View Full Version : Phoenix
6th September 2005, 6:44 PM
This is a fanfiction I started a little while back. Comments loved. Here is the short prologue...
There is a legend, passed down by word of mouth for years, the original copy encased in glass in the heart of the Cinnabar Museum.
It tells the story of a time when three Titans ruled the earth, causing chaos throughout the world. The three elements waged war on each other, slaughtering those unfortunate enough to cross their path. This went on for centuries, scattering humankind and sending them, and those Pokemon who had not joined the Titans, to the deepest delves of the Earth. It was from the ashes of a lost civilization that a hero emerged, and with powers bequeathed to her by the keeper of destiny, restored peace and tranquillity unto the world.
The Hero was called Phoenix.
This is her Story.
6th September 2005, 7:27 PM
Chapter 1: Birth of a Hero
The still morning silence was broken by a baby’s cries. As the first rays of light fell upon the purple mountain, a relieved mother was handed her new baby. She shone with happiness as she cooed to the miniature bundle in her arms, oblivious to her surroundings. She was in a rounded cavern cut out of the sparkling stone of the mountain, situated deep in its heart. There were no windows, a knarled torch of cedar flickering merrily providing the only light. From its lofty perch you could see a small waterfall that poured into a stone basin, the low bed in which the mother sat, and the shadowed hole that led out into the rest of the caverns. The crying stopped and two eyes opened, deep navy in color, and they gazed lovingly at the person who had brought them to the world.
“It’s a girl!” Announced the midwife cheerily, washing her hands in the stone basin and turning to them with a huge smile. She was a dumpy women with black hair that was cut short to keep it out of her eyes. She wore a plain white frock woven out of course sheeps wool that was shoddily spun.
The mother murmured her thanks and the midwife left. A man stepped out of the corner and walked over, silver eyes sparkling. His deer brown tunic and breeches rustled slightly as they swayed with his brisk movement, rough cloth chaffing his skin. Reaching his destination, he hugged them tenderly. His brown hair fell over his face as he bowed his head to look into his daughters eyes. She blinked, face wrinkling in confusion as she gazed at this new world. He knelt down, a difficult operation as he was a good six foot tall, and caressed his loves shoulder lovingly. She looked up at him, brown eyes filled with happiness, chestnut hair flowing down her back over a white, woolen dress that was simply sewn.
“Well done dear!” He whispered, kissing her on the cheek. She rested her head on his chest and sighed happily. The family stayed together, encased in their own bubble of time.
“Tala,” She whispered, naming her daughter.
Across the cavern, in a cave that branched off the main one where people were idly gossiping to their neighbour, was a makeshift wooden stable. It contained a Rapidash mare, who shuffled about agitatedly. Her creamy coat glistened with sweat, the straw beneath her feet trampled by her constant shuffling. She tossed her head and snorted with effort, her sides heaving. With one final push she completed her mission and lay down, exhausted. A small colt was at her side, and the mare cleaned him lovingly. As the last of the protective membrain was removed, small fires lit up along his neck and at the bottom of his spine. He stirred, bleated in annoyance and pushed away, attempting to stand. The mare nickered encouragingly, pushing her nose under his belly to support him. After a few failed attempts he succeeded and stood proudly, turning to his mother for praise. She nodded to him, got to her feet and walked a few feet away and turned, waiting for him to follow. He stared after her in dismay and took a few shaky steps before collapsing. He was up in a flash and trying again. He finally made it and nuzzled his mother’s belly. Finding milk, he drank hungrily. The mare sighed in content and nuzzled her son.
There was a tradition passed down Tala’s tribe, that every child on their second birthday would receive a Pokemon that would be her companion. Her first and second years passed in a whirl of colour. She learned how to crawl in six months, and to walk in a further five more. She still hadn’t spoken, but she was a very quiet child. Her mother showed her only love and affection, a good atmosphere for a child in their early years.
The colt was not to be outdone. After three hours he could run well, more that can be said by over half of foals his age. At birth he had the normal downy coat of most Ponyta; but he soon shed it for a more spectacular attire. His coat was a dull bronze and his hooves silver, a sure sign of a Shiny Pokemon. His owner was very surprised and, being Tala’s father, the foal was her destined partner from day one. As he had grown, his fiery mane had risen brighter and stronger. Faster and more powerful then most, he was the envy of the rest of his kind who could not compare.
Tala opened her eyes yawning widely, revealing a small mouth half filled with teeth. She was in her parents bedroom, she had yet to recieve one of her own. But when taking in the fact that there was not much space in the mountain, it was decided that it would be best to keep her with her parents for the time being. It was a small room, its granite walls sparkling by the light of a small lamp fastened to the ceiling. As was common for villagers of their status they had no skylight, that being reserved for the wealthier, more prominent members. Her parents bed was tucked into a corner, it was a simple oak one with hand woven sheets piled on top. Her own bed was made of the same wood, with a feather down mattress and several woolen sheets. These her mother had woven for her, and she was snuggled deep under the covers. She rolled over onto her back and began to cry loudly, to let her mother know she was up. It worked, and a couple of seconds later her mother bustled in, she had been up early to tend the horses. Tala was picked up and hugged, an action that banished any thought of crying from her mind. She snuggled her little red head into her mothers shoulder and allowed herself to be carried to the stone slab that protruded out from the wall. It was on the opposite side of the room and temporarily served as a changing table. She gurgled happily as she was tickled and swiftly changed.
Her mother grimaced at the sight of the task ahead, but held strong, showing determination only parents can relate to.
“Do you know what day it is today?” Mother asked, going to a stone sink and washing her hands. She was ignored, and when she returned Tala grabbed a chunk of her mothers chestnut hair that was cascading down as she leant over her. She quickly disentangled the small fingers and smiled wearily.
“It’s your birthday!” She tickled Tala’s round tummy. She giggled hard and rolled out of the way, nearly toppling off the table. Her mother caught her and placed her carefully on the floor. She lay back and tried to put her feet in her mouth. Her mother shook her head at the little girl’s antics and pushed them down chortling.
“Come here, you little worm,” She tickled Tala’s chin before picking her up and taking her through the winding halls to the main cavern.
The whole village had gathered together and they all applauded when they entered. Tala blinked slowly and looked around in confusion. Why was everyone there and clapping? She had no idea.
It was customary to have a ceremony to celebrate the giving of a Pokemon. It had been a while since the last one, so this was a momentous occasion. Wooden benches had been set up facing a rectangle of free space that was framed by three of the roughly hewn cave walls. The ceiling arched high above them, the cavern had been naturally formed long before they had discovered it. Pokemon and humans sat together, as this was an initiation ceremony for a Pokemon also. The Rapidash mother stood beside Tala’s father, both worriedly watching the proceedings. Tala’s mother sat on the front bench and sat Tala on her lap. A wizened man and woman climbed into the middle of the stage and looked on their people, eyes bright with hope. They were the heads of the village, a title passed onto the elders of the tribe.
"They are certainly getting on, aren't they?" Someone whispered near the back. "They look like shrivelled old prunes," The woman glared pointedly in the persons direction as the sceptic was quickly shushed. Sighing, she turned back to her partner and nodded, her long white robes rustling at the movement. She smoothed down her gown with wrinkled fingers as he prepared himself. Clearing his throat, the man began to speak, smiling at his audience.
“We have gathered here today to witness and celebrate one of our youngest receiving her life time companion!” His voice boomed around the room. Tala’s mother took the cue and, setting down Tala, led her to the center of the platform. The woman smiled kindly down to her and took her mother aside, whispering in her ear. The man waited until the mother had sat down and the woman returned before continuing.
“Nogiindi, come forward,” The man commanded.
Tala’s father walked forward, leading the colt. People gasped as it passed, walking proudly with his head held up high. He only came to the man’s shoulder, but he walked like a king. The old man stared for a second before returning to his speech.
“Thank you Nogiindi. You may go,” Nogiindi nodded and walked over to Tala’s mother and sat beside her. Her eyes were filled with happy tears that they had got this far. Many of the women had earlier this year lost their children due to an outbreak of the measles. Tala had caught it, but after a tense three days had pulled through.
The old woman led Tala in front of the colt before leaving. She looked at it curiously, teetering unsteadily. The foal made the first move.
What is this small pink and blue thing? He wondered approaching cautiously. Tala watched him eyes wide, before smiling and holding out her hand. The colt towered over her, but that did not matter. He bent his head and nuzzled her hand hopefully, in case it held any food. Her smiled grew wider and she stroked his nose, and then patted his neck. He nickered softly and knelt down. She put her arm around its neck, hand passing harmlessly through the flame. Both mother and father gave a sigh of relief; they had been unitedly holding their breaths with the fear that she would be burnt.
Tala rested her head on his shoulder and spoke her first word.
Stroking his muzzle she turned to the old woman and said with difficulty, pointing with her free hand at the foal.
From then on they were inseparable. They spent every second possible together, only regretfully parting at night. It was clear from the start she had a way with him. Since her second birthday, she had gained the courage and ability to ride him. At the age of three she could ride him at a slow walk; any faster and she would fall off. By four she could trot without a lead rope. At six she had mastered the canter and at eight; she would enter in races and win. Also around this time, her mother and father began to teach her the necessary crafts that she would need in this dangerous world. Needle work from her mother, and weaving. She worked hard, but she was as not as interested in it as in her other lessons. Her father however, taught her the arts of war. She learned how to use a sword and how to fire an arrow at the right altitude to hit a bulls eye from twenty meters away. Her mother was very proud. She liked the fact her daughter knew how to protect herself.
Tala spent a very happy childhood up to her fourteenth birthday. On that day, disaster struck. A terrible event that would change her, her life, her destiny. Forever.
6th September 2005, 9:32 PM
;330;Description: Near non-existant. Work on that in the next chapter. Plot: Not much I can tell, but it has caught my interest. Grammar: Fine. Spelling: Fine. Length: Prologue was too short, but chapter 1 was fine. Overall: Descrbe a lot more. Once you do that, this fic could be really good. I'll keep reading.
11th September 2005, 12:29 PM
Chapter 2! Thanks for the advice Shiny Flygon. I took it into account when I wrote this chapter. :)
The Turning Point.
Dawn. The sun slowly rose over the crest of the horizon, dying the sky crimson; its rays giving the barren landscape a red gold hue. The endless plains soon gave way to a range of mountains that marched away to the east, an unwavering barrier that split the land in two. The prairie contined beyond them, disappearing into the distance. One particular mountain sparkled in the light, as tiny rivulets of waters made their way down from its lofty peaks, down the hillocks and into the parched soil beneath that greedily sucked it up.
The soil at the proud mountains foot had been rendered infertile after centuries of continuous flooding, droughts and storms. It was composed of mostly ashes and sand, giving it a grey complexion. The mountain itself was a monument to nature compared to it. Luscious forests covered its whole, casting the ground below in to a green twilight. The silver birches and hazel grew meters apart and wrestled each other for the restricted light. Despite the perfect condition, few birds and pokemon dared to emerge, preferring to hide away in nests in the bows of trees or burrow deep under ground out of harms way. They had adapted with the circumstances and become nocturnal, mere shadows of what they once were, wide-eyed phantoms of the night.
Deep in the heart of the mountain, a web of tunnels and halls led to a great cavern, where the last of the human race resided. Most people rarely saw the light of day, catching glimpses of sunlight in those few rooms lucky enough to have windows. In a hallway that branched off the core one that led to everywhere in the small village, was an oaken door, ancient now, hinges creaking when ever it was opened. Behind the door was a roughly hewn room cut out of the mountain. The walls were sandy red in color, it was cut out of what used to be an underground lake, but it had dried up long ago. There was not much in the room, just a simple bed and a basket for clothes. The bed was situated opposite the door so the occupant would be able to see who it was whenever it was opened. The basket was on the left side, tucked under the bed so it wouldn’t be tripped up on. In the carefully woven cream blankets of the bed was a slightly snoring figure. A mop of red hair was sprawled over a pillow, covering the face of whoever was below it.
From the door came a loud whinny and the door shook as something threw itself against it with a bang. The sleeper sat up, brushing her hair away from her face revealing her features. She had an oval shaped face, with shoulder length wild red hair, navy blue eyes and a thin-lipped mouth. Her slanted eyebrows came down as she frowned and rubbed her eyes blearily. Her nose was a good shape, not to big, not to thin; a relief for Tala as she was reaching that stage in life when looks matter. She yawned widely and dragged herself out of bed. She was slightly taller than some her age, five foot six inches and getting taller everyday. She padded to the door and called to what ever was making the racket.
