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Excerpt: 10th Immortal

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Excerpt: 10th Immortal

Postby Xyster » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:15 pm

Yes I'm back, if only for a very short time. This little blurb is just to give a bit of history on this story and let everyone know about it.

In essence it is a sequel to the one I posted called Immortal. It is again only the first chapter, again concerning the main character Julius. This story takes place some short time after he has defeated an immortal, a creature that is supposed to be unkillable. The victory had a grave cost though, the loss of two of his traveling companions and a great stress on his mind.

As the story starts out, Julius has returned to the sancutary of the demon crafters to seek aid from an ancient and powerful demon.
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Postby Xyster » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:16 pm

The Deceased

Julius sulked in the dark rock chamber, pacing around the statue in the center of the room. It was almost complete, hued from a stone more pure than any other since the founding demon crafter had touched theirs. This was a work of art by any standards, but a masterpiece for a demon crafter. The final demon, the last work that was to serve its master for the remainder of their life and perhaps beyond, a false soul brought to life by the energy of the earth and born from stone to flesh by the darkest of magics.

It was a beautiful creature, detailed far beyond any other that Julius had seen any of the apprentices or even masters working. Still, the final fragment, a piece broken off for the summoning ritual was missing from the center of the chest. The diamond shaped dent was the only flaw that marred the pale stone surface.

“Are you sure that this will work Narleth?” Julius glanced at the very pale demon the crouched atop the ledge nearby. Long white hair trailed over his shoulders, covering his otherwise unclothed chest. White ram horns curled over his pointed ears, casting a shadow on his face.

The demon nodded, taking a shuffling step sideways on his goat like hooves. He rose up a little, straighter than he had stood in a hundred years, “If his soul truly resides within that stone, then bathing this body in the seep will return him to life. It is similar to the technique used to create the hollows ages ago in the great burning.”

“And you will still allow me the use of the greatest seep, the one used to create you for this?” Julius fingered the stone in the pouch around his neck. The stone that contained Takius’ very soul, sealed there by an immortal.

“For this a seep of that power is the only choice, though the masters would forbade such an action if they knew.” Narleth stretched his wings to their fullest extent, crouching down again. He stared at the stone statue with crimson orbs, taking it in.

“They would have thrown me out already if they knew that I had returned. The elder was not fond of me and my powers from the begining.”

“Yes, he sought to make a seep of you...the most powerful seep that ever has been.” Narleth sighed, “I was created as a guardian of the seeps, I can do no less then obey when one requests a service of me.”

“As I discovered not so long ago.” Julius clenched his fists, driving the memory of his use from his mind. Never again would he allow himself or his powers to be used like that. It was his choice to resurrect his friend, it was his choice to chance his friends soul on this uncertain spell. If it turned out for the worst, he would know that it was an accident and not something in his mind driving him to destroy one of the two people that had shown faith in him and his power.

“I am ready Narleth. I can wait no longer.” Julius inhaled sharply as he turned back to the statue. His hands ran across the chest, fingers snagging in the indent for a second. Very slowly he reached into the pouch around his neck and withdrew the small fragment of stone. The chip weakly pulsed with a pale red light as Julius rolled it over in his hand.

“Place the chip into the statue to bind the soul to his new body.” Narleth fluttered his wings, kicking up a small cloud of dust.

“Yes.” Julius took a steadying breath and slid the chip into the notch, feeling it click into place. A warmth seeped from the stone, sinking into his fingers and spreading a white stain across the statue’s chest.

“Bring it to the seep, but be careful not to dislodge the stone.” Narleth’s hooves cracked against the stone as he moved in front of the large pit. It stretched down, obscured beneath a layer of black clouds. Wisps of the clouds trailed upwards, twisting around each other and dissipating at the base of the small ledge that Narleth perched on.

Julius wrapped his arms around the statue’s waist and grunted, attempting to lift the thing and drag it. He strained until he was red in the face and let go, stumbling against the rock wall. Sliding down it, he wiped the sweat from his brow and looked to Narleth, “It’s too heavy.”

Narleth shook his head, folding his wings close to his back. He sighed and leaned back, watching the young human with tired eyes. In all of his centuries of existence he had never known such frustration over a human. The ones that had created him had made him for a purpose different than all other demons, so he did not know the annoyance of serving a master until this one that was as much a seep as the pit in front of him.

