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The Ember Days

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by katiekitten, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. katiekitten

    katiekitten The Compromise

    x3 No problem- and thank you for reading! :3 Please let me know after the next couple of chapters if it finally makes sense, haha. <3
     
  2. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    All right--I read the story you gave me and it does make more sense now that I know the story
     
  3. Ejunknown

    Ejunknown be creative

    Aww, but that removes the anticipation of waiting for it to be revealed in the story. x'D The only details I know are parts of the historical basis - but I was under the impression that the few historical facts (that KK kept) were going to be explained in the next chapter, as the main character was as oblivious as us anyway. x'D

    eee, i'm still looking forward to the next chapter~ I need more illustrating material. 8'D
     
  4. D. Scott

    D. Scott Well-Known Member

    I really don't have much to say on the little prologue here: I like its descriptiveness... made things really immersive, which is always quite nice in a story. Plus, you used the name Elizabeth, which I love. =D I wonder what the whole dream means, if anything? It's intriguing-

    *moves onto chapter one*

    Two things~

    First off, the "it's" should be an "its". Started to type up the rule on it, but then saw you used it correctly a few lines down, so I'll give that to ya as a silly mistake. =P

    Second, "caterwauling"? I have lived seventeen years, nearly eighteen, and have never once heard that term. I don't know whether to be impressed or make a note that things like that could sort of intimidate people - there's such a thing as vivid vocabulary and just... fluffy.

    That line sent shivers down my spine. =o Nicely placed.

    Also, I'm noticing something. You tend to have a bit of a problem with running sentences: sometimes short and sweet is better than long and rambling, like you tend to do on occasion.

    I WAS WAITING FOR THIS. LOL. Lily is such a dirty-minded little girl. D:



    Oh lord. 3 AM - wonder how much significance that has? :p Seems to be a repeating theme... wonder... also, the window- okay, you're good at writing this suspense stuff, because I'm curious as all hell what's going on here and even though I should be off a computer right now finishing up the last bit of English homework, I'm going to read the second chapter.


    Chapter Two-

    Okay, scratch that, I gotta go. So, just know I enjoyed these first two installments, and when I get the chance I will be coming back for more!
     
  5. catzeye

    catzeye Writer's Block

    This is a review exchange review.
    Fics: Avarice
    Review Wanted: I want reviews that focus on plot and characterization. If there is anything wrong with my grammar please let me know since that is a weak point of mine. They shouldn't be long since I'm not a long reviewer. Fair is fair after all. As much as I love praise, if there is something I really screwed up on please tell me.

    ------

    Your story is extremely well-written. The prose is elegant and flowery. I know some people said that you needed more imagery but I don't think so. Maybe it's just the fact I have an extremely active imagination.

    Plot-wise this fic is quite original. I like the idea of people in the Pokemon World doing things that don't necessarily involve Pokemon, like going to university. The whole thing with the hunt and human connection has left me with quite a few questions. My main question of course is, what is the hunt? You said they aren't exactly pokemorphs so what are they? The first thing that comes to mind is the whole gijinka thing. There is so much suspense with the story, I really don't know how much more I can take.

    Just like everyone else, I'm really curious about the significance of 3 AM. Was that around the time she was born or does something special happen at 3 AM?

    Elizabeth seems like the average young adult, with the exception of having the amniotic sack around her head when she was born and being connected to the hunt. It makes me wonder how the whole connection to the hunt will affect her life when she is awake. Lily is such a pervert, she reminds me of my friends. Nathaniel is just so adorable. You did a good job of showing his nervousness and naivete.

    I really can't find any criticisms because you are a far better writer than I am. All I can say is I hope you continue this because I look forward to reading more of this story.
     
  6. katiekitten

    katiekitten The Compromise

    *snugs Ian* Thank you~! x3

    Haha, that always slips through - I know the rule, but for some reason it puts itself in. xD All sorted, and I scanned the rest to catch any more. :3

    About 'caterwauling' - huh, maybe it's more of a British thing? Or perhaps it's just my family/area, 'cause it's a word I'm quite familiar with... I'll keep it for now, but I'll definitely look into it. :)

    Long running sentences have always been a fault of mine. xD; I've run through the entire thing with a comb again trying to counter them, hopefully, they're a little more sorted now. :) <3

    Looking forward to the rest of your review - I'm glad you're enjoying it~! x3 I managed to make it suspenseful? woot! I suppose it's very different when you know the entire plot, haha - I did try though. :3 The next chapter should hopefully sweep up some of those questions I've been collecting. <3 On '3 AM' - haha, it does have some meaning. Hopefully that will become clear with the rest. x3

    catz! *squishes* Thanks for getting back to me so soon, and thank you for the lovely review!

    Haha, thanks for the stuff on my imagery - I'm glad I've found a good amount, I used to swing from swamping my stories with it if they were one genre, and cutting it all together in another. :x I'm glad I'm finding the medium...

