The gladiatorial ring had seen its better days long ago. It had started to decay, to wither into nothingness; matches were won and lost less and less on skill and more on sheer luck of the arena, a buckling pillar here, a cave-in there.
Talmira had come to this place of barbarism by fate; while shopping in a prestigious store, she had stepped on an errant ulzar skin that led her to crash into a set of vases. She was promptly fined several hundred thousand dulcets, several times her current life savings.
The owner, an imp, had given her two choices to work the debt off: fight, just once, in the gladiatorial pits versus the reigning pit champion for her freedom, or go to prison and spend the rest of her life in solitude. Few chose the prison. Talmira, however, did not have any great skill in magic, and her skills as a warrior, given her physique ... were limited, to say the least. It did not matter - the pit was still better than a lifetime of solitude, waiting for death.
She was given a cheap suit of armor, missing all but the barest necessities, and a rusted sword and shield combination [free of charge, of course]. Odds were set: the challenger was given 10000:1 odds, standard for people challenging the champion, who was given odds of 4:5. Bets, shown on a scoreboard, seemed to prodigiously favor the champion. "Ah, betting even though they will lose money!" The imp sighed with happiness. This was what made him love gambling: the deception of people, the money, the glory. But there would be time for that later.
Walking onto the stage, the imp announced the competitors with a wave of his hand: "Welcome to the great, the prized, the famous Coliseum of Haza! In this corner, the challenger, the enchanting and strong Talmira!"
As the spotlight shone onto her, she held up her hand, and, momentarily blinded, dropped her sword. A snicker rose from the crowd as she struggled to pick it up again.
The imp shook his head, and then proceeded with the announcements. "And in this corner," the imp said, swinging around, "is the champion, Derek!"
A small man, dressed in a mage outfit, smiled and bowed. It was a rare thing to be a mage: only those born with the gift of sight could become mages, and only those who had trained for a long time could ever hope to master its true powers. The mages stationed around the arena that held up barriers to prevent the spectators from danger shuddered and steeled themselves at the name. A great cheer went up from the spectators - Derek had been undefeated in over 100 pit fights, and all of them had ended in spectacular, explosive fashion, usually nearly destroying said magical barrier. "Let us begin!"
The mage sized up his timid opponent and laughed. "Pavlik ... is this the best you could do?"
The imp's voice rang out from his position of relative safety, in a skybox overlooking the fight. "I'm sorry my ... means could not get you one more suited to combat. I would prefer it, however, if you managed to keep my customers ... entertained?"
The last syllable hung, menacingly.
The crowd, smelling blood, roared with delight.
"All right. We'll proceed slowly, at first. Don't want the crowd to think they didn't get thier money's worth." With that, Derek put his hands forward and began chanting.
Aluhsa nub sarohm, gargah fradek hacin akuda lom kun ...
Talmira cautiously crept forward, half-scared and half-curious to what she knew was about to happen - a magical spell. When she had gotten to about halfway, Derek finished his spell, and a wave of black magic washed out of his body.
... jadan see naduk sarbin haruda!
The wave strained the barriers. It hit Talmira, who luckily had her shield up, and threw her into the opposing wall. The armor protected her from much of the jagged edges of the surrounding walls, but the holes of the armor let parts of it slash her back. She staggered, disconcerted. Touching the back of her leg, she felt a small trickle of blood.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a spell came out of her head. Old Tascban, you really did prepare me well, all those years ago ...
Alaza maczano tubasa!
A small fireball flashed through the air at the opposing mage, but was quickly extinguished with a wave of his hand.
“So. You are not whom you appear to be.” Derek studied her face, and his eyes widened in recognition. “This is what happened to you after you left the academy ... Aksacara ?”
Talmira stared in shock. "Tascban? Is that really you? It's ... been a long time. You've gotten much older.”
They remained oblivious to the deafening roar of the crowd, which was turning impatient from so much talking. Pavlik began to pace in his suite, worried about the implications on his future career.
