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RIPToryn
08-10-2006, 03:44
The Ascension:

Chapter One: Prey

The Watcher looked up and watched the first of the distant stars die. Its death was quiet, anticlimactic and spoke nothing of the soul-crushing terror that the moment had held for him. He continued to stare upwards as death spread throughout the sky, extinguishing one-by-one the bright points of light that his race once called their own. Darkness spread across the sky as the light of countless stars and the glory of an empire was destroyed in moments. A single tear fell across the left side of his weathered face as he tore his gaze from the sky, there could be no recovery from the depths of such a fall. His race existed now only as a warning of hubris for those who would come after. And they had come already; usurpers who would reap all that his people’s sacrifices had sown.

The journey here had not been trivial, few of his kind dared travel the old paths now, for they were treacherous and the One who had consumed the hopes, dreams and stars of his people hungered ever-more for the Few who still survived. His need was pressing however and there was little time left. The Fore-telling had indicated that the Ritual must be performed at the very moment the future of his race had died. His plans were contingent upon the Banshee’s Scream hitting this planet soon, time was scarce.

Lifting one hand slightly, he reached out, stretching his mind beyond the material and into the once-familiar, lustful realm of the nether. The nether welcomed him, a feeling that was familiar yet distant; it had been centuries since he dared reach out into the realm that was the heritage of his race. In his mind’s eye, his body bridged the strict gap between two neighboring planes of existence: one regimented and strict, the other a chaotic formless place. Anchoring himself on the material realm, he intuitively reached out further into the nether, creating order within chaos and channeling energy through the gap between both realms back into the material. He drew the nether into himself as power rushed through him, intoxicating and uncontrolled essence coursed through his slight frame. His feet lifted slightly off the ground as the regimented physical laws of the material realm merged with the formless chaos of a realm in which will became reality.

At that moment, the first of the nether’s predators found him: hungry creatures desperately seeking the warmth that the flame of his soul represented. They weakly probed the crucial defenses of his mind, seeking entry. Easily he denied them access and simultaneously reached out in the nether once more, his soul appearing to catch fire within the chaotic realm as he boldly drew more and more power to himself. He had never drawn this much essence before, preferring subtle manipulations of reality to the crude exploitation that so many of the younger races dabbled in. Carelessly, he opened his mind to the nether, knowing that his soul was now blindingly incandescent to the inhabitants of that chaotic realm. Like insects to a flame they circled round him, hungry for the essence that was his soul. Arrogantly, he brushed aside them aside for he came seeking only one: One that was known already to him, one that had hunted and devoured his race for millennia.

Mere seconds passed before complete darkness encompassed him, drowning out the incandescence that was the Watcher’s soul. Gloating and malicious, the shadow whispered sibilantly into his mind: “I know of you Eldar…I am the one called Neqa'el, long have I sought for the ones who escaped.”

The Watcher said nothing for he knew the identity of the Daemon already, to engage in conversation with a nether-born was to feed form into the formless and provide a conduit of weakness. He could afford neither. His silence seemed to instantly provoke the creature and the darkness surrounding the Watcher became crushing as the entity forced its way into his mind, effortlessly throwing aside the careful defenses that the Eldar had prepared over the past few decades. He knew that death was inevitable now, those who drew too far into the nether damned themselves to a fate worse than death: consumption. Desperately he sought to withdraw from the nether, to flee back into the cold realm of the material. Naqa’el was too strong, far more powerful than the daemon had been when he had faced it during the Fall.

Sensing its host’s panic, the entity quickly pinned the Eldar between the nether and the material realm, as the formless darkness coagulated into a featureless shape within the Watcher’s mind, twisted but somehow reminiscent of an Eldar’s shape. A mouth formed within the shapeless mockery of a Son of Asur as the Daemon attempted to provoke the Seer: “Pointless: there is no escape now. Not only will I consume your soul for all eternity…but your mortal frame will provide me with access to the material once more. Feast I shall upon your brethren.”

