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Thread: Writing Sample Archive (no posting please!)

  1. #1
    Humble Farmer With a Sword balam acab's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Nova Scotia

    Writing Sample Archive (no posting please!)


    Etched in hard stone on the horizon was the Shrine of Worship, a structure so tall it nearly blotted out the sun if viewed at right angle. It withstood the test of time and the elements, festooned in moss and vines and lichen all atangle. The exile tyrant remembered seeing it for the first time, a majestic construct wrought in runes of the past. Though his hands were fettered and his soles wet and laden in mold, he marveled at its anatomy. That night was black and rain drummed the earth like a dirge heralding his sentence. The aumildar himself escorted Yeaman, the exile tyrant, to the Forbidden Lands to oversee his exile and guarantee that their ventures weren't in vain.

    The rain lashed against Yeaman's face and stung like a thousand tiny needles. He gazed upward, fearful, at the aumildar in his queer ceremonial robe. He wore plate and pauldron alike—an unorthodox attire for a priest—and raised his gloved hands to the black sky. In a flash of white light the fallen bridge rose stone by fallen stone. It was as if hundreds of invisible hands were re-securing each in sequence—first the scaffolding then the stone platforms until the bridge was restored to its ancient glory. "Escort him to the shrine," Yeaman remembered the aumildar command."

    That was the last he saw of the Great Bridge until he crossed it. They robbed him of his consciousness and chaperoned him across the bridge with their tapers and torches and brought him to the summoning chambers as the Shrine's postern at the food of a serpentine stair the climbed into the shrine's highest reaches and ascended into its belly. He awoke then, fetterless, without his weapons, food or water. The great stone cistern he climbed out of had an eerie feel to it and he made haste exploring the remainder of the shrine. Chilled to the bone and half-nude he observed the lofty corridor lined with eight broken stone idols on either side. They laid in ruin as if they'd been pummeled by a stone giant.

    For once, Yeaman un Rusko, a nefarious warlord, usurper and tyrant, was frightened. The idols, the black sky, the lingering and hollow feeling of desolation ... he was but an ant in an empty world that was evidently built for giants.

    That was virtually three years ago. Now Yeaman wore an impressive fur garb crafted from animal pelts and lizard skins. The air of solidarity wasn't quite as menacing as it was during his first year here, but from time to time he found himself pining for what he once had. The men and women he took into his bed, the extortionate meals and most of all, the battle. However, the only battles he found here were those of hunger.

    After a day of hunting he returned to his the Shrine of Worship which was his home for years. He'd cleared out one of the niches where a fallen idols lay and made it into his haunt. He found that night was falling now; the high ceiling in the shrine coupled with the wind made for eerie sounds at night, but Yeaman learned to smother them with his animal pelts and shield himself from the black world outside of his safe haven. Some nights he heard sounds coming from the Summoning Chambers and oft investigated to find absolutely nothing. Some nights they were so loud he brought his weapon with him—a flint spear—for protection, but their was naught a soul or demon in sight.


    They were queer things, dreams; each vivid and nostalgic - Dave often found himself longing to experience them, yet he lacked the biological synapses to bring them fruition. Before Prometheus departed on its voyage, he expressed his interest in dreams to the vessel's lead engineer. Although discreet, he requested that she develop a program that simulated a sequence of visions similar to a human dream. Initially she balked at the request, but his curiosity was enough to inspire her. After being ejected thousands of miles into outer space, a minuscule side project wouldn't hinder their principle directive.

    Mid-though Dave glanced down through the lambent glow of his visor and into a tubular containment pod. Doctor Shaw laid motionless there save for the occasional smile that would pull her lips, likely in response to her dreams. He found himself gravitating to her more than the other passengers - Dr. Holloway seldom dreamt at all and Meredith Vickers' display console was in need of repair. He'd likely commission Ammon to repair it when she awoke from stasis, but he hadn't the slightest clue as to when her, she, or any of the crew. would wake.

    When he grew uninterested in Dr. Shaw's dreams, Dave spent the days circling the recreation room on a bicycle or dabbled in basketball. Though his interests appeared mundane, they kept him quite entertained, and he often went about his chores with a broad smile on his face. His evenings would culminate as most did: with a bowl of a porridge-like nutrient meant to entreat viscosity in his fluids. Ship maintenance was drab so he took to learning languages, one in specific that his superior petitioned him to master. Despite his agenda, Dave managed to have some semblance of fun, sometimes watching 50's films stored in the ship's video archives.

    At first he found himself tentatively counting the weeks that passed, but they steadily became a blur, growing into months and immutable years. Luckily Dad didn't program him to experience boredom or he'd have driven himself mad during the third month.

