Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by Taylor0401

The tower stood as it always had since time immemorial.  A ragtag structure of bronze, iron, steel,  and who knows what else.  Hulking cogs meshed together were piled so perfectly with what looked like stone pieces from old castles.  A balcony here, an arched doorway there, and the occasional fireplace were just some of the pieces I’d noticed making up the structure.  Up and up it stretched into clouds that never moved, never evaporated, never rained.  Our history showed that there had always been people living within a few miles, but nothing had ever happened around it.  Even predators tended to give it a wide berth unless they were truly starving.  I imagined that’s why the field around it had become a playground for the local kids.

Even in the expansive shade, it was a hot morning.  The sun hadn’t yet risen above the cloud cover, and I wasn’t dressed for the heat.  Wearing my Academy-issued brown leather coat under my long, gray cloak, just watching the children run around the scattered boulders and ancient artifacts scattered across the field was enough to wear me out.  I had the cloak’s hood thrown back, but that wasn’t helping much besides showing off my messy copper hair.  The field, and the tower itself, were mysteries.  From formless hunks of metal to weather-worn statues half buried in the dirt, the field around the tower was littered with old, broken relics.  Nobody alive knew where any of it came from.  Not that anything so trivial mattered to the little ones playing tag around its base.

From my perch in the low branches of a nearby tree, I could watch the kids and see into the skyscraping trees surrounding the field.  I kept glancing up at the clouds, hoping that I might catch a glimpse of the structure’s top.  It never happened, of course.  No one had ever seen the top, even on sunny days like this where the gray ring of perpetual cloud cover seemed so out of place.

The game of tag had escalated to a laughter-filled melee; the sound of sticks cracking together rang out across the field.  As much as I didn’t want to be out here babysitting, I was glad they were at least giving me a show.

My name is David, and I’m being punished.  Being a Sonomancer, even an Apprentice like me, has its perks.  Apparently, getting away with accidental arson is not one of them.  So now instead of studying and training back at the local Academy, I was stuck watching kids have the time of their lives.  Not to mention, I was forbidden from using my Voice.  A couple of new students had gotten into a fight, and I tried to break it up.  They didn’t listen to me, things got out of hand, one thing led to another and... here I am.  Oh well, there’s nothing I can do about it now.  At least my punishment involved some interesting scenery.

Over the past few days, the expanse of clouds around the tower had started changing from their normal gray to almost white.  It was a subtle change, one that nobody else seemed to notice or care about.  I noticed, although I had no real idea why it was happening.

I was jerked from my skyward speculations back down to my tree by a small voice.  One of the little ones was running toward me, panting and giggling.  “Hey David!  Did ya see me catch Phillip?  He said he was faster, but I sure showed him!  Whacked him good!”

I laughed, “I sure did, Peter.  You’d better catch your breath quick in case he tries to get you back.”

Peter’s head whipped around as if expecting to see Phillip right behind him.  However, it appeared that the other kids hadn’t even noticed his disappearance.  “Aww I’ll be fine.  He’s prob’ly scared o’ me now anyways.  Aren’t ya bored up in that tree?  Come play with us!”

Smiling, I said, “What if I’m down there playing and a wolf or a bear tries to sneak up on us?  We might not have time to run away.”

The incredulity on Peter’s face was priceless, “Run away?!  From a bear?!  David!  You’ll just yell at him and turn him into a kitten or somethin’!”

“It’s not that simple, bud.  Plus, if my Musica found out I was using my Voice I’d be in even more trouble than I am now.”

Peter narrowed his eyes as if trying to determine if I was patronizing him.  I must have passed his scrutiny, because his smile came back and he laughed.  “Tort would whack you way worse than I jus’ got Phillip!  But if you weren’t in trouble, you could-"

CHUNK!

Every so often, one of the huge gears would turn, changing something in the configuration of the tower.  The sound could be heard for a couple miles around at least, but nobody I knew had ever actually seen it move.  This was the sound that had startled Peter out of his line of thought.

I looked back down to find him already waiting expectantly for my response to his unfinished question.  “Yes, Peter.  If I wasn’t in trouble, then I would be more than happy to fight a bear for you.”  To be honest, nothing about fighting a bear seemed like a happy idea to me, but I couldn’t let the kid know that.  I mean, come on.  I’ve got a reputation to uphold here.  Luckily, he seemed satisfied with my answer, and ran off to rejoin the other children.

