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Dakrim's Tale
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Moorea



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 383
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:27 am    Post subject: Dakrim's Tale Reply with quote

Dakrim’s Tale: Chapter 1 (revised)

“Something is not right,” Shaman Meela Dawnstrider thought to herself. Another ear-piercing howl erupted through the camp. Meela looked over to Kawnie Softbreeze and quietly motioned for her to follow outside.

Alarmed, Kawnie softly padded outside and quietly asked, “What’s wrong?” Her tail swished back and forth nervously.

“Your sister is dying, Kawnie. I don’t know why, but the calf has turned and Tawnie is unable to let the infant pass.” Another scream erupted from the open hut door. “Perhaps we can save the calf…” Meela hesitated, her great big eyes filling up with tears. She watched Kawnie wordlessly retreat away into the night. After the hoof beats faded away, Meela sighed and prayed fervently to the great Earth Mother. She turned towards the ever-increasing intense screams and hurried back inside.

“I must find Kahor. I must find Kahor,” Kawnie kept frantically repeating to herself as she ran across the moonlit glade. She couldn’t imagine her sister dying…it was unthinkable. Tawnie Softbreeze was the strongest of the female hunters in Red Cloud Mesa. Why, didn’t my sister defeat those three wild mountain cougars single-handedly last season? Hadn’t she survived numerous raiding parties into Brambleblade Ravine? Nothing can hurt her. But Shaman Meela’s words kept spinning through her head and now it was all Kawnie could do but run to find her sister’s husband. She was positive that he would be at his brother’s house, drinking ale, laughing, and making grand plans for the future. The slender female cleared the last of the perimeter huts of Camp Narache, heading west to Lakish Proudsnout’s solitary hut. Spurred by fear and the screams of her dear sister, Kawnie ran through the darkness, heedless of her own safety. Her lungs were bursting when she crested a rise and spotted a distant point of light. Sucking in a sob of relief, she ran down the hill.

Kahor Proudsnout was staring at the firepit, halfway through another giant mug of ale when he heard fast hoof beats approaching his brother’s hut. Odd, he thought. No horns yet? Surely Kawnie must have given birth by now, he surmised. The birth of a calf was traditionally signaled and celebrated throughout Red Cloud Mesa by loud calls from the females’ signal horns, no matter what time of day or night. Males were not allowed to witness the birthing, so he had sought refuge in his brother’s hut until the signal. Someone running through the night was not expected. He looked at his brother, passed out with his great shaggy head on the table. Snarling a warning, he kicked his brother’s chair and reached for his gun lying against the wall.

Lakish Proudsnout fell over in a pile of waving arms and legs, loudly bellowing his indignation at having been disturbed. The younger hunter shook his head violently, cursing as he rose from the hard packed ground. He stopped when his eyes focused on his brother. Sensing alarm, Lakish reached for his sword.

Kahor was cocking the hammer of his great muzzle-loader as Kawnie burst through the darkness into the firelight of the open doorway. Both Tauren bulls stared open-mouthed at the sight of her. She was gasping great breaths of air, not even trying to wipe away the tears rolling out of her eyes and down her face, matting her tan fur. All she said before her eyes glossed over and fainted was a tiny whisper, “Tawnie.”

Lakish lunged forward to catch the falling female. Catching Kawnie’s arms, he gently lowered her to the floor. Looking up, his eyes sent a question to his older brother.

Stunned, Kahor could only stare at the prone figure of his sister-in-law. After several moments of indecision, he barked an order at his brother to take care of Kawnie. Slinging his ammunition bandolier over his shoulder, the hunter leaped over the unmoving female and raced off into the night. Fear of the unknown led him to run faster than he ever thought possible, yet the distance between Lakish’s hut and Camp Narache never seemed so far. He did not notice the cascade of falling stars overhead as he raced the wind to shaman Meela’s hut in the center of the camp. Upon reaching the outskirts of camp, Kahor began hearing the wailing. Loud, painful, heart wrenching mourning that would make any Tauren shudder. With stone cold fear like a pit in his stomach, he urged his aching legs and burning lungs to go faster. Not bothering to observe the tribal custom of bowing and announcing himself before entering a shaman’s hut, Kahor burst in to see Shaman Meela slowly drawing a blanket over his wife’s golden mane.

