In some moments of your life, you need the skills with which you can tell a person’s character. To know when to trust them or to run screaming from the room,” the interrogator passed by the torch and cast a long, dark shadow on barren stone walls.
“I want you to think of a loyal guard dog or any working dog. They have this natural skill. A dog knows when something is dangerous. You gotta learn that skill. I watched this farmer’s dog once; it would guard the sheep all day and soak up the sun, but it was always nervous of the woods. It always kept one eye on those woods. One day, that dog knew when a wolf had come into the field long before the farmer ever had a chance to react.” He paused and rested his back against the wall, “Let me tell you more, so you can grasp my point.”
The cloaked interrogator began walking again. A shade danced all around him. “I once saw this one big, mean, and nasty-looking guard dog. Let me tell you! You would never want this big brute of a dog to bite you. As soon as he saw me. Oh Boy. His hair stood up on the end. His owner was a clueless underpaid guard and had no idea he would die. I walked right up to him and tricked him with a simple wardrobe change.”
A smile spread across his handsome face, an unhinged laugh slipping past his lips.
“Do you see? I killed a different guard earlier that day and put on his uniform. The dog’s instinct gave it an edge. That dog figured out I was the danger. It knew I was that wolf from the woods! The dog acted like he watched me strip the dead guy and put on the clothes. You must agree, animals can be smarter than humans.”
There was a pause in the one-sided conversation.
The interrogator bent over the back of the chair and whispered, “Good for the dog, bad for the owner. Guess which one walked away from the encounter.” The interrogator laughed, “one of them walked away, one of them ended up in a chair just like this,” and a smile spread across his face.
It would be a strange conversation if someone were watching from the outside. An elf was on a chair in the center of a stone, windowless room. Across from him was a well-dressed figure that walked around him in circles. If not for the odd conversation, the room could remind anyone of an Inn’s cellar for keeping casks of ale and salted meats. After all, the elf could be at an Inn at first glance or in the basement of one with unknowing adventurers. Would-be heroes could be having drinks above and they were unaware the helpless elf was trapped there.
The hooded rogue walked in circles and talked to himself more than the elf. He did not expect nor anticipate any answer to his hypothetical questions. His voice sounded almost cheerful, while the elf on the chair looked drained of all energy. He stopped behind the chair, and with a quick snap, a thundering fist slammed into the kidney of the helpless elf.
“I know what you are thinking; what happened to the dog? I am not a monster; the dog was following its instinct and wanted to save his owner, but that guard, full of himself, did not even notice I was wearing his friend’s uniform,” the interrogator laughed. He stopped in place after circling the elf again. A left fist cracked the listener across his eye socket with another swift strike. “I, for one, struggle with life each day. You might laugh and scoff, asking yourself, “how does this handsome and dashing figure struggle?”
At the end of his question, another fist smashed into the listener’s helpless face.
“Good question, dear sir. I do not look or play the part of a being who struggles, which is the point. The world. Let me explain that we live in a world created for more.” The trapped elf gurgled a gob of blood. The blood began to drip lazily down his face and slowly dripped on the floor as if it were an icicle melting in a spring thaw. Hours had passed without a single question asked of the elf, just fist after fist struck the elf’s weak points—the elf’s once clean and noble clothes stained with his blood and tears.
The elf finally spat out a question, “Why?”
The cloaked figure paused before he lashed out with his fist and connected to the elf’s kneecap. He took a step back and raised a hand under his hood. “Why? That is a hard question. Why does the sun rise? Why do we hurt each other?” He took a deep breath. “My struggles are my own, much like your soul belongs to you until the end. Well, unless you are simple enough to share it with another. Let me tell you of the burden I carry. I am chaining you down. No, no. The chains are choices. Not unlike the chains you wear, the result of choices you have made, or perhaps that I have made.”
A smile crested onto the interrogator’s face, “Well, plus the chains I put you in.” He laughed as he grabbed a pair of pliers.
The elf took a moment while his interrogator ranted to regain a fraction of his wits. He was once a noble captain of the Iron Legion. Forcing his body to take a breath. The captain felt proud that he was still in one piece, despite the feeling of a few broken ribs. The elf took another desperate breath, feeling his muscles burn and crying out for help, but told himself that the pain meant he was still alive. With that desperate breath, he begged, “I have a family.”
Ignored the plea, the pliers went to work.
“I was not born in this land, but I was shaped by it looking back.” Blood dripped down the elf’s face. The interrogator slapped the elf across the face.
A faint whisper. “Please.”
“I am sharing a small piece of myself with you, focus. Before I planted my roots here, I travelled the world, travelled my path. I cut ties to everything and everyone and lived my dreams, but I still ended up with you. You might say that all paths lead to trouble; however, in your case trouble is a painful death.” With that, he began to laugh again at the elf’s beaten face.