Julius snapped his mouth shut, staring indignantly at the demon. He pushed himself to his feet and grabbed the statue around the waist, throwing all of his weight backwards. The statue budged, sliding very slowly across the ground and towards the edge of the pit.

The young human grunted as he twisted, pushing the statue to the brink of the chasm. His hands burned and itched, the shady markings on them growing ever darker as he neared the seep. The drifting tendrils of shadow bent towards him.

“Push him over the brim.” Narleth bent down, resting his chin in his hands as he watched. His crimson eyes verily glowed with anticipation.

Julius refrained from looking at the demon, concentrating instead on the statue. He rested one hand on its shoulder, lowering his head, “Takius, if you are within this body now, forgive me for what I am about to do.”

He set his shoulder to the stone and closed his eyes. The stone held for a moment, then wavered on the edge before plunging into the dark depths.

Julius screamed and backpedaled, almost following the statue in. He caught a niche in the nearby wall and grasped, yanking himself away from the chasm. His heart beat in his throat as he stared at the tendrils of shadow, barely daring to breathe. If he had failed, then he had just sent Takuis’ soul plunging into eternal anguish.

Narleth let out a pleased sigh. He rocked back on his hooves, leaning against the wall, “He comes now Julius.”

Falling to his knees, Julius continued to stare at the tendrils of rising shadows. He could see the faint traces of light sinking into them, the sign of a strong reaction. The statue had turned, for better or worse.

“The birth of an abomination.” Narleth grinned evilly, pointed teeth gleaming. He hopped from foot to foot like an excited bird, his wings beating.

Julius narrowed his eyes, but could find no breath to reply as clawed fingers grasped the edge of the pit. With agonizing slowness, an arm came into view, followed by a very human face. The former statue clung to the side of the chasm, panting. He growled and flung himself flat, scrambling over the edge and to the relative safety of the ground.

Orange eyes turned upwards, meeting Julius’. He groaned, struggling to rise with new limbs, “Julius...”

A half smile spread across Julius’ face, “Takius...”

“Julius...what have you done to me?” Clawed hands covered Takius’ face. He bent his head to the floor, “Do you realize what you have done?”

“Yes...just look at what you have done.” Narleth cackled from his perch, puffing out his chest with mirth.

Julius grabbed at the wall, hoisting himself to his feet. He stared down at Takius, finally taking it all in. Long white hair spread across the floor like a fan. His upper torso was completely human, with pale cream colored skin and rippling muscles. His legs were strange though, the knees bending the wrong way, like the rear legs of a dog. Instead of feet he had claw tipped paws and his ears were pointed like an elf’s. Dark, bat like wings sprouted from his shoulders.

“You are...” Julius swallowed. He had looked at the statue, truly looked at it, but had not thought about the real consequences.

“...A demon.” Takius groaned from behind his hands. He pulled one knee up towards his chest, ragged sobs coming from his throat.

“An abomination! You have created an abomination...a demon with a human’s soul, an immortal creature that will despise its own immortality.” Narleth cackled, pressing himself against the wall to keep from falling.

“You! You knew that this would happen!” Julius slowly turned his head towards Narleth. His fists curled in anger, “You planned this all along!”

Narleth’s mouth snapped shut. He glared at Julius with angry red eyes, “And what if I did? This is not the first abomination that you have created...or have you already forgotten Ravenwing.”

The demon flapped his wings, unsheathing his claws in anger. He rose to his full height, demonic presence leaping around him. Coils of red fire sprang to life about his hooves. He lunged from his perch, landing at the edge of the pit behind Takius.

“Or would you prefer that I change you into a seep like the master desired?” He took another step forwards, ignoring the sobbing demon at his feet.

Julius stepped back. He raised his hands, feeling the shadowy marks on them burn, “Narleth...”

“Are you going to beg now? I’ve done all that you required of me Julius. It is time that you pay for my aid.” Narleth motioned and the shadows behind him leapt up, seeping over the edge of the pit and across the ground.

“What are you...” Julius pressed himself flat against the wall. Rocks dug into his back, gouging his skin through his thin tunic.

“Just as I said. I will make you into a seep, nothing more. It was what you were born for human.” The guardian grinned, “I will again serve no master.” He advanced, the shadows rolling behind him.

The sobbing behind him quieted. Slowly Narleth turned, looking at the demon that was now rising. His grin faded as he glanced back over his shoulder at the collapsed Julius before he turned his full attention to the other demon, “What do you want abomination?”