“Domego! I hear you, and I am up. Stop trying to break the door down!” She shouted exasperatedly, walking back to the bed and dragging out her clothesbasket. Pulling out her best frock, she unearthed a mirror and attempted to brush her hair. From the door there was a brief lull before the attacks came again with renewed vigour. She sighed and shook her head with a smile, putting away the mirror and brush, then ran to the door. She opened it and with a snort a huge Rapidash trotted in. He was magnificent, walking with his head held up brightly, his coat a beautiful bronze that sparkled in the light given off by the lanterns that hung at regular intervals along the halls. He nuzzled her gently then knelt down so she could climb on his back. She got on and stroked his neck lovingly. He tossed his head and headed out the door, the back of which was scored by many small indents from Domego’s hooves.
“You really have to stop that you know,” She whispered in his ear. He tossed his head and snorted again.
If I didn’t, you would still be asleep, little one. His voice came loud and clear into her mind, deep with a hint of amusement. She smiled and tweaked his ears slightly.
“You’re right. But next time, try knocking,”
I was. He replied, flicking his ears away from her touch. She smiled even wider and she said no more as they trotted through the echoing corridor and out into the great hall.
It was teeming with activity. People were hurrying this way and that carrying the year’s harvest. Corn, wheat, turnips, potatoes; all the produce went into the store in preparation for winter. Tala spotted her parents in the throng and headed towards them. Her father looked up and she caught his eye and waved. He nodded back and gestured for her to come over. Domego slipped through the crowds and waited patiently as they talked.
“Good morning darling! Did you sleep all right?” Her father asked her, helping a farmer toss some leeks into a cart being pulled by his Rapidash.
“I slept well. I got up on time today,” She replied yawning widely.
No you didn’t! I had to wake you up! Domego protested under her. She grinned and corrected herself.
“Actually, I nearly over slept, but Domego woke me up,”
Much better. He replied, satisfaction in his voice.
“At least your up,” Her father attempted to smile but failed. He was looking very worn out; he had spent the whole night helping other farmers get the crop in. He had ordered Tala to bed, no matter how much she protested saying: “Growing girls like you need sleep! Bed. NOW!” She had meekly obeyed and accompanied her mother up. Her mother was pregnant again and was prone to falling asleep at odd occasions. Because of her pregnancy, she couldn’t help with the farming under risk of hurting her back. She approached now, having been organising those able to help and giving them jobs.
She was due in two months, thankfully done with the morning sickness stage, her belly bulging out beneath her gown. Her eyes sparkled and she glowed with happiness, Harvest time was her favourite time of the year. She was slightly shorter than her husband, and had chestnut brown hair that flowed down her back to her waist. She had an open friendly face with laughter lines along her mouth and eyes. Tala reached down and gave her a one arm hug, glad to see her so happy.
“Hello love!” Her mother cooed tenderly. “Could you help the farmers carry the food to the storage area please? They are getting overloaded,” She pointed at a nearby farmer tugging at a bale of straw in an attempt to lift it.
“Ok,” She headed over and hauled the hay up. It smelled of freshly cut grass and summer meadows. She breathed in the delicious smell and deposited the straw in the hay wagon. Returning she helped him get last of the straw before their task was finished and they were standing around idly.
Lets got to the surface. Domego suggested shifting underneath her restlessly.
I hate standing in one place for so long.
Tala checked around her to see if anyone was looking at them. Going to the surface was forbidden, because of the dangers posed by the Pokemon who lived up there. They would kill anything that got in their way; man or pokemon alike. During the long hot summer, they had gone exploring and found this secret entrance to the surface that was partially blocked off. Clearing away the rubble they had picked their way carefully to the top, Tala in front, until they had emerged blinking onto a sunlight flooded ledge. It had been one of the first times to the surface, and they were astonished at how bright everything was. The ledge reached out over a gigantic wedge of ice (a glacier she later found out) that had carved out a valley, the melt water thundering down the mountain in the form of a beautiful waterfall. Ever since that day, they had visited it frequently, whenever they got the chance.
“Lets do it,” She whispered. He nodded then plunged forward, weaving through the crowd and slipping into a side corridor. The lanterns only lined the entrance, as they drew farther away the light faded leaving them fumbling around in the dark. The level floor fell into disrepair as they travelled; pit holes pocketed its face. Tala jumped off so Domego would have an easier time safely traversing it. After a while, the tunnel began to tilt upwards, and they came to the entrance. They carefully climbed up and exited the mountain, standing on the brink of a sheer faced cliff that dropped half a league.
The Sun shone down on them, causing the glacier to sparkle so brightly Tala couldn’t look at it. The clear pool that was at the center of the Glacier cut through and tumbled over the edge, dropping as a waterfall with a veil of mist covering it. As the sunrays mingled with the water it created a rainbow, arching over the waterfall and fading into nothing. Tala sighed and laid back, head on Domego’s flank. He nuzzled her hair, his warm breath tickling slightly.
After a while, Tala was struck by a sudden thought. She stood up and shouted as loud as she could, crying “HELLO?” Echoes bounced back at her. “Hello, hello, hello…” She grinned at her ingenuity and stopped as Domego stood up and snorted angrily.
What did you do that for? He demanded angrily, pawing the ground with his left foot. Do you want the monsters to know that we are here?
Tala was shocked at his reaction and felt ashamed. She hung her head and murmured sorry. He acknowledged it with a brisk nod, but Tala could see he was quite shaken.
Lets go back Without waiting for her he turned around and trotted around the passageway. Tala hurried after him. Back on the ledge an ominous humming began. Unknowingly and foolishly, she had woken the sleeper and he was coming.
Tala caught up with him in the tunnel. They walked in silence for a while, Tala waiting for Domego to speak. Her patience was rewarded.
There are monsters in this world, Pokemon that sleep for our good. He told her, glancing at her quickly. Monsters that, if released from their chambers, will kill us all. Some of the live in these mountains.
“But that’s just an old wives tale!” She pointed out scornfully. Domego stopped and looked her in the eye.
Do you really believe that? Then why do we live in this mountain? Cowering underneath miles of protecting rock?
Tala remained silent. She was taught many tales in her youth of the reason they lived here, most of them obviously fake, like the one that said: We thought living underground was better, so we moved in! That story was told to her by an older cousin at the age of 5. But there was one story that gave adequate explanations to their fall, the facts fit. There was no argument.
He sighed. Sorry for over reacting. He apologized. Just never do that again, ok? He looked at her seriously.
“Ok,” She smiled back at him. He nodded back, relaxing, shoulders releasing their pent up tension. They walked in silence until they reached the great hall and he allowed her to clamber on his back, spat forgotten.
A sudden yell woke him up. “Hello, hello, hello…” He stirred and opened an eye the size of a boulder. He was in his den, a natural cave carved out by the raging winds that whistled through the narrow valley, blasting this wall and eventually creating this cave. The wind still blew, he found it refreshing and that was one of the factors that he chose his home on. He raised his great head and glared at the entrance of his hollow, at the glacier blocking his way. He had been asleep for a long time. But now he sensed something… Something impinging on his territory, HIS Mountains. He growled, eyes glowing red. Drawing himself up, he fired a hyper beam at the ice obstructing his way, quickly transforming it into a puddle.
Back in the great hall, the atmosphere was calmer. The bulk of the work done, people were relaxing and taking it easy.
“Tala!” Her mother voice rose from the throng. Domego trotted towards it and her parents soon came into view. Her mother was resting on a bushel of hay, chatting to her neighbour, while her husband rolled barrels of apples across the straw covered floor to the store rooms, where the stacks were already teetering unsteadily.
“Where did you wander off too?” Her mother queried, breaking away from her conversation and looking at her worriedly. Tala’s pulse began to quicken as she prepared herself once more to lie to her mother. Casting her eyes down tiredly while at the same time searching for answer, her eyes alighted on a linen dress lying discarded on a rusting wheelbarrow.
“I was mending the hole in my pink frock,”
Domego snorted. As if.
Have any better ideas? She asked him in his mind, struggling to keep a straight face. He didn’t reply, instead tossed his mane and bent down to nibble on the delicacy before him, the hay. It wasn’t a complete lie, there was a hole, she had just mended it last night whilst sulking at not being aloud to help.
Her mother shooed him away and smiled, relief clear on her open face.
“Good. Just making sure,” She gave no sign that she doubted her answer, for Tala rarely lied; preferring to skip lightly over the subject she was guilty of. Her mother resumed her conversation and Tala left, nodding and smiling at her father on her way past. Once out of earshot, she released her fake smile and her face crumpled into a frown.
“I hate lying to them,” She sighed quietly. They continued in silence.
Then don’t. Domego flicked his ears.
“I can’t tell them though! I am not about to willingly give myself up and get into trouble!”
We must face the consequences of our actions.
“Do you lie to your mother?” She demanded hotly.
Yes. He paused. We both need to work on it. I won’t pretend I don’t make mistakes too.
“Fair enough,” She sat back. They were nearing the opposite side when an ear-splitting roar filled the air, reverberated of the walls. It was coming from the main tunnel.
He crawled out of the hole he had excavated and shook himself, green scales dimly reflecting the light of the noonday sun. He yawned widely, revealing row upon row of razor sharp blades that glinted maliciously. His dusty armour clanked as he pulled himself up, nostrils flaring as he scented the air for his prey. The delicious smell swamped his senses, triggering the thrill of the chase that ran like cold fire through his ancient limbs, reinvigorating them and making him feel more alive. He stretched his claws in anticipation. He was going to have a feast.
He coiled his serpentine body and launched into the air, hovering fifty feet above the valley, jaw agape, saliva already gathering expectantly. He scented again and grinned. He dived down, heading towards a partially concealed entrance hidden under the dense foliage, vines whipping his sides but he did not heed them. Casting away the huge boulder as if it was no more than a pebble, he swooped into the narrow passageway and followed it down, only a rush of air signifying his presence. Seeing a light ahead, he opened his jaws and roared, transferring all his anger and frustration into that single note. There was a silence as he passed into the central chamber, wind billowing before him and toppling carts like matchsticks. Beating down the other exits with his tail, he eyed his prey hungry. Yes, he would have a feast tonight.
The air filled with screams as humans fled from him, hiding behind anything they could find. Hunger gnawed his belly as he chose his first victim, the thudding of his heart blocking out their feeble pleas. He fell upon them in a flurry, rendering them to pieces, saliva dripping from his blood stained muzzle as he devoured them. They were no more than light snacks to him, used to the fat Milltanks and other such beasts that roamed further up the mountain. He slaughtered them like animals, skinning them with one fatal flick of a claw. It was pandemonium. No one was free from his terrible gaze. Some of the Pokemon attempted to band together and drive him out, but after their first wave of attacks enraged him, he incinerated them all with a hyperbeam.
An old Rapidash stepped from the crowd and charged him, horn lowered, eyes wide. He reached out and grabbed it, howling with pain as it pricked his soft palms. Lifting it up, he tossed it into a wall. Noting its position for taking back to his den, he returned the fray, Blood stained teeth darting in and out, tossing the dead onto the ever growing mound of corpses that rose in the middle.
Tala screamed in fright as a giant flying serpent emerged from the tunnel before them, Scarlet eyes filled with a lust for blood, tail whipping and blocking off the remaining exits. Domego reared, turned on his hind feet and, hooves thundering back on the ground, fled to the far end of the hall, carrying Tala with him. Finally stopping and cowering behind a haystack, Tala slipped of and rubbed him down with a handful of straw, attempting to soothe him. It worked, and before long his eyes stopped rolling and he was able to take deeper breaths. Still shuddering, he huddled closer to her, Tala rubbing his muzzle encouragingly. Finding her voice, Tala carefully asked him in a hoarse whisper: “What is it?”
He. The avenger. The slaughterer. He has no mercy because he has never felt. He has no emotions, fighting only out of a jealous rage to defend his territory. He had family, once. Before he killed them in cold blood. He is the last of his kind, the end of his race.Sweat rolled down his flanks as he struggled to remain in control, Tala’s well fair the only thing preventing him from bolting.
“What is his name?” She asked shakily, attempting to block out the blood curdling screams and flinching when they were suddenly cut short.
His name… He paused for a second, gathering his courage to utter the name that filled him with dread. His name... is Rayquaza.
Rayquaza looked up from the mutilated leg he was chomping and listened hard. There was barely any sound. Was it over already? He lifted his flat nose and sniffed the air. Ah, yes. There was still one alive. He could smell its fear. He wandered about the room, raising his nose and sniffing every once in a while. Pinpointing the origin, he drew closer. He paused and listened again. He could hear it now, something, two somethings, taking deep breaths and attempting to keep quiet. He drew even closer and sniffed one last time, trying to identify whatever he was stalking. A human and… a Rapidash. He smiled briefly, revealing once more his bloodied blades. Perfect.