Still the Watcher remained resolute and did not respond, but terror secretly had secretly taken hold within his soul. Everything and nothing had gone according to the Fore-telling. The Daemon surrounding his soul twisted around his mind, silently whispering, demanding access to the inner sanctum of his thoughts as it whispered into his ear: “Terror…it tastes delicious to me, it has been so long since I have devoured one such as you.” Crushing darkness ensued as the Daemon took hold upon the Watcher’s soul and impossible power forced the Eldar to give way before the Daemon. Resistance against such an overwhelming force was impossible and the Watcher felt his soul being forced into the recesses of his very being, a spectator within his own body.

Sickingly, the Watcher watched as his body began to twist and warp as the Daemon violated the barriers between nether and material, a larger form seeming to manifest itself within the elegant Eldar frame. Dark power flowed through his body as the Daemon solidified its hold upon the material, the formlessness of the nether taking a permanent hold upon the material. With his remaining will the Eldar forced his daemonically possessed body to look towards the dim stars that once held his race…Nothing: his Fore-telling had been in error, the Scream had not come. Inexorably, the Eldar felt the Daemon take control of his senses, the tastes and sensations of life slowly being forced away from the Watchers soul.

Seconds passed as the body that once had been the Watcher’s form rapidly reformed itself, as the Daemon within adjusted the form to fit its own vanity. The creature that had once been Eldar cackled suddenly, insane mirth echoing across the empty hills in a perverse celebration of victory.

Abruptly, the Daemonic laughter stopped as quickly as it started. Through desperate force of will, the Watcher forced his dying soul to look up once more to the stars, his vision of the material realm now overlayed with the Daemon’s view of the nether. The Eldar could see the Banshee’s Scream approaching like a tsunami, a wave of agony from an entire race’s death keening rippling across the fabric of space-time. Now. The time was now!

Frantically, the Eldar drew upon his last reserves of strength as the Scream moved across the face of the hillside upon which his possessed form lay. The Banshee’s Scream tore over the two combatants locked into one form. Time ceased to hold all meaning as both entities: Eldar and nether-born were subjected to the last moments of an entire race. An instant become an age as the death of billions was condensed into one moment of psychic savagery. Within the Scream, the Watcher could sense the confusion of the daemon within him, amongst the call of a dying race, the daemon could no longer determine past from present, one Eldar from another: lost within an ageless moment, Neqa'el was fatally exposed.

In this singular moment the Watcher seized upon his last chance, strengthening once more the internal defenses of his mind as he simultaneously drew the malevolent daemon within himself. Held within the timeless death screams of his own race, and with Neqa'el trapped on the material realm through permanent bonds of his own creation, the Eldar subsumed the daemon within his very essence. Greedily the vengeful aspects of the Eldar soul consumed the daemonic essence that lay confused and bound within itself.

In seconds the immortal being that had been Neqa'el was no more. In its stead stood something different; standing of medium height, and possessed of the same sleight, elegant frame and features of the Eldar. The weathered and worried appearance of the Watcher was gone now, replaced by an unyielding, ageless countenance.

The being looked around; the hillside had changed, excess energy from the conflict had manifested as warpfire and scorched away the leaves of the trees on the small hillside. More importantly, smoldering remains of something had fallen onto the ground nearby. Looking down at the remnants of the daemon, the being spoke for the first time: “Your celebration of victory was premature.” With a casual flick of the hand, he spread the ashes into the winds.

Walking away from the smoldering, warpfire scorched hillside, the entity reflected on the days events. The Ritual had been a success; he was now not only intimately linked to the nether but also held the memories of Neqa'el. The very thought of the daemon’s name instantly sparked a ghost of the entity within him. Memories of death and acts of deception, lives of those who had been consumed all vied for his attention. Suppressing the images he sought out the experiences of one particular Eldar. There. The Fore-telling had been correct afterall. Turning his now-glowing red eyes up towards the sky, the being that was once the Watcher looked up to the sky once again...this time focusing on a single star.

