I shouldn’t have gone out that night.
This is one of the few thoughts that regularly surfaces from the clouded depths of my distorted mind. Somehow my self deprecation manages to stick with me to this day. It is an amusing thought but my lips seem to have a problem cracking a grin so any attempt to express my mirth goes unnoticed. It appears that those around me suffer the same problem as they lumber around the dark confines of the cave.
I shouldn’t have gone out that night.
My attempts to recall that night prove to be difficult since the whisperings in my head hold their presence strongly but I manage to recall at least what happened. Time on the other hand escapes me. This could’ve happened days, weeks, months, or even years ago. Time in general seems to be difficult for me to discern now, but I digress. Expressionless amusement rises within me once more.
My hazy thoughts recollect that I went out to make an unusual delivery. Unusual as in the time and location: midnight at the Hlaalu Canton Sewers. I vaguely remember someone important to me begging me not to go, but I brushed them aside. I knew how to make a delivery; I was one of the best suppliers of scrolls in all of Vvardenfell. I could deal with both Telvanni and Mages Guild for Azura’s sake! Yet as I left my home I knew I shouldn’t be doing this. An intense foreboding sensation had begun to creep up my spine, but once again I ignored it and pressed on.
I had reached the sewers in a timely fashion, and found nothing but rats which I had annoying kicked into the fetid waters surrounding me. The air was rank with the stench of waste and my uneasiness began to surface once more. Time seemed to pass agonizingly slow as I stood beside the entrance to the sewers. My thoughts kept drifting back to the anonymous letter requesting the order. Normally, I wouldn’t have accepted the order, but the money that came with it and the promise of the money to come afterwards persuaded me to take the risk. I was second guessing that decision now as the time crept past midnight.
Anxiety built within me as I scanned the sewers for any sign of the client I was supposed to meet. The incessant drip and gurgle of the waters flowing around me were starting to unnerve me. Finally, I had decided that this could be the wrong sewer entrance to wait at, so I went deeper into the sewers to find the other entrance. I was grateful that the sewers were lit by torches, despite the fact that the light they emitted held the entire sewer in a state of gloom.
As I progressed along, I came to a tunnel. It was not lit but I could make out the outline of the other end of the tunnel where the torchlight was visible once more. I breathed a heavy sigh of doubt and pressed on, my footsteps sounding hollow and frightened in the darkness.
Midway through I felt an icy breeze sweep past me and the scent of ash filled my nostrils. Though terror had a firm grip upon me, I still turned around to face what could’ve caused such a thing.
I could only make out a hulking form outlined by the light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever it was, it didn’t look human or elven. I was actually shocked at how a creature so large managed to sneak up on me so quietly. The source of the ash scent was certainly coming from this creature.
“We’ve been waiting for you,” it said in an alien tone of voice. The creature’s voice sounded wet and a flapping noise went alongside the words.
I gulped back my fear and attempted to steady my shaking knees. “A-a-are you my c-c-client?” I stammered.
The hulking figure ignored my question and began to whisk itself closer to me. “We’re here to take you,” the flapping voice sputtered out once more.
My legs buckled and my knees touched the damp and smelly tunnel floor. I hardly noticed it though as the creature came closer and closer. I tried to summon strength back to my legs to pick me back up but I felt frozen, paralyzed with fear.
“N-n-n-no!” I managed to blurt out just as the creature stood mere inches from me.
“Yessss,” it hissed as a light blacker than the tunnel poured out of the beast and slammed into me.
I shouldn’t have gone out that night.
I had woken up and found myself here. I felt… different. My movements were hampered which caused me to move about in painful, jerking steps. My sight had also taken a turn for the worse as everything appeared to be hazy and vague. Nothing I see now is clear.
But the worse development is the changes in my head. I can’t focus on anything for a substantial amount of time, ignoring my last moments as a normal person that is. And then there are the whispers... Oh how I despise these whispers! They never leave me and most of the time they only sound like dim mutterings. Yet every once in a wile they come through clear and strong, so strong in fact that my mind cries in pain.
All their talk sounds like religious babble about how the time draws near and how the Sixth house will shortly rise once again. I have trouble comprehending this babble but I’ve learned that if I groan in approval the pain lessens in a shorter time span.
For now the whispers are quiet, but for how long will that last I never know. Sometimes it feels like the clear ones happen all the time and other times it feels like it has been ages since they were last clear. Then again… I have trouble with telling time now.
Sometimes the errant thought of wanting to escape this pain reaches me and whenever it does appear I try to hold on to it. I desperately try to hold on to it but it is always in vain as it seems that whenever I try such a feat the whispers become clear and the pain becomes too intense for me to hold on to the thought. I then become lost in the haze once again. I suppose it could be a mixed blessing…
“Intruder! Intruder! Kill the intruder!”
