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 Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)

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Umbrangelus

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PostSubject: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:14 pm


What if?


What if the population on Earth grew so far and so fast that Earth became too crowded to continue on the way it is now? What if Earth had managed to provide every necessary material good, through something like Star Trek's replicators, but did not have enough time to develop technology to seed the stars? Also, what if the government became so good at genetic engineering that they created the next step in human evolution creating people who were part animal. These people would obviously be stronger than the ordinary human. The experiment was meant to create the next generation of soldiers but, when a civil war, which was engineered by an escaped soldier, broke out and the government was destroyed, those soldiers entered the world as trained Assassins. Those Assassins formed the Assassin’s Guild which became a organization renowned for its perfection of death. Now to add a spin to the story, suppose a religious aspect was thrown into the mix. The conflict in the story could be Revelations and the Assassin character is sent by God to destroy the Anti-Christ before it was too late.

I thought a science fiction that openly challenge perceptions on population control, genetic engineering, and religion would make for an interesting story.

Any input?

Background
In a future where all disease, famine, war, poverty, etc. have been eliminated, mankind is allowed to grow and prosper without fear of what lies ahead. At first the population boomed and people where happy. Space travel was available but still very primitive and many people did not wish to give up the lap of luxury they had acquired on Earth to trail blaze the galaxy, where all of the comforts would vanish and they would be mortal again (not to suggest that they are immortal on Earth, just that they don't have to worry about disease or famine or, for that matter, hard work).

Then, twenty years later, people’s greed drives society to ruin. Riots broke out across the globe and governments were destroyed. It was then that ruin enveloped the world. People, who were still unwilling to leave Earth and their lives of "luxury," grew exponentially in numbers. All forests, parks, trees, fields, etc., or so some thought, were plowed under to make room for the people, until there was nothing left but people and their constructions.

The instigator of these riots was a man named Thresles, a half-breed; a military weapon who escaped and began his campaign. He formed the Assassins Guild, a public organization comprised of the world's greatest assassins. After his campaign came to a close and a new world order arose, Thresles turned the world over to the League of Councils who ruled the world successfully ever since.


Setting

Chicago in the year 2034.

"The city streets where crowded, but then, when weren't they. We have solved the problems of starvation, poverty, disease, war, pollution, etc., but the simple matter of too much sex seemed incurable. Humanity seemed destined to implode upon itself in a sea of its own filth, yet there was no waste to speak of, the j-droids (janitor droids) saw to that. And everything was recyclable, primarily because everything was recycled. Nothing was wasted because nothing was available. We had everything we could ever want, but still we were not satisfied. Again, this seems human nature, always to want more than we possess and never to believe that what we have is enough.
Perhaps it was this realization that disgusted her so much. Or perhaps it was just the sheer quantity of them that disturbed her. She had been in the guild for 16 years now, and still she was uncomfortable in their crowds. She felt their weight, their crushing masses, enclosing all around her, yet no one touched her...ever. Guild members where the only ones who could truly clear a room, a street, a block, or even a city by simply being, however many observes would need to be coaxed into leaving; a stern glare usually imparted the message clearly enough. They were the only ones given unconditional respect regardless of rank. Don't get me wrong, rank had its perks, but even the lowest minion, who had to prove herself before setting foot in a Guild house, was still a worthy opponent quiet capable of killing in the blink of an eye without thought or hesitation.

Walking through the bustling of Chicago streets, wings folded gracefully across her shoulders, Syran silently picked her way through the crowd towards the place. As she walked, she noticed small children playing ball in the streets. They laughed and ran about until a child slipped and scraped his knee. Silence immediately enclosed the region. The boy looked down in terror then quickly looked around to see, to his horror, that everyone was watching. Turning to let her pass, the crowd backed away slowly. Syran stood before the shaking child, who was now standing upright, tears still welling in his eyes, but brave and tall nevertheless. She glanced down to confirm the child’s fears and discovered the thin red line trailing down his leg. Now there was no doubt, and there was no option.

Guild members knew not to ask questions of them, it only complicated things. The crowd certainly never helped matters, but she knew no one would leave until it was done. "What is your name, boy?" she asked as she pulled her Madeline out of her belt. It was rare that a huntress choose such a weapon, and far rarer that anyone outside the Guild got to see one up close. The child noticed it in a heartbeat, and, despite himself, he was getting excited. After a moment’s gaze at the Madeline, the boy answered quickly, "Robin, madam." She noticed with a smirk, the boy’s fascination with the weapon and flipped it in the air to catch its blade. She held it out to him to hold. Eagerly, he took it and held it gingerly in his hands, "Wow, a real Madeline, in my hands. I bet your going to use it one me aren't you! Wow, my momma will be so proud. Thank you, madam for the honor." With a low bow, he returned the Madeline to her.