Tears streaming down her face, Meela looked towards Kahor and spoke with a broken voice. “It is the will of the great Earth Mother that you have a son given unto you this night.” The shaman paused. She didn’t want to continue. Seeing the flicker in Kahor’s eyes, she hesitated and weighed the consequences of saying more.

His heart plummeting, Kahor took a step forward, his eyes riveted on the small basket next to his wife’s covered body.

Meela laid her hand on Kahor’s forearm. “There were serious complications and,” she paused.

Kahor turned his massive head towards Meela. His wide nostrils flared and long tail swung to the beat of his lungs. “And what Meela?” demanded Kahor, his eyes flashing with rising anger.

Shaman Meela looked directly into Kahor’s upset eyes and said quietly, “your son has a club hoof.”

Kahor stared at her vacantly, as if her words made no sense. Shocked to his very core, the bull did not know what to say. His young wife gone and what about the calf? Did he hear the shaman correctly? How could this happen? No calf had been born with such a defect for many generations. Old legends and stories raced through his mind. The outcome of each tale was clear. Gradually he lowered his head and turned out of the hut. Shambling over to a nearby bonfire, Kahor sank to his knees, his large head resting on his chest. He neither noticed nor cared that the fire was singeing his fur. Moments later, another loud voice roared with frustration and loss, joining other members of the tribe, each lamenting the loss of a loved member to the twinkling stars over Red Cloud Mesa.





Under those same stars, an old Tauren bull named Graytongue was slowly walking around a great bonfire. Sparks flew upwards and disappeared as the fire hungrily consumed the large wooden pile. Shadows and flames flickered against the nearby trees of the sacred grove. The elderly Tauren paced around the fire, beating his boar skin hand drum in rhythm with his hooves. Softly the he chanted into the night sky:

Great Earth Mother
We see your signs
We hear your will
We obey thy law
We find the way

Beating the drum faster and faster, Seer Graytongue saw shapes beginning to emerge from inside the roaring flames. Wolves, cougars, deer, great lumbering Kodo, and many other animals of Mulgore made of dancing fire, mirrored the shaman’s movements. Finally, Graytongue stopped. The animals stopped. It seemed all of Red Cloud Mesa had stopped. Not even the cool night wind disturbed the tall dark pines surrounding the seer’s camp. Nothing moved. Slowly, a giant, majestic female Tauren took form in the blaze. Her fiery features both terrible but beautiful to behold, gazed down at Seer Graytongue, and with a kind smile made of living fire she spoke. Her voice was soft, yet carried the sound of a thousand rushing waters:

Great troubles are coming to the world of Azeroth.
The world of my children is changing. And we must change with it.
This evening a child was born of my chosen people.
This child must be watched after, nurtured, and trained.
For someday he will lead my people out of despair.

Graytongue was in a cold sweat, despite his proximity to the glowing remains of the bonfire. “A new leader? Great troubles?” he queried himself. All of her words spun wildly through his mind. The great Earth Mother raised her arms to the night sky and stars began to fall without number. Graytongue fell to his knees in amazement as the forms in the fire faded away, the once great fire now reduced to smoldering ashes. Slowly he picked himself up and began walking down the mountain to carry out the will of his beloved Earth Mother.


Last edited by Moorea on Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:23 am; edited 5 times in total
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Ulkarr



Joined: 23 Jul 2005
Posts: 598
Location: Brisbane

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very well written piece. I hope you decide to continue it. It certainly has the scope to be a great story.
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Amaunator



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
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Location: Belgium ... innocuous but intrepid!

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some more cohesion between some of the earlier parts might be nice, but maybe you intend to intersperse them with something you have yet to write?
Whatever the case, I like the build-up of the storyline, I'm just hoping that you don't fall into the horrendous pit of clichés (handicapped saviour of the world thing born to a mother who died during child labour Wink).