Tala gathered up her shattered courage and prepared to climb up the haystack to figure out whether Rayquaza was gone. She glanced quickly at Domego, who was gazing sorrowfully at the left wall, back turned to her. She did not want to give him any more reasons to worry, he was nervous enough as it was. She turned back to the haystack and began the slow climb to the top, nearly slipping as the hay broke away beneath her feet. Pulling herself up, she peered over the edge.
A loud scream pieced the air. It was Tala. Domego cursed and wheeled around, searching frantically for her. A second scream rent the air, this time filled with pain. He thundered towards it, silently cursing himself in his mind. Why did you take your eyes off her! You know what she is like. A mischievous foal always getting into trouble… He hurtled round the haystack and looked up in dismay. Tala had been on top of the haystack when she had found herself looking directly into the face of Rayquaza, surprising them both. Tala had thrown herself backwards in panic, but not quick enough. Rayquaza had sunk his teeth deep into her shoulder and lifted her into the air. There she hung, yelling and kicking out in an attempt to break free. Domego bellowed in fury and threw himself at Rayquaza, charging in much the same way as his mother did before, except he was more agile. Avoiding the dragon's reaching claws, he stabbed it in the leg, screaming a challenge. Dropping Tala, she fell with a thud, it turned on the Rapidash, swatting it away as a human might a fly. Finally its sweeping tail made contact and sent Domego flying into a wall, knocking him cold.
Rayquaza looked at the carnage around him and nodded, satisfied. Ignoring Tala’s crumpled form, it returned to the Rapidash corpse, lodged it in its jaws and crawled back the way it came. Returning to its hollow, it sighed contently. A good days work, it decided. Dropping its meal on a pile of bone, and checking his senses that there were no other intruders, it yawned exhaustedly, curled up and went back to sleep.
Tala lay crumpled at the bottom of the haystack, where she had plummeted twenty feet. Raising her head feebly, she searched for Domego and saw him lying against the wall. Scared, she made contact with him through her mind. He didn’t respond, but she could feel that he was still alive. Satisfied she lay her head back down. She was to weak to move, to weak to call out. Her village, destroyed. Her family, most probably dead. Her vision began to fade into black as she succumbed to the darkness. From her steadily narrowing view, she saw a flash of light and a kind face, before she saw no more.
Like it? It is now a complete chapter. Long eh. Longest chapter I have ever written.
11th September 2005, 3:26 PM
;330; Well it's improved a lot, this is looking to be a good fic, in fact very good. But never divide up chapters, long chapters are a good thing, since it's quality over quantity when writing, so just merge chapters that are similar together. NEVER divide chapters up, it is usually a bad thing.
11th September 2005, 5:06 PM
The title got my interest. I just love phoenixes ~_^.
Those three titans. I can´t help put think them as Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, but I might be wrong.
I like the story. The second chapter had much more description than the first one did. The plot is guite interesting, and the lenghts of the chapters are good, IMO. I didn´t find many grammar mistakes either, except for some slight ones. But I don´t care about grammar too much. (As long as its readable, and this surely is ^_^ )
12th September 2005, 7:33 PM
This is really good so far!! Keep up the good work.
Golden Houhou: I know who the titans are, i think, but I'll leave it too her to tell you. :D
12th September 2005, 7:59 PM
nice comics so far. well i want to see more of them
14th September 2005, 9:54 PM
Comics? Never mind. Good guess, GoldenHouhou, put not quite. You will know at least one of them by the end of this chapter. :) Thanks for the comment, Shiny Flygon! :)
14th September 2005, 10:25 PM
Oh, so it was Rayquaza. I knew it from the point where you talked about a serpent like body. Then I assume that those two other titans are Groudon and Kyogre?
Anyway, I liked teh chapter, but what happened to Tala´s parents? They weren´t mentioned after the Rayquaza attacked, not that I would notice anyway.
And Ejunknown thanks for not telling me. It was nice to guess as to what it was when it was been desciped. For a one scary moment, I thought they were the three regis. I´m happy it weren´t so. I have never liked the regis too much.
15th September 2005, 11:54 AM
Yep, that's right. As for Tala's parents... You'll find out later. ;) I have something planned...
Edit: Thats ok, GoldenHouhou. :)
I'm glad you are enjoying the story so far. Thanks for your coments, and I have started writing Chapter three! Hurray! It took a while because I got a little stuck trying to decide how to start the chapter off... But I have it now. :)
15th September 2005, 3:10 PM
Oh, so that was part of the plan? Well then I´ll wait. I just thought that maybe you forgot to write what happened. ^_^;
15th September 2005, 5:47 PM
;330; I hate it when a dragons the bad guy, especially Rayquaza, he strikes me as malaevolent, not blood thirsty. There's only one z in Rayquaza. Oher than hat, this was really good, keep it up.
13th October 2005, 3:27 AM
Ah, quite a fic you have here. I like it personally and can see it turn
into a really wonderful thing.
Description was to my liking, I saw you took time in this and
tried to prefect things.
Great Job, I like it. Keep it up and take your time.^_^
As always, be kind to the mime.
13th October 2005, 3:37 AM
Ahh, Its pretty good! On a scale from 1-10( 10=best) I'd say 8. Make your stuuf a little moe spaced out( EXAMPLE: SEE MY STORY)
15th November 2005, 7:12 PM
Sorry for the long wait, everyone. I finally finished this chapter, and it is around the same size as the last one, slightly bigger, I think. Enjoy!
Chapter Three. The Keeper of Destiny.
Tala wandered through the realm of dreams, each of them melding into the other. Lights flickered before her eyes as a memory of making cookies slowly faded away. The putrid smell of rotting flesh filled her nostrils, mixing with the smell of sulphur. There was a disgusting metallic tang in her mouth, nearly causing her to throw up in revulsion. She cautiously opened her eyes. She was in an alien landscape that she knew all to well. She sighed. Yet another nightmare.
As usual, an unknown force held in place and she struggled fruitlessly for a while before giving up and acknowledging her surroundings. It was a doleful place, a mere husk of the great civilisation that had once dwelt there, she supposed, drawing her conclusion from the motley groups of rubble that stuck out in the distance. Titian fire erupted from nearby potholes imbedded in the cracked dusty soil, illuminating the barren landscape. A flat plain stretched out as far as the eye could see, a never ending ocean of sandy dunes. The occasional stunted tree poked up out of the wasteland, they were twisted beyond imagination by the changing atmosphere, skeletal fingers reaching for the sky. Strange white twigs littered the ground, rustling like leaves as a breeze slid under them. Tala bent down and examined one carefully, nudging it with an outstretched finger. It was long and white, shaped mysteriously like a... She drew back sharply, biting her lip to stop herself screaming. Bones.
A flash of light struck the ground beside her, followed quickly by a roar that rent the air in two. She glanced up, beginning to shake. The deep vermillion sky was overcast by foreboding black thunder heads that bellowed with laughter at her predicament. The clouds threw another bolt and it hit a tree to her left, showering her with charred bark, the clouds glee pounding in her ears. She screamed and fell to the ground, sand devils rising as a wicked breeze danced around her, taunting her with evil whisperings in her ears. She pulled herself together and curled into a ball, tears filling her eyes. It began to rain.
The rain was soon pouring down, soaking her to the skin and filling her with misery. She flicked some of it off her face and stared at her hand. It was covered in a red substance that slowly ran down to her wrist. She wiped it off and held a hand out, closing her eyes with trepidation. Rain collected in a pool in her palm, strangely warm and slightly sticky. She slowly brought her hand in and peeked inside. Her palm was filled with blood. She stared at it in horror for a few seconds before panicking and throwing herself backwards, sobbing in fear. She blindly got up and stumbled under a nearby tree, hoping for shelter. She huddled close; its knurled branches offering her little protection from the rain. Her breathing gradually slowed and she was able to lift her head from its protective cocoon. Then the screams began.
At first they were far away, tortured cries of some dying creature trying to escape its fate. Tala closed her eyes again and pulled her legs in closer, shivering from a mixture of cold and fear. The screams began to gravitate closer; she began to cry again, tears streaming down her dirty face. She just wanted to disappear, escape from this world of pain and death. The screams were even closer, only a few meters away. They stopped suddenly mid shriek and were replaced by a new sound.
Crunch. It was the sickening sound of something stepping on bones, crushing them beneath its feet.
Crunch. It was heading her way. She stopped crying and attempted to be as quiet as possible in the hope that what ever was coming would go away.
Crunch. She had the sudden urge to sneeze. She couldn’t sneeze, she had to be quiet! It couldn’t find her. If it did, she was better off dead.
Cruuunncch. What ever it was paused. She heard a sniffing sound; maybe it was trying to sniff her out. The land was eerily quiet. She held her breath, wishing with all her might that the monster would go away.
Crunch. The steps were walking away. She nearly gave a sigh of relief but stopped herself just in time. She was going to be alright.
Crunch. A breeze went by, whipping dust up into the air. The urge to sneeze was very strong.
Crunch. It was nearly gone! Soon she would be sa-
“Aaaaaachooo!” She couldn’t hold it in any longer. Her sneeze burst through the silence before slowly fading away. All was quiet. All she could hear was the thudding of her heart, before:
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. The sound of something running filled her with dread. Her heart raced as she prepared to open her eyes to face the thing that was approaching her.
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. It was coming closer. It was only a few feet away.
Crunch. Crunch. Crrrruuunnnch. What ever it was, it was in front of her. If she put her hand out she would be able to touch it. She didn’t dare.
Cruuuuuunnnnnnnch. One more final step. It was directly in front of her. Less than a foot of space separated them. There was a gentle swish of air. She could feel a moist breeze tickle her face. It smelt of rancid meat. A slight rustle. She couldn’t take it any longer. She opened her eyes.
A monster squatted in front of her. It was the size of a tall dwarf, or a small human with a hunched back. It was fairly humanoid; its features were aligned the same way as hers was. It had a nose, eyes. A mouth. But it was in no way human. Its skin was the colour of raw meat, it was smooth and hairless. It wore a dirty loincloth over its groin, nothing more. Its spindly hands twined together in anticipation as it gazed at her hungrily. Those long clawed fingers sprouted out of a small hand, connected to long arms that looked like it would reach the floor if the creature was standing. It had stumpy legs that ended in cloven hooves made out of a material very much like black steel. The sight of that was bad enough, but the horror didn’t end there. It had two bulbous red eyes that seemed to pop out when ever it blinked. Its eyelids were wrong, sideways instead of up and down. They were pure black with no iris, no white. Just a deep hole that seemed to swallow you into its inky depths. They glinted maliciously as he examined her carefully, apparently gauging the amount of time and effort it would take to tear her apart, limb from limb. It was bald; its scalp had a waxy look to it, causing the dim light to reflect off it slightly. It had a pig snout for a nose, it was wrinkled back like a pugs half way up its face, also devoid of nostril hair. Its mouth was filled with razor sharp teeth that glinted in the foreboding light. Its bare chest assured Tala that she was facing a male. It was streaked with grime, hard muscles rippled as it shifted slightly, never taking his eyes off her. His powerful legs were coiled like spring beneath it, ready to release at any moment. He licked his lips with a thin, flat tongue and grinned savagely before letting loose one more of its piercing screams.
Tala opened her mouth to cry out but no sound came. She put a hand behind her, searching for a weapon of some sort but came across nothing. Not even a bone. She looked frantically around, eyes wide. Mysteriously, all the bones had crumbled to ash and were being borne away by a prevailing wind. She scrambled to her feet and fled, desperate to get away from the monster. The creature watched her for a while before crying out again and leaping after her, running on all fours like rabid dog, froth flying from its lips. Tala peeked at it over her shoulder at it, tripped over the stump of a withered tree and fell to the ground, skidding to a halt. It kept on running until, at her feet, it leapt into the air. It landed on her chest, preventing her from escaping. It grinned mercilessly at her again as it raised its razor sharp blades for the killing strike-
A burst of white light blanked out her vision. As it cleared, she saw that she was in a sea of light, floating. Slowly, her vision began to clear, ripping her from the safety of the white light and revealing a new world to her…
He was in a large cave, naturally caved out of the mountains by a long gone glacier. It had only three walls, the final side open to the elements, allowing light to flood in. Home.
