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> Maya, the memoirs of a Dunmer amnesiac
Linara
post Oct 10 2010, 03:08 AM
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Joined: 25-September 10
From: Bruma, in a book.



Just giving this writing thing a try, anybody who reads, tell me what you think!
Nell

Chapter One-Part One
In which a Dunmer girl awakes in a cell, and is very confused.

I awoke with a splitting headache. I was cold, lying on a hard bench, in a dank room. I did not stir, experience told me it was wiser to stay still. I lay, shivering now and then, for a while. Minutes passed, then a question floated by in my head. Who was I? I pondered this lazily, and then shock hit me. I had no idea. The questions now came hard and fast: What was I? Where was I? Was this a prison? Am I a criminal?

I shifted my head the slightest bit, and looked at my arm lying on the bench. It was a dark blue, pale as the skin went higher. My hand was small and limp, and an iron shackle encircled my wrist. I felt a bolt of fear, of vulnerability. I was defenseless, and alone. I was unnamed.

For hours I kept my eyes shut, not moving, numb to all but my headache and the pressing loneliness. Several times I drifted off into oblivion, only to hear some phantom noise and start awake. Finally I felt enough was enough. I sat up, wincing as the world spun around me, and waited until the dizziness and pain in my head quieted to a dull growl.

As I peered around my cell- for what else could it be? - I heard a crooning voice.

“I must surely be dead, and in the halls of Azura to look upon such a vision. You are so beautiful, my dear Dunmer maiden...”

I craned my head, trying to make out the voices carrier. The speaker seemed to be like me, a- what had the person said? A Dunmer…- with skin much darker and greyer then mine. The figure was unmistakably male.

The Dunmer continued speaking, and I shuddered as I heard his words.

“ One of the guards owes me a favor, you know. I could get us put in the same cell. Would you like that? You should have some fun before the end. “

What end was he speaking of? Would the authorities of this place kill me for a crime that I could not remember committing?

The Dunmer’s voice grew louder and shriller, echoing in my aching head.

“Yeah, you heard me. No matter what the law says. No matter what they told you. You're going to die in here! You're going to die!”

I shivered again, and pressed myself against the wall, trying to get out of the madman’s sight. I realized that no guard lingered below to keep the prisoners in their cells, that if this Dunmer wished to do so, he could croon these foul things at me all night. My horrible predicament just became worse.

In that moment, I heard a clang of metal, and creaking. Was someone coming? Torchlight flickered against the walls and shadows rose up. Shadows of men.

The Dunmer across from me cackled, muttering something about how I would die now. As the people came into view, four of them, one thrust his elbow into the Dunmer’s cell and hit him squarely in the face.

“Shut up Dreth,” he muttered. “This will be hard enough without your insanity.”

I moved in front of the door, hoping to plead my case, and perhaps they would let me go. Instead, all four stopped the door of my cell, and one man took out keys. I realized that one of the people was a woman, in armor and with a helm on her head when she shouted; “What is this prisoner doing here? This cell was supposed to be off limits!”

One of the men, also in armor, stammered, trying to explain to the woman; “the usual mix-up at the Watch, I-I-I,”

The woman sighed, and said wearily “Excuses Glenroy, more excuses”
She looked like she wanted to say more, but thought better of it.

“Prisoner, stand over by the window!” the guard who it seemed was named Glenroy barked.

The guards didn’t seem to notice that I was barely capable of standing, let alone attack them, but I backed away, and fell on the cold stone bench with a thump.

The man who had elbowed Dreth gave me a strange look, one made of pity and curiosity, but it only lasted for a moment, then he looked away. The woman unlocked the cell door, and stepped forward. It was then that I noticed the fourth person, an old man, wearing a fine robe and a strange red jewel around his neck.

As the guards moved towards the right wall of the cell, the old man peered at me, head cocked at an angle as if he couldn’t see very well.

“You…” he breathed, “I’ve seen you, in my dreams.”

I looked at him in simple surprise, then asked in a small voice, “Do you know who I am?”


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Acadian
post Oct 10 2010, 03:21 AM
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This is lovely! Some of my favorite elements are present: The game Oblivion and a first person POV.

Your writing is very nice - a pleasure to read and well-crafted.

Your character is off to good start. We know enough of her to already like her and be interested in her plight, yet you have wisely avoided a first chapter data dump. You are also not rushing through things - another wise choice.

Welcome to the Arena! You are off to a great start. tongue.gif


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Linara
post Oct 10 2010, 03:39 AM
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Joined: 25-September 10
From: Bruma, in a book.



