Garneac's Short Stories

Discussion in 'Terraria Literature' started by Garneac, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Garneac

    Garneac Yellow Tyrant of Death

    Dec 26, 2011
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    GarneacI've gotten the urge to start writing some other Terraria fan-fics and figured I should keep them in one thread. If they're short stories, that is. Although I'm pretty sure I won't start another piece of writing as exhaustive as The Dreamer.
    GarneacThat said, I should mention, unless noted otherwise, the stories below will be set in the same world as The Dreamer. Also, consequences or stuff from one story will carry on into others somewhere down the line. I suggest you read them in order. Although you don't have to read The Dreamer to understand what's going on.
    GarneacSo, as usual: enjoy -- or not. Post comments/criticisms as you see fit.
    GarneacIn any case, it's always nice expanding on the world of Terraria.
  2. Garneac

    Garneac Yellow Tyrant of Death

    Dec 26, 2011
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  3. Mercenary Lord

    Mercenary Lord Corruptor

    Mar 1, 2012
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    Go for it. :)
    Garneac likes this.
  4. Garneac

    Garneac Yellow Tyrant of Death

    Dec 26, 2011
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    Children of the Harpy

    GarneacHe tried to push the package back at the postwoman. “This doesn’t belong to me.”
    Garneac“Even so.” She repeated his name and he confirmed, so without another word she turned and walked down the wet pathway leading away from his house. He watched until she disappeared around the bend which forked either to town proper or Imperial Road. In his mind, the purple-stitched Divine Deliverance on her satchel; in his hands, a carefully wrapped box which, upon opening some time later after a late lunch and tense internal debate, he found within a pair of pale green boots threaded with the design of wings and nestled between them a note.
    GarneacHe sat there a while. Then closed the box and left it atop kitchen table. Out in the meager yard sunshine warmed his face. Behind closed eyes the tracery of veins was a labyrinth he followed in the hopes of finding out the cause of this death sentence. Already the postwoman’s face was fading at the edges, like a painting dipped in water, but when he rounded the bend and stood looking down at the fork, he made out her boot prints in the mud taking off onto the Imperial Road. Cold like fingers around his heart. (He thought about the past: liquid fire grafting to water and hardening into a block of obsidian; and as he leaned in for a closer look his distorted reflection rising to study him.)
    GarneacBack up the pathway to his dejected-looking building, its rafters, beams and fixtures sagging under time’s heavy hand, a weight relentlessly driving the house down into earth. He caught himself on the threshold: home, not house. A fine distinction all the more crucial for the separation.
    GarneacHis wife was late returning from market. With the setting sun at her back she was a slim shadow in their doorway calling his name. He came out of the den and told her to follow him.
    GarneacIn the kitchen lamps spilled amber onto her frown. “What does this mean?”
    GarneacHe unfolded the note and read aloud: “Wear these and attend the fall games in Janramak. Further instructions will be given once you reach the capital.” His voice was hollow so he modified it with a small smile. “Someone from the nobility has blessed us with patronage.”
    Garneac“Strange no name was left.” Intelligence in her eyes; and unease. “Don’t you think?”
    Garneac“Well.” He looked away at a cupboard and then back. “They’re a strange bunch.”
    Garneac“How do you know it’s the nobility?”
    Garneac“I don’t.”
    GarneacHe took up the box. “I’ll be leaving tomorrow.”
    Garneac“What?” She grabbed him. “Hold on.”
    Garneac“The games start a week from now.”
    Garneac“Damn it, I said wait.”
    Garneac“What for?” He looked at her. Poured heat into his gaze. “If you knew who these people were you’d want me to leave.”
    Garneac“So you do know who’s behind this.”
    Garneac“No. But I know their kind.” He forced himself to relax. “The whims of the mighty.”
    GarneacShe was not amused. “But why us? We have nothing. To them, we are nothing.”
    Garneac“When has that ever mattered?” He leaned in to kiss her but she pulled back. He looked at her. Nodded. “It’s done,” he said; and in his heart cut her away until all that remained was the softness of her name: Marissa.
    GarneacHis dream that night was years old: Adam Nalicai atop a grey warhorse waiting in a valley. At his back stood soldiers; before him, the Imperator and his greater army. Both sides arrayed in rows of burnished metal and steel intent.
    GarneacAdam slipped on an obsidian mask. Turned to look at him with eyes blue and endless. Said: everything has an end, living or otherwise.