Derek laughed. “And yet I still have enough power in my little finger to crush you. Pray tell, why is that?”
She blushed and nodded. “Yes, you're right ... I should have continued training. I was getting ... too much flak for what I was. I just wanted to be normal.”
“You will never be normal." Derek paused.
"I am sorry, but for the benefit of the audience and the man whom has been my constant employer for the last twelve years ...” Derek said, a glint of mischief in his eye “... you must be tested before you can reclaim your position as my apprentice.”
Apprentice? The crowd started murmuring, keeping a close eye for blood but also confused by the underlying relationship this unknown warrior-mage and pit champion had.
The mage launched another magical wave of dark energy, the exact same as the first. It went off much quicker this time: apparently the first's long chanting had just been for effect.
Alaza maczano tubasa!
The fireball was immediately eaten by the wave of energy, and the wave continued to smash her, once again, into the wall. She fell to the ground. Getting up, shaken, she put her hand on her leg again; the trickle of blood had been replaced by a slick going down her leg, small droplets littering the floor. Derek started to cast another spell; perhaps she could surprise him ...
Alaza maczano tubasa!
Derek made the small fireball disappear with an instant and continued chanting. This, apparently, was once again the long, showy version of the spell; it meant she had time to figure out ways to counter it. But how? A vision of her teacher from long ago floated in her head: This spell will help you to remember ...
landorae vacograh tala ...
She whispered the spell, hoping he did not hear the memory spell that had served her so well during those infuriating tests she had taken during her training. Now she could see back ...
Again the wave came. But this time, she was ready.
Gabaso shaoda flienda!
A magical barrier encircled her, protecting her from harm. The wave passed over her without a thought.
Suddenly, a wind spell tore through the shield. She dodged it just before it sliced through her; her shield was cut neatly in half. She fell onto the ground in a heap.
"No, this will never do ..." she said, clenching her teeth in pain ...
staryisa mon suenos!
Her muscles became more pronounced across her body. As she stood up, she felt truly powerful for the first time in ages.
"Ah, you think you can make yourself more powerful with THAT old spell? Let me show you ... a different approach."
Derek immediately became smaller and more lithe: grinning, he stood and motioned for the now powerful warrior-mage to attack. She shot a bolt of wind:
Driftana jaabao hasaka!
The yelling made the spell go faster. Derek could not knock the spell down; he had to dodge it. She had found her strategy.
Driftana maczano waskdana!
A wedge of fiery air sprung up in front of her. Derek, sensing that she could not see through the fire, started to shoot bursts of air at her. However, she dodged every one, returning her own. Soon, he was on the defensive. The misses reverberated around the stadium, the walls crumbling even more. The protective mages continued to sweat, attempting to shield the spectators and themselves from the massive battle taking place below.
Talmira charged. When she got right next to him, Derek jumped over her, muttering a small flight spell. She threw the sword into the air attempting to stab him, and he grabbed it and returned it straight down, missing her head by inches. She was not so lucky with the next air spell, which hit her full-on in the chest, taking her wind away.
Talmira knelt, panting, on one end of the arena, her former mage flying 30 feet above her head. The enlarged muscles slowly melted away: she returned to her prior state. Still gasping for air, she weakly looked up to see a beaming Derek flying above her.
“From what I taught you, you were certainly able to make a game of it! You've passed my test. Pavlik,” the mage said, an even larger glint of mischief in his eye than before, “you have insurance, right? I want my exit from this business to be a heralded one.”
The imp, who had been standing on the edge of his seat watching the battle, looked around, confused. “Yes, I have insurance ... but ... why?”
“You should get a better pit.”
With that, Derek cast the true wave spell; one no man was normally meant to see or cast, because of its power. It cracked the mages' barrier without harming any of the spectators; the mages all flew in different directions across the stadium. Talmira's remade shield of invincibility broke, and she was thrown against the wall for a third time, this time nearly to the point of unconsciousness. Derek picked her up, chuckling.