And, I'm not sure whether you just want to rewrite a little bit of the lore or not, but it's often taken that the Eart Mother is not a tauren in shape (though she might be in spirit, as you could have been alluding too with the 'spirits in the fire' bit?) but rather just a huge stone. (Cf. Therazane)
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Ulkarr



Joined: 23 Jul 2005
Posts: 598
Location: Brisbane

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes but that is only one of the theories of what the Earth mother is.
The Earth Mother
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Purple Steve



Joined: 21 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice, looks like the start of something pretty epic Smile

oh, and about the whole earth mother thing, i'm sure she could manifest herself however she wants to, or perhaps peoples perception of her when she manifests through other elements is down to their own mind or beliefs
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Moorea



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 383
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:15 pm    Post subject: appreciate the comments:) Reply with quote

Hey Folks~)

Thanks for the comments so far. I really appreciate knowing what people think honestly. Can't improve after all if the only thing I hear is "it's good" eh? lol:)

Here's some background into the story. I orignally mapped out a huge story with like 30 chapters, but found as I actually started filling in those word maps, the story changed further and further from what I had originally planned.

Amaunator brought up a good point about falling into the horrible pit of cliches. Thanks for the heads-up! That was one reason why I abandoned my original word map. Hopefully you'll approve of the way I've lessened the handicapp issue as the story goes. I've tried thinking of ways to not make it such the main focus. But yes, please tell me if I'm getting too campy with the cliches.

I don't remember who said it, but years ago someone said something about how horror movies these days show too much, leaving nothing to the imagination. Hence they aren't scary anymore. With this story, I'm experimenting with that idea of leaving some things out intentionally, letting the reader's imagination create some details. I don't expect that this approach will be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm hoping that eventually, this style will become clearer as we go along.

Moorea~


ps- I have the first 7 chapters done. I don't want to post it all too quickly as it comes to like 30 something pages printed. I've been trying to write one chapter a week, but ya'll know how real life loves to get in the way of things.


Last edited by Moorea on Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Moorea



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 383
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:37 pm    Post subject: Dakrim's Tale: Chapter 2 Reply with quote

Dakrim’s Tale: Chapter 2 (revised)




Kawnie Softbreeze threw back her head and roared. Never having seen something so funny in her entire life, she thought her innards would burst from laughing so hard. Shaking the tears of mirth from her eyes, she looked back down the meadow at her nephew, Dakrim Proudsnout, now quite big for a five year old calf. “I hope the great Earth Mother allows Tawnie to watch down over her son,” she thought. There were times when she was sure that her sister’s spirit was close by, as she felt so now. Dakrim was chasing a prairie dog across the meadow, but one of his hooves had fallen through the roof of the prairie dog’s burrow and he was whooping and hollering while trying to pull out his caught hoof. That hoof. That…that…Kawnie almost could not bring herself to say it. That clubfoot. Shivers running down her spine, Kawnie again for the countless time wished that her sweet nephew did not have this deformity. Having a clubfooted calf was one of the worst possible tragedies that could befall Tauren parents. It was not common. The village elders claimed that it had been over 10 generations since the last clubfooted calf was born. They stated that in older times such deformed Tauren had been left for the Wiry Swoops, those nasty vulture-like birds, to be eaten. The same should have been done to Kahor and Tawnie’s calf, some reasoned. Fortunately such talk died down because no one dared challenge Seer Graytongue’s proclamation. Kawnie put her hand over her heart and silently thanked the great Earth Mother for sending Seer Graytongue to the village on that dreadful night. She would never forget what the Seer said.

The ageing seer walked into the firelight of Camp Narache just as arguments began forming and angry words were being expressed over the fate of the calf. “Behold, our great Earth Mother has spoken,” began Graytongue. The blazing firelight dancing wildly over his dark features, the seer raised his hands and said, “A calf born this eve shall one day lead our people through great changes. We must walk with the Earth Mother.” Without another word, the old Tauren turned around and slowly left the camp.