    Virtually two years, four months and eighteen days later, Dave was making his routine rounds when he happened across something unusual. As he meandered down a corridor the light bleeding from the fixtures overhead caught the moisture in a series of watery footprints. Curious, Dave followed, ending his pursuit in a spacious chamber with fittings that chased shadows into their respective corners. In the dead center of the room was Meredith Vickers, his superior. He eyed her for a moment, deciding against interrupting her fitness regimen - albeit a very misplaced one. He fetched her robe as any loyal servant would, keeping safe distance as not to irk her.

    "Have there been any casualties?" Dave watched her shrug into her robe.

    "Casualties?" he quipped.

    "Has anyone died."

    He half expected her bark, thus, he was equipped with a retort. "No Mom," he replied gently, "Everyone is fine."

    She scoffed. "Then wake them."


    Being so many leagues from Pala was queer in every sense of the word. The soil not nearly as irriguous as the earth that sucked at the soles of nomads venturing through the nefarious Palan mangroves. Instead of ancient ivory-hued weeping willows grabbing for the heavens, gnarled redstone arches loomed about like gateways heralding the hell ahead. The elders claimed that the vagabonds who first settled on their archipelago were bred from the dunes; that sand was in their blood, but the elders aged, as did their stipulations. Saltwater was their blood now. Even so, that, along with the genuine fluid coursing through their veins, was spilled when a galley of foreigners invaded their shores. How they braved the mangroves was well beyond cognizance, but they came with the fury and the belligerence of several thousand tidal waves.

    The triumvirate - Pala's council composed of what they called the Mind, the Body and the Soul - was ill equipped to defend against intruders let alone their siege weapons. They smuggled materials in skiffs and rowboats, riding the current downstream until the mangrove opened into colossal estuary bordered by Pala's walls. In the mires near its postern they erected trebuchets and ballistas to frighten the indigenous. When the bulwark was breached the queen surrendered, begging that the invaders take her in the stead of her people. However, their avaricious miens revealed a far more insidious agenda. They abducted the queen and enslaved the locals; those who resisted were slaughtered and had their corpses disposed of in mires. That fateful eve the caimans feasted like kings and never did regicide taste so savory.

    But there were no caimans here; no crocodiles stalking the cacti or catfish flopping helpless in the sands. There was, however, a ramshackle wagon escorting questionable cargo. From time to time a man - one who was dressed unusually warm for the desert climate - would guide his destrier about the wagon's flank to inspect the coffle of slaves trundling behind. The slaves could not tell which was fiercer: the mercenary and his black eyes limned with kohl or his fearsome steed whose chamfron was gilded with a pair of ivory stag horns. He was in no mood to ingratiate with Andre and his lackeys nor had he planned to; he was hired to escort the slaves to a weystation where he'd collect his compensation and and shove off in search of yet another vocation.

    As he reeled his mount about the wagon, he noted a woman among the army of marching skeletons. She was not nearly as wizened as the others but equally - if not more - listless. Her hair was in mats, just as dark as a starless eve. "Yaeman!" he heard a voice bellow. Yaeman tore his eyes from her and adverted his gaze, scowling as his co-worker strode aside him. "How many are ill? We would have you dispose of those who threaten to contaminate the rest of the cargo." Mercenary or no, Yaeman always cringed when slaves were referred to as "cargo" or "freight". After the years he grew impartial to the caption but on the odd day the words sounded as galling as a flock of screeching vultures.

    "I have not counted," Yaeman grunted in reply, "And I will not. I was told to watch." His hand tightened around his whip. "A job I will see to completion."

    The mercenary who approached him, a dour young man with an open sore weeping on his cheek, stifled his growl through gritted teeth. He was hired in Oyour, a mercantile trade city south of the Neck. When Andre and his guerilla passed through, Oyour was suffering a plague. There was a dearth supply of triage responders or maesters experienced enough to thwart such foreign ailments. In fact, it came as a surprise to Oyouri mercenaries that Andre would even fathom recruiting them as they were vessels festering with sores and boils ripe and ready to burst. Despite their hindrances, the mercenaries equipped themselves with pain-numbing unguents and vervain, marching dutifully aside their employer with fantasies of coin swimming in their skulls.

    "There's ought to be about a dozen sick ones," another Oyouri said, sniffing, "I'd say we put 'em out of their misery now. Why risk contaminating the others?" As they marched to the wagon's rear, a child peered lawlessly at them from behind a dying man. Her eyes were wide and innocent, like two cloudy amber marbles polished to perfection.

