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Author Topic: Godless In The Wake of Storms  (Read 1222 times)

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Offline NO1SY

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Godless In The Wake of Storms
« on: July 24, 2014, 07:45:19 AM »
Hi people!

So this is a short piece, originally intended to be a series of short, novel style, self contained stories that depicted different points during the Viking Invasion of Britain. The tile of the series was to be
The Grand Unification: The Warriors Eyes, and the concept was that the story would be told in 3rd person but seeing things how the characters would be interpreting them; Boats would be Sea Serpents and Lightning would be the Whip of the Gods.

This piece depicts the raid and massacre at the Lindisfarne Monastry in 793AD, which really opened the eyes of the English Kingdoms to the threat of the Vikings.



Godless In the Wake of Storms

Genres: Action, Fantasy, Historical


Spoiler

The Grand Unification: The Warriors’ Eyes – Godless In the Wake of Storms


"793. In this year terrible portents appeared over Northumbria, which sorely affrighted the inhabitants: there were exceptional flashes of lightning, and fiery dragons were seen flying through the air. A great famine followed hard upon these signs; and a little later in that same year, on the 8th June, the harrying of the heathen miserably destroyed God's church by rapine and slaughter."




793AD – Lindisfarne Monastry – wealthy settlement off the coast of Northumbria


Morning.

Father Aiden, the third of his name to have the privilege of tending to this Holy Island, sat on the beach east of the monastery watching the morning mist settle on the sea’s water. He was often the first awake in the Island settlement; leading a congregation was no easy task, so he treasured the quiet mornings. He closed his eyes, leaned back, pressed his hands into the cool sand, and took a long, deep breath of the fresh sea air in. Feeling the crisp air rush through his chest and the grains of sand trickle between his fingers, and hearing the gentle wake of the water and chirping birds, tranquility and serenity. God was truly around this place.

Then, through the quiet, a moan, low and distant. Father Aiden opened his eyes, and catches a glimpse of a twisted shadow, sliding away into the water. It was only for a split second and then it was no more. With a furrowed brow he peered through the mist, but saw nothing more.

“Shadows and monsters do not dwell in these waters,” The priest thought, knowing that those that search for things in the mist often find them, regardless of how real they are. This land was protected and blessed, no evil would reach them here. It was true, that while on the mainland, which had been stricken with famine at the hands of Pagan witchcraft and fiery beasts, the religious settlement on Lindisfarne had prospered. Father Aiden looked out towards the horizon in the east, watching as dark clouds rolled in the sky.

“Still, we cannot avoid The Heavens.” He thought as he walked back up to the path leading back to the monastery over the rolling hills. The first item on his agenda this day was to greet a papal emissary, visiting the island to collect a share of tithe for the Church in The Papal State. He hurried back along the dusty path as a breeze picked up.




Afternoon.

“Father! How good to see you! I hope you excuse me, the journey from the mainland has been rather difficult, I am rather tired.”

Father Aiden shook the man’s bony hand once he had descended from the decorative carriage with the assistance of a couple of monks. He was not tall himself but he made this man seem no more than an imp. The man’s expensive red velvet clothing that puffed at the shoulders covered a skeleton of a body, that had obviously never seen a day of hard labour in it’s lifetime. The manner in which he continuously rubbed his hands together was indicative of a shrewd mind for business and infatuation with coin. He was obviously not a religious man.

“Please come inside and rest my good sir, you will find the monastery’s quarters quite comfortable I assure you.”

The pair of them strolled slowly through the hallways of the Monastery. It was impossible to take any notice of the cold, grey stone the building was constructed with. Soft, purple fabric with golden embroiled edges lined the way on the floor. Magnificent ornaments stood on plaques periodically; rustic pottery as well as shining metal bowls, and the smoothest of stone sculptures that appeared to fix their gazes upon you as you passed. Large, decorative candle stands stood of to the sides and in the corners. In the centre on the left hand wall hung a large brightly coloured woven tapestry. Everything was lit up and shone brilliantly in the daylight that spilled in through the small arch-shaped windows in the right hand wall as Father Aiden strode proudly down the hall, with the emissary scuttling alongside him admiring the splendor, who then stopped to caress a candle stand.