“They all come back sooner or later. Well, now that we've solved the problem of your impending doom, let's tend to that wound and resume your training, eh?”
They disappeared. The coliseum began to fissure, pieces from the ceiling and sides falling apart at odd intervals. The spectators in the stands flooded the exits, stampeding to escape the building's now-certain doom.
The imp sighed, and got to business, picking up the loudspeaker. “This match was a draw, but owing to special circumstances, whoever bet on Derek wins! Come to the ticket office – outside the coliseum – to collect your winnings.” The imp thought, and sighed. This money isn't worth the headache. Maybe I should just open up a restaurant and theater.
Derek and Talmira reappeared in the middle of a wilderness, with a simple house among the trees and flowers. Derek smiled; Talmira could barely see through the haze of unconsciousness clouding her mind.
“This is the house I bought with those winnings, Aksacara. We will rest here, and I will tend to your wounds for a bit. But when you get up ...” Derek said, wagging his finger ... “right back to training for you! I have a mage to create!”
The wilderness present in the house throughout was not something Talmira was acclimated too, and time and time again it crossed her mind to leave the training and go back to her previous job, a safe life in a safe town. But each time, her heart would tell her no. This must be done in her own way.
6 months passed, and Talmira had gone from merely being a novice spell caster to one whom could pose a serious threat to even a master such as Derek.
"At least, the way you are, you'll be able to think of something creative enough. Fireballs in a wedge shape and a charge? Nobody would've expected that when we met, yet you were able to pull that off. I expect nothing but great things from you."
He took a brief moment to chuckle before continuing. "I have taught you all I can myself ... for now. The next part of your teachings is a journey. You must find within the power that I cannot teach you to truly become a master. And, who knows, perhaps you'll have one of the common traveling bards sing great songs and stories about you, once you have passed from this world. Until that time, I hope to see you again."
The house and wilderness vanished, the mage's own self-made world disappearing from sight for the time being. Talmira, wearing a simple cloak, walked out onto the now-apparent city streets, newly confident her life would lead her somewhere. Where was that somewhere? It was not for her to decide, but rather for her to figure out.
Before she left, Derek's voice appeared in my head. "I am sorry; I neglected to mention this earlier, but I left a spell embedded in your memory. You will know when the time is right, and the simple memory-enhancing trick will bring the words flooding out. I sincerely hope it never comes to that."
Somehow, Talmira found herself in Betl, a city famous for its water and police system. The streets were among the safest in the world, and with a city as large as Betl was, that was really saying something.
She was only walking for around 20 seconds when a police officer showed up, noticeably blunt and angry at her. "How did you get in here? People without money aren't allowed to get into this city! We must take special care to keep all the riffraff out!"
She was not in the mood for talk, muttering something under her breath. The officer bent closer to hear what she was saying. "What?"
"Excuse me, officer. I believe your hat is on fire." She walked away, the officer stunned as his hat began to char without burning his head.
"Miss! You have to register!" He yelled.
But she had gone.
In the town of Betl, the police were kings. They were treated like royalty, and occasionally, they even repaid that treatment by helping the city. But their presence and notoriety were usually enough.
However, sometimes a cop turned rogue - that is, started to threaten the freedoms he or she were sworn to protect. Such was the case at the time that Talmira entered the city; this was most likely the reason that she was not immediately caught by 4 or 5 other cops and sent in for questioning.
The police force had broken in half, but were trying their best not to show it. The reputed 'long arm of the law' was now long in name only; political problems and inward violence were destroying it.
This dissention was led by Ralph Gargol, a member of the prestigious Gargol family. Before going to Police Academy for three years, he had gone to college and read philosophy, and upon hearing it, felt that Betl's current situation was the worst it could possibly be. So he took the easiest way out, and instituted a revolt.
