Treeless Apples

Treeless Apples

A Story by Koeseki
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PEER EDITING ENCOURAGED! a short story I'm using to try out a scenario in regards to the book I am writing. (incomplete)

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They need not a sound. They move as one, black shadows, lords of the wood. Winter is coming, and large prey would be a great treasure. They slip through the ferns like smooth oil, forming a circle around a lump covered in a rough brown weave. The soon to be victim of nature makes the only stirring by means of shallow breathing. Without command, the shadows crouch in unison. An hour passes in a second, still, silent, dark, BOOM! The forest explodes, and a silky black wave of canine forms rush upon their survival.

 

I am the lord of the forest. My hide is tougher than that of the elephant and finer than the highest silk. The intensity of my glare is absolute. The impressive mass of my muscles bear no hope for those who I have deigned my prey.

My family is forever hungry and consuming. A good lord must provide for what is his. This creature that lay before me, in peaceful slumber, must die. Bare teeth and outstretched claws are eager for the inevitable blood. I spring for what i have claimed as mine. The drunken joy of the hunt intoxicates me, for i know it is over. THWACK! Intense pain scores my vision.

 

Jesse's nostrils are conquered by the tickling sensation of black fur and the stench of blood. He takes a moment to recover from the subsequent sneezing fit before drawing a short dagger from its home. Jesse carefully scans the surrounding wood for further threat. His eyes follow the trampled trail, spotted by blood, that marks the flight of his canine adversaries. Jesse isn't fully convinced of his safety, but it is enough.

He sets the bloodstained shaft of white oak next to the body of one of the four wolves that didn't survive the encounter and proceeds to strip it of its skin. Primarily, the knife makes no purchase into the black hide. Instead of giving into frustration, Jesse dips the tip of his dagger into a droplet of blood that rests on the lip of the beast. Silvery hieroglyphs subtly glisten along the blade, and Jesse returns to his labors with much greater ease. If all goes well, he will soon wear the night toned garments that once adorned the lord of the forest.

 

 

A rough man lays his head on a, slowly more moist, pile of furs. He awakes with a snort for the hand now on his shoulder. He turns his head groggily and looks up. His eyes meet the face of Jesse; who is burdened by an armload of freshly cleaned furs.

“Jesse,” he grunts in greeting.

“Mr Ackard. ” Jesse sets the bundle next to Ackard's left elbow. “I need a new hunting suit for the winter.”

Ackard eyes the stack of furs, giving the wolf hides extra attention.

“Well let's see what we can do.” In this way, he begins the haggling process.

 

Jesse steps out onto the feeble dirt street.

“I'll see you on Friday,” He shouts over his shoulder.

The street is quite, though not silent. Occasional footsteps crunch along the gravely path. Light conversation is heard, then muffled as the captain trots by in his regular inspection of the village. The captain, he is an elegant figure. His towering height and refined muscles makes for an intimidating form. In his flawless hand is grasped an ornate ivory naginata1.

A crash is heard accompanied by loud voices. The noise strikes up the street several blocks to clash in the ears of Jesse and our dear captain. A wooden door flies open as if desperately trying to escape the conflict that boils within the shack. Magenta hair chases after its storming owner.

You can just drown in your own filth!” The girl calls over her shoulder.

Jesse steps back as the girl flees by him, angry tears streaming down her face. Blinded by her anger, she forgets to follow the suit of others and maintain a wide space around the captain. The butt end of the naginata swings around and strikes the magenta head, just as she passes. She is thrown to the ground, sprawling. The nolokai2 captain raises his staff above her head, blade directed for a death strike. “I'm tired of this mekai3 abomination!”

The world slows down as rage envelops Jesse's entire being. Through a red haze, he watches as his dagger escapes his hand. His eyes follow the spinning dagger as it approaches the neck of the captain, slowly turning in a perfect barrel roll. It strikes.

A splintering sound is heard as the blade buries itself deep into the shaft of the naginata. The captain is now glaring hard at Jesse, his body in a battle ready stance. Jesse gives no pause for regret or review. There is no room in his blood rage. He is quickly upon his object of rage, fingers tightly gripped around his oaken staff. They meet with a resounding cracked. Staff meets staff in rapid succession. The two figures move in a dance that is in no means beautiful. Unless, death is beauty.

As Jesse's initial rage fades, the captain's more refined training becomes more and more apparent. Jesse is soon struggling maintain his position as a whole and healthy being. His foolish anger has left him tire. Jesse's staff becomes more distinctly visible as his endurance begins to fail him. “AhhG!” Jesse cries out as the blade of the naginata slashes his left shoulder. The captain takes advantage of the distraction and raises his weapon. Carrying the power of death, the pole arm strikes down. Jesse barely manages to bring up his staff to fend off the blow. His left hand looses its grip in pain, forcing him to drop to one knee. The energy of the strike courses through his body, causing a low grunt to escape his lips.

Despite the wear upon his body, Jesse is able to fend off the attacks a little longer, though not without the addition of a few more cuts and bruises. His handicapped left hand fumbles for something in his pocket. His fingers grasp a small sphere. This, Jesse slams against the shaft of his enemy's naginata. The long weapon flashes a bright sickly green. The captain cries out as contact with his staff becomes unbearably painful. The but of the naginata falls to the ground with a muffled thud. The weapon seems to poise for a second before leaning over to meet the earth. By the time the captain manages to retrieve his weapon, Jesse is already halfway up the slope that leads to forest.

The nolokai points his naginata at Jesse and utters something strange under his breath. All along the the shaft, runes glow and begin to dance. The blade begins to glow brilliantly. “SHAIYA!” A bolt of light flashes from the blade. The radiant missile explodes in midair right behind Jesse, creating a flash-bang effect. All facing in that direction were temporarily blinded. Jesse disappears into the woods, his right hand empty of the staff that he threw at the projectile of light.

 

Once in the forest, Jesse regained the advantage. Though there is still great need of caution.

For a moment Jesse entertains the idea of traveling by tree for the purpose of eliminating means to track him by. A sharp twinge in his left shoulder and the pain of his scorched and broken left hand forces him to realize the impracticality of this decision.

Jesse slips through the forest, attempting to leave as little trace as possible. A panicked sob tickles his overly alert ears. Jesse alters course, stepping gingerly through the foliage. His sight is met with the image of the mekai girl stumbling through the brush and trees. Her skin is quite torn by thorns, sticks, and the various falls she had probably already endured. Jesse hesitated before revealing himself to her.

1A         pole arm ranging in length from 5 to 7 feet. Mounted on the end is a         long curved metal blade that ranges from 2 to 3 feet.

2The         noble class who all share similar genetics. They typically have         serious superiority issues when dealing with common folk.

 

3The         result of mixed genetics between the nolokai and the common folk.         These people are generally considered an abomination by both         classes.

 

© 2009 Koeseki


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Author's Note

Koeseki
Take note that the piece is incomplete and has yet to have any editing applied to it. I very much encourage constructive reviews at the moment, for it will help me with developing the final draft. THANKS

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Added on October 27, 2009
Last Updated on October 27, 2009