Determined to please her, Robin turned his back to reveal his spine, a death of a peasant. Death from behind was dishonorable for a noble, but for a simple child, death by an Assassin was a high honor. He knew what this meant for him, but he also knew what it would mean for his family. Expectantly, he waited; but it did not come. Confused, he turned to see why she had not done it and impaled himself on the Madeline. Looking down, he realized she had been holding at the base of his spine without touching as a silent offering of a death much more meaningful, a hero’s death. She wanted him to turn, she hoped for it. Pleased with himself for satisfying her, he dropped to his knees to finish the job. Seamlessly, the blade slide up his body and he collapse backward onto the steps with a smile on his face as he waiting the last few minutes to finally die. Women in the crowd where smiling, tears of gratitude and joy poured down their face. Glancing back to the body, Syran noticed the nanities making short work of the body. Within moments, they had broken the body into dust while a j-droid came to collect the pieces. The blade, which still held the stain of his blood was quickly wiped and purified, then replaced in her belt. As she turned to leave, a woman approached, "Thank you for this kind blessing you have given us. To have an Assassin give him a hero’s death, what an honor. You are always welcome in my house. Thank you, thank you." Brushing off, the thanks, Syran continued on her way. The man at the next corner was due within the hour, or she would be late for dinner."


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This scene was to demonstrate a social aspect of a society where murder was not only legal, but it was an honor to be murdered, especially by an Assassin. I think this scene helps to properly set up the mood of the story and lay the foundation for the rest of the story.


Last edited by nnbaswell on Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:30 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:54 pm

It begins. Well done.

John Edlund
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PostSubject: AoLS: Map of the League of Councils Districts   Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:04 pm

Below is a map of the League of Councils Districts. Take note of the orientation. Also the messages on the side offer a little bit of explination.

Let me know if you have any questions. Cheers!
cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:24 pm

Alice Tokunaga:

"Isn't the genetic engineering part of your "what if" kind of like the transgenics in the tv show Dark Angel? You know, humans with animal DNA trained to be assassins?"

Vincente Gonzaga:

"The premise is interesting, but I can't imagine how this society could last for any significant amount of time. It'd be too easy to get disappointed about something, pretend to trip or whatever, and die in honor as some assassin guild member pwned you. I take it there's a character who realizes this (perhaps the assassin introduced already?) and rises against the system?"

Professor John Edlund:

"The transistion from exposition to scene is a bit rough. It might be best to start with scene and work in the exposition later. Also, you cause the reader to ask some interesting questions, such as

--Why is the boy killed?
--Why is it an honor to be killed by an assassin?

Causing the reader to ask questions is good. It keeps the reader engaged. But you do have to answer these questions at some point.

You may enjoy Gene Wolfe's series that starts out with The Shadow of the Torturer. It used to be four volumes, but it has been repackaged as two, and I forget what the two volumes are now called. The whole thing was called The Book of the New Sun I think.

John Edlund"
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PostSubject: Theme Songs   Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:08 am



I know it seems rather cheesy, but this is one of the ways I can understand my character and my story a little better. It is a way I use to conceptualize my story. Besides, I really like the songs. Very Happy

Syran's Theme Song: Basically the song that her personality perfectly.


Disturbed's "Mistress" ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ5Y9LOmx38

AoLS Theme Song and Music Video: You'll see why a little later.


Disturbed's "Prayer" ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJZtmFNNYCw
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PostSubject: Author Response to Posted Comments   Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:01 am

With regards to Alice's comment, yes these assassins are similar to that of the tv show Dark Angel but the story should be nothing like DA.

With regards to Vincente's comment, while society as a whole views murder as honorable, the individual is usually much to greedy and to self-centered to intentionally commit suicide. Besides, if it was determined that the murder was "self-inflicted" (i.e. the person intentionally hurt themselves to get killed by an Assassin) there would be no honor in that death.

The honor does not come from the death itself, but for the perservation of life. This society cured all disease through a lot of proactive training (i.e. sneezing was cause for a full scale hazmat clean-up) but and they are still paranoid about contracting a disease. Any exchange of bodily fluids is a way of passing disease. Therefore, when a person is injured, they dishonor themselves and their families by forcing others to endanger themselves to clean the wound.

When the child fell and scraped his knee, he knew it would be a great dishonor to his family if he did not submit himself to death in order to protect the rest of society.

So, perhaps I should revise my "What-If?" to say, "What if the governments of Earth created transgenetic soldiers they had trained to fight in battle? What would happen if one of those soldiers escaped and began a revolution? What if that revolution destroyed all the governments on earth and united all peoples under one flag? Peace and prosperity would bloom. What if, despite the rapid exponential growth of the human population, society had managed to provide food and other necessities for everyone, protect all people from disease and infection, cure every illness, prevent any war, and make everyone free and equal under one common religion (Christianity). Furthermore, what if Revelations began to take place and the Anti-Christ was born?"
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PostSubject: Chapter 2   Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:08 am

As she picked her way through the rubble of walls long ago abandoned, Syran absentmindedly stoked the blade on her left wrist. She looked down at the matching pair of Madelines on her forearms. The one on the left forearm had the head of a grey wolf carved into ivory on the pommel. On the right forearm, the Madeline had the carved body of a king cobra in ebony on the pommel. The two blades were the twin blades presented to every Assassin on their Day of Initiation. The blades were carved with the shapes of the one who presented them; hence, Syran’s held the shapes of Thresles. She remembered her Day. Every detail was vivid and fresh, as if the memory was only a day ago. Assassins are initiated on the day of their first kill. Syran was initiated the day she was freed by Thresles. She was three years old when she killed a guard to protect her brother. His face was clearly visible to her now. He was young, only a few years above 20. His innocence was also obvious, like Robin’s, and it was clear this kid was new. At first, she regretted his death, but then she learned to thrive on it.