    The hunt~! :3 The Pokemon... mm, they are normal, except that their 'powers' are a little different. I think I will have one of the other characters lay out the difference at some point (very soon) but basically their abilities are more elemental: they can control their elements to an extent like normal pokemon can, but they also, depending on how powerful they are, can transform their shape- with great difficulty. xD They live on thhe outskirts of human civilisation and its one of the traits that helped keep them alive. I guess I've likened them to a form of fae that way. :x x3

    You have no idea how much it means to me that you like my characters~! :3 Nathaniel in particular because I just love that fellow too much, but the rest as well. x33

    Thanks you both again~!

    On a general note: I've made a few edits and switched the mightyena's identity to another Pokemon. :x
     
  7. Draco Malfoy

    Draco Malfoy -REaction

    This is a review exchange review.
    Fics: "Under the Same Sky", a PG-15 Chaptered Story (Currently at Five Chapters, and 35,000-ish words).

    Summary: A nameless teenager is heralded as the Champion of the Unova League. However, he's not ready to bear that cross. In order to deal with his inner demons, he absconds to Undella Town - and meets a certain blonde Sinnoh Champion.

    Review Wanted: A review similar to mine. I provided quote-by-quote analysis for four chapters, which should be similar to my three chapters in length. Generally, I want some nitpicks as provided: grammar mistakes and syntactical errors are both areas of focus. Other elements I'd like you to perhaps concentrate on are plotline, premise, and description.

    Time to take this pony downtown. =O Corrections are in bold.

    Chapter Zero:

    This part seems a little strange. I would personally use a "while" or "as" to clarify the flow. Exhibit A: As/While the flickering flames from a camp fire beside him slipped across his red straggles of hair, he scratched letters into the soil with a twig.

    I recognise that "yet" is a coordinating conjunction, but the sentence is so long. D8 Start a new line with "yet".

    Missing comma, perhaps?

    Overall, this is a pretty beginning. The descriptions are lush and vibrant, although they are bogged down by overly long sentences. I noticed that a lot of the "Old Guard" writers of SPPf have this problem. Like I said with Dragonfree, I suspect that this pattern is a throwback from the old days of Scrap/Saber, who used to throw around purple prose and gargantuan but lyrical sentences. I do think that the phase has passed, and SPP is reflecting the more contemporary trend of shorter, choppier sentences.

    However, I still congratulate you for the strong start.


    Chapter One:

    Another missing comma?

    This is rather ambiguous. Are you saying that the boy's smile travels through the town? Or are you, as I suspect, trying to say that the boy, who is standing at the other end of town, is smiling?

    To make your meaning clearer, use: Across town, a small boy smiled.

    Cue my grin. Le truth, that is.

    Impressive use of simile.

    Again, this sentence could easily be divided. Start a new line with "her eyes".

    Chapter One wasn't terrible. I appreciated the light humour you had injected through the character of Lily. Bad singing is an automatic trigger for laughs. Moreover, the dialogue is naturalistic and not stilted. You do need to work on your formatting, though. As Breezy pointed out, the odd breaks (and lack of breaks) in sentences and paragraphs makes your prose difficult to read at times. This isn't a big problem, however, so you should be fine.


    Chapter Two:

    Smudge is a unique name for a cat. =D

    Long and ambiguous sentence alert! Separate for clarification, please.

    If it wasn't clear before, it is now. PokeBoy.

    Nice character moment for Nathaniel. The line is very quotable too.

    I loved this chapter, to be honest. It's clear that you've enjoyed writing Foxgloves; your enthusiasm is evident in the clarity of your prose and the dynamic interactions between Elizabeth and Nathaniel. Didn't you notice that I didn't find as many mistakes with this chapter? It's because the quality of writing was higher than the standard of the previous chapters.

    Nathaniel is an adorable character who should be cherished. His presence actually invigorates Elizabeth's character, which has been rather stale, to be frank. Good job.


    Chapter Three:

    Okay, this is how I would've done it:

    Then again, she hadn’t even thought before agreeing to follow Nathaniel out here, had she?

    So much clearer. =3

    Aw. Nathaniel is becoming the readers' Ensemble Dark Horse.

    This is another interesting interaction between Liz and Nate. The dynamic between these two is a great focus to the story. =O

    Do I have to say it? I have some nifty scissors, if you need help with that sentence. xP

    Holistically, this chapter was strong. You built up the suspense deftly, and your command of imagery is precise. Moreover, the character Nathaniel is awesomesauce. However, keep a steady eye on those long sentences. Long descriptive sentences have their place and uses, but clarity should be favoured over ambiguity in most cases.

    Great work and keep it up.
     
  8. katiekitten

    katiekitten The Compromise

    X3 Draco! Thanks for the review, m'dear, I'll return it soon.

    Long sentences have always been a fault of mine, I admit it freely- even before serebii. I do quite like being referred to as the 'old guard' though. I remember Scrap and Saber- I never read Saber's work, never got around to it, but I did read a couple of Scrap's oneshots. Good times! Is it just me, or has the forum become quieter since then? Back then you could post up a oneshot and get two pages of comments. We certainly have lost a lot of people, it's a shame.

