The Rise of the Pathman

Nick

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AS i have read a few of your ideaas i had one myself, if you could read and remark that would be cool. Good or bad critics welcome. just need some feedback.

cheers
Nick

Prologue

The dark had closed in on the fortress town of Flagstaff; it’s huge walls and battlements stood defiant through the mist, as it had for over a century, guarding the lowlands of Effenmore.
The Commanding structure overlooked the mountains, the direction of where the Bazti Hordes were repelled a hundred and fifty years ago, In the Largest battle that Effenmore soldiers had ever been part of. King Narcuss and his army had pushed the horde back to this point from deep into the lowlands. There were days of gruelling battle and the horde could take no more, they were finally beaten and fled into the mountains. When the battle had been won, the King took his flag from his squire and thrust it into the top of the hill and stated:
“ They shall never pass into my kingdom again! If they come, we will stop them here!”
The fortress of Flagstaff was constructed around the flag that still holds a constant vigil into the mountains.
The cold dark surrounded Nemizzt as he watched the guards on the ramparts. He thought of the hours of lessons received as a child, telling of this great structure and the battles in the years following it’s construction, and then he smiled, contemplating the report he would deliver to his Queen. The Bazti scout turned to his squad.
“Gather your things, we leave for home. Take a good look at those walls! We shall see them again soon!”
He had seen enough, the messages he had received from the Queen in his sleep were getting impatient, they had been away for two months and the report was overdue, The Queen was not one to be left waiting.
Taking one last look at the mist shrouded battlements; he pulled his cloak tighter around his shoulders, adjusted his sword on his back and with the grace of a seasoned warrior began to climb after his troop. At least he though the Queen would be happy with his news. That should count for something!


Chapter One

Autumn leaves were starting to fall, showering the woodland floor with a myriad of reds and browns. The wind had changed direction, now coming in off the mountains it brought a chill and a smell that suggested snow was not far behind.
A gust of wind chilled Raiden Corlum right to his core. He shivered and thought about abandoning his hunt and heading home. He knew he was close behind the deer, and it may be his last hunt for a while, for next week was his seventeenth birthday, and this meant he would no longer be a child, there is work to be done,
“MEN do not sit idle or hunt when it pleases them!”
They were the last words he heard as he left the farmstead this morning; his mother was always nagging him for chores.
Raiden slowly pulled and arrow from his quiver and notched it into his longbow, the deer was in sight and upwind, perfect for the hunter, he had spent an hour slowly circling his prey and was now ready for his shot. He kept his eyes on the beast as the bow came up until the arrow was against his cheek, at over six feet tall he had long muscled arms and thick shoulders perfect for using the Ash Longbow, He drew the bow and held, Raiden then drifted inwards slowing his heart rate and breathing, becoming as one with the deer. His father had taught him how to do this from a young age, always stating
“If you can block out your surroundings and be one with the target you will know exactly when to release.”
Raiden started to feel the deer as part of him knowing its thoughts, feeling its heartbeat then with the faintest of exhales, a soft strum of the bow, the arrow found the deer’s heart. Raiden walked the hundred yards to the now dead deer, and said thanks to nature and the deer’s spirit.
“Well, now mother will stop complaining at least.”
With that he pulled his arrow from the animals chest, cleaned the head and shaft and placed it back in his quiver.
“Better get you back it’s getting close to lunchtime”
With this he put the deer over his shoulders and started the walk home.
The farmstead sat in one of the small valleys of the lowlands, in the shadow of Flagstaff fortress. The lowland hills perfect for growing crop and keeping cattle. The small community was spread over ten farmsteads and a morning’s walk from the village of Caxton, with The Coopers Arms inn as a place for the farmers to spin long yarns and travellers to spin longer ones.
Raiden’s father Brust was sitting waiting for his only son to return. He was the same height as Raiden and just as thick shouldered. The only difference between the two of them was that Brust had a scar running from his scalp to his chin on the right side of his face, and grey in his once brown hair. His eyes still held the same fire as Raiden's did, although the years could be seen upon his face.
“ Are you sure it is the right thing for him? Can he not be a farmer as you are now?”
“Flaern our son will serve the King of this land, as I did, as my father did and his father. He may not like it but his family tradition will be kept!”
Flaern looked away from her husband, she knew that he would make him go, she knew her son would leave on his coming of age day, she also knew what it had taken from Brust when he left all those years ago. She hoped her son would not see the horrors that his father had seen.
“ I have been training him for this day for years, teaching him to hunt, to scout, the ways of the woodland and of tracking. He only needs a few more lessons, and then he will be ready for service. You know this, you always have.”
Brust put his arms around his wife’s shoulders,
“Have faith in him, he is better than I ever was! Though I will never tell him that!”
With that Flearn giggled, her husband was a very proud man, but even more proud of his son.
“He is coming, up there on the path, looks like he brings dinner too.”

