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 Downfall

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Poco

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Number of posts : 856
Localisation : High in the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2007-03-11

PostSubject: Downfall   Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:20 pm

I know I haven't posted a story in a long time, and the reason is because I've been working on projects for school. You see, I'm in the last year of my English degree and it's keeping me plenty busy. Anyway, I just finished my midterm project, which is going to be sent off to a publisher for some professional feedback. I'm beyond nervous. The story has a bit of a furry theme so I thought I'd post it up here, so you can give me some feedback before it gets picked apart by professionals. Hope you enjoy it!
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Gra'khan was in a foul mood as she trudged through the ancient forest. She could
not believe the indignity of it. Walking! Walking was not for her, walking was for the
lesser creatures. She could hear them now, crashing away to either side of her.
Struggling to get out of her way. The great cats. The packs of wolves. Creatures who
normally strode through the trees with impunity now tucked tail and ran.

For Gra'khan was a dragon. A great ebony-scaled beast who feared nothing. And
Gra'khan was very angry indeed.
She paused, considering herself. She felt the pain of her underside, like a hundred
pins pricking her. Much more vocal was the pain in her shoulder. Her now useless wing.
If her belly was full of pins, her shoulder was an ice pick, stabbing at her. She trudged
on.

As she walked, her shame played out behind her eyes over and over again. She had been
out hunting for nearly two weeks. When she'd returned to her mountain, they'd already
begun their desecration. Humans.

They'd started building in the open field surrounding her mountain. She kept the field
free of trees to allow her an unobstructed view of any approach. Now there were several
buildings on the lot. And the frames of many more.

She hissed and lashed her tail, knocking down a few trees and sending something
scurrying for cover. If she'd been present when they'd arrived they wouldn't have raised a
single plank. She'd have seen to that. The cowards had come when she was out. It
galled her.

She'd surveyed them with the cold eye of an empress watching upstart peasants. She
made no effort to hide herself. She stood in clear view, watching the doomed creatures,
and then she made the mistake of her life.

In her arrogance, she decided to rest before the slaughter. She'd been out for days and
was fatigued. The humans would still be there tomorrow, she decided. It was conceit to
the point of foolishness. And she'd paid.

She emerged the next night, ready to lay waste to the town. She spread her wings to take
off and felt, rather than saw, something whip by her head and tear through her right wing.
The pain was exquisite. Her blood spattered the ground beneath her as she roared her
displeasure.

The humans had constructed a trebuchet, and used it to cripple her. She couldn't fly down
to their town.

Enraged, she got onto her belly and crawled down the mountain. Midway, she
encountered the first of the human warriors. Their arrows bounced uselessly off her
scales. She barely felt their steel and they attempted to pierce her touch hide. She
snapped and clawed, shredding their armor.

In minutes, the humans had fallen back. With a fang-filled grin, Gra-khan charged after
them. They would pay.

She stomped down the narrowing pathway toward the base of the mountain. On her left
was a wall of granite. On her right was a steep slope ending in a forested valley. But in
front, was the human village.

Suddenly, the human line stopped it's retreat. From the center came a new force. Lightly
armored, the smaller group of soldiers drew out strange, glittering black blades and
advanced on her. She roared her challenge and strode forth to meet them.

They swarmed around her and began hacking at her underbelly. Something was wrong,
though. She felt their blades piercing her hide, like tiny stinging insects. Then she
realized. Obsidian.

The men were armed with obsidian blades. Fragile, yet unbelievably sharp, the volcanic
glass was able to cut her scales and pierce her thick hide. Undaunted, she fought on. Let
them cut her. Scales could be regrown.

She quickly learned why the men were so lightly armored, too. The narrow pathway
prevented her from maneuvering. They ran around her with impunity, easily dodging her
blows. She remained stationary, trapped between a wall and cliff. Her claws were
dodged, she couldn't see her tail, and every time she lowered her head to snap at them, a
dozen obsidian blades stabbed at her eyes.

She scored her hits, but for every soldier she struck (and none ever rose again) she
suffered a score of wounds. It was death by a hundred cuts. Still, she fought them. This
land had been held by her family for millennia. Her mother and her mother's mother and
so on, back to the primeval days when humans were but a whispered rumor from a land
so far off none had ever seen it. She could not surrender.

In the end, the mountain decided the battle. After hours of stomping and thrashing, the
path crumbled beneath her weight, spilling her over the cliff side. Perhaps the ancient
crag couldn't bear to see it's legacy slaughtered on it's own soil. She slid, out of control,
down the mountain and into the forest below.

She half hoped the humans would follow her. Down in the forest, where she could
maneuver, she would destroy them. But they didn't. They stood on her mountain and
celebrated as if they had won. As if she were gone. Their cheers cut through her more
effectively than any blade.

Finally, she turned and left. But she vowed to return.

Gra'khan stopped her tireless hike. A light rain had begun while she pondered her
downfall. Mist rose from the forest floor beneath her. The cool air slowed her blood,
making her sleepy. Her legs throbbed, unused to bearing her weight for so long.

She shook her horned head, trying to rid herself of the fatigue that plagued her. It would
not do to rest here. She would find a suitable spot to hole up while she healed, but she
would not sleep on the open ground like an animal.

Then she would return to her mountain. Even now, the human were likely pawing
through her treasures. Ancient relics of long-dead civilizations. Gold coins emblazoned
with the images of emperors none remembered, who's names were written only on the
walls of ruined cities. Weapons of fools who'd come before, seeking to plunder her
family's wealth. She laughed bitterly at the last. A dry papery rasp. She'd be adding
some weapons to her hoard soon enough. Although she thought she'd shatter them first,
as a sign of contempt.

Rage came to her, and she let it fill her body, granting her it's gift of energy. She rose to
her hind legs, towering over all but the tallest trees of this ancient forest. This too was
her land.

She forced her wings to spread, breaking open the wound on the right one, spattering the
ground with her blood. The wind blew against her body, catching in her left wing,
whistling through the hole in the right. She felt it cooling her wounds, drying her
bloodied body.

She tilted her head back and roared at the night sky. Her call echoed through the valley,
and she imagined the humans hearing it. Huddled in their pathetic homes, would they be
frightened? Or would they laugh at their "defeated" foe? She imagined the latter and felt
the rage fill her again.

The forest had fallen silent. Not even the crickets dared to challenge her call. That was
how it should be. She was empress of this land, and none could take it from her. She'd
lost this battle, but she would return. She would have her vengeance.
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Zee-Zee

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Number of posts : 1716
Age : 40
Localisation : Zee-Zee's house
Registration date : 2007-04-22

PostSubject: Re: Downfall   Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:36 pm

This is really great, Poco! You have a definite talent for descriptive writing - you can really feel what's happening. And the way it's written really sounds like the thought processes of a dragon - there's a sort of ancient nobility running through the whole thing. I love it, and I'd like to read more!

Tiny grammatical quibble - there are four places where it says "it's" when it should be "its". There are a lot of pedantic people working for publishers, and that's the kind of thing that could turn them against you, however good the rest of it is!

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Clever big squirrel!

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Poco

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Number of posts : 856
Localisation : High in the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2007-03-11

PostSubject: Re: Downfall   Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:50 pm

Thanks Zee-Zee! I also noticed a few spelling errors when I went back over the text after posting it here, so I've got some editing work ahead of me. I appreciate the feedback a lot since I want this to go well.
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