly. I'm not going to point that out every single time but I'd use a find and replace in a Word Doc to weed that out a bit.

The being’s moved forward, soft churches as their shadow clung figures moved across the snow and cobblestone.


I don't know what you mean by "soft churches" tbh.

Their knock on the massive reinforced iron door, vibrated in the massive building, the sloping roofs carrying the sound across the entire building.


The first comma is unneeded. Also you repeat the word "massive" and the word "building" twice in this one sentence. I'd suggest rephrasing it so you only use each once. An example could be:

"Their knock on the massive iron door vibrated (-- can consider replacing this with "shook" for a more forceful word) the entire building, the sloping roofs carrying the sound through every room within."

Or something? Obv. that's not perfect but just a quick example at how you can use rephrasing things to reduce repetition.

On a related note, this is an excellent mental image. Very striking imagery here. I am a big fan and this was really well done.

Sounds could be heard form in side but the door never opened. Metal whirled around itself,


Typo -- "from" not "form" and also you also want "whirred" here not "whirled" for the same reason that I explained above.

The wooden door now hung limply form it’s hinges. The smell that of a slightly rotten corpse crept along the building. The metal creatures moved in to the building, and an echoing raven shriek echoed in the building.


This is /excellent/ that you included other senses into your description. Where most description falls short is it relies on sight alone -- having smell and hearing engages more senses and is a really great strategy. Well done!

(though you used "form" instead of "from" again -- you might even try a "find" for "form" in your doc to proof read yourself)

I let out my voice, my sketch sounding more like a roar in the enclosed building.


I don't know what you mean by "my sketch" here.

I glanced at a wooden table the ink bottle now broken, the ink staining the wood black.


I like this detail. Great imagery piece. But I do think you could strengthen it by rewording. Consider something like:

"I glanced at the now-broken ink bottle on the table, its contents spilled and staining the wood black."

Or something like that? To reduce the repetition of the word "ink" and "wood" here -- I'm a real Nazi about word repetition if you couldn't tell, lol. You could even further strengthen it by describing the wood a bit more.

"staining the mahogany wood black" etc. so that we get more of a mental image of what this table actually looks like. Is it finished or unfinished? Rough cut lumber or fine craftsmanship? Pine or oak or cedar or mahogany? You don't need to have /all/ of these details definitely, we don't want a laundry list description, but those are some things you could think about working in.

My metal bones ground against each other as my voice came to life “hope you don’t mind me letting myself in.” I wrapped my fog around two red banners, with a golden dragon engraved in the middle. When my fog lifted the banners had become black, the golden dragon now a moon eclipsing the sun. “Now then, you are excused.” Various people came tripping down the hall, falling over one another ran out the door into the cold winter dusk .


Okay, you've already seen my Word Repetition rant so let's go on to my paragraphing rant ;) The way you break up paragraphs is vital to the scene. So far you've been doing really well, but that breaks a bit when you added in this dialogue. In general, you've got four general methods for breaking up paragraphs that include dialogue. They would be:

Example 1 : "Dialogue," Person said.

- or -

"Dialogue." Person does an action or two.

Example 2: "Dialogue," Person said. "Then keeps talking."

- or -

"Dialogue." Person does an action or two. "Then keeps talking."

Example 3: Person does an action. "Dialogue."

Example 4: "Dialogue."

So what you have is good, but you have description and then dialogue and then more description and then more dialogue and then some action by other people and it's just kinda jumbled. I'd suggest splitting it into a few paragraphs to keep straight what's going on.

Also, the "I" narrator really confused me. You started by talking about the metal beings in a third person sense and then suddenly switched to first person perspective and it took me a bit to figure out that "I" was one of the metal beings. You might want to keep it at third person? To help clarity?

I moved to the wooden table and leaned over a rose in a simple clay vase, the rose smell was fresh, sweet in the most human way. I picked up the rose and laid it on the stone floor. I covered the rose in my fog let metal cogs move inside me and my unseen core span as the fog devoured the rose. The smell of roses now clung to me, combing with the gunpowder to give a deadly yet nice smell.


Word. Repetition. Should. Be. Eliminated. //continues ranting

You have the word "rose" in this one single paragraph /six/ separate times. *screeches* Def work with this to try to eliminate several of those repetitions. Also, in the following paragraphs that come after this, you use the word "fog" too many times between the narrator and his sister. I'd work on editing some of those out as well.