    GarneacThen this man he thought was his friend ordered them forward and the world was nothing more than flashing light and blood and pain.
    GarneacHe tried to forget his wife’s silence and was three days on the Imperial Road when he came across the body. Genderless in death it stared up at him and he stopped immediately to look around. It seemed a man could not walk alone, so thick were the trees on either side extending north and south. He eyed the spaces between the trunks but saw no one. When he took a step forward a large white bird burst out of cover and flew in front of him. He froze, waiting for his heart to slow. Then walked up to the body and knelt before it to watch tiny creatures feeding and he waved away flies saying to himself, long live the Empire.
    GarneacTwo days away on the horizon, small dark mountains crossed like a couple’s misstep in the middle of a dance. Above them frills of cloud and blue-lace sky. From where he stood the road ran straight; he took off his shoes, put them in his sling bag and took out the winged pair. Their lightness frightened him but he had no choice and so bent to pull them on. Straightened with a frown. It was as if he wore no boots at all.
    GarneacWhoever his benefactor, it was clear he was meant to participate in the races. He continued walking. Broke into a light jog. Breathed deep clean air which he held until becoming dizzy. Blew out in a long, wavering rush.
    GarneacFaster. His vision elongated. He saw the world as an accumulation of points one after the other to be reached if he only willed it—so he did.
    GarneacGod reached down and compressed sky to ground until he was gazing down at the dimensions of the world in a slipstream, something with and without shape, just a contradiction verging on madness slipping serpentine underneath and—
    Garneac—he was freezing; winter winds raked his flesh and swallowed his screams and he—
    Garneac—wanted it to stop and did not at the same time because he could see everything below him, the slipstream returning to its origin, life as a spinning disk, to his right a massive blurred figure that sharpened into a pebble as he drew closer and looking back he saw the stone suddenly resume its titanic proportions as—
    Garneac—his body froze and burned and he shouted stop, please
    Garneac—so the world paused a moment, considering; then it obliged.
    GarneacHe was blind.
    GarneacHe collapsed to the ground. Tried to weep but had no strength. Muscle spasms cramped his body and his mouth was a hole sucking at nothing. His face burned: air probed what felt like a hundred small incisions.
    GarneacBlinking scraped particles across his tender eyes but he kept on until he could see—but what he saw made no sense.
    GarneacLooming over him, the mountains: at their foot the Imperial Road continuing into the folds of jagged rock until it was lost behind skirling snow.
    GarneacIt was late afternoon but with stone walls to either side the light fell striated around him. He stopped once he made the climb onto a high traverse where the winds were unforgiving. They pushed him back towards the edge and he could hear in the howl a command to let go. Retrace and rethink. A light repast of biscuits and water drunk from a half frozen wide river cold enough to make his teeth ache. His reflection of wild hair and sad eyes made him look away—and then he went perfectly still.
    GarneacOn the other bank approached a wolf more grey-silver smoke than beast. It eased silently into the river. Islands of ice drifted past in a current that could not slow its advance.
    GarneacRun, he thought, but his heart hardened. There could be no recourse; there never had been, he knew this now. Without looking away he wrapped a hand around a rock and stood. Backed off a number paces.
    GarneacSprinted at the river.
    GarneacThere was a moment when it seemed there would not be enough time: the wolf had crossed and was lunging—but then the boots flattened reality and he was everywhere at once.
    GarneacHe chose a point on the disk below and was transported.
    GarneacThe wolf was a large smear that shrank as he appeared beside it. He circled around while it hung suspended, lips pulled back in a snarl, beads of water and snow dotting the air around it like the creature was an elemental, all fury and hunger but it was nothing now, nothing but a sack of meat while he brought the rock down on its skull, over and over until arm tired and anger abated and he told the world he had had enough.
    GarneacIn his dream the Imperator was kneeling before the Empress. Her hand descending could be either benediction or brutality. Behind the general stood the entire court as witness.
    GarneacRecollection: he had not been there that day; but before the error registered the dream slid onto a valley where Adam had fallen off his grey warhorse with a spear jutting from his chest. There was blood on his lips. The Imperator took a step and kicked him in the face with pale green boots marked with wings. The obsidian mask went flying. But the face beneath was grinning. As if death and Adam were long acquainted.