Not many of the police officers had gone on his side, but the ones that did were much better-equipped and better-armed than the conventional officers, and they had a habit of disappearing from traps where nobody could. His guerrilla tactics had cost many innocent lives.
Rushing down the alleys, Talmira made her way to where she was certain she must go – the middle of Betl, the famed, star-shaped mansion of the police chief in which the police’s iron grip of the entire city was manifest. [/color]
[COLOR=#000000]Arriving there, two things became readily apparent: One, that Talmira’s instincts were right: Two, that perhaps a police station was not the best place to be when it was being assaulted by other police.
She gave herself a flight spell and jumped onto the roof, looking around. From here she could get a bird’s eye view …[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]Talmira jumped and was about to fly down, but the man was insistent. “Come on, I’m not trying to scare you. We can be allies. Allies? Okay?”[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]“Who are you?”[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]“I am Ralph Gorgol, the leader of this revolt. You may notice our tactics are … somewhat thuggish.” He walked in a circle, his hands behind his back, staring at the sun.
I attempt to keep us under control, but given the necessity of manpower, I was forced to take into my employ people whom may not be of the most upstanding character. But it is all for the benefit of this town.”
You sound like a crazy person,” Talmira said, her eyes not leaving his face.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]“Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps I have acted in haste; perhaps complete law, complete order is all humanity wants.” With this, Ralph turned to Talmira, smiling. [/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]“But I am tired of the standard; law creates equality, and equality creates stagnation. Did you know that we had the same structures in place 2000 years ago … all made during a time of relative anarchy?” He gazed across the town.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]“People respected each other, but bandits that occasionally came by motivated them to create this town, this jail cell of free speech! Without punishment, freedom will be the order of the day …” with this last he turned to Talmira “… and her wisdom shall be glorious.”[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]Talmira stood up, obviously in shock. “You sound crazy. I don’t know what to think …”[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]“Well,” Ralph said, observing the ensuing street-level chaos, “you’d better decide soon. Sometimes it is better to have any influence than to have none at all.”[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]“These people must be protected.” Talmira said. “Absolute order is tyranny, but anarchy is a greater one. I will protect them.”[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]“Then I must stop you.” Taking off his coat, he revealed a suit of armor and a sword. “It is a shame it has to come to this. I was beginning to fancy you.”[/COLOR]
Talmira nodded, crafting the needed spells in her mind. Ralph nodded, and unsheathed his sword.
“Shall we begin?”
Ralph charged. Talmira launched fireballs, but they were easily dodged, fizzling harmlessly into the nearby skyscrapers. She cast her spell of strength and started shooting bolts of air, as before; these were not so easily dodged, but dodged they were, crashing into the buildings with thuds.
Ralph stabbed at Talmira with his sword. Grabbing it, and ignoring the blinding pain, she put her other hand on his armor, muttering:
Biosta rinamo jovasa giyao fokano
The resulting blast of dark energy, shot so close up, knocked through Ralph completely. The hand holding the offending sword went limp. Talmira, holding her sliced hand, walked to Ralph. He was still alive.
“In this light … you look …” Ralph coughed up blood. “… extremely beautiful.”
“Sometimes the beast has to kill the beauty.”
Ralph lost consciousness. One part of his mind was satisfied; another would not stop. It would never stop; it was struggle itself. He would live through this. He HAD to.
The faction, without its leader, slowly started to seize resistance; the police squad, weakened, was still alive and well. Its savior had, however, already left; she was gone to other things.
Tascban's odd dreamworld had a repeat visitor - the first and only.
"Talmira? Is that you?"
Rustles in the brush and vine cleared the way for her, and she appeared. "Yes."
Derek, looking at her, became concerned. "Why are you back here? What have you done?"
Talmira looked at the ground and thought. "Do you know Betl?"
"There was a police revolt there, and I helped the police put it down. But I'm not sure if it was the right thing."
Tascban stiffened, then relaxed. "Well. What happened to your hand?"