    "That one don't look sick," the Oyouri with the open sore on his cheek said, "She looks well enough to walk. Give her manacles some slack and get her walkin'. The little ones fetch a pretty penny in the pleasure houses."

    As they bickered, the child kept herself ensconced among the ill. Their moans and dirges of agony garbled the Oyouris voices though their odd manner of speaking was equally as anguished as the sobs of those around her. From time to time she stole a glance at her aunt - she lead the coffle with a column of two others and showed no sign of tiring. The woman rivaled the Oyouri sellswords in height and towered over a handful of female slaves, garbed in sooty black linens and as barefoot as her nameday. Her aunt was a Palan woman in every facet - shapely, black of hair and vulpine. "Alyamut," the child heard her aunt growl, "Head down." The girl, Alyamut, longed to hear her aunt's sonorous voice and its sweet, low knell. On the archipelago she would tell stories to the children under the oldest tree on the islands. Alyamut remembered the magic in the air, how the willow trees bled cottony tufts that showered the children in a blanket of white and how the fire would spew embers that resembled kaleidoscopic fragments of glass.

    But those days were dead. Pala was in shambles, the triumvirate divided and the queen sold to the most reputable brothel this side of the Sandsea. Even as she daydreamed Alyamut did as she was bid. Meanwhile, her aunt, often called Ammon by the Palan slaves, drudged on. Each step was more grueling than the last and sent sharp pangs up and down her heels as if she were stomping on a bed of spines. She was mid-step as a man approached her, though try as she might to ignore him, his persistence proved effective. She found his inquiry somewhat ironic - Palan was the language taught to her virgin tongue, but merchants and scholars from across the Sandsea shared their dialects quite zealously. Ammon came to master the common tongue after years of extensive study, often dabbling in lesser argot spoken by subjacent Palan castes.

    Instead of answering she remained silent. Her almond shaped eyes remained half-lidded heralding her nonchalance, full lips pressed in a hard line as a means to endure her agony. Though Ammon was often an aloof, she cared deeply for children. "I can end her torment," Ammon whispered, "But cure her ...? You should pray to your gods for mercy." She ducked her head down in time for Yaeman to flank the wagon. "Silence!" he bellowed; his voice cracked like the whip he sported and was thunderous enough to split fissures in the earth. His destrier whickered, great black nostrils aflare as its master unfurled his weapon. The whip was a fine make, festooned with nine cat tails at its end, created for breaking skin. Yaemon steered his mount, let the whip lash as a warning, then re-assumed his position.

    When Yaemon vanished aside a wayn Ammon noted one of the Oyouri legionnaires' satchel. It was brimming with fresh vervain; the violet blossoms were well known to her - she often prepared unguents with their stalks which thwarted fever. The handful of the Oyouri sellswords were festering with infection, like to have adopted fever from the plague that choked their settlement. A notion swept through her head. "The Oyouri has vervain."

  2. #2
    Humble Farmer With a Sword balam acab's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Nova Scotia


    Behemoth was a commandeered Bloodsail vessel mired along one of Tanaris' southernmost beaches. Although the beach itself was sundered, the cog's crew found no difficulty navigating through the heaps and mounds of churned sand and earth left askew by the Destroyer. In fact, they frequented the strand as assumed by the eskers dredged in the sandy knolls, but not to scavenge—to survey.

    Leading the patrol was a bandy troll with biceps the size of barrels. He marched through the remains of the beach flanked by two Sandfury skullsplitters, each dusted in a noticeable veil of sand. “The beach has been empty for weeks, mon,” put in one of the Skullsplitters, “Ain't nobody been 'ere before the Sundering and nobody after, except for us. It's safe, I'd bet my right tusk.”

    “The one dat be missin'?” His partner howled with laughter and pointed, mockingly, at him. “Ya can't bet whatcha ain't got, mon!” Before their bickering worsened, the largest of the trio snorted, meriting the attention of his subordinates.

    “We won't wait any longer, 'den,” he grunted, “Return to Zul'Farrak and summon 'da delegates. If 'da Messiah wants this moot to happen, now is 'da best time.”

    Some hours later, when the sun was at its zenith, the Behemoth was riding the waves northeast of Tanaris, but not so far from Kalimdor that the shores were entirely unnoticeable. The captain—a windburnt troll with flesh toughened by sea spray—shielded his eyes from the sun while his left hand gently passed over the cog’s binnacle. The hand on the compass was teetering north, a direction which he abhorred traveling in—truth be told, naga were as thick as bass in these waters. He had seen many a vessel succumb to their numbers or felled by the seawitches and their ice magic.