It was early morning; he could see the sun peeking out between the distant peaks that surrounded their lonely mountain. They were apart from all other Pokemon, for that he was glad. He had heard many scary stories from his parents on the matter, so he was determined to stay at home for as long as possible. No use taking unnecessary risks. He shifted on a bed of dying soft heather and lifted his head. He was on the floor, surrounded by other nests of this type. Two of them were a lot bigger than his, twice the size of his little one. To his right was the only other small nest, the nest of his little sister. She was still asleep, curled up in a ball with her head resting on her tail. He smiled, heaving himself over the lip of his bed and slithering onto the floor, eyes fixed on a bundle of bones in the center, from the previous days kill. He snatched one and chewed on it thoughtfully as his stomach rumbled. Finding that there was no food on it, he tossed it away and wailed impatiently. Where were his parents?
They joined him a little while later, dragging the carcass of a giant Miltank between them. They had been gone for over an hour, so he had scanned the skies for them. They had first appeared as a speck on the horizon, gradually growing larger and clearer defined as they began their descent. He had scuttled back to his nest, not wanting to get squashed and gazed at it longingly as they placed it into the center of the cave after tossing aside the bones. As they rested for a second, panting slightly, his stomach rumbled and he leapt from his bed, trying to sink his teeth into the leg of the Miltank. The cuff on the side of his head would have normally deterred him, but this time he ignored it. He ducked under his mothers tail, already tasting the Milta-
He gave a squeak of alarm, finding himself suspended in midair, held there by his mother who had him in her jaws. Careful not to bite, she set him down behind her, shaking her head at his behaviour.
“Patience, little one,” She told him, her voice a deep throated trill. “You will get your turn soon enough,” She turned back to the kill, and after choosing a juicy bit for herself, she allowed him to come forward. He playfully nipped her tail, laughing as he dodged a swinging tail, narrowly missing being sent flying into the sandstone walls of the cave. Still chortling, he approached the Miltank and sunk his teeth finally into a leg, savouring the delicious mix of flavours. His parents glanced at each other, eyebrows raised. They were amused despite themselves as they bent down to chomp on their allotted amount…
The memory faded once more into white light. She had barely any time to blink and try and figure out what had happened before sinking into another…
He was very excited. The day had finally come!! He had woken before dawn and bounced around the cave, unable to curb his enthusiasm. His bleary-eyed parents, annoyed at his antics grumpily ordered him back to bed so they could get some sleep. He had done so, but he couldn’t sleep. He just lay there, staring at the ceiling, watching the sunlight ripple towards him as the sun slowly rose. He could hardly wait! To be able to touch the sky… That had been his dream for over two years. Now he could finally learn. He barely managed to keep quiet, let alone keep still as his mother slowly prepared for the day ahead. Finally she was ready and it was time to leave. Making sure he was secure on her back, she leapt into the sky. His sister, not yet old enough, huddled in her nest sulking. His father watched from the cave mouth, watching proudly as his son departed for the training grounds. As they disappeared into the distance he sighed wearily, and retreated back into the cave for the calm solace of his bed.
Up in the sky, his son was over the moon. The early dawn rays bounced off his mothers’ scales, casting green shimmers of light over the landscape below. He faced the clouds quivering with excitement as they began to descend. They were at the top of the mountain, whose lofty peaks pierced the clouds to rise high above the earth, surveying it with a thoughtful eye. On its summit was a thriving oasis, filled with the twittering of birds and the soft sound of a waterfall cascading down a rocky cliff. Near the center of a dense forest that composed most of the oasis, was a large clearing. On the right side of it was clear crystal pool, its calm surface barely rippling as it threw itself off a cliff at the far edge of the clearing. On the opposite side was a large wall of trees, same with the other sides. That was where they headed for now, the place where his family and ancestors had learnt the majestic art of flight since the dawn of time. His mother swooped down and alighted on a large boulder, flattening her tail into a curved slide that he slid down safely to the ground. Landing on a big brush of heather, he coiled himself up and watched his mother with eager eyes, waiting for her to begin. After a pause in which she caught her breath, she did.
“The art of flying,” She began, breathing calmly in and out in contrast to his quick, sharp breaths. “Is very simple, but difficult. All you must do is leap into the air and stay there. You must believe in yourself, believe that you can do it, defy the laws of gravity. Try it now,”
He uncurled himself and prepared to spring, bunching up his muscles. With a small smile he jumped. Focusing his will on staying up, he managed for a second before crashing once more to the ground. He woozily thanked the heather for breaking his fall as he shook his head to clear it. He gingerly lifted himself up and looked towards his mother, dismayed. She smiled.
“The duration of your flight will increase with practise,” She told him kindly. He nodded and tried again, once more focusing his will.
He worked at it all morning and well into the afternoon, steadily progressing until he could stay up for twenty seconds. As he prepared for another try, she stopped him, sliding off her perch.
“Enough,” She told him, amusement in her eyes. He scowled at her. “You have done well today. We’ll come back tomorrow.”
He sighed but did as his mother wished. What he really wanted was to continue, but inside he knew that she was right. He went over to her, a little unsteady, climbing on her back and returning home. Everyday she carried him back to this mountain, and his pride in himself grew as he managed more each day, seeing the happiness on his mothers face as he completed the target of staying up for five minutes a week early. It was bliss…
The memory slid back into the white light, which had now transformed into a chaotic multicoloured whirlwind. Images flicked past her eyes, giving her brief visions of the contents.
Visions of cold winter nights when the family huddled together for warmth, visions of his first kill and the horror of taking a life, his final understanding of the way of the world, of learning the boundaries of their territory with his father, of his first unaccompanied flight-
Feelings of security, love, and friendship, A feeling of belonging, being cared for, being noticed, of hope-
She suddenly sat up, gasping for air. She looked around wildly, confused.
Took you long enough to wake up, A grouchy Rapidash grumbled at her side. She turned her head and focused her eyes on the creamy bronze blur. Her eyesight gradually focused and she found herself staring at Domego. He looked irritable, kicking the ground idly with one foot. His eyes were bloodshot, and a trickle of blood ran down from the back of his head. She felt concern for him, but knew that if she showed it, it would not improve his mood. Instead she smiled wearily and held out a hand. He reached forward and nuzzled it as she stroked his nose.
“Sorry about that,” She apologized. Still stroking his muzzle, she took a deep breath and looked around, taking in her surroundings. They were no longer in the great hall, not even in the same mountain, she suspected. They were in a dark hollow cave. The walls, ceiling and floor looked to be made of black onyx, polished to a high sheen. They seemed to be carved out of the rock with strange tools, none that Tala had ever seen before. The walls seemed to give off a blue luminescent glow that lit up the chamber. It was in that light that she could see that there were no windows. We must be far down, she thought, heart sinking. There was only one opening in the whole structure. It was shaped in the fashion of a door, set into the far end of the hall. It was encased in a strange blue light barrier that was forever shifting, slightly transparent. In the center of the hall was a pure black pillar that rose from floor to ceiling. Inside it were many alcoves, the lowest at least a foot from the floor. Most were shallow, except for one situated exactly in the center. From the dark patch that was its shadow, it seemed to be set right into the heart of the pillar. The light that Domego emitted, it swallowed, refusing to reveal its contents.
In the corner of her eye, Tala spotted a movement. She turned her head so quickly that it creaked, breathing hard. There was nothing there. She carefully picked herself up; she had been lying on the floor when she had woken. Domego shifted uneasily at her side, he had also seen it. There was a whisper in her left ear; she spun around only to find nothing. Frightened, she wrapped her arms around Domegos’ neck as they looked around. He said nothing, he understood.
What is that? She asked him telepathically.
I have no idea. He confessed. There was a tinge of panic in his voice. She rubbed his neck reassuringly as they scanned the darkness.
“Phoenix…” There was the whisper again, this time in her right ear. She cried out and whirled around, releasing Domego, fingers fumbling at her waist for her knife. It was no longer there; it must have fallen in the commotion at the great hall.
“Who are you?” She shouted, her voice echoing eerily around the room. There was no reply.
A soft blue light began to fill the room, originating from the center alcove. It steadily grew stronger, silhouetting a figure that stood in the entrance of the alcove. Tala gasped, beside her Domego fell to his knees.
The wish maker… He whispered, gazing at the figure, awe in his voice. Keeper of Destiny... The figure could not be human, it was to small and its head was shaped like three points of a five-pointed star. It stepped of the ledge and slowly descended, landing softly on its feet. The blue light grew stronger, revealing the wish maker’s features in sharp relief. It was a small pokemon, with creamy blue skin and a yellow headdress. The Headdress was the shape of a five-pointed star with only three points showing. Two lobes hung down from it to frame each side of its small head. From the back of the headdress, two streamers of yellow sprouted, hanging down on either side like a cloak. Other than that it was the shape of a squat human, its hands only having three fingers, and it did not have any toes. Its face was a picture of serenity, two large eyes and a wide mouth that was tilted in a smile. It began to walk forward, waves of calm reaching Tala and soothing her. Tala relaxed and smiled. Five feet away, the Pokemon stopped. It smiled.
Rise, son of Tremarin, It told Domego kindly. Domego did so, surprised that it knew of his father.
Do not be, It replied. Domego nodded and looked intently at the floor. It can read minds… he thought wearily. What a day.
“What is your name?” Tala asked the Pokemon after a seconds pause. It turned to her, surprised.
You do not know? It asked, generally taken aback. Tala shook her head, feeling stupid. It smiled apologetically.
It’s all right, my mistake. I forgot the state of events at the moment. It sighed. I’m Jirachi, It informed her, smiling again. Tala closed her eyes for a second, trying to recall something. The face that she saw before she was knocked out… She opened her eyes abruptly.
“You saved me!” She exclaimed, only just catching on. Behind her, Domego fought to hide a smile. Jirachi nodded.
“Why?” She asked, puzzled. Jirachi sighed again.
Because you are Phoenix. It told her gravely. She blinked.
“Phoenix? I don’t understand,”
Jirachi sat down and gestured for them to sit to. They did so, Domego lying beside Tala.
How to explain… Jirachi began, closing its eyes for a moment. The world is in turmoil. The three titans, Rayquaza, Kyogre and Groundon are at war with each other. Tala started at the name of Kyogre and Groundon. She thought they were only myths. They will use everything they can to get revenge on those that have wronged them. They are powerful. Very Powerful. Between them they hold enough power to destroy the whole world. They have not realised it, but they soon will, and the earth will be transformed into a barren wasteland. It has already begun. It tried to smile, but failed. It looked tired, weary. We must prevent this from happening. The earth is not ready. Later, when the sands of time are half run, it will be time. But now, at the beginning, the grains have only just started to fall. I can stop this. It looked up, into Talas eyes, its black ones penetrating her soul. But to do this I will need your help.
There was a long silence, as Tala thought over what Jirachi had told her. There isn’t another way, she realised, heart thudding in her chest. This is the only way. She looked down.
“What will it take?” She asked, briefly looking up. Jirachi gazed at her sadly, pity emanating from him.
One brave soul, accompanied by only one companion, with venture deep into the kingdoms of fire and ice. Once there, they must take a single scale from the masters of the kingdoms and return them here. Only then can the impending doom be stopped.
Tala shivered and put her head in her hands, thinking it over. The quest sounded foreboding. But someone had to do it.
Is there no one else? She heard Domego ask, a note of pleading in his voice. He doesn’t want me to do it, she realized.
Unfortunately, no. Jirachi replied. I see your concern for her welfare, but I have no choice.
Another shiver went down her spine. She was the only person who could do this. She quickly came to a decision and looked up. Domego and Jirachi stared at her intently, wanting to know her decision. She looked at both of them, before looking down. She cleared her throat nervously before looking up, straight into Jirachis eyes. He realized her decision and smiled encouragingly.
“I’ll do it.” She stated, voice quivering.
Did you like it? What do you think about the dreams? I wonder if anyone will guess... I purposefully put less description about the actual participants of the dream, mostly of the surroundings. I want you all to guess. I think I made it too obvious who it was, personally.
Oh yeah, a little question that has been niggling at my brain. How old do you think I am from how I write? Silly question, I know, but I would like to know. :)
16th November 2005, 3:03 AM
Weell, from your writing, I'd guess you were fourteen to fifteen+, so I'm taking a risk on getting my neck slit from that comment XD
Anyway, onto the review:
Plot: Interesting. I love the background history you give this civilization, and even the said war between Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza. I'm not big on legendary fics, but the plot woven between this fact had lured me into it, which was very interesting of you. I also have to mention I absolutely LOVED the scene where Tala was given Domego ;-;
Characters: I'm glad Tala isn't a Mary-sue. She's got a fantastic personality for a character, as does the Pokemon, which some people don't represent in fics (I also have to mention I love the description of her red hair and navy eyes...it just seems to stand out). I just suggest that you express feelings of the other characters, being sure not to solely focus on Tala, though do so if necessary, because she is the main character after all. Just my opinion.
