A Feather Tilts the Scales

  • #1
    Greetings to all!

    Just some random scrub here, whom of you probably heard nothing before. You might've heard, the 2010 Worldwide Short Story contest just ended. It was the first one I submited to.

    As I guess, it's pretty obvious I didn't win. Ofcourse, that'll never make me give writing up (or letting it down *winkwinknudgenudge*), and I'll be back next year with something fresh.

    Until then, however, I would like to present to you, for your enjoyment, my failed entry.

    Ofcourse, if you ever feel like in helpful mood, any reviews, critique or feedback will be more than welcome.

    Thank you for listening.

    And now, our feature presentation!

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    A Feather Tilts the Scales

    (By Deloctyte)
    ------------------------

    The city was burning, the light coating the ruins in an unearthly glow. Archanis almost found it unsettling. The world of Sanctuary has always been something of an enigma to his kind. He knew not the name of the city or what drew him here. Not even Tyrael, the most rebellious and liberal of the High Council, knew of his descent from the High Heavens. A very light flicker of doubt resonated in Archanis about coming here. Never before did he or, to his knowledge, anyone else of his kind felt the... resonation that was like a siren's call to him.

    He was no great Archangel, leader of masses. Even his name, Archanis, was nothing more but what a small, insignificant creature entitled him with as he battled alongside his brothers on one of the million worlds against the encroaching beasts of Hell. That world couldn't stand the strain. Archanis wondered if Sanctuary would be any different, or if it would break like so many others have beforehand.

    He raised what could be called his head. He felt no threat. The power of the Worldstone, unique to Sanctuary, made it hard enough for Archanis to enter, not to mention what the lowly denizens of the Burning Hells must have had to go through to reach this place. They were gone now, he was sure. The city still stood, if even just barely. No demon would leave anything standing if they had the power or the time they needed to break something down.

    Archanis spread his wings of flame around himself, the long strands of unearthly energy emanating a tranquil light-blue glow, the blank staring eyes of the dozens of blood-stained and mutilated corpses spread on the ground dully reflecting it. He felt his corporal form, the androgynous humanoid shape covered in a dark-silver cloak slightly fade as he spread his senses into the depths of the city. Only death and decay met his ethereal gaze as he searched for that which called him here, of all places.

    Suddenly, as he was mapping his surroundings, he felt the warmth of a living being, not half a mile from him. Like a flash, he felt the drag in his being that got him into this world in the first place strengthen tenfold. All his senses focused in on the periodic, if slightly off-beat rhythm of the creature's heart, and he drew himself together back into his full physical form. His dark cloak billowed as his wings came to life and lifted him slightly into the air. Then, like a flash, he vanished, a beam of light flying through the broken structures and roads. The answer to the call that drew him here was finally in sight.

    ----

    Jor huddled in the remains of the first floor of some unfortunate soul's house. Its previous occupant was spread across the broken walls which now opened up to a square adorned with a fountain broken in two. The night sky was alight with the flames eating away at anything that was flammable within the district. Jor couldn't think. He lost his capacity for coherent thought once the darkness came and the roadside trenches were overflown with blood as if with water after a heavy rain. His instinct was what was driving him now, all flesh and bone, with rags as clothes. That, and the Whisper. He never noticed it before all hells broke loose, but every time any of the nightmarish beasts got close to finding him, he felt a drag, a sort of tingle in his mind, guiding him away to safety. At first he tried to question it, to resist it, but that led to him almost losing his arms once, and since then, he just obediently followed whatever the Whisper told him to do. It has been silent for over three hours now, and whatever was left of Jor was starting to get worried.

    Suddenly, a beam of light shattered his incoherent stream of thoughts as well as his eyesight. He dug himself in even deeper into the ruins. When he slowly turned his face towards the square, he beheld something he couldn't comprehend.

    There, within the carnage, the bodies and the blood, stood a man....No, not a man, something... else. Not one of the beasts that devoured Jor's sanity but hours before, quite the opposite, yet it made Jor feel almost the same amount of unease as if...he? she?... was one of them.

    The figure stood tall, his body concealed by a cloak the colour of midnight. His face, if he had any, was hidden in its shadows. Quietly, like some sort of malformed beast from the depths of the frozen Sea, wings of light burst from the shoulders of this silent watcher. The square was bathed in a soft, bluish glow.

