Forum Story: Chapter 1

littlemissattitude

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All right. Time to get started on this thing. Who wants to go first? (I'll hang back a bit, since epic fantasy is not my best thing, and leave it to you all to get things going.:) )
 

Hypes

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I’m not sure what length you’re looking for, but here are a few introducing paragraphs. The word usage is a bit repetitive, and it could use some editing, but it’s a start.

Note: I suggest we all use Courier New as our font for our story pieces, so we can easily discern between story and commentary. Tag is [ font=courier new ].

The town of Falle was a muddy affair, originally settled by aspiring hopefuls looking for riches in the vast Grimm mountain range which ruled the horizon to the west. Now, it was reduced to nothing but a stop for weary travellers heading to the great sprawling cities of the east. The tavern which served as the makeshift city hall was an even more squalid affair, a contest between the building itself and its patrons as to who was the filthiest. The majority of its inhabitants lined along the tavern’s bar were already on their fifth keg of ale or beer, despite the fact that the sun had not yet reached its zenith.

At the far end of the main room sat a solitary hidden figure, the cowl of his cloak hiding his face. No keg sat on his rickety table; rather it was filled with various notes and papers which were the victims of thorough scrutiny from the man. Though he was a curious apparition, the tavern’s patrons were reluctant to investigate in their usual boisterous manner, possibly because of the intimidating scimitar that was nestled by his chair. His fingers moved with sinuous grace and distinct purpose, telling the tale of a skilled swordsman. The drinking mob was only heroic when no real danger was inherent.

The man was becoming more and more animated as he studied his papers, pointing and scribbling notes with a makeshift quill. Suddenly, his cowl flew back and a whoop of joy escaped from his lips. Whatever hidden enigma it was he had sought to solve, he had succeeded.
 
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Esioul

The weird one
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Agh, ****, forgot to sign in and lost a load of writing. Oh well, it's crappy but here is is. for the second time. Not quite sure what's wanted here, so I'm just introducing my character.



The rest of the bar had by now reached the drowning-the-sorrows stage and were silent. One of them, a tall, slightly stopped woman, was at a rather more advanced stage, and was wondering about singing. She couldn't remember anything appropriate: and she was sure it ought to be appropriate, somehow. She asked for another pint instead. The bar maid thought, momentarily, about complaining, because the tall woman was carving into the side of the bar with her knife, but she realised that the woman looked strong, had pink hair and a nose ring, and seemed a little agressive.

In fact, she was feeling a little agressive, which is an effect that alcahol can rather easily produce, so she oblitereated the older swearwords and added soem more shocking ones of her own. She drained the pint, because she had also reached the stage where one feels very confidant in what one is doing, and asked for another.
 

Hypes

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Remember to close your tags with [/font]

Short update.

His features were gaunt, tanned skin stretched out over prominent cheekbones and a defined jaw. An unruly crop of hair crowned his head, thick locks of blonde hair going down to his neck, obscuring his left eye. He pulled it back with his hand, the other one grasping a piece of paper forcefully as he rose from his chair.

“I found it! I bloody found it!” he yelled. He was answered by the drunken half-roar, half-song of a tall lady at the far end of the bar. The remaining patrons could not decide which was the more grating, and decided to groan forcibly in response to both, rubbing their temples and taking another swig of their ale to soothe their pains.

“Wossat?” inquired one of the more conscious drinkers.
“Damned if I know, but I found it!”
“Ai, shu’up ‘en! Som’us are tryin’ te’ drink, y’know!” another one said.
“This! This is the secret of all life, man!”
“Ai, dussit ‘volve drinken?” Curious minds wanted to know.
“None of that,” came the reply.
“Soddat ‘en. shu’up, you.”
 
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polymorphikos

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Likewise, I am unsure of what is expected of me, but will wade in nonetheless


There was the sound of creaking planks, and the pad of well-worn boot leather on the verandah of the tavern. With a screech that would have sent shivers up the spines of a less inebriated group, the door swung open and a man entered.

He stood about six feet tall, had a short mop of dark hair and a light beard, and was carrying a suspicious-looking staff. His cloak was saturated and his boots squeaked, for even though Falle seemed to create its mud by parthenogenesis, the man had been rained on heavily.

He walked over to the man at the table, who had grown temporarily calm and deferent, and reached beneath his cloak. There was a moment of palpable tension, and several people throughout the room eyed the door or fingered a hidden dagger. The pink-haired woman continued to sing.

With a flick of his wrist, the traveller drew something small and dark from his pocket, and then grinned.

"Oh, good, it is you," he said, looking at the rough sketch in his hand.
 

Hypes

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Littlemiss, I am saving this entire story to a word document and I will be keeping it up to date as the story progresses.

The two men looked vaguely similar there they stood facing one another, though they posed an interesting contrast. One, his features elated with discovery, clutching a piece paper at which he glanced every other second to make sure it was still clasped in his hand. The other, though drenched by the Midwest’s treacherous climate, looked regal- no, not regal, but majestic: a man with purpose in his step. The black object in his hands was a box of some sort, its contents unknown

“It’s good to see you again, Alvis,” the man said in greeting.

