z
  • Home

Young Writers Society



Sanctuary of Discord--Prologue

by Wherethewindgoes


The sound of dripping water slowly eased itself into Dask’s awareness.

He opened his eyes, letting them adjust to the surrounding darkness. The cavern walls rose around him, hundreds of stalactites hanging down like the teeth of a great beast. A dim glow came from the Insycrion cradled in his hands, and a glint slid across the surface of the Occasius below.

It was bizarre, the Occasius. Even in a fully lit cavern it never really brightened; it seemed to almost suck light from the space around it. Its blackness was not just a lack of light, but something more, something beyond description. It was wrong, unnatural.

Or maybe the problem was Dask’s idea of natural.

Dask enjoyed it here, in his sanctuary of sorts. The two powers present were in a constant struggle with each other, creating a supercharged field between them. It heightened his power, his awareness, his mind.

Here, he could almost believe what he told his empire.

Here, he almost felt he was a god.

The sound of boots ringing against stone brought him out of his thoughts. He turned, letting the Insycrion brighten. Hap stepped into the room, and as he did his cloak began to ripple. He became quicker, more agile as he stepped across the uneven floor.

"The meeting is in a few minutes, Majesty.”

“Of course,” Dask said with a sigh as he got to his feet.

Hap stepped towards him, blocking the exit.

“Wha--”

Hap shimmered. The next moment he was beside Dask, throwing his weight into him, knocking him to the ground. As Dask tried to wrestle him away Hap reached for the Insyrcion.

There was a crack as Hap stumbled backwards, hit with a wave of power from the crystal. Dask threw more force at him, but Hap set his feet and threw his hands out, blocking it.

For a moment Dask was confused, but he realized that Hap was getting his power from the cavern, from being in the intersection of the fields of the two objects. Dask had the edge because he held the Insycrion, but Hap had power nonetheless.

Another crack, and Hap slid back slightly. His face was twisted in concentration, and sweat slid down the sides. The space between them crackled, light zigzagging across it.

Dask was so concentrated on their struggle that he didn’t notice the arrow flying toward him.

--

The archer crouched in the shadow of the cave entrance, cringing as he watched the flight of his arrow.

One couldn’t say that he had missed; he never missed. What he had done was possibly misjudged the shot. The position he had wanted to get in was visible to Dask, so he had had to shoot from an undesirable angle. Because of this instead of knocking Dask backwards, giving Hap the time he needed to grab the Insycrion, it would hit Dask in the side, knocking him toward the pool in which the Occasius simmered.

With heightened senses the archer watched the arrow bury itself in Dask's side, and saw the emperor stumble on the uneven stone.

The archer turned and ran.

--

Hap dove toward Dask as he fell, reaching out for the Insycrion. Dask’s head cracked against the stone and the Insycrion slipped from his fingers, bouncing across the cave floor. Hap landed on his side with his hand a few inches from the crystal, sharp pain shooting down his arm. He watched as the Insycrion teetered on the edge of the drop for what seemed like minutes. Then it tipped towards the Occasius.

Hap watched helplessly as it fell, seconds seeming to take minutes to happen, which considering the powers present was entirely possible. The bottom point of the crystal was a foot from the pool, and then it was an inch, and then a millimeter.

And then the world exploded.

--

1200 Years Later

Naaj tossed another book to the side, coughing at the cloud of dust that rose from it. He examined the next book, didn’t recognize the language it was written in, and threw that one away as well.

Something had to be in there about the Break, or all of this was for nothing. The other students were probably getting ready to leave after an hour of sifting through the latest essays on the subject, learning things everyone already knew. The examiners didn’t want new information, they only wanted to see that the kids were capable of research.

But just reading the same old stuff wasn’t good enough for Naaj. No, he was going to discover something new, some old secret hidden in an ancient book no one had stumbled upon before.

He was going to surprise them all.

Of course, the best place to look for such a book would be in the library’s archives, a building containing piles and piles of books no one had touched in years. It hadn’t been too hard to sneak away from the group when no one was looking, and picking the lock had taken seconds. And no one would care that he had broken in when they saw what he would find.

He heard voices outside the door, probably people looking for him. He moved faster through the books, scanning the titles in the dim light. Half of them were written in languages he had never seen before, and he tossed these aside quickly.

A small, battered volume caught his eye. He slid a few books out of the way and held it up, eyeing the crinkled and ripped pages.

The text on the cover was too faded to read. Naaj flipped open the book.

On the seventh day of the third month of the eight-hundredth year, the world broke, and as far as I can tell I am the only human who knows what happened.