    Then, the being spoke.

    >I CAN FEEL YOU, MORTAL. DO NOT TRY TO HIDE.

    The voice cut through Jor's skin, through the madness, through his very soul. It had no sound. It had no worldly context. Yet Jor could feel it right inside him, vibrating within him as if the town hall had collapsed again. He could feel it with every fiber of his being, but it seemed something else heard it as well.

    The Whisper returned. It was just a faint rumble at the moment, but it was back, a constant stream of incomprehensible murmurs scratching at the back of his head. Jor scrambled to the side, searching for something to hide behind. He found an almost intact table, lying limp on its side. Trying to remain as silent as he could, Jor shoved his back against the tabletop. His eyes were rolling in their sockets. He was getting the notion that the Whisper was feeling uneasy near this... being that was now looking for him.

    >VERY WELL, IF YOU WISH, WE SHALL DO THIS THE DIFFICULT
    WAY.

    Jor could see the bluish glow increase on the walls and floor, but heard nothing other than his own heartbeat and his bare feet scraping against the debris. Out of nowhere, the Whisper roared up. Jor's muscles leapt to work even before he registered it saying anything at all.

    Jor pounced forwards, next to another splattered corpse as a tendril made of... light and shadows grasped the table, and threw it aside. Already in mid-air, it burst into azure flames, disintegrating on the impact with a broken pillar. Jor turned around and beheld his strange, ethereal assailant. He, if it was indeed a he, was now in the air, his cloak of silver midnight slightly flapping against some sort of wind seemingly existent only to him, a small shine of some sort of armour flashing out every now and again from under the robes. What protruded from his shoulders were not wings, as Jor had originally thought, but the previously perceived tentacle-like appendages of pure light, shifting and swirling as if they really were wings of flame. The Whisper was definitely not liking this new horror in Jor's life, but as Jor tried to amble away to the side, and get as far away as possible from this... thing, the Whisper, as quietly as it could, kept pushing Jor's will away from his own limbs, just strong enough to keep the hapless human cowering in front of this celestial being. The Whisper seemed to be... waiting for something. Almost anticipating it. Jor's eyes widened as he felt his body betray him in favour of the so far benevolent Whisper. He felt that something horrible was about to happen.

    ----

    Archanis stood above this little cowering bag of flesh. A simple being, whose mind felt even simpler than a usual mortal mind usually felt like. Even so, something about him, something within him was the very thing that drew Archanis to this desolate place. There was, however, also something that felt off, if even just barely so. Something, just outlining the mental workings of this feeble mortal creature, was bothering him. It was something that could potentially get in the way of his goal, of his destination. Almost annoyed, if Angels are capable of such a thing, Archanis raised a hand towards the man, who gasped and seemed to shudder slightly.

    > FEAR NOT, MORTAL. I WISH NOT TO HARM YOU.

    Archanis broke through whatever mental barriers this... Jor had, and began searching for that which made him feel at unease. He flickered through his memories of the days past, not caring about the flinching and terrified groans of Jor in the physical realm, until he reached the first appearance of the Whisper. Intrigued, he dug in deeper to listen.

    What he heard chilled him to his core.

    >A TRAP!

    With a yell that shook the building before him, he broke the mental link as quickly as possible, focusing and sensing his close surroundings with lightning speed and precision. This wasn't right, this wasn't supposed to be happening! He flexed his gauntleted hands as a longsword, made entirely out of hot-white flames, flashed and extended from his grip. It wasn't the favored weapon of the High Heavens, but Archanis had to leave his true blade behind, lest his sneaking away might've been found out. His senses, so dead and silent for all this time, suddenly burst alive with warning as the very shadows around him began to twist and move out of their previous confines.

    ----

    The very world slithered around, breaking what little was left of Jor's sanity. The angelic figure drew back his flaming sword, and raised it in defense as unspeakable terrors surrounded him out of the nearby shadows. Eyes, muscles, bones, sinew, all mixed in nightmarish combinations grinned and screeched. Jor's mind finally went totally, completely blank, and he closed his eyes. This was it.