The interrogator took a moment to breathe the smell of copper deeply. The hooded man then unhooked a water skin from his belt, carefully opened the elf’s mouth, and slowly poured water into his mouth. It almost felt motherly, as if looking after a sick child. The bound elf drank each drop as if it were his last taste of freedom, and time seemed to slow down to a crawl. The interrogator stopped after the water skin was drained and gave the elf a hollow smile.
He waited. They waited for what must have felt like a lifetime. The mood in the room shifted. The elf thought, "maybe he is letting me go."
A fist struck out and broke a bone. Crack! The relentless fist found its mark upon the poor soul’s cheekbone. The bones gave way to the pressure of the hardened knuckles. Then more cracking sounds rang out into the peaceful night.
Spitting blood, he gave in to the pain. He had nothing left.
The elf had that last feeling of safety and hope ripped away, and his drive to hold on cracked, and shattered into a thousand pieces. He began to speak slowly. “There is a legend about a small town to the north where the old gods still take a breath and touch our world.”
The overwhelmed elf croaked out as the hooded figure pressed the silver dagger into the soft skin of the elf’s neck, and with a slight nod, the interrogator prompted his captive to continue. “That is where you will find the chamber, the book and the old warrior.” Crimson tears began to sprinkle the dagger's finely kept edge, “Please, I don’t want to die,” he mourned, “that is all I know about the spell to awaken him.”
With that, the hooded figure freed the old elf. Untied the elf from the blood-stained wooden chair. The elf collapsed to the floor, “Thank you,” the elf whispered. The elf tried to regain footing but was too weak from the ordeal. The feeble elf lay crumpled on the floor like an unwanted piece of trash.
“The path always leads to impulsive choices, just like my youth. Do you remember the boat and those two boys who snuck on board?"
The elf opened his remaining eye. His mouth started to open and close like a fish trying to breathe out of water. Blood dripped between a few broken teeth. Drip. Drip. Time seemed to pause for these two. Shock spread across the elf's face.
Broken words escaped a broken man in a humbled whisper, "It can't be..." Coughing racked his body, "died by my hand."
"Oh, how the wheels of fate turn. We are just bumps that the road shapes as we travel. I enjoy a good old reflection on one’s past.”
The hooded man watched the poor elf struggle towards the door with his broken body. A grin began to spread like wildfire upon his thin lips. A flash of silver darted in the single torch’s light. A soft thud and the elf fell into the door.
“Your soul is now free from its mortal body,” he chuckled. He walked over, pulled out the blade, and wiped it clean on the poor dead creature as carefully as one might hold a newborn babe. Then with remarkable speed from years of practice, the rogue vanished into the night.
He was about to begin his quest north when he started to whistle the tune: a Coal Miner’s Daughter.
Gears and pistons began to turn slowly, and their wheels started the slow process of coming alive. Rust had settled upon their shells for centuries beneath the sleeping surface. Ancient machines began to turn their unstoppable gears. Massive pumps started to churn the oil pool at the bottom of the pump. Raging fires began to heat the metal coffin, the cursed oil blistering up the sides of its holding cell.
The seething heat causes mechanical beings' blood to vaporize, forcing life up the jet stack. The lifeblood of this ancient metal goliath began to strike the umbrellas and was projected downward and outward through the nozzles of the jet stack.
The life essence began to pass through the narrow jets, the oil vapour flowing at a velocity near that of sound. The high-speed moisture collided with gas molecules, giving them a downward direction toward the heart of a creature almost as old as the mountain. The oil began to condense on the walls of the heart's pumps which started the cooling process by powering water runes. The oil started to flow back to the bottom of the heating pool. External vapour was used by the Forge to pressure these pumps.
The God Engineer was a being that cared more for a metal heart than his own. Thus, a continuous cycle of vaporization, condensation and re-vaporization occurs, just like the beating heart of weaker life forms, like the soft apes.
While these hairless monkeys began to experiment with fire, the metal had already mastered life everlasting. The metal turned his head up towards the sky, or where the atmosphere should be, it could not remember the last time it had moved, but it lusted to crush the softness. Hatred caused the oil in his heart to burn fast.
The Metal thought of his creator, "How dare he trap the metal in this lightless cage? Am I not worthy of the God Engineer, does he love this hairless monkey more than me?"
The Metal. The Metal is power untold in legends, and the Metal is a life unseen before the ages of man. What fool would wish to bring demons among men? The shadow on the entrance began to lighten, turning the darkness into a murky grey.
The grey started to swirl in a clockwise motion. Time felt like it was slowing, where you could begin to count the seconds. The hearts of the metal beasts started to slow, and the pumps slowed to a crawl. The Forge slowed, and it cast out the Metal.
"It is time for me to set aside my bindings. I am leaving the gilded cage that you created for me, father. God Engineer, be dammed, I will create this world using my hands."
Out stepped a hardened steel boot, covered with a layer of black scale leather, and the laces a tan of human flesh pulled tight.
