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Lady Myr
12-26-2012, 01:31 AM
My Nanowrimo novel, still in the process of being touched up. Feedback welcome.


prologue

The legends are wrong. The world is not awaiting its fiery end; the end has already long since come. Ragnaruk has happened; the gods are dead. Dead, and replaced. The Universal God reigns in their place, and it is a good, all wise, all knowing, benign overseer, existing only for its creations.

And yet, shadows still there remain.

And in the shadows, lurk others.

For the gods do not die, not really. Not wholly, completely, forever. The gods live on, and in the shadows you can feel their presence still.

And sometimes, when the boundaries between the worlds are particularly thin, you can hear their whispers. They can reach out and touch you, and your dreams become theirs and your heart becomes theirs, for when the gods call, it is not an impassioned creed told to you by strangers, like that of the Universal God, who gives all and is equally distant from its world of followers. When the old gods come knocking, there is nothing like it. For while the Universal God offers you the answers to your prayers, it gives you nothing of itself. But the old gods, when they turn up, you can see the laughter in their eyes as easily as the anger. They are real. And the gifts they offer, knowledge, magic, protection, strength. These and more they will give you, and what, in turn, they ask of you.... well. Such things are between a man and his god. Or goddess, as the case may be.

There is no going back from it. Oh, refuse them you may, and no harm will come to you of it—but the old gods are patient gods, and they are willing to wait.

In the shadows; in your dreams.

In these, the old gods live on...

Awaiting their return.

And where will you be, when it comes?


chapter one


The girl was quite insane. That was what caught his attention first, for he knew the taste of insanity. But he had no interest in people beyond the reach of reason, and he was already turning to leave when the girl saw him.

"Hello," she said, and laughed uncomfortably. "I shouldn't be talking to you, should I? They'll notice."

He turned to look back at her, curiosity getting the better of him. "You can see me?"

"Of course," she said, and then her smile turned sad. "You aren't real, though."

He stepped closer to get a better look at her. The room was curiously empty and the bed looked uncomfortable.

The girl smiled at him again, her eyes dull. Drugged. Is that what mortals did with their insane, now? Well. There were definitely worse fates. He would know.

"Like a fox," she said dreamily. "All orange and white and black."

"What?" he said.

"You are," she whispered. Her eyes widened suddenly as she looked closer at him. "But you glow. You're not... are you human? Oh great, now I'm seeing aliens." And she started to laugh unhappily, her eyes flooded with tears.

"I am not an alien."

She blinked and the tears ceased. "Oh, ok."

"You're quick to believe me." he said, questioningly, for there was something odd with the way she had replied. He tried to glimpse her mind, but it was clouded by the drugs and his efforts were thwarted.

She merely looked confused. "Well, you're telling the truth."

And that was when his curiosity turned into actual interest and, oh no, these mortals will be the death of me, and this one isn't even sane, he frantically tried to reason with himself.

She watched his inner struggle with amusement, giggling to herself. He stared at her. "What?" he demanded.

"I'm sure whatever you decide will be okay. Everything will work out eventually," she told him comfortingly, and how had she even known he was undecided?

He sighed, knowing his decision was already made.

He stayed too long, of course. That was always his mistake. He found that where she was staying was a prison for the insane, and she was there because she saw things.

"The world is a kaleidoscope. Colors are another dimension of reality," she told him dreamily.

She could see things. His mortal was special. This was all turning out surprisingly well.

He was somewhat unprepared when he saw the darker spirits shadowing her, leeching off her energy. "Get away from her," he hissed, and they shrank back into the shadows of the room but did not leave. "She is mine," he spat, and fire rose in his eyes, crackling with his rage.

They fled, and did not return.

She was watching him curiously. "I think I feel better," she said softly, and through the drug haze, he could see some clarity returning to her.
His lips turned up in a smile. "Good," he said. "I have need of you." She would be useful.

"Of me?" she said softly, surprised. "Here?"

His lip curved down as he surveyed the hospital. "No, not here. Outside."

"I'll never get out," she said listlessly, despair tinging her words, and he glared at her. "Well then, I suppose I should leave," he snapped, getting up. Her eyes went wide and she reached out for him, although her hands grasped nothing but air. "No, no, don't leave me," she pleaded, frantic.

"Then cast away your lack of hope, know that you will grow better," he said, sitting back down again. She bit her lip. "I.. I will try?" she said hesitantly, the words seeming foreign on her tongue. She half flinched as he looked at her, and he saw that she expected his anger again. His rage softened and flickered out, and he reached forward to brush her forehead with one hand. She shivered, but did not look away.

"That would be good," he said finally, and relief showed on her face.

"Is..." she hesitated a long moment and he crooked an eyebrow. "Is what?"

She looked away, and said all in a rush, "are all the things I see real? You, the colors? The shadows?"

He considered the question. “Well, I’m real," he offered finally, and she laughed in relief. "I didn't think you were at first, but now I'm not so sure," she whispered. "All the other things I see, they only drag me down, but you are the first that has made me look up."

He smiled, was starting to reply when he felt...

Damn.

They'd caught his trail.

He cursed softly, involuntarily, and she blinked.

"I have to go," he said. Her face fell and he flinched at the disappointment there. "I'll come back," he promised her. "It... may be a while, though."

She swallowed. "Ok," she said softly.

"I mean it. I will come back to you."

She nodded. "I'll be waiting," she said, forcing a smile.

They would trace his trail here, and find her.

"Keep your eyes closed. Don’t acknowledge anything else you see or hear," he directed her. She looked confused, but he made her promise.

"You're scared," she said finally, in a small voice. "Are you going to be ok?"

He laughed and some of his recklessness must have passed on to her, for she looked a little relieved—and also concerned.

"I always am," he lied cheerily. "But now, I must be off."

She hugged him. He had no body, so it didn't quite work, but he felt the faint touch of her arms all the same, and she felt a tingling in the air.

"Goodbye," she whispered, and he saw that she did not believe he would return, and then it was too late for reassurances. When he opened his eyes next, he was nearing the border and the layers between the worlds were already opening.

GonzoTheGreat
12-26-2012, 05:34 AM
Very good. When is the next chapter coming?

rand
12-27-2012, 12:55 AM
I agree with Gonzo, I definitely want to see more! I liked the prologue. You have a really cool concept. The dialogue in the first chapter all seemed to work. It might help to name the two people, but then again maybe not depending on where you're going with this. The only real suggestion I have is to put separate people's dialogue in separate paragraphs. Other than that, I thought this was great. I would love to see where it goes! :)

SauceyBlueConfetti
12-28-2012, 11:29 AM
I like it.

Brita
12-28-2012, 11:57 AM
I'm hooked. NOt much of a critique I know, but it seems like just a beginning. We need more to form a better opinion :D

Figbiscuit
01-03-2013, 09:48 AM
I like it. A lot. But then if I remember rightly I always did like your writing. You have a real knack for hooking people in right from the start.

I don't feel character names are necessary, certainly not at this stage. I think your concept is great and I just want more please :)