Realm of Sorrow

This is a dark age, a bloody age, an age of daemons and of sorcery.

Realm of Sorrow

Postby AaronB » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:19 pm

I'd just like to start by saying that this is my first attempt at writing a story based in the Warhammer environment. It is currently unfinished, therefore I was just wondering on whether I should continue with the story or not, any feedback at all would be very appreciated.
Thanks, Aaron.
NB. Formatting may be a bit 'dodgy' as it's just copy/pasted from Word.

Realm of Sorrow

Chapter I: In the Beginning

Standing in the centre of the mausoleum, Aurillia could almost sense the ancient presence of his father looking up at him. Almost twelve years had passed since Aurillia witnessed his father’s torture; even today he wonders what secret could have been so vast as to warrant his father’s life being cut short by the forces of darkness. What did they seek to discover? What did Vlann know that was worth sacrificing his entire life for?

Darkness swept through the crypt as Aurillia departed from its unearthly grasp, warmness hit him as he raised his head up to the light stabbing its way through the narrow opening in the cave wall. For over a decade he has contemplated what happened that night his father was brutally slaughtered and why the Orcish warriors stopped at nothing to seek what Vlann knew. Although only a young boy at the time, Aurillia screeched in pain for the loss of his father, struggling to claw his way free from the clutches of the Orcs who forced the child to watch as his father’s limbs were removed from his conscious body one by one, his heart still pounding strong beneath the blood soaked remains as his torturers persisted to find the truth.

Vlann’s killers beat Aurillia to within an inch of his life before fleeing into the darkness of the abyss from whence they came. Three days Aurillia lay motionless before a passing salesman stumbled upon him, he wrapped the frozen child in the warming hides of various exotic creatures killed by the traveller. He carried the small lifeless body to a nearby river and tended the boys wounds carefully, after a while the boy came round, struggling to open his eye (the whole left side of his face was severely disfigured due to the thundering blow from one of the attacker’s iron maces), it took Aurillia an hour to finally lift his head up and acknowledge Dagnarr’s existence. Dagnarr had done his best to explain the situation although even he had no idea as to what monstrosities were capable of doing this to an eight year old boy and his father. Dagnarr told Aurillia of his father’s passing and the memories of that night came flooding back into his mind, he began to violently tremble and began throwing wild punches towards Dagnarr, he tightened his grip on the boy to prevent him doing any more injury to himself; “it’s alright my lad, am’ not gonna hurt you, am’ trying to help”

The words fell onto deaf ears as Aurillia fought his way free from Dagnarr’s grasp only to collapse into a heap at the river’s edge, Dagnarr looked on in despair before reaching down to pick the unconscious body up and laying it down on a pile of thick furs which lined the back of the cart Dagnarr used to carry his goods. Before leaving to journey back home, Dagnarr collected up the scattered body parts of Vlann and placed them into a hastily dug grave, a solitary rock gracing the earth where the once great leader fell.

It was usually a day’s ride back to Thornglen, but it was made ever longer by the constant stopping to provide Aurillia with water and to clean the open wounds which seeped blood and pus, the stench of his body left a trail of sickening horror behind the cart as it slowly pressed on over the mountains. Five days had now passed since Aurillia had ate, Dagnarr tried to feed him but even the sight of food stirred the boy into sickness, the infected wounds endlessly devouring his body.

As the brow of the final hill came into view, Dagnarr breathed a sigh of relief and turned around to wake Aurillia from his sleep. Hazily, he opened his eye, scanned the area and then proceeded to fall back into a deep slumber, several more hours passed until he awoke once more to find himself in an unfamiliar looking building dug straight from the rock face in the side of the valley, children’s laughter could be heard outside and the faint murmur from an old stout man standing not five foot tall whispered in hush tones to a companion of equal size and shape. The two men glared deep into Aurillia’s face before smiling softly and offering a cup filled with a frothy brown liquid, “go on son, it’ll sort you out” said one of the men in a hoarse, husky voice as the other nodded in agreement.

A few days later, Aurillia had finally built up the strength to get himself up and out of bed unaided and wandered to an open door in the corner, a bustling crowd of onlookers greeted him on the other side as they turned to face him, their eye’s glowing with anticipation, a elderly man about the same height as Aurillia with a mass tangle of white facial hair beckoned him to come closer and said in a gruff tone “Welcome to Thornglen little one, my name is Moghazz, I hear Dagnarr has been looking after you, I hope our hospitality suits you well enough till you make a full recovery, until then – how can we be of any assistance?”

“Where is my father?” insisted Aurillia, his voice met by remorseful, saddened faces. He stepped back, looked down to the floor and fell to his knees and began to sob a whimpering cry into his open hands. He realised his loss. Dagnarr rushed over to comfort the boy as a flood of tears streamed down his bruised and beaten face and onto the stone floor below. The nearby people looked on in misery before Moghazz forced their retreat and left Aurillia to cry in Dagnarr’s arms.

The morning that followed, Aurillia was a little more cheerful. He began his day by adorning himself in an array of brightly coloured furs which were sat atop a small shelf in one of the many rocky alcoves in the room. The sun, piercing through a small hole cut into the rock wall hit Aurillia’s face as he attempted to peer through the window to catch a glimpse of his surroundings; a group of short, burly men clustered around a roaring fire met his gaze with gentle smiles. Aurillia forced a return smile before stepping back away from the window; he turned around to examine the room he was in; solid rock walls enclosed the area with a large fireplace opposite the bed, adjacent to which was a small window that attempted to light the room, very few belongings were present in the confines of this dingy abode.

The door gradually swung open and the wide eyes of Dagnarr welcomed Aurillia once again, “Good morning lad, looking a bit better I see”. Aurillia replied with a slight nod of the head before stretching out his weary arms above his head.


Chapter II: A Tough Upbringing

For the first four years, Aurillia lived in peace with the caring dwarves of Thornglen. He learned everything they could teach about the ways of their ancestors: how to fight, how to hunt, how to make weapons and armour, but most of all, he learned the values of nobility. Aurillia spent most of his days fishing with the other children down by the river and singing songs by night in the great hall. Of an evening there was always a flurry of activity in the hall as the entire community gathered to drink, dance and sing together, everyone joined in the festivities as they continued long into the night.

It was hardly an easy childhood for Aurillia though; growing up without a mother and father is difficult to say the least, but the constant questioning and mockery by the other children began to tire his nerves. It was on one afternoon when he had just turned eighteen years old that Dagnarr had organised a hunting trip for the younger men of Thornglen to embark on their own and work together to gain the valuable skills necessary to survive in the wild. Armed with crossbows and axes, three dwarven teens accompanied Aurillia as they set off into the night in search of wild boar. On the third day, Torrak, one of the other dwarves began to torment Aurillia about his unnatural size and strange physique; they had never seen a human before and clearly did not know what they were capable of doing. In the blink of an eye Aurillia threw himself towards Torrak with a sinister intent in his eye, all emotion had been leeched from his body as he launched his fists toward Torrak’s awaiting face like the projectiles of a dwarven cannon. He reached back for his hand axe and unsheathed it from his belt; he swung the iron blade high into the air and was just about to bring the weapon down to strike Torrak in the midsection when he was brutishly wrestled to the ground by Dutrak, Torrak’s elder brother. Dutrak realised his grip on Aurillia as his hatred subsided. The young human leapt to his feet and began to run, where? He did not know. The others followed behind but were no match for Aurillia’s great speed and agility.

Hours past as he continued to dash from valley to valley, the dark of night was creeping its way in as Aurillia stopped to take a breath, he looked round; nothing seemed recognisable to him anymore, he had no idea how far he had ran or in what direction he was headed, but one thing was for sure – night-time was setting in quickly and he needed somewhere to shelter from the cold. Storm clouds swirled above and cracks of thunder rolled across the hills like gunfire. Aurillia knew he had to find refuge, and fast. A rocky outcrop up to his right sat amongst a scattering of loose stones seemed like the ideal location to settle down for the night, he threw his satchel off his back and pulled out a long regal blue cloak woven from the wool of an unknown creature, it was as soft as bear fur but as strong as dragon hide. He wrapped himself tightly in the shroud and huddled to the back of the rock formation as far from the chilling breeze as possible, this was going to be a long night he thought to himself as he shut his lonesome eye.

Aurillia awoke to the rumble of hooves clattering on the valley floor down below; he struggled to his feet and skulked his way towards the edge of the cliff to glance at the passersby, he caught a glimpse of one of the riders and his brow rose in awe. It was a human.

Many years had gone by without any contact with humans, this is the moment he had waited so long for. Aurillia leapt from the rocky cliff face and shouted at the top of his voice. There were four riders in total, the horse at the back reared up on its hind legs at the sound of the voice and nearly threw the rider from atop it. The other three men yanked at the reins and spun their horses round one-hundred-and-eighty degrees and drew their blades expecting attack, but to their surprise they were met by a fellow human whose face was aglow with excitement at the sight of the horsemen.

They exchanged looks at each another before one of the riders sheathed his sword and dismounted to question him. “I am Godrind Barad of Elndor Castle; may I ask your name young man?”

“I, I am Aurillia, son of Vlann Elndor, the greatest man that ever lived.” A single tear ran down his face as he spoke. The four men looked on in disbelief as Aurillia told them of what happened to his father and about the group of dwarves who had looked after him for the last ten years. Godrind’s head slowly fell as he told Aurillia of the friendship he once had with his father and of all the exciting memories that they had shared together, he spoke of grand tales involving giant creatures they had slain and monstrous beasts they had fought in epic battles across the world. Aurillia’s sadness once again began to illustrate itself upon his face as he listened to the same stories his father once told him when he was a young boy. As Godrind saw the sorrow form on Aurillia’s face he held his hand out as an invitation to join the riders on their journey back to Elndor Castle. Aurillia sat behind Godrind for the return trip, atop his pure white stead. The rhythmic clattering of the horse’s hooves gradually sent him into a deep sleep as they traversed through the mountains on their way home to Elndor.

Aurillia awoke to find a crowd of onlookers staring at him from all angles. Human faces encircled him as his head spun from side to side glancing blindly at the swarm of people. Godrind led him to his sleeping quarters and gave him a grand tour of the castle and the surrounding town; they must have been walking for hours through the long winding passageways, up and down the wealth of stairs and across vast hallways stretching out for what seemed an eternity. As Godrind returned Aurillia to his room; he asked if there was anything he can do for him. “There is one thing. Would you help me build a tomb for my father? His spirit cannot possibly be at rest in a small hole in the ground!”

“Of course I will but there is something I must give you first Aurillia”. Godrind guided him down a series of pathways snaking their way through the castle before pushing a great oak door aside. A magical aura radiated from inside as an orange light leapt through, bouncing from wall to wall and reflecting brilliantly off a large marble plinth where a lone blade glistened in the distance. Godrind proudly walked over to the pedestal and with both hands he reached out to secure the mighty sword then turned to Aurillia to hand the ancient weapon down to him. His face alive with the anticipation of receiving his father’s most sought after possession. “This great sword once belonged to your father and it has been waiting here for your arrival ever since”.
AaronB
 
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Re: Realm of Sorrow

Postby Ghurlag » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:47 pm

Hey AaronB,

Welcome to the setting! I'll try to give you some feedback on your first chapter. What I tend to do is address technical and individual points by quoting the relevant sections and commenting on them, then sum up with general advice and impressions at the end. Hopefully it'll be of use to you.

Standing in the centre of the mausoleum, Aurillia could almost sense the ancient presence of his father looking up at him. Almost twelve years had passed since Aurillia witnessed his father’s torture;

You've repeated 'almost' quite close together there. It'd be better to remove one, or else replace it with an equivalent phrase (eg: 'Nigh on twelve years').

even today he wonders what secret could have been so vast as to warrant his father’s life being cut short by the forces of darkness.

You wrote 'wonders', which is present tense, but the rest of the story is in past tense. You should watch out for changing tenses in your narrative. Past tense is usually best, so say 'wondered'. Additionally, I don't feel that 'vast' is the most appropriate word to describe a secret - perhaps 'terrible', or 'dangerous'?

What did they seek to discover? What did Vlann know that was worth sacrificing his entire life for?

Hmm. Maybe it'll become clearer later, but at this point I'm wondering whether Vlann was tortured, killed, sacrificed himself or all three.

Darkness swept through the crypt as Aurillia departed from its unearthly grasp,

Why is he conscious of there being more darkness when he is leaving, into the light?

warmness hit him as he raised his head up to the light stabbing its way through the narrow opening in the cave wall.

'Warmth' rather than 'warmness'

For over a decade he has contemplated what happened that night his father was brutally slaughtered

Another example of you moving tense. 'Has' is present tense, it should be 'had'. It might seem a little confusing, but you're not only telling the history of Aurillia and his father as something that happened in the past, you're telling the current story of Aurillia as something that has already happened.

and why the Orcish warriors stopped at nothing to seek what Vlann knew.

I believe the convention in 40k is to use 'Orc' rather than 'Orcish'.

his heart still pounding strong beneath the blood soaked remains as his torturers persisted to find the truth.

Except, unless I misunderstand, Vlann never told them (as Aurillia was there and now doesn't know what the secret was). So that should be 'persisted in their efforts to find the truth'.

Vlann’s killers beat Aurillia to within an inch of his life before fleeing into the darkness of the abyss from whence they came.

This sounds a little odd for Orcs. They probably would've tried to kill him (and as a child, I doubt he could stop them) rather than just beat him up. Perhaps the intention is to show that they left him for dead?

Three days Aurillia lay motionless before a passing salesman stumbled upon him, he wrapped the frozen child in the warming hides of various exotic creatures killed by the traveller.

This would probably do better as two sentences, one up to 'him' and another restating 'The traveller wrapped the frozen child in the thick exotic hides gathered on his expedition' or something like that, to save the awkward phrasing at the end.

after a while the boy came round, struggling to open his eye (the whole left side of his face was severely disfigured due to the thundering blow from one of the attacker’s iron maces)

Given the specificity elsewhere, the 'after a while' sounds oddly vague. Give a specific timeframe. The parentheses should be removed and the description there worked into the main body of text. In general, avoid parentheses in formal narratives like this one.

Dagnarr had done his best to explain the situation although even he had no idea as to what monstrosities were capable of doing this to an eight year old boy and his father.

There should be a comma before 'although'. You should be aware that in Warhammer, the world is pretty brutal and horrid. If Dagnarr is well-travelled, he probably wouldn't be suprised to see humans acting that way, let alone the more brutal Orcs and other dangerous species.

Dagnarr told Aurillia of his father’s passing

How did Dagnarr know anything of it? If he found the corpse, this needs to be made more clear.

and the memories of that night came flooding back into his mind,

Though I understand that you mean Aurillia here, it's not entirely clear in the text. Say 'the young boy's mind' to remove the ambiguity.

he began to violently tremble and began throwing wild punches towards Dagnarr,

A double 'began'. Say it only once: 'he began trembling violently and lashing out wildly at Dagnarr'.

he tightened his grip on the boy to prevent him doing any more injury to himself;

Again, it's unclear who 'he' refers to here. Make it less ambiguous.

“it’s alright my lad, am’ not gonna hurt you, am’ trying to help”

The location of the apostrophe here is odd, as it looks like 'am'' is a longer word beginning with 'am' rather than a dialect representation of 'I am'. Move the apostrophe to the front. More importantly, you don't frame the dialogue properly. There's no 'he said' or 'Dagnarr cried'. It's also convention for speech to begin on a new line, with the first letter capitalised, unless it is a continuation of previous speech by the same character.


The words fell onto deaf ears as Aurillia fought his way free from Dagnarr’s grasp only to collapse into a heap at the river’s edge, Dagnarr looked on in despair before reaching down to pick the unconscious body up and laying it down on a pile of thick furs which lined the back of the cart Dagnarr used to carry his goods.
The way you write this sounds odd to me. The comma should probably be a full stop, with the second sentence being rewritten. You don't need to say 'the cart Dagnarr used to carry his goods' - it's much cleaner to just say 'his cart'.

Before leaving to journey back home,

This is somewhat redundant. Either say 'before leaving' or 'before continuing his journey home' - there's no need for both. See next for my comments on 'home'.

It was usually a day’s ride back to Thornglen

This makes it sound like Dagnarr usually comes to this spot and goes back, which doesn't seem to be the case. Wasn't he a travelling salesman? Wouldn't he move from village to village selling his wares, living essentially on the road? It would make sense for him to have just come from or just be headed to a village when he found Aurillia.

but it was made ever longer by the constant stopping to provide Aurillia with water and to clean the open wounds which seeped blood and pus, the stench of his body left a trail of sickening horror behind the cart as it slowly pressed on over the mountains.

A little overblown, I feel. If Aurillia was leaving a trail of blood for over a day, after having lain there for three days, he'd have to be dead. Which mountain range is this? It seems odd that a trader would cross them regularly, they're usually fairly dangerous places.

not five foot tall

Five feet tall.

A few days later, Aurillia had finally built up the strength to get himself up and out of bed unaided and wandered to an open door in the corner, a bustling crowd of onlookers greeted him on the other side as they turned to face him, their eye’s glowing with anticipation, a elderly man about the same height as Aurillia with a mass tangle of white facial hair beckoned him to come closer and said in a gruff tone “Welcome to Thornglen little one, my name is Moghazz, I hear Dagnarr has been looking after you, I hope our hospitality suits you well enough till you make a full recovery, until then – how can we be of any assistance?”

You mean 'eyes' rather than 'eye's'. This is a very run-on sentence. You need to break it up, as well as move the speech to a newline as I mentioned before.


More generally speaking, I'm not a fan of the story. Rather than the idea itself lacking promise, I think that a number of technical flaws with your writing are the main thing holding it back. For instance, at the start we seem to be in a form of flash-forward, but it's very brief and not made distinct from the rest of the text. If it was handled better, it could cast the rest of the tale in a more intriguing light. Similarly, stumbling blocks like the dialogue being poorly framed make it hard to become absorbed in the story. You can address these issues by trying to make the changes I suggested, and looking up some good writing style references (there are plenty of these online).

Your descriptions of series of events seem a little awkwardly phrased, and tend to run into long sentences with commas separating what should be distinct sentences. Style guides will help with this, but I think the main thing to be done for this is practice - either by continuing to write and refine this story, or by writing other stories. It's also a good idea to read as broad a range of literature as you can, so you get a sense of what's 'normal' in terms of sentence construction, pacing, etc.

Regarding the story, I found that there are certainly elements which could be considered intriguing - the hint at a secret is a good way to capture some interest from your readers, and the disfigured child could be an interesting character to follow. However, the chapter felt a little generic, a little like the sort of adventure story introduction you see at the start of a not-very-good video game. It would be worthwhile pondering specific character traits or plot points which will grab the reader a little more at an early stage. At this point, were the story better-written technically, I might be inclined to read the next few chapters, but if it didn't get more unique and interesting I might lose interest.

To end on a positive note, while your construction was often clunky, your spelling and to a lesser extent your grammar were mostly fine. I think that if you work at it, you could quickly improve the quality of your writing, and from there it's just getting the story right for your readers.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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