No one said anything else. One by one, the residents of Camp Narache left the common area and returned to their huts until only Shaman Meela, Kawnie, Kahor and Lakish remained around the fire. Everyone implicitly understood that the calf was to live. No one would go against the Seer’s words. He was by far the oldest and most respected Seer on Red Cloud Mesa. No one wanted to challenge him about this obvious “blight” on the tribe’s honor, but the resentment from Kahor and Lakish and other more traditional members of the tribe was real. Together the two hunters stormed away into the early morning darkness, not looking at either of the females. After seeing Kahor’s negative reaction to the Seer’s words, Kawnie did not hesitate. She retrieved the calf from Meela and took him to her own hut. No one stopped her. Sadly, since that evening Kahor had not said anything nor even asked about Dakrim. It was as if the child had never been born. After Tawnie’s funeral rites were observed, Kahor abandoned his shared hut with Tawnie and moved out of the camp to stay with Lakish. The two brothers left the tribe on increasingly longer and longer hunting expeditions. “What a shame to not know how wonderful your son is,” Kawnie whispered to the wind. She raised her hand and waved to the young bull. He waved back and having freed his trapped foot, trotted up the hill to his aunt’s warm embrace.




From his hut deep in the Red Cloud Mountains, Seer Graytongue stared into the smoldering remains of the fire pit. Bluish smoke curled around the Seer’s face as he repeatedly swung his hands through the rising smoke. Inhaling deeply, the Seer said out loud, “It is time. May the great Earth Mother watch over us.” Rising from the packed earth floor of his simple hut, the old Tauren gathered a few possessions together, grabbed his walking stick and headed outside into the bright sunshine.





Down the long green meadows far from Seer Graytongue’s home in the mountains, a band of weary Tauren just passed the protective wooden barriers guarding the entrance to Red Cloud Mesa. For centuries, marauding bands of Centaurs had plagued the Tauren living on the open mesa. Growing weary of the constant danger, the people of the Hawkwind tribe erected a magnificent wooden wall, taking several generations to build and only completed two generations ago. Stretching the entire breadth of southern Mulgore, this wall, fireproofed with a special resin, effectively closed off the Hawkwind tribal lands on Red Cloud Mesa. The four-legged Centaur could not easily attack the wall after scaling the steep ravines. Daily patrols were made to ensure the integrity of the wall, but after a few futile attempts during the wall’s construction, the Centaur raiders appeared to have given up on attacking Red Cloud Mesa. However, the Centaur threat was still quite real outside the wall on Mulgore’s rolling plains. Thanking the guards for their vigilant watch, the weary band of hunters continued climbing up the mesa, heading for Camp Narache.

Kawnie was rearranging a shipment of goods in her small hut that served as Camp Narache’s general store when she heard the drums. The deep bass of the camp signal drums by the village watcher Vorn Skyseer meant that someone was approaching. Kawnie opened the back flap of her hut to call out to Dakrim, who was supposed to be playing at the back of the hut, but was not to be seen. Before Kawnie could decide her next course of action, she spied Great Mother Hawkwind down the slope towards the well. Next to her was a smaller form whose face was hidden by a large earthenware jar. Kawnie didn’t have to see the face to recognize that particular gait of her nephew. Dakrim’s clubfoot prevented him from walking normally, but he had adapted a shuffling walk. He would throw his weight forward, swing his hip, thus forcing his right leg to bring that over-large hoof ahead. It was unsettling to see, but Kawnie was proud of the way her nephew bore himself. Despite being teased by the other young bulls and occasionally even by some of the elders, Dakrim had maintained a cheerful and gentle attitude. He never complained once. Seeing him help the Chief’s mother carry up water from the distant well, Kawnie was also thankful for camp members like Mother Hawkwind who went out of their way to include Dakrim in tribal life, not treat him like an outcast. Once at the top of the slope, Mother Hawkwind gently kissed Dakrim on top of his head, then lifted the water jar from his arms. Kawnie waved for Dakrim to come join her. Together the went around the hut to see who the drums were beating for.

Standing outside her hut with her arms around Dakrim, Kawnie watched the band of hunters come up around the bend. In the lead were Kahor and Lakish Proudsnoot, followed by several more hunters of the Hawkwind tribe. Kawnie tensed up as they walked by. She noticed an open snarl on Lakish’s face and the indifferent look on Kahor’s as they walked by her and Dakrim. Unconsciously she hugged her nephew even harder.

Sensing his aunt’s unease, Dakrim looked up at Kawnie and said, “What’s wrong aunt Kawnie? You’re squeezing me so hard.”

Kawnie shrugged, quickly replying, “No, nothing is wrong, just it has been almost a year since your father and uncle left.” Mumbling to her self, she whispered, “I wonder why they even bother to come back?”

“I’m happy to see them,” Dakrim said simply, looking up her.