As she remembered her past, she saw him leaning up against the wall near her. Thresles’s face looked tired, but his eyes were darting and alert, “A hero’s death! For a child?” He looked at her, her alluring shape, her elegant wings, the black fur across her legs. Her beauty was blinding, yet her soul had a hint of hatred. He had known her for a long time; he knew how she felt about the kill. She returned his gaze a long time before she responded, “He cut his fingers with the Madeline knowing the agony and slow death a small scratch would cause him before he would die. He expected nothing more than a peasant’s painless death. He humbly cast aside his innocence and accepted his fate. He was my hero for the day. Besides, it’s been a long time since I have seen that much blood. I missed it.” He was always amazed at how unfeeling she could be sometimes and then how tender she could be at others. Her callousness about the child’s death disgusted him, even revolted him. If he did not know her better and if he could have replaced her, he would have. But she was the best. No one was ever so committed to the kill, no one ever took so much joy in the sight of the last breath or the blood soaked concrete.

Syran was a killer, a shadow dancer and death dealer. Every kill was a seductive dance to her, as intense as the Tango, as powerful as the River Dance, and as elegant as the ballet. She was the most accomplished of Assassins having passed the Madeline test when she was only 10 and, in less than 9 years, has killed 1927 people, more than double any other in the guild including Thresles. Because of her expertise in the art and her ties with Thresles, she quickly became second in the guild. Others feared and respected her for her abilities, most just slinked away from view to avoid her gaze. Again, she eyed Thresles. His skin was a pale silvery color. His chest was bare, as usual, showing the delicate light-black scales. His lower body was the legs of a grey wolf, strong and powerful. He was the only one of this combination and as such, stood out easily in a crowd (when he chooses to be seen at all). Syran often amused herself by pretending Thresles was a warrior of Anubis whenever he would lecture her, with his dog like legs and upright posture seeming perfectly stricken for such an occasion as an Egyptian pyramid. Now those powerfully muscled legs did not amuse her at all, but rather intrigued her. But it was his eyes that always caught her off guard. His eyes, framed in the ebony locks of his bangs, were a kind of golden red capable of hunting in the darkest of pitch. Then she looked away as if she had looked too long. “I have to go or I’ll be late returning to dinner.”

As if she had some untold reason to blush, she blushed. Walking away towards her original destination, her thoughts were on anything but the job at hand. She reached the door to the house only to find it open and her charge sitting peacefully on a meditation mat before a small pedestal. Upon the pedestal sat a bible opened to the final chapter, Revelations. “Come in Syran. We have been expecting you for some time now. I hope that business with the boy outside hasn’t impinged upon your ability to see reason,” said a voice inside the house. She entered, quietly, cautiously, never leaving her back exposed for any length of time. As she came into the room where her charge sat calmly, she noticed His hench sitting in the chair behind him. Suddenly, her attention was not on the feeble man at her feet, but at the archangel now standing to greet her. “We have much to discuss Shadow Dancer, much indeed. Join me, we will talk as we fly.” He was tall, dark skinned, and beautiful. His wings were made of pure gold and his hair was black and wavy. His body seemed etched in marble, strong muscles bulged gracefully under the angelic wings. Ignoring her charge, and her growling stomach, they stepped outside and took flight. It was then, in the fading light that the true majesty and brilliance in his form glittered to full reality.


-----------------------------------------

“So, let me get this straight,” she said, growing rather impatient with the continuous barrage of riddles and questions which dug too deep for Syran’s liking, “You want me to find the monster, kill its protector, protect it myself from his minions, and bring it back to you. And the reason you can’t get it is…?” He could see he was getting no where fast with her. He watched as she paced flipping the Madeline into the air and catching it by the blade. As small nick with that blade would easily kill her, but she did not seem to care. Assassins could not fear the death they inflicted on others. If they did, they would always be afraid of their greatest weapon. “I already told you, the archangels are not allowed to get involved. This is a battle for the survival of Earth and humanity, it cannot be fought by us. Only you can make a difference. If the child is killed, Lucifer will be released from his prison. This you must stop at all costs. You may take one person with you. I recommend your brother, Varse. He would do well with children and he could probably get her to come quietly without alerting the other guards.” Enraged at the embarrassment of taking her older brother with her on a kill, she lashed out, “I do not need a protector, nor do I need a daycare provider. The monster will do as I command it to do, without hesitation, or I will cut off its limbs and drag its bloody pulp back to you. Do you understand, or shall I speak slower?”

With her last ounce of patience spent, she dove off the building they had been arguing on and headed back to her charge. Gabriel quickly caught up to her and said, “Why are you going back? You will not be killing anyone else today. Go home and rest. Tomorrow, you leave.” Ignoring his patronizing tone, she surged forward and landed harshly on the ground before the door. Quickly walking inside, she noticed the j-droid cleaning up. He had already been here, and she would not hear the end of this. What infuriated her most was the fact that she was set up. And infuriating her was a bad idea. Shoving past the smug archangel, she took to the skies and flew home. Not only had she missed her mark, but she had missed dinner as well.


