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> Reunion, being the eight entry
Alexander
post Mar 23 2008, 11:45 PM
Post #1


Wizard
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Joined: 8-February 05
From: Sorcerers Isle



Icy rain fell into the chapel of Akatosh. Six months had passed and still its steeple lay in shattered ruins, I shook my head sadly. Its tall windows were torn, the shards of red glass all to reminiscent of demonic teeth. Its high walls were stained with mould, soot and worse. I knelt before the altar, more though habit than faith. Six months had passed since I last prayed.

I raised my hands and closed my eyes but under their dark lids I saw only terror. In the winds’ chill wail I still heard the ghosts of screams, the susurration of flames, the howls of fell creatures. Though it all loomed the image of the fiery gate, the one which haunted my every moment. The portal which had taken me far beyond the sight and knowledge of the gods I knew.

I stifled a shudder. How much did they know of what had happened in there? Of what I did, or rather didn’t, do? Could they accept that I had not choice, can I? I shook the thought away, a thousand times every day I relived the guilt until my own self-hatred threatened to consume me. I stared at nothing for a time until a noise roused me.

The chapel door groaned open. I shrank back from the unfamiliar sound. Someone entered and I craned to look. The foreign sight of another man made me conscious of how I must seem. My straggly beard and unkempt hair lay wildly full of muck. My near skeletal body peaked though a hundred tears in a dusty robe. A part of me knew this, knew my eyes must be sunken from lack of sleep and endless nightmares, but I could not picture it. The man advanced.

He stepped into a pool of light and stopped. I stood. Each of us was arrested by the appearance of the other. I felt that I looked into some strange mirror. Undressed wounds wept puss onto his grimy skin and soaked his shirt. Like myself he hunched but when our eyes met I saw the difference, a maniacal fire burned within him and shone though his clear eyes. His split lips curled into a grin revealing festering black teeth. He advanced upon me.

“Forgive me father for I have sinned,” he said, a droplet of bloodied saliva ran down the corner of his grin.

I recoiled, when had I last seen another human? “The gods can forgive.” I said to him, just as I did to myself a thousand times every day.

“Which gods? I have seen many. As have you. You were not the only one to escape the burning gate.” My stomach twisted, I stamped out the spark of recognition before it flared. Impossible. Few made it out and still less survived the next week. He must have seen something in my reaction for he continued his voice rising to a screech, “You know what I speak of, yet you understand so little. You saw the great towers and spires. The wells of hot blood, the molten rock and the fires and smoke and brimstone.”

He stopped, and gasped. When he spoke again he was calmer. “They took me. Took me inside the tower. The tower…” he broke of into a fit of shivering.

I felt the same cold creep over me. I think I had known the truth since he entered, maybe even before that. Still I did not want to believe it. I knew him. I abandoned him. “I have been in that tower,” I said, the words came almost unbidden, “I met someone there.” I knew I should be relieved that he lived but I felt terror and abhorrence.

“Yes, you did. A man possessed by fear and loyalty.” He let the memory hang.

I could not apologise, I had done the right thing and no apology could redeem my sin. I felt no sorrow. Rather I wanted to smash his face in. He was responsible for the nightmares, the despised part of my mind which whispered day and night. Traitor. I left him to torture and death. And he made me do it. Realisation dawned slowly: the man I had abandoned had destroyed me, and I hated him.

“You told me to leave you.” I said it as an accusation.

“The gate needed closing.” A challenge. For a while we just stared, the storm outside the only sound, “He let me go.”

“Why,” the word escaped before I could stop it.

“He knew it would hurt me more, rather than a clean end with death I am consumed by my own hatred. Little remains of the man you left in that cell. But as I hunted you I came to realise what he had done.”

I held the next question silent.

He answered it anyway, “Tell me, when did you last pray?”

“I pray every day. What else did you leave me?”

“Liar. I do not believe you can pray any more than I can, it killed most of the survivors did it not?”

It was true. For all the hours I bowed my head I knew my desperate pleas went unheard, when I could even make them. I met his eyes and saw triumph there.

“You see?” I looked at him and he frowned, “Or maybe you don’t. I saw and understood. He took us and each destroyed the other. You pray to the wrong gods.”

I hated him, and now I understood. Freed from the fetters of guilt I allowed my hatred to burn in its divine glory. I embraced it. Circumstance had forced me into abandoning a friend. The prince of destruction had planned my ruin. Forced me into a deed I could never forgive, and so neither could my gods. He had claimed me.

As a broad smile brakes on my mouth I see Menian leer back, “So you see dear Ilend? You can’t tell heaven from hell.”

He is already raising his fists as I welcome a new master and launch myself at his throat, finally free.


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All that is needed for evil to triumph, is that good men stand idle.
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Alexander
post Mar 23 2008, 11:46 PM
Post #2


Wizard
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Joined: 8-February 05
From: Sorcerers Isle



this will be reopened in 15 minutes at the end of the deadline.




