Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Fantasy


Oldredia

by Vareor


Chapter I

“Run, Erika, RUN!!”

Two children hastened through the woods.

As they ran, the boy peaked over his shoulder. Beyond the crying face of his younger sister, in the distance, a giant brown mass galloped on their trail.

An increasingly panicked voice surged through his lips:

“Aaaaahhhh, it’s getting closeeer!”

“Nooooo!!” his sister yelled as if she begged him to stop scaring her.

They rushed with all their might through the forest, completely ignoring the signatures the undergrowth engraved on their bodies. However, the tree branches cracked ever more louder and the rhythmic pounding shook the ground harder and harder. The village refused to entertain their eyes, and even worse, all the trees mirrored each other. They ignored these facts as well. After all, what else could they have done?

Of course, they had heard their father and Uncle Ulric debate on how to survive bear attacks, over a tankard of ale, on many occasions. Each invoking personal experiences or common beliefs such as making loud noises, backing away slowly or even playing dead. However, all these lessons flew out the window, the second the beast charged them.

Although they were well within the age period when boys outgrow girls, Erika ran quicker.

Before his sister pulled ahead, before his mind even registered his actions, his hand which had already anchored on her shoulder, yanked back.

The forceful jerk accomplished nothing else other than to disrupt his running rhythm, sending him tumbling to the ground.

“Brother!!” Erika cried as she stopped in her tracks. “Get up!”

He raised his head and the first thing his eyes met was a trembling hand, extended towards him.

In the background, her moist eyes and shaky lips begged him to hurry up. However, as his mind caught up with what he had just attempted, shame, the likes of which even pure terror could not topple, chained him to the ground.

“Eri~”

The sound of trees’ arms breaking under a remorseless force just a breath away, froze his tongue.

By his sister’s terrified look, who’s knees rammed into the earth, and by the slow intermittent pounding approaching from behind, he understood. It had caught up with them. It was impossible to deny reality yet he did not dare to believe. He turned around to look and indeed, horror materialized. A giant brown bear lifting itself on its hinder legs, obscured his vision.

No longer able to contain their dread, both of them broke into a scream.

In response, the bear released a deafening growl and raised one of its claws.

This was it. They were going to die. He was as sure of it as he was of the sun rising from the west and setting in the east. As he could not look death in the face anymore, he shut his eyes and waited for the inevitable.

His mind never raced through life memories as old men of the village claimed would happen, instead there was only silence. Dark infused silence. Before he could question the harbinger of death’s absence, an intense groan followed a heavy blow.

His eyes jittered open and in place of the monstrous bear, a young man with black hair and black eyes, wearing only a pair of pants – a size or two, too large for him – faced the right side.

As a moth drawn to flames, his line of sight followed the stranger’s gaze. Just a few meters away, the lump of brown fur rolled on the ground.

One time, at the behest of the older kids to prove his brass, he tried to mount the village’s stallion. A jolt, a twist and a blow – and he flew. The horse kicked him so hard in the chest, he thought his soul had blasted out through his back. For what seemed an eternity, his mouth opened and closed like a fish’s on land while woolen balls drifted across the grand azure.

That’s how he felt now. He breathed in, he breathed out, but the air just wouldn’t follow.

What had happened? How did the bear end up on the ground? Who was this strange person in front of him and where did he come from? A myriad of questions swarmed his mind. Before he could sort out his thoughts, the young man strode towards the bear who had just recovered its footing, with a composed look.

“GGGGRRRROOOOW~” The bear growled even –

“Haah!”

– louder than the first time?

Right during the bear’s volcanic display of rage, with a short and forced exhale, the young man jumped and speared his right arm into the beast’s mouth, all the way to the elbow.

As if on fire, the beast shook its head free and threw itself on the back.

“HAAAAAAAAA!” the young man shouted.

In a fit of coughs, the bear turned tail and disappeared into the woods.

As he sat on his bum, eyelids stuck to the roof, the boy clasped his own arms in a tight embrace and clenched his jaw. He struggled to stop shivering as the scene he had just witnessed defied even his wildest dreams.