Although, that being said, I really like the imagery here with him and the rose. It's a nice detail and I like that you included it.

They only glared with hate, a few bite their lips so hard they began to bleed.


Oooh! This is /good/ stuff! And I think you can make it even stronger fairly easily. Like... okay obv your story but ideas I had:

"The hatred in their glares pierced through the silence even as their teeth gnawed blood from their own lips."

... actually now that I've written it I don't utterly love that. But you get what I mean? Use stronger emotional language to convey a more poignant scene.

“Well then I suppose I will introduce myself, my name is Uthlain, it means the bringer of black mist.”


I would be careful about using "it means" in your dialogue. I mean think about real life. You don't meet a new person and go "My name is Oxara, it means..." like all names have meanings but you don't just go around defining your name for people. What if you had him being like "my name is Uthlain" and then someone else cuts in "The bringer of black mist, we know who you are." Or something?

I saw their hunger then, the smell that I recoiled slightly form.


Another "form" instead of "from"

The council member struggled against his chains, but chains did not even seen to notice.


Pray tell, what would the chains have done if they'd noticed? xD Seriously, though, try rephrasing this. For one you've got a typo as "seen" instead of "seem" but also it seems weird to assign a cognition sort of response to an inanimate object. Maybe something like they didn't budge or didn't even rattle or something?

The others yelled at him, calling him traitor a murder, a shadow warrior.


You're missing a comma between "traitor" and "a" and also "murder" should be "murderer" instead.

He opened the cap and a smell of bitter sweet with a undertone of moss and various herbs.


I believe this qualifies as a sentence fragment. You describe the smell of presumably whatever's in the vial, but then don't tell us what about it? Did the smell spill out into the room? Meet the narrator? I don't understand fully what this sentence is trying to convey.

~ ~ ~

Okay!

This is a good story, Ox! I'm so proud of you!!! :D This is substantially better than other things I've read from you in the past and I am just so incredibly impressed with your improvement! Great job buddy!

I really like your story. Overall I think the biggest things you can work to improve is the various typos (especially using "form" instead of "from") and reducing the amount of repetition you have of the same word in a short period of time. And the whole sister thing, but we already talked about that in chat so I won't beat that to death here.

Great job and let me know if you have any questions!

~Shady 8)




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Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:23 pm
TheMulticoloredCyr wrote a review...



Hello, hello, my dear Oxara, now, I want to start by saying that I really did like this story in general. you did a very good job of capturing the emotions and aesthetics that really made the piece joyfully unsettling to read. That said, you did tend to over-explain things. The opening bit was convoluted and hard to follow, being the worst example of this in the piece, but the rest of it suffered from that as well.

You seem to be so intent on making sure that your readers visualize and understand every detail of this very visual story, which isn't a bad thing. Just read "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" for an example of such a story. It can be done, and you made a valiant effort, but you went a little overboard on it.

Everything "seemed to be" something that it was, everything was black and dark and so on. you use the same language to describe the same things, which is something you should train yourself not to do. It is best to trust that your readers will understand the basics and fill in the blanks, you do not need to describe everything. And, going back to the repetitive language, try to avoid using the same words, especially descriptive words, within the same area of text. You may not think it's all that big of a deal, but I assure you, your readers can and will notice. It is best to look for synonyms or simply refrain from re-describing something your readers already know.

Anyway, that was my bit on this, I had to ditch my usual format because the back-and-forth scrolling can and has been noticed by people who'll tell me to get back to the work I finished a while ago. But I hope this was helpful anyhow, happy writing and good luck!




Oxara says...


Your not wrong. 1) I did focus on visual quite a bit because that is our topic right now (setting/senses) however your right, I did re use a lot of descriptions which could definitely be better. Oh and I forgot to mention it in the post but this was based off two pictures (which when I repost a reminder of this It should be included so I will tag you for that if you want)





Please do!




"For a short space of time I remained at the window watching the pallid lightnings that played above Mont Blanc and listening to the rushing of the Arve, which pursued its noise way beneath. The same lulling sounds acted as a lullaby to my too keen sensations; when I placed my head upon my pillow, sleep crept over me; I felt it as it came and blessed the giver of oblivion."
— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein