Author Topic: Writing Critique  (Read 4678 times)

Leebot

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Writing Critique
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2004, 12:35:18 pm »
Trust me on this one. You're using "he/him" as an object in this case, and the object form is "him." The fact that it's a compound object is irrelevent.

V_Translanka

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Writing Critique
« Reply #46 on: November 04, 2004, 07:45:25 pm »
Yeah, I'm pretty sure Leebot is right...Getting rid of the muck inbetween, you'd say "it's hard to tell him" not he...or wait, was 'he' the original pronoun? Or was something else used? I agree with 'him'...whatever....

Leebot

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« Reply #47 on: November 09, 2004, 10:42:32 am »
V_Translanka:

Fixed punctuation errors
Fixed tense errors (try to avoid present tense)
Miscellaneous fixes

Quote from: Linguo
Chapter 26: The Stink of the Particulars

“Get yer ass in gear, Deschain!” The large, bloated man bellowed. The man wore a pair of ripped, brown coveralls--pale, blubbery gut exposed--and a matching cap with a strange logo on it: a gorilla carrying a wooden box. A mist of sweat glistened on the thick, hairy arms protruding from his rolled-up sleeves even though the fat man had yet to lift more than his voice. “Those damn crates aren’t gunna move themselves!”

   The crates in question were four-foot squares, standing just above the fat man’s chest. No luck in the world could help him carry any of the damn crates on his own. Hunter Deschain was working on hauling the crates from the side of a wagon to the inside of the large storeroom, where they would be opened, counted, and stocked either later in the day or some time during the following day. That part of it wasn’t his concern. He didn’t even care what was in the damn crates. A couple of solidly built humans were working alongside him at half the pace; it took both of them to move a single box, where he could move one box easily. But, perhaps as to not cause friction between the humans and himself, he decided to slow his pace down a bit.

This resulted in the yelling by the boss-man, Gastro Hagen, a small, fat man and all-around hard ass. Hunter quickened his step again, sickened with himself for taking a job under Gastro “The Gasser” Hagen. The nickname was, unfortunately, not one of those ironic ones that means the exact opposite (as Hunter once knew this guy with a repulsive, hairy mole and a mountain range of puss-caked volcano zits everyone called “Ladies’ Man”); Gastro was simply a disgusting, fat bastard who would let one off, loud and proud, and with putrid fragrance, even in a church.

Hunter felt along the lines of wishing he were dead. As if the work weren’t degrading enough, he had to put up with Mister-Bullshit-Stank-Ass-Hagen. His last four jobs had to do with lifting, hauling, proletariat manual-labor. He could take it, sure, no problem there, but it’s not what he was meant for. He was a trained ass-kicking, monster-killing, treasure-hunting, alcohol-drinking, woman-fucking machine for Guardia’s sake! He should be out there assassinating something, or tracking something down, or finding someone’s lost something-or-other. Those things he was really good at, and he had fun doing those things.

But he had hope! Yes! He remembered that he had taken down a flyer and stuffed it into his back pocket. It said:

"$$ Need Help For Hyre $$$
Some One to Fynd a Theef!
Cum to Winston Street at the Straubs’
For Particulars"

Yes, he had found it quite hilarious at first seeing the scrawled letters of the message. How did they manage ‘particulars’? he'd thought and stuffed it into his back pocket. If it had been later in the day, and his drink was on, he probably would have laughed, quite a bit more sophomorically, at their spelling ‘cum’.

Hunter Deschain was a demi-human by birth (there were few other kinds really); luckily for him, he had been born in an age of gathering acceptance for Mystics & those crazy in-between demi-humans. No one went out of their way to welcome him into their homes or anything, but it really wasn’t that kind of world even for humans. So, he understood that going into a mainly human town or neighborhood, he’d likely get some stares (probably not much name-calling, but he’d heard a fair share in his time, especially being the proficient barfly that he is). He was a tall, furry man with claws and fangs, he got that, he can be intimidating pretty easily (hell, even without trying sometimes), and he got that too. Part of him was still just a kid sometimes, trying to have as much fun as possible and letting go of (if not breaking through) as many barriers (racial or otherwise) in his way as he can.

Even with his mostly positive outlook on life, hard times had hit. More than others...? Possibly, but it’s not like he’d been counting, nor did he really wish to think back on any of those times in his life when living wasn’t so easy. Things had gotten better and that’s what mattered to him. It wasn’t an easy ride, and it certainly wasn't over, but he was definitely flying high right then and there, even under that gaseous ball of slime yelling orders.

The one good thing about the hauling job for Gorilla Grunt-Work (The Gasser’s absurd delivery & hauling company) was that it provided its workers with a shower afterwards if they wanted. Having a light coating of fur (brown stripes on yellow) covering most of his body, Hunter leapt at the opportunity to wash off the filth of the morning’s work. It had been a cool, overcast morning, but if one combined that with the exertion--and monotony--of dragging boxes back and forth under the rays of the sun, Hunter became a mess of disarrayed hair and stinky, grimy crooks and crannies.

He soon found out the bad thing; not only was the shower room a hodgepodge combination plastic drape and what looked to be a garden hose, there was no hot water either. In fact, all the water there was seemed to be sub-zero, as if the rest of the hose (it circled off unseen somewhere into the warehouse) was submerged in a bucket of ice. His hair and fur all pricked up on end and his tail spiked out as quickly as greased lightning.

After working past the ordeal of his bone-chilling clean-up, he began to get dressed and ready to leave that hell-hole which he dubbed Gorilla Hagen’s Fart-Work Factory. He put on his heavy-duty worker’s pants, his open-chest padded vest (both inlaid with mesh), and his open-fingered black gloves. He picked up his hatchet and stuck the handle’s wooden grip through the belt-loop on the left-hand side of his pants. The knife--which resembled a hand-made (and well crafted) buck knife--was waiting sheathed and tied around the opposing belt-loop. Then he squeezed out a few remaining drops of wetness from his long, wild blonde hair, combed his claws through it straight back a few times, and tied his tightly folded black bandanna around his forehead to keep the hair out of his eyes. Finally, he stomped his ankle-high boots on and brushed off a little of the caked-on grit from their well-worn sides.

After collecting his pay (a mediocre handful of Gold), Hunter was off to find the Straubs’, on Winston Street.


Truffles...!” The man shouted, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“Uh…Truffles...?” Hunter asked.

“Yeah, y’know, they’re, like, mushrooms.” The man settled back onto his wooden cane and eyed Hunter suspiciously. The old man didn’t care that he was a demi-human very much, but what bugged him was how gorshdarn young the whippersnapper looked. In truth, Hunter was just shy over twenty-four, but he could easily pass for eighteen or nineteen. Either way was possibly young enough for the man to think him green on many subjects, and now especially that of truffles.

“Yeah, I know what truffles are...”

“Shore yuh do. Then get to it demi-human!” The man said, “A thousand gold to ya if you find the rotten thief who stold my truffles!”

Whoa, a thousand gold? Hunter thought, but said only, “No problem Mr. Straub, I’ll get your thief.”

“Goodaya to do so...” The man-Mister Straub-said with his brow cranked down, “The remaining truffles are in the thicket of the forest to the east.”

On that note, Hunter Deschain left the smelly little-but well furnished-shack of a house that Mr. Straub, himself an old man at the ripe age of sixty-seven, shared with his decaying elderly mother, whose wandering glass eye gave Hunter the ever-loving-goddamn-fucking creeps.
 

Still shaking off the remaining vestige of old Madam Straub and her one, dull, milky, fixed eye and her other, wandering, reflective, glass eye, Hunter entered the drab forest he found that stretched east from one side of Straub’s field. It was a very peculiar forest; the air about it was nearer that of a swamp. It smelled of wet decay. Best place for mushrooms, I guess. Hunter thought. It seemed as though it was his day for bad smells. First ‘The Gasser’ and now this place, which smells about as bad as I imagine Gastro’s mattress does.

“Naw, I’m giving him way too much credit. This place is much more pleasant-smelling than anything Gastro’s touched with his ass.” Hunter said to himself. But damn if I wish I could shower after this job too! He thought.

“Are you talking to yourself again, Hunter?” A woman’s voice suddenly came from out of the-literal-woodwork followed by a brisk, forcibly feminine laugh.

Before he could see the voice’s owner he responded, “Oh no, no way in hell…You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me.”

Out stepped a vision of lustliness with an arm wrapped languidly around a spear. She stood atop the mossy trunk of a fallen tree.

“Long time no see, lover-boy.” The woman said to him.

“What are you talking about, Millster?” Hunter asked, knowing that that nickname was one of the only things he had that could irritate her, “I just saw you yesterday.”

The woman’s pleasant face turned to the littlest of scowls at the nickname (she was actually getting used to it, like it was his pet-name for her) before returning to that sly smile she had, “Oh, but every moment we spend apart is an eternity of agony!”

If it were anyone else, Hunter probably would have told them to quit playing around, but since it wasn’t just someone joking (as he so desperately wished) and he knew that it was only part of her kidding, rather than just part of her being dead-on serious to the core, he said, “You’re nuts.”