Raiden saw the farmstead come into view, and felt relief as the deer was starting to get very heavy on his shoulders. He also noticed his parents standing outside the front door embracing. It brought a smile to his face. He hoped one day he would find a love like his parents had.
As he reached the fence line he saw his mother retreat into the house and his father stride towards him.
“So a good hunt than?”
“Yeah, shot this one from a hundred.”
“Well not bad, come to the barn and put her up, we need to talk.”
Raiden was slightly confused by his father’s tone, as far as he knew he had done nothing wrong, but when did a son ever think anything they did was wrong?
They reached the barn door and entered the wooden construct. Brust took the deer from Raiden and placed it on the Butchering table. He then turned to his son with a stern look upon his face, which was made more threatening by the long scar on his face.
Raiden was taken aback; he had only seen this sort of look from his father when he had burned down the last barn when he was twelve!
“Son, you come of age in a weeks time. When that day comes, we will travel to Flagstaff where you will join the Army.”
Raiden nearly collapsed at the way his father had addressed him, he had never ordered his son to do anything!
“What have I done? Why are you saying this?”
Calmly Brust turned to his son,
“ Son, you have done nothing wrong. As you know when I was of your age, I also joined the army. As your grandfather and his father did.”
“But there was a war then, there has not been one since!”
“Raiden, it is a tradition of this family, one which you will not break! It would make me very proud to see you fulfil the family tradition.”
“ What do I know about soldiering?”
“All the things I have taught you over the years have been leading up to this point.”
Brust turned away from his son and went to the trap door in the floor of the barn. He pulled the door open and took out a bundle. Brust pulled out two wooden swords from a blanket and turned back to face his son.
Raiden stared at this alien view of his father. He had only seen him hold a bow before, a farmer’s weapon. Now that Brust held a two swords Raiden could see that it actually suited his father and it also made him look a lot more formidable.
Burst threw one of the wooden swords to Raiden, whom caught it with both hands. Raiden looked from the sword to his father.
“ There is only one more lesson that you need!”
With this Brust launched at his son, the wooden sword whirling in front of him. Raiden stepped back fumbling to grab hold of the hilt in his right hand. Brust came on relentless and with an underhand slash aimed at his son’s legs. Raiden tried to put his sword in the way but he was too late, his father’s wooden blade caught him just below the knee. Raiden let out a cry of pain as he hit the floor. He looked to his father and tightened his grip on his sword and slowly stood up.
Brust looked to his son as he fell, waiting to see the reaction. He was not disappointed when he saw his son rise with white knuckles around the hilt of his blade. The fire in Raiden’s eyes had turned into an inferno.
Brust slowly brought his sword back up in a defensive stance to see what raw talent his son had when attacking, would he let rage take over?
Raiden had never been this angry or confused, this showed in his first attack. His sword swung from side to side, he just wanted to push his father back without hurting him.
Brust sighed as he saw Raiden come forward, he recognised this exact moment from when he was coming of age. He stepped forward and thrust between the random swings of his son. He felt the dulled point of his sword strike Raiden’s belly and heard the air escape from his boy’s lungs.
Raiden sank to his knees. He was badly winded but started to realise what his father was doing. As he knelt there he thought of all the lessons his father had shown him since he was a child. Things he once thought useless were now becoming clear. Raiden opened his mind and cleared it of all thought. He focused on his father and took all emotion out of his heart. He became one with the target, he was in the void.
Brust looked down at his son on his knees, wondered at the thoughts going through that boys head. Then it happened!
Raiden sprang up from his knees with a vicious overhead chop, which nearly caught his father off guard, but was parried away, his sword bouncing out to his left. Raiden reversed his sword mid swing from left to right and went down towards his father’s knees but was yet again parried. Raiden attacked from every angle moving faster and faster as the two circled.
The two wooden swords clashed again and again, both men starting to sweat profusely, but neither slowing. Circling each other, the swords thrust and parried relentlessly until one sword hit the floor.
Brust looked at his son, with pride. Raiden’s hands were empty, but the look he was giving his father could have cut him.
“Now is the time to calm down son. This test is also part of our tradition. You did better than I. I was on the floor and out cold before I could grasp the sword.”
“I am sorry father, I did not expect to want to hurt you. I could not help but really try to strike you.”
“Raiden? What did you feel when you started to fight back?”
“ I tried to do what you taught me. To seek the void, be one with the target. It was different than firing my bow, I cannot explain it.”
“The void changes towards each different target. The deer does not hold a sword! A man does! If a man has a sword drawn to you, believe he will kill you! Tomorrow we will start again. This time you will listen, learn and practice. I will teach you form with the sword, defence with the shield and battle tactics when it becomes too dark to spar. Your life is going to change now Raiden my son. I will show you the way to becoming a man and a soldier.
The eyes are the windows to the soul. Raiden looked into his father’s eyes and saw the now awakened warrior behind them; he could see the soul of three generations of battle and training in his father. He now knew he would not let his father or his family down he could not! He would join the army like his forefathers, and serve King Proten and defend Effenmore.
 

