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Wormerwing
July 13th, 2006, 10:10 AM
Hey guys. In honor of my return to the LPF(me, big-headed?), I'm revising my previous story(and, you know, actually finishing it), Intro:Astil. For those of you who weren't here at the time, it was decent until it started sucking. Yeah...

So, anyway, I've taken a few classes on writing and film-making(hey, it helps dramatic composition far more than you think it would). Continue to....


Intro:Astil

Prologue
It was morning, and there was a sadness in the air, an oppressing weight upon all creatures witness to it. With it it brought silence;no birdsong broke the stillness. All was quiet, in anticipation of sorrow.

Then came the roar. It was a vast, menacing bellow of pure rage and pain, spreading through the dawn and striking all those within earshot with fear. Within its harsh sound notes of deep loss were also contained, nearly inaudible sobs and gasps, erratic, but gradually winning the struggle over control over the beast's throat. Eventually, the wrath was replaced by grief.

The great badger knelt down, cradling the lifeless mass in his arms. He quietly murmured promises of healing and safety, too aware of the fultility of any attempts at such. The massive beast carefully laid the body on a bed of leaves, then in a few quick but powerful strikes at the soil made a shallow depression in the earth. He wordlessly placed the child in it, then noticed a small item on the ground nearby.

It was a small wooden doll, fashioned of yew and oak, painted to emulate a badger's markings. The mannequin's doppelganger prayed a few words to a god he stopped believing long ago, then positioned the figurine under the badgermaid's arm. He then dutifully finished the burial, replacing the earth and carving a hasty but sincere tombstone from a close-by stump.
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The badger looked back only one time on that first day, preferring to attempt to leave his past behind him, nevertheless always drifting back in his mind to the events that led to the destruction of such a life, a nearly perfect life. As the day closed, he left the road. He prepared a quick meal of oat bread and wine from his pack, then slept. As he slept, he drempt.

Wormerwing
July 13th, 2006, 12:19 PM
OK, I absolutely loved this chapter the first time around, so about 3/4 of it is cut and paste


1: Delta

"Phi Barracks, report to mess hall in three minutes for feeding!" A brawny specimen of a squirrel stood, perched upon an upturned log, alone for yards in the barren field. He was black, a dense black, but it was his eyes that were instantly subject to attention. They were blood-red, a combination of little sleep, long-repressed rage, and an eternal bloodlust, barely contained within the creature. They drew beasts in, crushing with their total suggestion of awesome might, as if the entire world existed just for this squirrel to destroy it.

"Delta Barracks, rest period in ten minutes, report to Stone now!" The field itself was oppressive, the few beasts on duty out there silent. There was no trace of trees, or grass, or water, or of any pleasant substance at all, just dirt and clay. The only living plants were the sparse smatterings of weeds, not yet trodden by footpaws.

One of the creatures in that spiritually deserted field lifted his head at the last announcement. "'ey, 'til, that's us!" The speaker, a rather small-looking ferret, looked up at his companion, a youngish badger male. The ferret's ears, upturned, waited for an answer, while his eyes darted around nervously, as they always had.

Astil, a rare brown badger, while still with the broad black stripe of his cousins, seemed even larger than usual compared to his associate. The short white ferret still expected an answer. "Yes, I know, Elan. You see, I've been here for, what, seven seasons now? We're on a rotating schedule. It doesn't change."

Elan drooped instantly. The younger animal had only arrived a few days ago, and had instantly bonded with Astil. He was, as all who first came to Tior, just out of kithood, and was impressionable, taking many of the badger's mannerisms. This slumping was not one of them. He was clearly hurt, and scrambled for an excuse. "Well, uh, ya see, I, uh..." He trailed off.

Astil could see that he had insulted his young friend, not meaning to sound rude, but unintentionally depressing the ferret. He attemped to apologize, but began to philosophize. "Listen, I'm sorry. It's just, this can't be right, can it? The way we're living? We're like ants, for Rew's sake! We can't choose anything, we're ordered around! It just doesn't seem like the way it was meant to be." On seeing Elan's vacant look, his attention redirected to a ladybug, Astil stopped his tirade.

"Argh, c'mon. We've got to go see Stone."

The two began walking over to Stone's quarters, gradually attracting others from Delta barracks. As they made the short travel, Astil looked around the base. Tior was devoid of all life not relating to the military. The area was surrounded by a wall that loomed over even Astil, gray and menacing, as was anything contained within it.

In strict rows ahead of them were the barracks, six of them, each with housing for roughly forty recruits. Behind the last barracks, Omega, lay the officers quarters, each holding about 10 graduated soldiers. They were arranged in a type of oval, with their center being Stone's quarters.

