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Dullahan

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Doctor Clock, Mar 17, 2006. | Replies: 6 | Views: 1802

  1. Doctor Clock

    Doctor Clock IncGamers Member

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    Dullahan

    Well, this is my first posting here, so hello all. Here is part of a story I have been working on. Its non-fan fiction, but definitely Diablo inspired.

    Dullahan’s dreams were dark and terrible. There were flames. Flames rising to towering heights, an immense wall of fire that chased the shadows away. The burning heat was searing his flesh and melting his mind and he let out great screams, but those too were ignited and set ablaze even as they left his mouth. The fire found a way inside him and was scorching him from within.

    Then he became aware of something lurking in the flames, a shifting shape, something watching, and its gaze burned and was more piercing than the flames. Then it turned away. Through the flames strode two figures. The shape took them and tears welled in Dullahan’s eyes only to boil on his face, though he knew these men not.

    It became black, then. He saw a mountain, tall and sheer it was, frowning upon him, its lifeless peak seemed to penetrate the sky. He attempted to stagger back, away from the mountain, his face as ashen pale as its lofty slopes. Some power slumbered therein, though it seemed neither malicious nor benign. He reached out his hand to touch it though he could not have said why, but it was gone.

    Down a twisting cavern he stared now, ringed by jagged crags. It was dark and bleak and descended deep into the earth. His eyes attempted to navigate the darkness, but it was unyielding. Horror dwelled there, and Suffering, and the two mingled together in the blackness, spawning more of their twisted brood to torment the earth. The darkness leapt out and enveloped him.

    A clamorous din arose, and he beheld a feast. Strange, unearthly shapes scattered and scurried about, speaking in raspy, harsh tongues that Dullahan could not hope to understand. There was something large bound to a table. Goblets, plates and burning candles were strewn about. It was a man! They cut and tore him and their eyes glowed as they engorged upon his flesh. The mans’ head lolled to the side and Dullahan looked upon his face. It was his own shoulder-length, black hair, his own long, lean face, and his own sea-grey eyes that Dullahan stared into. The eyes, they pulled him in. He was no longer staring at himself, but staring up. He tried to move but his hands were bound, now, and he was ringed with gnashing teeth and groping claws.

    Dullahan awoke, soaked with sweat, cold and clammy. The cold stirred a shiver within him, and the memory of the dream made him shiver again. The dreams, they haunted his nights like winter is haunted with the cold. He had fallen asleep again; it was midday by now.

    His hands were clenched tightly, knuckles white with lack of blood, as if they gripped something and dared not let go. Clutch something they did. In his right hand he held his battle-hammer, that old instrument of war. The soft, smooth straps of leather felt familiar and almost comforting in his hand, like ones’ own bed after many nights of travel.

    “Why am I holding you?†he asked the hammer, not expecting an answer, but asking all the same.

    His eyes traced the hammer’s long, metal handle; its intricate rune-work, fashioned over the years by lore masters long faded from memory. Dullahan had given much on his quest for battle supremacy. The Hammer’s head, forged from some mysterious black metal dearly bought shattered dissenters like his breath shattered the silence.

    He looked about. His bed, bundled hay atop slats of wood, was in a state of thrashed disarray. His sleep had been less than peaceful. His heart beat loudly in the silent of the night, a thumping midnight drummer. The cold, rough wooden floor, creaked uneasily as he shifted his weight.

    Many times before he had found himself standing in his room after his dreams. His mind was not the only thing that wander when he slept. His eyes strayed back to the hammer, though.

    “Why am I holding you?†he repeated. “I haven’t seen you in many years. Did I go digging under my bed in my sleep?â€

    Looking at it now, he could still hear the screams of the defenseless people, the blood of the innocent. All blood looked the same to him, though, and how his eyes glistened when he saw it flowing. A twinge of guilt struck him, making his gut churn as if in discomfort and he felt a pressure in his throat. That is why he kept the hammer locked away. It brought things up that he couldn’t put down.

    He felt thirsty, so he went to fetch some water before returning to bed. For a moment, he paused, turning back to his bed feeling he should put the hammer away.

