An Old Piece of Fiction



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Grizzly

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This'll be my first time actually posting anything I've written here. It's actually the newest piece that I would have posted on the internet, and it is the first time that anyone outside my close group of friends have read it. It is the prologue from a novel that I was working on two years ago now, so it's slightly aged, but I think most of you should enjoy it. The novel did not progress after five or so chapters, as I decided to drop it in favor of a new project. My friends adored it, and while I'm interested in getting everyone else's opinions, I'm doubtful that I will go back to make edits, but instead will carry over the advice onto what I plan on writing next. My writing style and ability has developed a bit more since this was written, but I'm proud of it nonetheless. Thanks in advance for checking it out, I look forward to what everyone has to say!

Without further ado, here is the prologue of my old novel Markings. I believe the prologue was titled "Into the Fire."

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A caravan of rather considerable size, consisting mainly of hovering vehicles and soldiers on horseback, pushed its way through the immense, overgrown forest at a pace which seemed almost too slow for even a tortoise to be comfortable. The mysterious forest, which had no true name, was not just only considered dangerous, but it was known to strike fear into the hearts of those who simply heard of its dark tales. Some of the areas immediately surrounding the wildwood were mostly empty and abandoned, and it goes without saying that the forest itself had not been explored for a few hundred years.

The convoy of sorts came to a gradual halt, stopping for the very first time after a while of constant procession. At the center of the group was a short, black, heavily armored limousine, which contained only a driver and a single, very important passenger. The passenger, who could have been somewhere between thirty and forty, sat in the middle of the limousine, his right leg crossing on top of his left as the rich, yet bitter smelling smoke drifted smoothly off of the end of his cigar. He wagged his right foot back and forth as he exhaled the rather heavy fumes, quite a bit impatient as he waited for the caravan to resume its trek. The man's thick black hair was slicked back and hardened with gel, his rectangular, darkly tinted spectacles completely hiding his eyes. Although he was cleanly shaven, his pale, ghostly face looked rough, and even a bit wrinkled, likely due to the years of stress that had led up to this very day. He wore a custom-tailored suit that was made of some of the most rare and expensive clothing materials on Earth, something that only a handful of other men on the planet could even hope to afford.

After a couple of minutes, the vehicle had still not resumed movement. The man finished off the glass of red wine that he had been holding in his gloved hand, setting it down as he extinguished his cigar. On the small dashboard in front of him was a single button, and above it, a small speaker. He leaned forward and put his mouth close to the speaker, which also had a buil- in microphone. He then pressed the button, saying,"Commander, do you mind telling me why we have stopped?" His voice was deep and smooth, but at the same time, it sounded powerful and threatening.

After a short moment, the voice of the commander came through in response, albeit a bit unrecognizable through the small speaker, "I'm sorry sir, but the path is too narrow for the vehicles to pass through."

The man in the limousine sighed a bit agitatedly as he pushed the button again, saying, "Well then, Commander, we'll have to travel on foot from here." He took his finger off of the button.

"But sir," the commander replied a bit skeptically," the forest is extremely dangerous. We have no-"

"So you suggest we just drop everything and leave?" the man interrupted him. His voice remained smooth and calm, but it was clear that he was annoyed. "All the trouble we went through to get here, all of the risks we've taken, everything we've gone through up until now... come on, think, Commander, you want us to just forget it all and leave? When we're so close? Are you mad?" He paused, leaving his finger on the button for a moment after he finished speaking.

As soon as the man took his finger off of the button, the commander's voice came back trough the speaker. "Y-yes sir, of...of course. It would be silly to stop here. I don't know what I was thinking," he replied nervously.

The faintest hint of a smile crept along the corner of the man's lips. "Very good, Commander," he said back, "I knew you'd see reason. Now then, I suggest that it would be in your best interest to go about this whole process swiftly, time is of the essence." There was a hint of venom in the man's voice as he said this.