    I sound like such an old fogey. I blame you. ;p

    You caught me - I certainly preferred the later chapters. I'm still not satisfied with the prologue- it was one of the first things I'd written in a year, and I found it a pain. At least it was pretty; that's something.

    I agree with you on the majority of the suggested edits, and have incorporated them. Nifty scissors indeed. ;3 I'll keep an eye out for the longer sentences, I do have all too great a penchant for them.

    'Not terrible'? XP Nah, I'm glad you liked the story, and dear Nat. I have at least two more main characters left to bring into play now. I probably should speed this old thing up, considering, actually. Nathaniel is certainly a favourite, though.

    Thanks again~! <3
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  9. katiekitten

    katiekitten The Compromise

    Aaaaaaaand the next chapter~! Two days late. :x I was intending on updating it once a week while I still could - ah well. x3 It's still a nice long 'un...? Let me know if any rogue terms make it through. I was rereading the first chapter and spotted a random 'Julie'. Ahhh, revising~ x333

    Properly introducing dear Tobias, here, and finally providing an explanation or two. x3

    Beta'ed by the beautiful ejunknown. <3!!


    Chapter Four


    Glaciers



    With a shrug of movement, the great stag shifted from his prone position and leapt effortlessly over the fire, landing with a scuff of earth in the cub’s path. Allowing his momentum to thrust him forward, Tobias easily sideswiped the growlithe as he fled past him, ignoring the boy’s surprised yelp and pinning him lazily to the floor with a single paw. The surrounding demons ignored the disturbance, as he’d expected – they knew better than to meddle in the affairs of their betters - and he lowered his muzzle towards the cub, growling a soft warning as the growlithe struggled beneath his grip.

    He watched as the human girl stumbled to a halt a few feet away, dark eyes shining with sudden fear, her shoulders shaking as she drank in the sight of the two of them.

    The boy’s first catch. He considered her with emotionless eyes, his lips pulled back in a partial snarl. The boy had chosen well.

    He tightened his hold and the boy shuddered beneath him.

    “Are you afraid, human?” he asked quietly.

    She trembled at the sound of his voice, wrapping her arms around herself and her strange attire, her eyes not leaving his.

    He saw his answer in them.

    “Then run home.”

    She refused to move, her gaze flicking to the cub in his grasp. He growled his disproval, raising his hackles. Her trembling increased satisfactorily, her dark hair trickling across her features, brushing against her lips – but she remained where she was, against his expectations. She was stubborn, it seemed.

    As if in response, the cub began to writhe beneath him, bucking against his weight. Tobias afforded the youth his attention, baring his teeth in a snarl.

    “Leave her alone!” the boy growled, clawing at the dirt beneath him for purchase. Desperation shone in his eyes – a fool’s determination, he noted with a faint touch of disgust. “She-she’s- part of the truce, so you can’t- touch-“

    A heavier paw bore down on the cub, cutting his whimpering off with a sharp yelp. A flicker of movement before him, however, distracted him, and he turned back to the woman. A pained expression painted across her features, she inched closer, despite the fear that steeped her scent. He gazed at her in surprise.

    The mortal was brave.

    Not enough.

    He snarled at her, mocking her strength.

    “Run child.”

    No.

    Her voice was barely above a whisper, trembling as much as she was, but the defiance was still there, burning, her protest barely audible over the collected cheer of the revellers.

    He stared at her with a hint of surprise, examining her across the ash-streaked grass.

    He’d underestimated her.

    With a yelp of bark, the cub took advantage of his distraction to wiggle free and throw himself before the girl. Not noticing her flinch, he scraped to a halt before her. Foxfire flaring from his nostrils and the edges of his mouth, the growlithe arched and with a soft roar of flames was a boy again, crouched on his hands and knees, a grimace painted across his features.

    Tobias’s disgust stirred once more at the sight, and he lowered himself onto his haunches, a growl rumbling in his chest.

    The boy besmirched his blood with his obsession.

    “Would you rather be a human, child?” Snarls curled around the question, stunted claws clenching into the soil.

    Nathaniel’s answer was forced between gasps, and the boy swung himself upright, oblivious to his nakedness, placing himself between the stag and the girl.

    “I’d rather not be a beast.”

    “Fool.” He took a step forward, lowering his muzzle towards the two, hackles raised. The growlithe’s beliefs unnerved him, an emotion he was unaccustomed to experiencing. “You are what you are born. Why do you idolize an inferior race?”

    Nathaniel’s features set in a very human frown, the child shrinking nevertheless in his place, ears pressing down against his skull. The scent of his fear filled the night air, mingling with the bitterness of the smoke. “They… are not inferior.”

    “They are weak, child.”

    The stag’s claws tore up the soil and grass in the easy flex of his grip as Tobias took another step, illustrating his point, irritation emphasising the movement. Nathaniel flinched at the display, shuffling backwards to the girl’s side.