    GarneacThen the Imperator looked up at him. The old man’s face turned ugly with hatred so deep it woke him.
    GarneacThe mountains were behind. In front, the Road leading him to an event he wanted no part in but could no more break away from than land could the rays of rising sun. These were natural matters, simple statements of fact: he was a piece in another’s game to be moved across continent to the center of play. What sacrifice would be made of him? For he held no illusions that he was anything more than a pawn.
    GarneacHermes Boots, he remembered. An ancient god; a blasphemous one, said the Church.
    GarneacQuery: if the boots had been made for a god, how could he hope to survive them?
    GarneacA bitter joke then, to be found after all these years, to realize he had never really been safe and then receive this gift possessing the power to flee only to find out it too was a lie.
    GarneacHis face was raw. There was a looseness in his bones and it was difficult to concentrate. At times he would find himself starting to run and would cry out in fear. But he kept them on. He had to learn some measure of control and soon.
    GarneacAn exhausted, bemused chuckle: imposing time on an object that operated beyond its parameters.
    GarneacHe arrived at Janramak and staggered through the gate in its high sandstone walls, lifting his head when there came a distant roar announcing the games. He made his way through empty streets lined with trees that shed scarlet and gold; he imagined the leaves as a crowd’s gentle touch, the wind in the branches as a cheer at his victory. Champion of the games. And his wife safe. That would be his price. He would demand it of them. Whoever they were.
    Garneac(He assured himself he could not have made her understood. Even he did not completely understand. Had not wanted to, truthfully. Instead he had trusted Adam all those years ago and turned against the Imperator, Empire and Empress. All three names so similar; to offend one was to offend the trinity. So when the Imperator crushed them in the valley what choice was there but to leave behind his life and start another? A better life: he held onto this belief. She was a good woman. To involve her in his shame would be a sin—not against the Red God, for he had no hope of salvation, but a sin against the life they had made on the outskirts of a town few remembered existed. Except that had not been enough: all it took was one recollection for a postwoman to show up at his door with a package concealing ruin.)
    GarneacHe coughed on his way to the office opposite the stadium. Put down a false name. The registrar examined it as if looking for flaws before giving him a curious stare. “You look familiar.”
    Garneac“That so?” He felt light-headed and placed his hands on the desk for support. “You’re mistaken.”
    GarneacShe shook her head. “Doubt it.” Resumed studying his face with a frown creasing her powdered forehead. “It’ll come to me eventually.” It sounded almost threatening. He looked at her until she grew flustered and told him to come back tomorrow when the races were scheduled to begin. He did not leave. The silence pressed on her until she nervously joked he looked half dead. Then taking herself seriously she sharply looked out the window but the sun was at its apex and she relaxed.
    GarneacHe made up his mind to silence her. In time she would remember and he could not allow such a breach in confidence. He was stepping around the desk when it occurred to him that after the races everyone would know who he was, at which point it would not matter.
    GarneacThe registrar had backed away from him. In one hand a knife while the other faced him chest-high, palm out, trembling.
    GarneacBefore drawing another breath she could be disarmed. Instead he gave her his back. He left as an apology the violence that had spared her.
    GarneacIn a dark room paid for from his small savings, he lay on his bed, waiting. Each cough seared his mind. It was into this discomfort that his benefactors came for him.
    GarneacOne lit a candle while the others gathered around to appraise.
    Garneac“You look terrible. Here.” A red vial lowered to his lips; he did not drink so a hand clamped down on his jaw and now the voice snapped, “Don’t be a fool.”
    Garneac“Too late for that,” tittered another man. Laughter like chattering crows. Adorned in fine cut and colours, fingers bedecked, on their faces smiles thin as blades. He avoided their eyes.
    Garneac“It’s been far too long, hasn’t it?” inquired one.
    Garneac“Quite,” another replied. “How much time since the Imperator’s beheading?”
    Garneac“A decade, perhaps.”
    Garneac“So long? How time flies.” They made such a noise and he knew it was directed at him. A hand patted his cheek with more force than necessary. “Did you really think to escape us?” Genuine astonishment. “Such a stupid man you’ve become. There is nowhere you can run where we will not follow.”