A first reply from Acadian! It's like an initiation, as far as I can tell. Thank you for the input, hopefully the next part will be up...tomorrow? Well, sometime anyway.
Nell


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mALX
post Oct 10 2010, 04:38 AM
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This is a really great beginning! Smooth, detailed, great descriptions and inner dialogue, no info-dumping yet we know she is a Dunmer female - my favorite line is this:


QUOTE
asked in a small voice, “Do you know who I am?”


- that vulnerability instantly draws the reader in. I like it a lot, and look forward to MORE !!!


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SubRosa
post Oct 10 2010, 04:39 AM
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As the Acadian Giant (oh wait, he's not the wrestler, but the paladin) said, nicely written. No huge infodump in the first segment, a character who is easy to identify with thanks to you showing us her vulnerability and uncertainty. Nothing is more boring than an uber-god Marty Stu/Mary Sue.

I wonder who that old man could be wink.gif Seriously though, a character with no memory of their past is an interesting twist on this old tale. She could be anything, just some luckless schmoe who got tossed in the wrong cell, or even a ringer put in play by Akatosh himself.

Several times I drifted off into oblivion
But thankfully not to Oblivion, else she would really be in trouble! laugh.gif Sorry, I could not help but see the humor, given the nature of the ES universe.

one thrust his elbow into the Dunmer’s cell and hit him squarely in the face.
Yay! I actually almost cheered when I read this!

Are you interested in critiques/hearing nits? Not all people are (which is no problem), hence I ask first. I did see a few grammatical errors.

Oh, and take your time posting. There is no hurry. It can take people a while to catch up and keep caught up on all the stories around here (In fact, some of us just do not have time to read them all period). Most of us fall into a schedule of posting every other day, if not in longer intervals.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Oct 10 2010, 04:41 AM


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Destri Melarg
post Oct 10 2010, 11:11 AM
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It’s good to see you throwing your quill into the arena, Linara. Maya (I presume it is Maya laying in the cell) is off to a good start. Amnesia is a new one in terms of story starters for an ES based tale. It is a nice way to immediately engage reader empathy while maintaining a sense of mystery about the character. And I think that Baurus' elbow spoke for us all! wink.gif

I’ll have some more, please.


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treydog
post Oct 10 2010, 02:01 PM
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This is a wonderful introduction to a new character. She asks the questions an amnesiac would ask, but she also is aware of some things- which lead to more questions....

Hooray for Baurus giving Valen Dreth a well-deserved elbow.

Do not rush to post- give your audience time to read and ponder and reply.

I am thrilled to see this addition to the fan-fiction section.


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Linara
post Oct 13 2010, 04:56 AM
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Joined: 25-September 10
From: Bruma, in a book.



All:Thank you for the welcome and your kind words! They are a great encouragement, and I hope people will continue commenting as the story progresses. I am very happy to hear nits, they are part of writing a story, not to mention helpful. I'm glad to hear Maya already has readers, she will need bravery ahead and this helps her. Baurus's elbow was an offhand addition, but I realize now that Dreth is definitely the best person to receive it. Rest assured that this won't be the last time that Baurus elbows someone. And now for part two:

Chapter One: Part Two
In which a girl listens and learns

The old man smiled a gentle, knowing smile, and looked as though he would say something, but the female guard interrupted.

“Sire, we must leave quickly, the assassins are on their way.”

The old man turned towards her and said quietly, “Patience Captain. She is confused, and has much to learn.”

He faced me again, and sighed. “I fear she is right though. We must move on, but I will tell you as much as I can.”

The woman pushed a brick in the wall, and a section of it shifted, and slid into itself, and I saw that there was now an escape route from the cell, a way out. Would the guards let me follow them?

I stood up, a bit shakily. One of the guards, the one called Glenroy, unsheathed his blade, and pointed it at me. The old man, whom I was beginning to think, was a king, or a prince, sighed once again.

“Glenroy, you and the Captain will lead into the sewers, I will follow with her, and Baurus will close. Please do not threaten her, she can barely stand.“

Without a word, Glenroy and the Captain headed into the darkness, and the old man- Emperor? I wondered- helped me walk over, while the last man, Baurus, followed close behind us.

We went several steps, and I soon realized that without shoes I could go little further. The old man, turned to me when I stumbled, and said “I have seen you in my dreams, several times. You will help me, before the end.”

We started walking again -limping, in my case- and I puzzled over his words. What could I help him with? I was just a…well I probably couldn’t help him. Maybe he was mistaken.