“It was you that drove him to this....wasn’t it Narleth?” Takius rose to his full height, eyes smoldering with rage, “You told him how to bring me back...didn’t you?”

“Of course. The child would have not known any other way. He would have carried that stone and you would have lain dormant for centuries...” Narleth’s eyes narrowed, “The first masters used a similar technique to seal souls into demons. They created creature after creature, not realizing what they did. I was not the only guardian then.”

Takius didn’t back down. He remained standing, his hands clenching at his sides, “So...I have you to truly blame. Julius may have found a way to free me if you didn’t warp him.” He frowned, “It is your fault that I am like this.”

“Takius...” Narleth’s eyes widened a little as the other demon’s fingers twitched and very sharp claws came into view. He took a step back, “You would dare raise a hand against The Guardian?”

“A new guardian can be made.” Takius took a step forwards, clawed hand pulling back.

“Not like me. I have guarded these seeps for centuries. I know their secrets. That knowledge cannot be replaced.” Narleth took a step back, the fire dying from his eyes. He could sense the power rising in Takius. He cursed himself for not realizing the power of the joining when Takius had managed to crawl out of the main seep. No demon had done that since those that the masters created.

“Knowledge can be relearned. You are not necessary.”

“You cannot seriously desire to destroy me Takius. I am the one that guided you on your first demons. I have done nothing but aid you.”

“Your story changes quickly to suite your needs Narleth.” Takius’ lip curled into a snarl. He lowered his hand slowly, “You are right though, I do not desire to destroy you. Stand aside.”

Narleth quickly sidestepped, leaving a clear path between Takius and Julius. He clenched his fists, jaw locked in anger but his expression carefully neutral.

Takius moved past him, not even casting a glance his way. He knelt down in front of Julius, clawed hands falling on the boy’s shoulders, “Come on Julius. We’re leaving.”

Julius kept his head low. He didn’t look up as Takius wrapped his arms about him and began to lift him from the ground. His body refused to respond.

“Don’t worry. I won’t let him harm you.” Takius spoke quietly into Julius’ ear, trying to wake the child from his shock.

“Takius!” Julius clung to the demon, eyes widening in fear.

Takius spun, Julius in his arms, as he heard Narleth move. His eyes narrowed as he saw the descending claws. He released Julius, grabbing the striking demon by both wrists. Claws halted inches from his face. He bared his teeth in anger.

Narleth tugged at his wrists, trying to free them. He growled, anger eliminating his ability to speak.

“You leave me no choice Narleth.”

Takius pushed forwards, throwing all of his weight against the guardian. He felt the other’s hooves slip, scrambling for purchase on the uneven ground. The guardian overbalanced, tipping towards the rim of the chasm. For a moment time stood still, Narleth’s eyes widening in panic as he looked pleadingly at the only student he had ever showed an interest in.

Takius closed his eyes, releasing his grip at the same time. Narleth tumbled backwards, wings flapping uselessly as he tried to right himself. He grabbed desperately, his claws sinking into the back of Julius’ tunic and rending flesh beneath.

Julius cried in pain, clasping his arms even tighter around Takius. He shut his eyes, feeling claws strike long marks across his back. He choked as the tunic pulled him backwards, towards the hungry shadows.

Takius dug in his claws and wrapped both arms around Julius, pulling the boy from Narleth’s grip as the shadows enveloped him. He twisted, wrenching the tunic from claws and stepped back, watching the final moments of his teacher.

Julius shuddered, clinging to Takius like the frightened child he was. For all of the shadow mage’s power, he was no more than a boy after all.

“It will be fine. I will keep you safe Julius.” Takius turned, sprinting for the exit on his new legs. Surely the master had sensed something wrong by now. The guardian was gone, the master would come to find what had become of him, and if Julius were found... Takius held the boy closer. It was his fault, all of this came back to him in the end.

* * * * * *

Eirrdor paced, listening to the rain pound against the roof of the shabby stable. The wind howled through trees, drowning out any other sound save the insistent drumming of the rain.

Where was Julius? He had left for the secret halls of the demon crafters many weeks ago. He had promised to return within a few days to check up. Surely he hadn’t been caught? He’d sworn that he had some form of ally within the halls.