Last edited by SphinexFire on Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:14 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Paragraphs and spacing   Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:38 am

Perhaps if you separated dialogue by paragraphs it would be easier to read.
Consider explaining the events a little more. Sometimes the story sounds unclear or hard to follow. You might find you can add new things as you try to make the story more clear. study There also isn't a lot of dialogue in the story. Maybe you're lead character should have an apprentice (so you can have a different view point of the action sometimes). Maybe the Assasin's Guild travel in twos or threes. I kind of like the idea of a maurading pack of assasins, taking out several targets at once. Maybe instead of just killing one kid, you could have them kill a whole sandbox of kids at recess.

Other than that it looks great. I can't help that I don't like the content, but that's your story. silent Keep up the good work! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:02 pm

I absolutely hate dialogue separated by paragraphs. I think it looks stupid and makes for a huge waste of space. Since that is simply a matter of personal preference, I will leave it as is. But thanks for your input. At least I know I can count on you to read my stuff.

I thought explaining events a little more would be to cumbersome for the reader and I like them asking questions why they read. And you don't want me to add new things to this story because, as it is it will be working on a novellete, not a short story.

The lack of dialogue is intensional. Syran is broody, mysterious and likes more to be completely invisible unless she wishes to be seen or heard. This story is more about the psychology of the characters and how the events in the story affect their lives. And I really wish you would stop remembering into the future. Before you posted your last comment, I had already written Varse (Syran's brother) into the story as a Assassin in "training." This part should be more clear in a little bit. Don't you think travelling in packs would make it more difficult to hide in shadows. As it is, having huge eagle wings on her back makes it more difficult for Syran to hide. BTW the kid died because he was bleeding, not because she just decided to randomly kill children.

I can't help not liking your story either, but that's your story. Can we just agree to critique each other's story without taking comments personally? Smile kthxbai
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PostSubject: Sure thing   Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:16 pm

To possibly make Syran more mysterious you could tell her encounters from another person's perspective, or perhaps a narrator's perspective. Telling the story from Syran's perspective makes for a less mysterious character (because the reader knows more about Syran than anyother character) and also makes Syran the most likable character by default.

Professor Edlund can probably help you more than I can. You should ask him about it. Smile

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PostSubject: Chapter 3   Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:01 pm

Entering Marlowe, the Assassins Guild den, Syran was bristling with anger. The air around her seemed to crackle and pop with energy of its own. She stormed into the corridor where Thresles’s study was. Madelines drawn, she stormed towards the two guards, who stepped forward to interrupt her, saw her glare and then thought better of it. They knew they could not best her. They also knew Thresles would not tolerate them allowing just anyone in. They hoped she would order them out of the way so that when they got into trouble they could blame her. Such an order was not forthcoming; still, they decided moving away was a better idea.

Tearing down the hall way, she extended her wings anxiously without enough room for a full extension. When she got to the door, she noticed it was lock. Stepping back, she kicked the door into submission. Without hesitation, it acquiesced to her command. As the door swung open, Syran threw the Madeline at the spot she knew he would be. Thresles, who was on the phone at the time, snapped the knife out of the air as if he was prepared for it. Of course he was, he always was. He said, “Yeah, she just broke down the door. Don’t worry about it, I knew she was coming.” He hung up the phone, “That was Talis and Bejum. You scared the Hell out of them and they thought they should warn me. Now I know they were right.”

He laughed softly as he shook his head glancing at the Madeline in his hand. Quickly, he continued, “Before you throw the other one at me, just listen for a second. Gabriel came to me and asked for an Assassin who was good with kids. Immediately, I suggested Varse. He agreed that Varse was the best candidate for the job and then, absentmindedly (if a hench could be absentminded) told me about the job. He was going to take, not ask, take Varse to get the child. He knew Varse could have killed the sentinels to get to the child, but when it came to Legion, there was no way he would survive. I suggested a partnership instead because you could do both jobs with ease and he could take care of the child. Hence the reason he asked you, and the reason I sent you for the old man. Gabriel agreed about the meeting and requested secrecy. He said if I even hinted to you, he would just take Varse knowing he would die. Now if you wish to kill me, go for it, but you may want to know what you are going to face.” No matter how much she tried, she couldn’t be angry with him. He saved Varse. Even though they were both Assassins and twins, Varse was clumsy, unorthodox, playful and reckless. Traits that don’t necessarily work for an excellent Assassin. Even still, she knew she could train him to be a better killer. She knew he could train her to be a better person. Perhaps this venture would teach them both something new. At the very least, she could look out for him. “Fine, when do we leave?” He marveled at her blatant disregard for the courtesy he had paid her in order to protect her brother, “Tomorrow morning you will meet me at 0300 in the training temple. Don’t be late or Varse will take your place.” That settled, she reclaimed her Madeline and headed to the kitchen for a scanty dinner.


---------------------------------------

The room was pitch when he woke up. He had heard the door open quietly and felt someone in the room with him. Immediately, he knew who it was. He heard her soft, study breath hushed as a person trying to be completely silent. Silently, he rolled off the bed. He retracted his claws so as to not make any noise on the tile floors. Eyes fully adjusted to the pitch black, he quickly saw her standing, gapping in the darkness trying to see him sleeping. She took a clumsy step forward and tapped the coffee table at her knees. Instantly she froze trying to detect any movement from her quarry. Now he was amused. Glancing down to her hand, he saw one of his Madelines in her hand, the Golden Eagle dagger presented to him on his Day of Induction by Syran. She had intended to kill him. Madelines were never used for any other purpose. Even an Assassin-in-Training (AinTs) knew how deadly Madelines were, knew enough to never play with them.