    A sound of some sort of explosion hit his ears and a powerful wave of pressure pushed him back into the wall behind him with a thud. Jor's eyes snapped open. Several more similar blasts shook through his body even during that fraction of a second. A strange buzz penetrated the air as, before Jor's very eyes, the cloaked being slashed his blade faster than he could perceive. It was the speed and force of these cuts that buffeted him back again and again as appendages of all sorts flew in the air, curling and withering as they hit the ground, excreting some sort of black blood-like fluid, painting Jor's face with a shower of the foul stuff. Somewhere, he felt the sizzling sensation as it burned his face and the rags he still wore, but he had bigger problems. The Whisper was strengthening now, its dark flow of influence wrapping and sliding all around and through him. Despite his mindless madness, his leg muscles strained, and he slowly, amongst the flying disgusting blood-soaked mush and completely against his will, stood up. His eyes snapped onto the darkness under the cloak of the insanely slashing figure, and, in a lightning of terrifying clarity, Jor knew what was going to happen. He screamed.

    ----

    Archanis was cornered. It took all of the angels' not inconsiderable skills and powers to withstand the oncoming onslaught from the shadows. Now, as he was on the defensive, he could feel the darkness, the evil coming forth, slithering out from Jor's pores. Jor's eyes were rolling around in panic as a black tentacle, shining maliciously, slid out of his mouth, hitting the ground with a splat.

    Archanis could sense the ancient evil now, emanating from within the hapless human. The dark tendril rose from the ground, its tip pointing straight towards the angel's chest, poised and at the ready. The ravenous flesh beasts still poured forth from the depths, leaving Archanis no quarter as the vile appendage shot forward. Even though Archanis deflected the vile thing, he couldn't help giving space for one of the many hungry maws to close in on his right shoulder. The sear of pain was unnatural to Archanis, but he did not stop. More and more claws and teeth dug into his cloaked body, but he could not afford to shake them off. The tongue of darkness was like a dagger, swift and cunning. His flaming blade countered this unnatural outgrowth, but ever just barely. His wings were still free, swishing madly, attempting to burn the unholy creatures, but to no avail. Slowly, en masse, they overwhelmed him. Literally wearing a cocoon of ravenous demonspawn, Archanis was now hapless. Dread, slowly, but surely, came to a being that normally felt no fear. He had lost.

    -----

    The Whisper was now a Voice, bringing a deadly chill down Jor's spine. He stood, spread-eagled, legs wide apart, feeling throbs of unholy power flushing through his every vein. Never before did he feel so helpless, as his terror-ridden eyes followed that... thing coming out from his mouth all the way down to the pointed tip, hovering just a few inches before the light-winged man’s face beneath the cloak. Now that he looked, Jor wasn't even sure if there was a face under the fine material. He just accepted it, now. It was too much. A drop of drool slid down his face as the black tongue shook it self slightly, sliding back, like a scorpion’s tail, poised to strike. Jor's eyes rolled up at the very second a loud, meaty splash echoed around the destroyed square. Jor fell to the ground, even as the tentacle, clearly impaling the robed figure as well as some of the nightmarish beasts clinging onto him and began to wrap itself around its victim, sliding out from the fragile, mortal carcass that kept it hidden. When even the wings were encased in the dark, vile material, a deathly silence ensued.

    Jor came to, lying in his own spit and blood. Something broke, deep inside. A pair of vacated, blank eyes stared blindly at the world around himself. He stood up, just to fall back down by the cocooned angel, utterly spent. Then, with a low, sinister hiss, the dark bundle evaporated with the first fickle rays of dawn.

    -----

    This location, this place was, for all needs and purposes, infinite. A black, suffocating veil of smoke lingered everywhere. Three shapes, three indiscernible figures, darker than the dull, ever-shifting dark-grey environment, stood silently, watching what was, for now, the crowning jewel of this small realm of reality. Out of the depressing, never-ending void below, a metallic, almost pearl-white object jutted into the unchanging space above. It was shaped in the form of a bare tree, gnarled branches spreading in a lifeless canopy. This crude and somehow mocking imitation of nature, however, was almost completely covered by what was left of Archanis. His cloaked torso and hanging cloak covered most of the trunk. His arms were spread, a crude, evil nail by every joint technically impaling him to the tree. His wings of flame, each flowing, glowing tendril, was spun and spread along different branches, all stretched to the limit, the same unholy metal spikes keeping them in place as the ones in his arms.