    GarneacIn the past they had gotten down on their knees when he entered a room. He closed his eyes to see his wife—but fingers pried them open. There was a wrinkled face peering into his own; he could smell vile powder on bated breath.
    Garneac“Redemption. We can give it to you.”
    GarneacHe said, “My wife remains safe.”
    Garneac“Agreed.” They shied away when he sat up.
    GarneacHis voice was a hammer: “To business.”
    Garneac“Your obedience. We require it.”
    Garneac“What for?”
    Garneac“The Empress.”
    GarneacThey closed in when he recoiled. Gems gleaming. Lips wet.
    GarneacMadness. “No.”
    Garneac“You will do this.”
    GarneacA bald man said, “Deny us again and we’ll bleed your whore dry.”
    GarneacHe went still. Lowered his eyes lest his fury betray him. “Why me?” But he already knew.
    GarneacSomeone spoke: “The Empire bleeds because of the dryad. Kill her at the games tomorrow and I promise you every citizen will stand to proclaim you savior. Janramak tires of this tyrant. Do you understand? We brought you here to save us.”
    GarneacHe watched as Adam promoted his pawn with a smile. When asked what piece should replace it the man said, the queen, of course. A pawn is always sacrificed to restore the queen. Then Adam keeled over on a battlefield bright with sunshine as the Imperator lowered his hate-filled eyes away from him to the fallen man and drew from scabbard a red sword edged in teeth.
    GarneacAdamantite, intoned Imperator; Adam’s smile slipping, as if hearing something familiar once forgotten; now the sword parting flesh and earth; and he looked from slaughter at sky where there came a terrible noise he imagined to be either god’s weeping or laughter.
    GarneacIn a room of competitors. He drank deep when the chalice of purple liquid stopped in front of him. Grit lined his mouth and throat. Stomach turning but he flashed his teeth at the sorcerer. Those who failed enhancement detection were directed out from the mass with crooked finger through a door leading into a dark hallway. He walked with the others out onto the stadium’s field where crowds in tiered seats stood to greet them with a roar.
    GarneacOn the far side opposite the entrance, a shadowed alcove; on her throne the Empress raised a finger to a redoubling of noise marking the second day.
    GarneacThaumaturges worked their craft above the field in sorcerous lines and angles which magnified the competitors. He looked up and saw his giant phantom gaze skyward as well. No one would miss the minor victories and inevitable defeats. Competitors died for glories soon forgotten, for the love a city that turned sour the instant their favourite stumbled or hesitated or begged surrender.
    GarneacThe races he won with ease, plying the crowd’s hysteria as when the runners made the bend on the final stretch he engaged ever so slightly the boots which he had dyed black, hurtling into first.
    GarneacThey loved him. He raised a hand in recognition. Allowed himself to believe it could be accomplished.
    GarneacThe fourth day began when a fencer misread her opponent’s lines and died with her jugular spurting. Reflected above her flew red ribbons as her arcane counterpart died.
    GarneacSuch a clamour went up at this that he looked over at the stands and saw only animals dressed in human skin.
    GarneacSunset in Janramak set fire to the sky. People laughed and talked with faces bathed in a red glow that seemed to him like blood. It was discomfiting to walk the streets unarmed when to his mind he was surrounded by walking dead. In passing, a woman commented on how the games had done well to soothe unrest. On a corner a group of raised voices and gesturing hands gauged the extent to which public opinion would continue to turn in the Empress’ favour.
    GarneacHe found a man waiting in his room. The aristocrat did not stand. “During the closing ceremony is when you’ll strike.”
    Garneac“Get out,” he said after a moment.
    Garneac“She must be taken by surprise. We cannot afford—”
    GarneacHe grabbed him and threw him at the door. When the man staggered he moved in behind and took a fistful of hair. Slammed his face into the door and held it there. Whispered into an ear, “More than one person will die tomorrow.”
    GarneacPause. A muffled sound.
    GarneacHe pulled the head back and saw that the aristocrat was laughing.
    GarneacThere were no dreams that night because he did not sleep. He lay in bed watching fingers of light trace the ceiling until at his window came voices of morning greeting. His body ached. But to take a vial now would mean failure when it was his turn to drink from the chalice. He got up to wash and came back into the room where he dressed in the clothes his benefactors had left. A tightness in his chest. Redemption was not unlike revenge.
    GarneacLooking into a mirror he affixed a harpy sigil on his doublet. Then he put on the boots and left.