The game of tag, or knights, or whatever it had devolved into was no different than any other that had been played here over the years.  It looked like nothing could take the kids’ attention from whomever their current adversary might be, or where they might try to hide next.  Had I been paying attention like I probably should have been, I may have seen it earlier.  But by the time any of us noticed that something was amiss, the ground had already started shaking violently.

When it began, the rumbling in the earth wasn’t severe enough to see, but it could be felt.  I decided to jump down from my tree before it could throw me out.  The kids didn’t even slow their game until the quakes had become so bad that the boulders and statues had shaken free of the ground, and had begun toppling and rolling around in the grass.  Each one of them looked around in awe; they had never felt anything like this before.  None of them seemed to hear my shouting to get into the trees.  That sense of wonder lasted just until the Giant’s head cleared the horizon.

Over the tops of the trees and roughly thirty meters off the ground, a dark red, floppy hat had appeared atop a massive, ugly head.  A dirty, golden beard pulled branches from treetops as he walked.  His jowls shook with each step, barely concealing the determined set of his jaw.

My shouts got louder and more vehement as I ran to grab the kids.  Two by two I scooped them up and carried them back to the woods, out of the Giant’s path.  It looked like he was headed straight for the tower.  Any foliage unfortunate enough to be in his way was smashed aside with hardly a second thought.  It wouldn’t be long before he reached the field.

This can’t be happening, I thought.  Giants aren’t real.  They’re just stories.  Everyone knows that.  Well, the evidence against that way of thinking was demolishing its way through the forest in front of me, so I decided to abandon it.  Giants are real.  Or at least one is.

By this time, the children had recognized the danger, and were running on their own away from the tower to seek shelter.  Our group crouched, silently trembling behind the tree line; watching to see what would happen.  I made sure the last of the stragglers had gotten to cover before hiding behind a boulder myself, and not a moment too soon.  When the Giant reached the edge of the trees, he slowed for a second to survey the area before continuing.  His tunic was the same shade of red as his hat, making his multitude of colorful belt-pouches stand out sharply.

I was surprised that none of the children made a sound as his full form came into view.  They must have been a mix of terrified and awestruck; l know I was.  When the Giant was about half way between the woods and tower, a new sound emerged.  Suddenly, from the opposite end of the clearing, a large figure leapt out emitting a guttural growl that made my insides quiver.  This newcomer would have been considered giant by any normal standards, but under the circumstances I was forced to classify him as simply ‘big.’  This one was a mere four meters tall with jet black hair all over his chest and head and a vicious-looking axe in each hand.  His black leather boots each had a pair of curved blades protruding from the toe.  Other than the boots and a torn set of trousers, he was unclothed.

Seeing this, the Giant’s eyes widened and he hurried the last few steps toward the tower.  Without hesitation, he grabbed hold and pulled himself up.  He had barely made it off the ground before his enemy reached him.  Hurtling through the air, the smaller of the two slammed his axes into one of the Giant’s enormous legs, thus holding himself in place.  The Giant roared in protest, and while moving ever upwards, attempted to shake the little one off of his leg.  The dark haired attacker snarled and held on, and using his axes, began to climb.

By this point, the children and I were all gaping open-mouthed at the spectacle ensuing above us.  The Giant seemed to realize his opponent was not going to be so easily defeated, and swung his occupied leg out from the tower.  He brought it back immediately, jarring one of the axes free.  Before he could press his advantage, however, the axe slammed back into his calf and the other followed quickly just below the knee.  Teeth gritted, the attacker heaved himself up and began tearing furiously at the Giant’s hamstring.  A deep, rumbling bellow of pain erupted from the Giant as his leg went limp beneath him.

He now stood several dozen meters off the ground on one leg, holding onto the tower with both hands, and not daring to climb another step.  Heedless of the drop below them, the smaller of the two combatants leapt from the Giant to one of the balconies of the tower.  Only for a second was he there before turning and jumping back onto the Giant, this time hitting its midsection.  Purely on instinct, the huge hands let go of the tower and clutched his opened torso. Utterly engrossed in battle, the warrior had eyes only for his enemy.  Right up until the moment the pair hit the ground, his axes were flying in and out of the Giant’s chest.