    “No,†he thought. “I’ll hold you for just a little while longer. It has been so long, and it wouldn’t hurt if it is for only a moment,†Dullahan hesitated and then gave a nod, agreeing with himself at length.

    He made it three steps toward his door and there was a great tremor and everything began to shake. His house moaned and creaked with disapproval and the thudding in his chest pounded away and his ears were filled with the sound of rumbling and his own blood racing through his veins.

    A panel of wood came clattering down, striking the floor with a snap and a rattle. Dullahan’s roof above began to shift and droop dangerously. No more incentive was needed to bolt out the door. Stumbling as he ran, he gave a curse, and though he didn’t notice it, Dullahan clutched the hammer tightly, holding it defensively, ready to swing at even a shred of threat.

    He flung the door open, darting outside. Wind assailed him with little spears of cold, their sting stabbing at his fingers, nose and ears, attacking where he was weakest, and the sky was darkned by many clouds. Lightning began to lash the sky like long white whips and Dullahan stood only feet from his house, bewildered, staring wide eyed and gaping. The earth continued shaking and his house tilted and swaggered like a drunk, before finally collapsing, vomiting dust and debris into gusty air. Dullahan ducked and covered his face as his house collapsed and he could feel tiny splinters bouncing off his flesh. As if some cruel gods were satisfied with thoroughly destroying Dullahan’s house, the earth calmed.

    Still the winds blew. All over his flesh Dullahan could feel his skin become taught and his hair standing on end. Lightning still smote the sky and he ducked each time, as if he feared the lords of the sky might strike him at any moment, and Dullahan raised his hammer above his head, ready to deflect the blow. He almost felt compelled to weep, not nearly so much for the loss of his house, which had yet to fully impact him, but out of sheer confusion.

    If Dullahan’s mind was puzzled before, it was thrown into an innavigateable labyrinth with what happened next. A stroke of lightning lashed the sky, lighting all the land as if the sun had peered through the clouds for only a moment. The shock of it sent Dullahan sprawling. A boom followed the lightning, rumbling and reverberating, shaking the ground, as if the sky itself had been ruptured and was shattering above. Dullahan covered his ears and winced through the deafening noise, fidgeting his feet and curling his body into a little ball, coddling the hammer now like a child holds close a favored toy. The sky then turned red, as if it were in the throes of a bloody death, and was splattering its gore down upon the earth. Tears finally began to well in Dullahan’s eyes and he wept. His breaths coming in sobbing gasps, soaked with tears. Had all of Tamrost set out to destroy him this night?

    As if in answer to his fears, the earth began to shake again. Dullahan managed to raise his head, slowly and haltingly though, as if a great weight were upon him that he dared not resist. The shaking was smaller than that of before, localized. Perplexed, Dullahan stared as patches of ground began shaking, shifting and cracking apart. At first a small glow began to flow from the cracks and fissures, red and dim. Then the lights began to shine more intensely. Like serpentine tongues, flames flicked out of the fissures and cracks, growing higher and burning more intensely as the moments passed. The cracks and fissures opened wider, like a gaping maw, and all the while the earth crumbled away, being swallowed up by the flames and the ever-widening holes in the earth.

    Dullahan lay shaking, sweat dripping down his face, eyes darting from fissure to fissure. He could feel the fires erupting from the earth, warmth’s’ delicate fingers running along his flesh. Some lay in the distance, some closer, but they were dotted all around him, less than a dozen, like puddles after a rain, some only inches across, others large enough for several men to fit through. Determined to escape before a hole opened up beneath him, Dullahan rose to his feet, slowly and warily, attempting silence, looking about, as if he were trying to sneak past some slumbering entity. He held his hammer limply at his side.

    Then, from the largest of these fissures sprouted a spindly arm. At first Dullahan did not see it, for his back was turned. But some urge in his mind made him turn, and there, emerging from the hole, a shape began to manifest, cloaked in the flames. It was tall, not unlike the shape of a man, though it seemed leaner and longer.