    One of the three figures, the most bulky one of all, shook himself impatiently. The very fog and shadows around him seemed to twist into horrific images and shapes, as he growled and swished something akin to a long, lizard-like tail.

    " You called, we came. What is it?" He sounded deep, almost guttural and animal-like, yet a sinister intelligence shone through the primal tones of his voice.

    "Yess, why did you call us away? Azmodan and Belial will soon make their move." This voice, coming from the second figure, was dry, yet cunning. There was something in it that just hinted at how fragile this creature's sanity was, and how he could just snap any living thing in two out of just a whim. "Carnage," one could feel the joy in his voice. "...is about to ensue."

    "Silence, brothers!" This last voice, coming from the third observer, was cold, calculating. Listening to it, even for a divine creature such as the half-dead Archanis was akin to torture. " Our lesser wielders in power are of no concern. A solution has been found."

    Whereas the first figure emanated pure terror, and the second one held a feel of destruction, as if anything and everything nearby would be in mortal peril, this third watcher was worse. No creature could escape the feeling of the overlying cold, analytical hatred that spread from him. Archanis tried to pull away, but his whole body was wreathed in pain for attempting to move even an inch. The Three looked down at him. He felt their gaze, and could do nothing. He knew now he was doomed. A cry of agony left him, deep and true, as only a true forsaken can howl.

    "In this one? He holds nothing we need!", snarled the first of the Three.

    The third, the eldest, moved slowly to the broken angel.

    "You are mistaken, brother. Our forces will vanish, our power shall be tried and found wanting. The very hells will expel their own and all will teeter on the brink of light and dark."

    "We all know this, Mephisto!" The second one cut in. "Capturing one small angel, however, amiable it might be, will not further our cause. The Four lesser evils are uniting! If we are to fail, I wish to see the carnage the lesser ones will wreak. It will be... glorious."

    Mephisto turned his head towards the speaker, as he rested the fingertips of a distorted, two-clawed hand upon Archanis' head.

    "This one holds more. The trap has succeeded, and brought us that which we have been hoping for. Come, Lord of Destruction. Come, Baal and behold our salvation."

    The second one, curiosity aroused by the third one's words, came closer, and plunged his hand beneath Archanis' cowl.

    An ear shattering scream shook through the shadowy realm as Archanis' whole being writhed and twisted away from the great darkness that entered him. He felt his mind, his very being, turned and examined from every angle. Why, however, he couldn't fathom. He was but a soldier in the Eternal War, holding nothing, to his knowledge, that the Three, the Great Evils of Hell, who commanded all the legions of Hell, could find useful.

    "Interesting. I don't think I ever dug into an Angel before... You lot usually either get annihilated or turned." Baal shook his hand, forcing a tear on the cowl of Archanis, as well as another true scream out of him. The Lord of Destruction chuckled, as he followed Mephistos' mark to somewhere within the depths of the angel's mind. "Ah... Your trap appears to have worked, brother. It was not all in vain, then. Something fresh, something new. Tell me, what are these so called..."

    "Soulstones? I know not for sure. Neither does this insignificant one. But I can feel that they are instrumental to us."

    Archanis froze for a second, in shock. Soulstones? Only once did he hear them mentioned, by the very archangel under whom he served. What could....

    "Then let's find someone who does!"

    Archanis' train of thought was blacked out by the mind-numbing pain of a third mental tendril drilling into him. Brutal powers began dissecting his innermost self, searching for answers. In some out-of-the-world thought, Archanis realized that Diablo, Lord of Terror and third of the Prime Evils must have joined in. Slowly, they tore through each of his memories. They were meticulous in their work, and eventually, came upon a name. His lord, the leader of Archanis. He, who was life and death unto him. A lieutenant of the archangel Tyrael, who has led innumerable charges against the forces of hell.

    >IZUAL...