The albino centaur pawed the ground nervously. The colt meant much to him, more than anyone else but Meadowlark had. If he lost that, after everything else... The dreamer shook his head. He had to continue waiting, there was no other choice. Not even a dreamer of his power could reach Julius within those halls. The taint of the shadow magic and the protective stones were far to great for any dreams to creep in.

He lay down, stretching his legs out to the side and leaning his torso against the wall. The pounding of the rain rang closer to his ears, but he needed rest. His eyes inched shut, his thoughts again wandering to the night of the battle with the immortal. So much pain for one memory, yet it crept back again.

Across the stable, wrapped in fine oiled leather and tied securely were the remains of their final companion. The blades had withstood even the immortal’s attempt to destroy them. The three magnificent swords lay still now, never to dance again by their master’s hand.

Eirddor’s eyes snapped open.

That sound...knocking?

He rose to his hooves, pulling stray hay and straw from his long hair as he moved to the wooden door. The wind outside howled louder, drowning out everything else. Still, Eirrdor moved closer to the door.

The dreamer suddenly backed up as the door was kicked in, a wet and ragged form standing in the doorway. Orange eyes snapped back and forth, their owner stepping into the stable and shutting the door behind him with one foot. The creature was unclothed, wings folded tightly against his back and dripping from the storm.

“What...?” Eirddor stared, not believing his eyes. A demon, it had to be a demon.

“Eirrdor, Julius needs your medicines.” The demon strode past the centaur, lying a limp form down on the pile of hay that Eirrdor had occupied only a moment before.

The dreamer nearly choked. He stared disbelievingly at the demon, “Takius...is...”

“There is no time. Julius is in pain.” Takius knelt down by the prone boy, pulling a tattered blanket over him, “Surely, there is something you can do for him.”

Eirddor shook his head to clear it and moved near the boy, dropping down so that he could examine him. His eyes widened as he picked up Julius’ arm and pulled back the sleeve. There along his arm the markings were glimmering as they crawled farther up. The markings had been fading slowly over the past weeks since the battle with the immortal, and even then they had only covered the back of his hands and forearms. Something had triggered them.

“His marks are growing again. They did this right after he defeated the immortal.” Eirddor frowned, motioning to his medical kit, “Bring me that box.”

Takius rose and trotted over, lifting the heavy box like a toy and tucking it under his arm. He trotted back and set it near Eirddor, “He defeated the immortal?”

“In a way.” Eirrdor nudged the box open and pulled clean bandages from it. He tapped it closed and began winding the bandages around Julius’ arms. They would not stay the pain or stop the marks, but it was all that he could do. He had no medicine for pain and knew no magic that could slow or reverse the marks.

“In a way? Is the immortal dead or not?” Takius sunk down, pulling a blanket over himself. He closed his eyes, head leaning back, “And where is that *beep* of a hollow?”

“Iruwai was destroyed shortly after you were imprisoned. He took a lone stand against the immortal to protect Julius while he retrieved the stone you had been imprisoned in.” Eirddor snapped the loose ends of a bandage with deft fingers, anger flashing in his eyes, “The immortal threw you over a cliff. Julius had to use his powers to save you.”

“I didn’t know.” Takius’ expression softened. He opened his eyes to stare at the ceiling, “So, is the immortal dead?”

Eirddor knotted the bandage, pulling Julius’ sleeve back over it. He licked his lips, chewing his lip thoughtfully, “I am not sure.”

“You’re not sure?” Takius turned his gaze on the centaur, “How can you not know? Did he escape? Did Julius injure him and drive him off?”

“The man died...” Eirddor rolled up Julius’ other sleeve and began bandaging that arm, “But he said something strange as he died. He said that he had passed his gift on to another, that he could not die so long as he had it.”

“His gift?”

“Yes...his gift of immortality. It seems that there are more of them, and that they were once mortal.” Eirddor shuddered, “If one of them managed to unite that many shadow races and wage war, I fear what others may do.”

“And this gift of immortality, who did he give it to?” Takius was staring intently at Eirddor now, orange eyes calculating.

“I do not know. I only know that it was not Julius or I. He did not offer it to me, and Julius refused that gift.” Eirrdor finished with the bandage and pulled Julius’ sleeve down, “I only hope that we do not run across another of their kind.”

“To kill the unkillable, only Julius could accomplish that.” Takius rolled his eyes towards the ceiling, “The first and only shadow mage to grace this world since its birth. Can anything stand in the way of his destiny?”