"Roger that, sir," the commander's voice came over the speaker for a final reply. "We'll be right on it. Over and out." After only a short moment, the door to the limousine opened and the man stepped out, immediately surrounded by guards on all sides. He was then escorted to the middle of a large block of soldiers, who were now on foot. Each soldier was wearing a very high-tech suit of armor that covered their entire body, and they were all armed with different types of firearms and gadgets.

"ALL FORCES, SET, HALT!" The robotic voice of one of the officers rang out across the group, and everyone in the large block of soldiers immediately snapped into attention, minus the man in the suit. The silence in the group could almost be heard as the commander, riding atop a massive, white stallion, circled around to the front of the block, with the clopping of the horse's hoofs being the only sound that was heard. The commander's armor was almost identical to that of the rest of the soldiers, save for the color. The soldiers' armor was a dark gray color, with the boots, belt, and gloves being black, and it also contained faint red outlines and lights. On the other hand, the commander's suit of armor was a brilliant white, with the trimming on the boots, gloves, and belt being a magnificent gold. The lights on his armor were a bright, deep blue when illuminated.

After observing his menacing looking forces for a moment, the commander spoke, "The path narrows from here, and so the vehicles will not fit. From this point onward, we will travel on foot to our destination." Due to the voice scrambler that was located in all of the soldiers' helmets, the commander's voice, while still clearly belonging to a man, came out sounding a bit computerized. The soldiers saluted, and the commander turned his horse around, facing forward.

"ALL FORCES, PROCEED MOVEMENT, FORWARD ADVANCE!" The scrambled voice of the officer from before rang out across the soldiers, and the entire group began to walk forward, but not in a march, as instructed. While he started off leading the group, the commander spent most of the travel circling around the block, observing both the soldiers and the surrounding forest. It was impossible to tell the time of day here, as the overgrown trees and vegetation shaded the forest from any source of outside light.

The commander guided his horse to the front of the block, signaling for the group to halt. The soldiers all patiently watched their commander, who had apparently seen something up ahead. Facing forward, with his back to the group, the commander raised his right hand and pressed two fingertips against his temple. He then extended his arm out at a right angle, closing his hand into a fist, with only his right index finger extended outward toward the sky. Upon doing this, certain soldiers in the block, as well as some of the ones on horseback, raised their weapons up, prepared to shoot if commanded. The commander extended his arm straight outward to the right, and then pointed at one of the trees ahead, at which half of the armed soldiers aimed their guns. He then extended his arm all the way upward, toward the sky, and then pointed at another tree that was a bit further ahead than the first, the other half of the armed soldiers aiming towards this one. The commander returned his arm back to the right angle, the soldiers not letting up their aim. All was quiet for a moment; not a soul moved, not a sound was made. The commander then suddenly clenched his raised hand into a fist, and several, silenced gunshots shot out from the block of soldiers. A couple loud, ear-piercing screeches rang out from the trees, and the commander opened his fist to signal for the gunfire to stop. From each of the two trees that had been targeted fell a large, strikingly beautiful red and gold bird. Much to the bewilderment of many of the soldiers, the birds both burst into flame upon crashing to the forest floor. This came as no surprise to both the man in the suit and his military officers, for those birds had been some of the most normal creatures that they had seen in quite some time. After only a short moment, the flames had fizzled out, leaving behind only ash.

The army moved on, and the deeper they pushed into the forest, the more numerous and stranger their encounters with the fictitious creatures got. The beasts grew progressively more dangerous as well, and more than just a handful of soldiers were lost, but the convoy pushed on. After an indeterminable amount of time, the troops came to a section in which the forest opened up into a rather large clearing, the treetops parting just enough to let a beam of sunlight shine through. The light shone directly down to the center of the clearing, reflecting off of the very object that the convoy had set out to retrieve. There, in the middle of the clearing, was a magnificent sword of legend, embedded in a polished stone. The most prominent feature of the sword, which sat at just over three feet in length, was its smooth, white-colored, two-inch-wide blade, the flat of which was trimmed in gold on both sides. The rest of the sword was just as beautifully crafted as the blade; a gorgeous red ruby implanted in the middle of its gold rain guard, its somewhat short, dark red and gold cross-guard curving slightly upward, a dark maroon, almost impossibly strong, smooth leather wrapped around its hilt in a perfect, angled pattern, and an impeccably round, sphere-shaped ruby sat in a small, slightly rounded gold disc to form the pommel.