    Out of the flames it strode, unburnt and unscathed. Its eyes were yellow glowing orbs, as if fires burned within its skull. Its skin was dark; brown almost, a filthy color. The flesh seemed aged and dried, taught and lined with what seemed to be scars. Below its skin, the creature’s various bones and veins could be seen, leaving their impression on its cracked skin which seemed liable to flake off at any moment. From its head sprouted two elongated ears, almost as long as its head, which was not much larger than Dullahan’s, though longer and with an exaggerated pointed chin. For a moment the thing stood, looking about. Then its gaze seemed to settle on Dullahan. Calmly and gracefully it began to stride toward him. Its movement was silent and possessed fluidity; its limbs swaying and undulating in what seemed like practiced rhythm. Much like a bird, its thin legs bent backwards in an unusual fashion.

    As if entranced by this creature, Dullahan found himself staring at it, too confused to be afraid. Perhaps he did not see the black swords the creature held in his hand, cruelly curved and finely wrought, its gnarled and calloused fingers twined around each hilt. Or maybe the creature had cast some spell upon him. If spell it was, it was suddenly broken. Shaken now, he ceased to marvel at the creature and began to feel a threat of death upon him. Trying to match the fire-eyed thing’s pace, he began walking backwards, attempting to maintain space between him and it, and still keeping the creature within his sight. Looking at its lean frame, it did not seem to be an unswift creature. All the while, Dullahan’s hammer was upraised, held before his chest, like some barrier between his body and any harm that may come his way, but it twitched, as did his hands, and his face was less than confident.

    In the distance, a noise was coming nearer. At first it was imperceptible, but becoming steadily louder. A rhythmic thumping beat. Something was racing toward them. He turned to look. In the distance was the guise of a man riding a horse, charging for them. His gaze left the creature for only a moment. A moment was all the hellish creature needed. It sprung forward like a caged beast, swords raised and intent upon the distracted man. Eyes glowing more fiercly now, the creature descended relentlessly, unleashing a barrage of blows upon him. Dullahan attention had been diverted, but he was not caught off guard. With dexterity honed through years of battle, he turned and swatted the blows aside, one after the other. His heart-pace quickened. Battle, this was where he felt truly alive, as if some greater self within him became unfettered and was free to occupy his mind. The creature employed a jab and slash pattern, but these too were blocked and dodged. He stepped forward, swinging for the creature’s hip. It leapt over the blow and toward Dullahan. Before its feet had again touched the ground, the creature began a counter. One of its blackened blades came high, level with Dullahan’s neck. The other low, aimed at the leg. The high sword lead the attack, and then changed direction, cutting low as well. It was a feint. Dullahan’s hammer had been raised to protect his head. Frantically, he attempted to turn his hammer in time to block the attack. He had been careless, and he might die for it. There was a clang. His hammer had connected with the swords, but his defense was weak at best. One of the blades cut a red path across his leg. Dullahan gave a sharp inhale and gritted his teeth. The cut wasn’t deep, but the blades burned like embers. This creature had learned to harness fire.

    Patience, that was what was needed in battle. He needed to wait for the right moment to attack. With a snarl and what looked like some twisted smile, the creature came at him again, rotating around him and attacking low, thrusting and slashing at his wounded limb. Dust swirled about their feet as they danced with tempered steel. Like stags with interlocked antlers, their weapons clanged and clattered together, and their eyes bored holes upon each other. The creature delivered an attack at Dullahan’s feet; both swords thrusting low. If he attempted to block with his hammer, his upper body would be defenseless to any following attack for seconds. Wasted seconds were suicide in battle. He jumped high and dealt a kick to the creature’s chest. His wound screamed in protest. The creature staggered back and let out a hiss.

    From behind, the horseman drew near. With neither seeing, it produced a bow and placed an arrow on the string. Taking only moments to aim, he fired the arrow. The shaft sped toward them. Before either saw it, the dart struck the creature in the chest. The thing staggered back, emitting a noise that sounded like rocks breaking apart. Perplexed, Dullahan stared at the feathered shaft sprouting from the creature’s body. Dullahan had learned to take advantage of every weakness his opponents displayed. Life was a battle, and life showed no mercy. The creature was defenseless for only a moment. A moment was all he needed.