   The woman stuck her wet, cherry-colored tongue out at him in an oddly charming, childish way.

   “And how did you even find me, Amy?” He asked as he crossed his arms over his chest.

   “Easy, I saw you nab that want ad earlier this morn.” She said, “So I came out ahead of you; I personally can’t stand that nasty Gasser-Man, don’t know how you do it, and waited for a while.”

   “You’ve been waiting here this whole time? And you weren’t just out to get the thousand gold yourself?” Hunter asked with his bushy eyebrow raised.

   “A thousand gold...?” Amy almost dropped her spear and toppled over the side of the tree, which was over half her height. She saved herself at the last moment by jabbing the spike blade of the spear into the sodden earth for balance, and then she stepped down completely from the trunk of the tree, “That cully old...he told me it was six-fifty.”

   Hunter suppressed a hankering outburst of laughter; irritating her by calling her Millster (or sometimes even Millster the Molester behind her back on really vicious drunkard days), rather than Millian, her last name, was a far separate matter from outright laughing in her face. The girl was deadly accurate with most throwing weapons, from chakras and boomerangs to various ninja stars and darts. Hunter really feared that one day he would push her over the edge and she would excel from just throwing the random stick or one of her ball-bearings (she had a cannon for an arm and those little spheres of metal hurt like hell) to one of her knives.

   “Oh, when will the sexist elite finally fall?” She said aloud to no one.

   “Okay, you’ve been here longer than I have, so where are the damn things?”

   “The truffles...? I dunno...I’ve just been waiting for you, sweetie-pie.” She said; a set of modest dimples that had never faded through her teens shown on her face.

   “Oh, what the hell...?” He asked and then began to tromp through the muggy forest.


   The two of them had been going though the humid forest for twenty minutes, trying to find Straub’s priceless truffles to no avail. They'd come across two plants and had a quick argument about whether they were truffles or just some random plant. After one of the things opened its bulbous mouth and tried to take a bite out of them, they decided that it wasn’t a truffle at all. Amy hacked away at its stem by throwing a few stars at it, but afterward decided she didn’t want to risk retrieving them. The plant-thing was somehow more hideous when it was dead; it seemed to wheeze and some lime-green, sticky-looking fluid spewed from its mouth. Its companion made soft, mewing noises and lowered its bulb-like lips to the end of the stem in an oddly human-like expression of affection. They both left the scene quietly, wishing they hadn’t killed the thing after all.

   Amy Millian was the type of person who was always loaded for bore. She normally wore low-cut V neck crimson shirts, with dark red matching pants that tucked into her knee-high black leather boots. On top of all that was a near inexhaustible amount of weaponry. Two rings of throwing knives circled both of her upper legs with more tucked into the top of her boots. One boomerang was set at the side of each of her hips. An assortment of ninja stars adorned the forearm of her left elbow-length glove and her right held darts and smaller throwing blades. Her three special chakras were stacked behind her left shoulder, just under where her pack of goodies normally rested. Said pack typically held more of the same (extra knives, stars, darts and one or two boomerangs & chakras), smelting tools (used on various metals to help create her vast horde of disposable weaponry), various trinkets and prizes she had won via trade, as pay, accuracy contests (she won nearly every title there was for it), and, of course, through theft.

   It was a sad fact that Amy was forced into thievery. It was sadder that she normally did so in the dark of night, right under the noses of casual, one-night lovers. This, of course, ended up tainting an already dotty reputation; tales of her promiscuity with not only men, but various women, and her apparent demi-human fetish traveled the countryside with her (in some cases ahead of her!). She was a thief because she was a harlot and she was a harlot because she was a thief.

It was that odd catch-22 that prevented her from acquiring any steady kind of work, and that’s how she liked it for the most part. She was free from such locative restrictions in her profession. She was part of a select, dying group of individuals who fancied themselves “Adventurers”. Hunter, had he a bigger head--or perhaps simply a few swigs of whatever hometown moonshine was handy--would even go so far as to call himself an “Adventurer” without hesitation. In essence it was what they were on a regular basis, but Hunter was no fool--even when he wasn’t sober. He knew the rules of society, the etiquette, and the sheer propensity of all the norms; he just didn’t like them very much.

They were both very free-spirited; other words might be undisciplined, unruly and just plain wild. Even Amy had been called much worse things in her life, regardless of the fact that she was a full-blood human, not a demi-human, like Hunter. But none of these things bothered either of them. When the going got rough, the freaks got going. Such was their crazy carnival life. Take the ticket, ride the ride. That was a common credo among the passing “Adventurers”, the scallywags and swashbucklers, the gonzo freaks of nature doing the best they could to stay alive and to enjoy it at the same time; people who tested the waters by diving in headfirst and who crossed the line until it was no more than another invisible mark on the horizon. Another important doctrine: There are worse things in the world than dying.