“Quite, quite. You got it in that?” Alvis said, and pointed towards the black box.

“Aye. I see you found the answer to our riddle?”

“Yes. Yes, I did, actually. It wasn’t so much the arithmetics, as the very philosophy of it all, but I figured it out. You see, it’s all a very complex-“ Alvis replied.

“I’m sure. Now, might we go somewhere, ah, more private?” the man said and nodded towards the stairwell. “It’s cats and dogs outside, as I’m sure you’ve- no, you probably hadn’t.”

Alvis nodded. “Right. Papers, though. Wouldn’t trust with my mother, much less this rabble.”

“You sold your mother to that slave trader down in Dale, as I recall.”

“Well, yes, but hypothetically speaking.”
 

polymorphikos

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"well, I see that you're doing well for yourself," said Haj. He had requisitioned the bed and was eying Alvis where the man sat in a rickety wooden chair.

"You might say that," conceeded Alvis. "After all, I did solve the riddle. What were you doing when last I saw you, hmm? A large dragon, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was. I didn't see you volunteering to enter the temple of Karnos, did I?"

Alvis looked at Haj with a mixture of admiration and derision, and then at the place where the black box lay in a pocket of the rough leather jerkin.

"You really do have it."

Haj smiled and took out the box. It was remarkably unremarkable, made of stained pine and without ornamentation. Haj opened it, and took out a little grey pebble.

"Pity," said Alvis. "I'd hoped it would be more ...."

"Magnificent?"

"Yes, that's it."

Haj muttered something potentially insulting and put the pebb;le away, then lay on the bed and wen't to sleep.

"Lousy Svirasi oaf," said Alvis.

"I love you too," said Haj.
 

Hypes

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Sorry, can't proofread this. Wrote it entirely without glasses. Can barely see my keyboard.

“No, you don’t,” mumbled Alvis to himself as he settled into his own bunk. Soon, snores could be heard from the opposite bunk. The kind of deep snores which came directly from the lower belly and which main characteristic could be summarised by the word maddening.

Alvis couldn’t take his eyes of the pebble there it lay on the table at the far end of the room. It wasn’t much to look at, he admitted, but there was a certain aura about it. He couldn’t decide whether it was disconcerting, or exciting. His eyes kept falling back on this pebble, denying him of any sleep, but rather making him toss and turn. Haj, on the other hand continued his sound sleep, his snores reaching a coughing crescendo every fifth minute or so.

“Curse that bloody stone and whatever flaming bloody mountain that spawned it,” Alvis muttered and resigned to his fate. He rose out of bed, trying his bets to move without a sound. He knew from past experience that despite appearances, Haj was not a deep sleeper.

He reached for the pebble, but felt a prickling sensation against his belly, just below his bellybutton.

“Was just looking,” Alvis said.

“’ief” came the muffled accusation from the pillow.

“That’s a bit rich considering that’s how you came upon it, in the first place.”

“Hands off.”

“I was just looking, curse you!”
“Oh, be quiet and go back to bed. I was having a nice dream.”

“Oh, I’m sure the cow is missing you terribly.”

The prickling sensation in his belly increased noticeably, and Alvis decided to discontinue this avenue of conversation, opting rather to make a second attempt at dreamland.
 

littlemissattitude

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I've just been able to read through this quickly - been at the laundromat this afternoon (curses) - and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.:) Thanks, Hypes for archiving for us, by the way.

My character won't be joining in for a little bit yet, but she's sitting in the wings waiting for her turn. So keep going, everyone; I'm getting anxious to jump in - I'll know when it's the right time.:D

I do have one question for the group: once we reach the end of each chapter, is someone going to do a quick once-over, to catch huge typos, inadvertent repeats, things like that? Not something that has to be decided immediately, of course. Just something to think about, whether we want to do this or not.
 

Hypes

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I'll do that at the end of each chapter. I'll also be keeping appendices with introduced characters, sites of interest mentioned and such.
 

polymorphikos

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Haj was asleep, and dreaming of various things. He dreamt of his childhood, of hunting qramas in the warm northern jungles. He had been a good hunter, and still was. Every now and then a troublesome qramas would wander down out of the valley, usually a big one because anything lesser would be stopped by the river. Then the civilized peoples would scream and run around, rambling about dragons, and call for a Svirasi, and Haj would arrive with his suspicious-looking staff and kill the thing.



This was the sum of Haj's dreams; running around in the jungle with his bow and spear and hunting things.



In the dream, he lay in the undergrowth, his bow drawn because he heard the prey approaching. It was a small qramas with a long tail and lithe legs and tiny forearms that grasped at the foliage. A baruk. They always moved in flocks, but this one was alone. It crept, and it was cautious, and it sniffed the air at every step, and Haj knew that something wasn’t right. He waited for it to pass.