She looked down at her hand, hanging uselessly from her arm. "Oh, this? Let's say I took the initiative when attacked with a sword."
He nodded, chuckling sadly. "Look at it! You already have some gangrene in your hand. Here, give me a moment." Grabbing the hand, he healed it with a word.
She looked at the hand with awe. "How did you do that?"
He chuckled again, and sat down, motioning Talmira to do the same. "People like us, our powers are fairly unlimited. You can do whatever you wish within reason." He poured tea and gave a cup to Talmira.
Talmira thought, sipping. "Thanks. ... That's within reason?"
"Hey, I can change where I am on the planet at any time. That's within reason."
"Well." He set the tea down. "Have you killed?"
Talmira shook her head. "I'm not sure. You know the wave spell? I used it, concentrated, in close range as a blast."
"Well. How does it feel to know that you've taken life?"
"We do not know that." Talmira thought for an excuse. "Also, it was to save life! The life of those who protect the great city of Betl!"
"Why do you feel as though you must explain yourself?" Tascban said cryptically, picking up the tea. He began to sip, pausing to speak. "Ah. Well, you need to make up your mind about what you want. I will be here, waiting for your return, drinking tea." He took a contented gulp, and sighed in pleasure.
Talmira laughed as she left. "I'll be back within the year."
Once she was gone, Tascban relaxed the illusionary world and smiled. "Thank god I can partially see the future. Sitting in there for a year would drive me insane. Perhaps I should attempt to reclaim my pit championship? No, there are ... other things I must attend to. I can only hope that all goes as planned." He walked off in the direciton of Betl.
Talmira arrived at her destination - Haza. It had been only a little while, but she had changed so much ... and her friends were few and far between. She walked to her old job in a coffee store, and saw a close friend. "Hey!"
Gail stopped, confused. "Who are you?"
"Talmira! Remember me?" She looked into Gail's eyes and saw doubt melt into confusion.
"You've been gone for months! Where have you been?" And, kneeling closer: "And what have you been doing?"
"I've been ... let's say brushing up on some stuff. You know the gladiator's pit that crashed?"
"I don't know how to say this, but I was there at the time."
"Well. They say there was a female mage there ... was that ..."
"Keep it secret, please." Gail started laughing.
"You couldn't possibly be her! She knew magic!" At this, Talmira conjured a fireball quietly and showed it to Gail. Her eyes widened, and she sat down unsteadily.
"Well ... I guess that explains the change in appearance. All right ... sorceress ... what do you want?"
"Can I get my own job back? For a couple months." She looked into Gail's eyes. There was nothing in them but fear.
"I ... I-I guess ..."
"Gail!" Talmira cried out, attracting the attention of nearby patrons. "I'm your friend. Remember? It's not like I'm going to destroy the world. I just want to wait here a few months until I find my true calling."
"All magic brings is bad luck. I'm sorry. I can't do this." With that, Gail left the store.
"Please! Please stop! Please ..." As Gail started running, Talmira gave up. "Well, there goes my only real friend in this city."
She walked through the now-desolate streets, feeling empty. "What is this crap good for? If people know I'm a mage, they hate me! Why?"
The streets seemed to get darker as she walked.
A letter had come from Betl. It was from the man Talmira had gotten so close to killing, Ralph Gargol. He apparently had not died. The letter contained a cordial invite for dinner, and, perhaps, a drink or two at the same star-shaped building they had met at before. As much as she sensed a trap, she had to go. Something was telling her that this ... this was good, this was right.
She walked up to the door of an ornate mansion and rang the bell. A servant arrived at the door.
"Wildfire. Talmira Wildfire."
"Right this way."
She walked down the dark hallway, following the servant. The hallway was dark, yet lined with gold, creating an effect of hidden sunlight within darkness. Pictures of the descendants of Gargol hung on the walls, many police officers, some ... oddly ... wearing spellcaster robes. One of the pictures looked curiously like her mentor Tascban, and she stared at it for some time.