    His feet feverishly diminished the gap between himself and the creature. A grin spread across his face and his eyes narrowed upon his prey. He swung the hammer. It ripped through the air. The metal head struck the creature in the skull. It was too slow to block. The blow shook Dullahan’s arm, he could feel it vibrate up to his shoulder. With a flash of blinding light and much heat, the creature’s head burst asunder. Within moments, he regained his sight and withheld the devastation. The creature’s head had erupted, gushing out its gore. The top half of its head was shattered completely, scattered about. Its jaw still remained, hanging lifelessly from strands of tattered flesh. Its life-blood steamed and sizzled on the dirt and gave off a rotten stench.

    Dullahan stood over the creature for a moment, regarding his work. It was thoroughly dead. He breathed a breath of satisfaction.

    “What are you?†he asked the lifeless form before him.

    And then something else came to mind. The horseman! He whipped himself around, brow furrowed, legs bent in a defensive stance and hammer poised to strike.

    The horseman came trotting up, his cloak and loose clothing swaying about. His hands he upraised, empty, palms open and toward Dullahan. His bow had been returned to the sling on his back. Dullahan lowered his hammer slowly and his face softened, his stance did not change, though.

    “I have no quarrel with you†the horseman began, “and we haven’t the time to start one now.â€

    “Who are you?†Dullahan replied, hesitating for a moment. For no reason he could comprehend, he felt no threat from this man.

    “More will come,†the horseman gave a nod to the recent corpse. “We need to go.â€

    Dullahan looked at the corpse, and the other fissures, burning brightly.

    “Go where?†He was too confused to think, to decide on some course of action.

    “You had the dream, did you not?â€

    He stated it so bluntly, as if he were commenting on some article of clothing Dullahan were wearing. The dreams, he didn’t want to remember them. The pain, flames, the darkness. He could not remember a time he did not live in constant fear of them. For a moment, his face became limp and his gaze strayed to the red sky.

    The man knew how to wield a bow well, and already had the opportunity to kill Dullahan. His back had been turned, exposed. And he had nothing left, only his hammer in hand.

    “What choice do I have?†he thought to himself.

    Then Dullahan noticed there was another horse, without a rider, but fully bridled and saddled.

    The horseman offered his hand. He helped pull Dullahan up onto the horse, and when he settled, they took off galloping.

    “We need to get away from here, quickly. It is not safe,†was all the man offered.

    Forlorn, he looked back to where his house had been, and recalled what had past. He looked down to his hands. They were the same murderous hands they had been before. The same hands and the same man, eager to deliver death to his foes. Years of solitude had not changed them, or him. He cursed his hammer for what it made him become, and blessed it for keeping him alive. For some time they rode in silence, speeding towards the East.
  2. The Last Melon

    The Last Melon IncGamers Member

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    Good! It does need some work before it's TDL quality (actually, quite a lot. Don't take that as an insult, though, my work isn't quite there either) but it's better than quite a few thing's I've seen (and written, but you wouldn't see me saying so in print)

    I would just suggest experimenting with sentance breaks - a lot of your sentances are sort of run-ons, and they could use a bit of shuffling.
  3. RevenantsKnight

    RevenantsKnight IncGamers Member

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    Hrm...interesting, indeed. I’d say that this caught my attention, and there were also some good images in here. I did note, though, that there were a number of sentences that read oddly, as well as some with grammatical or spelling errors; The Last Melon’s advice is definitely headed in the right direction, in my opinion. The tone of the story is also dry, which sapped some of the intensity from this. A lot of times, you summarize or explain things that are implied, which makes the story feel as if it’s an instruction manual or other technical document. Sometimes, you don’t have to spell everything out for the reader to catch your meaning, and if you do in those cases, it can sound excessive. Similarly, the description here sometimes feels as though it’s beating a point into the ground; more details tend to be good, but make sure that they don’t overlap, or it’ll feel like you’re repeating yourself. Still, I thought this was a decent read. Some specific comments:

    I’d suggest combining this into one sentence with something like “There were flames rising...†or “There were flames, flames rising...†As it is, the second part isn’t a complete sentence on its own and sounds odd just by itself.