One of the officers called for what remained of the troops to relax, and their block formation instantly dispersed, allowing the soldiers to spread out a little more and get a better view of the clearing. As the block separated, a select few of the soldiers remained at attention in order to escort the man in the suit to the center of the clearing. The man had his guards step back from him a bit so that he could better marvel in the weapon's brilliance. There, just a few feet in front of him, stood the result of his many years of hard work and stress. Obtaining this legendary sword was only the very beginning of what was sure to be a long and arduous process, but the man was in no hurry at this particular moment. After observing the sword for a short while longer, the man turned to face the soldiers, a faint grin on his face hinting at a feeling of success.
"It is rather unfortunate that we have lost so many of our brethren in today's journey," the man began to speak to the troops, "but their sacrifice will not be in vain! There will be a time for mourning those that have passed, but this is not that day! Today is a day for celebration!" Several of the soldiers cheered and applauded as the man said this, for they knew of what the times ahead would bring. "Now now, friends," the man continued, trying to quiet the troops, "contain your excitement, it'll be of greater benefit later. I must admit, it is quite a struggle to hold back myself, for today is a glorious day. Countless years of hard work, perseverance, and sacrifice have led up to this very moment! This is the beginning of a new age, free from deceit and government corruption! This legendary blade," the man said as he extended his arm out, indicating the sword in the stone, "is our ticket to true freedom! As you witness me remove the weapon from its resting place, you are witnessing the beginning of a new era, one that you all helped create!" The man triumphantly held out his arms and the soldiers erupted into a fit of cheering and applause.

The man turned back to the sword once the noise died down and heaved a sigh that was loaded with relief. He could still hardly believe that the fabled blade Caliburn lie right in front of him, mere inches away. Unable to wait any longer, the man plucked off his black leather gloves and handed them to one of his nearby guards. Exhaling deeply, he slowly lifted his arms, carefully closing his fingers and forming a solid grip around the smooth, leather-covered grip of the sword. Taking in a long breath of air, he pulled upward on the sword, trying to lift it out of the stone. Much to his surprise, the blade didn't budge the slightest bit. The man cursed under his breath in confusion, but he simply tightened his grip and pulled harder. As he did this, flames sped up the length of the sword, starting from the stone it sat in and ending with the hilt. The man reeled back, staring wide-eyed at his badly burned hands as he shouted expletives and obscenities. This couldn't be happening, they could not fail here! Gritting his teeth, the man thrust his arms out in desperation, his charred hands erupting in unbearable pain as they struggled to grip the hilt of the sword once again. The man screamed in a chaotic mix of anger, frustration, and pain as he tried to rip Caliburn out of the stone, the entire weapon heating up rapidly, the air around it soon becoming warm. One of the guards called for the man to stop, but he didn't. He couldn't just quit now, not when they were so close! Fire began to envelop the blade, and fearing for both the man's safety and that of everyone else, one of the guards sprinted at the man, diving for him and protecting the man with his body as they crashed to the ground. He was too late, though, for as they slammed into the earth, a humongous wave of flame exploded from the sword, killing several soldiers and lighting much of the clearing on fire.
 

KingdomKey

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Honestly, this is perfect. I enjoyed reading it from start to finish. The twist at the end took me by surprise, because I wasn't expecting that to happen at all. The details about the surroundings, including the interactions and of the sword were outstanding. I'm really happy you posted this, because it was fabulous and I can see why your close friends like it so much. Will there be any more of this to read? If there is, I'd love to read it. Otherwise, I'm content with what you've shown to us and happy to have the chance to read it overall. :)
 

Grizzly

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I may be down to look through some of the following chapters, at least maybe the first one, and see if it is up to what I consider my personal standards, as I never got around to editing some of the later ones. I'm glad you loved it, though! I was really excited to hear what someone else thought, thank you!
 
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