Dragn9

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So far so good. The beginning of Chapter one was slightly confusing, perhaps it was because of the way it was set up. I suggest putting spaces between paragraphs or even making a new sentence everytime someone speaks or when there is a new speaker. It will break it up better and make it easier to read.

Not a lot has been revealed about the direction this will take, so I look forward to reading more of this and seeing how it unfolds.
 
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Nick

Nick

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Dragn9

Thanks for taking the time to reply, it is much appreciated. I see what you mean with the beginning of ch1. I will get round to doing a complete re read soon. just going past ch15 at the mo. it sort of took off slightly.
If you want to read more let me know and i will post it for you. Would be nice for more feedback. |The block i have hit is massive.

Thanks again
Nick
 
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Nick

Nick

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not sure if this is allowed but this is my blog for some more chapters. if it is not i apologise to the moderators.

cheers
Nick

http://thepathman.blogspot.com/
 
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Nick

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Chapter Two

Raiden lent back against the fencepost in the back yard of the farm drenched with sweat. His father had pushed him to his limit relentlessly over the past week. His arms ached and his hands were sore from the constant stinging strikes of the wooden blade. He would not complain though. He knew he was improving. He had almost beaten his father in the last fight.
“Again!”
Called Brust, himself sweating and breathing deeply. He could also see the marked improvement in his son. Raiden rose again, turned to his father and collected up his sword, his arm angled slightly behind him and his left hand forward, as if holding a shield low, his body angled towards his target. Brust was also in his stance, both hands on the hilt, sword point up, feet shoulder width apart. They both looked into each other’s eyes waiting for the first move. As their brows furrowed they came together in a clash of blades.
The intense sessions were bringing out the warrior deep inside Raiden; He was starting to come up with his own style of swordsmanship. Where as Brust used strength and form with the sword, Raiden used grace, speed and pure aggression.
Raiden came on quickly changing from cut to thrust high and low, Brust stood his ground parrying every stroke. The swords blurred as they fought, and started to look more like a dance than a swordfight. Suddenly both swords clashed together, locking the cross guards. Both men came in face to face, grimacing and pushing at each other to see if the other would relent. Raiden started to move back, Brust pushed with all his strength and thought he had Raiden beaten, but he was wrong! Raiden had planned for this eventuality. He knew he could not match his father for strength, so he tried cunning. As he felt the commitment to the push of his father, he dropped backwards pulling his father forward. As he fell he pushed his knees into Brust’s stomach and extended his legs, sending brust over his head in a flip. Before his father even hit the floor Raiden was already half up, moving with speed to get his sword to its target. Brust Landed heavily on his back winded. As he opened his eyes to find his enemy, a sword point lightly touched his Adams apple.
Brust spoke quietly to the victor,
“Well beaten my son. I believe you are ready.”
“Thank you Father”
Raiden threw the blade down and extended his hand to help his father up, which he took thankfully.
“I am not as young as I once was my boy.”
“Did you like that move?”
“You fight like your Grandfather. He cheated too!”
“What?”
“I am teasing you Raiden! You have fought very well today. I am proud of you.”
Raiden at last smiled. Brust put his arm around his son,
“There is one last thing you will need before you leave in the morning.”
“What? I thought the army give you everything.”
“Not this they won’t! After dinner I will show you.”
Raiden started to think of what it could be but was disturbed by his mothers call.
“Have you two finished? Dinner has been ready for ages!”
It was only then that Raiden noticed the sun was setting. His thoughts of tomorrows journey started to fill his mind as they took their places at the table.
“Your son fought very well today my dear.”
“I am sure he did, he takes after your side of the family! He always has!”
Flearn winked at her son, who returned a sly grin.
After the meal was over Raiden went to his room to check that he was packed and ready. His small pack had a few clothes and personal items to remind him of home. His father had assured him that the army would provide everything he would need. Raiden was sceptical but trusted his father’s judgement. His bow lay on the straw bed next to his quiver; the ash bow was the one thing he would not leave behind. No matter what his father said. This could provide him with food on any journey and save money. To be honest he never went anywhere without it. Raiden picked up the bow and fitted the string, he then drew the bow and brought the imaginary arrow to his cheek and let fly at a distant deer. Brust knocked on the door and strode in.
“Raiden the time has come for you to receive part of your ancestry.”
He then turned and walked back into the hallway with Raiden following. Flearn smiled at them both with a tear in her eye as they passed. They left the house and went over to the barn. Raiden was slightly scared mixed with excitement as to what would happen next. Part of his ancestry? What could that mean?
Brust lifted the trapdoor as he had before to retrieve the wooden swords. He pulled out a small sack with a sword hilt sticking out of it and placed it on the floor. He then reached back into the trapdoor and pulled out a long, thin box. Raiden saw it was ornately decorated, even under the dust. Moons and stars were carved beautifully into the dark, almost black wood. Every inch of the six foot long box screamed of the intricacy of craftsmanship that must have gone into the construction.
Brust put both palms under the box and presented it to his son.
“This was mine, like my father’s before me. Now son I give it to you.”
The box seemed to suck in the light around it. Raiden thought it was a flicker of the candle in a gust of wind. Brust knew differently.
“Open the lid my son, take your birthright.”
Raiden started to shake slightly when he noticed how serious his father was being, and reached forward. He lifted the lid slowly as his father held the box.
It glinted in the candlelight as the lid rose, Raiden’s hands started to tingle on the box lid as he lifted. Raiden then looked at the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
A five-foot Recurve Longbow, as ornately decorated as the box, but the decoration was in a dull silver on limbs of black wood that Raiden could not identify. The handle seemed to be of twined silver and the curves at the tip showed no string notch even though a string was fitted.
“Father it is beautiful! I cannot accept this!”
Brust spoke softly to his son.
“You don’t have to accept it! It has to accept you. Take it from the box son.”
Raiden looked to his father and slowly reached for the bow. He softly grasped the handle in his left hand.
His vision blurred and he started to panic, but was quickly calmed by something. He could see the stars and the moon, in his mind. They seemed to be looking back at him. A very soft almost silent song started to sound in his ears, he could not tell any of the words but it sounded like a thousand voices singing in harmony. The song faded with one final word sounding clear and echoing in side his mind. ‘Raiden’.
His vision slowly returned and saw his father looking at him with a tear and a smile.
“What did you feel my son?”
Raiden described the stars and the moon and hearing the song.
“Did it call you by name Raiden?”
“Yes I think so it was said so softly. I think I can still hear it.”
“The Bow was named by your great grandfather, whom held it first he called it “Stargazer”. After what he saw when the Elves presented it to him.
Raiden had so many questions for his father but could not express them.
“Now I think you should try it!”
Raiden forgot his question instantly. The excitement bubbled within him.
“ I will get my arrows!”
He said over his shoulder as he ran back to the farmhouse. Quiver in hand he returned outside to see his father in the field putting up the targets. The sky was now getting dark so Raiden walked down into the field to his father.
“Stay there! I want you to fire from there!”
“I cannot see you or the targets clearly father, I need to be closer!”
Brust ran back up the field. To his son.
“ Notch an arrow, raise the bow and look at the target.”
Raiden took an old arrow from his quiver and notched it. He did not want to waste a new one when he would not be able to find it again. The bow came up as sure as his ash bow and the fletching touched his cheek. The darkness suddenly disappeared, he could see the targets as if it was daylight, He lowered the bow quickly and whipped his head to look at his father with a startled look on his face. Brust had his hand over his mouth trying, badly, to stifle a laugh.
“What?”
Brust took a deep breath through his nose and spoke slowly to his son.
“Aim at the target and fire.”
Raiden aimed, the darkness went and with his usual coolness fired the arrow. A hundred yards away the arrow stuck into the target, right up to the fletching.
“The bow definitely likes you son. When I first tried it I was so startled I fired the arrow straight up in the air. I nearly killed your Grandfather!”
“This bow is magical! I could never make that shot on the clearest day in summer.”
“ I have seen you make better my boy. It is the dark that makes it feel good.”
“I could see as clear as day.”
“That is why your great grandfather named it star gazer.”
“You said it was because of the song!”
“And spoil the look on your face?”
With this Brust roared with laughter. Raiden looked hurt but then the smile appeared, Brust embraced his son and they both laughed together.

