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Author Topic: The Iron Bear  (Read 914 times)

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Offline TheEndisNotThere

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The Iron Bear
« on: December 01, 2021, 11:09:35 AM »
A covered wagon races down a dirt road in a forest, being chased by multiple worgs (highly intelligent and overly muscular wolves) ridden by goblins.  The goblins fire arrows at the cart, some of the arrows just bounce off harmlessly while others pierce the the fabric.  A goblin with a staff and wearing an animal skull near the back of the pack shouts at the others.  Two of the worgs begin to advance on the wagon.

Inside the wagon, four people wearing cloaks obscuring their features sit across each other.  The driver holding the reins to the horses pulling the wagon sits apart from them.  Two of them clutching a limb with an arrow sticking out of it, one clutching their leg and the other their arm.  "Aren't horses supposed to be faster than those monsters?" asks one of the hooded passengers. 

"They are, but when they started running, it's like they are dragging something heavy."  the driver calls back to them.  "Are one of you are wearing a cloak of the traveler?  It obscures appearances so I cannot tell who is carrying too much, but if we don't lose some weight, none of us will make it to the town of Senvolus."

One of the unharmed passengers sighs as they stand up.  "It's me, all of you head to Senvolus, I'll make my own way there."  Without waiting for a response, the passenger leaps out of the back of the wagon.  The hooded figure lands on the heads of the two advancing worgs.  When landing, both of the worgs heads are crushed, flinging the goblin riders off the creatures.  As the wagon speeds away, the single hooded figure is surrounded by the remaining goblins and worgs.

The worgs snap and snarl at the figure as the goblins pull them back and draw blades and spears.  The goblin with the skull helmet and staff points at the figure and yells something, causing the worgs and goblins to pounce on the figure.  With only their hands, the figure manages to fend off the creatures, until a worg manages to rip the cloak off the figure.  Revealing the figure is a giant of a man, standing almost 8 feet tall with a head full of matted hair and a full beard.  However, his left arm and legs are metallic and oversized compared to the rest of his body.

The goblins and worgs continue to attack the man who manages to kill a some of them, but most of the wounds they inflict close unnaturally.  However, some wounds still seem linger.  Finally, the goblin with the staff barks an order and the goblins disengage from the man and the leader points his staff at the man.  After a moment of the goblin leader speaking and waving the staff, a red fireball flies toward the man which erupts into a huge explosion.  When the explosion clears the man is standing with burnt skin which heals back to normal, even his hair begins to regrow back.  The goblin leader barks an order and the worgs and goblins retreat back into the forest.



This story focuses more on the monsterous races of this world and the type of magic they tend to use.  The world has three main forms of magic.  Divine, magic given by the keepers of souls or devil/demons, Shamanistic, magic given by spirits (either natural or ancestral), and Acrane, magic that can be either studied or received from a magical lineage.

The main character of this story is Malcom Cuthier, a natural born werebear.  At some point in his recent history his limbs were taken from him by a human of great power known only as the "Body Maker."  A close friend of his, also a lycanthrope, was being held captive by the "Body Maker" and Malcom's journey is to try and rescue her.

Any comments or critiques are welcome.  Thank you.

Offline Coryn

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Re: The Iron Bear
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2021, 12:24:17 PM »
Of the stories you've posted, this is the one the grabs me the most TheEnd. A big dude who's half-monster with enchanted metal limbs throwing down across a magical wilderness has a unique charm to it with lots of room to explore themes you don't usually get from your usual human/human-like centered fantasy story. If you're choosing one to pursue, I'd take this one on.

That being said, you asked for some criticism, so let me hand some out  :thumbsup:

You're prose, and this is something I've noticed across what you've posted so far, can be a bit dry. The actions themselves are interesting, and I have little critique for the flow of a fight this short, but the word choice doesn't have any flare, for instance this passage:

"When landing, both of the worgs heads are crushed, flinging the goblin riders off the creatures.  As the wagon speeds away, the single hooded figure is surrounded by the remaining goblins and worgs."

It's very clinical. I expect in this moment some action music to kick in, some fun action words, a colorful description or two. You could describe the crunchy noises of the worgs' deaths. You could describe the feeling in the goblins' minds and stomachs as they're thrown off. You should also probably mention what happens to those two goblins in particular. As it stands they just disappear from the scene, and it's not clear if they are part of the attackers later or not.