With a deafening boom, the Giant slammed into the earth.  The ground heaved, and the children and I were launched at least a meter into the air.  They were all lying scattered in the still-quivering trees; too dazed to move, barely able to whimper.  Once I had regained my feet, I stumbled none-too-gracefully to each one to make sure they hadn’t been seriously hurt.  They were all bruised and scraped, but nothing seemed broken.  They started to get their bearings, and one by one they began crawling over to me, looking fearfully over their shoulder at the crater where the field used to be.  Once I had them all in a group again, their composure returned enough to talk.

“David!” one whispered loudly.

“Yeah, Phillip?”

“Are we dead?”

I only just managed to suppress a smile, “Of course not, kiddo.  I don’t know about you, but I’m too tough to die.”

“I’m tough!” he was getting louder now as his confidence returned.

One by one their little chests were puffing out, and I heard several exclamations of, “I not fragile either!”  Within seconds, they all started talking and relating to one another their version of what had just happened.  I let them be for a moment while I decided what to do next.  I knew that I had two options, but there was never any real chance that I was going to choose the smart one.

“Shhh!  Shh!  Stay quiet, all of you.  Everything is fine now.”

It took a bit of doing, but they finally stopped talking amongst themselves, and turned to me.

“What were those things, David?”

“Was they playin’ tag too?”

“Were they tryin’ a break the tower down?”

“Hey!  Hold on there.  There will be plenty of time for questions on the way home--” they cut me off before I could finish.

“We’re goin’ home?!”

“Let’s go!”

A few of them began to climb out from under whatever they had found for cover.

“Get back in there!  We aren’t leaving yet.  Before we go, I’ve just got to make sure those things are going to play nice from now on.  Stay where you are.  And be quiet.”  I looked around to make sure they knew I was serious, “I’ll be right back.”

Other than a few minor protests, they calmed down as much as little ones can.  I stood up and took a deep breath.  Steeling myself for whatever I might find, I headed toward the cloud of dust that covered the remnants of the field.  The entire thing was a huge crater.  Every artifact, statue and ancient piece of rubble that had littered the clearing was gone.  All except for the tower, which remained stoically in the center, unscathed by the devastation.

When I reached the edge of the hole, I could see the Giant lying on his back next to the base of the tower.  Apparently, the tower’s foundation was significantly deeper in the ground than anyone might have suspected.  The Giant’s eyes were tightly shut, but he looked more or less intact aside from his abdominal wound and crippled leg.  As for the other, he wasn’t so lucky.  It looked like the Giant had crushed him during the fall; whether from fear or out of spite, I couldn’t say.  Either way, the damage had been done.

I probably should have left then, and brought the kids back to their homes.  However, my typically foolish curiosity didn’t agree.  After all, who knew what sorts of fantastic treasures a Giant might carry in his pouches?  Not to mention anything of value I might learn could only help to persuade Tort to lift the restriction on my Voice.  These things in mind, I grinned and jumped into the crater.

The slope was steeper than I had thought, and the dirt seemed to chase me down as I ran.  I slipped as I neared the bodies, sliding the rest of the way on my rear end.  At the bottom, I got to my feet and grabbed a hold of the enormous red tunic.  I climbed up the Giant’s chest, and looked at the gore between his massive hands.  There wasn’t much recognizable about the bloody mess that had, only a few short minutes before, been a screaming, feral warrior.  I could barely make out an axe handle, and a smooth ring of metal with spikes on the inside.  I’ve never had a terribly strong stomach, and I didn’t want to stick around that smell any longer than I had to.  

I hurried around the ruined corpse to one of the belt pouches, a big green one, and started pulling at the strings to get a peek inside.  Suddenly, the enormous body shifted and I fell.  I shook my head and blinked several times, making sure I was all right.  As I, yet again, got to my feet I saw something I had really hoped not to see.

The Giant’s eyes were open.



© 2013 Taylor0401


My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Featured Review

That. Was. EPIC! Seriously, I've only gotten two chapters into this book, and it's already shaping up to be one of my favorites on this sight. ^_^

The tower is very imaginative, and I have a feeling that ot holds a deep, dark secret that is going to come back and haunt David later. Perhaps it is the remnants of Rathgar's tower?

