A litltle experiment...

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Lord Tingeling
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A litltle experiment...

Post by Lord Tingeling » Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:22 pm

Since I've been stranded without internet access for quite some time now, I decided to kill time by doing some D&D character concepts, among other things. The primary character I made was Masako Oda, a samurai (well, not exactly) from Wa in Kara-Tur. Being chronically bored, I also decided to write a few stories about her, in order to pass time. It's been a while since I last wrote something, and I still have some problems with not having regained/found my "style" completely yet, but this is the result.

I might as well apologize now for the poor grammar and lack of quality, but know that I am not responsible for any damage caused to your brain, memory functions, vital organs, limbs, private relationships or sanity due to reading this text.

Now, if you manage to read it to the end, give yourself a gold star and feel free to give me some feedback. It's been a while since I've done this, so any pointers, long, sharp lessons, or tips are welcome.

EDIT: this isn't a full story or anything. I posted it so you all could bash the writing itself, señoritas. :)

----

The sound of metal hitting metal echoed through the forest, the shrill sound all the more audible in the otherwise all-too silent forest. The silence could be devious, Masako knew- she'd been ambushed by Cloakwood's monstrous denizens more than once, and had been forced to kill half a dozen ettercaps and giant spiders in these few days she'd spent in the beautiful and very dangerous forest. This time, however, her attackers were more human than a simple sword spider- in a manner of speaking, at least, Masako thought, as parrying another slash from one of the infamous Cloakwood's resident bandits, a large, burly man with a shabby beard and an even shabbier sword. She'd heard talk of the iron plauge when she'd been in Baldur's Gate, and from the look of things, what she'd heard had been all too true. The bandit's sword was chipped and notched, in striking contrast with her own gleaming daisho set, the pair of swords that had been traditionally passed from one generation of bushi to another within her family. Out came another feint, designed to look like a horizontal stike, but it really wasn't a slash. She saw it for what it really was, and when the sword tip shot out moments later -looking to pierce through her defenses- she brought her sword upwards in a vertical path, turning the blade away and chipping it further. She entertained the thought of going on with the battle until she'd hacked away enough of his sword to make it useless, but decided against it- the sounds of a prolonged battle would most likely only draw unwanted attention from the forest's other denizens, something she didn't want. She wanted to end this quickly and be on her way, and even though this adversary had proved more skilled than its two companions--who now lay dead on the ground--but that didn't really matter. There was always something missing, always a weakness, always an imperfection buried somewhere. Her school taught her not only to strike where it hurt, but also to look beyond such things as strength, speed, even technique- only by understanding--and eventually controlling-- battle could one hope to emerge victorious, and to do so, one had to throw it all away- fear, doubt, joy, anger, even the will to live- all those things interfered with one's understanding of one's opponent, oneself, and the very essence of the battle being fought. "Be one with the flow of battle, because in doing so, you will understand both you and your opponent, and you will know how and when to strike". That had always been her the motto of many Oda samurai, and it had served her well. The bandit's sword came down in a quick downward strike, but Masako had anticipated it as well- bringing her own katana up to block and hold his sword high. She knew she couldn't keep it that way for long-- her adversary had the advantage of raw strength--but she didn't need to, either. Taking one step forward and drawing her wakizashi, using the momentum from her sudden movement and the unsheating itself to build up speed, she slashed the bandit across the throat. His eyes went wide with doubt, with disbelief, and then he realized what had happened- it was over.

The thump, followed by a rattle as both he and his sword hit the ground seemed all the louder against the renewed silence of the forest. As she wiped her blades clean with a handfull of grass, she saw them yet again- two bloated bodies, now accompanied by a third, all of them lying there in the expanding puddles of their own blood. She felt it- not guilt over those that she'd just slain, rather a gnawing feeling that all she'd done was, somehow, worthless. She'd slain countless of people, most of them bandits, raiders and muggers, people usually called evil. But why? Why did she fight? For truth? Justice? For good? Masako had no such illusions. Justice, even truth, was in her experience basically what people made of it, each person having their own, subjective, intrepretation of a given situation. And what about good? Again, Masako had never really fought for a grand cause, much less the cause of good- in her experience, good and evil were in the eye of the beholder. Some faiths proclaimed their ways to be "good", while the others were "evil", but again, the relevancy of those terms coupled with "right" and "wrong" were closely tied to what you, personally, believed in. But if not for those reasons, why did she fight? Was it to improve her skill, to gain the acceptance of her countrymen, to be recognized as a bush, a true warriori? Or for the simple reason that fighting was all that she knew?

In her youth, dreams had been everything she had, but sometimes dreams and determination proved to be a powerful drive. She'd always wanted to be a samurai, to be one of the noble warriors defending Wa from gaijin, oni, and foreign threats- in the service of a daimyu or the shogun, but most of all, she'd wanted a purpose, a calling, a meaning. Armed with her stubborn determination, she'd began training at the age of nine, and eleven years later she felt confident enough in that she had the strength to carry on the traditions of the Oda samurai, wearing the ancestral daisho blades of her family. Still, in spite of her martial prowess, no one would accept her or employ her, and being one of the samurai, roughly meaning "those who serve" proved to be quite difficult when no-one would take her in. She could have sought employement in other nations, such as Kuzakura or even Shou Lung, but that, to her, would have been a failure, and Masako never, never backed away from a fight. Her mother had always said that she was too stubborn for her own good, and she'd been right- Masako couldn't accept being rejected, she couldn't move on, she couldn't forget- because, wheter she admitted it or not, her strive to become a bushi had become one of her most prominent identifiers- it had become an important part of her, one she couldn't give up on. She'd left shortly thereafter with the her family's blessings, and had somehow ended up here on the sword coast, taking odd jobs to gain the coin needed to survive- serving as a bounty hunter or caravan guard. Maybe this had affected her fighting edge- both mentally and physically. Perhaps it hadn't, and there were other issues she'd have to deal with farther down the road. Either way, she'd have to think on this, but perhaps now was not the best time- it was getting late, and she really had to get moving before any predators, enticed with the smell of fresh blood, made their appearance.