Bio: I'm only a hobbyist writer. There may be the occasional error, and pacing may be poorly-handled; let me know, and I will make corrections. I am always open to constructive criticism and will do my best to respond to any questions/comments. I'm here to write stuff that makes my brain happy and follow my dream.
Nice!! I am very intrigued on who this interrogator is, and I was surprised with how this ended! Excited to see what's next. Also, I really enjoyed the monologue of the rouge, it's really a good look into his mind directly. Intelligent yet a few cracks, really interesting development already in chapter one!!
“Some moments in your life, you need the skills in which you can tell a person’s character. Know when to trust them or to run screaming from the room. Let me enlighten you,” the interrogator passed by the candle casting long dark shadows on empty walls. What a cool way to bring us into the story!
The dog’s instinct gave it an edge as if the dog were there when I got it off the body of the replacement guard. I'm a bit confused as to what "it" is referring to when he says "I got it off the body". Maybe he wants to add a bit of mystery (if so then disregard) but I am unsure what he actually did to the guard here
After all, the elf could be at an Inn? I think this may be. bit more clear as a statement rather than a question, maybe something like, "After all, the elf could be at an Inn at first glance..."
the dog was following its instinct and wanted to save his owner, but that guard, full of himself, did not even notice I was wearing his friend’s uniform Oooh this makes the first part about the dog and his instincts clearer!
The blood began to drip lazily down his face and slowly dripped on the floor as if it were an icicle melting in a spring thaw. Very cool description!
Hours havehad passed without a single question asked of the elf, I would keep this in the past to match the rest of the sentence here, unless maybe someone is telling the story presently??
Then more cracking sound ringsrung out into the peaceful night. I think you may wanted to say this in the past tense too, but again maybe this a style choice?
Shock spread across the elf's face.
Broken words escaped a broken man in a humbled whisper, oh love this correlation!
I am chaining you down. No, no. The chains are choices. Not unlike the chains you wearself, by the result of choices, you have made, or perhaps that I have made.”
The overwhelmed elf croaked out as the hooded figure pressed the silver dagger into the soft skin of the elf’s neck, and with a slight nod, the interrogator promopted his captive to continue.
An interesting and compelling opening from a story standpoint. But i do think getting a writing group and working on sentence structure, etc., would benefit the work. I feel that like many authors in this genre, you have already demonstrated interesting ideas and a potentially fascinating world, but the writing per se could use a bit of work.
wow! I really like this opening scene! Good job!
You have to agree, animals can be smarter thean humans.”
A cross from him was a well-dressed figure that
Eric Vanderlip ago
Across from him was a well-dressed figure thatwalking walked around him in circles. (saw the other edit, now walking is better with new sentence structure)
AfterPerhaps all, the elf couldwas be at an Inn at first glance or in the basement of one, with unknowingwould adventurers. Would be heroes could be having drinks above and they were unaware theof helplesshis elf was trapped hereplight. (Note: this part was confusing and I tried re-writing in a way that made sense. Might be wrong)
He stopped in place after circling the elf again
A smile crested onto the integrator’interrogator's face
With that, the hooded figure freed the old elf., Untieduntying thehim elf from the blood-stained wooden chair.
interrogator rambles a lot but I am fairly sure that's intentional.
If not for the odd conversation, the room could remind anyone of an Inn’s cellar for keeping castscasks of ale and salted meats.
The dog acted like it?? Unclear what the dog acted like watched me strip the dead guy and put on the cloths.
Across from him was a well-dressed (cloaked earlier?) figure that walked around him in circles.
You might laugh and scoff, asking yourself, “'how does this handsome and dashing figure struggle?”'"
Wow, that was disturbing! You characterized the cloaked interrogator indisputably as a conscience-free killer. I felt sorry for the elf. Yikes! Let's see how this develops in the next chapter...
"Some moments in your life, you need the skills in which you can tell a person’s character. Know when to trust them or to run screaming from the room."
It feels like it should rather be:
"In some moments of your life, you need the skills with which you can tell a person’s character. To know when to trust them or to run screaming from the room."
Thanks for the chapter!
The elf took a moment while his interrogator ranted to regain a fraction of his wits. The elf felt proud that he was still in one piece, despite the feeling of a few broken ribs. The elf took a desperate breath. You start three sentences in a row here with "The elf". Might I suggest rewording at least one of them to break up the repetition?
Well, that certainly is an interesting start to the story! Nothing like a good torture/murder sequence to get the action rolling.
Very interesting start!
ThenThe interrogator then unhooked a waterskin from his belt, carefully opened the elf’s mouth, and slowly poured water into his mouth.
The bonebones givesgave way to the pressure of the hardened knuckles.
The wording from the interrogator was a little hard to follow, a couple mixed metaphors and all that, but otherwise I got the point pretty well. Interesting start, not sure how it will continue.
(sorry for the delay on the review, its coming soon I swear)