The kids are darling and perfectly portrayed, and the giants were fantastic. The perfect amount of action.
I really loved the last sentence, too. That will definitely keep readers turning the pages. :)

As fantastic as this is, I do have a few suggestions for you.

The paragraph where David introduces himself ruins the flow of the chapter. It just seems out of place, and it is unnecessary, too, because you get nearly all of the information in there from the dialogue between your characters. I think you should just cut that part out, and just have David musing about the clouds around the tower.

Also, when you're describing the giants after the battle, I imagine crushed as the little giant being flattened when the other giant fell on top of him, noy being shredded to pieces. Just a personal opinion. :)

Another thing that I noticed is that you switch tenses a lot. While the story-line is engaging, the inconsistency is a little bothersome.

This was a fantastically penned chapter, Taylor! Keep up the great work!


Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Taylor0401

10 Years Ago

So glad you're likin' it! That's always so great to hear!

The thing about David introd.. read more



Reviews

This was such a surprise after reading a brilliant prologue. I mean the twists of having giants in your story and a different setting.

I still enjoyed this chapter and thought it was fast paced and enjoyable to read. I especially like the way you keep building up your chapters with so much action and fantasy. It's so much fun to read, especially because you have a great and interesting plot before you.

I can't wait to read the next chapters. You've definitely got me hook into reading every thing in this untitled story.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Taylor0401

10 Years Ago

Thanks so much! I'm really glad that you're enjoying the story. I hope it stays interesting for you.. read more
That. Was. EPIC! Seriously, I've only gotten two chapters into this book, and it's already shaping up to be one of my favorites on this sight. ^_^

The tower is very imaginative, and I have a feeling that ot holds a deep, dark secret that is going to come back and haunt David later. Perhaps it is the remnants of Rathgar's tower?

The kids are darling and perfectly portrayed, and the giants were fantastic. The perfect amount of action.
I really loved the last sentence, too. That will definitely keep readers turning the pages. :)

As fantastic as this is, I do have a few suggestions for you.

The paragraph where David introduces himself ruins the flow of the chapter. It just seems out of place, and it is unnecessary, too, because you get nearly all of the information in there from the dialogue between your characters. I think you should just cut that part out, and just have David musing about the clouds around the tower.

Also, when you're describing the giants after the battle, I imagine crushed as the little giant being flattened when the other giant fell on top of him, noy being shredded to pieces. Just a personal opinion. :)

Another thing that I noticed is that you switch tenses a lot. While the story-line is engaging, the inconsistency is a little bothersome.

This was a fantastically penned chapter, Taylor! Keep up the great work!


Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Taylor0401

10 Years Ago

So glad you're likin' it! That's always so great to hear!

The thing about David introd.. read more
In the first paragraph you have a fragment: "A ragtag structure of bronze, iron, steel, and who knows what else." I'd also be careful with your use of "it" in the first paragraph. It can become really repetitive and take away from the stories flow.

"Wearing my Academy-issued brown leather coat under my long, gray cloak, just watching the children run around the scattered boulders and ancient artifacts scattered across the field was enough to wear me out. " This sentence seem really long and bulky. I think you should either break it up into two sentences or flip the clauses so the independent is first. Just like "it" in the first paragraph be careful of "the field around the tower" in your second.

"laughter-filled melee" I like this a lot. It's a very creative use of the word melee. "Apprentice like me" I'm pretty sure it should read "myself" instead of "me". You really need to watch your verbs in the fifth paragraph. Some of them are present and tense and others are past tense.

In the fifteenth paragraph there's a small grammar error. "The sound could be heard for a couple miles around at least" "for" should be changed to "from"

In the seventeenth paragraph "whomever" should be "whoever"

"Our group crouched, silently trembling behind the tree line; watching to see what would happen." This is in the twenty second paragraph and you don't need the semicolon because the second part is a dependent clause.

In the twenty-third paragraph "half way" should be one word. You should also try not to overuse semicolons no matter how much fun they are. There comes a point when they just distract from the reading and keep the author from creating more colorful independent sentences.

"The Giant roared in protest, and while moving ever upwards, attempted to shake the little one off of his leg. The dark haired attacker snarled and held on, and using his axes, began to climb." This is in the twenty-fourth paragraph and I'm just not sure if comma places are right. Also I think you should think about phrasing one of these sentences differently to keep the paragraph from becoming stale.