    GarneacThe victors stood on a raised podium in the field. A frail man with a waist-long beard spoke at great lengths to the crowd in an amplified drawl of perseverance and discipline, of honour and duty owed to one’s city, of glories old and those to come and the victors’ place in the pantheon of elites.
    GarneacHe accepted the laurels and shook the orator’s hand as well as that of the other committee members that came forward. When asked in which bank he would like his winnings deposited he said Silver Sons. Further demagoguery followed by cheering populace.
    GarneacThen a lull as the Imperator came forward to speak.
    GarneacA different man, of course; this was the sixth to be raised to the office of commander of Imperial forces. He watched the blond man’s smile slip when they locked eyes but before anything could come of it he looked away from the Imperator. They were moving: in front the men’s fencing champion while behind came the women’s javelin thrower. Down podium steps across field—and then there was a shout from behind. The general’s too high voice when it should have been implacable as his predecessor’s; but the warning came too late because he was running towards the Empress while around him the world faded.
    GarneacTruth as a dark rose unfurling: I am like god.
    GarneacHe gazed on the disk and chose alcove where he moved past the Empress frozen in a forward lean on her Rosewood Throne. Behind her stood jade-plated soldiers; he drew a sword from one of the scabbards and slit their throats.
    GarneacHe turned to see that she had moved.
    GarneacShe was halfway standing now. He walked in front and saw her face coming apart; behind the flaps of skin were vines like a nest of snakes. Even as he drew near he saw a tendril slowly unspool. How could someone so beautiful be so inhuman?
    GarneacHe was careful to keep moving. In some recess of his mind he knew he could not stay in the timeless space for too long. He both felt and did not feel immense forces crushing his body from the reality he had left behind.
    GarneacAs he sank the sword into her chest he knew had it wrong. To name her inhuman was to employ limited understanding. She stood separate from everyone else; she was like nothing that had or ever would exist.
    GarneacHe cut into her neck, thinking: she sees my movement when no one else can. What sort of intellect and reflexes must she possess? He had to kill her; his blows came from panic and self-preservation now, not calm, even as she continued to rise—
    Garneac—and he thought back to a woman in the street giving approval to quelled unrest; saw a group agree how strongly the public supported the Empress; felt the aristocrat’s body shake with laughter; heard Adam say, “a pawn is always sacrificed to restore the queen” and
    Garneac—he had been manipulated; this knowledge choked him with rage; then he realized he had stopped moving.
    GarneacToo long in that divine space: he was naked and his skin gone and he fell to his knees screaming. In his skull something gave way; he doubled over, vomiting.
    GarneacThe soldiers crumpled to the floor as the gashes on their necks pumped blood.
    GarneacThen he glanced at the Empress: there were thrashing vines where her face used to be.
    GarneacHe rolled on the tiles. It grated his exposed flesh. On his stomach, he crawled towards the alcove’s lip and fell off.
    GarneacBefore he hit the ground tendrils snared him. Lifted him. Spread his arms and legs. The boots were pulled away.
    Garneac“Most beloved son of the Imperator.”
    GarneacThere was hunger in her voice.
    GarneacShe stepped down onto the field with the body held above her and addressed the stadium.
    Garneac“I give you David of House Anamois. Ten years ago he joined with a rebel army against me. His father, Imperator Alexander, destroyed them on the field—except for David. Instead, he let him escape. Then he lied about what he had done and for that I killed him.
    Garneac“Since then my enemies have rallied to the Anamois name as their symbol. They saw a father’s love for his son and believed my response monstrous. They hated me. Now they are all dead.
    Garneac“To those who would oppose me still, listen carefully. I own this city. I own this continent. Every man and woman alive is my property. It is my right not because of Red God or law but because I say it is my right.
    Garneac“I killed the father and I will kill the son. I led David out of hiding so all of you would know that no symbol will ever be so enduring as Empire.”
    GarneacWhen he closed his eyes Adam was dead and the Imperator was sheathing his adamantite blade. The old man looked at him while around them rebels died before jade-plated soldiers.
    GarneacRun, his father said. He looked haunted. As if resigned to some fate. Red God knows I should cut you down right here. Run, damn you. Somewhere she can never find you.
    GarneacHe opened his mouth to say he was sorry it had come to this; then the vines pulled tight; and everything became light and blood and pain.