Kawnie kept her mouth shut as to not say anything bad about the hunters anymore.

Dakrim continued, “Perhaps they have come back to teach me how to be a great hunter like them?” He grinned at her, playfully pretending to wield a rifle in her direction.

Kawnie made no reply, only turned around back to her general store, pulling Dakrim with her. “Come child, I could use a little help.”





After several noisy, boisterous days of celebrating the return of the tribe’s best hunters and their rich haul, life in Camp Narache began to return to normal. Kawnie had allowed Dakrim to go out and play with young Sarn Skyseer around the old giant Kodo bones on the outskirts of the camp. She felt that they would be safe enough as no mountain cougars had been reported in the meadows recently and the Plainstriders would not attack anything unless provoked. Humming gently, Kawnie smoothed out a stack of Kodo leather that Lakish had given her the previous day. His generous gift astounded her, as he had never taken any interest in her or his own nephew in many years. So her surprise was quite genuine when he swaggered in, dropped the leather to the floor and simply said to take them. Perhaps he has changed she supposed.

Several hours later, as dusk approached, Kawnie began to look out the door for Dakrim’s return. She hoped the boys were having a good time. The other Tauren children would not play with them. Little Sarn was really the only calf to be nice to Dakrim. Of course, since Sarn was half the normal size of any other five-year old Tauren, and with Dakrim’s clubfoot, they made an interesting pair. Everyone was surprised by Dakrim’s growth though. He was easily taller and broader than any other calf his age. Apparently the clubfoot did not stop the rest of his body from maturing beautifully. Kawnie was always careful to invoke her thanks to the Great Earth Mother on Dakrim’s behalf.

Focusing back on the here and now, Kawnie observed little Sarn running across the camp common grounds and into his own home. Puzzled, she wondered where Dakrim was. Walking across the common grounds to the Skyseer’s home, Kawnie called out to young Sarn, asking him the whereabouts of Dakrim. Sarn explained that right before they were going to return home, Dakrim’s father and uncle came by and announced that they were taking Dakrim on an overnight hunting trip. The acrid taste of fear crept up Kawnie’s throat into her mouth. She thanked Sarn and then ran across the common grounds to shaman Meela’s hut.

“Meela! Meela!” Kawnie called desperately. “Come quickly!”


Last edited by Moorea on Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:25 am; edited 4 times in total
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Purple Steve



Joined: 21 Oct 2006
Posts: 153

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Dakrim's Tale: Chapter 2 Reply with quote

sounding cool so far, a few minor points i picked up on:

Moorea wrote:

It was not common. The village elders...

i'd use a comma here rather than a full stop, it seems a bit too broken up

Moorea wrote:

Fortunately such talk died down eventually because no one dared challenge Seer Graytongue’s proclamation. Kawnie put her hand over her heart and silently thanked the great Earth Mother for sending Seer Graytongue to the village on that dreadful night. She would never forget what the Seer said.

The ageing seer walked into the firelight of Camp Narache...


a bit too much repetition, try to avoid using the same words too many times close together, i.e.

Quote:

Fortunately such talk died down eventually because no one dared challenge Seer Graytongue’s proclamation. Kawnie put her hand over her heart and silently thanked the great Earth Mother for sending him to the village on that dreadful night. She would never forget what the elderly bull had said.

The ageing seer walked into the firelight of Camp Narache...


or somesuch, but im being pretty pedantic, looking forward to reading more Smile
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Moorea



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject: you're right! Reply with quote

Thanks Steve!

I had actually changed that paragraph ending before. I'd noticed that Seer Graytongue's name appeared too often, but I posted the wrong saved Chapter 2. My problem is that I write while I'm at school (I teach primary school in Hong Kong) and the most up-to-date saves are on my computer there. I had forgotten that what I had here at home are older, less corrected versions.
Anyways, I liked your word choices better so I've gone ahead and incorporated them. Thank you!