That wasn’t to say that an “Adventurer” went haphazardly into the throngs of death, but that one proceeded, prepared for death, knowing that the world held oddities of heart and mind and body and soul that would pierce one so much more than the simplicity of that ever perplexing, complexity of death. For what was death but an end, whether to a new beginning or not? Life was a prolonged wait to that end and with it, suffering and pain, unless one was to actually live. That was the main philosophy of the “Adventurer”.


How the hell did I ever wind up here, of all places, doing this, of all things? Hunter thought as they continued. There he was, on some kind of mercenary mission, which very well may turn out to be no more than a fetch quest--he had experienced his own fair share of those--in a murky little forest on a dull little island in the middle of nowhere. The sun was more or less blotted out by the sweeping canopy of trees and billowing clouds in the west looked like future rain. And they continued, on and on as it were, “I don’t think we’ll ever find the damn things...”

“Hold it.” Amy replied, “I’ve been noticing some strange tracks.”

“Tracks...? I haven’t seen any...” And then Hunter saw them, sparse and in long, irregular intervals. He would have noticed them sooner had they been as pronounced as they were as he saw them then, but they weren’t, they were very faint to begin with, closer to the edge of the damp forest, “What the...what do you think they are?”

“Looks big...demi-human big...” She said, bending down to more carefully examine one of the prints in the mucky ground, “You see this space here at the front?” She pointed to a little V gap, “Looks like hooves. I figure there’s two of the bastards, some kind of pig demi-humans.”

“Two? Why two?” Hunter asked.

“Well, for one, there’s two distinct sets of tracks, one slightly ahead of the other. They’re big mothers too, bigger than you even.”

“Doesn’t that just beat all?” Hunter said his familiar line. He had long forgotten where he had heard it, only that it was another demi-human and he decided the saying applied to much of his own life as a demi-human.

“Live like pigs, die like pigs.” Amy said. Such little quips were about as poetic as she got, “We’ll make short work of ‘em.”

They began to work their way into the dankness of the trees and shrub. They never found out, until much later, when their attention would be focused elsewhere, that the truffles were far behind them; somewhere near the place Hunter had entered the forest.

Then they heard the first roar; it was like a cross between a dying man’s death-moan and a tyrannosaurus’ scream. It was close and as more of them came, they realized it was getting closer. It was coming from the direction the tracks led. They continued on, awkward, cautious, scared, at either edge of the path, with weapons drawn; Hunter had his hatchet in his left and his big knife in his right; Amy struck her spear into the earth and drew a fan of small throwing knives between her left fingers and another of stars betwixt her left. Hunter reversed his grip on his knife as another bellowing cry emerged from the forest, so close they could hear it coming more from the center of their heads than from their ears. Amy readied herself by crossing her arms in preparation for a throw.

“What...” Hunter started. He saw a single emerald leaf of one of the trees ahead of him drift down to the ground below. Trees trembled and shook and a great pounding vibration filled the forest. Shimmering blue and green birds squawked and flew outward, away from the approaching force. Mice swarmed around Hunter and Amy’s feet along with a few other small mammals: squirrels, rats, and even one startled fox. The pounding became a thunderous roar that was only outmatched by the frequent bursts of that dinosaur shriek. Hunter tightened and loosened his grip on his weapons, which were looking and feeling more and more obsolete by the minute. Amy’s fan of weapons shuddered, the blades making an uneasy twanging sound that made Hunter’s stomach tense and sickly.

A crash came from directly in front of them and a tree smashed down three feet to Hunter’s left. Then the monster finally entered their field of vision. It wasn’t, of course, two demi-humans, wasn’t any kind of demi-human. It rolled up like a locomotive, just as big and puffing some kind of gray smoke from the nostrils of its pig-snout. A deep, guttural sound could be heard coming from deep within and the giant boar’s breath came out in a great blow that threatened to blow Hunter off his feet. But that was far from the worst of it; that aspect was saved for the stench of it. The exhale, the odor of it, was as if it were decaying from the inside out. Its elephant-size tusks stuck out of the front of its face like spears. The boar’s bulging bloodshot eyes were each as big as Hunter’s head and they swirled and caught sight of him and the hulking thing turned towards Hunter.