The cause of the tremors wasn’t fear, but a state of exhilaration like he had never felt before.

Humanity had prevailed against one of the creatures which stood at the top of the food chain using nothing else than what nature gifted them with. It had been a pure battle without the use of tools such as weapons or armors. For the first time in his life, he felt proud to having been born a human.

The person in front of him was stronger than anyone he knew. Stronger than the older kids who picked on him, stronger than the guards of the village and even his father, a war veteran would lose in a fight against him.

“Brother!” Erika cried as her knees rushed her to his side.

Although he would’ve liked to display a more mature reaction under the eyes of their savior, the waterfalls that plunged on his shoulder and the small heaving frame which drew them forth, reverted his consciousness to its most primal and unaltered state. He hugged his sister back and head cocked back and eyes shut tight, what began as a silent scream soon developed into a cry beyond what his throat could handle. With a rawness unconfined by walls of ego, he wept as if it was both the last as well as the first time he saw her.

“~ ok?”

Time later, when the signs of moving towards the realm of dreams became obvious enough to snap awake ~

“Hey, are you guys ok?” the young man asked.

“Uhh … yes, we are fine. Thank you …” The boy said as he gently shook his sister who had fallen asleep on his lap.

“Don’t worry about it. Here, I’m … I’m Greymane.” He said while he offered a hand which he wiped on his pants.

“I’m Finn, and this is my younger sister, Erika.”

The hand which helped them rise up and the handshake which followed afterwards, were firm but gentle. The young man who must have been three or four years older than himself, had hands only a nail bigger and palms as soft as that of an infant.

Even after he let go of their savior’s hand, a sense of curiosity lingered at the back of his mind. Finn’s calloused palms were ugly and felt like leather but they were his pride as they proved his hard work and marked his coming of age. While he was only thirteen years old, he had been helping his parents work the fields for as long as he could remember. That was the path everyone else followed too.

With skin the world had never touched, which clothed a well-proportioned slim frame and delicate features at the top, the one who commanded it all with absolute confidence even against monstrous bears, couldn’t have come from anywhere than a different world.

“What are you kids doing so deep into the forest?”

Finn and Erika exchanged a short look before Erika whispered:

“Brother, I think we should tell him.”

A nod later ~

“We wanted to meet the witch …” Finn said in a quiet voice that squeezed the last word through his teeth.

“She has cursed our village with an uncurable plague and we want to make her undo it.” he continued, hands clenched into shaking fists, as he looked at a rock next to his feet.

“Even our father …” Erika said, her voice tearing up.

After a short pause, Greymane bowed until his height matched theirs and looked them straight in the eyes as he placed his hands on their shoulders.

“I understand. Don’t worry, everything will be alright.”

They hadn’t known him for more than a few minutes but his voice carried so much conviction that even those few words were enough to lighten their anxiety.

“For now, let’s go back to the village. We will solve this problem together.”

“Un!” both siblings nodded with restored spirits.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
7 Reviews


Points: 78
Reviews: 7

Donate
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:19 pm
JacyBuschman wrote a review...



Hello!

The title caught my attention at first. This is a great start to what you are working on. There are typical grammatical errors, and some HEAVY use of transitional phrases like
>In response, the bear released a deafening growl and raised one of its claws.
The bear is scary, it's building up, but to me, the "In response" takes away from this big action moment.

Some of the dialogue is a bit hard to know who's speaking right away.

You said you dislike having the world already laid out for the reading before the action. I totaaaaally understand this. But even a bit of description to help the reading visualize the action scenes in your pages goes a long way. Feel as that character, and describe how they feel, what they look like in those moments, what they see. Since this is a 3rd person style, you get to do all of those things with so much room for the creativity you're displaying already.

They are children, and their imaginations are WILD, and even the things they encounter will be exaggerated or seem even more eventful because of their size. Use this to your advantage when comparing how the children see the bear, vs this stranger who took out the bear in a single swoop.