Moorea
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this may also be a bit petty, but i thought i would say it anyways, im pretty sure that, like moose, the plural of tauren is tauren.

on a more positive note its good to see another writer in our neck of the woods, especially one so dedicated as to write 7 chapters ahead of time.

a few stylistic suggestions, please, take them as suggestions, this is ultimately your work:

first, you mentioned that you are leaving things out to let the reader's imagination work more. While i think that it couldnt be more needed in the context of horror films these days, im not sure that its quite true of writing. To read a story, regardless of how vividly described it is, takes imagination. The act of interpreting the words requires creativity on the part of the reader. In my opinion the way these last sections have been written have felt a little unnecessarily choppy.

That said, I think its a good start, especially if you already committed to attacking the noted clichés.

I hope my comments didnt come of as overly critical. I want to help you make your story the best it can be, not critique you till you get discouraged and stop.

I look forward to reading more
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Amaunator



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seer Graytongue stared deeply into the smoldering remains in the fire pit.
--> the remains of the fire pit
It sounds better than repeating the in(to), even though the meaning differs.

And I also vote for 'tauren' over 'Tauren' or 'Taurens' Smile.

I think the same counts for Centaurs, really. One centaur, two centaur. (Though I must admit to finding contradicting sources for the actual conjugation of centaur Smile.)

Dakrim, who was supposed to be playing there in back of the hut, but he was not to be seen.
--> at the back of the hut

But before Kawnie could decide her next course of action, she spied Great Mother Hawkwind down the slope from Camp Narache.
--> You can leave off the 'but' here, I feel. (It conflicts with the previous but.)

Kawnie made no reply, only turned around back to her general store, pulling Dakrim’s with her.
--> Unnecessary possessive.

Kawnie smoothed out a stack of Kodo leather that she given by Lakish
--> that Lakish had given her

Dakrim’s father and uncle came by and announced that the wanted to take Dakrim on an overnight hunting trip and that Sarn was to go on home.
--> they


--------------------------

First chapters always hold so much promise Wink. Luckily this one stood its own in the evaluation Wink. Some more errors here and there, but that'll iron itself out eventually Wink.

The cliffhanger's enticing Wink. You better give us more soon enough, but not too soon Wink.
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Moorea



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 383
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HOT DAMN! You guys are great! Obviously I came to the right website to post my story Very Happy

No matter how many times I go over and over my story, it appears I still miss stuff so I'm extremely grateful for the opinions, critiques, corrections, encouragement, everything! Don't worry Keltor! Honesty about what you see is the best medicine any writer could ever ask for. It has been 10 plus years since I've written any fiction so I know I'm pretty rusty. All I've done since university is write newspaper submissions and Japanese Haiku...stuff that doesn't fit very well in WoW stories I'm afraid.

After reading the comments so far, I've been inspired to go back to Mulgore and do more research. So if you're ever on Malorne server and you see an undead mage galloping around, that's me gathering notes. My main is a Tauren warrior btw, but he's too busy in Outland and besides, a mage sure is more convenient for travelling!

Thanks again guys!

Moorea
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Moorea



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 383
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:03 pm    Post subject: Dakrim's Tale: Chapter 3 Reply with quote

Dakrim’s Tale: Chapter 3 (revised)

Standing by the blazing bonfire in Camp Narache’s common grounds, Kawnie anxiously waited. The indigo twilight was beautiful, but she could not enjoy it. After telling Shaman Meela what she had heard from little Sarn, the older female understood her concern and was determined to help Kawnie find Dakrim. The shaman had gathered her herb bag, gnarled warstaff, then ran off to enlist more help. A wave of choking bile again rose up her throat as her mind wandered over her lost nephew. Swallowing, her breathing came in ragged gulps as she forced herself to calm down. She could overhear Meela yelling at someone to move faster. The first figure to burst into view was Lanka Farshot, the camp’s young hunter trainer. He trotted over to Kawnie’s side and wordlessly nodded to her. The hunter did not speak often, she observed, but he was noted in the village for his quick wit and noble demeanor. Quite the catch, many gossiped, but so far, sighed Kawnie, Lanka’s only interest was in hunting, not finding a mate. Despite her gnawing worry over her nephew, she could not resist admiring the slightly older than herself hunter. She feigned interest in her pack while slyly watching Lanka purse his lips, emitting a piercing whistle. He then pulled a gut-string from a pouch for his great bow. Kawnie was openly staring at Lanka’s handsome features when a sudden movement startled her. Lanka’s black panther, Moonshadow, had appeared and was looking at her with huge, luminous yellow eyes. Kawnie reached over to stroke the panther’s sleek mane and was rewarded with a reassuring deep purr.