    “There- there are other ways to be strong, you know-”

    “Their lives are short. They have no power of their own, only that they’ve taken from others, and even that they abuse.”

    The cub was giving away ground, as expected, edging back towards the hill slope, the girl retreating with him. Her eyes were fixed on Tobias’s- but it was not only fear that held her gaze to his, he noted.

    The boy’s faltering response drew his attention from the observation.

    “They’ve created their own, haven’t they? The boy’s lips were quivering, and he reached for the girl’s arm, weaving his fingers in-between hers. Cowering. “They’ve made cars, electrical appliance-things-”

    “That is inconsequential.” Tobias allowed his disgust to colour his words, eyes flashing. The boy’s breath caught as he bared his teeth further in a soundless snarl. “Humanity fears us and calls us monsters because they covet what we possess. Do not be fooled, child.”

    Another step – his flickering shadow fell across their feet, lapping at their ankles, electricity sparking, roiling across his twisted antlers, crackling, into the night.

    “Don’t think to deny what you are.”

    The boy held his gaze for a moment more, wide eyes glistening – before his nerve broke.

    Fsshhh.

    The child fled along the hill, dragging the girl behind him, as a decoy smokescreen exploded soundlessly on the hillside. Coiling wisps masking their escape, the faint layer of ash licked at the crescent moon overhead, breaking free of the forest in tauntingly flippant coils.

    The stag snarled and snapped after the pair, a measure of personal restraint the only thought that prevented him from following. The electricity that gathered between his horns clawed at the night sky as his pride thundered within his thoughts, urging him to catch the coward, sparks arching down his neck to writhe against his skin.

    The orphan, while pitiful, infuriated him. The child embraced a truce that served as a permanent embarrassment to his race, casting aside his pack ties for the temporary, insipid affection of humans. His subordination was insurmountable, the boy trailing ever farther away from the hunt’s territory as the days past, burying himself within humanity.

    Coward.

    This was not the time, however, to settle their misunderstanding.

    Forcing himself to turn on his heel with difficulty, Tobias returned to his spot by the fireside through a crowd of Rapidash, his seat remaining suitably unadulterated, the mere hint of his scent warning enough to any who might’ve sought to take it. He did not rejoin the celebrations, however, as he sank back into the grass, his eyes settling back onto the flames of the fire.

    If it were a millennium ago, he would’ve torn down the slope and challenged the boy for his insolence, slaughtering the girl before him as proof of his victory. A millennium ago, the girl would be only a whisper of an old legend told to the young as they suckled at their wet nurses breast, a frightened traveler’s dying wish as he was run down by the hunt, the lead hounds braying as they nipped at his already bloodied heals.

    A millennium ago he would still have been a lord.

    He tucked his feet beneath himself and gazed into the flames, banishing the image of a pair of soft, dark eyes moistened with fear, tempered with another emotion he refused to recognize in the gaze of a human, that rose, unbidden, from his thoughts.

    The fire twisted and spat at the sky, a shower of sparks hissing into the grass as a log slipped in the depths of its embers.

    It was a fact he'd long ago accepted. All history, all of his history, had ended with the ‘truce’, and humanity had began, flourishing in the hunt’s retreat, forcing the dwindling communities to assimilate or extinguish themselves. The once great ‘Hunt’ was reduced at last to a mere formality, an occasion to feast and to observe traditions long since rendered obsolete, its primal, joyful violence lost.

    There had been an honour in it, he remembered; a strength in the mastering of the blood-haze of the chase, a thrill in the taste of the host’s excitement siphoning into the breeze. An energy that had coiled and twisted in every sinew, every bone, pushing the pack onwards.

    Tobias shut his eyes and allowed himself to relive those moments, recalling the salty, metallic heat of a boar’s lifeblood as it pulsed over his lips and tongue, flooding his throat. It calmed him as he drank in the heat of the campfire, the electric crackle settling in a shroud around him, sinking into his fur like a second skin.

    His past was now myth, a folk tale clouded by the centuries and the liberties of licentious story tellers. Little had changed since their fall. It had been their own civil wars that had led to it, after all. He was no fool.

    The child knew nothing.


    ---

    The child in question hurtled the few feet down the slope to where he’d abandoned his clothes, throwing himself down onto the slope. He pressed into the grass in an attempt to hide, his ears straining to catch signs of further pursuit. Elizabeth followed after him, her slippers scrambling over the slick grass, dirt scraping under fingernails as she wrapped her fingers around the stalks and pressed herself into the earth.

    “What- what was that?” she whispered after a moment, squinting at Nathaniel in the shadows. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the change in light, filling in his slightly hollowed features. “Or- who…?”

    The glowering, ochre eyes of the stag filled her mind, her thoughts stumbling over the memory of the coldness of the burnished depths, and the iridescent, ice-blue flecks that swarmed around the pupil. She was struggling to catch her breath as they lay there, panting, her chest heaving. Her heart still hummed with left over adrenaline, sending her pulse trilling through her veins, fluttering in her neck.