“Ames?” Hunter said, his voice wavering slightly, “Little backup here maybe?” He looked over and saw Amy’s spear, still struck in the earth and now slightly wobbling as if she had bumped against it, but she was nowhere to be seen, “Well doesn’t that beat-”

Sparks of light came from out of the thicket of trees and hit the mutant boar. Amy’s small throwing knives did very little against the thick hide of the pig-thing. Three of the knives actually rebounded off of it and the two that managed to punch through its skin only managed an inch or two in and eventually popped out, leaving little, mocking beads of deep crimson blood at the puncture points. The boar barely noticed, didn’t even turn to the direction the knives came from. Instead, the boar bore down a steady, hateful gaze upon the thunderstruck Hunter, still standing there with his little toothpick blade held up and reverse-gripped. Then it stamped its front feet and scratched one of its rear legs back a few times in preparation for the charge.

More sparkling flashes of metal sprang forth from the forest. The ninja stars had better luck; they buzzed into the skin of the pig-thing’s rear leg, and it let out a wince of pain. More followed; digging and disappearing into the side and the softer underbelly, and one or two scraped and bounced off its skull. One of the head-shots sawed off most of the boar’s eyebrow, leaving a big flap hanging down into its bloodied red eye. It roared in outrage more than pain and turned to the side of the forest where the tiny pieces of metal were being thrown from. Hunter could just make Amy out on the larger branches of a nearby tree. She was getting more stars from her arm, regretting leaving behind not only her spear, Hunter saw, but also her reserve pack.

“Alright kiddo, it’s time to send you off to the meat-packing factory.” Hunter said, just under his breath, “This is my axe, Ex, and my blade, Calibur. Welcome to the killing zone.” Of course, such absurd outward banter was far more dramatic when he practiced in a drunken fog, but he still managed a few of these even at times when completely sober, to his own regret. He just couldn’t help himself; being an “Adventurer” means also being part kid in a way, “Here we go!”

Red light flared into his hatchet and the light trailed around the side of his body as well, making his outer edge seem to glow. The giant, mutie, boar, piggy-thingy was busy trying--and coming very close--to knocking down the tree Amy was in. The entire tree shook; Amy grabbed hold of the trunk and screamed in pain as the stars cut up her hand in several places. She threw those still in her hand down to the boar and quickly hopped to another tree.

“Get ready for...” Hunter paused for a second with the glowing hatchet cocked back in his left hand. Why am I telling it to get ready? It’s not like I actually want it to be ready for my attack...Then he shook his thoughts away and concentrated on his special technique, “Eat this you pig fuck!” Amazingly, the boar turned its head in his direction. Hunter stood there, legs planted, right hand, still clutching his knife, thrust in the thing’s direction, the fore and pinky fingers of the hand pointed at the monstrosity in the form of the evil eye, “Turbo Red Death Ex!”

The light coming from not only the axe’s blade, not even just the entirety of the axe itself, but actually appearing to surge from Hunter’s hand, emblazoned the small section of forest in a brilliant, red fury. No flames were visible, but waves of heat, undulating like the sea, enveloped the area of Hunter’s arm and his hatchet, making it difficult to look at without an overpowering flood of queasiness taking over your stomach. Then he threw the axe and it spun through the air like an electric saw, cutting through the stuffiness of the jungle-like forest; burning through it, singing it and creating a mixed taste to the entire area like stomach acid and melting plastic. It pierced the eye of the massive semi-truck of a freak pig and bucketfuls of milky white fluid ran down its face. The hilt stuck out of the wound like a mock kabob.

The boar reared up on its hind legs and its hooves came down on the earth in a shattering crash, accented by the hurt and angry screech of the mammoth animal. It shook the ground and the trees, making Hunter stumble. Amy rained down the few remaining stars along with numerous curses about her cut hand. One of them--the stars, not the curses--ricocheted off of another that was lodged into the boar’s skull, causing it to sink deeper, piercing the bone and sending an alarming shock through the monster via its brain. It squealed out a vicious noise unlike either of them had ever heard from any sort of animal, turned and dashed off the way it had come, occasionally bashing into a tree blocking its way, but always maintaining its path.


After a brief moment, Amy slid down the trunk of a tree, holding her injured hand close and cursing a bit more.

“How is it?” Hunter asked in a rare show of concern, indicating her hand.

“It’s okay, I guess.” Amy said, obviously suppressing some stored-up rage as she sifted through her pack and procured a lengthy swathe of black cloth that she wrapped tightly around her hand like a layer of boxer’s tape. She bit off the end and jammed the remaining piece back into her bag. It had been her right, dominant, hand and she cursed the pig again for the trouble it caused her as she plucked the spear from the ground and hunted for any stray blades or stars she could find.