Content with the cleaning of her blades, she stood up and surveyed her immediate sorroundings- all clear, as far as she could see. Still, she she'd better not be out in the open for long- all kinds of predators lurked in Cloakwood, she'd come to realize. She vaguely remembered seeing a cave entrance somewhere around here- maybe it would do. Walking there, wondering in which direction the cave lay, she almost stumbled on him- a bound and gagged figure partly concealed by a thornbrush. Wheter he'd been there for a long time, she couldn't say- his clothing was ripped and torn, and he looked to be no more than sixteen or seventeen, with short, blond hair and green eyes wide with fear. Regardless, she couldn't leave him here. The ettercaps, spiders, even the wyverns --although she hadn't seen any in this part of the forest--, all of them would make short work of him if they managed to find him. "I think" she said, as she bent down and started untying the ropes; "that you'd better come with me".
-- Canadians. So mellow. So laid back. So gay.

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whitemithrandir
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Re: A litltle experiment...

Post by whitemithrandir » Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:56 pm

I might as well apologize now for the poor grammar and lack of quality,
It's okay. Not everyone can be perfect like me.

but know that I am not responsible for any damage caused to your brain, memory functions, vital organs, limbs, private relationships or sanity

too late.
EDIT: this isn't a full story or anything. I posted it so you all could bash the writing itself, señoritas. :)
Great.

----

The sound of metal hitting metal echoed through the forest. The all too silent forest made the shrill sound all the more audible. Silence could be devious, Masako knew- she'd been ambushed by Cloakwood's monstrous denizens more than once, and had been forced to kill half a dozen ettercaps and giant spiders in these few days she'd spent in thisbeautiful and very dangerous forest. This time, however, her attackers were more human than a simple sword spider, in a manner of speaking, at least, Masako thought, as parrying another slash from one of the infamous Cloakwood's resident bandits, a large, burly man with a shabby beard and an even shabbier sword. (<--- biggest run on ever; please fix.) She'd heard talk of the iron plague when she'd been in Baldur's Gate, and from the look of things, what she'd heard was true. The bandit's sword was chipped and notched, in striking contrast with her own gleaming daisho set, the pair of swords that had been traditionally passed from one generation of bushi to another within her family. Out came another feint, a horizontal stike, but it soon melded into something else, much as she expected. When the sword tip shot out moments later, looking to pierce through her defenses, she brought her sword upwards in a vertical path, turning the foreign blade away and chipping it further. She entertained the thought of prolonging the battle until she'd hacked away enough of his sword to make it useless, but decided against it; the sounds of a prolonged battle would most likely only draw unwanted attention from the forest's other denizens. She didn't want that. She wanted to end this quickly and be on her way, and even though this adversary had proved more skilled than its two companions, both of which now lay dead on the ground. <deleted due to redundancy> <deleted due to irrelevance>. Her school taught her not only to strike where it hurt, but also to look beyond such things as strength, speed, even technique. Only by understanding and eventually controlling battle could one hope to emerge victorious, and to do so, one had to throw it all away: fear, doubt, joy, anger, even the will to live. [SNIP]

Okay I think that's all I'm willing to go through for now. The mistakes that appear later seem to repeat those I've corrected:

1. Overuse of parallel structure's gotta go: It's a descriptive piece, not a presidential election speech. "one had to throw it all away: fear, doubt, joy, anger, even the will to live."<-- yeah, that's good, spamming the reader with nouns can achieve the effect of intensity, but too much of it causes confusion and certain stylistic errors that you might want to avoid.

2. Dashes: Hey, I love dashes too, I just don't use them all over the place. All of your dash uses can be replaced by commas, which are far more grammatically correct. "moments later -looking to pierce through her defenses- she brought" <--- this shoud be "moments later, looking to pierce through her defenses, she brought" in standard English.

3. Run-on's and ridiculously long sentences: Long sentences aren't good sentences. Run-on's are just grammatical behemoths. Good prose consists of varying sentence structure. Got four or five complexes? Throw in a compound or a simple and you can make your prose seem that much more alive.

Other minor mechanical nuisances aren't worth mentioning but I did correct what I could catch.

I'm not an angsty 15 year old teen who writes crappy poetry thinking I'm the greatest thing on earth since sliced bread. I'm an English teacher, so it's OKAY to be taking advice from me, without the need to feel inferior. Most people flame me when I correct their grammar and go "WTF R U, AN ENGLIS TEECHER?"

To which I go...

"YEAH."

<3

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Lord Tingeling
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Post by Lord Tingeling » Thu Aug 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Ah, thanks. The reason I didn't put a [for review] in the title was because this is, well, crap. Call it a prototype, if you will.

Anyway, mucho gracias for the input. it's been ages since I last wrote something, so I need to get back into shape.
-- Canadians. So mellow. So laid back. So gay.

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Fluffy17
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Post by Fluffy17 » Thu Aug 12, 2004 3:47 pm

Tink my good God here's a writing forum I'm a member as well but I don't go on much (sometimes friendships can be too clingy :mad: )
I have no time for flat characters why should I have times for flat people?

I'm Otto von Bismarck watch me blow, watch the butterflies coming out of my nose.

"You can't choose what bothers you, that's why it bothers you."

-Rachel Duncan

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