The baruk crept by, and seemed to whisper, and a shadow fell over Haj’s head. He felt as though he were being stalked.



The tall woman with the pink hair froze as Haj’s dirk touched her throat.



“Well, well. This appears to be the evening for thieves."



 

Sirathiel

Spy with looks and guts
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Vey had passed a large part of the afternoon and evening in a dark corner of the taproom, watching, thinking and drinking. Her long red hair was hidden under dried mud, and leaves. A nice hat that she had acquired by slipping several times while making her way through the downpour on her way to the tavern.

The dirt also covered face, hands and clothes. It hid her features, fine hands and clothing of suitable quality as well as the pendant that designated her a healer. A pendant that should be worn openly and proudly, but that she hid out of habit. The only thing it couldn't hide were her sparkling green eyes.

They showed her fatigue, but hadn't lost the sparkle of an active, curious mind. She watched the other patrons of the tavern, noticing like everybody else Alvis excentric behaviour, the loud and false singing lady with the pink her and the arrival of Haj.

These two men, Alvis and Haj, made her enormously curious, but she did not feel like having the energy to investigate them. It was only when she noticed the pink haired lady following them to the rooms upstairs that she moved into action herself.
 

Esioul

The weird one
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Judith had realised that it was impossible to drink in Falle without paying for it. Nor does money last long. She had also been vaugely watching the pub full of surprisingly tall people, had noticed a healer, a suspicious looking man, and another equally suspicious looking man. Neither of them seemed capable of being discreet: but then, neither of them was aware that anyone in the pub was sober enough to notice them.

So she scraped through the mass of drunken peasants and even drunker people (most of them were there because they needed to look inconspicious, and no one looks twice at the individuals in a pub) and wondered why everyone else was too stupid to invest in a pair of platform soles- they'd covered the floor with mud. Copying the drunkards, she made herself as inconspicious as possible, and wandered a little staggeringly into the next room. Ah- here they were. Snoring like pigs, both of them, and not very pretty. Well, they looked rich.

There was a much prettier pebble on a table at the far end of the room.
"Nice!" she muttered, trying to sound casual, and approached. She was just considering whether she ought to leave a note to explain that she had really, really, needed some cash, when there was a quick movement behind her and the coldness of metal against her throat.
 

polymorphikos

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"Why," said Haj, who was still lying in bed, "am I still living? If you had an ounce of discretion then you would have stabbed us, or at least made sure we were asleep with something heavy. You're either an idiot or a novice."

"Perhaps I'm genuinely nice. You seemed asleep, and the pebble was on the table. I didn't think you'd wake up."

Haj grunted and kept his dagger in place, sitting up and scratching his beard as he did.

"Don't ever try to sneak up on a Svirasi. They don't sleep very deeply."

"You must be so gifted."

"Not really. It just makes sense when your garden is full of monsters. If I let you go, will you act calmly?"

The woman assented, and Haj lowered the dirk and put the pebble away in his pocket. "I don't know why I left this out in the first place," he said. "Anyway, if you go away then I won't kill you."

"Mmm," said the woman.
 

Esioul

The weird one
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"But how do you know I won't come back to kill you?" She said vaugely, then began to examine the purse she found on the table. "What's this-?"

"That's mine!" said Haj, snatching it back, not noticing she had absently transferred a few coins into her pocket. "Don't you understand the concept of possessions?"

"No" she said, thinking about the coins in her pocket. She was just reaching a rather nice picture of several pints, when there was a cough behind her; she turned round, sharply, and Haj sat forward.

It was the healer. Covered in mud. "Disgusting!" muttered Judith.
 

Hypes

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Well, it seems I am too late, but here's my alternative piece:

Alvis was woken not by the sound of grating snores coming from the Svirasian’s bunk, but rather the conspicuous absence of it. Despite his peculiar behaviour and Haj’s incessant taunting, the scimitar he kept by his side at all times was not for show. Having mastered the arts of Tekin’Ren, he could quite possibly kill a man from two feet away in six altogether different and rather stylish manoeuvres, making various internal organs either pop, combust or roll up into a foetal position.

In fact, this was something he was quite fond of telling the various gels attracted to him by his charming manners and handsome features. Reality was an entirely different manner; there is no room for style in combat. Though his hands were no better than the next ruffian’s on their own, wielding his adamantine scimitar he was as deadliness incarnate.

Though Haj’s dirk had found the intruder’s throat, Alvis’s scimitar found her rump and put her in an even more precarious situation. One which, it was clearly apparent, she did not much enjoy.

“I- I just wanted some crowns for a drink, guv, is all.” The woman explained.

“Kill her.” Haj said.

“What? We’ve barely even gotten to know her, and we’re already at the cut her throat stage? You brute! We chat her up, get her good and drunk. Then we slit the throat. Only then, my brutish friend, only then.” Alvis said, a twinkle in his eye. The lady took heart to this reply, and became noticeably more rigid there she stood balancing on two blades.
 

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