    I like the image of even his screams igniting. The structure here, though, could use a little work; try reading this out loud, and you’ll likely end up a little breathless by the end. As a general rule, if you’ve more than two or three uses of “and†in a sentence, it probably should be spread out across several sentences instead (two or three should be relatively rare, in my opinion.) I suspect this is what The Last Melon meant by “sentence breaks.†Additionally, chaining a bunch of actions together with “and†can start to sound like a list, and the feel associated with that tends towards unexciting. For instance, you could revise this so that it becomes “The burning heat was searing his flesh, melting his mind; he let out great screams, but those too were ignited and set ablaze even as they left his mouth.â€

    I didn’t mind the passive voice too much in the previous sentence, as it seemed to work there, but I’d change this use (“was scorchingâ€) because overuse of the passive voice can make the story seem distant and unexciting to the reader, and this particular instance should probably feel more...urgent anyway. The switch to the active voice is just “..and scorched him...â€

    I thought the sentence structure worked OK here, as the repetition got a kind of creepy feel going...up until the end, that is. I’d reword the part starting with “...and its gaze burned...†since it seems to me that the description of the gaze would be more powerful if it came up just once, and also if it had a more vivid wording.

    The boiling tears were a nice touch, but I think you pass over the shape “taking†the two figures too quickly. Frankly, I missed it entirely on a first read, since it’s so brief. I’d spend a little more time describing what happens instead of saying just “The shape took them†so that it sticks in the reader’s memory more.

    This was unclear because I wasn’t sure what you meant by “it†and therefore had to read through this a few times. I’d be specific here; if you mean the world around Dullahan, I’d just say that.

    The comma after “him†should be a period or a semicolon, since the subject of the first part of the sentence is Dullahan (“Heâ€) and the subject of the second is the mountain’s peak. Also, “it was†is unnecessary and can be deleted.

    “Ashen pale†is redundant; I’d delete one of the two words.

    There should be a comma after “touch it.â€

    I’d suggest changing “feast†out for something else, since it leads the reader to think up a standard image of a feast, which doesn’t apply at all to this situation.

    I’d change the order of the sentences here, moving the second one to the front; as the first and third are related, they should probably come one after the other.

    This is another instance where the repeated use of “and†hurts the story, I think. I’d reword the middle of the sentence to “...tore him, their eyes glowing as they...†because these actions are presumably simultaneous (I’m assuming that they keep eating once their eyes start glowing.) As it is, it sounds a bit too much like one action happens and then stops as the other begins.

    That should be “The man’s head...†Also, given what comes up in the next sentence (which is pretty good,) I might consider changing the end here to focus on something other than the fact that he’s seeing himself there; it’s a bit repetitive to mention it as much as you do, and the description in the next sentence is definitely the better one. Other choices for this might be his reaction to seeing himself, for instance.

    The comma after “bound†is unnecessary.

    This sentence and all the others in this paragraph have a common structure: they begin with a subject and a verb pairing. This in and of itself is just fine for one sentence, but when you start to do it all the time, it begins to sound like you’re reciting a list. I’d suggest varying at least one or two of them, though probably not this one; I’ll provide an example at the appropriate time.

    I’d suggest replacing one instance of “shiver†with something else; while he does do the same thing twice, it reads a bit awkwardly. Also, as promised, one way you could rework this sentence to avoid repeating the same structure would be something like “Shivering in the cold, he thought of the dream, and the memory made his shoulders shake again.â€

    Minor nitpick: the comparison here didn’t read cleanly because the phrases “The dreams haunted his nights†and “winter is haunted by the cold†aren’t really parallel; the order of what is haunted and what is doing the haunting is flipped. I’d reorder this to read “...like the cold haunts winter,†but that’s just me.