He would enjoy this. Again she took a clumsy step forward. This time, he slipped behind her moving gracefully, like a dancer. In one seamless motion, he grabbed the hand holding the Madeline with one hand, pulled a dagger from her belt and pressed it against her throat. Immediately, she was completely immobile. “Lights,” she barked. Immediately, the lights snapped one. Her small human form was weak and pathetic compared to Varse’s powerful body. With one wing, he slapped the Madeline out of her hand and spun her around to face him. “Hello, Angel.” He paused to shift his grip on her wrist, “Did you honestly think that soft almond blossom scent would not wake me up? If you are going to be an Assassin, you should stop where scents, even something as subtle as almond, especially around me.” Playfully, he rubbed his forehead against hers. She squirmed against him trying to kick her way free. He had made his point; there was no reason to continue the lesson. “By rights, I should slit your throat for using a Madeline. They are not toys, you know that. And don’t ever try to kill me with my own blade. What’s bothering you anyway? You haven’t been yourself for a few days now.” Immediately, she melted into his arms. Babbling incoherently, he took her to his bed. He expected her to sit. Instead, she threw herself onto the bed and quickly shifted the pillows to make it more comfortable. Sobbing lightly into his pillow, her body relaxed slightly when he pulled his body close to hers.

She was only 16, still a child to him. He had rescued her after Syran had killed her mother, father, and baby brother. She said he reminded her of her father. Her brother was an infant, only three years old, when he contracted an influenza virus and had nearly spread it around his class during multiplication week. When Syran was called to contain a possible outbreak, she took no pity on the babbling infant or on his family. As soon as the boy’s mother saw her, his mother tried to hide the child. His father tried to kill Syran to protect his infant. Syran, annoyed by the interruption, left his father with a mere scratch on the cheek with the Madeline; a dishonorable and agonizing death that would have disgraced the entire family had they not all tried to protect the child. The mother fought much better, being an Assassin herself. Syran nearly died in that battle, but she finally bested the woman.

The little boy sat unprotected in his crib playing with his feet when Angel arrived. Screaming at the site of her mother’s body decomposing by nanocytes, she ran to her brother’s side. Varse was there with his sister to learn the trade between than his teachers taught. “Pitiful creature,” he thought to himself. He scooped up the little child in his arms, kicking and screaming the entire time, and carried her to the hazmat team waiting outside. They checked her out and found she was clean. “Good, I couldn’t have killed such a tiny child.” A few moments later, Syran returned from the house carrying the boys tiny bear, slightly blood stained and requested the hazmat team remove the blood without damaging the bear. Syran, without so much as a hesitate glance of the tiny, helpless three year old boy with a the once common flu, had slit its throat to kill it, a painful death for one so small. When the bear was properly cleansed and all contaminates removed, Syran gave it to the Angel to remind her of her brother and family. To this day, Angel has never forgiven Syran for the death of her entire family, and worse an icon to remember that she had lost them. To this day, Syran carries around the infant’s pacifier around her neck as a constant reminder of what she must always do, “She may even consider it a trophy knowing her,” thought Varse.

“Why are you leaving with her, Varse? She is evil. She kills little children for fun. I heard what she did to the boy in the market place today. That poor boy, she tortured him before he died a painful terrible death. She is a monster. Prime evil. She will kill you if you get to close, you know that’s true, Varse. Run away with me. Just run. You know what you need to work in another city. You know what she will do to you if she finds out you are with me. You know what a monster she is. Just do it. She is just—” Varse cut her off with a gentle hand, “my sister. I know how terrible Syran can be. I know how evil she can be. I know how many children she has killed and I know how she has killed them. But I also know that if someone is not there to stop her from going over the deep end and killing everyone, she will. I know I can stop her. Besides, she loves me too much to hurt me, and yes, she is capable of love. If I don’t go with her tomorrow, if I don’t protect the child we are to pick up tomorrow, Syran will bring her back in the most convenient way possible, regardless of the damage it does to the child. I won’t let her harm a child needlessly, not when I have the power to stop her. She will listen to me. She always does. Don’t worry about it, I’ll be fine.”

His words did not inspire much confidence in Angel regarding Syran. Yet the harm, comforting embrace of his arms was enough to put her to sleep. A few hours later he left her asleep in his bed to met Syran and begin their journey. Where, he did not know but what, he knew completely.
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PostSubject: Making a Poll   Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:21 pm

Hey guys,

I am trying to make a poll but I don't know how. Please help!

Thanks
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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:34 pm

Nevermind. It helps if you read the FAQs. By the way, kudos to Daniel for coming up with the poll idea. That was really cool. Great Job!!! cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:51 pm

Your story is very interesting so far Nishel and it's amazing how much you've written in such a short amount of time. You might want to proof read because there is a lot of shifting from past to present tenses, but I suppose that's to be expected since this isn't a formal write up. My only suggestion is to perhaps clarify the narrative voice at the beginning. It seemed to shift a bit, and that can be confusing.

I'm interested to see where your story goes however, adding some insight into the history of this race of genetically engineered assasins will add a greater degree of realism to the world you're writing about. What happened in the next 20-odd years that would create a need for these beings? And how did they come to exist? And gain such prestige in society?