    The feeling of dark mirth emanated from the trio through their mental links into Archanis. There was now a target. Possibilities, paths of intrigue and dark plots began to form in the scheming minds of these ancient malicious beings. These were all, however, nulled, when a slim, dark shape materialized a few feet away from the pale tree. Baal pulled away from the angel. Only a few demons of considerable powers were capable of entering this realm, almost all of them close lieutenants and liaisons of the Three. The mind-rending pain subsided, and Archanis slumped forwards, almost utterly spent. After a few seconds, Baal headed back.

    "The armies of heaven amass at our doorstep! Leave the insect, we have work to attend to!" Joy could be heard from his voice. Sinister, evil happiness. It told that something bad was going to happen to someone pretty soon.

    "It's of no consequence! Let the angels buzz like flies to a corpse. Our minions are more than enough to handle the pests from the Pandemonium Fortress in both strength and numbers!" Diablo snarled. "Enough! I grow tired of this!" His clawed fist flew towards Archanis to finish the job, but slowed down to a halt as he heard Baal chuckle quietly.

    "His messenger brought something more than just a warning. Come, Baal, share with us the reason of your mirth." Mephisto said quietly, and turned to face Baal. Diablo did the same, giving Archanis a moment of respite. The gaze of the Three were off him, for now.

    "The High Heavens have found out about one of our... special projects. The Hellforge is loud with the finishing touches of the blade Shadowfang. They have sent one of their strongest to lead the surgical attack force into the heart of our empire to destroy the weapon, or at least delay its completion. He wields the blade Azurewrath. I can only be..."

    Silence fell upon the murky world for a moment, before Archanis screamed in pain mixed with rage as he attempted to tear himself free one last time. His wings of light pulsed with effort, and, at the end of one of his hands, a small slip of flame began to extend outwards. Mephisto idly flicked one of his fingers, and a great black shroud encased the angel's head. After a few seconds, he went limp, his body glowing ever so slightly. The Prime Evils were thinking in unison. They knew what to do.

    "Izual..." growled Diablo. "Interesting." Baal grinned.

    In silence, the greatest of all the burning hells, his brothers, nodded silently in agreement.

    Diablo turned, and, with a simple movement, tore a rift in the very space behind himself. Burning red light, hot and blinding after the dark murk of this realm, flooded their surroundings. Unholy screams and grutal sounds, mixed with the sound of blood and flesh splattering everywhere filled the air.

    "Izual has begun his assault. We must lure him deep if we are to take him for our own. Even into the Hellforge, if needs be. His forces will break eventually, leaving him alone. A new trap, waiting to spring...." Diablo grinned a grin no mortal being could have seen and remained sane. "Not even death can save him from us now. Let's go. The Hellforge awaits." He slid through the rift, the spiked, reptilian-like tail flicking through just before the rift collapsed into itself. Mephisto began to work upon his own gateway into another one of the primal realms of the burning hells, whereas Baal became transfixed upon the fallen figure of Archanis.

    "It is decided, then. Come, brother, let us watch as the future unfolds. The Archangel shall come, lured by the threat of darkness. He shall pass the infernal gates, and enter into the very depths of hell. The warrior of righteousness shall become the salvation of the damned. A trap we will spring, and a trap he will succumb to. What he knows shall churn the very balance by its core, and will begin a long journey to a terrible, unholy end. After so long, these Soulstones will show an end to our eternal conflict with the Angiris Council. I feel it. Let the Lesser Evils unite. Allow Belial and Azmodan to partner with Andariel and Duriel. Their treachery will be the key, and the undoing of the High Heavens. The Lesser Evils shall banish the Great, and we, in our Dark Exile, shall arise triumphant in the end!" Mephisto's arms stretched to the sky, as if already grasping the ultimate victory.

    "What do you plan to do with this one, then?" Baal asked, something sinister clearly going through his mind.

    "Nothing more awaits this one. He was but a small, but instrumental piece of information. What his thoughts held made him an asset, until now. I have no more use of him." Mephisto saw the look in Baal's eyes. "Keep him, if you wish."

    Images flashed through Archanis' disoriented mind. Pictures of torture, of insanity. Of succumbing to the darkness, and becoming one of the very things he fought against, defiant, greedy and proud. A right-hand to Baal, sending thousands, tens of thousands into the field of battle to massacre in his new master's name. Compared to the constant, intensifying pain he felt right now, even that would've been bliss. He was prepared. Fighting against the pain, he lifted his head just an inch, so he could stare into the eternal abyss that were the eyes of Baal.