Naaj’s heart beat faster. He read on.

In a hundred years people will still be trying to reason what happened. In two hundred years they will give up.

In a thousand years no one will remember the objects that caused this.

To me this seems tragic. I have decided to chronicle the events that took place on that day, describing it in as much detail as possible with the knowledge that I do not know who the person reading it will be. I have yet to decide what I will do with this writing, but I know one thing:

I cannot let this knowledge get into the wrong hands.


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
347 Reviews

Points: 25558
Reviews: 347

Donate
Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:21 am
OliveDreams wrote a review...



Hello there! Here to review your work for review day! :) I will review as I read to make it have more sense for me and you. I tend to ramble on otherwise. Here goes!

“Insycrion” - Woah! I have no idea what this is and how you pronounce it. Maybe that could be something to think about? You want to maintain your readers interest, not allow them to stumble of your choice of terminology.

Oop - “Occasius.” - I just tripped over this too.

I really love your descriptions! You definitely have a talent for painting a dramatic scene. I like it.

OOO I wanna know what beef there is between Dask and Hap – You've already created a relationship that I want to know much more about.

“One couldn’t say that he had missed; he never missed. What he had done was possibly misjudged the shot.” - haha I found this funny! You should think about adding a little more comedy to your writing.

I like that this Naaj has some ambition! I would like a description of what he looks like though.

WOW! I love your closing paragraphs! This has really got me interested and I'm excited to read more!

Good luck!

Olive <3




User avatar
22 Reviews

Points: 693
Reviews: 22

Donate
Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:42 pm
View Likes
CarsonTheArson wrote a review...



Loved it!

I was pulled in from the beginning, wondering what the "Insycrion" and the "Occasius" were. I would have liked to see a little more detail about those, however. It wasn't really clear on what exactly they were. Your writing flows smoothly and at the point that the crystal falls to the pool, I love how it transitions from a nice flow to "And then the world exploded." I wasn't expecting that, and it was pretty neat.

It is very neat now you make such a simple task as researching for a paper into what I am guessing will be a great adventure. And I'm sure that Naaj will definitely find the old secret he was looking for.

The text from the book Naaj finds makes me wonder about who was left to remember what happened, and it is always good to make your reader think.

Overall, very nice work, and I will be back for more! Happy writing!




User avatar
39 Reviews

Points: 1014
Reviews: 39

Donate
Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:01 am
Smilykid says...






User avatar
39 Reviews

Points: 1014
Reviews: 39

Donate
Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:01 am
View Likes
Smilykid wrote a review...



Fantasy is my favorite genre, so I'm always excited when I see a post under it. Your writing style is very fluid and descriptive. I also like the names. I think names are a very important part to a story, especially in the beginning. They are kind of a meter as to how "fantasy" the story will be. Judging by yours, I'd say this story is High Fantasy, which is good, cause that's also my favorite! My only complaint with this is that (and this is most likely because it is only the beginning of the story) I would like more of a description of the Insycrion and Occasius. Judging by their names, I'd say they are important parts to the story and I just feel like they need a little more introduction. Also, at the end, where Naaj is reading some kind of prophecy; try to play around with the time frames here because it sounds very specific.

In a hundred years people will still be trying to reason what happened. In two hundred years they will give up.

In a thousand years no one will remember the objects that caused this.


See? It seems a little too specific, I guess. Other than those things, great story!




User avatar
253 Reviews

Points: 17359
Reviews: 253

Donate
Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:39 am
View Likes
RacheDrache wrote a review...



Very nice.

Or perhaps the phrasing I'm looking for is "nicely done."

I don't believe I've ever read any of your work, nor ever interacted with you in any regard. To introduce you to who I am in the quick, I will simply say that I am not an idle or ready giver of praise. Neither "very nice" nor "nicely done" tumble easily from my fingers to the keyboard. If that doesn't quite impress upon you how impressed I am, just know that I was about to go to sleep for the night when I checked YWS on my phone, found this, read this, and then had to come back to my computer to respond.

I read, write, and study fantasy. I'm a vehement defender of the genre, too. As such, I am...particular. I walk into the fantasy/sci-fi section of a bookstore like a tiger on the prowl. I know all the red flags of a novel that won't be much good. Sadly, most novels fail my little tests--title test, cover art test (women in particularly scandalous outfits are a bad sign), back summary test, first chapter test.

No red flags here, WindGo. Which means that, so far, you have an original take, have avoided typical pit falls, your writing is solid, and you've presented a promise that this will be worth my time.