Random avatar
Vareor says...


Hey!

Thank you very much for showing interest in my novel.

You make some great points. I%u2019m very good at noticing patterns but the fact I use a lot of transitional phrases was just invisible to me. Thanks for pointing it out.

To be honest, I was afraid of giving too many details about the characters%u2019 surroundings for fear of diluting the scene%u2019s immediacy. I paint a clearer picture in the following pages when things slow down.
Nonetheless, I too feel the environment lacks sustenance even at this point.

Also, the way Greymane dealt with the bear is actually pretty credible. I do go into the behind-the-scenes later on.

Thank you again!



User avatar
12 Reviews


Points: 1500
Reviews: 12

Donate
Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:53 am
View Likes
Cici wrote a review...



Hi, Vareor!

This was such a delightful read, and you have a wonderful style of writing! Your use of language alludes at different conclusions, and you drop small innuendos (the bear and the stranger) without telling us directly.

Using that proficient skill, you can include more hints to the plague that infected the village, the witch, and what happened to the father. Querencia already mentioned this and does a fantastic job of explaining it. Oh, after a reread, I do see that you mentioned it (I think) at the part where the village refused to entertain their eyes, but it's not clear.

A drawback of this type of writing is that it can sometimes be very vague. Maybe add even more details regarding the setting and characters, but I'm sure we'll get more specifics after the story is introduced. I suggest adding what time of day, temperature, and what type of weather it was when this happened. Was the sun blazing into their skin, or was the luminous crescent-moon covered by the towering trees in the forest? Also, include if the two children were sweating or if they had dirt on their legs. I don't think you mention this, and it might be important to add such details. This will help us, the readers, illustrate the scene even better. I guess we could assume that this occurred in daylight, or time could be different in this "world"

As for characters, maybe more descriptions and personal details? I'm not sure. You could include the physical characteristics of Finn, Erika, and the mysterious stranger. Maybe talk about how Erika resembles Finn or they both resemble their father (just a random thought). You do include a physical description of the stranger, but I forgot about it (maybe I'm just not good at remembering physical characteristics). Try sneaking in the detail about his black hair and eyes. Like, Finn looking at his black eyes that seemed to be a void consuming endless knowledge and wondering about the things he has seen. (I don't know...). Are black eyes unusual? I guess we'll find out. For personal details, I'm sure you'll mention those in the following pieces. You capture Finn's thoughts and emotions really well! You also do a great job of showing Erika's emotions too!

This also might need some world-building and information on where this is taking place. There doesn't seem to be a clear "world"; there are just a few snippets. We know that there is a village where everyone does laborious work (and somehow reminds me of medieval villages?), but it is now cursed with a plague by a witch. And there are bears. You do include a number of specifics about the village and I'm assuming the world will be built in future chapters, so this isn't a huge issue. I was merely wanting some explanation as to why everything is the way it is(?).

I really think that you formatted this amazingly, and you use lovely language. The only things that I had to say were to add more details about the setting (weather, temperature, time of day) and physical descriptions of the siblings. I do have a few alternations and questions for some sentences, but I highly recommend rereading it for awkward phrasing.

That was the path everyone else followed too.

Everyone? Does that mean everyone from their village? Is their village small? What world do they live in? Are there other villages besides their village? Maybe include some specifics: if everyone they knew of did strenuous work, write that.

With skin the world had never touched, which clothed a well-proportioned slim frame and delicate features at the top, the one who commanded it all with absolute confidence even against monstrous bears, couldn’t have come from anywhere than a different world.

Just a question: How exactly would they know that there wasn't anyone else like that? Does "different world" mean a different village? It seems a bit weird that children would have such a broad sense of the people in the entire world( (or that might have been the point).

As a moth drawn to flames, his line of sight followed the stranger’s gaze.

I prefer "Like a moth drawn to flames," or you could have "As a moth is when drawn to flames."

The person in front of him was stronger than anyone he knew. Stronger than the older kids who picked on him, stronger than the guards of the village and even his father, a war veteran would lose in a fight against him.