    ** ** **​


    GarneacAnamois is my slight corruption of the Latin anemoi which means wind. The harpy sigil of House Anamois symbolizes, in part, according to a bit of Googling, spirit of the wind, and fury when provoked; it’s just my luck that it’s also a NPC in the game. It’s fitting, I think, that this family would have the Hermes’ Boots as a family heirloom.
    GarneacWriting without contractions is interesting. The dialogue doesn’t count. Anywho: it lends a formality to writing that can be cool but sometimes stilted when you’re trying to string along a bunch of words.
    GarneacThat’s all. It was a blast to write about and if you have any criticisms feel free to share them and so on.
    luksaman and AyeAye12 like this.
  5. AyeAye12

    AyeAye12 Paladin

    Sep 10, 2011
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    Brilliant as usual, but I felt the start was a bit overfilled with description. For example, when it said "In the kitchen thaumaturgic-lamps spilled amber onto her frown." I didn't know if light was shining on her face, or a strange liquid glowing-amber...thing was pouring on to her face, like syrup xD

    Of course, that might just be the morning, but I do think description might have been tad overused.

    That's just my opinion, though ;)
    Garneac likes this.
  6. Garneac

    Garneac Yellow Tyrant of Death

    Dec 26, 2011
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    XD Agreed. It did sound like a mouthful when I was reading it. >_< I'll change it to "lamp spilled amber." That is, when TO or whatever controls the site allows me to edit any of my posts. It keeps saying "servers at temporary capacity."

    EDIT: So, I can edit this post but not the story. I checked with Ch.7 of TDatG, since that's long, too, and the same result. Could length really have something to do with not being able to edit?

    EDIT: I still can't edit the story or some of my other posts. Also, I can't post anything long. I've left a message with Kane about the situation.

    EDIT: Everything is back to normal again.
  7. thelastflame50

    thelastflame50 Moth

    Jan 24, 2012
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    I'm too lazy to read it right now.
    [Ironic, seeing how reading is my hobby in real life.]
    I'll read it later.
  8. Princess_Kally

    Princess_Kally Cursed Skull

    Jun 18, 2011
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    "Children of the Harpy" is interesting. The themes that it touches upon (legitimate authority, the games of power people play, "civilisation", the nature of mortality, etc) intrigue me, and I quite like the way you've presented them within this setting. You've said that these are set within the world of "The Dreamer and the God". I might have another look at it. It's been a long time since I read it...

    One of the most interesting choices you've made within this story is to omit contractions in many places. It lends a wonderful sense of disjointedness from reality to the story, however, I feel that doing this in some places detracts from the story, and instead makes it slightly confusing. It's mostly that I had to read over some parts again and again in order to clarify to myself that I'd interpreted what I'd read properly.

    For example, within this bit:
    In a room of competitors. He drank deep when the chalice of purple liquid stopped in front of him. Grit lined his mouth and throat. Stomach turning but he flashed his teeth at the sorcerer.
    I don't understand the choice to use "In a room of competitors." To me, it sounds more like something a person would say within speech, as opposed to how you've placed it here.

    You have a very nice touch with description. It's, well, pretty, and it invokes vivid images within one's mind. Although I did have to check the dictionary once or twice.

    I have to say though - your story does not fully engage me, as a reader. As I read, I kept getting distracted by other things, and my attention wandered constantly. It's probable that I'm tired from a long day, but I also feel as if the disjointed way in which the story flows is a contributing factor. Because it doesn't flow smoothly, it means that it's easier for distractions to, well, distract me... I'm probably babbling at this point though.

    Overall, I really liked this piece, despite the ending the main character received. You've done wonderfully~! : )
    Garneac likes this.
  9. Garneac

    Garneac Yellow Tyrant of Death

    Dec 26, 2011
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    I just checked and you did leave a reply on TDatG when it just got started. :eek: It's been so long, damn it.

    Yeah, it's off, isn't it? Any suggestions of a re-write for that sentence? I'm open to editing it in.


    No, no, that's a legitimate concern. I didn't want to write too much because this was supposed to be a short story, but I didn't think the disjointedness would be distracting... In any case, I'll keep that in mind for future pieces. Thanks. ^^

    And thanks, again, for taking the time to read and reply. I appreciate you taking the time to do so.
  10. Princess_Kally

    Princess_Kally Cursed Skull

    Jun 18, 2011
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    In a room of competitors. He drank deep when the chalice of purple liquid stopped in front of him. Grit lined his mouth and throat. Stomach turning but he flashed his teeth at the sorcerer.

    I'm really not sure, to be honest. I think... "In a room of competitors" and "Stomach turning but he flashed his teeth at the sorcerer" are the confusing parts...
    ...I think the problem here is that the tenses of the two sentences are left somewhat ambiguous, because of the omission of words? Obviously, the reader can figure out that it's meant to be in past tense (context and all) but the ambiguity makes it confusing?

    "Was in a room of competitors"? and "Stomach was turning but he flashed his teeth at the sorcerer"?