Stone lived basically isolated, only sharing his home with one or two servants. His house was a large, ugly gray building, complete with staring creatures of myth on every avaliable ledge, one for each of Stone's victories in battle. As they approached, a rat opened the large steel doors from inside. "You may follow me to your appointment." He then faded away into the darkness of the room. The Delta barracks followed, with Astil and Elan behind.

Astil shuddered as passed under the gaze of one of the stone behemoths.

Wormerwing
July 14th, 2006, 08:12 PM
Once again, me likey chapter, so just a few minor changes.


2: Stone


He was massive, even so for a wildcat. His fur, a pure, pale gray from age, still had sheen and fullness. He was an great muscle-bound entity, with eyes of emerald, and claws kept filed. He was a beast built for destruction, a veritable machine of war, the Goliath of Ceres, this Land across the Western Sea. This was the one called Stone.

Elan and the rest of the creatures in Delta, an assortment of shrews and ferrets, cowered below him. Astil himself, the lone badger in the group, was only half the wildcat's size. The badger stared at Stone, not from hate, or envy, or spite, but just intense curiosity. It was a very rare opportunity to see the leader of Tior, and not even the nine-seasoned Astil, the oldest in the group, for there seemed to be nobeast older than eleven seasons at the fort except for those running it, had seen Stone but once.

Stone dismissively glanced down at the Delta barracks, noting those that were weak, frail, or even too strong. For this reason his eyes stayed on the ever-searching Astil, the fretful Elan, and an older shrew that Astil had only talke to a few time, but who seemed nice enough, known as Laer. He muttered something to one of his squirrel guards, who quickly left the room. The Wildcat of Terror then turned to face his 'pupils'. "Do any of you know why you are here?"

The always out-of-the-loop Elan replied quickly. "Because we were told to come?" As soon as he said it, the young ferret realized how the answer might have been taken, and his whole body began to tremble for fear of Stone's reaction.

His reaction was not expected. " 'because you were told to come'?" The wildcat glared at a portrait on the wall of the room. The room itself, a granite place, such as all buildings in Tior, was Stone's conference room, where he met with the leaders of the barracks, as well as the private meetings with the barrack-members, such as now.

Suddenly, Stone's face split into a grin. He began to laugh, a very uncommon thing in Tior. Elan began to chuckle nervously, until a quick glance at Astil's solemn face put an end to it. Stone reached out with a giant battle-scarred paw, and pulled Elan close. "No, my dear. You see, I have a mission for you and your friends."

The wildcat's smile widened.

Wormerwing
July 15th, 2006, 11:22 AM
K, after this chapter the deviation from the failed one'll start.


3: A Sentence


Elan visibly paled at Stone's touch. The already white ferret seemed to almost disappear into his surroundings, leaving nothing but a pair of scared, darting eyes. He looked first at Astil, then Stone, then back to the badger. A silent plea formed on his lips, as the wildcat's claws dug into his shoulder. "Help Me!"

Astil was about to rush forward in an attempt to free his friend, but he stayed his massive footpaws in time, as Stone began to chuckle. "You don't want to leave, my child, do you? Then you'll miss the surprise I have for you and your stripedog friend there. Oh, and you." He pointed at Laer, the eldest shrew. "I need a favor done, and you three seem up to the task."

The Gray One's face hardened, not angrily, but simply losing all expression. He turned to face the rest of the Deltas, a look of power in his eyes, commanding them wordlessly. Nevertheless, he did speak. "As for the rest of you, it is rest period. I expect you back on duty in eight hours. GO!!"

Stone turned back to the three remaining animals. Once the last remaining ferret left the room, any previous hint of kindness on the wildcat's face melted away, leaving only pure fury. He began to laugh again, not like earlier. It was a harsh, evil laugh. "So-o-o. You three are my little idealists. A pipsqueak mouse, a baby ferret, and an overgrown weed? You see, I have ears all over this camp. Nothing you say does not come to me.

Want to escape, do you? Get out of here, live under your own rules? You are here because you had thoughts of leaving this place. For that, you must be punished." At this, Astil looked guiltily at Elan, blood now dripping from his shoulder, vice-grip still in place. The ferret hadn't done anything wrong. It was Astil who had thought of all the ideas, painting pictures for Elan that couldn't possibly be fulfilled.

"You think you can make it out there? Well, that will be your sentence. You will be left out in the wild, no food, supplies, weapons. You will be alone. You wil most likely starve to death... if you're not killed or eaten. In three months, we will send out a search party, who will return with your bodies."

Elan thought for a moment. Apparently he did not blame Astil for what had befallen him, and decided to make this an opportunity for learning. "And what if we survive?"

Stone had already begun walking away. He called out simply, matter-of-factly. "They will return with your bodies." He then left the room, leaving the three to contemplate the meaning of that sentence.