“I fear it may be his destiny to face those like the immortals.” Eirddor slipped the remaining bandages back into the box, snapping the lid securely closed. He cast a glance to Julius, “The boy has a sad fate written for him. Him and his family have a long journey ahead.”

Takius folded his hands behind his head and sighed, “If his family still lives.”

Eirddor shot him a furious glance, then turned his attention back to Julius. He shook his head, tears welling in his eyes, “You may be right about that.”
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Postby clknaps » Sat Jan 20, 2007 8:28 am

I liked it, it was a bit hard to follow at first, since I felt like I'd been "dropped" into the middle of the story, but it flowed well once I gave it a chance.
I was a little confused about what a "seep" was, some background info or a definition for the reader would be helpful.
Just a few suggestions in your writing style:



The drifting tendrils of shadow bent towards him.
Toward


“Julius...what have you done to me?” Clawed hands covered Takius’ face. How about, His clawed hands covered his face, or He covered his face with his newly clawed hands.


The sobbing behind him quieted. Slowly Narleth turned, looking at the demon that was now rising. His grin faded as he glanced back over his shoulder at the collapsed Julius (when did Julius collapse?) before he turned his full attention to the other demon, “What do you want abomination?”

“A new guardian can be made,” Takius took a step forwards, his clawed hand pulling back.


The albino centaur pawed the ground nervously. The colt meant much to him, more than anyone else but Meadowlark had. If he lost that (do you mean him here?), after everything else...


“There is no time. Julius is in pain.” Takius knelt down by the prone (not sure why you chose the word prone here) boy, pulling a tattered blanket over him, “Surely, there is something you can do for him.”


An interesting read, thank you for posting. CLK
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Postby Xyster » Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:35 pm

To clarify, a seep is an outlet for purely evil, shadow like magic that is seeping straight through the earth's crust. It's pretty much supposed to contaminate everything that it touches and mutate it. Only certain mages can work with power like that.

And thank you for the read, it's been up for a while.

The reason this feels like you've been dropped in is it is the second in a trilogy of novels I'm working on. >.<
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Postby Bmat » Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:36 pm

demon the crouched

otherwise unclothed chest. "otherwise is not needed"

goat like hooves. should be goat-like

would forbade
would forbid would be correct

stone statue with crimson orbs, I am thinkng that his orbs are crimson and not the orbs of the statue?

friends soul should be possessive

people that had shown probably should be "who had shown"

“I am ready Narleth. comma before Narleth, there are several places in the story where the comma before an addressed person was omitted.

and drag it. not needed, IMO

he was red in the face cliche


The ones that had created should probably be "those who"

purpose different than all other awkward

throwing all of his weight backwards. The statue budged, sliding very slowly across the ground and towards the edge of the pit. If he threw all of his weight backwards while grasping the statue around the middle, the statue wouldn't slide forward, it would tilt.

he twisted, pushing the statue First he throws his weight backwards to move the statue, now he is pushing and twisting. Perhaps he should be pushing and twisting from the start instead of throwing his weight and then walking around behind the statue and pushing.

Julius screamed He screamed? I can see that he would scream if he accidentally followed the statue into the pit, but from a near fall I would have said that he yelped.

Clawed hands covered Takius’ face. - I agree with CLK, at first it seems that some other creature has put its clawed hands over his face.

forgotten Ravenwing.” question mark needed

leapt up, seeping over the edge of the pit and Since you are using "seep" in the story with a specific meaning, do you want it here?

will again serve no master.” Kind of awkward, so perhaps it should be I will never again serve a master."

I skimmed after this, it is a rather long excerpt to critique. It is a bit slow considering what happens. I don't know if you could cut it back a little. I can't think of anything that could be left out.

In general, however, the description of events is clear. The imagery is good. The human seems pretty naive, but perhaps that is brought out in the rest of the story. The concept is interesting, too. I am glad that I read it, and I am interested what happens next.
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Postby Xyster » Sat Jan 20, 2007 3:20 pm

Thanks again for reading and proofing. I'm still working on it..but having someone else read it really helps point out things that I missed. I'll get on making the gramatical corrections and look at the other stuff. Thanks again.
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Postby clknaps » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:30 am

Xyster wrote:Thanks again for reading and proofing. I'm still working on it..but having someone else read it really helps point out things that I missed. I'll get on making the gramatical corrections and look at the other stuff. Thanks again.


Well I definitely enjoyed it, please give us more when you're ready. Thanks, CLK
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