“Who are you?” I asked. My voice shook a bit, and my feet slipped on the damp stone floor. Baurus put a steadying hand on my back, and said in a slightly suspicious voice:

“He is the Emperor of all Tamriel, Uriel Septim the seventh.”

That I should bow was implied in his tone, and I began to lower my head in a curtsy, when the Emperor shook his head.

“Child, there is no need. Under normal circumstances, perhaps, but these are most abnormal indeed. Baurus is correct; I am the Emperor, for a short while longer. You are the messenger, and you can help me.”

My head began to spin again, and the words jumbled inside me. Messenger? Help him? I couldn’t I didn’t know how, I was only a prisoner. A groan escaped me, and the Emperor looked at me with compassion.

“It’s just a little bit longer, then things will begin to straighten themselves out. All will be explained.”

“But I-I,” I whimpered, holding back tears, “I don’t know how to help! And my feet, my head, it just hurts so much…”

With this, the whole group stopped. The Emperor stood straighter, and picked at the red jewel on his neck. In the dim light it looked like a huge drop of blood, poised to fall.

“This,” he said, hand on the jewel, “is the Amulet of Kings. It can only be worn by one with dragon blood flowing in their veins. The Septims have this blood. I have it. My sons, they too had it. But they are dead, and I am not long for this world. With no Emperor, the gates of Oblivion will be opened and Daedra will overrun Cyrodiil. You have been brought here, to take the Amulet to Jauffre, an old friend of mine. He will know what to do with it.”

For once someone else had a question, and it was Glenroy. ”But Majesty,” he said alarmed, “you will make it out of here alive won’t you?”

The Emperor smiled gently, and said, “I think you know the answer to that Glenroy. Everyone must die, even kings and kingmakers.”

I realized that I had been staring at him the whole time, and got my head straight. I was still confused, and lost. I still had no name. But I knew what to do now. I had a purpose. Things were becoming clearer.

And then the first assassin attacked.

This post has been edited by Linara: Oct 13 2010, 09:37 PM


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Acadian
post Oct 13 2010, 01:57 PM
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This continues to be a pleasure to read. Your character is developing a personality and things are proceding at a beautiful pace - I love that you aren't rushing!

Uh oh. Sounds like a fight coming. Gulp!

Nit?
QUOTE
“He is the Emperor of all Tamriel, Uriel Septim the seventh.”
That I should bow was implied in his tone, and I began to lower my head in a curtsy, when the Emperor shook his head.
This is merely a tiny formatting thing. I suspect you intended for there to be a space between these two lines.


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mALX
post Oct 13 2010, 02:57 PM
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Great Write! More !!!


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SubRosa
post Oct 13 2010, 05:00 PM
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The Woman With No Name returns! (she needs to get a poncho, hat, and cheroot soon. Not to mention start squinting and talking in a raspy voice... wink.gif) Seriously though, it is great fun to see Maya again. Poor, barefoot girl that she is. That was a nice observation about her lack of footwear, and her trouble walking.

In the dim light it looked like a huge drop of blood, poised to fall.
This was a wonderful description!

nits:
I stood up, a bit shakily, and one of the guards, the one called Glenroy, unsheathed his blade, and pointed it at me.
You have a lot of commas here for one sentence. I think you can remove some with no problem, as well as break it up into multiple sentences. Like so:
I stood up a bit shakily. One of the guards, the one called Glenroy, unsheathed his blade and pointed it at me.

The old man, whom I was beginning to think, was a king, or a prince, sighed once again.
Same thing here. For example:
The old man, whom I was beginning to think was a king or a prince, sighed once again.

There are several more instances of the same thing.


For once someone else had a question, and it was Glenroy. But Majesty,”
It looks like Glenroy likes your opening quotation mark a bit too much, as he has grabbed it and hugged it to him. The space ought to be before it rather than after.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Oct 13 2010, 05:00 PM


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treydog
post Oct 13 2010, 08:55 PM
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This continues to impress. The changes you have made to the dialogue and the order of things make sense for Maya’s circumstances. What the reader comes away with- at least this reader- is a gentle sense of compassion in the midst of world-shattering events.


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Destri Melarg
post Oct 14 2010, 09:43 AM
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Even with the shadow of death hanging over him, your version of Uriel VII is still capable of compassion for another. That makes him an Emperor well worth following, and gives Maya all the reason she needs to serve as his messenger.

It may be too early in the story to raise this concern, but if I were to caution you about anything it would be to make sure that you give Maya some strength to go along with her weakness. Given her condition, I’m having a little trouble believing her capable of carrying any message, much less one from the soon-to-be-dead Emperor.