    Although that still feels somewhat incomplete...
    It's no problem. :)
    Garneac likes this.
  11. Garneac

    Garneac Yellow Tyrant of Death

    Dec 26, 2011
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    Garneac(This is incomplete. Not sure if I'll ever get around to finishing it, although I would very much like that to happen. I get this feeling it would turn out much longer than I intended, and I don't think the story merits that sort of length. Figured I'd put it up anyways, since I quite liked writing it. Critiques are still welcome!
    Garneac(Once you reach the third set of asterisks, that next section takes place sometime later. That is, it's not in immediate chronological order.
    Garneac(This story is also set in the world of The Dreamer.)

    The Long Night

    GarneacLina blinked. Tried to speak but words failed her; instead, she looked out the window at the sleeping town blanketed in snow. The church’s pearlstone steeple up on Morgant’s Hill shattered the coming dawn into lances which made her wince and look away. Back at her brother. An urge came over her to reach across the booth and slap his smug grin. He’s gone for three days and comes back with this idiocy?
    Garneac“Let me get this straight,” she said slowly. “You found a dead man in the mountain pass.”
    Garneac“And this dead man had a chest beside him.”
    Garneac“It’s a beauty. You should see it. Not a hinge on the damn thing.” He gestured enthusiastically as if having a seizure. “Like it’s all made out of a single block of wood.”
    GarneacShe decided she wasn’t hungry anymore and pushed aside her plate of pancakes. Her brother somehow interpreted this as permission to start stuffing his face.
    Garneac“What do you mean I should see it?”
    Garneac“I brought it back to town.”
    GarneacLina felt faint. “What?”
    GarneacHe poured more syrup. Folded a pancake and bit off half. There was wariness in his green eyes.
    Garneac“You stole a chest full of platinum coins and bought it back to Frostwater?” Bewilderment filled the empty diner; then: “Are you fucking daft?” she snapped. A pounding in her skull announced the onset of a magnificent headache.
    GarneacEvander shrugged. “I knew you’d react this way.”
    Garneac“Like a sane person?”
    Garneac“Like it’s the end of the world or something.”
    Garneac“How are you still alive?” Lina stared at him. “Seriously. I want to know.”
    Garneac“You’re missing the point.”
    Garneac“Enlighten me.”
    GarneacHe leaned close. “We are filthy rich.”
    Garneac“Oh!” She gave a bark of laughter. “It’s we now, is it?”
    Garneac“Who else am I going to share the money with?”
    Garneac“You mean the blame that’ll follow when the owner comes along.” She gathered the plates and stood up. “Thanks, but no thanks.”
    GarneacHe followed her into the kitchen where she began to wash the dishes with furious resolve. “The man is dead. Or are you not listening?”
    Garneac“That’s a wonderful idea. Your best yet.” She was about to continue when the headache materialized. It stabbed and the pain made her eyes water. Red God damn him.
    Garneac“Now you’re being mean.”
    GarneacLina was speechless. Washed her hands and stepped back into the common room by the window. The cold glass was soothing. In the streets a squirrel scurried past, dark brown blur against the white slowly being melted by teams holding consumer-grade Flamelashes; she watched lead man Baiulo eject a spent mana crystal and replace it. Behind them came bundled men with wide gel-blade brooms to sweep aside slush. No wasted movement or idle chatter. Frostwater was less a town than it was a body: strong, confident and talented—and Evander like a virus infecting the host.
    GarneacHe was talking again: “After spring thaw melts the pass we can leave Frostwater like we’ve always wanted. There’s nowhere in Terraria we can’t go.” She turned to take in his neatly trimmed goatee and mustache, the too-smooth voice. “You’re always going on about wanting to visit the capital and catch a glimpse of the Empress. We’ll do that. Then I’ll head east to El Matar, start up a business—you can come too, if you want.” A step forward with hands raised in supplication; she stopped him with a narrowing of eyes.
    GarneacShe said: “Nothing is ever that simple, Evander. There are always consequences.”

    ** ** **​

    GarneacFrostwater earned its name for the deep lake at its center which was permanently frozen: in winter, by vampiric winds that bled all warmth; in other seasons, by the Ice Rod embedded at the bottom in clay and silt. Tourists would walk across the surface with delighted cries while above them a summer sun seared sky.
    GarneacEnclosing the lake was a boardwalk comprising buildings which ran from north to south in order of importance; this arrangement was subject to fierce debate in town-hall meetings as various proprietors with surprising eloquence declaimed a competitor’s business and placement. In sharp contrast, behind the ordered establishments, hunched homes that ran in disarray down streets like arteries. At the border the land rose steep, leaving the community in a valley whose walls wound sinuous into woodlands on the west and mountains elsewhere.
    GarneacTo the south, Imperial Road: an entryway forgotten most of the year by the rest of the world until, as if suddenly remembering, curious groups came to witness Frostwater hidden away from the rest of the Empire like some secret.