Description: Very good ^_^ Much better than others I've seen on here, and that's saying something, as I am teh master of description, not to boast. Keep it up.
Spelling/Grammar: A few things here and there, but for the most part, you're covered fairly well. Now there is a few things I just wanted to point out before I left, and posts by SOMEONE I would like to bash slightly:
The colt was doing was doing well too.
Broken record XDDD
She was ignored, and when she returned Tala grabbed a chunk of her mothers chestnut hair that was cascading down as she leant over her.
I love the word "cascading," and would relish it to use in a story some day XD
People were hurrying this was and that carrying the year’s harvest.
I think ye meant "way," lol.
Crunch. Crunch. Crrrruuunnnch.
Meh, it may be a good idea to place onomatopoeia in italics, so the format is clean and traditional.
Description: Near non-existant. Work on that in the next chapter. Plot: Not much I can tell, but it has caught my interest. Grammar: Fine. Spelling: Fine. Length: Prologue was too short, but chapter 1 was fine. Overall: Descrbe a lot more. Once you do that, this fic could be really good. I'll keep reading.
1. Your comment about description was under-exaggerated. Accuracy counts, because she certainly did try to fit description in, which is very difficult to do in first chapters (introductions), though she could have and did improve.
2. Prologues can never be too short. It is the chapters you need to pay attention to, page-wise, so that shouldn't have even been commented on...
...But never divide up chapters, long chapters are a good thing, since it's quality over quantity when writing, so just merge chapters that are similar together. NEVER divide chapters up, it is usually a bad thing.
Um, I would disagree with that. You should offer your opinion, not shoving suggestions down her throat, though you did give an unbiased "usually." In my opinion, for example, chapters can be divided in whatever order the author wishes them to be in, because it makes it easier for them to weave their story along at their own pace and style. Chapters should be consistently longer than two pages, but again, this is up to the writer, though it cannot go under one page.
I hate it when a dragons the bad guy, especially Rayquaza, he strikes me as malaevolent, not blood thirsty. There's only one z in Rayquaza. Oher than hat, this was really good, keep it up.
Is Rayquaza necessarily the "bad guy?" No. It just plays a role that can be portrayed as whatever the reader interprets it as, or whatever the author intends. But really, does it matter if a dragon is evil or not? And FYI, "malevolent" and "blood-thirsty" are torn from the same cloth, so apparently, your vocabulary may not be as thoroughly developed as an experienced author's >_>;; Ye gotta love those loverly grammar mistakes in posts.
16th November 2005, 8:23 PM
Thanks for the review, Cheshire! I changed the point you noted out. (There is always one) :)
17th November 2005, 8:37 AM
Just started reading, katiekitten. May I?
Plot: Unique (and by that I mean totally awesome!)
Length: Longer than mine (another A on your report)
Grammar and Spelling: No errors that I've seen yet. Keep it up!
Overall: You got my interest, katiekitten! When's the next chapter due?
20th November 2005, 10:40 PM
Thanks Shiny Mightyena. :) I am glad you are enjoying it. I will start writing the next chapter soon, I am still sorting out the plot in my head. (I hate writing things down. I think it through thoroughly, making sure I know what is going to happen before I start writing) :)
Edit: Change of mind, folks. I have found a way to increase the amount of chapters, which rocks. (I would hate to finish it too early) :)
13th December 2005, 8:26 PM
Well, I'm reviewing the first two chapters, so I will have missed lots >.>.
I am very impressed by this story, almost everything about it. The title itself drew me in well, a single word of Fantasy, it creates a alot of effect.
In my opinion, I'd say the best aspect of this fic is its plot. Very original and highly intruiging, just within the first two chapters alone. Interesting concepts are seen throughout, such as the ritual of Tala's recieving of the Ponyta. A very young age, very interesting. Of course, the best part of this plot so far is the refuge of these people, hiding away from the creatures above. Where you got the idea from I wouldn't know, but it was certainly some inspiration to be thunkful for - that is if you did write this out of inspiration, if you thought of this fromthe top of your head, then well done!
The character of Tala is interesting, not too original, so far a seemingly gutsy girl with a thirst for mischief and what have you; something I commonly see. However, I have only read the first two chapters so things can still develope. Domego, however, is very interesting. He is wise, he is grand, Tala is lucky to own him (despite the fact he is shiny), especially considering her mischievious attitude which brings about a contrast although they are inseperable. This does create an interesting friendship and one that drives the reader to keep reading.
Descritption was at first, like Nylf (then, Shiny Flygon) had stated, a little shoddy, it seemed as if you were trying to get that first chapter out of the way so you could continue with the main body of the story. I must tell you that the first chapter is crucial, even with a prologue, the first chapter ultimately makes the reader's decision on whether to continue or not. However, the description and writing style did improve in the second chapter, and was at that stage which everyone loves - described enough to picture everything, yet not too vocabularific to be incomprehendable. Good stuff there, always looked for in stories.
I am very inclined to continue now that I have read that chapter, very tense and a great cliffhanger.
Maybe you'll see a future review from me ;D.
13th December 2005, 11:19 PM
Finally here! After days and weeks of procrastination and forgetfulness, I have finally arrived. Katie, I can almost feel the enmity from you right now.
The first thing I have to ask, and before I can really have a solid review is wheter or not your story is supposed to be pseudo narrative-***-third person? There are several instances which lead me to believe this possibility.
From then on they were inseparable. They spent every second possible together, only regretfully parting at night. It was clear from the start she had a way with him. Since her second birthday, she had gained the courage and ability to ride him. At the age of three she could ride him at a slow walk; any faster and she would fall off. By four she could trot without a lead rope.
Lines like these make the reader believe that at least part of your writing is narration instead of third person, which I assume you are using? It is possible to inculcate both, but a little difficult, and can be detrimental if not pulled off well.
Well, your third chapter was the best thus far, IMo, as there was both rise and fall of action, as well as emoted speech, and descriptive text. An all-in-one thing right there. I have to be a little concerned about Rayquaza, though. Is it a little stereotypical to cast Rayquaza as the baddie? Could the fic proceed without Rayquaza as the baddie, as in must the baddie role be filled by Rayquaza?
Also, to Incincerus, although "malevolent" and "bloodthirsty" do have the same psychological context, their meanings vary quite a bit. It is a little like saying "anarchist" and "left-wing activist" are similar, being cut from the same psychological cloth as well.
14th December 2005, 12:05 PM
Thanks for the review Tale!
I did have some inspiration, from Lirael by Garth Nix. The Clayr's Glacier. I always find that the best time of the day for story writing is at night, before bed. I tend to get an imaginative streak just then, and that is when I thought up Phoenix. I started writing the third chapter when I was half asleep and ill. Funny how that works. :)
Thanks for your review mindripper!
Well, I tend to swap a bit. The first chapter did have some narrative, for I was introducing the story and it came out that way. The rest will tend to be in third person, swapping from one characters point of view to the other. Rayquaza may seem to be the baddie in the beginning, but in reality he is not. You will see Tala's perception of him change, as will his, as the story goes on. I have a few tricks up my sleeve. All will be explained, but later on in the story.
I forgive you for not posting sooner. I also have a few fics to read that I haven't got around to.
Thanks for the reviews! :)
17th December 2005, 10:14 AM
katiekitten, I love this dear triplet! Even though I've only read the first and second chapters, (I swear I'll read the next to chapters soon) I was sucked into this. The plot is unique and interesting, which was what interested me the most. You rock at writing girl!
17th December 2005, 11:03 AM
Thankies Sapphire! *hugs* :D
8th January 2006, 5:52 PM
I finally got up and read Phoenix! (Pats self on the back.)
I'm enjoyin the story so far and the plot is very interestin.
The only parts I didn't like was when you sometimes became too descriptive, but it wasn't a problem. :D
I too thought Tala was a pretty cool character. You did a great job on bringin her to life.
Even though I've read a few stories with Rayquaza as the antagonist it don't botha me at all.
Keep on writin the story. :) (Not that I need to tell you that. :p )
I rate the story 5 stars.
8th January 2006, 5:57 PM
Hiya KK. I was bored, so I made this for Phoenix. Enjoy! http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d111/Ejunknown/phoenix.gif
13th January 2006, 9:04 PM
Thanks for the review whit! *hugs*
I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the rating!
Thanks Ej! *is overcome with emotion and squeezes her half to death*
You made it for me? *wipes tear from eye* I ish feeling very loved. :)
I have started writing the next chappie, so it should be up sometime soon. :)
14th January 2006, 3:13 AM
thanks for being my first reviwer. see wha you mean by being into description.
neway i've only read the first two chapters but i love it already. i really like how i can see what i'm reading. Rayquaza is really kool(minus the death thing)
14th January 2006, 10:45 PM
Ahh, thanks lisalover! I am glad you are enjoying it so far, and thanks for reviewing. Yeah, me likey Rayquaza. :D
15th January 2006, 6:45 AM
first i said i liked your fic now im in love. the description in better than that of authors and youv gotta a great story line goin. cant wait to see your story progress.
p.s. chapter two of me fic is up and runnin'
15th January 2006, 8:19 PM
Sure, I'll go take a peek. :)
16th January 2006, 8:24 AM
yes the lay out of the story has my the reser very indersted in waht will happen next . Keep it up.
I rate it 4.2/5
16th January 2006, 4:39 PM
Thanks for the review Demy! I'm glad you are enjoying it. :)
Chatper Progress: I have written roughly 4 pages in my note book, *flourishes* So it shouldn't be to long now. Thanks for being patient! :)
I find it interesting how my star count likes to bounce... O.o
16th January 2006, 6:27 PM
Well, I was feeling kinda idiotic since you have reviewed my fic "Fire and Ice" but I hadn't read any of your work. So I guess that's why I'm here.
Well, I noticed a few spelling errors, but the story was so intense and I'm too lazy to go through them and pick them out. If you want them edited you can PM me and I'll help you out.
I like this story so far. The Phoinex is a very clever idea. I, like Nylf, am sad when Rayquaza has to be the bad guy, but maybe the dreams will help us understand him better and why he is the way he is.
Your description in the second and third chapters was absolutely beautiful. I mean wow, you have talent. I am now anxious for the next chapter so I can find out what the role of the phoinex is. Good luck.
16th January 2006, 8:26 PM
Thanks for the review SD! *hugs*
Arrgh! Spelling mistakes! *cuts them up with rusty rake* Always there, lurking in the shadows... *shivers* Ah nevermind, I'll get rid of them eventually... *marches off to check for them with rake at the ready* XD
I'm on yet another sugar rush, and to top it off, I'm trying to write a horror one shot at the same time. Hence I have a rusty rake. *brandishes* Hey, is that blood... Nah. Thanks again fopr the review! You will see more about the role of Phoenix later on in the story, I hope I won't dissapoint anybody. :)
Now, I have a story to finish... *scuttles off*
7th February 2006, 3:44 AM
I'm sorry, but I had to go back and reread all the chapters again. This time I studied it closer...
God damn! You're a fantastic writer!
I loved the way you described Rayquaza as it entered Tala's village and how it killed everyone. You made it so creepy! I liked the short battle between Domego and Rayquaza. Man... I can't really explain it. The nightmare Tala had was frightening too but I wasn't able to figure out what the pokemon was that was gettin ready to attack her. And the bloody rain and bones that she thought were just white twigs... You did it perfectly!
As for the images of Tala seein the mysterious pokemon learnin to fly, I'm guessin it was Rayquaza when he was a kid and still had a family. Seein Jirachi was a treat, but for some reason I was expectin Mew instead...
Also, when Jirachi calls Tala, Phoenix the main theme from The Terminator started to play in my mind. Cuz the song sounds epic and heroic. :p
Anyway, I'm lookin forward to ch.4! I don't mean to rush you, but hurry! I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And yes, Tala did deserve to nominated for best main character. :) (Even tho, it was her fault for leadin Ray to her village...)
7th February 2006, 2:24 PM
Thanks for the review, whit! *gives gigantic hug* Your review made me feel all warm and fuzzy... *sniffs*
I'm glad you liked all those scenes, I tried my best to create a nice atmosphere. Yep, it is Rayquaza in his childhood. You will find out why later, but for now... >=)
The creature from the nightmare, I don't know what it is myself. I like to think of it as what the human race could become, in the far far far (infinity far) future.