“This is solid gold!”

“Indeed it is, Landisfarne has been incredibly prosperous this past year, with the rabble arriving in droves to pray for a good harvest, it is good encouragement for them to pay their very last coin to the church to win over God’s affections. Alongside these new gold ornaments we have had the finest fabric made to cover the floors and even a new alter-piece.”

“Quite remarkable!” exclaimed the emissary, who was almost salivating over the amount of wealth in just one hallway. He wipes his mouth with his sleeve and peels back a braid of his greasy, long brown hair that had fallen across his face, his gaze never leaving the length of the hall “You are surely doing God’s work in these halls.”

Father Aiden smiled, but, before another word could be uttered, the low rumbling of thunder sounding from overhead broke the silence. The emissary flinched at the sound, hunching further like a frightened feline, his eyes darting around even after it had ceased.

“It is wise to fear God’s power my child, but you are sheltered well here.” Comforted the priest while peering down at the cowering man with one eye raised.

“I do fear the Lord, yes, but there have been stories…” The thin man hushes his voice and peers around to make sure that they are alone, clearly afraid that by speaking of these tales he would summon the devil himself. “… Stories from across the water in Paris. In the wake of storms, a scourge appears from the seas and the rivers. Hideous scaled creatures – Sea Serpents and Dragons – and a heathen horde; led by horned giants, wielding the power of lightning and a strength like no other.”

“Well, like the rumors and hearsay, no evil can reach us here.” Father Aiden replies with a slight frown. He changes his expression immediately however, smiling and extending his arm towards the remainder of the hall, “let me show you to your quarters, you are clearly weary from your travels and you must be hungry. I shall have a hearty stew made up and brought to you. We can deal with the collection of tithe in the morning when you are well rested, but I will prepare the coins in a wooden box tonight so that it is ready for you.”

“… Uhm…. Yes!... Splendid!... I will follow you lead then…” The man says, still cowering at the low grumbling of the weather, with his eyes flitting around and out of the windows as he cautiously walks on.




Evening.

The storm had not let up, while the rain was not heavy, the thunder had done nothing but grow increasingly louder and now flashes of lightning illuminated the halls of the monastery more than candlelight. As Father Aiden stacked the last of the gold coins into the beautifully decorated chest, he couldn’t help but notice that, more prominent than the glistening metal in the light, were the long, dark shadows cast by every ornament in the room with each flicker from the skies.

He closed the lid of the chest and set it aside on the table. As he breathed a sigh of relief he was shocked by the sound of a loud long moan or roar. It was resonating from outside, to the Southeast. Heading out of the back room into the main hall, he joins some of the other monks huddled around the windows. The window is fogged but there is a low orange glow piercing the translucence. Wiping the condensation from the window, Father Aiden staggers back aghast. Fields to the east are ablaze, horned shadows marching from them. Off in the sea huge scaled beasts with long coiling bodies and billowing wings stand tall, crawling out of the raging water, roaring out with loud moans and exhaling fire into the sky. Father Aiden had never seen anything like it; he turns to see the Papal Emissary curled up next to the wall.

“I… I… think it’s time that we pray.” Father Aiden says, loudly, trying to take control of the room. Clutching his bible tightly. “This is the Holiest of Islands, our prayers will be answered… and we will be delivered from this evil that is besieging us.”

He steps out into the middle of the room and kneels down on both knees. He opens the book and starts to mutter its words. Other monks gather around him, joining in. They all close their eyes, reciting their prayers from memory, “… And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Speaking louder and louder, trying to drown out the sounds of the screams and the roars and the marching from outside. “And do not lead us INTO TEMPTATION,”

Father Aiden can feel it, a ward of holy space, circling out from him at the centre, reaching the walls of the room, protecting them all, shining light down upon them. This is what they had asked for, this is what they needed!

“BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL!” The doors crash open, and all of the men are stricken with silence, looking up in shock. A monk, whose face is one of pure terror under all of the wet, dirt and blood, staggers into the doorway.