“What are you doing? We’ve gotta go after that thing.” Hunter said.

“Oh, c’mon Hunter...” She said in a lecturing voice, “With the way that thing was stumbling and bleeding out of here? It’d be a miracle if we couldn’t find its trail five hours from now. Plus, these things don’t just grow on trees, ya know?” Amy said as she picked up on of her small throwing knives and shook it in Hunter’s direction.

After five minutes of waiting on her, Hunter made to go on without her. In truth he wouldn’t have for several reasons: he didn’t think he could handle the beast alone, especially now down to just his knife; her weapons seemed to do pretty well against it; and because he just didn’t want to leave here out there alone. Finally Amy decided she’d never get them all and rushed to catch up with him.

“Oh yeah, before I forget...” She started after they had walked through the path of the boar for a couple minutes. Hunter turned his head to her, giving his best ‘what now?’ expression, “What was with that technique? Turbo Death Ex, was it? Is that the newest incarnation?”

“Turbo Red Death Ex...” Hunter corrected, sullen with the pretentious quality his voice took on, “And yes, it is...I just haven’t figured out the right name for the damn thing.”

“How many names have you gone through now? Easily a dozen, right?”

“Oh please, don’t be so dramatic Amy.” He quickly tacked them all off on his fingers as they went on, “There was the first, Raging Fury Strike, which I later found was the name of someone else’s technique. Then I changed it to Fiery Death Launch. After that I named it The Flaming Axe, which actually turned out to be some obscure pub over somewhere in Zenan. Then it was Flame Toss, Hell’s Fury, and Fire Zone which turned out to be techniques of a girl, a miniature little monster-thing, and some little known triple technique respectively. Then it went through Red Death, Turbo Red Ex, and Fire Axe Destruct-O. Yeah, there, you see, including the new one, Turbo Red Death Ex, that’s only ten.”

“Oh yes, how completely insulting my suggestion of a dozen was...I apologize.” Amy said, nodding her head in teasing agreement of her statement. Hunter gave her a disdainful look.

They came into a thicker section of forest and the ground became rockier, the air somewhat more pleasant, crisper, “What’s that over there?” Hunter asked, pointing to a large piling of rocky terrain. As they got closer, they noticed it was a large hole leading downward into the earth.

“Looks big enough to fit our little piggy,” Amy said and they slid down the curved slope that led down into the depths. Hunter raised his knife and focused until it glowed red and provided a little light on the walls of the cavern. It was an odd place, like an ancient, buried hall. A blood-streak trailed off into the darkness. The damp, dankness of the place was very different from the topside; it was like a grimy old basement. ...Or a coffin. Amy thought with a shudder.

“My god, it smells like piss-shit-ass-fart in here.” Hunter said, holding onto his nose, “I mean, holy-hell, does it just come here to take tremendous craps or something?”

“That’s probably one way to put it.” Amy pointed to a rather large lump of dark matter off to a corner, “But now it’s come here to die...and that probably will make it smell even worse.”

“Yeah, really...” Hunter started, looking around: left and right and up and down, “Whoa...Wh-what’s this?”

Hunter was looking at an odd arrangement of symbols on a large slab of wall off to their right. The strangeness of them was startling. One couldn’t see the whole thing in one glance and when one's eyes went back to a place one had just been looking at, it seemed somehow different. It had a scatterbrain effect.

“Weird...” Amy said after turning away and shaking off a dizzy-spell, “What do you think it means?”

“I-I don’t know.” Hunter said truthfully, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

It was a warning.

Leebot

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Writing Critique
« Reply #48 on: November 17, 2004, 12:00:11 am »
Symmetry:

Mostly minor grammatical points, here.

Quote from: Linguo
Scene 30 - Another Unexpected Meeting.[/b]


Sessimine enjoyed making life difficult for her students. The way she saw it, an enchantress had to be as mentally resilient to stress as possible; to successfully control the minds of others, one first had to be in control of her own mind. Of course, there was a nasty paradox to be found in this philosophy, one the instructor was quite aware of. As an enchantress became increasingly proficient with her charms, she would eventually reach a point where she began to lose control over them. It was a well-kept secret within the higher echelons of the field that incredibly talented students of the art actually had to work harder at charm suppression than they did at manipulation; only a select few – a group of enchantresses with greater power than Sessimine’s – ever regained full control over themselves.