The next morning Raiden was awake before his parents, he was sitting on his bed running a cloth over ‘Stargazer’. He was washed, dressed and packed. He had taken to the prospect of adventure and travel. He had never travelled out of the lowlands before. The excitement now was near to bursting. His father called him to breakfast from the kitchen and Raiden jumped up, carefully placed the bow on the bed and ran out of the room.
Brust smiled as his son came into the kitchen. Brust had also been awake most of the night. Remembering the night before his father took him to join up.
After they broke their fast Flaern came in to the kitchen, a Brust left.
“Well my son, it is that day I have dreaded for seventeen years. You come of age today.”
She hugged him and handed him his pack. Brust strode back into the room.
“Son I believe you will need this.”
He handed him the bow and quiver and pulled his own pack onto his shoulder.
“We best be off son, we need to make good time this morning. The Cooper’s arms are a morning’s walk, as you know. It is also past about time I bought you your first ale!”
With a quick kiss of his wife he left the house. Raiden hugged his mother, who smiled at him, through the tears.
“Take care my son, I love you.”
The Coopers Arms was ten miles away; with the sun on their backs they walked and talked of times spent on the farm.
“I just realised why you were so angry when I burned the barn down.”
“Yes. That was one of the most worrying times I have ever had. Luckily the bow and box were unharmed by the flames.”
He carried on with a chuckle.
“I dread to think what I would have done if it had burned!”
Raiden giggled too. The day he put the candle stand in the hay was the single worst month of his life.
The two walked all morning until at around noon they crested a hill and Raiden saw the Coopers Arms come into view.
 