Snorting loudly, a gigantic bull emerged from a nearby hut. Easily the largest Tauren she had ever seen, Kawnie greeted Harutt Thundershorn with a smile and a reverent nod as he stomped over next to her too. Harutt was a renowned warrior who had proven his bravery and prowess on innumerable battlefields. Now retired from the life of soldiering and adventure, the gray haired warrior spent most of his time around the camp giving free weapon mastery lessons to youngsters. But his true passion was whittling images on sticks and bending the ear of anyone who would listen to his old stories. Although Harutt was ageing, he was still quick in both body and mind and possessed a truly generous, kind nature behind all those battle scars. Kawnie suppressed a smile, watching the big Tauren jump up and down, trying to squeeze some particularly snug piece of armor onto his body.

“What’s the matter, old man?” the hunter asked. “Can’t fit into your armor anymore?” Lanka teased.

Harutt growled, showing his sharp teeth. “Of course I can, youngling,” he snapped back. Eyeing the long bow the hunter was carrying, the older Tauren returned the verbal barb. “What’s that? A toothpick?” Harutt chuckled to himself, smoothing out his braided beard.

Hefting the bow up, Lanka drew an arrow from his shoulder quiver. He nocked, pulled, and released the arrow in one rapid, smooth motion. The arrow shot across the common grounds to strike the center of an unfinished totem pole. The hunter looked at Kawnie, humor dancing in his eyes. He gestured towards the warrior with his bow. “With all the noise that great ox will make in his armor, I might as well switch to my hunting rifle.”

Kawnie giggled while Harutt growled some more.

Shaman Meela emerged from behind Harutt, also struggling to help him strap on his armor. She grunted as she pulled the last remaining strap into place, then began chiding the old warrior on the sorry state of repair of his armor. She didn’t back away when the old bull turned his immense bulk to tower over her. However, Meela stopped talking mid-sentence when Seer Ravenfeather and Great Mother Hawkwind stepped into the firelight.

Great Mother Hawkwind was the first to speak. “Chief Hawkwind wanted me to express his support and prayers for you. Unfortunately he is still bedridden from the wounds he suffered from the Bristleback ambush last week. He wants you to bring Kahor and Lakish to speak with him upon your return.” The ancient female placed a warm hand on Kawnie’s arm. “He’s a sweet calf, that one,” she said. “Find him please,” she urged, her voice revealing her deep concern.

Kawnie thanked Great Mother Hawkwind, throwing her arms around the elder female’s neck, hugging her tight.

Seer Ravenfeather, the leader of Camp Narache’s Council of Elders, stepped forward and threw a handful of silvery powder into the fire. Multi-hued flames flared up while the dark furred Seer chanted softly. Slowly a hazy vision formed in the flames. The Seer’s words chilled everyone. “They have entered Brambleblade Ravine,” he said, his rough voice the sound of a rake pulled over stones. “I cannot see clearly as the Bristlebacks’ foul magic blocks most of my sight, but I sense they have been captured. One is in great pain, though I can not discern whom.” He turned and looked at each of the younger Tauren. “You must hurry.”

Dusk had fallen into full darkness as the small party of rescuers finished preparations to leave camp. Despite the moon’s absence, the mesa was still well illuminated by millions of stars overhead in a cloudless sky. Lanka’s Moonshadow had taken off ahead of the group, quickly fading from sight.

Shaman Meela looked at Kawnie and asked, “Do you remember how to shapeshift?”

Harutt snorted mirthfully, still adjusting his shoulder armor.

Feigning a pained expression, Kawnie began chanting and moving her hands in the complicated ritual that she had learned so many years ago in her youth. A moment later, green hazy smoke enveloped Kawnie and her body shifted into a huge, four-legged beast. A great black bear looked around at the other three members of the party. Growling, she lumbered off eastwards after the panther.

Meela chuckled, duplicating Kawnie’s ritual with only a slight difference. Emerging from the smoke, a sleek, tan cougar took off after the bear.