    "...No, I have better toys to play with." Baal inspected Archanis one more time, smirking, before the flaming colors of hell and the smell of blood and guts invaded this dark corner of the worlds.

    Mephisto left, and Baal slid quickly after him through the gateway, still looking at Archanis, who was staring back blankly. As the rift closed, he could still see the last act of Baal, this last action to break him, and leave him shattered: With an evil grin on his face, Baal winked.

    The portal closed. Archanis' body went limp. The darkness encroached, filling up every corner and crevice it could get into. Only the dark pale shimmer of the tree and the soft, almost nonexistent glow of Archanis remained. And he was broken.

    It was dark, and he was alone.
    "We come to a conclusion when we're too bored to think on any longer."
  • #2
    Quote from deloctyte

    -------------------------
    A Feather Tilts the Scales
    I'll start by saying I really like the title of your story. I wonder if you came up with that expression yourself, but I really like it.


    Quote from deloctyte
    The city was burning, the light coating the ruins in an unearthly glow.
    Are they ruins now because they're burning or was this city already a ruin?

    Quote from deloctyte
    Archanis almost found it unsettling. The world of Sanctuary has always been something of an enigma to his kind. He knew not the name of the city or what drew him here. Not even Tyrael, the most rebellious and liberal of the High Council, knew of his descent from the High Heavens.
    Interesting except these last two sentences seem disorganized. You're saying he doesn't know what drew him to the city, but that even Tyrael did not even know of Archanis' descent. Do you see how these two facts seem strange being right next to each other in this particular place?

    Quote from deloctyte
    A very light flicker of doubt resonated in Archanis about coming here. Never before did he or, to his knowledge, anyone else of his kind felt the... resonation that was like a siren's call to him.
    While you are merely alluding here, you may wish to reword this a bit cause it's confusing nonetheless.

    Quote from deloctyte
    He was no great Archangel, leader of masses. Even his name, Archanis, was nothing more but what a small, insignificant creature entitled him with as he battled alongside his brothers on one of the million worlds against the encroaching beasts of Hell.
    Oof! Definitely reword this. It's difficult to follow such a long sentence.

    Quote from deloctyte
    That world couldn't stand the strain. Archanis wondered if Sanctuary would be any different, or if it would break like so many others have beforehand.
    I like this allusion. The idea that there are other worlds that the High Heavens have been involved in. I wonder if it was a mortal world or some other kind of place.

    Quote from deloctyte
    He raised what could be called his head.
    I think you could just say he raised his head. Most readers will know of the faceless visage you're referring to found on Tyrael.

    Quote from deloctyte
    The city still stood, if even just barely. No demon would leave anything standing if they had the power or the time they needed to break something down.
    But this city is still burning, right?

    Quote from deloctyte
    Archanis spread his wings of flame around himself, the long strands of unearthly energy emanating a tranquil light-blue glow, the blank staring eyes of the dozens of blood-stained and mutilated corpses spread on the ground dully reflecting it. He felt his corporal form, the androgynous humanoid shape covered in a dark-silver cloak slightly fade as he spread his senses into the depths of the city. Only death and decay met his ethereal gaze as he searched for that which called him here, of all places.
    Good execution of the details here. Quite nice.

    Quote from deloctyte
    Jor huddled in the remains of the first floor of some unfortunate soul's house. Its previous occupant was spread across the broken walls which now opened up to a square adorned with a fountain broken in two. The night sky was alight with the flames eating away at anything that was flammable within the district.
    You should make the assumption that your reader just know that the flames will get at whatever is inflammable. Or at least change the wording so it doesn't seem like you're explaining that so plainly to them.

    Quote from deloctyte
    Jor couldn't think. He lost his capacity for coherent thought once the darkness came and the roadside trenches were overflown with blood as if with water after a heavy rain. His instinct was what was driving him now, all flesh and bone, with rags as clothes. That, and the Whisper.
    That you are capitalizing this 'whisper' sort of implies that we might should know what it is already, thus you safely capitalize it.