Other than that, keep up the good work!!!
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PostSubject: Main Guild Member Characters   Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:39 pm


Thresles: Half human, quarter king cobra, and quarter grey wolf.


  • He was the first of our kind (first successful transgenic embryo ever taken to full term and trained as a soldier from birth). As a soldier, he was trained in strategy, black operations, tactical analysis, and command above and beyond ordinary soldier training (i.e. standard combat operations).
  • His skin on his chest and upper body is covered in light black scales that reflect elegantly in the light. His lower body is the body of a wolf (a grey wolf). He looks remarkably like a scaled warrior of Anubis. His hair is shoulder length and ebony black. His eyes are a kind of golden red and are quite capable of seeing in the darkest of pitch black.
  • Politically, Thresles is a perfect leader. Understanding and relatively compassionate, for an Assassin, Thresles is a model leader obeying all the rules, whether or not they are convenient to him. One rule, in order to ensure that disease could not spread and thus help cure all mankind from disease, was that those who bleed, at all, were to be executed and their bodies disposed of. Similarly, children were grown and modified in test tubes to ensure healthy lives. Men and women who had sex, which they did frequently, were never able to conceive because the League of Councils decided sterility in all but a few selected individuals was the best way to maintain the population. People who wanted children had to petition the League of Councils to get one and couples who somehow managed to escape sterility and had a child without the Leagues consent where hunted and killed in order to prevent dangerous genetic mutations that could destroy society. The Assassins Guild was their primary weapon and an entire sector of the Guild was devoted to such tasks.

Varse: Syran’s older twin brother (Half human, quarter golden eagle, quarter black panther).

  • When Syran and Varse were rescued from the pre-civil war military institution, they were three years old. Thresles broke them out of their cell and took them in, becoming the father figure they never had, being raised in a military interment camp. He trained them in all the arts of war but most particularly in the hidden arts of stealth and assassination. As they grew, they both became adept killers but Syran was far quicker to learn and the taste of the kill was present from the night Thresles rescued them when they were three. Varse made his first kill when he was 16 and had a really hard time coping with it. He always had a problem actually killing his victim; probably because he was always too afraid of the consequences of their deaths. He was always hypothesizing what they might have become if he had not killed them, what they might do for the world. He even went so far as to get to know on of his marks before he killed her, telling her from the beginning he was there to kill her. Her death was the hardest for him to handle because he got to know her. He knew he could never kill Syran, even if he was powerful enough, because he loved her too much. She had saved his life too many times to ignore and he was indebted to her. Varse’s greatest weakness was his compassion, his love of life and those in it. He was madly and passionately in life with all creation and to destroy that creation weighed on his heart, yet he was an Assassin and he was good at (when he could actually kill his mark).
  • His skin was bronze colored with beautifully elegant wings (bright golden feathers and hardly visible black spots, which only shown in bright sun light) attached to their own set of powerful muscles. He was well toned and sculpted with all the right cures in all the right places. His legs were obviously those of a panther and were deep black with deeper black patches. His eyes were bright green with golden flecks around the rims. His hair was down to his lower back, but was always kept in a loose ponytail with his bangs framing his face in a black halo. The top layer of his hair was pure black while the lower layers fading gradually into a rich golden blonde with dark brown undertones.
  • He is fun loving and playful, but extremely serious when it comes to his work. He loves a good joke and enjoys the deadliest of games acting like a hard core daredevil. His specialties include stealth and deadly accuracy with all his blades, especially from a relatively great distance. His eyes are slightly adjusted to dark night vision and greatly adjusted to low- and bright-light vision as well as extremely clear great distance vision.
  • He views the kill as a practice session, a necessary evil of his field of expertise.

Syran: Varse’s younger twin sister (Half human, quarter golden eagle, quarter black panther).

  • Looking a lot like her twin, her skin was bronze colored. Her wings, a few inches short in wing span but thicker in actual volume (primarily do to the amount of time she used her wings in comparison to him who hardly even spread them) the same color and workings of her brother although the attached muscles on her back were much more defined and rippling. She to was well toned and sculpted with all the right cures in all the right places. Her legs bore deep and vibrant ebony spots on them with soft, well kept fur. Unlike her brother, for some unknown reason none could comprehend, she had a tail starting at the very base of her tail bone that was long and black. Her eyes were deep forest green with golden and silver flecks strewn throughout. Her hair long past her bottom and had black and golden throughout in a haphazard manner which added to her exotic features. Her bangs however were the color of solid gold and usually interrupted her vision by sliding across her eyes slightly. Her eyes to were well adjusted to low- and bright-light vision and could see clearly over vast distances but were not very adept at no or nearly no light vision.
  • A girl raised for the kill, she often seems broody and dangerous. The greatest Assassin the guild has ever seen, Syran finds herself often secluded from everyone, except perhaps Thresles. She passed the Madeline test when she was only 10 years old, and has since then completed 1927 marks in only 9 years. Excluding Thresles, she is the highest ranked Guild member (ranking is based on the number of successful kills compared to the number of failures). Syran had a perfect record. Because of this, she was greatly respected but equally feared by practically all.
  • She often confided her fears and doubts in Thresles, spending long nights talking her heart out, usually without really saying much. She did not need to. Thresles understood her problems, her uncertainties, and certainly her desires for companionship. He could offer advice and consolation for her hardest kills and praise for her best performance. He understood her in all aspects and helped her to understand the necessity of the hunt more than she could by speaking with anyone else. To him, she would express her uncertainty about widely accepted social norms, the greatest doubt being that murder, being murdered, was an honor because the possible spread of disease was a constant threat and dying of old age was a waste of valuable resources.
  • Then at other times she would terrify him with her sick and twisted views of humanity. Once she told him of a dream she had, “It was a most wonderful dream. I was flying through the city, just flying when I saw the entire city, all the people were burning, screaming for it to end. The sweet smell of skin melting in the flames, of hair sizzling and popping, of gasoline and other combustibles catching flame, or j-droids tires melting into the uneven pavement filled her nostrils with an intoxicating smell. All around me, the people of this planet burned and died. Their mournful screams filled the smoky air. And I was at peace. I knew it was over and that the beautiful flames, which always purified the filth below, would spring forth anew a bright and shinning new existence. Even as I woke I was envious of that time, that world, that beautiful release. Still warmed by the burning heat of the flames, I went to breakfast hungry for what lay ahead.” It was times like these that Thresles questioned her sanity, questioned her reliability to do her job as she was directed. Often, he feared she would randomly decide to alter the fate of humanity, yet there was no one better. He simply had to trust in her abilities and hope her sanity keeps the world turning.
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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:34 am