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Nick

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Chapter Three

Caxton Village sits in the centre of the Lowlands. The village has stood since King Narcuss fought back the horde. The low thatched buildings follow the road to the Coopers Arms atop the small rise in the centre of the village. The local farmers bring their crops and cattle here to the market for sale and trade.
Raiden had been here once a month for most of his life. His father always came here to trade for tools and sell what surplus produce that came from their farm. The Village was busy today as Brust led his son down the main road. The market was open and in full swing. Above the throng of the haggling Raiden heard someone call his fathers name.
“Brust you old dog!! Brust!!”
Raiden and his father turned back down the high street to see a tall man in the Kings uniform waving his arms as he jogged towards them.
“Brust my old friend. I thought it was you!”
“Tarpen! By gods how are you man?”
To Raiden's surprise his father forwent his normal greeting of shaking a hand and grabbed the fellow in a great bear hug!
“It’s good to see you Brust! How long has it been man?”
“Long enough, long enough. Must have been twenty years!”
“Well, you look good Brust. I take it this is your son?”
He looked Raiden up and down.
“Thank God he got his mothers looks anyway! What’s your name lad?”
“Raiden sir.”
“Well Raiden, come to the Coopers and I will buy you both a drink.”
“ I don’t think so Tarpen! I believe I still owe you one!”
The now three of them, walked towards the Inn. The Coopers Arms was the only three storey building in the village. It had a spacious bar and good food, rooms upstairs for Travellers to rent and some of the finest ales in Effenmore, according to the landlord. The trio entered the double door and walked to the bar.
“Good afternoon gentlemen, Oh hello Brust, Raiden, how are you both?”
“Well Sim, well. I will have two ales for Tarpen and Me, Raiden?”
“Er...Ale?”
“Ah, you have come of age! Well welcome to manhood. It is a privilege to pour your first beer Raiden! This one is on me.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Raiden, My name is Sim.”
“Thank you Sim.”
With a smile Raiden looked at his father, who smiled back and clapped him on the shoulder.
“So you have come of age Raiden. You taking up the family trade?”
“That is why I am here...Tarpen. To join the army.”
“In that case Raiden it is still Sir, I am afraid. I am the recruiting officer for this district.”
Raiden looked confused, Brust stifled his laugh in the froth of his beer. He composed himself and turned to his friend.
“He is not in yet Tarps!”
“I know Brust, but the look on his face was priceless. Well-done Raiden! I am sure your father has told you all about his time in the army!”
“Actually he has very rarely mentioned it.”
Tarpen looked to Brust with confusion.
“Why have you not told him?”
“I was hoping to tell him once he has found his own way. I did not want to put pressure on him.”
“Why would I be pressured father?”
Tarpen spoke before Brust could.
“Because your father was a sergeant in the Pathmen!”
As the Two men moved to a nearby table Raiden looked shocked.
“Father you never mentioned you were a Pathman!”
The Pathmen were the Kings elite soldiers. King Narcuss took the best trackers, tacticians and fighters from each regiment and formed the Pathmen to patrol and defend the border from raiding parties. Due to the harsh terrain the Pathmen worked in small groups or alone to cover more ground and be easily concealed on scouting missions. Their fighting prowess and skills were legendary across the whole of Effenmore and more importantly Bazti. All soldiers of the army strived to be a Pathman, but only the best were taken.
Brust looked to his son, and spoke quietly.
“Raiden, all of your forefathers were Pathmen. Your Great grandfather was one of the first to be selected. All the men of the family have served in the regiment, as have I.”
“Why then did you not tell me?”
“So that if you were not selected, you would not be ashamed. Now Tarps here has ruined that.”
Tarpin looked deeper into his tankard to try and keep out of the conversation, but then looked up.
“I am sorry Brust. I thought he would have known.”
“It’s ok old friend! I am sure he would have found out soon enough.”
“Your family reputation will always precede you within military circles Brust.”
“Years ago maybe.”
“I still hear the family name of Corlum mentioned in the barracks!”
Raiden was stunned! His father was still talked about. He started to ask his father more, but Brust slammed his tankard down.
“Well enough of this talk! We are here to celebrate my sons coming of age and to get him signed up.”
Raiden smiled, he would ask him about the Pathmen later. He had all night after all.
Raiden’s thoughts turned to his stomach as the smell of the kitchens wafted in with one of the serving girls. Brust called her over and ordered their meal. Tarpen and Brust spoke of friends past as Raiden listened in. He had never heard his father talk of his days in the army. They spoke of good times and bad, jokes played and received. Brust roared with laughter as Tarpen recalled the story of their captain catching them in the act of mimicking him giving orders.
Raiden drank it all in, looking forward to camaraderie that the military gave. The door to the kitchen opened and their food arrived. The men’s banter continued until their meal was finished. Tarpen stood clapped Raiden on the shoulder.