    “Captain,” a troll called. He was the very same that lead the patrol on the beach. “Have you seen Vis—”

    The captain spat; chagrin straddled the corner of his lips and forced them into a sour scowl. “Vis’eera? The naga? ‘Aye, the shaman has him workin’. Last I saw, he slithered off the deck into the depths. Gods be good, he’ll stay ‘dere.” The captain, bristling, stroked the length of his tusk as a means of pacification. “Da shaman’s a clever woman, Tazingo, I know dat … but wit ain’t no match for instinct. Ya know dat tinglin’ ya get in your tusks when somethin’ bad s’about ta happen? … Bad juju, mon. Bad juju.”

    Tazingo couldn’t help but to chuckle; his laugh was a hearty laugh, thunderous and good natured. As a response he gently clasped the captain’s shoulder and gave him a reassuring pat. “Maybe ‘da years at sea have made ya a little too salty, mon.”

    “And maybe ‘da years in ‘da dessert have made you too complaisant. Ya never listened to me when was younger and ya ain’t listenin’ to me now.”

    A strident, wet slap on the vessel’s deck caused all heads to turn. Half of the deckhands watched on in horror while others brandished their scabbards and scimitars. “Hold,” Tazingo commanded. The resulting splash had flattened his mohawk against his skull and smeared the warpaint which once daubed his long, prominent nose and well across his cheeks.

    The culprit—the creature that was responsible for provoking a fearsome torrent of seawater—was a naga. His scales, a splendid dyad of cream and coral, glimmered under the sun’s golden fingers as he hoisted himself on the deck. By then the deckhands had retreated to their respective chores, weapons sheathed and horrified miens left nonchalant as they had been before.

    “Vis’eera,” Tazingo beamed, “What’s da verdict?”

    Vis’eera dawdled; he washed his hands over his snout to purge arrant beads of seawater. Everything about him was magnificent, from the length of his spines to his whiskers, each bejeweled in niello and silver. “The naga surrounding Alcaz have agreed to disperse,” Vis’eera reported, “On the agreement that no harm is to befall their fetishes or banners. They have made it quite apparent that the islet is … theirs … and will act accordingly in response to whatever harm befalls their accouterments.”

    When the Messiah first governed Zul’Farrak she allowed the naga exile Vis’eera citizenship. Though the Sandfury bridled over his extrication, she welcomed him with open arms and even entreated him with a seat on her council aside Tazingo, Zul’Farrak’s champion and most notable war veteran during the city’s first siege. As the year transgressed Vis’seera’s affinity for wisdom and obsequious mien earned the people’s trust. He became the Messiah’s adviser and a very close friend.

    While Vis’eera and Tazingo commiserated, the crew began assembling the tools for disembarking. Two trolls hurried up from below deck with a gangplank while others began adjusting the sails accordingly. Like clockwork, the winds caught the sails and inflated them with an unseen fervor.

    “Strange,” Vis’eera began, “I have not seen the waters so still since the Destroyer was felled. It is a queer sight, one I am certainly not opposed to.”

    “It’s strange, I agree,” Tazingo quipped, noting the abandoned island glide into view, “You’ll forgive me for interruptin’ your moment of nostalgia … but where is ‘da Messiah?”

    Vis’eera laughed.

    “Why, she’s already there.”


    His brother's one folly was to allow Saxa to draw his attention. Sedullus, being the behemoth of an opportunist he was, roped his massive arms around Agron's waist and drew him over his head as if he were a sack of flour. In fact, to Sedullus, he felt like one - rough hewn flesh tortured by battles and elements similar to burlap and equally as weightless and like the flour itself. "Our brothers, they do not lie!" he cried, "You are soft!" He flexed his biceps and brought Agron barreling into the earth in a cloud of stirred dust and sand. The Germans gasped - some even jeering - while tightening their circle around the duel.

    Saxa's incoherent profanity drowned the others' hollers, inspiring Sedullus to bring an end to their good-natured one-on-one. His hand, equipped with bone crushingly thick fingers, furled into a fist so tight that his knuckles whitened. Just before he connected it with Agron's jaw, Saxa intervened. Although a sinewy, scantily clad wildcat, Saxa proved efficient in her persuasive skills, however virulent they may have been. "Stop!" she screamed, though her voice was absent any concern towards Agron's well being, "The winner is evident! I wish for new contest!"

    She gestured to Ammon who was perched upon the temple's highest stair noshing on a handful of dry blackberries. She and Nasir had quietly conversed among themselves before Saxa's boast sent the Germans roiling. To Ammon, her challenge reminded her of foreign Roman language when her mind first came to process it. "A contest?" Donar suddenly inveighed. He was sharing conversation with Horrus, but felt heavily intrigued with Saxa's challenge. "She has challenged you, Ammon," he chuckled, wriggling his nose at the wall of cinnamon ensnaring her, "It would be unwise to decline."