    She’d felt those eyes swallow her up as he’d looked at her, shred her apart like a rabbit under a lion’s teeth, with her neck snapped with a simple jerk of the head.

    Yet they were so… beautiful.

    That- was Tobias,” Nathaniel managed after a moment, fixing her with a shaky smile. He reached out to grip her hand, his fingers trembling in an all too familiar pattern. “He’s, ah… one of the older ones. Older gods. He shouldn’t follow us down here, though.”

    She managed a smile at that, squeezing his hand despite the lump that refused to shift from her throat. “Gods again?”

    This was insanity, she knew.

    He cracked a smile back, eyes twinkling with a fragment of his earlier joy, before his head jerked as a tremor wracked through him. Recovered his composure, he fought to replace the smile, clinging his shirt to himself nevertheless, fingers digging into the fabric. “Of course!”

    She regarded him with watering eyes (a delayed response to her fear) as he shook once more, his grip tightening periodically in hers. Whatever had effected him before was apparently returning – his- metamorphosis (she supposed) starting anew.

    They lay for a moment against the hillside, his shuttered breaths the only sound that broke their silence, waiting for approaching steps that didn’t come.

    “Na…Nathaniel,” she began softly, shuffling carefully towards him. The grass fronds were cool against her stomach, their dew seeping through her shirt to graze her skin. “You need to explain everything, now, alright? All of it.”

    He nodded as best as he could, eyes shining with a slight glaze of pain, and let out a little laugh. “It seems a lil late now, doesn’t it? Haha, alright, though.”

    He pushed himself into a seated position, ignoring her unconscious intake of her breath, tugging lightly on her hand. “He’s not coming, don’t worry, I can smell him – he’s moved away, not closer. But I’ll start- from the beginning.”

    She listened for a moment more, ignoring the questions that had arisen at his use of ‘smell’, before forcing herself to relax, placing her trust in the boy. She felt that she could, after this mess.

    He released his grip after she relented and sat up, moving backwards as best as he could until there was a decent space between them and bunching his shirt in his lap.

    She watched him as he took a deep breath,

    “…I guess it begins with the hunt. As I said before, we aren’t… human. We are ‘magical’, ‘supernatural’ beings, or… I guess we are similar to werewolves, which is kinda cool, but that- that is off topic, haha. We aren’t werewolves, although I think werewolves were actually some of us. Rather, we are creatures who have existed alongside humanity for centuries, millennia even, and are just a little bit different.

    Elizabeth nodded as he took another breath, trying to follow his words, Nathaniel shutting his eyes briefly before continuing.

    “You’ve given us all sorts of names over the years, and depending where we are, the names change. In this part of the world, we were always called ‘the hunt’. And indeed, we do a lot of that.”

    He gave a toothy grin.

    “Our natural forms… also aren’t human. They differ from species to species – I, for examble, am a Growlithe – a kinda of dog, I guess. Tobias, the big scary guy, is a Cab- Cobaleo, or something, I believe, similar to a lion."

    Elizabeth nodded numbly, the memory of the glistening, polished teeth flickering once more into her mind - the flash of the canines as a growl rumbled from behind them. Tobias. She fought a shudder.

    "We have many, many different species, basically. The hunt itself is made up of mostly horse-types and canine, feline types, though, its just what makes up our community and always has. Oh, and the occasional bull, although they aren’t quite nimble enough, see."

    His expression spoke of an amusing past memory, his lips curving as he continued.

    "It’s just a quirk we have. All of these different species, however, are separated from the rest of the animals by one more thing, mmm? Each one has a different ‘power’, a different ability. It’s usually something that ties them to an element or the other, like fire, or water, or wind – I don’t know why we have them, but we do, and it’s pretty specific depending on the species. I can create and control fire all by myself, for example, as you’ve seen.” He paused to peer into her features, “Following alright so far?”

    She nodded. He smiled back.

    “These abilities occasionally allow us, or well the stronger ones of us, to even change our form at times, to that of another creature, such as normal animals and eventually humans, although the process is… painful, and hard to maintain.” He adopted a wry expression at that. “It was developed first as a power display, I believe, although it eventually became a survival measure. It was just an adoption of a shape, a body, with out any of the powers that shape would normally possess– and of all forms, a human is the easiest, I think because our minds are more similar. Whatever shape we adopt, you see, we adopt all of their limitations. The greatest shape shifters of our kind could take the shape of birds – but only at the great risk of losing themselves.”

    He paused to take another deep breath, screwing his eyes up in a moment of concentration as another ripple of trembles sunk through him. When he opened them, she noticed that his eyes were brighter, the gold sinking more into a rich scarlet.

    “Anyway, a couple thousand years or so ago, though, humans and our kind lived separately in joint territories, only occasionally overlapping, and regarded each other with animosity but peace. Well, kinda. The hunt used to possess all of the forests (they were much larger then, I’ve heard) and the lands around the mountains, and we built our homes up in the peaks, the places that most creatures did not have the strength or ability to reach. On certain occasions, however, when we needed to, or just when we wanted to, we went out ‘hunting’.