In the twenty-fifth paragraph you don't need a comma in this sentence because the second half isn't an independent clause. "The Giant seemed to realize his opponent was not going to be so easily defeated, and swung his occupied leg out from the tower." "Before he could press his advantage, however, the axe slammed back into his calf and the other followed quickly just below the knee." I don't think you need the first comma but honestly I'd just think about rewriting this sentence for clarity.

"They were all lying scattered in the still-quivering trees; too dazed to move, barely able to whimper." In the twenty-seventh paragraph you don't need a semicolon because the following two statements are dependent clauses.

You need to pay a bit more attention to the punctuation marks. There were quite a few semicolons and commas that weren't in correct places.

I think you need to make the sentence structure approachable by writing more of them in the basic independent-dependent instead of dependent-independent. You only use the latter to spice up the writing instead of as the bulk of the writing.

Some really good things that I saw were great alliterations and creative use of words that aren't really commonly used.


Posted 10 Years Ago


Taylor0401

10 Years Ago

Well, jeepers!
This is exactly why people need English teachers. I've never had semicolons ex.. read more
RobbieT

10 Years Ago

No problem! Don't let all my little pointers make you think that I didn't enjoy the piece. It really.. read more
“Tort would whack you way worse than I jus’ got Phillip! But if you weren’t in trouble, you could"“ -->You've got two end quotations : ) Also, this piece was a bit confusing to me...maybe it's just me...so, to clarify: Is Tort the main character's Musica (I assume that's a Sonomancer-mentor?)...and is Peter saying "if you weren't in trouble you could turn the bear into a kitten using your Voice?''

Two by two I scooped them up and carried them back to the woods, out of the Giant’s path.--> comma after 'two by two'?

Purely on instinct, the huge hands let go of the tower and clutched his opened torso. Purely engrossed in battle, the warrior had eyes only for his enemy.-->Purely on instinct, the huge hands let go of the tower and clutched his opened torso. Completely/Entirely/Fully/Wholly engrossed in battle, the warrior had eyes only for his enemy. ... I just think using purely back-to-back like that is a tad redundant, perhaps consider substituting it for a related word in one of these two sentences. : )

I shook my head and blinked several times, making sure I was alright. -->I shook my head and blinked several times, making sure I was ALL RIGHT.

I very much enjoyed the originality of the concepts in this story. To be honest, I went in thinking it would be another (no offense to people who write this) high fantasy sword and sorcery set in some place reminiscent of medieval Europe (I've read some pretty good stories that fit that description, though), then you surprised the reader with magicians who use sound to conduct their magic in the prologue. Great concept, absolutely lovely. Sonomancers, nice name for them, too. Like a sound Necromancer. I also liked how you wrote out the dialogue phonetically and with all the improper grammar you'd find in little children. The interactions between David and the children are absolutely charming, reflecting how a lot of teenage babysitters might feel (is David a teen?). And I love Phillips character! He seems like such an oblivious little boy, all caught up in chivalrous fantasies to realize how insignificant he may be to other children (no one noticed he'd left!? : ( ). Great job making other fictional characters in this fantasy, as most fantasies in some imaginary world aren't phased by things such as Giants because they are portrayed as another race to which others have adapted. Having someone as unheard of as a Sonomancer's apprentice react with such wonder and surprise at this creature was a clever addition. Well done and great use of language!

Posted 10 Years Ago


Christoph Poe

10 Years Ago

Well, all I read was your response, but I've used "alright" in dialogue many times, and I think that.. read more
Writer #00

10 Years Ago

No problem, it's a mistake I've made...and probably still make without noticing ^^''

I .. read more
Writer #00

10 Years Ago

The above is in reply to Taylor...awkward.

Share This
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

316 Views
4 Reviews
Rating
Added on July 5, 2013
Last Updated on July 31, 2013


Author

Taylor0401
Taylor0401

AZ



About
I've loved writing ever since I was a kid. I haven't had time for it in years, but now I'm making it a regular part of my life and hopefully it will eventually go somewhere. I'd love to publish a no.. more..

Writing
Prologue Prologue

A Chapter by Taylor0401


Chapter 2 Chapter 2

A Chapter by Taylor0401


Chapter 3 Chapter 3

A Chapter by Taylor0401



Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..


Prologue Prologue

A Chapter by Taylor0401