Terminator music? Interesting, although I guess it fits. This tale will be an epic one, short but sweet with a few twists thrown into the mix. Funily enough, when I was thinking up this story, when I was attempting to find the right main character, I kept on seeing the image of Arnold Schrawtzinager... (however you spell it) XD
Chapter 4 is coming on nicely, I have badgered Ejunknown to beta read it for me as I go on. I am currently on the beginning of the fifth page on word, and I know where I shall end it. It will probably be longer than the other chapters, but I am not certain... I know where it is going to end, at least. On a nice little cliff hanger...
12th February 2006, 5:14 AM
This review comes with a time machine so that you can travel back to when it should have been done. Yup.
This went on for centuries, scattering humankind and sending them, and those Pokemon who had not joined the Titans, to the deepest delves of the Earth.
- The phrase more often runs "from the ashes" as opposed to "in the ashes."
Well, not much to say. Quite a short prologue. A bit recap-ish for my taste, but there you are.
Now, as most people will say, the length of a prologue doesn't really matter. But this is short, man. To me, it reads more like the teaser you'd find on the back of a book than an actual prologue. Really, I think we could have jumped easily into the story without knowing any of this, and perhaps being better off for it. You've kinda killed some of the suspense, there.
Chapter One: Birth of a Hero
There were no windows, a gnarled torch of cedar flickering merrily providing the only light.
No spellcheck?! It burrrnsss usss...
Also, I don't like the syntax for this sentence. To me, "a merrily flickering cedar torch providing the only light" would sound much better. You've got a few too many modifiers here for my taste; they end up sort of jumbled together.
If the mother's oblivious to her surroundings, why do you suddenly snap into describing them? If she doesn't care, why should we?
The crying stopped and two eyes opened, deep navy in color, and they gazed lovingly at the person who had brought them to the world.
Navy eyes? Whooooah... that's not natural...
“It’s a girl!” announced the midwife cheerily, washing her hands in the stone basin and turning to them with a huge smile.
She wore a plain white frock woven out of coarse sheep's wool that was shoddily spun.
Again, unless the midwife is really a major character, there's no real need to go into her description here. Do I care? Not particularly, unless it's important to the story. I don't think that you really need to go so far as to qualify what kind of wool her frock was made out of--most wool comes from sheep, so there's no need to clarify its origin unless there's something particularly unusual about it.
- You need to start a totally new paragraph each time someone speaks, just like you would normally to break up the text. On forums, that means double spacing. Thus, it's not:
sheep's wool that was shoddily spun.
The mother murmured her thanks and the midwife left.
sheep's wool that was shoddily spun.
The mother murmured her thanks and the midwife left.
Having congratulations on its own line there looks sort of odd.
A man stepped out of the corner and walked over, silver eyes sparkling.
Silver? Holy crap, that must hurt.
His deer brown tunic and breeches rustled slightly as they swayed with his brisk movement, rough cloth chafing his skin.
Saying deer brown here is confusing. Is his tunic made out of deerhide, or were you just trying to give a specific color there? If so, there are many better ways of saying it (please for the love of all things holy don't make it "chocolate" brown or something edible), and just plain brown there would suit me fine.
His brown hair fell over his face as he bowed his head to look into his daughter's eyes.
He knelt down, a difficult operation as he was a good six feet tall, and caressed his love's shoulder lovingly.
Please, please, please remember your posessive apostrophes. Please.
The whole "love's lovingly" thing is rather corny. Also, operation seems an odd way to describe kneeling.
“Tala,” she whispered, naming her daughter.
- Normally, if a farmer has an animal giving birth, especially a prized animal like a rapidash, he'd be sure to be there and make sure that nothing went wrong and stuff like that. I understand the guy is over there with his own wife, but I'd expect him to have at least asked somebody else he knew to look after the mare while he went off to see his own daughter being born.
The mare sighed in contentment and nuzzled her son.
There was a tradition passed down by/through Tala’s tribe, that every child on their second birthday would receive a Pokemon that would be her companion.
No comma after tribe. Also, why two years old?
Her first and second years passed in a whirl of colour.
Who is "her"? It has no antecedent. Recall that the subject of the last sentence was the tribe and not Tala herself--you need to say her name here if that's who you're referring to.
- Bronze isn't the shiny ponyta color, if I recall correctly. Why must you capitalize shiny?
Faster and more powerful than most, he was the envy of the rest of his kind who could not compare.
The "who could not compare" at the end here is pretty redundant. I'd just chop it off; there's no need for it.
Tala opened her eyes, yawning widely, revealing a small mouth half filled with teeth.[/quote]
She was in her parents[/color=red]' bedroom. She had yet to recieve one of her own.
You need an apostrophe whenever you're talking about something that's owned by someone or something else... "That's Sheridan's notebook" or "My computer's screen is broken.
When you have plural posessive or a posessive on something that ends with s, the apostrophe almost always goes after the plural s. Thus, you might have "The ducks' pond" or "The sasafrass' field." Basically, if you're talking posessives, bear in mind that you need a posessive apostrophe somewhere. This is the last time that I'm going to point out this sort of error, but bear in mind that it does come up other places and it's something you need to fix--it's quite a basic mistake.
As was common for villagers of their status, they had no skylight, that being reserved for the wealthier, more prominent members.
Her parents bed was tucked into a corner. It was a simple oak one with hand woven sheets piled on top.
It worked, and a couple of seconds later her mother bustled in. She had been up early to tend the horses.
Okay, let's talk comma splices. A comma splice is a time where you join two complete sentences (henceforward known as independent clauses) together using only a comma. This is bad. A comma is not strong enough to hold two sentences together on its own--indeed, a comma's job is to divide, not unify. What you need is either a period instead, or an appropriate conjunction, such as and, after the comma.
For example, this is bad:
I got up, I went to school.
This could work:
I got up. I went to school.
Annnnd option number three, the amazing compound sentence:
I got up, and I went to school.
Pretty basic idea, but I hope you get what I'm saying here. Again, my policy is three consistent error reports and then it's up to you to fix the rest on your own. Good luck--comma splices are tricky blighters.
She giggled hard and rolled out of the way, nearly toppling off the table.
The antecedent for she here is still Tala's mother, not Tala herself. Consequetly, this conjures up a rather ausing mental image.
Her mother shook her head at the little girl’s antics and pushed them down, chortling.
Pushed her antics down? 0_o
“Come here, you little worm.” She tickled Tala’s chin before picking her up and taking her through the winding halls to the main cavern.
Looks like it's time for a little lesson in dialogue punctuation. You seem to be making mistakes when it comes to choosing a comma or period for the end of the dialogue and for capitalizing the first letter of the sentence or phrase that comes after it.
There's an easy way to check for this. Look at the words that come afte the dialogue and perform a simple test. Let's take a couple easy example. The dialogue will be "I don't want to" and after it we'll put either the phrase "she said" or "she turned away, sniffing scornfully."
If the phrase or clause after the dialogue can stand on its own as a sentence, then you need to end the dialogue in a period and capitalize the first letter of the following text like you would a normal sentence. If it can't stand alone, the dialogue ends in a comma (or exclamation point/question mark) and the first letter of the following phrase is not capitalized. Thus, consider our examples.
Can "she said" perform as its own sentence? I think not. Thus:
"I think not," she said.
Now try "She turned away, sniffing scornfully." Dunno about you, but it sounds pretty independent to me.
"I think not." She turned away, sniffing scornfully.
And there you have it. A lot of people have problems with dialogue. You've kind of got it half-right, but there's just a little more ground to cover before you're all good. Again, you'll have to look for other instances of that particular error on your own.
The whole village had gathered together and they all applauded when they entered.
Who the heck is they (the second they, mind)?
They were the heads of the village, a title passed on to the elders of the tribe.
The woman glared pointedly in the person's direction as the skeptic was quickly shushed.
Have a frowny face for not spellchecking: :(
“We have gathered here today to witness and celebrate one of our youngest receiving her lifetime companion!”
The woman smiled kindly down to her and took her mother aside, whispering in her ear.
I believe that it should be down at her, not down to her.
People gasped as it passed, walking proudly with his head held up high.
Okay, the ponyta changes from being an it to a he in one sentence. Generally, pick one or the other and stick with it. Otherwise it just looks weird.
What is this small pink and blue thing? he wondered, approaching cautiously.
Tala watched him, eyes wide, before smiling and holding out her hand.
She put her arm around its neck, hand passing harmlessly through the flame.
Again the foal changes from a him to an it.
Stroking his muzzle, she turned to the old woman and said with difficulty, pointing with her free hand at the foal,
Whoah, that one was messed up. Commas are friends, not foes! Unless you try to use them instead of periods... then they bite.
- I find it rather over-the-top that Tala's first word happens to also be the name of her horse. Most kids don't just spout out some random, obscure name as their first word--it's usually something much more mundane, something they're used to, like "duckie" or "cow" or whatever. Domego seems entirely too poetic to me.
At six she had mastered the canter, and at eight she would enter in races and win.
Semicolon needs to be repositioned and smacked down to comma status.
Her father, however, taught her the arts of war.
A terrible event that would change her, her life, her destiny.
That's a fragment. I'd suggest binding it to the preceding sentence with a colon. Now, it's all right to leave it as a fragment for artistic purposes, but I really don't think that it "works" in this case to go that route. It looks and reads funny.
All right, it's a pretty standard first chapter for the style of story that you're going for, here. As far as exposition works, it's coming along well enough, but I'm afraid to say that this already reeks of the Mary-Sue. But we'll address this malady later.
First, you're having some description troubles here. Contrary to what Nylf said when he reviewed, this chapter is not lacking in description, but rather wallowing in it to an unhealthy extent. In particular, you seem to be going too far out of your way to describe characters as you introduce them. This isn't as bad near the end of the chapter as it is near the beginning, where your character descriptions seem almost formulaic, as though there are some aspects of your characters that you feel you must squeeze in somehow for them to be properly described. In particular, you seem to obsess a bit too much about describing their clothing. I can see that information dropped in once or twice to set up a timeframe reference, but outside of that, it's totally unnecessary. Simply put, the audience doesn't care, and they're never going to remember it anyway. Not only that, but appearances are transient. If you describe what they're wearing now, keep in mind that they'll probably be wearing something different tomorrow. Unless you seriously want to waste time describing your characters' appearances each day, then there's no need to mention the wardrobe outside of characterization or plot issues.
Similarly, your environmental description gets a little flat and forced. Again, this is more of a problem near the beginning than it is near the end. I don't particularly care what some random cave in the mountain looks like, honestly. Environmental description is most powerful at setting up the mood, providing context, or providing for the plot. There's a fine line between setting the mood and just cramming in extra information to make it seem like you're describing the surroundings well. Description shouldn't be forced--it shouldn't be something that you feel you have to do. Things seemed to smooth towards the chapter's closure, and I think this may have been because you were worrying less about laying the picture out for us than you were getting stuff that you "had to do" done: creating setting and basic character descriptions.
And now, we'll return to my earlier character gripe, namely, that Tala seems already to be blossoming into a cute little Sue. At the very least, she has a nasty case of omgspeshul. To list the grievances:
1. omgspeshul eye color (the "sparklypoo" syndrome)
2. omgspeshul shiny ponyta
3. omgspeshul mad riding skillz
4. omgspeshul precocious horse companion, envy of all the rest of the clan
5. omgspeshul only child surviving for that year
No, to address each of these points individually. I've already mentioned the eye color thing in the grammar and such area, but I'd like to expand upon it here. As I said earlier, navy isn't your run-of-the mill eye color. It would look rather freaky, actually. I believe this may be a mistake in your just pulling out a random color name when you should have just gone with blue or dark blue, but outlandish eyes are one of the first signs of a Sue. They're either some grandiosely described natural eye color (shimmering chocolate brown) or totally unnatural/ridiculously rare (emerald or purple). This symptom is referred to as the "sparklypoo" or occasionally "color-changing eye" syndrome because, in the worst cases, Sues will not only have outlandish eye colors but ones that shift over time, either depending upon how the light hits them or for no reason at all. After eyes comes weird hair color, and right after, again, the completely ridiculous (silver or purple once again) comes red, usually described as brilliant or flaming. It's not a big deal as I've never been real worried about judging characters by their appearance, but you're already wandering into dark waters, here.