    “The hunts would be bloody and long, these wild chases after boar and deer and other such things, whatever caught our eye. The pack was ruthless, and proud – the lords would lead, followed by their nobles, and then the rest of us, and the ‘aristocracy’ demanded complete respect. Still does, really. Anyone who didn’t show proper respect when the hunt passed would be run down. Sometimes the horde even took itself through the human settlements, charging down their little dirt streets in the night, and the like. You have many legends and myths about the ‘raging horde’, or the ‘wild hunt’, as we eventually called ourselves.” He grinned a little toothily. “As I said before, you’ve named us both gods and demons.

    She watched him with wide eyes, her breath huffing out before in little clouds. “What happened?”

    Nathaniel shrugged.

    “I’m not certain when it all changed, but it did, at some point. We were never the only bunch of our kind out there – there were millions more living across this continent alone, joined by others across the world. Our numbers began to go down, though, while yours, humanity’s suddenly… exploded.”

    He poked at the soil with a toe.

    “We… live a long time, you see. If we aren’t physically killed, or taken down by a particularly strong disease, we can linger for centuries. The stronger ones even more than that. As a result, we have fewer kids.” He shrugged again at that. “Dunno why, we just… don’t. We take longer to grow up too, by your standards.

    “So there was that, and then there was also the civil wars. The different clans waged wars against each other, slashing down our numbers. By the time peace had been restored, the balance had already shifted, and the humans were grabbing at our borders. I don’t know what century that was in, but it was a good long time ago. I wasn’t born until long after.

    “And then there are the caul bearers.”

    They were huddled against the slope’s side at this point, Elizabeth gazing at the boy with a mixture of fascination and faint mystification as he spoke, ignoring her hair as it fluttered against her neck with the cool touch of a breeze. At his last words, however, she blinked, glancing down at her hands curled in her lap, the thoughts spinning in her mind.

    Caul bearers.

    That term again, as bewildering as this entire situation and somehow, apparently, linked directly to this. The story was unbelievable as it was, but-

    Somehow, she was caught in this fairy tale.

    “What exactly does it mean to have been born with the… ‘caul’? She asked with a frown, looking back to the boy. He watched her with a twist to his lips, evidently working to keep his hands still as they clasped together in the folds of his shirt – and her frown deepened, a thought striking her. He mentioned they lived long. “and… how…old are you?”

    His lips twisted into a rueful smile, evidently despite himself and he shrugged again. “We don’t keep count as you do, really.” He withdrew his hand from hers to grip his knees, cocking his head slightly as if listening to the hubbub above. It continued as it had the entire night, a warm wash of raised voices and the crackle of bonfires, mingled with the flickering orange light that blurred into the darkness. “I was born seven summer cycles ago, though, so around... seventy years ago? Yeah, seventy three of something.”

    She stared at him in shock.

    “You’re seventy years old.”

    He laughed, a blush colouring his cheeks. “Yeah, by your count, but really I’m only seven cycles.” He grinned. “Just a kid. If you were like me, you’d be hitting two hundred by now, fogey.”

    She blinked at him in wonderment, rousing herself enough to stick her tongue back at him in response. “Look who’s talking!”

    He giggled, wriggling his toes, before another tremor ran through him, shaking through him to the ends of his fingertips. Grip tightening on his knees, he cast his eyes down as he began to pant, the trembles increasing until they sent chatters through his teeth.

    Elizabeth reached out gingerly for his shoulders, clasping it awkwardly as the attack swelled to its crescendo. It was happening quicker this time, she realized. Discarding the fear that rose at the memory of the icy flames, she drew the boy towards her, cradling his feverishly hot, shaking body against her chest. The transformation was forcing itself sooner than it had before. The previous time must’ve worn him out.

    He glanced up at her gratefully, his eyes now a pure, deep shade of scarlet streaked with gold, and her heart broke at the expression within it.

    He still seemed so young.

    “Can’t- really hold this anymore,” he apologized through gritted teeth against her shirt, renewed pain straining his voice. “Can’t- speak in the other- form, but there- are people you should meet- anyway. Follow- me, ‘k?”

    She nodded, and after a moment he tugged himself lightly from her grasp and raised himself onto his feet, his pale skin shining dully in the dark. Waving his hand to stop her following him, he took a couple of slow, faltering steps before he shuddered to a halt. Despite the number of times she’d now witnessed the process, Elizabeth still flinched at the flare of the heatless flame, her heart wrenching as a soft keen shivered into the air. Within seconds the blue light faded and he was the small dog again, trembling paws shuffling in his discarded shirt, claws catching at the fabric.

    Picking himself up, the dog shook out its fur, sneezing a light spray of sparks, before turning to her with a short rasp of a bark, his ears perking as he waited for her to rise. Getting unsteadily to her feet, Elizabeth gathered Nathaniel’s clothes after a small thought, and followed him around the crest of the hilltop, farther and farther from the reach of the forest.

