Topic: The Forgotten Dark

So this is what I've been working on and off for the last... well... couple of years, as some of the oldest topics on this very message board can attest to. I've finally come to a world and a group of characters I feel are interesting and cool enough to write at length about, and write I shall. I don't want to give too much away, but the basic synopsis I would sell this project as would be:

A wandering tribe of magic-wielding nomads. A flying city held aloft by the power of steam. And a centuries old conspiracy that will entwine their fates forever.

Here's a rough first chapter.

Chapter 1

    The sun beat down Adanna’s neck as she watched her best friend rush into the jaws of death with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. Her new tattoo on her left shoulder, a grand sunburst pattern sketched out over a week, still ached as she clung to the fallen remains of an ancient ruin. She was well out of the range of their quarry’s scent, but her companion knew it was there.

    Adanna had always called her Kwee, a childhood nickname that stuck well into their adult lives. Kwee was taller than Adanna, and much larger in build, so it was harder for her to hide in the tall grass around the ruin, but her lithe grace somehow kept her hidden. Adanna peeked over the old and crumbling stone to catch a glimpse of the three long scars that ran down Kwee’s back, a reminder of one of their first hunts and the dangers of the wild, ruined world.

    “Careful!” she whispered to her friend, who was slowly removing a hand axe from her belt. Kwee didn’t reply, she just nodded and crept forward.
    Not one hundred feet before the two women was a majestic stag. Old and proud, his antlers stood gigantic over his large head. He was the prime male of all the deer in the area, and would make a fine coat for the coming winter, as well as a great amount of meat. He stood near a small pond that was once a beautiful fountain, taking short laps of water before scanning his surroundings once more.

    Kwee kept low and removed a knife from the same belt, arming herself in both hands. She made no noise as she moved through the grass, keeping with the shifting late-summer winds and afternoon sun. Her hard leather armor was just the right shade of tan to keep her outline completely broken in the field. If Adanna wasn’t already aware her best friend was in the field in front of her, she would have sworn it was empty. Adanna wasn’t nearly the hunter or fighter her friend was, but she made up for it in other ways. Ways that had saved their lives multiple times. Adanna’s nerves began to fray as she waited for Kwee to finish her grisly work. She knew it wasn’t necessary for her to be there while her friend did what she was best at, but they both enjoyed the other’s company, and it was always smart to watch someone’s back when alone in the ruins. Adanna let a small spark of flame dance between her fingertips as she waited for the curt call of a dying stag and the joyful whoop of triumph Kwee always bellowed when she was done.

    Kwee was only two steps away from her quarry. Two more steps and she would be able to pounce and finally finish her task. In her mind, she already had the scenario finished, and ran it over and over as she inched forward. She would leap out from the grass with a powerful kick, sending her the last few feet toward the stag like a hawk swooping down on prey. Her arms would be folded at her sides, and extend halfway through the jump, aiming precisely for the giant animal’s throat. She would use the momentum of the jump to do the actual work while her sharp blades pierced the tough skin of the beast. Then, in one quick motion, she would drop to the ground and roll out of the way as the stag’s blood began to stain the ground around him. A quick and clean kill befitting such a grand creature.

    Two steps.

    One step.

    Kwee’s knuckles turned white as she took in a quick breath and prepared to jump. The stag had no idea these gulps of water would be his last…

    And then Kwee felt herself being shoved into the hot summer ground like a toy, a massive weight smashing itself onto her back and forcing her face into the sun-baked ground. She could feel sharp and deadly claws grip into her flesh as the new thing used her as a springboard. It only took her a moment to realize it, too, was after the stag.

    Adanna had been completely unaware of the lioness also stalking the old deer until it leapt out of the grass and onto Kwee. It was pure luck the cat had chosen that spot to pounce, and thus land directly onto her best friend, but Adanna knew the impact must have been jarring. In less than a second, however, the lion was on top of the stag and had its powerful jaws clenched around the bigger creature’s neck. Even from a hundred feet away Adanna could hear the sounds of bone breaking underneath the skin and fur.
    Fearing for Kwee, Adanna didn’t think as she sprung from her hiding spot and ran toward the fighting beasts. Running one hundred feet only took a few seconds, it seemed, to the hours it took Kwee to slowly stalk them. Adanna spared one look down to see Kwee slowly getting up, a couple of deep gashes just beginning to ooze blood stood out on her back, but she was ok. She had to take care of the lioness before it ran off with their prize or decided to turn on her injured friend.

    Adanna took a deep breath as she got closer to the titanic duel. The stag was quickly losing consciousness in the lion’s grip, but was still wildly trying to strike at his tormenter. Adanna took in a deep breath, calming herself to the chaos around her and closed her eyes. She could hear the soft winds, the stag’s tortured breathing, and Kwee struggling to stay conscious from the mighty blow. She could feel the currents of power around her, invisible and intangible, but very real. She only had to pluck one like a string.
    Like a bolt of lightning, the power flowed from Adanna and straight toward the lioness, singeing its fur and causing no small amount of pain. She had no intention of killing the predator, but she made very sure that it knew it was unwise to stick around the watering hole. Likewise, Adanna directed a portion of it toward the stag, to his head and worst injuries, making sure he passed without more pain. It was lightning without thunder, an electrical surge that served two purposes for its mistress.

    And as quickly as she drew upon that power, Adanna let it go, letting the currents of the world go back to normal and back into balance. She opened her eyes to see the lioness running away, her tail down and looking very dazed from the shock. The stag’s corpse was still, finally lifeless and ready to be taken home.    

    Quickly, she turned around to Kwee, who was unsteadily climbing to her feet. Adanna rushed to her side and offered her arm.

    “Did you really need to be so flashy about it?” Kwee grumbled as she stood, using Adanna’s offered had more for courtesy than actual need. If there was one thing to be said about Kwee, she was one of the most self-reliant people Adanna had ever known.

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t know being knocked on your face was the way you were gonna bring them both down.”

    Kwee smiled, “Well maybe it was. Too bad you had to go play hero and ruin it.”

    “Well next time a lion comes out of nowhere and almost kills you, I’ll just sit back and watch your masterful skills.”

    The two began to laugh as relief began to wash over the pair like a gentle rain. Kwee’s back still looked painful, but Adanna knew she would rather keep the eventual scars than let her magic heal them away, another reminder that there are still better predators out in the wilds.

    “Come on, maybe you can use some of those flashy powers to help us get this big guy ready to take back home.”

    Adanna smiled and pulled a knife from her own belt, and crouched down next to her friend as they got to work on their prize.


Re: The Forgotten Dark

First of all sorry for the late reply.

Now this is a very interesting piece and as all good openers gives just enough info to entice and not enough to grow bored.  The descriptive prose flows rather nicely throughout. One thing I would be a bit concerned about is the dialogue; it doesn't fully mesh with the overall style. The wording feels a bit too modern, so to speak, to accompany the style of society one glimpse through the characters. I'm not saying that you should try to make the dialogue into standard fantasy formal speak but a bit less modernity would work better in my opinion.

That said, nicely written. Can't wait to read more  big_smile

You will never come up against a greater adversary than your own potential