“I will see you later on this afternoon Raiden. The recruiting sergeant is in the town square until dusk. Make sure you see him before then.”
“He will be there shortly Tarpen. We will go up to our room and be right over.”
Tarpen said goodbye and left. Brust looked to his boy and winked. Raiden took a deep breath to steady himself. He was eager to join up but had never left his parents for more than a night before. They walked upstairs and put their packs on their beds.
“Do you think I will get into the Pathmen Father?”
“The testers have to be extremely impressed to let you join them as a recruit. I joined the regular army first. I was selected for my performance in a normal regiment.”
Raiden looked worried.
“All you can do is your best son. I will be proud of you no matter if you are a Pathman or a regular soldier.”
Raiden’s shoulders relaxed slightly. A weight had been slightly lifted.
“Lets go and find out shall we?”
Brust took his son by the shoulders.
“Good luck my boy. Lets start your adventure.”
Raiden picked up Stargazer and his quiver and followed his father out of the room. They walked through the bar to the front door, which Sim opened for them.
“Good luck Raiden!”
He said patting him on the back. Raiden smiled and followed his father out onto the busy street. The market was still trading loudly, as people bartered for their purchases. Brust guided his son towards the main square, where there were quite a few young men standing in a line and looking nervous.
“Good luck son, take your place in the line.”
Raiden smiled and walked to the end of the queue. The young men all seemed to be his own age or slightly older. Some had their packs on, some waited with their fathers. Raiden got to the end of the line and nodded to the lad in front of him.
“Hello. You joining’?”
“Yes, I take it you are.”
Yeah, Dad said it would make a man out of me. I want to be an engineer. I have always been good with my hands, building stuff. You?”
“I want to be a Pathman.”
The lad looked at him, with a quizzical look on his face, and then started to laugh. He chuckled as he spoke.
“You have no hope mate!”
“Why?”
“They have not taken a raw recruit into the Pathmen for a hundred years! My da said the last one they took was called Corlum or something. That’s how rare it is, people remember the name of the last one!”
Raiden looked shocked. That was his grandfather.
The lad saw Raiden’s expression and stopped giggling.
“Look mate, sorry but it’s rare that’s all. What’s your name anyway? I’m Ferda Stalling.”
Raiden took his outstretched hand and shook it.
“Raiden Corlum.”
Ferda’s hand stopped in mid shake. His mouth opened and he stuttered as he tried to speak.
“C-c-c-Corlum? Well you have more of a chance than anyone else! Ha!” Best of luck Raiden. Oh looks like my turn.”
Ferda walked up to the table to talk to the sergeant as Raiden looked around to the other recruits. They came from all over, farms mostly. He could tell by the clothing they wore. Mud stained britches and stout boots. They were the standard outfit for working in the fields. He also tried to see his father but could not. Why would he disappear now?
“You joining or not lad?”
The sergeant was waving him over. Raiden smiled at him as the butterflies tightened.
“Yes sir!”
“I am not a sir I work for a living! You will address me as sergeant!”
“Yes sergeant”
“That’s better. Name?”
“Raiden Corlum Sergeant”
The sergeant’s quill stopped half way through writing his name.
“Corlum?”
“Yes sergeant”
“What’s your real name lad?”
Tarpin suddenly appeared at his side.
“That is his real name Tom. Brust is his father.”
“Well why didn’t you say that?”
The sergeant wrote the rest of his name on the parchment.
“Right sign here and take your coin.”
The sergeant handed him the quill and Raiden wrote his name. He was then given a silver mark.
“Welcome to the army”
“Thanks”
Raiden joined the other recruits in the square. Tarpin strode out in front of them.
“Right listen up! You will report here in the morning as the sun rises! You have tonight to think about your decision to join, after tonight you belong to the king!”
The recruits dispersed, Raiden heard some of them talking of getting drunk and finding some girls to woo. He turned and started to walk back to the inn to find his father. It was early evening now and Raiden knew he would not be able to sleep. As he walked down the street he could see Ferda and some of the other lads walk into the Coopers laughing. I may as well join them. He thought and entered just behind them.
Sim was pouring them all an ale as he walked in.
“You joining us Raiden?”
“Ok, Nowhere to be until the morning eh?”
“Too right.”
Raiden joined them and had a drink. They talked of past conquests with girls and hopes for the future. The ales flowed and the lads talked until Brust walked in the Inn. “There you are Raiden. I have been looking for you.”
Raiden was starting to feel a little drunk. He was not used to drinking.
“Hello lads, you should slow down boys, you have a long ride in the morning!”
Ferda smiled at him.
“We will be fine!”
Raiden said his goodbyes and went upstairs with his father. Brust sat on his bed and pulled a small pouch from his belt.
“I want you to have this son. Your mother and I have been saving for you to take some coin with you.”
Brust handed him the pouch of money. Raiden had never seen this much money.
“I cannot take this father. The army will pay me.”
“I know I just need to know you will be ok.”
Raiden gave his father a hug and settled on his own bed.
“I will miss you father.”
“And I you son. Now get to sleep I will wake you before sunrise.”