I like that. A lot. So keep writing. You've got a good thing here that deserves to be run with.

Now let's talk about going from very nice to awesome.

Beware of spiders

Your writing flows well. It's neither clunky nor too bare. Very well balanced and engrossing, really. But occasionally, a word or phrase will jump off the page at my face in the worst of ways. These words or phrases will momentarily break the submersion. Which is annoying to me as a reader, because I was quite enjoying being lost in your storytelling until along came a little story spider.

For some these spiders are just awkward word or phrases that break the flow. For you, the phrases themselves aren't awkward, but they seem awkward in a fantasy context. Just a little too...contemporary. Not that I believe fantasy should be thous and thees and ayes and ho nows. But:

"stalactites"

This one sent me back to third grade, and I sat thinking of stalactites and stalacmites and which was which. Not thinking, in other words, of the story. I worry others will suffer this fate too. It's such a scientific word in such an unscientific setting.

"it was [....]that was the problem."

On a brief stylistic point, this is what's called a "cleft sentence" and they are usually frowned upon because they are wordy. In terms of spiderness, I'm looking at this entire phrase's...phraseness in modern society. It's a predictable sentence. Most people would know how to complete it. That makes it significantly less interesting, significantly less meaningful--and, spiderly enough, distracting.

You could do a quick change: "Or maybe Dask's idea of natural was the problem." Which is still a bit modern for my own personal sensibilities, but less distracting and clunky.

Or you could shake things up a bit, ask yourself what you're trying to say, and instead of caving in to the cliche phrasing, dig deep for something awesome.

"latest research papers"

If we've jumped to a modern day setting, forgive this comment. But if we're still in an alternate world without an established, standardized scientific world with advanced knowledge-sharing capabilities, "research papers" sounds quite odd. I'd go for something like essays, or works.

"blow them away."

Works if your character has a concept of things that can blow people away--like bombs. Or magical explosions. Or cannonballs sinking into the ocean and making a big splash. But, still, it's not the most original expression of the concept.


Next on our list of topics: sentence structure.

You have a plethora of what the grammarians and syntacticians dub "loose sentences," particularly of the present participle variety. A.k.a. the [subject][verb][optional other stuffs], [verb + ing] [other stuffs] variety. Beware that these can become dangling modifiers when left without adult supervision. You can google any of those terms for more information.

I'm a linguistics nerd, so my eyes go to the mechanical structure of sentences out of habit--I draw sentence trees for fun--but whether a reader notices the repetitive structure consciously isn't relevant.... Variety is good. Actively paying attention to the length and type of sentence you use creates the second nature habit of unpredictability.

Orange flag: Message Of Impending Doom

When I mentioned earlier that you didn't have any red flags (yay!) I left out that you did have an orange flag. The doomsday message at the end of the prologue got my literary hackles up and on alert. I'd consider rewriting the text of what Naaj finds. Make it less obvious and prophetical and eye-roll worthy.

As it is, the text is steeped in soap opera drama. And I've-read-this-before-ness.

The writer is just too savvy, too forward-looking. So concerned with writing this down for prosterity. I want to believe that why the archer (?) wrote this little text is legitimate. That he didn't write it just so Naaj could find it two hundred years later. That's a little convenient.

So, think on that.

I have other suggestions that I can give as later chapters come across my virtual desk. There are later chapters coming, aren't there?

And again: nicely done.

Rach




User avatar
35 Reviews

Points: 3153
Reviews: 35

Donate
Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:45 am
View Likes
Dhendon wrote a review...



Okay, let me start by saying that I am heavily interested in this story. Starting the piece of with sudden action and unexpected events certainly keeps the reader anxious to read more, and so, you have succeeded at point number one.

Now, descriptions are always important, especially in fantasy writing, and I think that so far you have done a good job of describing things for us readers. I am always suggesting more details because you can never have enough thought-provoking words to make readers immerse themselves in the story. I am not saying quantity over quality though; you can keep the descriptions to a smaller amount, but make them meaningful in every word.

I like the way that we were left from the first section with the want to know more about the story, and this added a dramatic edge. The next section is amusing, and so far, it seems as though our main character is reading this book. I am interested to see how this story turns out because it could easily become a flashback written story or a combined flashback with current events story, and, personally, I enjoy the combination.

Overall, I believe you have an excellent story created here. I have no major complaints with this piece, and I am simply excited to see what else you have for us. Good job, keep going!





She conquered her demons and wore her scars like wings.
— Atticus