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Linara
post Oct 17 2010, 10:39 PM
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Joined: 25-September 10
From: Bruma, in a book.



Acadian: Thank you for catching the nit, and for continuing to read.

SubRosa: Thanks for catching those, think I got them all. My English teacher is always talking about my run on sentences, I really should be more careful. I've always thought about why the prison would pass out shoes, since the prisoners are there to stay in their cells, so Maya missed the shoe give out when she arrived, unfortunately for her.

mALX: Glad you think so! Thank you for reading!

Treydog: I'm happy that my main point, for Maya at least, is that she is just amazed that anyone is being kind to her at all. She is adjusting quickly though, as this chapter may show.

Destri: This chapter was written with your comment in mind. I thought about it long and hard, one of the reasons, for the time in between the last posts. Hopefully this will show that Maya has some strengths, even if she doesn't know them.

All: Here's Chapter Two, which I am making a separate chapter or else chapter one would have been extended forever. Please comment!

Chapter Two Part One
In which trust is given

There were three, no four, of them, with strange rough black armor and red cloth head covers. I was mesmerized as they swung their weapons up and around. Then the Captain was killed.

It was a quick stroke upwards with a mace, and she fell backwards. Her sword clattered on the rock floor, a few feet away from me. Her murderer advanced towards me, blood dripping from his weapon. I could almost imagine him grinning underneath his mask.

A sudden surge of panic sent me rolling onto the floor, knocking the assassin onto the ground, and putting me an arm’s distance from the Captain's sword. In one fluid motion I grabbed the sword and with an upwards thrust swung it into the assassins throat. He died without a sound.

As I pushed myself off the floor, I could only hear the sound of my breathing, harsh and loud. Then I looked up, and met Baurus’s eyes. He looked shocked, and turned away.

I cleared my throat, and steeled myself to start walking again. It was Glenroy who broke the silence with a muttered, “that was unexpected.”

The Emperor, who also held a bloodstained sword, looked not surprised, but saddened. I avoided his gaze as I kept a firm hold on the Captain's sword, and began limping forward. It was Baurus who stopped me, and caught me as I fell to the ground in a dead faint.

It was only a few seconds later that I came to, but the Emperor already stood before me.

“You’ve killed before,” he said. It was not a question.

I shrugged, and then winced as I began to feel bruises all over. “Probably. I knew what to do, that’s for sure.”

The Emperor nodded, then gave me a hand up. We began walking in silence, the four of us. We soon reached an iron gate, which Glenroy unlocked with a key he pulled from- well actually I have no idea. How do warriors keep things like keys with them? The armor didn’t look like it had pockets.

As we passed through the gate Baurus, bringing up the line, glanced around, and then put his hand on my shoulder. I stopped, and he leaned in.

“Keep the Captain’s sword with you, and out. I have to take another way through, to check for more assassins. I’m trusting you to protect the Emperor.”

My eyes, widened, then I nodded solemnly. I would protect the Emperor with my life, no matter that I was going to be sore, if not dead, for days. Baurus looked relieved, and he slipped away through a side passage I hadn’t seen.

I thought about telling the Emperor, but chances were, he knew. So, we walked along the dark passageways under the Imperial Prison, the three of us, and for minutes things seemed almost peaceful. Almost.

This post has been edited by Linara: Oct 20 2010, 01:50 AM


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mALX
post Oct 17 2010, 10:51 PM
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QUOTE

A sudden surge of panic sent me rolling onto the floor, knocking the assassin onto the ground, and putting me an arm’s distance from the Captains sword. In one fluid motion I grabbed the sword and with an upwards thrust swung it into the assassins throat. He died without a sound.



WOO HOO !!!!!!!! Awesome action scene!!!! MORE !!!!!!


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SubRosa
post Oct 17 2010, 11:22 PM
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Yay, more Maya! As you said in your comments, here we see her stepping up to the plate and showing that she can handle herself!


nits:
I don't mean to beat on a dead goblin, l but you are still running your sentences out. Here was one of the bigger examples:
It was a quick stroke upwards with a mace, and she fell backwards, her sword clattering on the rock floor, a few feet away from me.
You might turn this into:
It was a quick stroke upwards with a mace, and she fell backwards. Her sword clattered on the rock floor a few feet away from me.


and putting me an arm’s distance from the Captain's sword.
You missed an apostrophe in the word "Captain's".

I avoided his gaze as I kept a firm hold on the Captain's sword
And again here.