At the moment, the instructor was amusing herself by closely observing a student who still had a considerable amount of an exam to complete with only a few minutes left on the clock. Without making physical contact with the student, there was little Sessimine could have done to be more obnoxious; at the moment, she was lying on the table where the student was working, one hand pressed firmly against her cheek, the other rapidly tapping the desk. Her gaze was fixated not on the student’s exam, but rather on the learner’s eyes; ever so often, their eyes would meet, but Sessimine won the stare-down every time. Needless to say, the student was somewhat relieved when the bell marking the end of the period finally rang.

“What a shame! Looks as if you didn’t manage to complete the exam on time.” Reaching for the paper on which the young woman was still writing, Sessimine plucked it from the student and began grading it on the spot. “Oh no! This is not good at all! Why, you barely managed to complete half the test!”

The student turned around to see how many others shared her fate; two other young men sitting toward the back remained in the classroom, both still staring mindlessly at the Provostia - completely enamoured - neither realizing that the bell had rung moments earlier.

“Let’s see… Well, you got the question about shading right; unfortunately you missed virtually all of the questions relating to Kobayashi’s Principle. Of course, given that you barely answered half of the material, there’s no way you can earn a passing mark, is there?”

“Apparently not.” The student looked back at the two men once more. “Are you planning on letting those two go?”

Sessimine continued to look over the test. “Not really. Unless they’re particularly handsome – no, unless they’re beautiful, I don’t care for men attending my school. They’re almost always subpar students, so I have little regret in speeding along their acquisition of failing marks; besides, the school of summoning has long practiced similar discriminatory methods of weeding out women from their ranks. I might keep them around for demonstration purposes, but don’t expect to see either of them make anything of themselves – except fools.”

The student snickered, attracting the instructor’s scrutiny once more.

“Well, any last requests for mercy? Rumour has it that I’m more than willing to let students perform chores and maid service for awhile in exchange for a passing grade. You never know… You just might end up passing this exam after all – in exchange for a day’s worth of servitude, of course!”

“I’ll fail and save my dignity, thank you very much.”

Sessimine grinned from ear to ear. “Excellent! Excellent, excellent, excellent! I was hoping you’d hold out! Never let anyone rob you of your pride! No respectable enchantress would ever demean herself by groveling for the mercy of another – save royalty, of course.”

The student was somewhat taken back by the Provostia’s outburst. “I was being tested this whole time, wasn’t I?”

“I was clouding your thoughts from the very moment you walked in the room two hours ago! You seemed unwaveringly confident; I couldn’t let such heart go unchecked. I must admit however, for awhile I thought you weren’t going to pull through! Now hurry along and enjoy your weekend. I must attend to my daily routine of holding office hours.” Giving her star student a quick hug as she exited, Sessimine collected her things and was about to turn off the classroom lights when she realized the two young men were still staring fixatedly at her. With a smirk on her face, the instructor tossed the pile of books she was holding into the air and clapped her hands twice, dimming the lights and employing the students’ aid in a single motion.