A stiffness also affects your dialogue. The driver asking about the cloak is a perfect example. You're communicating to the reader exactly what the kind of cloak does, but it doesn't feel like something that would be said in universe. The driver doesn't come across as talking to the passengers, but instead talking to the reader. There's too much in it that the passengers should already know, and the driver should not have to say. If we look at the line, you could easily remove the following slashed out words, and it would still make sense to the passengers.

"Are one of you are wearing a cloak of the traveler?  It obscures appearances so I cannot tell who is carrying too much, but if we don't lose some weight, none of us will make it to the town of Senvolus.[/i]"

The parts I crossed out can be easily shown and not told. We are clued in already to the idea that a cloak of the traveler has something to do with weight, so when Malcolm throws his off a few moments later, you can describe how he visually swaps from a normal sized person to the giant that he is. Likewise, the passengers know they're headed to Senvolus (how many busses have you taken not know their destination?) So you can tell us the readers that when you start the next chapter (presumably with Malcolm trudging his way into town).

I hope that provides some of the insight you were looking for. I look forward to the next chapter!

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline TheEndisNotThere

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Re: The Iron Bear
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2021, 07:27:34 PM »
You are correct, and I have noticed it myself.  I don't tend to add a lot of depth into the language, in the first few passes.  I tend to focus more on what can be seen first, then move into more of the character's thoughts and feelings.

I could add something like, "The metal limb is too slow to grab the small and quick creatures, but makes an effective shield from their small weapons.  The man manages to grasp a goblin by the head with his normal hand and crushes the goblin's head with ease.  The worgs quickly realize the metal limbs cannot be harmed by their teeth, and begin to aim for his more fleshy torso and arm.  However, as they try to rip the flesh away, the metalic arm grabs both a worg and its goblin rider, and quickly crushes the creatures.  He then tosses the newly fused creature away."

Also, I can tend to get a little wordy, when I can do more by just showing the elements I am describing, rather than doing both.  As manga is more of a visual medium, I tend to forget how much I can show, without needing to tell every detail.

I am glad this story does grab you, as it is one my personal favorites, a long with the Devil of Murkwood.

Offline Coryn

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Re: The Iron Bear
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2021, 10:40:23 AM »
I think that paragraph you got there is a good example of how you could approach it. I out of anyone know the curse of being a little wordy, but it can be helpful to your future to get this visual stuff down in the moment when you're first coming up with something. Con: it slows down the writing process, but pro: you begin working that muscle early, and can establish a "visual theme" for the story that can be carried throughout and evolve as your idea about the story does.

Whatever oath you take, I look forward to seeing the next chapter!

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline OPurpleFlame

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Re: The Iron Bear
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2022, 12:36:11 AM »
Hey TheEnd. So far the first chapter is really action packed and tense with the chase. And I do love medieval and dark fantasy content. But I do feel a lack of consistency in the character’s abilities especially the healing ability he has. It confuses me he can fully regenerate lost hair and burned skin and survive an explosion. But if that’s possible what are the scars that lingeee? how is he an amputee? Maybe I’m nitpicking but I feel it should be important to show how these abilities work and what there weaknesses are and what their strengths are. Also I feel it would be good to explain the magic types when magic is introduced. It doesn’t have to be everytime a spell is used but it would be good to separate magic items likes staffs and magic like spells and Were-Transformations. But so far this looks promising

Offline TheEndisNotThere

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Re: The Iron Bear
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2022, 12:44:08 AM »
Hello OPurpleFlame,

Thank you for taking the time to read through my story.  I also enjoy the more dark and medieval settings in stories.  I find it gives a little more room for imagination and creativity to my stories.

I don't think that it is nitpicky to ask about something that seems to be inconsistent.  I intended to make the first chapter more of a introduction to Malcom and what his base abilities are.  However, the body maker needs the limbs to remain intact for his plans.  So in order to ensure the limbs do not dissolve or turn to ash, he needed to ensure Malcom's limbs didn't regrow.  He did this by using a specific type of metal to cover where the limb was cut off to keep it from regenerating, which would cause the limb he has to turn to dust.

In later chapters, I plan to expand more upon Malcom's powers and where they come from.