Raiden awoke to Brust shaking him.
“It’s time son.”
Raiden bolted upright and wished he hadn’t. His head felt about three sizes too big. His first hangover was a good one. Brust smiled as his son fumbled around to get washed and dressed. He had seen this before, but not from the outside. The same had happened to him, his father laughing as he stumbled around. Raiden was eventually ready with his pack and bow. Brust clapped him on the shoulder and followed him downstairs for breakfast. Raiden wolfed down the porridge and looked like he was starting to come to life.
“Do you feel better now? Think how you would have felt if I had returned a bit later.”
“I feel ok just a bit fuzzy.”
“This is a good lesson for you. If you have things to do the next day, do not sup so many ales!”
“I will definitely remember that father!”
The door to the stairs banged open and Ferda stumbled through looking dishevelled.
“Morning young sir would you like breakfast?”
Said Sim with a wry smile.
“Just water please!”
Raiden and Brust chuckled and rose to leave. Ferda waived a bit half-heartedly and flopped into a chair.
Raiden loved this time of morning, the air smelt fresh and the cold was biting. The perfect time to start a hunt. Today there would be none of that. It was the start of his new life in the army. Brust was very quiet on the short walk to the square. Raiden was grateful though; he did not know what to say to him. As they reached the square Brust stopped and spoke to his son.
“I will leave you now son. Remember your best is all they will ask for. No more no less. Give it to them and make me proud.”
“I will father, I have had the best teacher.”
“Write to your mother as soon as you can. Good luck son.”
“Thank you father.”
Brust turned and left. He did not want Raiden to see the tear in his eye. His boy would make his own way now. He was sure that Raiden would do well, but a father will always worry.
Raiden watched his father walk away, and then turned to face his new life.
“C’mon lads lets get some sort of order out of you!”
The sergeant started to move the lads around until he was satisfied with the two ranks of recruits. Ferda still looked awful but was upright at least. Out of the ten men whom signed yesterday nine had returned. The sergeant nodded as the name was left unanswered in the role call.
“Always one!”
Tarpen strode onto the square and stood in front of the ranks.
“Right lads. You are now in the army. You will act accordingly. Sergeant move them out.”
The sergeant turned the men left and marched them off in the direction of the two wagons at the side of the square. Once the men were loaded they moved off with Tarpen riding alongside on horseback. Raiden looked out of the side of the wagon bed at the countryside rolling past wondering what his new life would bring. Not long to go he thought Flagstaff fortress was only two days ride away.
 
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Nick

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I have tried to place chapter four here but it will not come on when it is viewed. could it be too big?
 
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Graft

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Hey there nick. I'm sick as ****, so I just read chapter one for now. Seems like a solid start. i like the begining, with the king of old. History gives a story depth and makes a reader feel like they are visiting a real world. elaborate a little more on that. It'll make the world even more realistic, plus add length to your final version, which is always good.