Please remember, don't post as yourself but login to the guest or guest2 account, password = chorrol


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All that is needed for evil to triumph, is that good men stand idle.
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post Mar 24 2008, 01:28 AM
Post #3


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Joined: 23-March 08



I'm thinking that, aside from my own tale (an author can't possibly throw his own work under the bus) this is my favorite piece. (This thought could change in like 15 seconds though). The psychological residue from the daedric invasion would most assuredly have been heavy, and this piece reflects that well.
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post Mar 24 2008, 02:28 AM
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Joined: 23-March 08



This piece certainly adds a bit of human feeling to the game. I like it.
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post Mar 24 2008, 03:26 AM
Post #5


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Joined: 23-March 08



It's called sarcasm, and it's a good instrument for spotting flaws. Seriously, if something can take the sarcasm test and get through alive, then it has a chance of being good.

Plot: The plot has been stated, briefly, above... Ilend abandoned his friend in Oblivion for the sake of his own survival, and has been feeling very guilty about it. "I shook the thought away, a thousand times every day I relived the guilt until my own self-hatred threatened to consume me." There, that's a LOT of guilt. But then his friend, Menian, who has been spared for some unmentioned reason, returns, and he isn't even upset with Ilend. But then Ilend goes crazy and kills Menian. He decides to hate someone who's lucky to be alive, when before he felt so humble and guilty. It's like the author really wanted to have a plot twist at the end, and abandoned a bit of sense for it to be possible.

Characters: Menian's lines, few as they are, are nice. "Tell me, when did you last pray?". Tortured as they are, though, the characters are one-dimensional. Instead of hugging each other, they decide to be dramatic and start having a philosophical conversation, just so one of them can kill the other one for no reason.

Language: The language used is good and varied. Its strongest point. Too bad the words always have straight meanings, and there aren't metaphors.

Depth: It doesn't have an underlying message, other than the fact that... sometimes you kill the people you've wronged? Err.

Overall, despite these flaws, I'd say it's one of the good ones.

This post has been edited by guest: Mar 24 2008, 03:28 AM
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post Mar 24 2008, 04:54 AM
Post #6


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Joined: 23-March 08



Critical readings are appreciated, but do remember the limitations of the short form.

That said, yes, having the characters attempt to kill one another at the end (I read the enmity to be mutual) could possibly be a stretch. We are forced to read a lot between the lines. That said, if Mehrunes Dagon has essentially upended your whole value system (more or less what appears here), you might be capable of some unpleasant things. Dagon put both men into untenable positions, and ensured their survival so that they could stew over it and suffer. The end result may be a leap, but the author writes well enough so that I can make that leap.
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post Mar 24 2008, 06:47 PM
Post #7


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Joined: 23-March 08



I liked this a great deal. Lots of emotion, things unsaid are sometimes more powerful than those that are spoken.

I liked the description because it was tight, it didn't lay it on too thick, it did as much as it needed to. I liked the setting, the ruin reflects the mood and situation of the two people who meet again. It tells the reader that a great deal has happened before this meeting and it is that which makes the situation full of emotion.

The ending comes just at the right point, when the protagonist is released and can now act. He has lost everything else, and in his own mind is already damned. This act against his mental tormentor is his only redemption, the only thing left that he can do. There are consequences for our actions, and this story demonstrates that.

There are just a few things I think let the story down:

“Undressed wounds” – I would have put 'raw wounds'

“A part of me knew this, knew my eyes must be sunken from lack of sleep and endless nightmares, but I could not picture it.” You have just pictured it! But because its a nice description, I'll let it go.

To sum up, great tension, emotion and characterisation. In my opinion the best entry. 1st place for me.
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post Mar 24 2008, 07:05 PM
Post #8


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Good story, if not even great. "Dudes" both have agony, springing from different sides":

"I saw and understood. He took us and each destroyed the other. You pray to the wrong gods.”

In the end, Luke embraces the Dark Side. He and Vader destroy each other in joyous triumph of obligatory violence - I presume it's obligatory, since I've read all the stories in here and there isn't a single one without it... must say a lot about average fan-fiction writer's mind, eh?
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post Mar 24 2008, 07:10 PM
Post #9


Evoker

Joined: 23-March 08



Remember V'vehk's words:

"Reach heaven by violence."

Nobody plays nice in the Arena.

That said, I might write myself up a weepy TES love saga some time. 'Course, it'll still be violent (probably), but them's the breaks.

This post has been edited by guest: Mar 24 2008, 07:21 PM
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post Mar 25 2008, 12:18 AM
Post #10


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In the span of 2000 or less words, this author has managed to create two vivid characters in my opinion. Personally, I think there either has to be some twist to a short story to be good or it must show an excellent example of characterization. This story fill in the latter as the personal thoughts of the guilt ridden character were beautifully described.

Absolutely solid story.
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