Next, the ponyta (points two and five.) I have nothing against shinies. Honestly, I don't. But when the first pokémon that a trainer finds or catches is a shiny, it's almost always trouble. The big beef I have with shinies is that it is almost always for no reason other than for the "cool" factor. Let's face it, most everybody would love to show off with a midnight-black charizard or a silver ninetales. But again, that's all it is: showing off. I have no problem with a 'fic that actually makes a plot point out of having their character's pokémon be shiny, but too often it's just because the author wants to remind us all again how very special their protagonist is. A normal ponyta is just as good as a shiny one; why would you use a shiny instead of a regular one, if not to indicate how special the character is? The pokémon himself seems altogether too precocious and better than everybody else. I mean, seriously, there's nothing wrong with having your pokémon hale, hearty, and, you know, good at things. But to go so far as to expound upon how he's the envy of all his compatriots is a little much, don't you think? You point out how admiring all the people are of the horse when Tala gets it, and mention the admiration of his own species. It seems to me like you're laying on the special a little too thick. Again, it's all right to have talented characters. But this is taking it a bit far.
I'll begin with Tala being the only one to survive point first in discussing the last pair. It's the least severe of any point mentioned, but still bears mentioning. Tala's again getting cut a lucky break, and having her be more or less the last of her kind is again just singling her out for awe and admiration. Characters should be unique, but this can only go so far before it becomes stifling. Next, she's winning all these races when she's eight. So there are a few child prodigies running around, but for the average human being, that's way out there. We know her competition has to be older, more experienced people because you've already conveniently mentioned that she's the only one her age. It's the same not-logic as a person graduating from pokémon school at sixteen and then beating up fourteen-year-olds who have been training for two years already or team rocket members with just their starters and some random pidgey they got somewhere. Simply, experience takes time and effort to acquire. It's highly unlikely that your character is really going to be able to compete against older people and win.
In and of themselves, any one of the above alone is not enough to constitute anything major. It might make me roll my eyes or groan, but it's your story and character and all that. It's when all that stuff gets together and starts to party that it becomes ridiculous.
So, to recap: not a bad first chapter, but I fear for Tala. Your grammar could use work, too.
Chapter Two: The Turning Point
Just reminding you that, again, you need to have the full double space when setting apart dialogue. Formatting is important.
Dawn. The sun slowly rose over the crest of the horizon, dyeing the sky crimson, its rays giving the barren landscape a red-gold hue.
The prairie contined beyond them, disappearing into the distance. One particular mountain sparkled in the light, as tiny rivulets of waters made their way down from its lofty peaks, down the hillocks and into the parched soil beneath that greedily sucked it up.
Remove the comma between light and as.
- The soil composition--dunno, repeated flooding actually helps the ground out, as it brings up silt and the organic muck you'd find in the bottom of rivers and dumps it all over the place, which makes pretty good fertilizer. Volcanic ash is actually quite good stuff to grow things in--some of the Native American tribes out west managed to keep their civilizations going in the middle of the desert partially thanks to active volcanos that would spew ash across the ground, making it decent for growing crops. Sand is not so much good soil, but the rest of what you mentioned would actually make a pretty decent farming area.
The mountain itself was a monument to nature compared to it.
Well, I should think so. Give me a nice majestic mountain over a pile of dirt any day, really.
Luscious forests covered its whole, casting the ground below into a green twilight.
Is there supposed to be another word after "whole"?
Despite the perfect conditions, few birds and pokemon dared to emerge, preferring to hide away in nests in the boughs of trees or burrow deep under ground out of harm's way.
I dun gettit... at the base of the mountain it's all nasty and barren, but there's this huge forest growing up on its slopes? How did that happen?
They had adapted to the circumstances and become nocturnal, mere shadows of what they once were, wide-eyed phantoms of the night.
In a hallway that branched off the core one that led to everywhere in the small village, was an oaken door, ancient now, hinges creaking when ever it was opened.
Remove the comma between village and was. In general, this sentence is rather a mouthful and poorly worded.
The basket was on the left side, tucked under the bed so it wouldn’t be tripped upon.
Again, I'm getting the feeling that you're forcing things, here. There was a clothes basket. And it was on the left. W00t?
From the door came a loud whinny and the door shook as something threw itself against it with a bang.
Your pronouns are going all screwy in this sentence.
The sleeper sat up, brushing her hair away from her face, revealing her features.
Her nose was a good shape, not too big, not too thin; a relief for Tala, as she was reaching that stage in life when looks matter.
Is there no possible blemish that might detract from the beautiful face of dear little Tala? -_-; Heaven only knows what horrors might befall her if her nose was slightly out of proportion.
- You know you need to take your fingers off the keyboard and back away slowly when you get the urge to put someone's actual height, in inches, into your story.
Corn, wheat, turnips, potatoes; all the produce went into the store in preparation for winter.
I would go with a colon over a semicolon there.
“I slept well. I got up on time today,” She replied, yawning widely.
“Actually, I nearly overslept, but Domego woke me up.”
“At least you're up.” Her father attempted to smile but failed.
He had ordered Tala to bed, no matter how much she protested, saying, “Growing girls like you need sleep! Bed. NOW!”
You don't seem to want to put your commas in before your participial phrases. Those are the ones that feature words with "ing" in them. I'm not really good at explaining the different kinds of this one, so I'll give you some more examples from your story:
Clearing away the rubble, they had picked their way carefully to the top, Tala in front, until they had emerged, blinking[/color] onto a sunlight-flooded ledge.
He nodded, then plunged forward, weaving through the crowd and slipping into a side corridor.
You did all right with this one, actually; the comma needs to be added to the beginning for a different reason.
The lanterns only lined the entrance, and as they drew farther away the light faded, leaving them fumbling around in the dark.
Hopefully you kind of recognize what I'm getting at through those examples...
Because of her pregnancy, she couldn’t help with the farming for risk of hurting her back.
Her eyes sparkled and she glowed with happiness. Harvest time was her favourite time of the year.
She was slightly shorter than her husband, and had chestnut brown hair that flowed down her back to her waist.
No comma after husband.
She had an open, friendly face with laughter lines along her mouth and eyes.
Let's got to the surface, Domego suggested, shifting underneath her restlessly.
Going to the surface was forbidden, because of the dangers posed by the Pokemon who lived up there.
How do they grow all the crops, then? Especially considering that there are hardly any windows, supposedly?
They would kill anything that got in their way, man or pokemon alike.
During the long, hot summer, they had gone exploring and found this secret entrance to the surface that was partially blocked off.
It had been one of their first times to the surface, and they were astonished at how bright everything was.
If they're forbidden to go out there, then how is this "one of" their first times up there? When else had they gone out, and why?
The ledge reached out over a gigantic wedge of ice (a glacier, she later found out) that had carved out a valley, the melt water thundering down the mountain in the form of a beautiful waterfall.
“Let's do it,” She whispered.
The level floor fell into disrepair as they traveled; pit holes pocketed its face.
Still no spellcheck. *dies*
Also, "pit holes" is very redundant. Pick one and stick to it.
As the sunrays mingled with the water they created a rainbow, arching over the waterfall and fading into nothing.
- Why are you capitalizing sun and glacier?
She hung her head and murmured, "Sorry."
Let's go back.
You seem to have an irrational fear of apostrophes. Let's is the contraction of the words "let us" and therefore needs the apostrophe; it is not optional, as lets is a totally different word.
Unknowingly and foolishly, she had woken the sleeper, and he was coming.
Tala caught up with him in the tunnel.
Who is him? Again, you're using prepositions without antecedents.
Do you really believe that? Then why do we live in this mountain, cowering underneath miles of protecting rock?
The wind still blew. He found it refreshing, and that was one of the factors that he chose his home on.
The second sentence ends in a preposition. Don't do that. "...and that was one of the factors on which he chose his home." is correct grammatically and sounds marginally less strange. All in all, this is just a bad sentence.
“Tala!” Her mother' voice rose from the throng.
Her mother was resting on a bushel of hay, chatting with her neighbour, while her husband rolled barrels of apples across the straw-covered floor to the storerooms, where the stacks were already teetering unsteadily.
Seriously, a bushel of hay? Try "bale."
“I was mending the hole in my pink frock.”
Always end your dialogue in a period unless something comes after it that depends upon it.
It wasn’t a complete lie: there was a hol; she had just mended it last night whilst sulking at not being allowed to help.
“Good. Just making sure.” She gave no sign that she doubted her answer, for Tala rarely lied, preferring to skip lightly over the subject she was guilty of.
Only use semicolons if you know how to do so. They join what could be two completely separate sentences if you had separated them with a period instead. Since "Preferring to skip lightly over the subject of which she was guilty" is not a sentence, it can not be tacked onto another clause via semicolon. Also, you're ending your sentence in a preposition again.
They were nearing the opposite side when an ear-splitting roar filled the air, reverberating off the walls.
He yawned widely, revealing row upon row of razor sharp blades that glinted maliciously.
Blades? Ouch! What happened to his teeth?
His dusty armour clanked as he pulled himself up, nostrils flaring as he scented the air for his prey.
You're using scented incorrectly in the above sentence. Consider "tested" or even just "sniffed" instead.
He scented again and grinned.
He dived down, heading towards a partially concealed entrance hidden under dense foliage. Vines whipped his sides, but he did not heed them.
Notice that I removed the definite article "the" from before "dense foliage" above. That's because the dense foliage has not been mentioned before, so we are not familiar with it and should not see a definite article put before it.
They were no more than light snacks to him, used to the fat Milltanks and other such beasts that roamed further up the mountain.
I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say with this sentence. Are you talking about Rayquaza or the people he's eating? If it's Ray, it should read, "...no more than light snacks to him that was used to..."
Some of the Pokemon attempted to band together and drive him out, but after their first wave of attacks enraged him, he incinerated them all with a hyper beam.
Noting its position for taking back to his den, he returned to the fray, bloodstained teeth darting in and out, tossing the dead onto the ever-growing mound of corpses that rose in the middle.
The middle of where? Also, his teeth darting in and out sounds a little odd to me.
Finally stopping and cowering behind a haystack, Tala slipped off and rubbed him down with a handful of straw, attempting to soothe him.
He. The avenger. The slaughterer. He has no mercy because he has never felt. He has no emotions, fighting only out of a jealous rage to defend his territory. He had family, once. Before he killed them in cold blood. He is the last of his kind, the end of his race.
How does Domego know all this stuff?
Sweat rolled down his flanks as he struggled to remain in control, Tala’s well fair the only thing preventing him from bolting.
I have no idea what you're trying to say there. Welfare? As in he's afraid she'll be in danger if he bolts out into the open?
He smiled briefly, revealing once more his bloodied blades.
Seriously, he's got knives growing out of his gums?
Tala gathered up her shattered courage and prepared to climb up the haystack to figure out whether Rayquaza was gone.
I think it would be kind of hard for her to miss his presence; there'd be a lot of slithery noises going on, not to mention plenty of chomping and crunching and rending. And unpleasant sounds.
He thundered towards it, silently cursing himself in his mind.
Thunderd towards it? He was right behind the haystack with her, yes? Then he likely has only about a foot and a half to reach the base of it--not much room to "thunder."
Avoiding the dragon's reaching claws, he stabbed it in the leg, screaming a challenge.
Rayquaza doesn't have legs. 0_o
Dropping its meal on a pile of bone, and checking his senses that there were no other intruders, it yawned exhaustedly, curled up and went back to sleep.
You're flipflopping between his and its again. And why would Rayquaza retreat with only the corpse of the rapidash? There's tons of other food right there in the mountain; he's got all the other villagers to attend to. It also seems unlikely that he'd leave without gorging himself silly. In fact, I think most predators would just chill where all their pray was and not budge until they felt the need to go hunting again.
Satisfied, she laid her head back down. She was too weak to move, too weak to call out.
I'd assume there'd be some kind of horrendously crushing pain going on here. Twenty feet is, what, almost two stories? Onto a stone floor? You fall from that height and you're uber-lucky not to break anything. And you're not going to just be weak, you're going to be bruised and battered and probably quite pained. Not to mention that she ought to have a nasty shoulder wound from Rayquaza's teeth.
Okay now, on to the overall chapter analysis.
In general, I'm afraid that I have to say that the Mary-Sue and Gary-Stu echoes grew only stronger in this chapter. Domego and Tala are the classic rambunctious pair, unnaturally brave, chivalrous, adventurous, and clever. And with a remarkable ability to survive dragon attacks. Again, any one of these on their own is not of any great concern, but altogether, they're only rounding out the already too disproportionate characters. Also, being the only survivor of the village is, well, typical.
I find it very hard to believe that Rayquaza was somehow awakened by the faint calling of one girl from all the freaking way across the glacier. He had a freaking glacier parked at his cave entrance, and not much sound is going to make it through a sheet of ice that thick. Then consider all the storms, avalanches, natural disasters, etc that have been shaking the mountains up while he's been sleeping there. If he can sleep through all that, I fail to see how some little girl is going to wake him up by shouting out across the mountain.