I gasp as the whispers become clear and I force myself to agree to their wishes in order to stop the pain lancing throughout my body. For once, it is something I can understand. I hurry as fast as my deformed body can take me towards the cave entrance as I figure that would be where this intruder would be coming from. It appears that my brethren have trouble comprehending this as it appears they are ambling about aimlessly.
As I approach the entrance to the cave I can dully hear the clash of steel and the screams and cries of death. Whoever this intruder is, they know how to kill. A stray thought enters my mind: perhaps they can kill me and end my suffering. The whispers sound again and I roar in pain and the thought disappears.
I round the bend in the cave and my blurry vision shows a shiny, golden blur fighting amongst the grey and tan blurs that I commonly see in the cave. I slow my approach and see that all the grey and tan blurs are not moving anymore, only the golden one still moves. It is getting larger too.
I raise my fist, preparing to hit the golden blur with it once it gets here. I will avenge my killed brethren…
Killed. Kill me. End my pain.
My fist pauses and I stand motionless before the golden blur. The whispers sound again but this time I hold onto my thought. End my pain. End my pain. End my-
The pain ends and I can see clearly. I’m looking up at the armoured figure of an Ordinator holding a sword that is encrusted with gore. I can see the eyes behind the Ordinator’s helm and can tell they are puzzled. This expression quickly diminishes and my liberator moves on to the next foe.
Lying on the cave floor my thoughts return to the things I had forgotten. I had a wife that I loved fiercely. I had a son and two daughters whom I cherished. I had lived a successful life as a valuable scroll merchant until I received that mysterious order. My greed had gotten the best of me.
I now knew why I shouldn’t have gone out that night
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Fascinating trip into the mind of a "monster". In playing Morrowind I've always tried avoiding slaying corprus beasts if practical, but perhaps to slay is to truly be kind here.
I love almost everything about this piece. It sets mood well, with excellent details like the whispers of Dagoth Ur. Excellent use of repetition as well.
Dude goes somewhere, is turned into a Corprus monster, dies in an Ordinator raid.
Good place for ruminations on mortality, except Corprus monsters don't have clarity of thought. So is the narrator talking from beyond the grave, then, as opposed to his dying moment?
My hands down favourite. I loved this piece, I thought you captured the broken and incoherant thoughts of a corpus well with that fantastic clarity at the end which made the piece and finished it nicely. The mood of it was nice as well.
I thought as a short piece this was very well written with an, albeit simple, sound plot. Only real criticism is that a bit more emotion implied might do better but it would have to be a subtle thing.
There are several mistakes here:
“rats which I had annoying kicked into the foetid waters” I think you mean “rats which annoyed me enough to kick them into the foetid waters.”
“my footsteps sounding hollow and frightened in the darkness.” Can footsteps sound frightened?
“in an alien tone of voice” Not needed as you go on to describe the voice in a better way.
“as a light blacker than the tunnel” Darkness for goodness sake, not light.
I like the idea of this story, but nothing is really explained – why did they need to change this man into something monstrous?
I like the fact that this story has a beginning, a middle and an end, because some just have an ending tagged onto them without it relating to the rest. This ending fits.
I like the repetition of 'I shouldn't have gone out that night.' because it helps to remind the reader of what the narrator is thinking.
More description of the creature that the man had been turned into would have been better than just his thoughts. You've made the mistake of assuming that the reader has the same knowledge as you. Never assume when writing a story, write for those that are new to the world. To sum up, an interesting premise but not enough description and doesn't seem to have been carefully proofed. 5th place for me.
I like the story for what it is. Sure, there were some spelling and grammar mistakes but heck, they were rare enough not to distract.
One thing I did notice however were his memories. Now on their own, they're good. But when you tell us that remembering is hard due to the whispers, it starts to feel a bit odd. Now the beginning was good, as the character only vaguely remembers someone trying to keep him from going and such. But upon entering the sewers, his memories become crystal clear.
If it is so hard to remember anything, then how does he remember all the fine details? Like how the tunnel itself was dark but he could still see torchlight on both ends? Or his feeling of anxiety? Or the subtle dripping and gurgling of the water? Those details don't fit with the trouble he has remembering.
So (cause this is supposed to be constructive), I would suggest you try to keep things vague in the sewer section. Or better yet, add in multiple possibilities. Have the character question his own memories.
Was it A that happened? Or was it B? No wait, perhaps it was C. I think that kind of stuff would really help portray the clouding of his mind, and make the big clearing at the end stand out even more.
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