It was Glenroy who broke the silence with a muttered, “That was unexpected.”
The "t" in that should be lowercase, as you are not starting a new sentence, but rather are still continuing one. When it comes to whether or not to capitalize in dialogue, just ignore the quotation marks.


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Acadian
post Oct 17 2010, 11:31 PM
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Ahah! So, we gain a dark clue about the amnesiac's past. And brilliantly portrayed by her lethal, almost instinctive reactions.

QUOTE
We soon reached an iron gate, which Glenroy unlocked with a key he pulled from- well actually I have no idea. How do warriors keep things like keys with them? The armor didn’t look like it had pockets.
What a welcome and clever touch of comic relief this was during a dangerous trek through the prison! Bravo!

I am having a wonderful time following this journey! smile.gif


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treydog
post Oct 19 2010, 08:50 PM
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QUOTE
...which Glenroy unlocked with a key he pulled from- well actually I have no idea. How do warriors keep things like keys with them? The armor didn’t look like it had pockets.


I love this observation. We will have to guard against sneaky Maya/Linara humor, I see.

And yes, she has used a blade before.

You have a real talent for conveying your characters’ personalities through their actions and the dialogue. And that makes for a wonderful story.


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Destri Melarg
post Oct 19 2010, 11:25 PM
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Ah, Maya shows her teeth! This was fantastic! Now I am just filled with questions about her: Where did she learn to do that? Who taught her? Why? How does someone with her skill wind up in the Imperial City’s dungeon? What happened to her to make her loose her memory?

I am sure all of these questions will be answered in due time, but until then . . .

MORE!!!
QUOTE
It was a quick stroke upwards with a mace, and she fell backwards, her sword clattering on the rock floor, a few feet away from me.

Being someone who is guilty of the more than occasional run-on sentence, I am probably not the right person to be giving advice. But it occurs to me that you could keep this sentence as is by taking out a few of the commas:

It was a quick stroke upwards with a mace and she fell backwards, her sword clattering on the rock floor a few feet away from me.


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Linara
post Oct 26 2010, 06:18 AM
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From: Bruma, in a book.



SubRosa: Thanks for pointing out those nits, I got them.
Acadian: You aren't here, but I want to thank you anyway for your continued reading and comments.
Treydog: It is both Maya and Linara humor, although Maya is working her personality more then I thought she would.
Destri: Questions are good, very good. I will try to answer them as best I can. In the meantime, thank you for reading!
All: Thank you all for reading, and continuing to encourage me. It helps more then you know. This is, unfortunately, a completely actionless scene, although we do discover something about Maya- erm, nameless Dunmer girl- from the Emperor. And also, I will post tomorrow to make up for an extremely short segment.

Chapter Two Part Two
In which the above happens

While the Emperor, Glenroy and I traversed the- tunnels? Sewers? - Well somewhere dark and slimy at any rate, I began to think about myself. What I knew. So far, I knew I was a female Dunmer, probably on the youngish side, and a well-honed blade skill. But what else was I?

I tried to think about it, but my head started to fill with white wispy fog, and I shook it violently, and then forced my eyes ahead to the gloom. Baurus was still not back, and I began to get worried. What if he had been killed? Or bitten by some sewer monster and dragged away to it’s lair?

As possibilities began to fill my head, I became even more scared. Finally I reached out, and touched the Emperor lightly on the shoulder. He turned immediately, and his eyes widened as he took in the fact that Baurus was not with us. Uh oh.

Glenroy, hearing our footsteps stop, turned as well, and his eyes gleamed with an accusatory look directed, I was sure, at me.

“What did you do to him?” he cried with vehemence.

I backed away with the Captain’s sword in my hand, and it started to point at him. I forced my hand down.

“It wasn’t me,” I cried, scared. “He told me to take the rear, and he would take the other route, make sure it was safe. I didn’t do anything to him, I swear.”

Glenroy didn’t look like he believed me, and his eyes narrowed further.

“You lie.” His voice was scaring me even further.

Finally the Emperor spoke, and I almost fainted with relief to hear a tone that was not full of menace.

“She is telling the truth,” he declared, with a simplicity that made me like him even more. “She would not kill him anyway, the One could not send someone so corrupted.”

I gulped, and nodded quickly. I didn’t want Glenroy to run me through with his sword. With a scowl that was even angrier then his glare, Glenroy turned and began to walk through the tunnels once again, torch held in his hand. The Emperor gave me a reassuring smile, and then turned likewise, and we began to move forward again. I missed Baurus.


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