She rushed to catch up to the servent, arriving at thier destination at precisely the same time he did, somewhat out of breath, clutching her knees. The servant opened the door with well-practiced precision.
"Your Honor ... Talmira Wildfire here to see you."
Talmira rose her head from her knees. Tascban was sitting to her left, Ralph to her right. She gasped. The servent exited.
Tascban nodded to Ralph, then started talking. "Oh, Aksacara, you did not foresee this event?" He frowned. "Your prophetic skills should really be better by now ..." He turned to Ralph. "We're behind schedule."
Ralph smiled, ignoring the words. "At last, Aksacara, you will reveal your true power. Soon the world will see it for itself."
"What?" Talmira said, visibly shocked.
Tascban grimaced as Ralph replied. "You see, you are not Aksacara, per se. Usually, names in the old tongue are given only to either those who have great power ... or those who have great potential. You, my friend, had both."
"Isn't potential and power the same thing?" Talmira asked, a bit confused.
"Oh, no, not at all." Ralph smiled. "Power is having power to cast magical spells. Potential is the ability to be sacrificed to create a mage ... of greater power."
Talmira listened, jaw agape, as Ralph continued.
"This power is something we as mages normally call Aksacara. However, the stronger the mage whom is sacrificed, and the larger the potential for sacrifice ... the more powerful the mage is. Tascban here has had somewhere between twenty and thirty mages sacrificed to him; it gets to be so many that I lose count!"
Tascban stiffened. "Twenty-three." He turned to Talmira, his eyes pleading. "And I would never do the same to you. But ..." and with this, his eyes turned to the floor. "Ralph has given me so much ... I owe my life to him and his forefathers. I swore that I would do as they commanded. When Ralph was born without it; without the gift of true sight; how do you think his parents felt? It was the worst night of thier lives. His mother committed suicide, and his father died of heartbreak soon after."
He sighed, and continued. "It was soon after that that I discovered the ancient process Aksacara, and at once I resolved that I would sacrifice myself to him. But for the sacrifice to matter, the recipient must be willing."
Ralph stood up. "I would not go through with it. Tascban is my greatest friend, and you, meanwhile, are a mere urchin he brought up off the street. Your sacrifice will complete the cycle."
Tascban suddenly got up and bowed. "I am sorry; to the entire Gargol family, but ... I cannot go through with this."
Ralph reacted angrily. "You WHAT?"
"I would rather die than kill someone I love so very much ... as a daughter, almost as I love you." Tascban was trembling now.
Ralph swore. "You serve my family for generations! We give you everything! Power, fame, whichever life you want ... and THIS is how you repay us? Fair enough." He pulled his sword out of his scabbard. "I, Ralph Gargol, officially accept your aksacara. Make the preparations."
"The preperations are already made, Master."
Without warning, Ralph cut into Tascban's body so fast it seemed as though his sword had not been there at all. A succession of bloodspots in a cryptic pattern appeared on his chest. Tascban fell to the ground, bleeding. He looked behind Ralph, at a portrait of his father.
"Richard ... please forgive me ..."
"You have done your job." Ralph said, smiling. "The Gorgol family no longer requires your services."
With that, Tascban slumped to the floor, dead. Talmira stood in shock for a moment, and began crying.
Ralph, watching her cry, was struck by the absurdity of it all, the broken-down order; the lack of rhythm he was creating, how everything was out of place. It was all ... so perfect.
"There, there." Ralph said, a smile on his face. "You'll join him soon enough!" His newly-aquired magical powers began to warp the room into an arena - a run-down gladitorial pit ...
Talmira remembered a time, long ago, when Tascban showed her a fireball. The man had wanted to do nothing but teach, and this family - and this man - had destroyed him. She gritted her teeth and drew her sword. “It will end where it began. But I will not die here.”
Suddenly, Ralph appeared behind her. “Are you sure?” His sword flew into Talmira's shoulder and she cried out in pain, dropping her sword and falling to the floor.