    Quote from deloctyte
    It has been silent for over three hours now, and whatever was left of Jor was starting to get worried.
    You have a tendency to change your verb tenses when you shouldn't. Her for example when you really should just say, "It had been silent for..."

    Quote from deloctyte
    Suddenly, a beam of light shattered his incoherent stream of thoughts as well as his eyesight. He dug himself in even deeper into the ruins. When he slowly turned his face towards the square, he beheld something he couldn't comprehend.
    Be careful with your descriptions here. If my stream of thoughts were coherent and then shattered, then I might be in a state of incomprehension. But you are saying his incoherent stream of thoughts were shattered by a beam of light. If the incoherency is shattered, that would imply he is now thinking clearly. Know what I mean?

    Quote from deloctyte
    There, within the carnage, the bodies and the blood, stood a man....No, not a man, something... else. Not one of the beasts that devoured Jor's sanity but hours before, quite the opposite, yet it made Jor feel almost the same amount of unease as if...he? she?... was one of them.
    I think you are on to something good here. You have an opportunity to describe what it would be like for a mortal to witness an angel for the first time. Go a little deeper here in exploring Jor's perception of this thing before him.

    Quote from deloctyte
    The figure stood tall, his body concealed by a cloak the colour of midnight. His face, if he had any, was hidden in its shadows.
    When you say its shadows, are you referring to all of Archanis' shadows? Cause it sounds like you're just referring to the shadows made by his face. Do you see why you really need to be careful in descriptions such as these? Though admittedly they can be rather hard to pull off. I merely suggest you read some of this stuff out loud to yourself to help you identify snags like this.

    Quote from deloctyte
    >I CAN FEEL YOU, MORTAL. DO NOT TRY TO HIDE.
    This format you're using for dialogue seems a bit strange but I can roll with it.

    Quote from deloctyte
    The voice cut through Jor's skin, through the madness, through his very soul. It had no sound. It had no worldly context. Yet Jor could feel it right inside him, vibrating within him as if the town hall had collapsed again.
    Why as if the town had collapsed again? I thought your descriptions here were working quite well until that last part.

    Quote from deloctyte
    The Whisper returned. It was just a faint rumble at the moment, but it was back, a constant stream of incomprehensible murmurs scratching at the back of his head. Jor scrambled to the side, searching for something to hide behind. He found an almost intact table, lying limp on its side. Trying to remain as silent as he could, Jor shoved his back against the tabletop. His eyes were rolling in their sockets. He was getting the notion that the Whisper was feeling uneasy near this... being that was now looking for him.
    I guess what I like about this is that this whisper that acts as his survival instinct has serious misgivings about Archanis and that's pretty interesting.

    Quote from deloctyte
    Jor pounced forwards, next to another splattered corpse as a tendril made of... light and shadows grasped the table, and threw it aside.
    You need not use an ellipsis here for dramatic effect. Just make the descriptions and not always as if just from Jor's point of view. Cause the reader may be getting tired of all his confusion by now.

    Quote from deloctyte
    Already in mid-air, it burst into azure flames, disintegrating on the impact with a broken pillar. Jor turned around and beheld his strange, ethereal assailant. He, if it was indeed a he, was now in the air, his cloak of silver midnight slightly flapping against some sort of wind seemingly existent only to him, a small shine of some sort of armour flashing out every now and again from under the robes. What protruded from his shoulders were not wings, as Jor had originally thought, but the previously perceived tentacle-like appendages of pure light, shifting and swirling as if they really were wings of flame. The Whisper was definitely not liking this new horror in Jor's life, but as Jor tried to amble away to the side, and get as far away as possible from this... thing, the Whisper, as quietly as it could, kept pushing Jor's will away from his own limbs, just strong enough to keep the hapless human cowering in front of this celestial being. The Whisper seemed to be... waiting for something. Almost anticipating it. Jor's eyes widened as he felt his body betray him in favour of the so far benevolent Whisper. He felt that something horrible was about to happen.
    Well a lot is going on here and I can't tell what exactly is frustrating about it. You seem to have one method of describing things but then you shift to another perspective. I wanted to point it out each time but I was finding it too numerousness. Just, like I said before, take a step back and read some of this stuff out loud to yourself and you'll find obvious places where you need to clean things up.