“…H…ee…lp… m…” The man collapses, a war-axe protruding from his back and blood welling up from the wound and out from his mouth. Then a huge muscle-clad man steps in, a “chink” ringing from his chainmail with every step. He has beast fur on his shoulders, down turning horns growing from the side of his head and a wild rage in his eyes. Reaching down he dislodges the axe from the dead monk’s back with a stomach-churning crunch. Some of the monks in the room scuttle away into corners and rooms in terror, but the hulking man stands there with blood dripping from his blade.

He steps forward through this barrier of light, shattering it completely, before more of these monsters appear in the doorway in a flash of lightning, marching in. With unrelenting force they smash benches out of the way, break windows, set fire to fabrics and grab the gold ornaments. They swing their weapons furiously, ripping the flesh from the helpless monks and rending limb from limb before spreading out into the halls to find more victims. A flood of red seeps down the burning corridors and into the hall. Father Aiden shuffles back on his rear towards two small steps to the podium at the far end of the hall. He lets out a shriek as a headless body falls across his legs and splatters his face with blood. Pushing it off from him he stops and looks at his trembling hands covered in crimson, the image leaving him breathless. As his arms go limp and his hands drop away he notices all too late that the huge horned beast has started towards him.

“F. F. Ff…For Y…yours is the K.K…K…kingdom and the POWER and the g…glory forever. AMEN.'” He looks to his left; the scrawny body of the emissary is being help up by his crushed skull in just one hand of one of the monstrous men. Father Aiden, closes his eyes and looks away, but looks up again to see the savage man of the scourge towering over him.

"F.FOR IF Y…Y.YOU FORGIVE OTHERS F…FOR THEIR TRANS…TRANSGRESSIONS…” The man raises his bloody axe. “Y…Y.YOUR HEAVENLY F.FATHER WILL ALSO FORG… FORGIVE YOU.…” Summoning a crescendo of booming thunder and a flash of lighting, the axe is brought down.




Morning.

Not a single thing glimmers in the morning sun. Ashes and rubble are all that remain on the Holy Island as several shadows fade away into the mist of the sea.




Thank you for reading and as always I welcome feedback and suggestions and even help :)

Cheers

NO1SEY
« Last Edit: May 10, 2015, 06:07:49 PM by NO1SEY »

Offline NO1SY

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2014, 11:09:32 AM »
I would like to know:

1) can you imagine this in a graphic format, or do you like it in prose?

2) can you imagine the places and the people well enough?

3) any suggestions you have to improve the storytelling, as I kinda tapered off towards the end (I was tired and running out of steam...)

Cheers

Offline Lumaria

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2014, 11:17:35 AM »
generally as im reading. i cant imagine it like a comic. more like a novel. its probably because youre revealing the characters and youre using a marrative. but then again the idea doesnt sound sequential art worthy. a light novel maybe.
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Offline Darksquirrel

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 05:32:27 PM »
I read the about and actually shook my head with the feeling of HOLY CRAP WHY HAS NO ONE DONE THIS YET?!
Ahem, anyway. I can really picture this as a comic, all the events are very vividly depicted in writing. The ending is good for a prologue, and I'm interested to know where you'll go with this later. However, one thing that sticks out to me is that your writing style is a bit inconsistent. It's kind of like you keep switching between a Manga script and a novel. What I mean is, in the morning you described what the monk's life was like, something not clear to the casual observer, and therefore something that would be more suited to a novel rather than a comic. But then later, when the emissary is walking through the monastery, you describe the scene like you're writing a script.

Personally I think that with the right artist and more work on the story, this would make a great manga.
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Offline NO1SY

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2014, 06:11:18 PM »
Thanks for the feedback both of you.

I appreciate my writing style is a bit messy, I think its because I was undecided about how it should be presented so while some parts in my mind played out in continuous prose or like a movie, other parts looked like panels or still images... so I ended up mixing the two. I also have a weird way of doing dialogue that's a bad habit I need to crack... I'll try to amend that when I next work on this draft. I am leaning towards novel style, especially after the comments, but I'm not too familiar with the style so I'll probably need a lot of guidance.

This was, as you said DarkSquirrel, meant to be a prologue to this part of the series, I do know what will be coming next, but lets see if I can pull it off. I'll try to work on this part first though. Glad you like the idea also, came to me after watching some Medieval Total War: The Viking Invasion gameplay, have also been very interested in folk power metal recently...