“Ah, teleportation is such a useful thing!” Ralph cried, his mind wandering. “So THIS is how it feels ... to be a GOD!”
Talmira thought back. She was running out of options. But this man must not live. But she had no recourse. There was only one option left ... the spell of last resort ...
landorae vacograh tala ...
The spell at once came to her, clear and without warning.
[COLOR=#000000]Jaltira hasa boldo hereng yotendo gerfudo jilmeno...
Ralph looked at her, concern on his face. “What is this? Are you trying to cast a spell? I guess I'd better continue the ritual, then.” He plunged the ritual into another spot in the back, then another, and then another. Still the chanting continued.
"STOP!” Ralph yelled, his mind askew. “Stop chanting, or I will make you stop chanting!”[/COLOR]
Rushing, he made the fifth and sixth cuts. Talmira's body, which looked like a bleeding corpse, did not move. Only one more, and she would fall dead, the power she contained given straight to him. He stabbed.
The sword felt as though it was striking steel.
Ralph staggered backwards from the blow. Talmira continued to chant. She was waving her arms over her back, using the forbidden arts of blood sacrifice. She stood up unsteadily, her eyes transfixed on a certain point in time; the words she said were not her own. Ralph thought to teleport away, but the spell held him in place. He began to panic. "No! This can't be happening!"
... tumeni geroi kerata, et hesai fina!
The roof of the building tore open from the sheer force of the spell, the hallways gleaming as the star outline of the building shone across the city. Where Ralph once stood, there was only a crater. Talmira, her blood mostly drained from her body, fell to the ground unconscious.
Talmira was found an hour later, a body at her feet and the late Ralph Gargol curiously missing. She was charged with a double-homicide and ordered to stand trial. On the day of the execution, her cell was found - empty.
Some say that Talmira, the first Aksacara, is still alive somewhere, providing guidance to those whom need it.
my mouth is full of winsome lies -
and eyes are full of death besides
but luckily the soul is wise -
it sees beyond my blindness and
forced failure makes a better guise,
so as i come again alive,
it feels like life's a decent plan
Sam111111, The Aksacara
Another story that starts (and ends) in a Coliseum. In a not unintersting style the author explains just a few basic background information, then the first battle begins – and this one is dissapointing. The mages chant in an unknown language and create rather basic effects, creativity is lacking. And so it goes on, in the other two battles that follow, only interrupted by some dialogues between the two main characters, which destroys the flaw of the story more than it helps. There’s nothing new, not even Derek’s treason is that surprising. I would have expected more.
----------------------------------- Flow/Pacing: (3/5) Quality of Structure: (3/5) Quality of Content: (3/5) Originality of Content: (3/5) Grammar: (3.5/5)
----------------------------------- Overall Score: :rate5::rate5::rate5::rate0.5: (15.5/25)
Flow/Pacing Score: 1.5 Comments: To put it bluntly, it was a short story that went nowhere, fast. Many of the sections were redundant or unneeded, I felt. In fact, the whole first meeting and build-up to what was important fell through. It was more of a long story made short than a short story made long.
Quality of Structure Score: 2 Comments: Again, needless sections made the story drag on, and certain conversations between Talmira and Derek were pointless. I really felt the story needed to concentrate on a certain part of Talmira's life; instead, the general feel was that of a novella.
Quality of Content Score: 2.5 Comments: I liked the idea of the Aksacara, but the story lacked the focus and was too drawn out in its attempt to get to the purpose. Very generalized and rushed sections pull away from the gem this piece could've been.
Originality of Content Score: 3.5 Comments: As stated, I enjoyed the idea of what an Aksacara was, but I felt ther was a lack of real descriptiveness that this story could've wielded, and in less words. Focus more on the situations, and less on how many different areas and ideas you can squeeze into a short story.
Grammar Score: 5 Comments: Although basic in its nature, the grammar was near flawless.