What do you think Dr. Edlund? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Mon Apr 21, 2008 12:53 pm

I haven't grasped the whole story so far, so I guess I agree to a certain extent with those who find it confusing. I think, however, that you are doing the right things, i.e. drawing up maps, character descriptions, scenarios, etc. Your writing process is up here for everyone to see. I think that the final product will be more considered and unified. There are so many ideas here, so densely presented that it is hard to sort them all.

One thing I might say is to think about what should be presented as scene, and what as summary, and how to minimize exposition so it doesn't get in the way too much.

One thing you are not short of is conflict.

I think it is going to be very good.

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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:20 am

nnbaswell wrote:
Her beauty was blinding, yet her soul had a hint of hatred.

Syran was a killer, a shadow dancer and death dealer. Every kill was a seductive dance to her, as intense as the Tango, as powerful as the River Dance, and as elegant as the ballet.

Have you ever seen a person with "blinding beauty and a soul that hinted of hatred"?
Have you ever danced the Tango or practiced ballet. What the heck is a River Dance? Is it like the worm?

No offense intended here. Just that's the only thing I can think about as I try read you story. Laughing Embarassed

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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:51 am

As Le Guin said, a writer sometimes tries "to say in words what cannot be said in words." On the other hand, Daniel has a point. Sometimes words sound good, but have no meaning.

The 18th Century critic Samuel Johnson says somewhere, "Go over your composition. If you find a phrase or sentence that you think is exceedingly fine, strike it out." His comment is, I think, about falling in love with your own cleverness at the expense of the reader. Not to say that that is happening here, but it is always something to be cautious about.

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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:58 pm

Apparently Daniel, you have never seen a truly beautiful yet cruel and vicious woman. Beauty, in this case is referring to skin deep beauty with a hint of mystery. The soul hinting at hatred is the cruelly, manical enjoyment she gets out of the kill.

While I have never danced any of these dances, I have seen be beauty of it. The Tango, which is a dance of true passion, is beautiful and intense. The River Dance is a Irish Dance usually remembered as the rhythmic stomping of feet that is as much music as dance. The emotions it conveys are that of power. The ballet, which is world reknown for its grace and beauty, is a dance of elegant movements and harmony.

This sentence was meant as vivid imagery. Sorry you are having so much trouble with it.
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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:35 pm

Laughing As I said, no offense intended. If you want to reach the people like me with your vivid imagery, you might want to tone it down a little bit. Perhaps you just don't want to tone it down, and therefore have a narrower audience who know what a River Dance and have seen blinding beauty with a soul that hinted of hatred. Syran must be one heck of a nightmare. I can't really grasp the concept. It's like playing Call of Duty 4 (which I don't have) and the enemy in front of you keeps disappearing and reappearing right in front of you with his knife in you because of intentional connection problems. Rolling Eyes Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:22 pm

What you would suggest I change?
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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:37 pm

I don't really want to get in the middle of this discussion but consider this. When we meet some new person we may have an sense that this person is beautiful or handsome or plain or unattractive. But as we begin to know this person, our impression of his or her physical appearance changes. The beautiful person can become less attractive; the plain person can become more attractive. The attractive personality can become an attractive person, a more beautiful physical being. The mind reinterprets what the eye sees. Beauty is in the mind. Thus the blinding beauty and the hateful soul might be a combination that exists only for moments. Beauty turns to ugliness as the hateful soul is known. Thus we might ask, "Are the words true?"

But Syran must have some other qualities. It is not so simple.

John Edlund
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PostSubject: Re: Archipelago of Lost Souls (AoLS)   Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:02 am

In the story, there are really only three people who truly know Syran. Varse and Thresles know her and want to help her to change. Angel just wants to kill her and understands that Syran will never change. Everyone else is completely blind to her personality and believe that she kills for a noble purpose. Therefore, they are so blinded by their perceptions of her that they do know her and are still captivated by her very presents not to mention her body.
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PostSubject: Chapter 1 Rewrite   Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:04 am

Syran rounded the corner of the apartment complex she had been circling for the last half hour staring down at the ocean of color beneath her. Disgusted by their sheer number, she dreaded landing until she eventually settled on an old automobile long ago abandoned when the streets became pedestrian only zones. Landing with a metallic ting, she crouched on the roof of the rusted edifice glaring at the sea of people. Quickly a bubble opened up around her. No one went near the Assassin perched menacingly. She dropped from the roof and made her way through them cutting across the normal flow of traffic.