    She felt a strange sense of loss when the last of the pines slipped from view.

    Wherever she was going, there was little to no turning back now.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  10. catzeye

    catzeye Writer's Block

    And now the drama begins.

    Tobias is one bitter old Cobalion. It seems that the rest of the hunt fear him more than they respect him. You did a good job describing is cruelty in this chapter. I was very scared for Nathaniel and Elizabeth. I like how Elizabeth and Nathaniel both stood up to Tobias even though they were vastly outmatched.

    One thing that really interested me in this chapter was the whole truce between the hunt and the humans. Tobias said it was an outdated embarrassment while Nathaniel seems to think it is a worthwhile thing to keep. I wonder what the rest of the hunt think of it, although they are probably to scared of Tobias to disagree with him.

    The description was very good in this chapter, as it really captured the emotions felt by the characters. I can't wait to see how Elizabeth copes with everything when she wakes up. If I were her, I probably wouldn't be able to sleep for a few nights.

    By the way do you have a PM List. If you do, would you please add me to it?
     
  11. Draco Malfoy

    Draco Malfoy -REaction

    Sharpening scissors, adjusting oxygen levels and steadying all photon cannons. Okay, I think we're ready to take off. =D

    Corrections are in bold.

    Chapter Four:

    With a few exceptions, active voice tends to be better than passive voice. Make the "surrounding demons" the subject of that sentence; it will strengthen the structure.

    Well, you damn-well should be. D=

    I never liked "prettily" as an adverb, especially in combination with something like "onyx" or "azure". Substitute "prettily" for a more concrete adverb (perhaps one that describes motion?) or remove the words altogether. Sometimes, less is more. ;)

    Your balance between action and emotion is commendable. I'd attribute the fluidity of that excerpt to your use of concrete verbs. =) Watch that long sentence, though. It's not as bad as your other offenders from previous chapters, but it's skirting the fine line. You could leave the sentence in there, but I would personally shorten it.

    The 'Not enough' was a nice, ominous line. Poor girl.


    Nathaniel and Lizzie's relationship is intriguing. The depth of their emotions in this chapter enthralls the reader. However, the underscored sentence needs some cutting. Divide, and then you'll conquer. xD

    Tobias shouldn't be a name for a baddie, though. What about the Animorphs. D= [/irrational Animorphs-fan moment]

    I know you're trying to say that Nathaniel's breathing is heavy, but somehow I read the line as Nate's words were forced between somebody's trousers. xD You don't have to reword it, but might I suggest a different word to 'pants'? 'Gasps' could work.


    Nice use of detail and parallel phrasing.


    Ember days...


    That is one gargantuan sentence. My word, it's like Jane Austen all over again. Austen is a terrific writer, but I don't think Ember Days is intended to be a Regency-era novel. xP

    Although both of you do seem to have a protagonist called Elizabeth...

    Stating the obvious in an understatement, Elizabeth?

    This paragraph is entirely expo-speak. It's so dense that the readers might not be able to process all the information. Cut it down, somehow, into smaller portions. One way of accomplishing this is through including Elizabeth's reaction to individual morsels of news.

    On another note, deft explanation. You conveyed the necessary information without compromising Nate's voice. Good job.

    "Seventeen," said the sparkly sparkle.

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. xD Elizabeth's response to the news is naturalistic, by the way. She doesn't seem too accepting or too anxious, which is a good thing.

    There's some great character interaction between these two. If Nate was a bit older, or Elizabeth was younger, I'd call it romantic chemistry.

    *discards the Shipping Goggles*

    A suitably cliffhanger-ish final line.

    Overall, your strong suits are still present: your description, your portrayal of Nathaniel, and your depiction of Elizabeth/Nathaniel. However, be wary of those long sentences - and long paragraphs. Expo-speak itself isn't bad, but it can bore readers if it's one, big info-dump. Break your exposition into bite-sized pieces, especially if a character is delivering the information through dialogue. Focusing occasionally on the information's recipient is one way of slicing those dense passages.

    Anyway, I'll continue to praise your work for what it is. Keep it up, and start posting this on PC as well. =D
     
  12. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Okay--now everything makes sense enough so I understand what's going on here.

    I will second the suggestion to watch the infodumps--putting them in dialogue is one way to break it up.
     
  13. Ejunknown

    Ejunknown be creative

    Wait, aren't they in speech already?

    As I said when I was beta'ing KK, despite the need for a long explanation, you slid it in well - and the image of the two of them crouched against the hillside, with the roar of the bonfire and creatures behind them, is primal and gorgeous.

    Even with breaks for grammar fixing and editing, your writing style brought me right back into the middle of the scene; the emotion within your characters really endears you to them, and makes this. Your characterization possesses this, always, and I will always adore how you do this. <3

    Write more soon, 'kay? ;D
     
  14. katiekitten

    katiekitten The Compromise

    catzeye: :D I'm glad you liked it~! :3 Haha, indeed! Tobias can be scary when he wants to be, the little old fool. x3 I'm glad you liked him though.