    Quote from deloctyte
    Archanis stood above this little cowering bag of flesh. A simple being, whose mind felt even simpler than a usual mortal mind usually felt like. Even so, something about him, something within him was the very thing that drew Archanis to this desolate place. There was, however, also something that felt off, if even just barely so.
    This last sentence is unnecessary, isn't it? We know already something is off with him cause of this Whisper and you already explained it was even what seemed to be drawing Archanis near. Don't be afraid to cut the fat in situations like this. Please.

    Quote from deloctyte
    Something, just outlining the mental workings of this feeble mortal creature, was bothering him. It was something that could potentially get in the way of his goal, of his destination. Almost annoyed, if Angels are capable of such a thing, Archanis raised a hand towards the man, who gasped and seemed to shudder slightly.
    I am getting a bit frustrated now. You say "...if Angers are capable of such a thing.." Look, as a writer, you need to either assert that they do or do not feel frustration. Now if Jor was wondering whether or not Angels feel frustration, that's different because we're experiencing that from his point of view. But the way you wrote that there felt like just from the narrator's point of view, and why doesn't the narrator know? It's sort of like, make the assumptions about angels either on your own time or through the character itself. Otherwise it's just frustrating man and really distracting.

    > FEAR NOT, MORTAL. I WISH NOT TO HARM YOU.

    Quote from deloctyte
    Archanis broke through whatever mental barriers this... Jor had
    You've done it again with the ellipsis and now I think I must stop reading your story for now. Look, we know Jor is Jor. You don't need to refer to him as this...Jor! Why can't you just simply say something like, "Archanis broke through the last of Jor's mental barriers and began searching for the source of his unease."

    Anyway, I'll try and read more of this later. I'm sorry no one's commented on your story at all here. This place is only really a community to the extent that it likes to play forum games.
  • #3
    Agree with Siay, great title! I'll read it later when I get the chance.
    "I want to say something but I'll keep it to myself I guess and leave this useless post behind to make you aware that there WAS something... "
    -Equinox

    "We're like the downtown of the Diablo related internet lol"
    -Winged
  • #4
    Woah!

    I go away for a few days, and I find THIS waiting for me.

    Siaynoq, let me bow down before your awesome.

    Thing is, I'm slightly dyslexic, AND english is only my second language. It can, at times, cause a bit of a fuss. Funny thing is that a few friends of mine, one of whom is a professional english teacher in a university, didn't notice these little hiccups.

    Your points are many and varied, so it'll take a while for me to blargleblargle through them in tandom with finding solutions, but you've given me way more than I ever hoped for.

    + 1 interwebz.

    ...And yeah, the title was mine, but after a long-LOOONG brainstorm with family & Friends.

    Now, to read everonye else's stories, since I'm starting to have some free time! :D
    "We come to a conclusion when we're too bored to think on any longer."
  • #5
    Please understand though that the only reason I get frustrated is because I'm really interested in your story and I find most of it quite good. I nitpick at some things not for the sake of nitpicking but only cause they seem like issues that can be easily fixed. I didn't know English was your second language, however, so I'll keep that in mind when I finish reading your story.

    I think some things your professor may have missed though could just be due to not knowing a lot about Diablo since many of my criticisms were on the amount of assumptions you fail to make about the average Diablo fan.
  • #6
    I'm back, and please pardon me for STILL not reading the other stories.
    Life became difficult, the greasy little bugger, but what with this hitting the front page and all for some reason, I felt like I had to post a reply to you, good sir, after all this while. :D

    First off, please remember that I had to write for anyone who might've read it once I submitted the tale. As such, there was no guarantee that said person knows any of the Diablo lore at all. That's why it might feel a bit redundant when I stomp a fact again and again into the reader's mind for some. They know how things work in Diablo. Others do not. :)

    Ofcourse, I ask for no quater when it comes to english, since I've been fluent in it for quite some time. Fire away with all of your power when it comes to spelling or gramatical mistakes. It's the only way I can advance.

    Anywho, if you had a hand in it, thanks for getting me into the community watch, Siaynoq. I owe you one! ^^
    "We come to a conclusion when we're too bored to think on any longer."
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