    Another minor nitpick: that should be “...white from lack of blood.â€

    That should be “one’s.â€

    Heh. Not sure why, but I liked this.

    The semicolon after “handle†and the comma after “rune-work†are both unnecessary.

    “Battle supremacy†sounds out of place in a Diablo-esque setting. I’d try rewording this so that it doesn’t sound so modern.

    I think that should be “...had shattered dissenters†since it happened in the past relative to him breathing. Also, I don’t think “hammer†should be capitalized here, and there should be a comma after “bought.â€

    This paragraph got a little repetitive in terms of sentence structure, as mentioned before; I’d suggest revising one or two sentences to address this. “Thrashed disarray†also sounds odd to me, as “thrashed†isn’t usually employed as an adjective. I’d say you could probably just drop “thrashed†altogether, since “disarray†already gets your point across. Additionally, it seems to me that these two sentences could be combined into one with something like “...disarray, a sign that his sleep had been less than peaceful.â€

    Wait a sec...you said just a little before that “it was midday.†This confused the heck out of me.

    The comma after “floor†is unnecessary.

    That should be “...thing that wandered.â€

    “Though†seems a bit odd here, since there’s nothing to suggest that Dullahan doing so is unexpected or otherwise out of the ordinary. If you meant that there was a short pause before he looked back to the hammer, I’d begin this sentence with “After a moment†or something like that.

    I’d suggest dropping “as if in discomfort,†since that part should probably be a given. Also, “he felt a pressure in his throat†is technically correct, I think, but it reads awkwardly; I’d try rewording it to “he felt his throat tighten†or something else that is a bit more specific.

    That should be “That was why...†to be consistent with the rest of the story in terms of verb tense.

    There should be a comma after “bed,†and I think the part directly after that should be worded “feeling as though he should...â€

    Technically, I don’t think “hesitated†works where it is; if there’s a section of speech followed by a construction such as “he said,†the verb (“said†in the case of the example, and “hesitated†in the quoted sentence) usually needs to be something like “said,†“answered,†or otherwise pertain to actually speaking, since it refers to the dialogue. I’d reword this to “Dullahan said to himself, then hesitated, and finally gave a nod...â€

    Why was he heading for the door now? I thought he had just “returned to bed†and that was the last of it, as far as I know...

    As mentioned previously, watch the uses of “and,†because there’re a whole bunch here. I’d make this two sentences, breaking some point after “disapproval,†and reword it so that you cut down on the repetition.

    I think that should be “The roof above Dullahan began...â€

    I think that should be “He needed no more incentive...â€

    I didn’t like “a shred of threat,†personally. At the very least, I think it should be “shred of a threat,†though I’d also suggest trying to rework the image a little.

    I think you spend a little too much time on the wind here, though the “little spears†part was good, I thought. I’d suggest dropping “attacking where he was weakest,†since it sounds as if the wind is targeting parts of him when really it’s just hitting all over. Also, that should be “darkened.â€

    Again, this feels a little like you spend too much time on an image. I’d drop “bewildered†and “gaping,†since both are more or less implied by “staring wide-eyed†(note that it should have a hyphen in it.)

    “Swaggered†is the wrong verb here, since I assume the house isn’t walking; did you mean “swayed,†perhaps? Additionally, the comma after “drunk†is unnecessary.

    There should be a comma after “flesh†(which also seems like it should be “body†instead, though maybe that’s just me.)

    I’d suggest combining “he ducked each time†and “Dullahan raised his hammer...†into one continuous unit, such as “...and he ducked each time, raising his hammer above his head to deflect an imaginary blow,†because as it is, there’re two distinct subjects here (“he†and “Dullahan,â€) which makes it seem as if they are different people.

    “Innavigateable†isn’t a word, and I also think that the “labyrinth†image doesn’t quite work here, since it seems like too much of a stretch from “puzzled.†I’d suggest replacing it with a different description, though that’s just me.