Gramatically you seem okay. don't try to force big words in though. Use what you're comfortable with and it'll sound a little more natural. And you need to watch the run on sentences! There are quite a few and it makes the writing seem less than enjoyable. Smaller sentences aren't always bad. Varied sentence lengths give the reader breaks when needed and keep them focused on what they're seeing.

I;m just giving my complete, personal opinion here, and if you don't like it, you can disregard this piece of critique. But, I don't like that he becomes a man at 17. I understand 13, like the Jewish people do. And 16, like many other cultures throughout the world. And 18, like here in the U.S. But 17? why? it just isn't a milestone nor does it seem to be an important age at all, to me. It may be the fever, but it bugged me. lol. Sorry.

I'll read the rest tomorrow or something. I'm about ready to pass out right now. Keep working on it. You're doing great!
 
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Nick

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Thanks for the critique, Really appreciate you taking the time to reply. I agree about the age of manhood. Will revise that in the final draft. I will also elaborate more within the story about the history of the realm. Thanks for this constructive reply again.

Get well soon!!!!
 

Dragn9

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It's sounding really good so far....I'm looking forward to reading more about the Pathman..they are proving to be an interesting group.

I don't see why Raiden's coming of age can't be 17, yeah Jewish people come of age at 13, 16 in others, 18 in the US, why can't it be 17 in your realm? Well that's just my two cents, and everyone's got their own opinions.

And I think it would make it a little less confusing with some more details about the realm and the different places, just so it is easier to differentiate between them all.
 
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Nick

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Thanks again for your comments. The realms themselves are described more throughout the work, these are the introduction chapters of Raiden and Stargazer. I do understand what you mean though. I do tend to leave out descriptions. It's in my head but i forget to type it. i apologise!!
 

AlexM

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Alright i might not be a good critique or anything but i have a few inquires, suggestions and compliments on your book, though i am reading and writing as i go so this isn't in that order. I can be entirely wrong so don't take what i say into note, because i myself am i write and still not 100% sure on each area. And i'll try to pick up on the small things which i think is quite hard writing and editing your own work.

Alright to start off I am reading chapter one and here is what I think:

His father had taught him how to do this from a young age, always stating
“If you can block out your surroundings and be one with the target you will know exactly when to release.”


- If its a quote i'm pretty sure you don't start a new line as you would if it was someone speaking


Raiden started to feel the deer as part of him knowing its thoughts

- wouldn't he feel the deer becoming part of him not as part of him?


The lowland hills perfect for growing crop and keeping cattle.

- Would it be were perfect for growing crop and keeping cattle?


- Perhaps tell who is speaking for the first couple speech lines so that we know who is who?


Now that Brust held a two swords Raiden could see that it actually suited his father and it also made him look a lot more formidable.

- I don't think the a is ment to be there >.>



Wells thats all i found, apart from that its good, though i can't be bothered reading anymore chapters as i have to move on ;D just a few things..

Pathman? where do you get that from?
I personally do not like the name but that is one person from possibly an audience of millions one day
I like the coming of age at 17, its different, don't we all need different every now and then?
I think the chapters should be longer, though what is better long chapters long book or short chapters long book?

Well i know you posted this ages ago but i hope you still check it, good luck with it man

Cheers,

Alex
 

dragonfly

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His father had taught him how to do this from a young age, always stating
“If you can block out your surroundings and be one with the target you will know exactly when to release.”


- If its a quote i'm pretty sure you don't start a new line as you would if it was someone speaking


Raiden started to feel the deer as part of him knowing its thoughts

- wouldn't he feel the deer becoming part of him not as part of him?


The lowland hills perfect for growing crop and keeping cattle.

- Would it be were perfect for growing crop and keeping cattle?


- Perhaps tell who is speaking for the first couple speech lines so that we know who is who?


Now that Brust held a two swords Raiden could see that it actually suited his father and it also made him look a lot more formidable.

- I don't think the a is ment to be there >.>



Wells thats all i found, apart from that its good, though i can't be bothered reading anymore chapters as i have to move on ;D just a few things..

Pathman? where do you get that from?
I personally do not like the name but that is one person from possibly an audience of millions one day
I like the coming of age at 17, its different, don't we all need different every now and then?
I think the chapters should be longer, though what is better long chapters long book or short chapters long book?

Well i know you posted this ages ago but i hope you still check it, good luck with it man

Cheers,

Alex

Oh picky picky. I'm sure if Nick is astute enough to get so far with his book, that he'll get all those minor bumps sorted out before he considers taking it to the next step.

Keep writing Nick.

Cheers Alex.
 

BBallForLife

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hey just got along to reading this. it's pretty good. i recommend putting spaces inbetween paragraphs just for easier reading, but the overall story is nice.
 

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