Maybe "and even stronger than his father, who was a war veteran that would lose in a fight against him," or you could chop it into two with "even his father, a war veteran, would lose in a fight against him" as a separate sentence.

I think that's all! Remember to reread and alter any sentences that you think need fixing or are phrased awkwardly. I honestly really enjoyed reading this, and I very much liked your style of writing! The language, vocabulary, and structure that you used are terrific! I look forward to finding out if he(?) is a hero or villain and to Chapter 2.

Wonderful Job!
Cici



Random avatar
Vareor says...


Hi, Cici!
Thank you so much for the review! I am both flattered and grateful you liked the first pages of my novel, enough to write such a heart warming review.
I love the saying %u201CTrust your readers. They are smarter than you would ever give them credit for.%u201D, which is why I let it influence my writing style. Still, I think it will sound less vague the more the story progresses.
The same goes for the world. Personally, I dislike books where the world is presented before and sort of, separated, from the story.
I strongly agree with your point on details which help the reader paint a better picture, such as temperature, weather, etc. I worry a lot about the white room phenomenon myself, but I find it difficult to decide where to draw the line between slowing down and keeping up the action%u2019s momentum, especially in fast scenes.
As you have guessed, the story takes place in a medieval fantasy world. And you are exactly right about the children having a broad sense of the world. However, with the exception of the occasional stories and news travelers delight them with, their world borders only their village and its surroundings.
After all, people who have no access to mass media or books, do live in much smaller and different worlds than the rest of us even if we all live on the same planet. (For example: the indigenous tribes of Amazonia.)
Again, thank you for the review and I look forward to your thoughts on the following chapters.



Cici says...


Aw, this makes me so happy! I'm glad you read my review and that it helped you get a sense of what the readers might think!

I completely understand that this is only the first chapter and that everything will be explained later on. I also agree with your opinion about books where the world is directly introduced: I guess I was getting a little ahead of myself.

I searched up the white room phenomenon, but no clear answer came up. Oh, well, I'll have to do more digging. The people on this website would be happy to give you tips and feedback. I don't really write action pieces, but you could think about what you want the readers to receive, instead of what you want to say (does that help?).

Ohhhh, I'm even more interested now! This just tells you that you have wonderful descriptions: people can draw conclusions without you plainly stating it. Wow! This is a very in-depth and well-planned: plaudits! Now that I have some of my questions asked, I can't wait to read more and see how it will all go.

You're welcome for the review! I await your future chapters; keep up the good work!



User avatar
452 Reviews


Points: 27136
Reviews: 452

Donate
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:19 pm
View Likes
Querencia wrote a review...



Hi Vareor! Welcome to YWS. :)

I'm Q here to review your work today; I'm going to start out with some specific details I noticed, then give some general, overall comments.

The village refused to entertain their eyes

I'm really not sure what you mean by this? If you mean that they can't see the village no matter how far they run, then I think it might be helpful to say that a little more plainly.

Although they were well within the age period when boys outgrow girls, Erika ran quicker.

Before his sister pulled ahead, before his mind even registered his actions, his hand which had already anchored on her shoulder, yanked back.

The forceful jerk accomplished nothing else other than to disrupt his running rhythm, sending him tumbling to the ground.

“Brother!!” Erika cried as she stopped in her tracks. “Get up!”

He raised his head and the first thing his eyes met was a trembling hand, extended towards him.

In the background, her moist eyes and shaky lips begged him to hurry up. However, as his mind caught up with what he had just attempted, shame, the likes of which even pure terror could not topple, chained him to the ground.

This sequence of events is interesting, but it feels a little muddled. I think that's because you start with Erika running ahead, then backtrack to before she ran ahead. I think you could just make it, "As Erika began to run faster than him, he reached out a hand..."
Also, was he trying to get ahead of her? Trip her? He's guilty about it, but only momentarily, so it might be good to touch on that again later. Did Erika notice anything?

“GGGGRRRROOOOW~” The bear growled even –

“Haah!”