    It seems to me like you could cut down on the description of the thunder, since it seems a little redundant to say all of this. I’d suggest dropping maybe “shaking the ground†and “had been ruptured and†from the sentence.
  4. RevenantsKnight

    RevenantsKnight IncGamers Member

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    The image here seemed a little odd to me; I’m not sure how he can cover his ears (presumably with his hands) and hold the hammer to him at the same time. Also, “coddling†sounds like the wrong verb here, as it means either “to cook in water just below the boiling point†or “to spoil or pamper.†Not sure what verb I’d use instead...

    I’d cut everything after “death,†because that part suggests that something red is falling to earth, and that seems not to be the case here.

    That should be “His breath came in sobbing gasps...â€

    I think you could cut “though†and “that he dared not resist.†To me, the first part just seems unnecessary, and for the second, he would resisting against it unless he let it flatten him against the ground. Just moving against it is resistance, so I’d drop that part because it’s inaccurate.

    A general note: you use “cracks and fissures†(or its inverse) a lot in this part; I’d try to find another way or two to get this idea across, because the repetition made this paragraph read more awkwardly than it should.

    Nice image there. There’s an extra apostrophe after “warmth’s,†though.

    Again, it seems like you’re repeating yourself a little with the description. “Warily†and “looking about†suggest more or less the same thing to me, and “attempting silence†is definitely implied by “as if he were trying to sneak past some slumbering entity.†I’d suggest paring this down some, perhaps by removing “attempting silence, looking about.â€

    I liked this image. :thumbsup:

    That should be “taut,†and when used to describe skin or flesh, it tends to suggest a healthy appearance. I’d suggest changing that...

    I’d drop “elongated†from the sentence here, since it seems redundant to have both that and “almost as long as its head.â€

    The semicolon after “fluidity†should be a comma, and the end of the sentence should read “a practiced rhythm,†I think.

    A consistency thing: “his hand†indicates that the creature is male, while “its gnarled and calloused fingers†suggests gender neutrality. I’d pick one and stick with it. Also, I think “hand†should be plural, otherwise it may read as if the creature is holding two swords in one hand.

    I’d replace “unswift†with something like “sluggish†or “slow,†as what you have technically isn’t a word and reads somewhat awkwardly.

    That should be “...and any harm that might come...†and the comma after “chest†is unnecessary.

    That should be “...but it became steadily louder†in the first sentence, and I’d suggest combining these two sentences.

    “Guise†seems like the wrong word here, since it refers to something’s outward appearance or clothing. I’d use “image,†“silhouette,†or something like that, personally.

    That should be “it sprang,†I think.

    That should be “fiercely.â€

    That should be “Dullahan’s.â€

    That should be “...but this too was...†since “pattern†is singular. Also, you use “the creature†a lot here; I’d suggest trying to reword a few sentences to remove such instances, or coming up with another title for it. For instance, you could alternate between “the creature†and something else, such as “fire-beast.â€

    I’d drop this sentence entirely, since summarizing what it does isn’t really necessary here; I’d just stick to describing the actions, and it should be clear that the creature is counterattacking from that.

    This isn’t a complete sentence, because there’s no verb. I’d revise this to something like “The other swung low...â€

    This sentence seems unnecessary to me; the reader should be able to infer this from what happens and probably wouldn’t need the narration to explain it.

    I’d delete this sentence; both of the ideas in here should be a given, considering what’s happening.

    I’d suggest combining these two sentences, since “There was a clang†is weak on its own. Something like “There was a clang as his hammer connected...†would be a bit better, I think, because it doesn’t treat the block and the sound as separate events quite as much.

    “Gave a sharp inhale†sounded weird to me; it may be correct, but I’d try to use something more compact, such as “Dullahan hissed sharply...â€

    That should be “bored holes into each other.â€

    The semicolon here should be a comma. Semicolons are used to connect two complete clauses, that is, two clauses that could each be sentences on their own. When in doubt, try replacing a semicolon with a period; if it reads naturally that way, the semicolon’s fine, and if not, you should consider a different option, such as a comma

    As mentioned previously, it’s a good idea to make sure that you don’t use the same sentence structure over and over again in order to avoid writing something that sounds like a list, and this is one instance where it would be a good idea to move away from the subject-verb pair beginning structure for a sentence. This is a particularly important issue in battle scenes, because they can quickly degenerate into “He struck. It blocked. It struck. He blocked...†et cetera.