    ** ** **​

    GarneacShe never liked walking on the lake, even if it saved time. The unnecessarily imaginative part of her would always whisper there was something waiting to attack the moment she reached midpoint. When the tentacled nightmare failed to appear, her mind would then reassure her there was always next time. This morning she was too busy battling headache and anxiety to notice; they crossed up the lake on a long diagonal past bank and gambling house. Evander tried to engage her in conversation in which she replied with monosyllabic answers until it became too much and she told him to shut up. They walked in silence to his small bungalow where they stood in his room looking down on the chest.
    Garneac“Damn it.” Lina closed her eyes. “This is real.”
    Garneac“Why would I lie?”
    Garneac“Because you’re fatally allergic to truth.” She took off her coat and scarf and got down to inspect her brother’s latest crime.
    GarneacHe was right about it being beautiful. She had no background in carpentry but saw right off that the absence of hinge or gap belied a cunning mind. She paused. Either that, or sorcery was involved. A chill gripped her as she traced the engravings of wolves made up of bees in turn composed of silver-flecked fish. A glossy finish of clear lacquer. That the wood was warm beneath her hand decided it.
    GarneacLina stood up. “You’re going to return it.”
    GarneacEvander frowned. “I’m sorry, but you’ve just said something very silly.”
    GarneacShe had to look up at him; to compensate, she made her voice a whip: “Take it back wherever you found it. Do not show your face again until you do.”
    GarneacUnfortunately, he was impervious to pain. “Lina,” he said calmly, “let’s think about this.”

    ** ** **​

    GarneacThere were times when she wished the world would end.
    GarneacThe need would come upon her as a fever. She would wake up, sweating, and turn alone in her bed to stare out the window. When the shakes became too much she would put on robe and slippers and stagger out of her home where the cold took her breath away with a violent kiss. Her skin would pebble while she looked up at the moon and the apocalypse played out in her heart.
    GarneacShe did not want to die. She craved life.
    GarneacBut she could not truly live in Frostwater. A place where she was subsumed from child to woman and even entertaining the thought of leaving would leave her light-headed. She knew nothing of the Empire save it had forgotten her and moved on. That was the price of progress: to move ever forward, removed from culture and time and context until achievement became a thing unto itself, unknowable and silent for it was a creation made by a people of no tongue and from no age.
    GarneacSo there was nothing else but to sometimes hope for the end. For the moment when the town and the rest of the world were equals in all the rubble that would fall.
    GarneacAt this realization she would break the quiet with a laugh; then retreat inside feeling embarrassed.
  12. Spyder Z

    Spyder Z Eskimo Zombie

    Mar 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Sooo... I'm finally "Caught Up" so to speak. I've only got short notes on these, though my comment has already been made for the first.

    Children of the Harpy is Very Disjointed to read. I can't nail down "Exactly" what does it, but the jumping around, and the style of writing certainly don't help. Perhaps I was expecting something more akin to TD, which may have skewed my view on it, but that was just my first impression. I also wonder at what purpose the story served in the over TD mythos, but perhaps it was a deviation for deviation's sake, and you just happened to be able to play with the Hermes Boots while doing so. ;P

    The Long Night is "Just" short enough that there's no real meat to it. While there's "Potential", you didn't really get far enough for it to start showing itself. In it's current state, I'd say I like the characters and the town, but give us some story to make us "Care". ;P
    Garneac likes this.
  13. Garneac

    Garneac Yellow Tyrant of Death

    Dec 26, 2011
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    GarneacYeah, Princess_Kally mentioned the disjointedness, too. It's a fair criticism to say I condensed too much information into so little space while also excluding other bits and sacrificing narrative stability. The story could've been better served by expanding on it; then again, I only ever wanted to write a short story. (Not a negation of your remark, btw. Just saying.)
    GarneacThat said, it was intended to be a part of TD mythos. Actually, every story in this thread is supposed to be a part of the mythos. >_< But there are inconsistencies in TCotH, such as the appearance of adamantite so long ago in the empire's history when in TD, currently, I've yet to introduce that item yet. So, yes, deviation for deviation's sake? (And the Hermes Boots were a blast!)
    GarneacThe Long Night is incomplete, yeah. But I figured I might as well throw it up there, since I hadn't written anything new in a while.
    GarneacThanks for taking the time to read and comment! As usual, it's much appreciated.

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