– louder than the first time?

Right during the bear’s volcanic display of rage, with a short and forced exhale, the young man jumped and speared his right arm into the beast’s mouth, all the way to the elbow.

Here again you sort of interrupt yourself! This makes it seem a little stilted. If you focus on just going in the natural time order of events, it might flow a little better. :)

Humanity had prevailed against one of the creatures which stood at the top of the food chain using nothing else than what nature gifted them with. It had been a pure battle without the use of tools such as weapons or armors. For the first time in his life, he felt proud to having been born a human.

I wish we'd seen a little more of a fight! This guy just suddenly appeared and then stuck his arm in the bear's mouth. Although the children are glad to be saved, I'm sure they're pretty shaken, so it doesn't feel quite right that this would be Finn's first thought.

“~ ok?”

Time later, when the signs of moving towards the realm of dreams became obvious enough to snap awake ~

“Hey, are you guys ok?” the young man asked.

I'm a little confused by the time skip. You could just say, "after they huddled together and cried for a moment, the young man asked..." and that would be a natural transition. I'm also confused about the "realm of dreams" bit--did they fall asleep?

A nod later ~

Again, no need for the time skip. Just keep the story moving and it will flow naturally! :)

“Un!” both siblings nodded with restored spirits.

What does Un mean?

So, overall. While the scene of the two kids running away from the bear was highly dramatic--and you did a good job of that--it didn't seem very realistic. If a bear decides to charge and chase you, normal humans (and more especially, children) cannot possibly outrun it. So I'm not sure that these two could have stayed ahead of it for so long! And when they confronted the bear, it reared up and sort of just reached out a paw, when I think it might have gone right into an attack rather than this moment of preparation. It might be good to do some bear research to make this scene feel a little more real!

Also, you decide to end with what seems to me the main plight: the witch in the forest and the plague. While you don't have to start in the village--you can still start with the bear chase--you might want to mention that information earlier. Have Finn or Erika thinking, "I can't let the village down," or, "At least dying at the claws of the bear would be better than dying of the plague." That way, readers start to get a hint of the main plot point!

Finally, who is this stranger? From the way he was introduced, I thought he was the bear in a different form for a moment. How does he know what village the children are from? Where does he come from? Although the children are young enough that they might simply trust him without suspicion, they are also apparently old enough that they would be sent into the forest to find a cure. Which, to me, says that they're mature enough to watch out for each other, and they'll want to make sure that the stranger is whoever he says he is. Just a thought.

Other than that, you had a lot of good description! And the pacing worked well to convey the siblings' race through the forest. :) We didn't see a lot of personal thoughts from Finn, but I think the emotions worked out very well, and you had good dialogue. Feel free to tag me if you post another chapter! And happy writing. :D

-Q



Random avatar
Vareor says...


Hi, Q! I%u2019m glad to have found this corner of the internet.
First of all, thank you for the in-depth review. This is the first time I%u2019ve shown my writing to anyone else aside from a few close friends, whose opinions (as you might imagine) are too censored to be very helpful.
Your input has been eye-opening, but as presumptuous as it may be, I%u2019m still hungry for more. In other words, I would like to hear your thoughts on one more aspect:
Since English is not my main language, I want to know if this fact influenced your reading experience. Native English speakers have a way to express themselves %u2026 a flow, let%u2019s call it, which I just can%u2019t seem to reproduce.
Also, %u201CUn.%u201D Is a saying the people of that nation use to convey an excited positive affirmation such as %u201CYes!%u201D, %u201CAlright!%u201D.



Querencia says...


You're very welcome for the review! I think that the story didn't quite have the flow that it could, but I've seen a lot of stories written by Native English speakers where the flow doesn't always work either. I could still understand what was happening, and it was still suspenseful and emotional, which is very important. :)
And the meaning of "un" seems really cool!
(Just FYI, that %u2019 error happens a lot--I think it has something to do with the type of apostrophes used. Anyway, just in case you were worried about it, it's no big deal.)




Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
— Helen Keller