    Technically, if they’re facing each other, there’s no way for the horseman to approach from behind both of them, so you should be more specific here.

    In the first sentence here, “it produced†suggests gender neutrality, while “he fired†labels him as masculine. I’d pick one pronoun (probably “heâ€) and use it consistently. Also, “fire†does not properly apply to a bow, but to gunpowder-based weapons (or perhaps spells, I guess.) The correct verb here is “to shoot.â€

    This sentence is unnecessary, as this would be assumed after “he fired (shot) the arrow.â€

    “Dart†suggested to me a missile much smaller than an arrow, and so I would recommend replacing it with something else.

    This seemed as if Dullahan pauses or something out of surprise, which makes the later “A moment was all he needed†part sound weird, since it sounds as if he spent that moment staring. I’d drop this sentence entirely, since it seems out of place with what Dullahan would do.

    Again, keep an eye on how your sentences are structured; this part and other ones in this paragraph start to read like blow-by-blow lists.

    This sentence is unnecessary, since that’s assumed from the fact that he swung the hammer that he’s putting a lot of force behind it and is therefore making the weapon move quickly.

    Again, this is a given, seeing as you say it hit the creature in the skull. I’d delete this altogether.

    The comma here should be a semicolon because there are two distinct subjects; in the first part, the subject is the blow, and in the second, the subject is Dullahan. Therefore, these are two complete clauses and require a semicolon, not a comma.

    “Withheld†should be “beheld,†or something like that; the former does not mean anything like “to see.â€

    “His hands he upraised†may be technically correct, but it sounds odd to me. I’d suggest a more direct wording with the horseman as the subject, such as something like “He raised his hands towards Dullahan, palms open.â€

    The comma after “softened†should be a semicolon; the reasons for this are explained previously.

    Minor nitpick: there should be a comma after “you,†inside the quotation marks.

    Technically, the “he†here refers to the man, not Dullahan, since the last specific subject was the man (from “...was all the man offered.â€) I’d replace it with “Dullahan†to be clear.

    That should be “...what it had made him become,†since it changed him in the past tense relative to this moment.

    Overall, I’d say that the idea here is good, but there are some general issues that should be addressed, as they drag down the story somewhat. Given that, though, this is a start; the ending in particular seems interesting, and I’m curious to see where you’re going with this. Thanks for posting!

    Oh, and:

    I'm pretty sure you meant well, but I’d refrain from such judgments unless you’re actually TDL staff; who knows, one of the administrators may take a shine to this.
  5. The Last Melon

    The Last Melon IncGamers Member

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    Oh, sorry.
  6. Doctor Clock

    Doctor Clock IncGamers Member

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    Thank you very much for the comments. It looks like I have a good deal of editing to do. I have about 20+ pages on this story, but they need to be cleaned up significantly before I post another part. Glad at least the two of you enjoyed it somewhat.
  7. chi987

    chi987 IncGamers Member

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    I enjoyed this story, partially because I tend to write in the same kind of way =p From the reader's perspective, all of it sounds like pure random chaos, which is always fun and good for an opening :thumbsup:

    I liked the descriptive beginning. One thing that I would suggest that I need to work on is watch for sentences that come out to be too far fetched.

    I liked the development of the Dullahan into someone who is haunted and a bit paranoid and also we see that he is an experienced and adept fighter. He makes a good hero. I thought the action part was good because it shows his character. One thing is that the creature shows a lot of human behaviour in his fighting style. He uses an attack pattern, he knows how to feint, dodge and counter. It seems a little uncharacteristic of a monster to do that, so you could adjust either the creature's fighting style or the creatures personality, maybe to one that doesnt downright charge him suddenly or something to that effect

    there are more people reading here than you think. I for one find it not so easy to leave comments though

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