The hunter, Lanka Farshot, grinned at the old warrior, Harutt Thundershorn, and said, “Let’s not get left behind shall we?” Harutt grunted and together they took out similar short horns. Inhaling, twin hollow sounding blasts filled the night air and instantly two gigantic horned kodo shimmered into existence. Both Tauren nimbly jumped onto the empty, waiting saddles, grabbed the reins and directed their mounts to follow the others.

Harutt loved riding. Streaming out from under his helmet, the cool wind blew his long brown ponytails behind him. He did not even have to look over next to him to know that Lanka and his grayish mount were close by as he could both hear and feel the pounding in the earth of the heavy kodo feet. For beyond memory, Tauren culture had revered the mighty kodo of the plains. Their skins provided shelter and clothing, meat for the fire and formidable war mounts. If a Tauren was skilled and brave enough to capture one, that is. Special magic, known only to the animal trainers, would then be used to imbue a horn with the essence of that powerful beast. The horn could thereafter be used to summon or dismiss the beast at whim. His own experience of finding his first mount long ago was unfurling in his mind as they rumbled up to a large dark object, sticking out clearly against the prairie grasses.

Lanka motioned over to Harutt. “They are waiting for us,” Lanka said. They pulled up next to Kodo Rock and dismounted. Invoking the dismissal incantation, Harutt and Lanka released their mounts in a cloud of rapidly disappearing smoke. Kawnie and Meela had both already reverted to their normal forms, waiting and resting against the cool stone. No one knew who sculpted Kodo Rock. It has stood alone on the grassy prairie of Red Cloud Mesa for well beyond any lore the Tauren possessed, but all Tauren considered the stone to be sacred.

After all of them pressed their paws upon the stone, Meela whispered a prayer to the Great Earth Mother on behalf of the group.
Great Earth Mother
Guide us through our enemies
Give us the strength of the Kodo
To save our people from harm
We invoke thee

After a moment’s silence, Harutt spoke up, “If Kahor, Lakish, and the calf were captured, for sure they would be brought before Chief Sharptusk at the far side of the ravine. Capturing such famous enemies as the Proudsnout brothers would undoubtedly excite their shamans and request for a dawn sacrifice to their foul pig gods,” he paused gravely. “Silence and secrecy is the only way that we can save them. If the entire ravine is alerted to our presence, then we too will be doomed to the sacrificial altar.”

“Leave the sentries to me and Moonshadow,” Lanka said menacingly. “We’ll clear the way towards the rear entrance of the ravine. With luck we can sneak most of way to the Chief’s hut. The cat will guide us.”

Meela took something from her medicine bag and sprinkled each of them with the pleasant smelling herbs. “The Great Earth Mother is watching over us,” she said firmly.

Kawnie smiled gratefully at Meela, then grasped both Lanka and Harutt’s forearms. “Thank you,” she said simply.

Lanka pulled out his bow from over his shoulder and padded off silently into the night, he and the cat fading into nothing.

From underneath his cloak, Harutt pulled a long, sheathed dagger. “Take this,” he instructed to Kawnie. Unbuckling his gigantic war mace from across his shoulders, the old bull grimly tested the gripping. Satisfied, he loped off after the hunter and his pet.

Meela grasped her tall war staff tightly and said, “let’s go Kawnie, don’t be afraid.”

Kawnie closed her eyes for a moment, praying for strength, then followed Meela off into the dark unknown, leaving the gigantic kodo shaped stone behind.
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Life is great until the toilet paper runs out....


Last edited by Moorea on Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:55 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, I think the writing in this one was markedly better than your last ones, so good job on the improvement.

Story arc wise I have a small issue... though issue makes it sound all serious and negative. Anywho, I felt like the new characters were sprung on us a bit fast. Either they aren't going to last long, and so their somewhat lengthy introductions were unnecessary, or they are going to be in for a while and they could use a bit more intro and development. Also, about them, their intro's comming all in one chunk made it feel like a lotr knockoff from the council of elrond. This may or may not just be me (especially because my mind is kinda not working right now) so take it as you will.

overall, keep it up.
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."


Last edited by Keltor on Sun Jun 17, 2007 9:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Albatros
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Joined: 15 Jul 2005
Posts: 2111

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aye, I think that once you have a) no pads and b) opposable thumbs, it's a hand.

hooves are hard, silly
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