    Oh, poor Elizabeth when she does finally wake up from all this, indeed - that's going to be fun to write. x3

    I will make one~! x3 I love those lil things. x3 I'll be sure to let you know, I'm really glad you're enjoying this. x3 Thank you again!

    Draco~ *noogies* x333 Thank you for the review! Your scissors are very useful again, thank you - I've skipped through it and tried to iron out the points that you noted. I dithered on whether to use 'prettily' or not - I normally hate it when people use those sorts of adjectives, but on the other hand I was aware of the point of view I was writing from and I wanted him to make such an observation... That can be implied in other ways, though. ;3

    The dialogue info dump has been spaced out a little more as well. :3 Hopefully it should read a little easier now - I'm glad I did manage to retain Nate's voice, in the end, I was keeping an eye out for it. x3

    :x There is a very good Animorph-related reason to why I love the name Tobias so much... xD That should also give you a hint about the eventual path of this character, although I will keep my mouth shut for now. ;x

    I was tempted to pair the two at one point, I will admit. ;D I have greater plans for the two of them, though. :3

    'Ember Days'... You'll understand soon. ;3

    Flaming: I'm glad it makes sense now. :3

    Ejun: *smothers in cookies and kisses all parts visible* Thank you so much for your help with all of this, by the way, my dear! That's a good point - I need to put your name in nice big letters at the beginning of this all. x3 You did an awesome job with the Betaing, thank you so much~! :D
     
  15. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    ::fellow Animorphs fan here!--didn't really like the ending::
     
  16. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    Ack, sorry for not reviewing the last couple chapters, KK! D: I’ve been busy with loads of stuff as I told you before. Okay, here are my thoughts on Chapters 2, 3, and 4 as I was reading them:

    Chapter Two
    I really like the part where Elizabeth thought about the stories of women being kidnapped and raped. That’s one of my fears whenever I’m alone. D: I had to laughed though when she asked herself, “why was the rapist so small?” XD

    Speaking of which, I love Nathaniel already. It was cute when he said he had this huge speech to Elizabeth and that she’ll love it. XD Also, I like his answer to Elizabeth’s question if she was dreaming or not, hehe.

    Chapter Three
    Elizabeth and Nathaniel’s interaction in the first part I really like a lot. LOL over Nathaniel showing Elizabeth some ”magic” there. Aw over him sad when he said he’s not really human and that he’s part of the hunt. :< Interesting over his reference how the people would call the human/animal mix gods and then demons.

    Okay, this line had me go “d’awwwwwww” over Elizabeth going to take Nathaniel home. :3

    Oh, so Nathaniel got turned into a Growlithe all of a sudden? Also, Cobalion, as in the legendary Pokemon from Unova? Curious as to what role you have for him in this story.

    Chapter Four
    Tobias is an interesting character so far. His argument with Nathaniel is quite intense, especially the part where the Cobalion asks Nathaniel if he would rather be a beast or human. What got to me are his thoughts over Elizabeth and Nathaniel being challenged and him still be a lord if the time was long ago.

    LOL, again this is why I love Nathaniel. I do love what you have going on with the “hunt” so far and also for some reason I like the info over the hunt living for a long time.

    Overall, I’m really liking this and it’s shaping into an awesome story so far. Can’t wait for the next chapter!
     
  17. Elision

    Elision Fall Apart.

    Nice chapters. I'm not really the biggest fan of Tobias the Cobalion... -_-

    And I Lol'd at the part when Elizabeth found out that Nathaniel was 70. xP

    Like I said before, nice chapters.
     
  18. katiekitten

    katiekitten The Compromise

    FR: It was written by ghost writers by the end, wasn't it? I wasn't too fond of it either haha

    Bay: <3! Thank you for catching up, I appreciate it - and I'm certainly going to read the FMA thing when you finish~! :D I'm glad you liked the bit when Nathaniel screwed with the magic, haha - he was just digging himself into a bigger hole, neh? x33 I had way too much fun with nat, I must admit...

    He did, he's just a beginner at transforming, you see, and the use of the fire attack took a lot out of him on top of that. He's a bit of a div. xD

    X3 I'm glad you like the rest~! Tobias - we will be seeing a lot more of him, so we'll see how it all unfolds :3 He is quite interesting, the silly fellow. Thank you again, Bay m'dear! *snugs tight*

    xxbaconxx~! *hugs tight* x3 Thank you for reviewing~! xD Yeah, Tobias is a little cruel here, isn't he? Daft fellow. I'm glad you liked the '70' bit, it was fun to write. :3 <3 Glad you liked it~! :D
     
  19. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    If it had been me, I would've made the Animorphs save the universe and live to tell the tale

    Is your Cobalion actually a human trapped in that form? (just as his namesake was trapped as a hawk)
     
  20. katiekitten

    katiekitten The Compromise

    xD That would've been much happier. And no, not quite - he's just like Nathaniel in that he can change into human form (much more adept at it to), he just isn't as happy to do it. But that's for later chapters. ;x
     

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