***

RIPToryn
08-10-2006, 04:09
I'll be the first to admit that its not very good...just practice for getting better. Any comments appreciated :D

Sarge
08-10-2006, 04:56
Nice begining, personally I'm no english major, infact I suck at english lol, but I'm a good story teller, and I love it. Keep the good work up.

RIPToryn
08-10-2006, 05:21
Thanks Sarge, appreciate the kind words. Did the setting and context make sense to you? I wasn't sure if it would be clear what he is watching when the stars flicker out of existence?

Sarge
08-10-2006, 05:43
It's interptable, but you're refering to when many of the eldar died abruptly right?

RIPToryn
08-10-2006, 05:48
Aye, I was hoping to imply that he was there...but had travelled FTL to the location he's currently at...and was watching events unfold that he had seen firsthand.

Sarge
08-10-2006, 05:53
FTL? What's that?

RIPToryn
08-10-2006, 05:56
Faster than Light

Sarge
08-10-2006, 06:08
Ah ok, so would that be the web way thingy the Eldar are so proud of?

RIPToryn
08-10-2006, 06:30
Yes I would think so, but I would think that they also have a method for travelling FTL in ships also...I think for this story I like leaving up to the reader's imagination though.

Tyron
08-10-2006, 09:59
I like the story a lot, a 1 or two typos though, but the brilliance over shadowered them. A really nice beginning with the stars and the sacrifice he made.

However is this character actually in the fluff or did you make it up yourself? Also another page of the story would be good! :p

Voronwe[MQ]
08-10-2006, 13:06
Keep the good work up. I quite liked it. Tip: be more describing (use more adjectives), as it'll be far cooler and give a more believeable feeling. Try reading Wheel of Time books whilst all the time catching up ideas, tricks, details etc - I myself do;)

EDIT:
One trick to use is to catch that after and during a thrilling/dangerous/lethal event, one observes more details, many of which is unessential ('For some reason, wanton details seemed massively important. A long rip voyaged up her right, cream-coloured left sleeve, breaking the vague symmetry of the wrinkled cotton shirt. Her eyes was slightly more open than normal, and seemed wetter, deeper. The wolf head hilt of her dagger was sooted but the raised texture resembling the fur occasionally catched small reflecting glimpses of the light around them.' ... etc. ... or one could count up a number of things, all of which the character observes almost coldly [don't state it; just give true impression of it] and then he/she thinks {I'll give three exampes here}: 'Strange the things one recognised at moments like these/when a madman tried to cut off one's head/when a coldly gleaming gun-nozzle was pointed at one's eyes.') as the thrill of the danger sharpens one's senses and makes one focus not on that one might die directly any moment now, but on other, often trivial things.

Try describe it even more from a character point of view, try catching reactions and cultural values of the person in question, try catching the person's knowledge in different things.

I see that you understands use of observation of the surroundings, night sky or weather in the beginning of a text. The coolest text parts I've ever read almost always have begun with something like that, albeit a little bit more detailed - but now one can't make the observation of a star's death much detailed, right? That's the way it's done. When you switch point of view to another character in the text, then it will tie them together, even though the character in question is light years away on another planet.

Just some tip to improve your impressive skill, no critics.:D

RIPToryn
09-10-2006, 00:49
Good advice Voronwe, I'll try to work it into the next version/chapter...you're right that there are so many tricks in writing. I read through it and I need more practice in creating a dialogue between two characters and also more work on the description of the surrounding terrain...I normally only work on scientific writing, its a world of change for me.

Tyron: I'm working on another chapter, but I'm not sure if it'll involve the watcher though...I might write a prequel that explains more of the setting and what he is attempting to accomplish. He's a completely original creation, I'm not even sure what his real name is actually... :D

Voronwe[MQ]
09-10-2006, 09:10
Yes, I'm too normally doing scientiftic work, but the facts you catch up in science research is an enormous resource - believe me; it's just a matter of working it into a text.
There is a hell lot of tricks in writing.:D