I knew there was a reason I chose this field all those years ago! Tickled with herself, the enchantress walked out of the room and closed the door behind her, leaving the two students to collect her belongings in the dark.

~~~***~~~

My oh my, am I tired! I hope no one’s waiting outside my door for tutoring. Hopefully they’ll be busy enjoying their weekend already. Surely no one from my introductory class will be there due to the test, but that obnoxious child from Theory of Illusion always shows up when I least want to see her… I swear, if she does, I’m find something for her to clean! Today is not the day to stress Sessimine any further! The enchantress held her breath as she turned the final corner leading to her office; thankfully, the usual cluster of students waiting outside was pleasantly absent.

Fabulous! If I’m lucky, I just might be able to catch up on my sleep… This is going to be such a busy weekend; the ball tomorrow evening complicated my rather uneventful schedule quite nicely. They really should announce these sort of things further in advance! Why, I was looking forward to sleeping this weekend away in my bed at Enhasa… Sessimine continued to play the role of a drama queen as she entered her office and shut the door behind her, failing to realize the presence of the visitor waiting behind her desk even as she sat in his lap.

…And honestly! I didn’t even have the time to purchase a new dress! How terrible! I’m sure I could find something I haven’t worn before in my wardrobe, but still… Had I known ahead of time about this little social event, I could have had something new woven for me! Why, I could have been the talk of the town given ample time to prepare myself! Of course, that’s why they never tell me until the last minute… It’s that no-good Chihari’s doing! She always wants to be the star of the show and she’s the one who arranges… Her train of thought suddenly coming to a halt, Sessimine picked up one of the books lying on her desk. Strange… I don’t remember leaving my diary out like this for all to see; in fact, I specifically remember placing in back in my desk when I finished writing in it just before class… And dear me, this chair is incredibly uncomfortable! I don’t ever remember it being so… well, unaccommodating! Before the enchantress had the chance to turn around and discover the source of her confusion, the visitor finally made his presence known by means of a reserved cough. Startled, Sessimine jumped out of her seat and onto her desk.

“Prince Aias! Oh my! I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t even realize you were here!”

The prince rubbed his temples. “No, no. I was so busy reading through some of your books here that I didn’t notice you enter. The clicking of your heels caught my attention just as you approached the desk, but before I could say something I suddenly felt a strange aura come over me. My thoughts scattered and my mind went completely blank… I’m assuming you had something to do with this, but what exactly happened, I’m not quite sure.”

Sessimine took a few more deep breaths, her hand resting over her heart. “Okay. I think I can pull myself together now. Forgive me, Prince Aias, I seem to have let my mind wander. I’m becoming a regular Madame Idane!”

Aias arched a brow. “What do you mean?”

“Well, we enchantresses manipulate the minds of others with our own, right?”

“That’s my understanding.”

“Yes, well, this becomes so second-nature to us that we often fail to realize that we’re doing anything out of the ordinary. Occasionally, an enchantress will start daydreaming or get lost in her own thoughts and start imposing her feelings upon those around her. There was a famous enchantress ages ago by the name of Masumi Idane who was notoriously bad for her absent-mindedness. She was a brilliant woman and made a number of notable contributions to the field, but her daydreaming became so frequent that she had to resign her position as Provostia of the school of enchantment. Anyway, I must have transposed my own state of mind onto you without realizing it.” Sessimine giggled to herself and stood up momentarily to adjust her dress before sitting back down upon her desk. “You’ll have to forgive me for saying this, but you make for a terrible cushion! Now what exactly where you doing in my office, anyway?”

Aias grinned. “Waiting for you to come back?”

“A charming response.” The enchantress glanced down at the diary on her desk. “I see you were also making good use of your time by reading through my personal thoughts. Even though I suppose they’re yours to read through as you please, being the prince and all, I’d appreciate it if you’d refrain from such invasions of my privacy.”

“My apologies. If it provides any consolation, rest assured that I would never violate your privacy without good reason.”

“Oh really? And might I ask what your good reason is?”

The prince stood to his feet and began pacing about the room; for the first time, Sessimine realized exactly why Aias had been talked badly about behind his back. The heir to the throne, besides lacking arcane talent, was not a physically imposing man, either; in fact, with her clogs on, the enchantress was nearly as tall as he was. At face value, there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the man, save his royal birth. Still, there was something about Aias – something she couldn’t put her finger on – that just wasn’t right; being the woman of curiosity she was, Sessimine had to find out just what this was.

“Well? Have you nothing to say?”

Aias stopped in front of a life-sized statue of Montlasalle. “Do you really think you’ll be reborn a goddess when you die?”

“Of course I will! My dearest told me so. Its not that hard to believe, is it? I won’t be the only one, either – I just happen to be Montlasalle’s favourite. Now are you going to answer my question or not?”

“Very well. If I’m going to be sharing my dreams with someone, I want to make sure she’s trustworthy. My visions are very personal and I do not desire them to be public knowledge.”

Sessimine extended her hand and examined her nails, her back still facing the prince. “Fair enough. So, have I earned your confidence?”

Claado Shou

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« Reply #49 on: November 17, 2004, 10:57:54 am »
This isn't a grammatical or spelling issue, but in Aitrus' last post, Prince Aias says that Sessimine is out of the public view and won't be suspected.  Yet...he asks her to the ball.  Wouldn't that sort of put her into the public view, thus making her suspicious?  Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't seem to fit, that's all...

Leebot

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« Reply #50 on: November 17, 2004, 11:58:36 am »
Claado:

In your second-to-last paragraph, "faield" -> "failed."

Symmetry

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« Reply #51 on: November 17, 2004, 11:17:40 pm »
Quote from: Claado Shou
This isn't a grammatical or spelling issue, but in Aitrus' last post, Prince Aias says that Sessimine is out of the public view and won't be suspected.  Yet...he asks her to the ball.  Wouldn't that sort of put her into the public view, thus making her suspicious?  Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't seem to fit, that's all...


As a head of a arcane university, she certainly would be "in public view". I think what Aitrus was trying to say was that she wasn't a royal. Next time I see him on AIM, I'll run this by him.

Aitrus

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« Reply #52 on: November 17, 2004, 11:26:28 pm »
Honestly, I've forgotten what I was trying to do with that.  It made sense at the time  :oops: .  Anyway, I've edited it to give a slightly different reason to trust her.