Thanks again :)
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 06:13:46 PM by NO1SEY »

Offline Darksquirrel

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2014, 06:18:17 PM »
Folk power metal you say? Is that like Viking metal?  :hmm:
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Offline NO1SY

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2014, 06:30:51 PM »
Folk power metal you say? Is that like Viking metal?  :hmm:

erm not really... the best example I can give is the band Blind Guardian.

But anyways I just got thinking about mythology (in particular Norse mythology) and how different stories came about. It all stems from people's observations made with judgement clouded by state of mind, bad weather, beliefs etc. This is what I refer to as the mind's eye.

As such, in a state of fear and poor vision, that longboat becomes a dragon, those horn blasts become roars, those viking warriors become savage beasts from hell. It just really interested me - the fantasy spin that I could put on the historical story based on just what people might have believed what happening.

I'm sorry I'm pretty bad at explaining how my ideas evolve... I tend to forget sometimes... but if you enjoy the idea then thats a good start for me :)

Offline WhiteCrow

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2014, 04:33:44 AM »
Honestly speaking, I could see this as both in novel and comic form.

I think it depends on how wordy and deep you want to get into the mythology, because in the morning sequence, the wording is very Game of Thrones like, and in that aspect, when I read "3rd of his name" and things of that nature, I felt as if this was a story that was going to get deep into its history as well as the present.

But when I read the Afternoon portion, it was a more image driven form of writing, something I could see being panelized.

And then of course evening went back to the George R.R. Martin style of description.

Overall the story you've presented thus far is good so I think ultimately it depends on how wordy you want to be, because again I think it can work both ways. If I had a preference, I would say Novel, I think you did really good with that flow.

Offline NO1SY

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2014, 08:19:06 AM »
I do think i'm feeling inclined to write this as a novel. But when I get the story down I'd really like it presented with a few illustrations, but they by no means have to be sequential. I feel a novel format is better for the metaphors I want to write in to the story. I tried to make the one in this prologue pretty obvious....

I do apologise for the choppy writing style, again it's because when I was writing the ideas came as a mix of media.

I hear what people are saying about the afternoon portion, the narrative really fell off when I started the dialogue. I will try to change this by adding in a fair bit more description and narrative to the scene. I originally pictured them standing still while talking, hence why outside of dialogue there is not much going on, but I'll try to describe the seen in a way that makes the characters a little more dynamic.

Thanks for the feedback, I'll get to work on this soon I hope.

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2014, 12:54:04 PM »
Ok I have made a few changes mostly in the way of additions to the descriptions and in the way that the Afternoon section is written. Hopefully it reads a bit better and feels slightly "fuller"???

If people still feel that it is too script-like then I could really do with some pointers as to how to change the wording without losing what is going on in the scene.

cheers :)

Offline Darksquirrel

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2014, 01:52:52 PM »
It's a lot better now, however watch your use of commas. Not a big deal, but you do you use an awful lot of them: 'Father! How good to see you, I hope you excuse me, the journey from the mainland has been rather difficult, I am rather tired'. Just try to include less clauses in each sentence.

Other than that, I can't wait to see the next few chapters  :thumbsup:
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Offline NO1SY

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2014, 08:05:40 AM »
^ I'll keep that in mind. In that sentence I could probably use a full stop a couple of times. For the most part though I try to be as grammatically correct as possible.

Offline WhiteCrow

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Re: The Grand Unification: The Warriors' Eyes Series Development Thread
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2014, 12:50:48 AM »
Yup, reads better. But like Squirrel said... commas good sir!

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Re: Godless In The Wake of Storms
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2015, 06:12:00 PM »
Ok... So I've decided to stop kidding myself... I have not found the time nor motivation to write more shorts for the Grand Unification as a series. The research is just relentless and harder than trawling through scientific research! Guess that's why they are called The Dark Ages...

That being said, I am happy with Godless as a standalone short and conceptual piece, so I have made amends to the thread to present it as such.

Maybe somewhere down the line I will re-visit the idea of follow up shorts, I think writing a battle with the perspective of this narrative would be pretty cool.

Anyways thanks for reading as always  :biggrin: