SSc XII

  • #1
    Hope you enjoy my story, comments welcome.

    The Endless Dance

    Magic came easily to Zamiel. His mentor was constantly pleased with his progress. He understood the intricate dance that mind, body and spirit must achieve for magic to happen. First of all was the memory, mana the mystical energy, was rooted to the land. However to access it was only possible by recalling a vivid memory. Next was the channelling, in which the mana was then spread throughout one’s whole body only then could the spirit complete the last stage for spellcasting. But his spirit was tired.

    He was tired of running. Sooner or later he would have to turn and face his foe. Running from dimension to dimension, without due preparation was taking its toll on the mage and he was coming under the realization that conflict was inevitable. He stopped to survey his surroundings; he had but a fleeting moment before his quarry arrived. He was atop a tall plateau, which was surrounded by a large plain below. He turned to his right, the scent of brine had carried itself from the distant coastal shore. Of all the planes he had visited as his time as a mage this was one of the more pleasant ones. He afforded himself one last smile as he gazed up and saw the sun begin to dip into the sea in distance.

    He was interrupted from his revere by a piercing shriek. He recognized the magic immediately it felt and reeked of the magic of the swamps, dark magic. The shriek increased in intensity, dark eldritch power coalesced in front of him, a swirling maelstrom of dark purple, and from it his pursuer arrived. The figure that emerged was concealed by a long cape and hood, the colour black, but was also coloured with fear and despair

    Zamiel sighed. He could tell by the hooded mages aura that his foe had long steeped his power in the dark ways. He bitterly regretted wasting precious mana trying to run when he was up against a planeswalker this strong. He calmed the swelling fear within him and spoke in a voice as clear and defiant as he could make it.

    “I Zamiel, Challenge you to a duel!”

    They would fight according to the ancient rules as countless had done before them. The Dark Mage’s teeth glittered from under his hood as he smiled. Then raising a pair of wizened hands he cast back his hood. His features were vulture like, sharp and terrible. His skin was the grey hue of ash and of lilac. Lidless sunken eyes gazed at Zamiel as he widened his grin. Finally it spoke.

    “I accept.”


    ………………

    Zamiel lay sprawled on the hard rocky surface in an ever-growing pool of his own blood. His sorcery was no match against the Dark Mage. The Dark Mage’s connection to the fens was very strong indeed. Zamiel had nearly used up all of his mana, his first incantation did little to the Dark Mage. It was only after a more powerful yet draining enchantment did he succeed in wounding his adversary. However it was he not the hooded Mage that was bleeding on the floor. Zamiel searched his mind; he needed more mana but had spent the energy from most of his fondest memories and would not be able to recall them again until he rested. Would it be worth living on without that particular memory?
    Zamiel sighed; he would have to pay a very high price to live.

    He was back at home in the woods near his house. He loved the forest and it was this connection that had led Zamiel to study to become a mage. It was early autumn and the moon had just appeared, full and bright. He had taken the usual path through the forest but today he had to venture deeper into the forest than he usually did. Eventually he came to the clearing in the wood. He sat down amongst the fallen leaves, marvelling at the medley of rust colours. His parents would be wondering where he was and would probably be calling him. He couldn’t hear their calls but instead heard the soft comforting murmur of the life of the forest.

    He wasn’t alone for long, soon the glade was filled the laughter and mirth of friends. They had built a small fire and a few were toasting pleasantries they had taken from their larders. The others were chatting excitedly amongst themselves, Zamiel laughed as his closest friend brought the git of music to the wood. Zamiel smiled, oh the first time they had met! His friend was a skilled violinist and Zamiel recalled how he mended the instrument using magic, his first ever spell. They had been best of friends ever since.

    How bittersweet, that he felt so sad with so many of his friends here. He would be leaving on the morrow to start his magical studies at the academy. This was the celebration they held for him and at the end they would dance the endless dance.

    The festivities were drawing to a close; the moon was at its zenith, and its silver light was necessary for the dance. Everybody gathered together and linked hands. This was the endless dance. It was the dance of friendship. The dance wove a type of magic of its own, not mana magic but old magic, magic of the soul, a magic nearly all forgotten. Zamiel felt it as the others in the circle did as they danced; the gentle smell of the forest, the warmth of the fire, the feeling of belonging. This was old magic.

    Zamiel wished with all his heart and prayed to the gods that it would never end, that the night would go on forever. Zamiel had never been happier in his life.

    The dark mage approached, he had crafted a bolt of pure mana to strike down his foe.
    But the spell was complete; the memory of the endless dance took on a life of its own as it changed into mana. The ball of mana at his command was that of his last night. It was the colour of memory. He hurled it at the approaching darkness and before it collided he could make out a group of friends dancing in the swirls.

    It was night now, Zamiel struggled to his feet, he had done it. His last spell had ended the duel and sent the dark mage to a different plane. However he felt a great sadness, tears rolled down his face but he did not know why he looked up, the moon had just appeared, full and bright but he could not remember the significance. He remembered the duel, the spells and that he had won but he did not remember that night of the endless dance. He had sacrificed that memory to power the spell that had saved him. Zamiel left that dimension, in his wake was the faint smell of pine and the distant sound of a violin.
    Guile is better than Superman. Those blue things in its casting cost are your opponent's tears when you play him.

    http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=147689
  • #2
    There were some grammatical errors, and perhaps the story could have used a bit more flavor (that is to say, the actual events transpiring could be fleshed out more) but what really gripped me was the idea of sacrificing memories to cast spells.

    Is this an established method that I simply have never heard of before, or did you come up with this one your own? I'm a sucker for fantasy (in fact, it's really the only thing I enjoy reading) and it's refreshing to see some in these competitions.
    #define ALWAYS SOMETIMES
    #define NEVER RARELY
    #define ALL MANY

    -=GIVE US SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN=-

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    Please stop hijacking my reply box.
  • #3
    i concur with maverick.
    i love mtg based stories, and this one was bery promising but i wanted more. i would liked to know what colors Zameil worked with, maybe why he was being pursed and who he was fighting.
    that said for such a short story i was kept "in" it very much. in the words of the D check plus.
    Teroza Veg'Ra, Druidic Archmage :4mana::symg::symu::symug:
    Planeswalker- Teroza
    {+2}: Reveal the top card of your Library. If a Land card is revealed this way put it into the Battlefield. Otherwise put it into your hand.
    {-3}: Put a 1/1 Blue-Green Frog token into the Battlefield for each card in your Hand.
    {-11}: For each opponent choose a creature that player controls. Put three +1/+1 counters on and gain control of each creature choosen this way.
    {7}
  • #4
    thanks guys, lol I really wanted to flesh it out more but had work and uni that day (excuses excuses lol) I basically saw the competition and just wanted to get writing, hindsight says take more time but suppose I was just excited to write, oh well as long as you enjoyed it.

    Got the idea whilst talking amongst friends and have been itching to use it with something, don't know if its the wotc basis of spellcasting but who cares? I know they have brought out books but I've yet to encouter them.

    want to say thanks again for reading and hopefully next time I can do better.

    may you always have two islands untapped.

    oooh and if you think you've got enough game, check this thread out,

    http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=147689

    bring it owwwwn!!!

    No double posting, no spamming. Next offense gets an infraction. - Nai
    Last edited by Nai: 2/2/2009 7:50:43 PM
    Guile is better than Superman. Those blue things in its casting cost are your opponent's tears when you play him.

    http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=147689
  • #5
    Editing in my scores...

    Adherence to Prompt (0-5): You had moonlight and dancing, but they felt kind of forced, like you shoe-horned them in just to meet the prompt. 4/5

    Spelling and Grammar (0-5): A few errors of both types, and in a story this short, a few errors add up quickly. 3/5

    Characterization (0-10): Here’s what I know about the characters: Zamiel is a wizard, probably recently a student, who likes his memories, especially the memory of his friends giving him a party. The evil dark mage is an Evil Dark Mage. He doesn’t register at all, and Zamiel isn’t much better. I really didn’t care much about him, since we don’t learn much about him and have no reason to care, other than the fact that he opposes the Evil Dark Mage. 2/10

    Plot and Structure (0-10): It’s a fairly generic (and brief) magical duel. The flashback was effective for the story. 4/10

    Style (0-10): In a word, unrefined. Your writing could stand to be tighter. Sentences feature needless words, particularly adjectives and adverbs. Also, watch your use of “was.” It’s often weak and should be avoided. 4/10

    Creativity (0-10): You gain points for something I don’t remember reading before: sacrificing memories to cast spells. It appears that the memories come back. An interesting contrast would be permanently sacrificing a memory to cast a really powerful spell. The possibilities are there. I can’t give you a full score here, though, since you obviously borrowed some elements directly from Magic. Still, I liked your twist on spellcasting. 8/10

    Total: 25/50
    Last edited by Dr. Tom: 2/21/2009 10:10:35 PM
    DCI Certified Area Trainer||Cranial Insertion||My Articles

    chown -R us ./base

    "You and I have the courage to say to our enemies that there is a price we will not pay. There is a point beyond which they must not advance. You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness."
    - President Ronald Reagan, 10/27/64
  • #6
    Felixthecat : The Endless Dance


    Adherence to Prompt (0-5): You've got moonlight, dancing, and a devil. Good enough. 5 points.

    Spelling and Grammar (0-5): A 2 here: there aren't many misspellings, though you're using English words that confuse me with alternate spellings [but 'revere' and 'reverie' doesn't work ...] ... but it's really the grammar that takes this down. ““I Zamiel, Challenge you to a duel!”” “I, Zamiel ...” etc. This happens far too often.

    Characterization (0-10): We're kind of rooting for your good guys, and kind of rooting for your bad guys. The brevity of this story works in your favor here – you have little exposition but the short story form is very forgiving of that. Everything, though, is a stereotype. The 'dark mage' is utterly characterless. Who is he? How does he get his magic, wouldn't you think old people have failing memories? [Joke.] But. There isn't enough explained – I feel separate from the story, like it's going on and a particularly excited mind-reader is trying to tell it but failing. I'm giving a 4 here.

    Plot and Structure (0-10): The plot is barebones simple and is followed straight through to the end. As such, there aren't any real difficulties in following it. 7.

    Style (0-10): This is the style of the overblown fantasy epic, here, and it does a decent approximation of that. But the grammar, again, really hinders it. It doesn't take that tone of massive battles and grave proclamations as much as it ought to. 6.

    Creativity (0-10): The sacrificing memories to spells thing is unique, but everything else isn't. 5.


    Total: 30 points.


    You have a long way to go to get this story up to snuff – there's just ... not enough to distinguish it from other stories in its' genre. The thing with thoughts is intriguing, but isn't developed enough to bring it up to par.
    will you ever preserve, will you ever exhume? ... will you watch petals shed from flowers in bloom?
    nothing can live up to promise - nothing can stop its narrative - nothing in place of catalysts
    and you’ll never be pure again
  • #7
    Relevance to Prompt: Moonlight, dancing, devil. Check, check and check.
    5/5

    S&G: Minor typos here and there but the misplaced conjunctions really turn the piece off. Thankfully, it's not too noticeable but still I'm going to have to dock you down.
    3/5

    Characterization
    : We really know nothing about Zamiel except that he's a wizard. And he sacrifices memories for spells. There's really nothing much to say here because the characters aren't really explored here. Nothing for me to relate to.
    3.5/10

    Plot/Structure: For what it is, the plot and structure are solid. It's a magical duel with flashbacks. Sacrificing memories along with that is a nice touch on your part. Can't go wrong with that although I was looking for a bit more background on the characters that led to the duel.
    6.5/10

    Style: The dialogue was cheesy as hell but with that said, I thought the way you presented the duel was solid and at times... with a poetic touch to boot. The only criticisms I have to give are regarding the length of the piece, and the way you blow this out of proportions.
    7.5/10

    Creativity: I'm giving you a six not just because of the simple nature of this story, but because the idea is also effective. You could have had something a lot more epic if you had just kept on with this idea of "losing memories" for casting spells, and made it longer.
    6/10

    Overall: 31.5/50
    I think you have an idea with a lot of potential here. If you pan out the background stories a bit, lengthen the dialogues, and add more context and depth to the characters... we may just have something here. Keep at it.
    Last edited by Stifle: 2/24/2009 10:11:15 PM

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