How is Tala speaking mind-to-mind with Domego? He's not a psychic-type, nor has she been said to have psychic powers. Do all pokémon characters speak with humans in this way? Why and how? It's not necessarily a bad way to work things, but it calls for a bit of explanation.
On the plus side, your description was looking rather a bit better this chapter. You did particularly well at the beginning, although I was a little put off by the "zooming in on the mountain" thing. That's more of a first-chapter sort of exposition, something that I'd have expected to see earlier. You also did fairly well with your action sequences; indeed, I think the scene where Rayquaza was tearing everything apart was the best-executed thus far.
Your grammar, however, did a nosedive this chapter. You're missing ridiculously minor things like the apostrophes, different forms of to, homophones, and basic spelling. If you don't understand the way that grammar works or sentences are constructed, you should consider learning or at least getting a beta for your work. If you know how to do these things already, then you're being very careless with your writing and could stand to proofread more than a little bit more.
Chapter Three: The Keeper of Destiny
Tala wandered through the realm of dreams, each of them melding into the other.
Each of what?
She cautiously opened her eyes.
But lights were flickering before her eyes moments ago...even though they were apparently closed?
As usual, an unknown force held her in place and she struggled fruitlessly for a while before giving up and acknowledging her surroundings.
Titian fire erupted from nearby potholes imbedded in the cracked dusty soil, illuminating the barren landscape.
Umm, are you sure that "titian" is the color word you're looking for there?
A flat plain stretched out as far as the eye could see, a never ending ocean of sandy dunes.
WTF?! It's flat, and yet it has dunes, great mounds of sand? Whaaat?
The occasional stunted tree poked up out of the wasteland. They were twisted beyond imagination by the changing atmosphere, skeletal fingers reaching for the sky.
How does the changing atmosphere cause them to become twisted?
A flash of light struck the ground beside her, followed quickly by a roar that rent the air in two.
I don't know quite the level of surreality you're going for here, but if lightning struck the ground next to you, you'd be doing something more than glancing up. You're probably get flung away or at least considerably scorched and seriously freaked out.
She screamed and fell to the ground, sand devils rising as a wicked breeze danced around her, taunting her with evil whisperings in her ears.
Remove the "in her ears" at the end there. It's totally redundant and just makes the sentence unnecessarily cumbersome.
She huddled close, its knurled branches offering her little protection from the rain.
She stopped crying and attempted to be as quiet as possible in the hope that whatever was coming would go away.
It was fairly humanoid; its features were aligned the same way as hers were.
It had a nose, eyes. A mouth. But it was in no way human.
The "A mouth" fragment seems seriously strange. I'd consider rewording this passage somehow.
- You switch back and forth from calling the satyr/devil-thing an it to a he once again.
Its eyelids were wrong, sideways instead of up and down. They were pure black with no iris, no white. Just a deep hole that seemed to swallow you into its inky depths.
Eyelids normally have irises? And how can this thing's eyelids swallow you in their depths? Not only that, but why the heck do they start glinting in the next sentence?
Again, you need to be very careful of your antecedents and your modifiers. Everything after the first quoted sentence is modifying eyelids, not eyes.
It had a pig snout for a nose, it was wrinkled back like a pugs half way up its face, also devoid of nostril hair.
This sentence is just seriously screwed up.
- Okay, you start referring to the pig/satyr/devil-thing as a him and as an it in the same sentence. I's confuzzled.
They had first appeared as a speck on the horizon, gradually growing larger and more clearly defined as they began their descent.
He had scuttled back to his nest, not wanting to get squashed, and gazed at it longingly as they placed it into the center of the cave after tossing aside the bones.
He playfully nipped her tail, laughing as he dodged a swinging tail, narrowly missing being sent flying into the sandstone walls of the cave.
The tail...tail repetition is very, very awkward here.
Still chortling, he approached the Miltank and finally sank his teeth into a leg, savouring the delicious mix of flavours.
His parents glanced at each other, eyebrows raised.
Rayquaza have eyebrows?
He had woken before dawn and bounced around the cave, unable to curb his enthusiasm. His bleary-eyed parents, annoyed at his antics, grumpily ordered him back to bed so they could get some sleep.
As they disappeared into the distance he sighed wearily, and retreated back into the cave for the calm solace of his bed.
No comma after wearily.
[quote]They were at the top of the mountain, whose lofty peaks pierced the clouds to rise high above the earth, surveying it with a thoughtful eye.
The mountain has multiple peaks?
On its summit was a thriving oasis, filled with the twittering of birds and the soft sound of a waterfall cascading down a rocky cliff. Near the center of a dense forest that composed most of the oasis, was a large clearing.
That must be one heck of a dinky mountain. Normally you're not going to find such "dense forest" at the summit of a mountain, especially not one with a lofty peak. Generally, the summit would be above the treeline entirely.
Every day she carried him back to this mountain, and his pride in himself grew as he managed more each day, seeing the happiness on his mothers face as he completed the target of staying up for five minutes a week early.
They were in a dark, hollow cave.
Most caves are hollow by definition...
- The walls were of black onyx but glowed blue? Either they're black or they're blue, to my mind...
She turned her head so quickly that it creaked, breathing hard.
Necks creak, but not heads.
There was a whisper in her left ear; she spun around, only to find nothing.
A soft blue light began to fill the room, originating from the central alcove.
It stepped off the ledge and slowly descended, landing softly on its feet.
I was praying that this was just a typo, but as you've made this mistake numerous times, I guess I'll have to point it out: off is the opposite of on, while of is another preposition used to explain origination.
- I'm not getting any awe-vibes from Tala, here. Seriously, a revered creature (perhaps even on the level of a deity?) pops up, and she doesn't seem duly fazed.
- You're capitalizing random words like headdress much too often.
It asked, generally taken aback.
Generally is... not the word you're looking for here. I have no idea what you were going for in this case.
The world is in turmoil. The three titans, Rayquaza, Kyogre and Groundon are at war with each other.
How is that so? As of a couple hours ago, Rayquaza was snoozing quite peacefully. Hardly spearheading a vicious war effort.
- Oh, and as a reminder, grammatical errors of the type already listed did persist this chapter, even though I didn't pull them out of the text.
I liked the beginning of the chapter. You did well with the description of the nightmare-world, in general, and your flow seemed much better there. Likewise with the flying lesson.
However, the nightmare scene was rather spoiled by the crunch-crunch portion; you didn't build up suspense very effectively there, and to me, that entire section just fell flat as a pancake underneath a snorlax. I also didn't get how you could get a prolonged "cruuunnnch" out of anything. I mean, a crunch is just the sound of something crumbling or giving way; it's a sharp, if sort of crumbly noise, and not one that is sustained with a single footstep.
Your character descriptions once again fell flat. Both Jirachi and the pig/satyr/devil-thing suffered from very, very static descriptions. Basically, they were just huge text blocks describing their physical characteristics. While you showed some creativity with the way that you described them, it didn't change the fact that it was just an infodump that could have been very effectively integrated into the piece much more effectively in a different way.
I was somewhat reassured by the use of Rayquaza; I am leery of 'fics that center largely around the legendaries, simply because they are so rarely used properly. Rayquaza, however, seemed suitably intimidating and you did open up some alternate facets of his character. The interaction with Jirachi was just terribly off, however. One thing that has always bugged me about the "chosen one goes off on quest" plot is that it rarely makes sense. Jirachi is an almost god-like creature, capable of making a mortal's wildest wishes come true. Why can it not go and retrieve the scales itself? And why does Tala accept this task so readily? Without even hearing what the task actually is, she decides that there can't possibly be another way. Umm, what? She hasn't heard what the way is, and yet she's already considering herself mankind's only hope or something. I dun geddit. She doesn't even consider that there may be other alternatives and pretty much instantly decides that she's the only possible person for the job. She doesn't even try to deny the power. It's all too convenient and stereotypical. Jirachi is just there to hand out the quest and get on with the plot, and likewise, Tala's just there to accept the offer like a good little protagonist.
12th February 2006, 5:17 AM
(( Danged char limit. ))
And now, the Great Overall.
This 'fic has potential. There are times where I'm surprised by a particularly well-conceived narrative passage or a well-executed scene. It's clear that you can wield language with some dexterity and that you have a fair sense of action.
Unfortunately, you are far too often crippled by your mechanical problems. You're making really basic mistakes and your writing is veritably peppered with errors. As mentioned before, you need to learn some of these things and proofread yourself or get a beta. Just a little higher production value here would dramatically improve the 'fics overall quality and could probably solve some of your other problems into the bargain.
Your description is in some places very nice and in other places incredibly stilty and clunky. It primarily falls flat at "descriptive interludes" where you sit there and churn out sentence after sentence about the physical appearance of something or someplace. Generally, while you're into the action you manage to keep tension up and the sentences rolling along. Don't get so stuck on describing things that you sacrifice your story's energy for them. Even individual chapters should drive to a high point of some kind or at least have a general direction that they're always rising or falling toward. Whenever you have a big block of static description, you're just plateauing--the text is going nowhere, and your momentum is lost. Work on integrating your descriptions in smaller chunks and primarily through actions. A constant sense of movement is important for a 'fic like this: direction, purpose, momentum... you have to keep the action and adventure coming and not go off on boring tangents.
There are still many things that don't make sense to me about Tala's culture. I really would have preferred a long exposition here, allowing us to have a better look at Tala's relationship with the other villagers and letting us get to understand them and their lifestyle a little better. There was hardly any feeling for the villagers when they were annihilated because, really, we had no clue who they were. You need to show us something in all of its glory before you can destroy it: we need to be able to appreciate it in order to appreciate its destruction. Ultimately, an emotional connection with the reader is vital. We haven't really established that yet, so things seem to be moving a tad too fast.
And now, on to the largest areas of concern: plot and characters.
The plot is still pretty generic. This is a story that's been retold countless times, and thus far you haven't really brought anything distinctly new or interesting to the table. This is partially the fault of the characters (see below) but also partially because of the way that you've set the piece up. It begins the standard way and thus far has been progressing exactly as expected, albeit at a slightly accelerated pace. You need to find some way to inject more life into your story and really make it sparkle if you're not going to make any significant deviations from the formula. In this way, classic tales are both easy and difficult to write; they're easy because we're all familiar with them: we've heard them a hundred times and know, basically, how one ought to go and what it ought to include. The drawback is also tha we've heard them a hundred times. You've got a very standard high fantasy plotline here. Inject your own sparkle, and it will be noticeably better for the effort. At the moment, this is still pretty standard.
And now, characters, probably my largest gripe here. Tala is a Mary-Sue. Domego is a Gary-Stu. Together, they do not bode well for the fate of the fanfic. Both of them fairly ooze an air of "chosen ones." The problem is, this makes them fundamentally disinteresting. Their triumphs seem empty and hollow because we know that they've been aided by their supernatural powers and that they are, basically, destined to win in the end; their mistakes feel forced and scripted, clearly only plot points that are not supposed to detract from their overall pristine images. You've set Tala up way too much as someone we're supposed to like. Everybody else likes her, and it's clear that we're supposed to like her as well. She is the chosen one. Domego is supposed to be a loyal, admirable character. Everyone else admires him, and it's clear that we're supposed to admire him as well. He is the other chosen one, that special companion who gets to go with Tala on her Special Quest of Doom. The problem is that characters aren't supposed to be set up to have our admiration or appreciation; they have to earn them. You've been trying too hard to make your characters stand out, to the point where they're out of proportion to the right of the people in the 'fic. The rest of the villagers and their pokémon are ordinary; Tala and Domego are extraordinary and were never anything else. They started off being extraordinary, and this robs them of a crucial aspect of them: their growth. The best characters go from unremarkable to remarkable, rather than starting out remarkable and remaining remarkable. The struggle is the whole point. Tala has gifts thrown at her; I'd really prefer to see her actually earn some of them. At the moment, she and Domego are pretty empty and disinteresting.
In short, you have some things to work on. Nevertheless, you show that you do have potential, and with a bit of work, I'm sure that you can dramatically improve this 'fics quality.
12th February 2006, 3:59 PM
Thank you very much Negrek for the review! I can tell you spent a lot and time and effort on it, and I really appreciate it.
Now that you have shown me where I have gone wrong, I can see it for myself. I agree, it does need a lot of work. I'll revise the whole story, edit the plot and un Sue-ify my characters. No more shiny Ponyta! *waves it good bye* I can't even remember why I put that in now...
Thanks again! *gives gigantic cookie*
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.2 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.