    "And unwise to challenge her," Nasir harped in response. Ammon didn't seem as enthused.

    "Hesitation? You were not as hesitant this morning! Fight me, sandskin! Show me that you are suitable as our sister, not simply Agron's whore!" A series of murmurs and mocking chortles broke out among the Germans. Ammon looked to Donar expecting translation, grinning from ear to ear. "She called you a whore," he conveyed, flatly.

    Though his translation was years from precise, Ammon assumed position regardless. Words were just that - words. Sounds mean to convey gestures and emotions, they never broke skin or cleaved bone. Seldom had she been moved to react to a taunt, but the Germans' raucous nature awoke a sleeping lion within her. As she began unfastening her shawls, the cheers rippled through the circle, even Donar and Mira added to the cacophony. When Ammon wore nothing less then her bandeau and her trousers, Saxa knew that her challenge was accepted.

    Ammon welcomed the sensation of sand on her bare feet again, however cool it may have been. It was a sight to behold, two wild women with untamed manes hued flax and coal, one sinewy and emaciated in stature, the other shapely and womanly at every curve. For a breath, as Saxa turned to ignite the crowd, Ammon trained her gaze upon Agron and smiled.


    From her haunt Meraad observed the battle through her trained eyes. She knew of ogres and their makings - they were the children of tainted kossith that were abducted and made broodmothers by the darkspawn. Though she was human, she lamented; the female kossith had her sympathy: she was about to slaughter their children.

    One of the beasts lumbered forward with several arrows distended from its chest cavity, clutching an avaraad as if he were a weightless sack of flour. The orge sniffed him then howled, casting spittle and saliva all over the soldier. The stench from their exhale cloyed the entire grotto. It was a foul, intrusive odor reminiscent of fetid, rotting flesh, sulfur and shit. It was the qunari's last whiff before the orge crushed him with one fell clutch of a fist. Meraad could hear his sternum and ribs crack like a heel to a twig. The ogre threw him; his corpse hit the stone with a sickening thud and rolled off of an escarpment into the unexplored depths below. "Meraad, we are not equipped to fell these beasts," put in one of the soldiers, "We should retreat." Meraad, suddenly enraged, jabbed the butt of her staff into his abdomen which subsequentially whisked him off his feat and onto the ground. Despite the turmoil around her, Meraad was given an objective.

    "We were sent to meet a demand of the Qun," she said flatly, "The demand will be met." It was customary for the qunari to slay their own then and there, however, Meraad did not want to further jeopardize their mission. Just as she was finished admonishment, the ogre called out in agony. A human appeared and felled the beast - rather than be relieved, Meraad was infuriated. The qunari in her party were beaten and bloody with numbers falling to less than Meraad could count on both hands, but she would not be encumbered by a concourse of arrant mercenaries.

    As the remaining qunari composed themselves, Meraad rifled through the dead for signs of life. One soldier with a sword through his shoulder was salvagable, but the others were simply corpses now. She knelt into the dust and wrapped her fingers around the blade. "Breathe," she said calmly. The qunari did as he was bid; though he resembled stone, unwavering and nonchalant, she could sense his fear when she clutched the bastard sword's hilt. In one clean pull the weapon was on the ground and her hands, now soiled in the soldier's blood, were clamped over the wound. He gnashed his teeth quietly behind his lips as a mean to cope with the agony while Meraad reached the satchel strapped on her backside and produced a material for a poultice.

    "You are unwelcome here," snarled a soldier to the human. "Leave."

    Meanwhile, Meraad prepared her cataplasm with a small mortar. She was not a healer nor had she ever had any intention to be and Ariqun's priests were unavailable to venture into the Deep Road's with them. "Sit up." Again, the qunari complied. She poured a mouthful of water from her waterskin into the mortar and ground the flax until it was porous enough to be applied like an ointment. Though he winced during application, the qunari was altogether tractable. As she began to unroll a spool of linen, she commanded the soldier in Qunlat. He understood her interdiction and retreated to the battlefield where he collected useful items from the dead.

    "Take your party and find another path to travel," she called out to the ogre-slayer, "We have claimed this." The earth beneath her began to rumble. It was curt, nothing unusual for the Deep Roads, so she neglected the notion. Another short rumble followed. Again, she paid it no mind. When her patient was strong enough to stand, Meraad did so also. She grasped her staff and planted it firmly in the earth; arrant sparks danced from it, warning those nearby that it was a powerful conductor for destructive magic spells. "I will not give you a second warning. Panahedan."

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