As she passed she noticed the playground cordoned off for little children to play in. No one was allowed in to a playground unless they were with a child. Glaring around her, Syran quickly remembered why. Attempting to ignore the feeling in the pit of her stomach, Syran watched the children playing. Some of the kids were chasing each other with sticks in their hands. She laughed softly to herself remembering her and her brother playing similar games, except they were you not using sticks, but Madelines.

Coming around a corner staring behind him, a little boy miscalculated the clearance between him and the monkey bars. He slammed into the poll and skinned his knee on the harsh concrete. Silence immediately fell on the playground. Children peered around at the boy from a respectable distance. The boy stood up and glanced around. A single drop of blood slid from his knee onto the pavement. A child nearby screamed, “EEW, BLOOD, BLOOD. Robin is bleeding!!!” He ran to his teacher who cautiously approached Robin. Meeting the child’s eyes as she approached, Syran stepped up to the fence. The blood was obvious, the contamination eminent. Syran stepped into the playground and sent the children back inside, all except Robin. They were too young to see blood. They would be terrified. Robin stood brave and strong a slight tear in his eye.

Guild members knew not to speak to them, it only complicated things. The crowd certainly never helped matters, but she knew no one would leave until it was done. "Your name is Robin?" she asked as she pulled her Madeline out of the metal scarab on her left forearm. It was rare that a huntress choose such a weapon, and far rarer that anyone outside the Guild got to see one up close. The child noticed it in a heartbeat, and, despite himself, he was getting excited. After a moment’s gaze at the Madeline, the boy answered quickly, "Yes, madam." She noticed with a smirk, the boy’s fascination with the weapon and flipped it in the air to catch its blade. She held it out to him to hold. Eagerly, he took it and held it gingerly in his hands, "Wow, a real Madeline, in my hands. With a single nick, the nanocytes coated on the blade will kill you, decompose your body, and purify your remains before becoming inert. I bet your going to use it on me aren't you! Wow, my momma will be so proud. Thank you, madam for the honor." As he bowed a low bow, he flinched slightly then returned the Madeline to her.

Robin quenched his fists and turned his back to reveal his spine, a death of a peasant. Death from behind was dishonorable for a noble, but for a simple child, death by an Assassin was a high honor no matter the form. “Do you know what this means, Robin?” she asked softly. He turned to face her before replying, “Yes. You have to kill me because I have bleed. I could infect the world with a disease and kill us all. That’s why I have to die. But you will kill me. You are an Assassin, and a high ranking one at that. I always wanted to be killed by an Assassin, and I wanted to die young. Not like those old people in the internment camps outside of the city. I don’t want to be a burden on my society. I just want—” he cut off suddenly. “I’m sorry, I am rambling. I will not keep you much long, madam.” He turned again waiting to honor his sacrifice. Syran thought thathe looked more like the white dove in the stained-glass paintings than anything she had ever seen. His soft blonde hair glistened in the sunlight. He stood as if poised on a crucifix, but his hands were still to his sides and his head still bowed submissively waiting for it to be done. She could almost see the Carpenter’s thorny crown on his brow. His innocence was glaring. He was young and his soul was beautiful. She would enjoy this and moved her blade according to her desires.

Expectantly, he waited; but it did not come. Confused, he turned to see why she had not done it and impaled himself on the Madeline. Looking down, he realized she had been holding at the base of his spine without touching as a silent offering of a death much more meaningful, a hero’s death. She wanted him to turn, she hoped for it. Pleased with himself for the high honor it would bring to his family, he dropped to his knees to finish the job. Seamlessly, the blade slide up his body and he collapse backward onto the steps with a smile on his face as he waiting the last few minutes to finally die. Women in the crowd where smiling, tears of gratitude and joy poured down their face. Syran watched the nanocytes making short work of the body. Within moments, they had broken the body into dust while a j-droid came to collect the pieces. The blade, which still held the stain of his blood was quickly wiped and purified, then replaced in its scarab.

As she turned to leave, a woman approached the fence, "Thank you for the kind blessing you have given us. A hero’s death, by an Assassin. Wow, what an honor. You are always welcome in my house. Thank you, thank you." Ignoring the women, Syran reached for the gate and the crowd backed away to let her through. But as soon as the gate closed behind her, they swelled forward to shake her hand and thank her for her service to society. Pulling her Madelines, she screamed, “I didn’t kill that child for society. I didn’t do it for you or for him or for honor. I don’t give a damn about you or your definition of honor. I used the Madeline, watched him gut himself, bleed to death, and decompose because I wanted to. I wanted to see something so innocent and beautiful suffer before it died. I wanted to destroy something beautiful. So get the HELL out of my way or you will join him.” The crowd backed away instantly. Keeping her Madelines drawn and ready, she headed towards her mark. The man at the next corner was due within the hour, or she would be late for dinner.
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